Song of the Day – Daawat-e-Ishq

 

Daawat-e-Ishq (Feast of Love) is not the best movie, I’l admit, but I still adore this song.  I love the whole concept of this restaurant owner and chef winning over his prospective bride with a feast.  A feast of all his specialty dishes, and a promised feast of love.  One taste and she’s hooked.

This song came up on shuffle today and it never fails to bring a smile to my face.  I think Aidtya and Parineeti were very cute together.

“Qubool!”  Aditya, I accept!

This video has no subs, but you can find the lyrics and translation here on Bollymeaning. (My godsend site.)

I had an Indian/Pakistani buffet lunch today, ironically, and the waiter wouldn’t let me go until I tasted the rice pudding dessert sprinkled with pistachios.  He did not ask for my hand in marriage, but wanted compliments on the naan he made himself.  (OMG it was so good! I almost proposed myself.)

Sunshine Blogger Award

I was just nominated for a Sunshine Blogger Award by Reviews by Rhiannon.

Thank you! Rhiannon reviews both film and TV.  I’m not caught up on the new Poldark series as they haven’t been airing yet here in the US.  Rhiannon is lucky as she’s already been watching and reviewing each episode of Season 2 on her blog.  I’ve been avoiding reading your posts yet Rhiannon as I don’t want any spoilers!

The Sunshine Blogger Award is a chain-letter project to recognize and celebrate fellow bloggers.

Rules:

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you
  • Answer the 11 questions
  • Make 11 new questions
  • Nominate 11 bloggers you enjoy and think deserve the award

 

These are my answers to the questions Rhiannon sent me:

Who would you choose to play you in a film of your life?  

I’m not British, but I love Emma Thompson.  Just saw her again in Bridget Jones’s Baby and I’ve always loved her no nonsense wit.  Plus, she wrote and got an Oscar for Sense and Sensibility, a movie I always have to stop and watch if I come across it on cable TV.  She’s just the best.

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Would you prefer to watch a film or TV series?

I go back and forth, but right now I’m on more of a film kick.  I enjoy a good binge watch of series, too.  Latest binges were Stranger Things and Transparent (and I heartily recommend both).

What was the last film you watched?

The Malayalam film ABCD:  American-Born Confused Desi with Dulquer Salmaan.  It was pretty funny, but I didn’t get some of the Kerala specific political humor.

If you could only watch films by one actor/actress for the rest of your life, who would it be?

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That’s easy.  Shahrukh Khan.  He’s made over 70 films, so I’d have quite a variety!

Which country/place have you always wanted to visit but never have?

I think readers of my blog could guess my answer.  I’ve never been to India, but I would really love to go.  The problem is I want to go everywhere:  Dehli, Mumbai (Mannat!), the mountains in Shimla, Kerala, and on and on.  Will have to go multiple times, I guess!

What would be your perfect day off?

Watching movies, of course!

If you were to make a feature film, what genre would it be/what would it be about?

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Well, I’ve actually already been involved in the making of a feature film!  My husband and I were executive producers of a Rom Com set in Brooklyn that premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January of 2016.  Our friend Tahir Jetter, who we met at Sundance a few years back, asked for our help in getting his debut feature film made, and I’m really proud of How To Tell You’re A Douchebag.  I’m not sure I ever imagined I would produce an African-American romantic comedy, but it’s pretty darn good, if I do say so myself.  Seeing my name up on the screen at Sundance was like a dream come true.

Check it out on iTunes and Amazon or BET.

Do you prefer the city or the country?

I’m totally a suburban girl.

Would you rather watch a film alone, with family, or with friends?

Watching with friends or family is always better, but I’ve been going to films alone for decades.  I don’t need a companion to enjoy myself, but it’s more fun to watch a comedy with friends.

Is there any film or film genre you hate/can’t bear to watch?

Those torture porn horror flicks.  I have never seen one of the Saw movies, and I won’t ever either, if I can help it.

