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Magic moments on screen

Prem Panicker | September01, 2003 14:42 IST

Nisha Varma/Indianapolis: Straight out of a Sooraj Barjatya Film (right) ??? Well the name Prem I mean!!

Well let me tell you one thing for all its flaws (Hero not starved to death , not parched to black , Not bald to the skin) , I loved the film Tere Naam ..

It has its moments !! I am Hindi speaking and please............ wouldnt be able to relate to Sethu even with subtitles ..

So though this film is a remake of Sethu .. I'd say it works!! For a change Salman Khan acted well !!

Yes we have made our filmstars larger than life .. but then so has all the world .. !!

When we speak of movies , I must say though Hindi movies have been spoken about not very highly but I loved many of them !! Each had its own way of appeasing the audience .

I freaked out on Dil Chaahta Hai (a fairly new film ) !!  A fresh film ... About three guys !! Best part was that no where in the film was it trying to reach out to a heavy duty climax scene !! Three different people .. and their lives !! Well made .. Unique story telling .. And dialogues amazing !! Saif trying in vain to answer on the phone to Suchitra Pillai .. ending up in monsylables ..'Par ... suno to .. Lekin .. Woh main .. Haan Par ... Nahin to ... dekho ...'

Then there's Sholay .. (released more than 25 years back ) .. I loved each frame of it ... Can anyone forget the scene where Jai tries to convince mausi that Veeru is the right match for Basanti ??

"Kya batayein Mausi ...... ab humaara dil he aisa hai !!"

Basanti blabbering her way while taking Jai Veeru to Thakurs place on her tonga ..  Invariably in each sentence uttering her name and then saying "Yun ke tumne ab tak  humaara naam nahin poocha  ??"
"Tumhaara naam kya hai Basanti ?? "

Veeru trying his act of committing suicide if he doesnt get Basanti .. Climbing up the water tank and announcing to one and all ..

"So side   ......... So side (Suicide ) .. Mausi going jail .. In Jail budhiya chakki peesing and peesing .."
A villager asking " Yeh Socide kya hota hai bhai ??"

Another knowledgble villager saying "Jab angrez log marte hain to usey socide kehte hain !!!"

Basanti running upto Jai to save his friend Veeru and Jai nonchalantly saying ..
"Saala nautanki .. ghadi ghadi drama karta hai!!"

Veeru teaching Basanti how to use the gun ! Asking her to close one eye and then close the other one too !! (Trying to snuggle close to her ) .. and Jais' retort ... "Humne to pehle se he aankhen bund kar rakhi hain !!"

Gabbar the ominous one asking his goons ......... "Arre O Sambha Kitne aadmi they ??"

And then at a later stage realising that the pistol has more round of shots than the men in front of him so says ....... "Bahuuttttttttt nainsaafi hai !!"

Veeru in full vengeance saying ................ (Shouting ..) "Gabbarrrrrrrr main aaaaaaaa raha hoon !!"

And thakur with the help of the thugs Jai and Veeru, now feeling he can challenge gabbar tells gabbars men ..
"Jakar keh do gabbar se ki ramgarh waalon ne paagal kutton ko khaana dena band kar diya hai !!"

Gabbar Singh menacingly shouting ... "Yeh haath humka de de thakurrr....."

This was in retaliation to the times when Thakur (working in the police force) had once captured Gabbar and had said "Yeh haath nahin phaansi ka phanda hai "............

I am sure each one of us remembers these dialogues .... We have made unforgettable films !!

Our very favourite Lagaan ... Which made it to the final round in Oscars !!! It had the nations passion Cricket as a theme but also it highlighted how a common man can also rise above the situation and bring about a change when need be !!

There was Mother India .. A Classic ... It still gives me goose pimples !! Such an old film but so apt and so relevant even in todays times !!!

Our comedies are also one of its kind ... Be it GolMal .., Chupke Chupke , Padosan ...

Agreed there are films aimed at a particular genre or class in society ! The NRIs ... !! But then those are not the only films that work .. Forget the Khushis and Ghams .. The Foreign Locales (Pardes) ... The Rhythms to suit the desis abroad (Taal) s ... The Raj in each film .... but remember the films which do make us proud whether the audience is NRI or Not !!!

We have a bad habit of writing off our own creations and harp about Hollywood !! Guys even hollywood has its share of flaws and flops !!!!

We have arrived !! And So has Indian Cinema ........... (Ages back itself).

Prem: Actually, I'm thinking of asking Bharjatiya to pay royalties each time he uses that name!


Reminds me of this hilarious letter Groucho Marx once wrote to Warner Brothers � it is too good to synopsize, so here is the full text.


But before getting to Groucho � your mail was interesting for two things. One, do note, it is not my claim that every film made in Hindi is bad (I do have a grouse about the way 'Indian films' and 'Hindi films' are treated as synonyms, in the process totally ignoring the rest of the country or, at best, relegating them to 'regional cinema' status -- but I'll save that for another day).


