Thursday, December 24, 2009
All good things, alas, must come to an end, and so today, I received my final fabulous Christmas from my Secret Santa, with this note:
So here we are at last on Day 12 of Christmas. Dharam has defeated all evil with the force of his beauty and all that remains is to sing the end-of-whoop-ass-all's-well-that-ends-well song and invite his friends for a party! And so it came to pass.
... and this beautiful collage...
What I wouldn't give to be at that party!
I also finally got to find out who my most benevolent and excellent Secret Santa is... and (drumroll please!) she is none other than the witty and charming Amrita of the wonderful Indiequill, one of my favourite blogs. Thank you so much Amrita, your gifts were one of the best highlights of this season. Have a very Merry Christmas and a great 2010!!!
And Happy Holidays to everyone!
On the 11th day of Christmas, Daddy's Girl puts her plan into action - Beautiful Dharam will solve all!!
Beautiful Dharam's Recipe for Success Against Evil:
One part reassurance - he'll forgive you. Promise! Just be good! Won't you be good for him?
One part seduction - don't you want a kissy? A teensy weensy kissy? Well, you know what you got to do for it!
Two parts shame - shame on your evilness! Look how unhappy it makes him! Are you satisfied now? He's so disappointed in you! How can you live with yourself, evil person?
Two parts promise - he'll introduce you to his cool friends! He'll be the brother you never had!
Two parts stalking - he doesn't like to do it, you understand. It's beneath his hotness. But sometimes a guy's gotta do what he's gotta do.
Two parts treat - you play nice and you know what happens? He treats you like a princess! He'll carry the baskets and he'll pour you champagne.
One part sugar - well, blush! Only if you're really good, mind.
BUT!! If nothing will get through your thick head - then Dharam is going to get Garam!
Bow! Bow before the power of the perfection that is Dharam!
Now... what could I possibly add to that? Except, thank you so much for all this awesomeness, Santa!!!
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
with these words:
"Daddy's Girl's worst apprehensions come true - EVIL HAPPENINGS are taking place! Oh no! So evil! So hot! So dire!"
So totally awesome! I love it!!!
Here's my latest gift... in our ongoing saga, Secret Santa has cast me as the fabulous Ms Andrews....
"On the eighth day of Christmas, everybody seems to have forgotten that there is evil afoot! What is wrong with all these filmi people? But never fear, Daddy's Girl is here to keep an eye on her Perfect Boy from afar."
Sunday, December 20, 2009
"On the seventh day of Christmas, even Brownie the Wonder Dog finds out about our young romance. He loves them together so much, he cries hearts!"
"On the sixth day of Christmas, Maa finds out about the happy romance! And she approves! The Girl isn't quite good enough for her son who is after all, let's face it, Perfect, but she isn't half bad!"
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Wow, I must have been really good this year, because my awesome Secret Santa sent me this video with the following words:
"On the fifth day of Christmas, unaware of the dark clouds gathering on the horizon, The Happy Couple sing a song the way they do.
Boy: I'm a Hindi movie Boy. I'm freaked out by aggressive women with an adventurous dress sense. Girl: You're pretty, but don't try my patience!
Obviously, the Girl wins the day. The way she does!"
Santa also send me a fabulous Dharam/Mumtaz slideshow, which I absolutely adore!
Thank you so much, Secret Santa!!!
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
And my Secret Santa's words on this beauty?
"Potent Pint of Evil has brought his A-game to the proceedings by introducing the Super Star Vamp! Excuse her beauty! She does not mean to hurt your eyes. Just your wallet and your heart!"
"On the third day of Christmas comes a Potent Pint of Evil. His eyes! His eyes! Do not look into his eyes!
What evil will he bring into the lives of the Boy and Girl? Oh, you REALLY want to stick around for the fourth day of Christmas!"
Yep, I most definitely want to stick around....
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
My fabulous Secret Santa sent me this gorgeous picture of Mumtaz as a follow up to yesterday's deliciously Christmassy Dharam... along with this message:
"... On the second day of Christmas, you find out that although he's Just Perfect, he was posing for The Girl. Who's clearly had a good look and has certain, um, ideas about what she's seeing!"