What is your favorite film?

This is hard for me, because I have many favorites, and it depends on my mood of the moment.  Probably my all-time favorite Hollywood film is the classic His Girl Friday with Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell.  “Oh, Hildy.”  “Oh, Walter!”

But my favorite film that I watch over and over is DDLJ – Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (The Bravehearted Wins The Bride).  I can’t even count how many times I’ve watched this Hindi classic.  It’s the film that I watched on Netflix (since you like romantic films, you might enjoy…..) and made me fall in love with Shahrukh Khan, and Indian Cinema.  Since I watched it a little over two years ago, I’ve seen almost 300 Indian films, and 50 Shahrukh Khan films alone.  There’s a reason this film has played for over 20 years at a theater in Mumbai!!

 

 

Bonus question (that Rhiannon answered, but did not ask me.)

What is your favorite childhood film and why?  

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.  It’s just magical.  And it’s Dick Van Dyke. Do you know how happy this recent video made me?  In a Denny’s!

 

Below are the people I nominate for this award because I enjoy reading what they write (and I’m interested in their answers). Check their blogs out!

Don’t Call It Bollywood

Access Bollywood

Jay at Assholes Watching Movies

Screen Zealots

CharandtheWeb

Life With Bollywood

Monika Sulik

Being Prateek Naik

RJ Reed Films

The Cinema Station

Jinse Max Blog

 

 

And your questions are:

  1. Who would you choose to play you in a film of your life?
  2. What is your favorite childhood film and why?
  3. What was the last film you watched?
  4. If you could only watch films by one actor/actress for the rest of your life, who would it be?
  5. Which country/place have you always wanted to visit but never have?
  6. What would be your perfect day off?
  7. If you were to make a feature film, what genre would it be/what would it be about?
  8. You have the chance to interview five people from any aspect of films and filmmaking, dead or alive, who would you pick?
  9. Would you rather watch a film alone, with family, or with friends?
  10. Is there any film or film genre you hate/can’t bear to watch?
  11. What is your favourite film?

 

I like to participate in these kind of chain posts, because I like learning more about fellow bloggers, beyond our normal review posts.  Thank you for reading and to my followers.

ABCD – The Dulquer movie, not the Prabhudeva one

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ABCD, the Malayalam film, is not Any Body Can Dance (the Prabhudeva film), but American-Born Confused Desi.  The comedy was released in 2013, early in Dulquer Salmaan’s career (after Ustad Hotel in 2012), and is obviously a showcase for him.

The interesting thing is that he plays a spoiled brat jerk who really doesn’t reform by the end of this comedy.

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Dulquer is Johns Isaac, son of a millionaire doctor who I think owns some sort of medical company.  (The name Johns is odd — it’s not just John, and for awhile I thought he was being referred to by his last name.)  Johns hangs out with Korah (Jacob Gregory) his best buddy in New York, and they drive around in a Lamborghini.  Johns has flunked out of multiple colleges, and is a spoiled brat.  Johns gets into a fight with a black guy at a club, and the gangsters shooting up his parents mansion is the last straw for his parents.

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They send Johns and Korah to  the ancestral place in Cochin, Kerala.  Dulquer is expecting a luxury vacation, and is horrified at the house his father rented for them, with no A/C and an outhouse.  They blow through $20,000 staying at a luxury hotel until suddenly the credit cards are cut off, and they’re stranded in India.  They get scammed by a guy in their neighborhood, and are down to their last $10.  (Their neighbor was pretty funny, played by S.P.Sreekumar)

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Dulquer’s dad then phones to say that he will pay them 5000 a month if they go to the local college where he has already enrolled them.

