Sunday, June 26, 2011

A movie a year (volume 2)

Let’s continue with the second decade- late 80s beginning 90s. Big changes took place in this era. Amitabh’s reign as super star was coming to an end. Star sons were the talk of the town- Kumar Gaurav, Sanjay Dutt, Sunny Deol, Anil Kapoor. Not sure what the star daughters were doing though? This period was also the onset of the Khan rule- Aamir, Salman, Shahrukh- all of them made their stunning debuts. And they continue their reign till this day almost 20 years since.

Another big trend was that the age of action films was slowly coming to an end, and the 90’s was all about romance- QSQT, Maine Pyaar kiya, Aashiqui, Lamhe...(My romantic expectations in life can easily be blamed to this phase of Indian cinema).

1985: Rahul Rawail gave us Sunny Deol as Arjun. One of my first movies related to underworld and crime. And it set the stage for my interest in this genre (many of Ramu’s initial movies like Satya and Company will make their way to this esteem list of mine). A great film with many twists and turns- or at least I thought so then. The ‘black umbrella’ scene where one of the Arjun’s friend is murdered on a rainy Bombay afternoon at a railway station, made me gasp. This movie was the start of Sunny’s tryst with ‘man against the system’ type of films like Ghayal, Damini, Ghatak. Until it all got very stale.

Another movie I absolutely love was a movie made for television- if I am not wrong it never released in cinemas- a Mahesh Bhatt self-proclaimed autobiography called Janam. One of Kumar Gaurav’s best performances ever! The poor guy never got his due. A story of an illegitimate son of a famous movie director and his mistress depicts the child’s struggles and subsequent success in the most heart touching manner. Another Mahesh Bhatt original- when he made original movies that is.

My 2 picks from 1985 are Arjun and Janam. Though few other movies deserve a mention too. One of them is Saagar- it was the comeback of ‘Bobby’ and the hit Rishi-Dimple pair. Dimple is one of my favourite heroines still and Saagar was when she looked her stunning best. A Sippy production with remarkable performances by the lead pair, but the show stealer for me was Kamal Hasan! He played the childhood friend who loves Dimple since they were kids and even gave up his life for her. So romantic! All songs of this movie were great with the popular ones being ‘O Maria’ and ‘Sagar jaise akhon wali’, but my favourite one is ‘Sach mere yaar hai, bus wohi pyaar hai, jiske badle mein koi toh pyaar de’ (the words always ring true).

1985 was also the year Raj Kapoor gave us Indian first semi-soft porn flick in ‘Ram teri ganga maili’. And Mandakini immortalized herself in the translucent white wet sari (My parents never let me watch that film)

Another movie worth mentioning here is Vidhu Vinod Chopra’s Khamosh. A thrilling murder mystery and you don’t very good ones of those from Indian cinema.

1986: Mahesh Bhatt bought us another lovely movie about 2 brothers- Naam. Another good performance by Kumar Gaurav. But this year simply belongs to Karma. A Subhash Ghai movie with stalwarts like Dilip Kumar, Naseer, Nutan alongside the then newcomers Anil Kapoor, Jackie, Sridevi. ‘Har karam apna karenge ae watan tere liye, dil diya hain jaan bhi denge, ae watan tere liye’- one of my favourite patriotic numbers. This was also the start of the ‘modern Hindi film’ villain with Anupam Kher as Doctor Dang, soon followed by Amrish Puri as Mogambo.

1987: 2-way split between 2 very different movies- Shekhar Kapur’s Mr. India and Kaash- which I only found out now thru IMBD was directed by Mahesh Bhatt- makes me feel even sad on what he has come to now. Sigh.

Mr. India gave us India’s first 'science' thriller, Mogambo khush hua, hawa hawai and a film which starred Anil Kapoor but you did not have to see him. Perfect! Sorry, but am not an Anil fan. Never have been. It was one the few well-made kid-friendly movies that even grown-ups enjoyed.  And Sridevi’s dance in ‘Kate nahin kat te yeh din yeh raat’ is one of the most sensuos numbers

Trivia- the film had originally been written for Amitabh Bachchan with his voice in mind. He rejected the "invisible" role.

Kaash was a story about a divorced couple- Jackie who was a struggling actor and Dimple- who have a child suffering from a critical illness. I always felt Dimple looked very good with Jackie as a couple (Gardish, Ram Lakhan were 2 other movies were they starred together) rather than the other contemporaries like Sunny and Anil.

1988: I thought this year would have been very easy. As it was the release of QSQT and the birth of a crush that’s lasted over 2 decades. QSQT was such a filmy-film- all the possible love story clichés found its way to this film. But maybe it was timing of its release- which was dominated by action films, or maybe it was the new comer ‘fresh pair’ of Aamir and Juhi as Raj and Rashmi, or the songs by Udit Narayan and Alka Yagnik (who went on to become the romantic song hit pair)- maybe it was a combination of all of this that lead to QSQT becoming one of the biggest hits in Indian cinema. And will always hold a very special place in my heart. Its the only movie I have watched more than 15 times.
Though QSQT is my favourite movie ever and it ruled 1988, but the year cannot be complete without the mention of a beautiful Gulzar film- Izzazat. Great performances by Naseer, Rekha and Anuradha Patel with a lovely cameo by Sashi Kapoor. Beautiful songs and a very touching story. Must-must-watch.