Monday, December 14, 2009
Monday, December 07, 2009
Thursday, December 03, 2009
Although his career graph has dipped in places over the years, and he (in my opinion) hasn’t received the accolades he deserves for some of the fantastic work he’s done, it’s unquestionable that Dharam has had a terrific career. Over the next few days, I thought it would be fun to take a quick look at his work over the past 5 decades.
Much as I love Dharmendra, there’s A LOT about him that I don’t know, and A LOT of his movies that I’m yet to see, so please don’t except a thrilling and informative series! I’ll just talk generally about each decade, selecting one film per decade as a reference point, and hopefully picking up some new info as I go along. Ladies and gentlemen, I hereby present ‘The Decades of Dharam’. Here’s to the next one!
The 60s – A Star Is Born
Dharmendra made over 40 films in the swinging sixties, and by the end of that decade, he was already established as one of the industry’s leading actors. Dharam kicked off his career with a role in ‘Dil Bhi Tera, Hum Bhi Tere’ (1960). Dustedoff has a great review of the film here. Young and gawky as he looked, by the time of this movie, Dharam had already been married for several years, to Prakash Kaur, who remains a mysterious figure, which is probably just the way she likes it! Anyway, back to Dharam - he was even a daddy by the time he made his first film - his older son, Sunny, was already toddling around.
‘Dil Bhi Tera, Hum Bhi Tere’ was an unremarkable but promising start, and before long, Dharmendra was working with reputable directors like Bimal Roy (‘Bandini’, in 1963) and Hrishikesh Mukherjee, with whom he worked on several movies in the 60s. Many of the films Dharam made in the early 60s were forgettable, with a few exceptions. ‘Bandini’ and ‘Soorat Aur Seerat’ were probably the most noteworthy. The rest weren’t terrible films, either, though. They gave Dharmendra a nice bit of exposure and experience... and he built on that foundation to become the confident and polished performer that emerged by the end of the 60s.
By the early to mid 60s, Dharam was also already co-starring with more established actors such as Mala Sinha (‘Anpadh’, ‘Pooja Ke Phool’, ‘Baharen Phir Bhi Aayengi’, ‘Jab Yaad Kisi Ki Aati Hai’), Balraj Sahni (‘Bandini’, ‘Anpadh’, 'Haqeeqat'), Nutan Behl (‘Bandini’, ‘Soorat Aur Seerat’, ‘Dulhan Ek Raat Ki’) and Ashok Kumar (‘Bandini’). It doesn't seem like he exploded onto the scene or anything, but the young man from Sahnewal was off to a pretty good start. His fame grew steadily through the 60s, and by the late 60s, he was very bankable (despite the meteoric rise to fame of megastar Rajesh Khanna, in 1969).
The 60s are also notable for at least one relationship that made a huge impact on the young Dharmendra both personally and professionally… in 1964, ‘Maain Bhi Ladki Hun’, his first film opposite Meena Kumari, was released. It is said that it was around this time that a newly divorced Meena and a very married Dharmendra began a romantic relationship that would last several years. By the time she met Dharam and worked with him on ‘Maain Bhi Ladki Hun’, Meena was already a huge star… in fact, some would argue that most of her best work was already behind her, and following her split from her husband, Kamaal Amrohi, she had begun to battle alcoholism and depression.
Dharmendra and Meena made several other movies together in the 60s: ‘Purnima’ (1965), ‘Kaajal’ (1965), O. P. Ralhan’s classic ‘Phool Aur Patthar’ (1966), ‘Majhli Didi’ (1967), ‘Chandan Ka Palna’ (1967) and ‘Baharon Ki Manzil' (1967). ‘Phool Aur Patthar’ and ‘Kaajal’ were probably the most successful of these Dharam/Meena films, but most viewers are of the opinion that Dharam and Meena did not make a great onscreen jodi. Not having seen any of these movies (I have ‘Phool Aur Patthar’ and ‘Kaajal’ but haven’t gotten round to watching them), I don't have a take on this yet.