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This is where this American-Born Confused Non-Desi got really confused.  They meet Madhumitha (Aparna Gopinath) who is an activist at their college.  She basically has this stern expression this entire movie, to be honest.  There is absolutely no romance in this film whatsoever, even though there is an epilogue over the end credits that Dulquer sends his love from NY and she sends it back.  But that part of the film is severely underwritten.  We’re just supposed to fill in the blanks I guess.  It’s like a hate-to-love that stays in the hate part for pretty much the whole thing.

Anyway, what confused me is that Aparna sort of set them up as if they are political activists, protesting the rising tuition that drove a classmate to suicide.  She’s trying to put these spoiled American boys in their place, but to her consternation, they become social media celebrities, and they get invited to join lots of other protests, which they do, because there is usually free food.  Interviews with press, free food.  It all snowballs until one protest turns into a near riot with police beatings.

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The competing political parties that want these two American kids who have supposedly rejected their families’s millions to live the simple Gandhi-like life — these scenes were probably hilarious to people from Kerala, but mostly went right over my head.  There’s a basic level that was still funny, but I know I was missing a lot of the subtleties.

Johns and Korah read in the paper that they are in competition for young activist of the year — the 1 Lakh prize money they are planning to use to get back to the US.  Their main competition is the son of a local politician, and played by Tovino Thomas.  Again, it probably would have been hilarious if I knew what political party their rival was, and why he derided them for being Communist (I think?)  The slapstick fights with him and all, still funny, but the political satire that is the basis of most of the second half is beyond my limited understanding of Kerala.

These two spoiled jerks never really learn their lesson or reform.  I guess I won’t spoiler how they do find their way back to the US.  The satire of second generation NRI’s being clueless about India and spoiled brats– that humor I could totally get, and it was pretty hilarious.  Dulquer’s time at Purdue University probably helped him nail that part!

So, an amusing film, but you can definitely tell just how far Dulquer has come in a few short years.  And while there was no Prabhu, there was one catchy dance number from the NYC beginning part of the film, sung by Dulquer himself.

 

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Bommarillu – Genelia D’Souza is delightful in this sweet Telugu romance

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The 2006 Telugu Rom Com Bommarillu starts with a father helping a toddler walk on the beach and the voiceover says — “Shouldn’t a father let go his son’s hand after 24 years?”
Siddharth looked SO young in this film!  Oh, my goodness, he barely had a little peach fuzz little goatee. 2006 was the same year as Rang De Basanti.
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Prakash Raj is the father, and  I’m enjoying so much seeing Prakash Raj in these father roles in Southern movies — rather than the villain heavy he plays so well in Hindi films.
He’s a loving — but very controlling father.  He gives all the luxuries to his kids, but picks out everything, down to the clothes he buys for them.  Siddhu (Siddharth) is smothered.  Prakash arranges a marriage for Siddhu with a girl who only parrots what her father told him.
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Then Siddhu meets Hasini (Genelia D’Souza).  Her unconventional fun loving attitude appeals to him, and he finds her calling him an idiot endearing.
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 Genelia D’Souza we all loved in Jaane Tu…Ya Jaane Na.  For Bommarillu she won the best actress South Filmfare award.  She is very much like Geeta in Jab We Met.  Genelia in Bommarillu is a little chatterbox, naive,  and brings sunshine wherever she goes.
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Siddhu leads almost a double life.  He tries to act as the perfect obedient son at home, and his parents never suspect he drinks, gets wild with his friends, and is trying to start a business.  There’s a lot of very funny  moments in this film, and Siddharth is great at the comedy.  It wouldn’t be a Telugu film without the comedy uncle Brahmanandam – here he plays the loan officer.  Comedic character actor Sunil Varma is the family servant, who frequently gets Siddhu out of whatever jam he’s in.

The love music numbers were pretty darn adorable.

