Tuesday, May 08, 2007

‘AWĀRA’ (1952) – A Liveblog

I’ve decided to give liveblogging another try – incidentally the subject of my second liveblog also stars Nargis, this time with the legendary Raj Kapoor, in ‘Awāra’ (1952), a film also directed and produced by Kapoor. It’s the story of a fatherless boy named Raj (played by Raj Kapoor), who is forced by circumstance and a vengeful dacoit named Jagga, into a life as ‘awāra’, a vagabond. It’s also the story of Rita (played by Nargis), a young woman torn between the love of her life (Raj) and the man who has been her benefactor since the loss of her father, the strict Judge Raghunath (played by Prithviraj Kapoor, Raj Kapoor’s father). But there is a link between Raj and the honourable judge that is actually the fuel in the engine of this entire story.

‘Awāra’ is a story about unconditional love, trust, forgiveness, frailty and loss. It’s a story about relationships, prejudice and the factors which determine who we are and what we become. It’s about self-discovery, human empathy, physical attraction and need. It’s also a story about sacrifice, survival and second chances. It’s a great story for a movie, but more than that, it’s told with a lot of class and grace. And the acting is marvellous. I am notoriously easy to please, but I truly think this film is special – I think it’s a slice of cinematic magic.

And now to the liveblog:

0.01.50 I love the boy and dog in the credits… there’s just something about it.

0.04.23 Eeee feelolo… this judge guy really feels like he’s all that and a big fat bag of chips…

0.05.49 Talk about presence – I don’t think Nargis could ever manage to sneak into a room…

0.07.19 I love the way RK is shot behind the grill thingy.

0.11.41 This song is quite scary but good.

0.12.18 I love the way her expression betrays her discomfort but not in a prolonged or over-dramatic way.

0.16.46 Eeyah Jagga… what’s the point of all the bitterness? Let it go…

0.18.53 Aww… how romantic…

0.19.32 I love the way the music is linked to the light…

0.19.49 I love that look on her face, like the cat that’s got the cream and is so pleased with it…

0.19.51 Such effortless intimacy… but I rather think he should be catering to his wife who’s just undergone severe trauma, not the other way around. Sigh.

0.20.53 You should have told him why you asked, Leela – gosh now he’s going to start getting foolish ideas… I guess this is a pointer to the fact that Leela really knows Raghu and already has an insight into what he might start thinking...

0.21.11 Gerrout, you dis judge! How selfish can you get?

0.21.44 This is brilliant – the little bootie is like a noose hanging over his head, he looks utterly terrified but he’s saying ‘achche’ (or however it’s spelt). Brilliant.

0.23.15 What a sour old witch… but I guess it’s not really her fault that societies are indoctrinated with such prejudicial ideas surrounding female ‘chastity’. So unfair.

0.23.34 This is what we call ‘guilty kongi’. I like the framing of this shot. Raj Kapoor obviously put a lot of detail and planning into his shots.

0.26.19 Why are some women so mean and evil to other women? Eeuw…

0.27.29 Raghu, you are a weak, pathetic excuse for a man. What’s wrong with you?

0.28.07 I know nothing about the technicalities of film-making, but I love RK’s technique – the use of lighting and sound effects…

0.33.17 Great dialogue. I guess the moral of this is that a boy needs some male influence in his life.

0.34.43 Oh hey ho what fun – to go around bursting balloons on your birthday. This little girl seems a bit strange – I like her.

0.37.31 Raghu, even with all your education, can’t you be a little open-minded? Just goes to show that it’s not about one’s level of education…

0.37.37 Exac-atac-ly Raghu, must you?

0.38.45 Wow, I love this…

0.39.33 Poor little boy… he’s your thoroughly undeserving father.

0.44.09 I love everything about this scene, from the dialogue, to the grimness, to the acting, to the melodrama, to the way it’s been shot.

0.50.35 ‘Awāra hoon’ – I like this song and the fun Chaplin-esque picturisation – but it’s sad.

0.53.41 And ‘shaabash’ to you too Jaggu, for trying to destroy an innocent child’s life in pursuit of your cheap, sick and twisted revenge agenda.

0.57.24 So there’s another ‘Ek, Do, Teen’ besides the Madhuri number. I like this one. Very fifties (naturally).

1.03.43 Oya o, e don do… give the lady back her purse.

1.11.50 I am really liking the dialogues in this film – very well-written. If I can appreciate them through English subtitles, I can only imagine how good they are in Hindi.

1.13.20 RK was really painstaking and artistic in the way he lined up his shots – very interesting to see in a movie this old. The new kids on the block could learn a thing or two from him.

1.13.30 It’s interesting to see Nargis playing this polished, put-together, upper-class chick; I last saw her playing a simple, uneducated village maiden. Both roles she played to perfection.

1.14.14 I also think she was just so gorgeous.

1.14.28 This scene is so natural, you can really ‘feel’ the characters. Lovely.

1.15.05 Brilliant.

1.16.41 That is just so cute – the little sub-scene with the servant. I just love the attention to detail in this film.

1.19.38 I love that gleam in her eye, like she’s got a secret and she’s only telling half of it.

1.20.34 Wow, that simple gesture expresses so much, yet looks so unpractised.

1.20.37 Another wonderfully-framed shot.

1.22.29 Trés sassy.

1.22.40 It strikes me that most of RK’s acting is communicated through his eyes. I feel like I could just cover up the rest of his face and still ‘get’ the core of what his character is feeling just through those two windows.