The relationship between Dharmendra and Meena Kumari was apparently the subject of much controversy in those days, it seems, and there’s still much said about it today. Some allege that Dharam used Meena and her massive fame to further his fledgling career, taking advantage of her despondency and alcoholism, then callously moving on when it was over. Others are of the opinion that Meena used Dharam to boost her ego and revive her career for a while. Still others feel that both actors used each other. Some say there was genuine love and affection between the pair, and that it was not the mercenary relationship it’s often painted as. Who knows? Whatever they may have meant to each other in their years together, though, it would seem that their liaison brought neither of them lasting joy.
Dharmendra did enjoy some less... momentous professional pairings with actresses in the 60s though. I’ve already mentioned his work with the gorgeous Nutan andwith Mala Sinha. He starred opposite the talented Vyjayanthimala (‘Pyar Hi Pyar’). He made some films with Asha Parekh (‘Shikar’, ‘Aya Sawan Jhoom Ke’). He also worked with Saira Banu on films like ‘Ayee Milan Ki Bela’, ‘Aadmi Aur Insaan’ and ‘Shaadi’; and in the mid-60s, one my very favourite pairings, the stylish and gorgeous Dharmendra/Sharmila jodi, was born. In the 60s, Dharam and Sharmila Tagore worked together on ‘Devar’, ‘Anupama’, ‘Satyakam’, ‘Yakeen’ and ‘Mere Humdum Mere Dost’.
Which brings me to my film choice for this decade – ‘Satyakam’, in which Dharam stars with Sharmila Tagore and Ashok Kumar. It’s a serious, slightly melancholic, sometimes heavy-handed film, helmed by the late Hrishikesh Mukherjee, my all-time favourite Hindi film director. Light years away from the lighter masala fare that Dharam would make in the 1970s, it is dark, somber and complex (if you’re interested, read my lengthy thoughts on it here). And, despite the fact that I generally don’t like sad films, I love it.
‘Anupama’, also directed by Mukherjee and co-starring ‘Dharmila’ (sorry, I just had to go there!), is much simpler, and far less oppressive in tone, with better music (‘Ya Dil Ki Suno Duniyawalon’ is simply divine). The cinematography in ‘Anupama’ is also just gorgeous, but I’ve chosen ‘Satyakam’ over it because I think it captures and represents the mature, gutsy and confident actor that Dharam had become by the end of the 60s. He took on a character that many would consider unlikeable in his inflexibility, and he depicted him truthfully and gracefully, without playing to the gallery. His performance was beautifully restrained, thoughtful, thought-provoking, multi-layered. And he looked gorgeous as always. Who could possibly ask for more?
In the 60s, Dharmendra played lots of different roles - from students and lawyers, to teachers and doctors, to secret agents and policemen, with even a couple of villains thrown in... but one thing is sure, he always looked delicious doing whatever the script required. His sex symbol reputation definitely took hold during this decade. He was viewed as a handsome, romantic leading man with a difference –he could look and act tough, but he definitely had a softer, more sensitive side. And the fans swooned!
Dharam started off the 60s making more serious, ‘social commentary’ type films, and although by the end of the 60s he was still making serious films like ‘Satyakam’, he also started doing the ‘fun stuff’ that he would do a lot more of in the 70s – he made spy flicks ‘Yakeen’ and ‘Ankhen’ in the late 60s. He also took on thrillers like ‘Baazi’, (opposite Waheeda Rehman).
Up next… the 70s, possibly Dharam’s best decade… and definitely my favourite!!!
Wednesday, December 02, 2009
It’s been a while… I haven’t felt inspired to post anything new in a long time. My love for Bollywood hasn’t waned though… I still read all my favourite Bollyblogs with keen interest, and I still keep tabs on what’s showing at our local cinemas, even if the last one I saw was ‘Wanted’, back in… September, I think (I really liked it). The truth is there’s just been too much going on in my life to allow me the simple pleasures of watching and writing about Hindi films. I really haven’t had the time or the inclination to sit down and watch an entire Bollywood film in ages.