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To convince his father that she is the girl for him, Siddhu asks if Hasini can stay in the family home for a week.  Siddhu’s sisters and mother won’t even speak to her at first, but her irrepressible charm slowly wins everyone over.
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But then Siddhu tries to repress her and make her quiet to please his father.  She innocently reveals all that Siddhu has hidden from his entire family, but especially his father.  There is a big final confrontation with the father.  The film has a nice message advocating love marriage, and even the meek girl fiancee gets her own little feminist moment at the end.
Genelia was just a bubbly delight in this movie — she so much reminded me of Kareena’s performance as Geeta in Jab We Met.  I think I’d only seen Siddharth in dramas like Rang De Basanti and Enakkul Oruvan and it was really fun to see him in a lighter Rom Com.
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Bridget Jones’s Baby – I laughed my ass off

bridget-jones-gallery-01It’s been 15 years since Bridget Jones Diary came out, and 12 years since Bridget Jones:  Edge Of Reason.  For me, Bridget Jones’s Baby had the same delightful feel as the first movie, and there’s a reason — Sharon Maguire, who directed the first film is back for the third.  The second film wasn’t awful, it just had the curse of following such a beloved first film.  The only thing I really remember about it was that slap fight in the fountain between Hugh Grant and Colin Firth (those two commit, 120% in their slap fights!)

Bridget Jones’s Baby starts back in that old apartment, hitting the same beats as the first film, but then Bridget changes the music and dances around her apartment, happy in her singledom.

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Pretty much everyone from the original film is back in little cameos, but I loved the new additions, like Bridget’s co-worker and best pal Miranda, played by Sarah Solemani.  Bridget is still a bit clumsy, but she’s now a successful TV news show producer, and Miranda is the host.  I liked that Btidget is now a grown up and competent, even if she’s puzzled by the Millennials at work.

The only one not back is Hugh Grant.  His plane has gone down “in the bush”, and there’s a hilarious funeral scene with pews full of models and old girlfriends.

When Bridget’s old pals bail on her birthday celebration, Miranda surprises her with a girls’ weekend at a music festival.  She falls in the mud in front of Patrick Dempsey (Jack) and they end up hooking up later that night.

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The next weekend, she and Colin Firth are godparents at a friend’s baby’s christening, and sparks fly with them again after Darcy admits he and his wife are separated.

Bridget is happy to go back to her single life, and thinks that she and Darcy will never work.  They tried, but he is too wedded to his work.

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Well we know what happens next from the title!  She gets pregnant and has no clue which man is the father.  She tells both separately, and after being stunned, billionaire Jack (Dempsey) warms to the idea and actively woos her.

Darcy is thrilled that she’s pregnant, but decidedly NOT thrilled when he learns he has a rival.  He’s so Darcy buttoned up and reserved, with his seething feelings under the surface waiting to burst out.  Sigh.

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Emma Thompson is hilarious as Bridget’s doctor, with her witty wry humor (she even co-wrote the screenplay, and boy does it show.)  I loved that the doctor tells her she doesn’t need either man, and would be just fine with the baby herself.  “I did it!”

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When Bridget goes into labor, I was practically rolling on the floor with laughter as the two men try to carry her to the hospital, and make it through a revolving door.

You’ll enjoy the film more if you’ve seen at least the first movie, but one of the friends who saw it with me had no clue this was the third movie in a series.  She laughed just as hard as me (okay, maybe I really laughed loudly), so it’s very enjoyable to people new to all things Bridget Jones.

Very funny movie, and especially fun to see with gal pals.

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Remembering Director Curtis Hanson

rip-curtis-hansonRIP Director Curtis Hanson. News of his passing from natural causes at age 71 greeted me this morning, and I’ve been thinking about him all day.

I never did see The Hand That Rocks The Cradle, his breakout film, or the entirety of River Wild with Meryl Streep and Kevin Bacon. (I’ve only seen bits and pieces of that film.)

