I mentioned a few years ago that I had tried to watch the 1944 film Lal Haveli on YouTube but could not follow it and wished that I could find it with English subtitles… And finally, my wish has come true, though completely by accident. I have the New York Public Library to thank this time. I did not expect to see this film anywhere, but I decided on a whim to go to the library’s Hidni film section yesterday while I was returning something, and guess what I saw the moment I cast my eyes toward the shelves!
And now that I have been able to watch it with subtitles, I can say for certain that it is as much of a delight as I expected. It’s not a perfect film, but it is good… And, of course, the cast is the best part of it – definitely a golden moment for Noor Jehan, Baby Meena, and Yakub. (And Surendra’s singing is nice in this also, though I decided that I like him more in the other film that he did with Noor Jehan – though I know some people don’t like him there, either; oh, well.)
In any event, I hope to have a somewhat fuller review up soon. But I decided to do a preview or “coming attraction” post first so that people know to look to this blog in the near future for a real review of Lal Haveli. (I am saying “real review” to set it apart from the “I can’t follow it without subtitles” review of 2011 – which, by the way, has gotten a bunch of hits during the last day, maybe because I also mentioned this find on Facebook? That, actually, is the main reason I have gotten impatient in my desire to say something about the film now. Don’t look back there, look here!)
P.S. In the event that someone is reading this post in New York City and you want to grab a copy, run right now to the Mid Manhattan branch of the library, on 40th Street and Fifth Avenue, because I saw two copies on the shelf. Or, you could also wait a little while (at least a week) for the time when I return it. I hope to buy a copy in Jackson Heights later, and I think that I should find it in the “Bollywood DVD” store on 74th Street that’s closest to 37th Avenue, because they have had quite a few other Shemaroo Vintage films. But, unfortunately, there’s never a guarantee…