That will probably change soon, though, after I get through this whirlwind of activity that always accompanies huge life changes. It’s funny… looking back; Bollywood has a tradition of being there for me at really low times… I remember that I really embraced Bollywood movies and music during my father’s long and painful struggle with cancer. I began with ‘Hum Aapke… Hain Koun!’ and ‘Kuch Kuch Hota Hai’, then quickly progressed to ‘Bunty Aur Babli’ and ‘Dil Chahta Hai’, with scores of films in between.
Then I watched some of my most memorable Bollywood films during the difficult months after my father eventually passed on – looking back, it’s funny how those days seem constantly punctuated by Hindi films:
Attending my sister’s graduation ceremony without my darling ‘Dadda’, watching ‘Do Aur Do Paanch’.
Visiting relatives in with my mother, watching ‘Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam’.
Visiting other relatives, getting bored out my mind, watching ‘Aradhana’.
Moving to a new/old city (I was born and raised in Lagos, but lived in other places for a decade before returning here), watching ‘The Burning Train’ (and falling deeply in love with Dharmendra – then starting this blog soon afterwards).
Starting a new job, watching ‘Chupke Chupke’ (and falling even harder).
Settling into the routine of my new Lagos life, watching SRK steam up the screen in ‘Don’ (and making a wonderful new friend in the process – the one I would eventually travel to India with).
So many movies are tied up with so many moments – moments of healing, painful reminders, joyful ones too. Laughter, tears, introspection, bonding. And now… reeling from the recent, sudden loss of my beloved mother, my very dearest friend in the world, I find myself craving a long sit-down with a really good Bollywood DVD (or two).
A long time ago, I wrote a post about the things I love about Bollywood. Those reasons have changed as I’ve learned more about the industry and explored more of its products, but one thing remains constant – Bollywood still reminds me of how much I love my family; of the powerful, soul-deep, bittersweet joy/pain that comes with bonding with these people you are given to, through no choice of your own, when you enter the world. I was incredibly blessed in the parent stakes – I got the most amazing parents – the easiest people in the world to love; and even if that makes losing them that much more painful, I’m so incredibly glad and grateful to have had them in my life for the time I did.
I can’t think about Bollywood without thinking of my mother… of how she sat down with me and watched the rather painful ‘Pardes’ (and how she called me ‘I love my India’ for weeks after, after the oh-so-cheesy song from the film). I know there were a million other things she would rather have spent those hours doing, but she wanted to share my new passion (trust me, I made sure the next film we watched together was a good one). I remember how she took my new passion for Hindi films in her stride, although she did indulge in a brief period of worry over my DVD budget! I remember her singing her made-up faux Hindi song (basically the word ‘piya’ repeated over and over) and dancing for me, Bollywood style.
I remember how she actively encouraged me to visit India, even though lots of other people thought I was crazy for wanting to go. I remember how excited she was the first time I called her from Delhi (‘yay, you made it there finally!’). On one of our last visits together, I remember that she was using my laptop when she came across a picture of Kajol all decked out in her bridal finery (from the final scenes of KKHH), and asked me if I wanted to be dressed up like that if and when I ever got married. I remember how she cocked her head, smiled and said ‘I think it would suit you. You would look beautiful’.
It’s been over a month since I lost her, and I haven’t truly begun to miss her yet – I’m still at the stage where I just can’t believe she’s gone. I’ve had to go straight from receiving the devastating news, to planning the funeral, to taking care of all the loose ends that a sudden death leaves behind. The death of one’s parents is truly the end of an era – everything changes profoundly, from smaller things like Christmas holiday plans to bigger things like having to lock up a house that once was a home. It’s been an illuminating time – death always brings out the best and the worst in people. But I’ve never been prouder of my parents than now… watching their children pull together, hold hands and wade together through this storm. They lived well, they loved hard, and they left behind a beautiful legacy.
I’m not a huge ‘sharer’ and very rarely post anything personal on this blog, so I’m not sure why I’ve just done so. Maybe I’ve been inspired by reading posts like these, that celebrate family, both biological and otherwise. Maybe I just feel the urgent need to reiterate those well-worn clichés that ring so true to me, especially now – hold your loved ones close as you can, make the most of every moment you share with them, and never let them forget how much they mean to you. Life is short.