My first Curtis Hanson film was the fantastic L.A. Confidential, for which Kim Basinger won an Oscar, and Hanson won a writing Oscar. Oh, my goodness, what a great film.  We can thank Curtis Hanson for giving two Aussie actors their Hollywood debuts: Russell Crowe and Guy Pearce.  These are two of my favorite scenes:

 

I enjoyed the quirky character study films Wonder Boys and In Her Shoes, but 8 Mile goes down as another of my all time favorite films.  Who knew Enimem could act, and be so riveting on screen even when he wasn’t rapping?  Curtis Hanson took a chance and wow, what a film.  (I totally forgot Michael Shannon was in 8 Mile!)

 

Hanson’s final film is Chasing Mavericks with Gerard Butler.  I missed it in theaters, but I think I need to find it.  RIP Curtis Hanson and thank you for some fantastic films.

Oozham – My first Prithviraj movie in the theater!

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I was excited that Prithviraj’s Onam Malayalam release Oozham [Turn] was coming to Chicago, but I was forewarned that it wasn’t his best film.  I didn’t care.  I was still excited to see Prithviraj on the big screen for the first time.  I have not yet seen writer director Jeethu Joseph‘s previous films Drishyam (Mohanlal) or Memories (Prithviraj).  From the reviews I’ve read, and especially this savage 1/2 star take down by Anna Vetticad, the disappointment in Oozham is particularly acute because Jeethu Joseph’s previous films have been so great.

I didn’t hate Oozham like Anna, but I certainly don’t love it either.  It’s okay — and with Prithviraj, I also would expect better than okay.  The man has made what, 100 films?  I’ve only been watching the cream of the crop, and they can’t all be at the level of Mumbai Police.

Spoilers ahead warning –

The set up of this revenge film is fantastic.  Oozham means turn — and Prithviraj turns the tables on the man who had his family killed, because he has special skills.  Not a particular set of skills like Liam Neeson in Taken.khhbgfe

One special skill — Prithviraj’s job in the US is as an explosives expert engineer (building demolition and such.)  And it’s super handy that his adopted brother is a white hat hacker!  That is a hook that I don’t think I’ve ever seen before, in Hollywood or Indian cinema, having the good guy be an expert in plastic explosives.

The film starts with a van full of bad guys with guns (almost a clown car level amount) who are in search of someone, and there is a small explosion when they try to open an apartment door.  Prithviraj is behind that door!  The film cuts between this action sequence of Prithviraj on the run, and fighting with groups of these chasers, throughout the happy family scenes, the setup, and most of the film, frankly.  Our director is too clever by half, as he uses a visual transition every blinkin’ time – focusing on a shoe in the chase, and then a shoe in the happy family scene, etc.  Every. Single. Transition.

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Prithviraj is visiting his family for a few weeks for his sister’s engagement.  He’s the oldest, and besides his sister is an adopted Muslim brother (who lived next door, and who lost both parents.)  Prithviraj’s dad is a health inspector, and very busy with some sort of virus outbreak and always rushing off looking worried.  He has a police officer friend who drops by for dinner with his younger sister to set her up with Prithviraj.

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The happy family scenes dragged quite a bit, but I really liked the relationship Prithviraj had with his younger sister.  Prithviraj was, of course, the best actor in the whole film.  I liked how flustered he got being set up with Divya Pillai as Gayathri.  And in the physical fights he looked like a guy who wasn’t necessarily an expert fighter, but you can totally believe he is clever enough for all the plans that follow the family tragedy.

Once back in the US after the engagement, he’s Skyping with his sister, when he witnesses her murder and the murder of his parents.  The bad guys look right into the computer screen, but don’t know they are on camera as she had minimized the Skype window.  Prithviraj makes you feel his horror and helplessness as he is thousands of miles away on the other side of the world.

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The cop friend is killed the same day by a “terrorist attack”.  Prithviraj, his adopted brother and the sister of the cop think that coincidence very strange, and they get into their father’s email and piece together who had a reason to kill him.  The villain is head of a big pharmaceutical company that the father suspected was putting a virus into drinking water (this part was very vague and not explained.)

