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I thought I would assimilate the entire thing into a single post, but I was unable to do so. It has taken me 2 weeks to complete this because I was not able to dedicate myself totally to it. Anyways, here’s the next part, continuing with the number series.
6. Jab Jab Phool Khile – 1965 : One of the earlier movies of Shashi Kapoor where he plays Raja, a houseboat owner-cum-guide. Rita, played by Nanda, visits Kashmir and she falls in love with the valleys. Not just the valleys, she falls in love with the charming boatman Raja too. She promises Raja that she will convince her dad and get back to marry him. But Raja is shattered when Rita does not return for a very long time. Meanwhile Rita is being introduced to suitors as her dad presses for marriage. Rita returns to Kashmir and explains the situation to Raja, and they together hatch a plan to showcase Raja as a wellbred citizen who is prim and proper in his habit and mannerism. That is when Raja notices the difference in cultures and the superficiality of the city dwellers. What happens next and how Raja copes with this and finally gets Rita, forms the rest.
In 1996 Dharmesh Darshan along with Robin Bhat rehashed this movie and titled it Raja Hindustani. Aamir Khan played Raja, the cab driver-cum-guide and Karishma Kapoor played Arti Sehgal who visits the small town of Palankhet. The only thing that they added was the newborn child for whom Raja fights it out with Arti. The highlight of the movie, apart from the wonderful songs, was the drunk-scene of Aamir. Legend has it hat Aamir being a method-actor actually got drunk so that it would look natural. Aamir won the Filmfare for Best Actor, but as usual he did not turn-up and quite justifiably so, because it was a mediocre performance. Karishma looked amazingly beautiful and she walked away with Filmfare Best Actress. The movie also won the Fimlfare for Best Film, Best Music Director and Udit Narayan won the Best Singer for the Pardesi song. But this song was not as good as the original Pardesiyon Se Na Akhiyan Milana song.
7. On The Waterfront – 1954 : A story about corruption and total control of a dockyard was made starring Marlon Brando as Terry Malloy. Johnny Friendly rules the docks of Hoboken, New Jersey and Terry’s brother Charley is his lawyer who does all the cover-up job. Terry moves around as an aimless guy so johnny asks him to pry over the gathering of the dissenting voices against him and report him the events. Very innocently Terry reports Johnny about certain dock workers who want to lodge a complaint to the crime commission against him. Johnny is also involved in other illegal activities like betting on boxing matches and in one such match he wants Terry to lose the match since the odds against the opponent is high. Terry is disappointed by this but what actually turns him against Johnny is the incident where Johnny’s men throw over a dock worker into the railway track of an incoming train. But Terry lives with the guilt that he has been made use like a bait and the only way to find peace within himself is to depose against Johnny. The deceased’s younger sister Edie and Father Barry. When Terry becomes a threat to him, Johnny decides to get him eliminated. Terry and Johnny have a final confrontation where Terry testifies against Johnny and then fights him in front of all dock workers and decimates him.
This movie has been a source of inspiration for quite a few Bollywood movies. Let me start with Yash Chopra’s Deewar, which was supposedly
lifted from this. But the only thing common was the dockyard. In fact, Mukul Anand’s Hum was more of this movie than Deewar. Hum had the docks, the martinet Danny Dengzongpa as Bhaktavar, Gonsalves who dies fighting for the cause and his sister Jumma played by Kimi Katkar who wants Tiger aka Amitabh Bachchan to stand against the tyranny of Bhaktavar. So, Mukul Anand almost had the entire plot covered but he took it to a different logical conclusion with the reform of Tiger as Shekhar and how Bhaktavar returns 20 years later to haunt him.
In 1988, a lesser known movie called Kabzaa directed by Mahesh Bhat, was released. The movie starred Sanjay Dutt as Ravi and Raj Babbar as
Ranjit. Ranjit is a lawyer who works for Veljibhai[Paresh Rawal] who is a small time ‘dada’. Ravi is sent on small assignment to forcibly vacate the house of an idealist gandhain Ali Mohammaed [Alok Nath]. Ali reforms Ravi and Ravi turns against Veljibhai, and to avert a face-off between the two, Ranjit requests Ravi to flee from the scene as Veljibhai’s men are looking for him; he also hands Ravi a gun for his protection. All this was taken from OTW, but the backdrop had been changed from dockyard to Mumbai streets and from small time corruption to big time dadagiri.