The point is, I am not trying to say that every movie ever made was bad -- I'll lay long odds, for instance, that I've seen Sholay as many times as you have, wanna bet? (*g*) Ditto for Gol Maal et al.


My point was that the industry has so much going for it -- which makes it frustrating when nine films out of ten recycle the same old theme; when themes go around in self-perpetuating cycles, almost as if movie themes were as immutable as the four seasons. While not intending to run down everything about Hindi films, surely I can wish that there was more of the good, and far less of the trash?


The other thing that interested me was your listing of moments from films, that you found unforgettable.


How about taking this cue, and let's have everyone write in about their favorite movie moments (from Indian films only)? Should make for a fascinating compilation, wouldn't you say?


Okay, over to Groucho. The background is that while the Marx Brothers were doing this film, A Night in Casablanca, Warner Brothers sent them a legal notice asking that the film's title be changed.


Warner pointed out that they had in 1942 made that classic film Casablanca (Bogart and Bergmann), and therefore owned copyright over the name.


This is Groucho's answer, verbatim:


Dear Warner Brothers,


Apparently there is more than one way of conquering a city and holding it as your own. For example, up to the time that we contemplated making this picture, I had no idea that the city of Casablanca belonged exclusively to Warner Brothers. However, it was only a few days after our announcement appeared that we received your long, ominous legal document warning us not to use the name Casablanca.


It seems that in 1471, Ferdinand Balboa Warner, your great-great-grandfather, while looking for a shortcut to the city of Burbank, had stumbled on the shores of Africa and, raising his alpenstock (which he later turned in for a hundred shares of common), named it Casablanca.


I just don't understand your attitude. Even if you plan on re-releasing your picture, I am sure that the average movie fan could learn in time to distinguish between Ingrid Bergman and Harpo. I don't know whether I could, but I certainly would like to try.


You claim that you own Casablanca and that no one else can use that name without permission. What about "Warner Brothers"? Do you own that too? You probably have the right to use the name Warner, but what about the name Brothers?


Professionally, we were brothers long before you were. We were touring the sticks as the Marx Brothers when Vitaphone was still a gleam in the inventor's eye, and even before there had been other brothers - the Smith Brothers; the Brothers Karamazov; Dan Brothers, an outfielder with Detroit; and "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?" (This was originally "Brothers, Can You Spare a Dime?" but this was spreading a dime pretty thin, so they threw out one brother, gave all the money to the other one, and whittled it down to "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?")


Now Jack, how about you? Do you maintain that yours is an original name? Well it's not. It was used long before you were born. Offhand, I can think of two Jacks - Jack of "Jack and the Beanstalk", and Jack the Ripper, who cut quite a figure in his day.


As for you, Harry, you probably sign your checks sure in the belief that you are the first Harry of all time and that all other Harrys are impostors. I can think of two Harrys that preceded you. There was Lighthouse Harry of Revolutionary fame and a Harry Appelbaum who lived on the corner of 93rd Street and Lexington Avenue. Unfortunately, Appelbaum wasn't too well-known. The last I heard of him, he was selling neckties at Weber and Heilbroner.


Now about the Burbank studio. I believe this is what you brothers call your place. Old man Burbank is gone. Perhaps you remember him. He was a great man in a garden. His wife often said Luther had ten green thumbs. What a witty woman she must have been! Burbank was the wizard who crossed all those fruits and vegetables until he had the poor plants in such confused and jittery condition that they could never decide whether to enter the dining room on the meat platter or the dessert dish.


This is pure conjecture, of course, but who knows - perhaps Burbank's survivors aren't too happy with the fact that a plant that grinds out pictures on a quota settled in their town, appropriated Burbank's name and uses it as a front for their films. It is even possible that the Burbank family is prouder of the potato produced by the old man than they are of the fact that from your studio emerged "Casablanca" or even "Gold Diggers of 1931".


This all seems to add up to a pretty bitter tirade, but I assure you it's not meant to. I love Warners. Some of my best friends are Warner Brothers. It is even possible that I am doing you an injustice and that you, yourselves, know nothing about this dog-in-the-Warner attitude. It wouldn't surprise me at all to discover that the heads of your legal department are unaware of this absurd dispute, for I am acquainted with many of them and they are fine fellows with curly black hair, double-breasted suits and a love of their fellow man that out-Saroyans Saroyan.


I have a hunch that his attempt to prevent us from using the title is the brainchild of some ferret-faced shyster, serving a brief apprenticeship in your legal department. I know the type well - hot out of law school, hungry for success, and too ambitious to follow the natural laws of promotion. This bar sinister probably needled your attorneys, most of whom are fine fellows with curly black hair, double-breasted suits, etc., into attempting to enjoin us. Well, he won't get away with it! We'll fight him to the highest court! No pasty-faced legal adventurer is going to cause bad blood between the Warners and the Marxes. We are all brothers under the skin, and we'll remain friends till the last reel of "A Night in Casablanca" goes tumbling over the spool.



Groucho Marx



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