1988 also gave us Tezaab and ek do teen which shot Madhuri to stardom.
1989: The toughest year so far... as the selection process is extremely difficult.

First on line is Vidhu Vinod Chopra’s Parinda. A stunning film about the underworld which still sends shivers down my spine. Jackie got rid of his ‘wooden actor’ image with this film. The industry got a great performer in Nana Patekar and Madhuri played a de-glamed school teacher to perfection. The star of this movie was Anil- but as I mentioned before- am not a fan.

This year gave us the 2nd Khan star with Salman in Maine Pyaar Kiya- a Rajshri production. It also bought to limelight the girl next door Baghyashree- who was literally the girl next door as she lived in the house next to my building. A family-entertainer with a sweet love story.
And naturally I have to mention Yash Chopra’s Chandni which also made its way to my Top 10 love stories.

This year Sridevi also entertained us in Chaalbaaz- Hema Malini’s Seeta-Geeta remake- where she showed her superb comic timing as she played Anju and Manju.

1990: After a stellar preceding year, the only movies worth mentioning here are Aashiqui and Dil. Both rather average films, but big hits that year. They propelled the existing trend toward romantic films. The only reason they are special to me is- Aashiqui is the first movie I bunked college and went to watch with a group of friends. And Dil...well... it had Aamir and Mads and I watched it just before I went to get my 10th standard results- which I aced.

1991: goes to Lamhe- a Yash Chopra love story between a younger woman and an older man- only movie I liked Anil in. And Sridevi was simply awesome. Lovely songs, beautiful locales, great supporting performances by Anupam Kher and Wahida Rahman.

Another parallel cinema must-watch is Govind Nihlani’s Drishti starring Shekhar Kapur and Dimple Kapadia as a married couple who are growing apart. 

This year bought to an end the original film era of Mahesh Bhatt films with his last original movie- Daddy- where he launched his daughter Pooja.
1992: And Shahrukh Khan arrived! A small role in a Rishi and then popular and since then dead heroine- Divya Bharti called Deewana. Bad film, in descript performance by SRK and hamming by Rishi. But his second movie- Raju ban gaya gentleman with Juhi was sweet.

However this year belonged to Roja. It is the year I discovered the genius of Mani Ratnam. The movie brought to light the Kashmir issue and had fab performance by the so-handsome Arvind Swamy and Madhu.

Jo jeeta wohi sikandar also released this year and received the best film award in Filmfare. It was an hindi cinema version of Archie comics with Aamir as Archie, Ayesha Jhulka as Betty (seriously! If she can act opposite Aamir, so can I!), Pooja Bedi as Veronica and Deepak Tijori as Reggie. I have very fond memories of this movie- but doubt I could sit through it now unlike other Aamir movies which I can re-watch anytime.

1993: is the year marked in history as the only time ever a SRK movie will beat an Aamir movie in this list. The Aamir movie was Hum hain rahi pyaar ke where his hit jodi with Juhi cast its magic again and it had cute kids and good doze of comedy.

But my favourite movie in 1993 is an SRK film by Kundan Shah called ‘Kabhi haan, Kabhi Na’. Shot in idyllic Goa it depicts the life of simple boy Sunil whose sole purpose in life is to marry Anna. Deepak Tijori played Chris as the rich dude who Anna loves. A love triangle that makes you go awwww.
And my other fav movie this year was ‘Sardar’- a Ketan Mehta film on the life of Sardar Vallabhai Patel played flawlessly by Paresh Rawal. A must-watch for anyone interested in understanding the intricacies of what really happened in 1947- just before and right after Independence.

1994: A very good year for Indian cinema as it gave us Hum aapke hain kaun- one of the biggest grosser ever and a National award winner. The great Indian wedding packed in only 4 hours. I still enjoyed the movie though- the songs, Madhuri’s dances, the love story between her and Salman, all were rather heart warming. No Indian wedding since then has been complete without songs from this hit film. It also marks the end of Rajshri production movies on my list.

Andaz apna apna also released this year- undoubtedly one of the best comedy movies EVER! And the only time Aamir and Salman starred together. I can watch this movie even today and laugh as much as than I did then.

Another beautiful movie this year was 1942 A love story a historic fictional love story in the backdrop of the Quit India movement of 1942. Must watch for Jackie as Shubankar, Javed saab’s lyrics for ‘ek ladki ko dekka’, and Manisha’s performance.

Can’t finish this year without mentioning another Govind Nihlani film called Drohkaal- a riveting suspense thriller about a dedicated cop who leads an under-cover squad against a group of terrorists.

This brings us to an end of the 2nd decade of my life and covers nearly 30 brilliant films. Thinking about it now, I actually marvel how did I do well academically inspite of my addiction to Hindi movies. Well I did not turn out half as bad, and these films are so worth it!

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