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Watching the revenge plot unfold was the best part of the film.  They do try to approach the police, but of course one of the killers is a rogue corrupt cop.  There were some very clever sequences, as they pick off the conspirators one by one, using controlled explosions.

The villain (Jayprakash) to be honest wasn’t that scary, and he has two lines in English that Anna Vetticad calls out as inexcusable.  He hires his own explosives expert, Captain, to protect him and find out who his adversary is.  Captain (Pasupathy, who was the rebel terrorist leader in the Tamil Kannathil Muthamittal – A Peck on the Cheek) has failed to protect someone close to Jayprakash and he says “How Dare!” and the subtitles say How Dare You both times.  One time I could excuse that they didn’t have time to reshoot an emotional scene, but twice?  The subtitles were pretty bad, but the English sprinkled throughout the film wasn’t good either.

My main issue with the film is the pacing.  I can give a slow buildup in the first half.  The inter-cutting with the chase/action fight scenes was pretty good.  But the film should have moved at a swift pace in the second half as the action heated up, and it lagged.  I really did like the ending, except for one thing.

My beef is that the villains are of course killed — but the virus that they spread in the water or what have you?  That issue is completely ignored in the conclusion.  You had a hacker for cripes sake!  He hacks all their emails to track the villains’ movements — how about sending all the incriminating emails to the press or the authorities?  In a Hollywood film, I think that would have been a major part of the revenge plot.

So, I wouldn’t necessarily run to a theater to see this film but it would be worth a rental.

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Margaret of Don’t Call It Bollywood and I saw it together.  She agreed that Oozham was just “okay”.

How To Tell You’re A Douchebag on BET tonight!

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Our movie comes out on BET Saturday night at 8 p.m. Eastern/ 7 p.m. Central.  Set your DVR’s!

If you don’t live in the US, the movie is available for rental and purchase on iTunes.

Charles Brice, the lead actor, did a fun interview yesterday on BET Facebook Live.

My husband and I were the first investors in director Tahir Jetter’s debut feature film.  It premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January, and it’s just a fun modern romantic comedy set in Brooklyn.

So proud and excited for tonight!

Devasuram – A Malayalam Classic with masterful performances by Mohanlal and Revathi

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Devasuram [The God Demon] was recommended as a classic must watch Malayalam film from 1993 — one of the best of Mohanlal’s career.  It’s also considered one of the finest of director  I. V. Sasi.  The film was written by Ranjith who based the character of Mangalassery Neelakantan (Mohanlal) on his friend Mullasserry Rajagopal.   Rajagopal, bedridden for years, had a passion for music, and his wife was devoted to him.  He evidently joked that “Ranjith had not managed to show even half of what he did in his life.”

Mohanlal is Neelan, running through his inheritance from his father, a bit of a rowdy and a womanizer, but known for his love for music and the arts.  He has a devoted land manager/servant who is really a father figure to him, and a small group of rowdy friends.  The rowdy friends try to be loyal to him, but end up getting him into touchy situations.

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This film really has it all.  Mohanlal is this macho manly figure, not afraid to leap into a fight, but who has the soul of an artist.  He has a feud with a rival family that is revenge after revenge back and forth.    There’s a fantastic hate-to-love romance with Revathi, a young woman who is ready to start a career in professional classical dance.  (And we have established how much I LOVE the hate-to-love trope.)  Revathi is off the charts amazing as Bhanumathi, daughter of a feckless drunkard father.  She is so arrogant and proud, and she explodes at Mohanlal’s rowdies, who have come to ask her to dance at a temple event Mohanlal is sponsoring and help her fall down drunk father home after they find him in a ditch outside the house.  She assumes they are the ones who got him drunk in the first place, and yells at them to leave her property.