1.22.46 Very natural, and so sensuous.

1.23.34 Whoa, it was fun and flirtatiousness just a second ago – now it’s all slaps and recriminations… eeuw… Raj, shame on you for taking out your guilt on her.

1.23.38 You’ve got to admire RK’s artistic eye.

1.25.09 Again, I have to comment on the sheer quality of the dialogues.

1.27.25 Now that is a beautiful, expressive face – for me Nargis is one of the most beautiful actresses ever.

1.29.15 I love the lyrics of this song – the tune is great too. And I love the look in their eyes – I love how RK seems to be basking in the reflected light of Nargis’ eyes… great picturization.

1.35.27 This Jagga is a jagajaga man

1.40.19 I am just thinking of the fact that this was made in the early 50s – it couldn’t have been easy to put this all together – and with such finesse too. Shows that Bollywood has a really distinguished heritage.

Oh dear, now all the sadness comes…

2.01.57 Oh how delightfully upper-crust. No wonder Raj feels under pressure.

2.04.52 I’m crushed for Rita and Raj.

2.06.54 This lady looks caucasian - and the item-number girl did as well. Helen had the same look in her heyday - so they liked item girls with pale skin I guess... interesting.

2.09.53 I love the use of music in this film – it’s obvious RK loved music… and the songs fit into the film so well.

Okunrin yii, o fine gaan.

2.14.33 These two are so beautiful together. They have such great chemistry. 'Real life' couples don't always work on the big-screen - these two so totally did.

2.15.31 Now that’s love… props to you Rita… you’re a true friend. If it were me, I can’t say I’d do the same.

2.17.02 I think this would be a tough scene to do with your real-life father. These two do so great with it, but it’s a painful scene to watch.

2.21.02 Ironic that this man who’s had such a hugely negative influence on Raj’s life isn’t even known to his mother.

2.24.31 Oh no…

2.29.48 You are ashamed eh, you dis nonsense man! I don’t blame you.

2.31.01 Great acting by RK – I can really feel his pain and frustration.

2.33.07 How can you possibly understand, you silly judge, when you have no true concept of love?

2.35.02 Again, I love the dialogues.

2.36.55 All I can say is ‘wow’… brilliance all round.

2.42.57 Oh no, they’ve gone and made me cry…

2.44.21 Beautiful woman.

2.45.20 I think I’m in love with the late Raj Kapoor now… those eyes, that intensity and charm… interesting how it all seems to be a family trait… have to find me some more of his films now…

2.47.07 Oh wow… be still my throbbing heart. Great ending.

I’ve loved this movie… for me, it’s pretty darned close to perfect… I love absolutely everything about it – the script, the lessons in the story, the characters, the acting, the music, the technical brilliance. Everything. It is heavy fare though, so hopefully, the next liveblog (should there be one) will be all fun and candy floss…


Anonymous said...

You have a very impressive blog here about bollywood and such. You know, my missus writes for Asian Woman magazine. Would it be ok if she contacted you for an interview?

Thanks for stepping by my blogs.. Glad you like.

Yes, Raj Kapoor is the don.. shame the same can't be said about Rishi Kapoor.. as a person.

Daddy's Girl said...

Hi Akin, thanks for stopping by. Great work with the blog - and I love the concert photographs. I think you mentioned in a comment on someone's blog (maybe Biodun or Temmy's) that your wife is Indian (from the Tamil-speaking parts) - so I'm guessing you have a lot of knowledge about India, something I'm very hungry for - I'm a big Bollywood fan but I will only be visiting India for the first time this year... with another Nigerian blogger. Should be an interesting trip. Anyway, I would love it if your wife contacted me - she can reach me at daddysgirlali@gmail.com.

Maja said...

Yay for liveblogs! You really made me want to see this movie, it sounds sooo good. And the screencaps are just beautiful.

Daddy's Girl said...

Maja, I can't say enough about how good this movie is - I really love it. Definitely one to look out for - I think you'd like it too.

Anonymous said...

This is one of the first Bollywood films I watched... it's understandable how I got hooked! Thanks for the great screencaps. I particularly enjoyed the one of the young Raj, played by the young Shashi Kapoor. So cute even then!

Daddy's Girl said...

OMG, that was Shashi??!! How did I miss that? Thanks for stopping by and for that nuggest of information, Nina.
I think it would be divine to have this film as a first taste of Bollywood... it sets a high standard even now (55 years later!)
... but it would be really funny to start with 'Awaara', and then watch something really, really bad - like 'Bol Radha Bol' or something...

Daddy's Girl said...

'nuggest' (pr. 'naw-jest'): a cross between 'nugget' and 'suggest'. I meant 'nugget'.

Beth Loves Bollywood said...

Aw, sweet little Shashi! I wouldn't have known that either except Paint It Pink tipped me off. http://sabberblog.blogspot.com/2007/03/guide-to-shashi.html
I haven't seen any Raj Kapoor movies yet, and I am amazed at how much intensity I'm getting just through these stills. In the first one you posted, he reminds me so much of Aamir Khan (though obviously the comparison should be made the other way around), who definitely ranks at the top of my "intense Indian actors" list.

Daddy's Girl said...

@Beth: Shashi was so cute in 'Awaara' - I just wanted to hug him and tell him everything would be ok. This was my first Raj Kapoor movie too, and he is so great to watch in it - in fact he just might knock Aamir off the top of your intensity list.