That sets up the whole course of events to follow.  Mohanlal seems to apologize to the father and make peace, but instead tricks them and the performance is to be for him and his friends at his house.  Her first dance performance should have been an auspicious event at a temple, and he treats her like a courtesan.  Her father cannot pay back the performance money, so she must dance.  This scene I have watched over and over and over again.  It is simply amazing.

Revathi’s classical dance performance is full of fire and anger.  The expressions she gives!  I’ve just started taking an Indian dance class, and while I’m no expert judge I think Revathi is an exceptional classical dancer.  The whole dance is a battle of wills.  He winks at the accompanying singer to try to trip her up, then he sends one of his friends to offer alcohol to Revathi’s father in the middle of the dance, and Revathi just glares and shakes her belled foot.  Then at the end Mohanlal motions to a cymbal player and another drummer to increase the tempo faster and faster, but nothing fazes Revathi and she just swirls and pounds her feet like a whirling dervish by the end.  She finishes the dance to acclaim, as she is left pouring with sweat and panting for breath.

The clip above has no subs, but she says to him, “You think you’ve won?”  He replies, “I always win.”

“You are not worth my dancing bells.  You’re an insult to my art.”  And then she takes off her bells from her ankles and throws them at him, vowing to never dance again.

She has cursed him, and suddenly all sorts of horrible things happen to Mohanlal.  Revathi and her family don’t fare much better.  They lose their home, and still she is too proud to take Mohanlal’s servant’s offer for help.  But when she is almost sexually assaulted at the home they are staying in, she finally gives in and they move into Mohanlal’s huge mansion house.

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Mohanlal and Revathi avoid each other, but she can’t help see the depression and changes he undergoes at the death of his mother (and she overhears him rage in the rain one night, learning that he discovered he is a bastard at his mother’s deathbed.)  He tries to get her to dance again, and take up her career, but to her that would be losing and letting him win.  She is so full of pride!

One night he is beaten horribly by his rival and his goons, and he ends up paralyzed on one side.  Mohanlal’s character goes through so much in this film!  Revathi is chastened, and feels that it was her harsh words that did curse him, so she prays at the temple for him to recover.

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The romance grows slowly.  As he reforms, he’s a redeemed rake that doesn’t think he is worthy of Revathi.  He is determined to see her dance again, and to give her the career she should have had.  She retains her pride for a long time, not wanting to “lose” to him again. Once he is nearly bedridden, he begs her, “You said you would only dance again when I was dead.  I’m nearly dead, please let me repent this one sin before I die.”  She dances joyfully for him to give him a moment of happiness, and that’s what starts his recovery.  Both characters are so full of charisma, each with their own deep flaws.  They both need their own redemption, it’s not the usual one-sided story.

The film ends with an absolutely riveting confrontation between Mohanlal and his rival Shekaran.  If he fights back, they will harm Revathi who has been kidnapped.  So Mohanlan takes blow after blow until he sees she is safely rescued.  Then, this man who had been handicapped, comes roaring back like a lion.

I don’t know which actor I loved more.  Revathi was such a little spitfire in Mani Ratnam’s Tamil film Mouna Ragam.  But here, she was even better, plus she got to show off her classical dance training.  Mohanlal is the heart and soul of the whole film.  It is his master performance.  The supporting characters are particularly good, too, especially Innocent as Mohanlal’s father figure servant and Nedumudi Venu as Appu, Revathi’s (Bhanumati’s) father.  Napoleon, who plays Shekaran, is quite the villain — with a notable scene pinning down the paralyzed Mohanlal on the floor with his foot — “Get well so I can cut you into pieces next time!”

I’m so glad I bought this one on DVD so I could watch it with subtitles.  This is a movie I’ve already rewatched multiple times, and just that dance sequence alone many times.  Each time, I see something I didn’t see before.

This is justifiably a true classic, not just of Malayalam film, but of all Indian cinema.

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The whole film is available on Youtube, but without subs (but you can overlay a subtitle file through a Chrome extension.)

There’s also a great discussion of the film on Don’t Call It Bollywood.