Finally, 10 years later in 1998, Ghulam was made. The writer Anjum Rajabali, maintained the same setting of Mumbai and laid out the entire screenplay of OTW. He avoided the twists and turns that Kabzaa had taken, thereby remaining faithful to the original. Aamir Khan as Sidharth Marathe struck a chord with the audience. They related to him and sympathised with him in his pain and guilt of having been used as a pawn to eliminate Alisha’s [Rani Mukerjee] elder brother. Sidhu’s elder brother, played by Rajit Kapoor, advises Sidhu not to testify against Raunak Singh[Sharat Saxena] and when he is not able to convince Sidhu he gives him a gun for protection. The same scenes were played out as in the original, and the audience cheered for Sidhu as he beat up Raunak Singh in the end. Aamir playing tapori for the 2nd time [1st being Rangeela] was amazing. He played it so differently, his mannerism and dialogue delivery and the Khandala song, which became the anthem of the nation, just added to the movie viewing experience. The 10-10 ka daud was shot brilliantly in Shanpada junction. Aamir gave it his all, the conviction in his performance was evident. He did total justice to the character and was almost there when compared to Marlon Brando’s performance.
8. Love Affair – 1939 : One of the most romantic movies to adorn the silver screen was released. It was about a French painter Michael Marnet, played by Charles Boyer, who meets Terry McKay[Irene Dunne] while they are on a cruise across Atlantic Ocean. They both are already engaged to other people but that does not prevent them from falling in love. The ship has a minor stop-over in a beautiful island where Michael’s grandmom stays; she finds Terry really charming and wishes the newfound couple all the luck. At the end of the cruise, Michael and Terry decide to meet on top of Empire State Building exactly after 6 months. While both are gearing up for the big day, Terry gets hit by a car and she is unable to make it. When she finds out that she cannot walk anymore she does not want to spoil Michael’s life and so she does not get in touch with him. But destiny brings them together again during a stage-play, where she successfully hides her handicap. After this meet, Michael wants to see her one last time and visits her apartment where he gets to know the truth. But her handicap cannot come in the way of true love and the two lovers unite.
So brilliant was the story-screenplay that this movie was remade in 1957 and titled An Affair To Remember based on the same screenplay,
without any changes. Cary Grant played the painter Nickie Ferrante and his love interest was played by Deborah Kerr who retained the same name Terry McKay. This movie did much better than its original and people remember this version and have almost forgotten the original one. Cary Grant and Deborah were perfectly cast and they did a wonderful job. The romance was so believable and so heart-warming that the American Film Institute considered this this as one of the most romantic movies of all time.
So timeless is the romance that Sleepless in Seattle, made in 1993, revolved around this movie. The character Annie Reed [Meg Ryan] and
her friend make references to AFTR and there are clips and dialogues from AFTR which appear all over the movie.
Anything as famous as AFTR had to come to Bollywood, sooner or later. So, in 1965 Ramanand Sagar re-wrote this with a role reversal of the two main leads in the movie titled Arzoo. Rajender Kumar as Gopal plays a doctor who meets Usha[Sadhna] in Kashmir during one of those yearly skiing events. They fall in love and decide to marry, but tragedy strikes as Gopal meets with an accident and loses his legs. He voluntarily walks out of Usha’s life so as to give her a better life. Finally, in the end sequence Usha sees him again, with the crutches, in a similar skiing contest, and accepts him despite his handicap. All this happens after a whole lot of tear-jerking moments and sacrifices from Feroz Khan who plays Gopal’s friend.
Anyways, Inder Kumar anad Ashok Thakeria took it up to themselves to remake this movie again, retaining the original plot of a playboy painter. In 1999 they came-up with Mann, starring Aamir Khan as the painter Dev, and Manisha Koirala as his love quotient Priya. When the first few sequences were being shot in a ship a rumour spread that Titanic was being remade. But Mann was a blot in the name of AFTR. It did not retain the spirit of the original and the screenplay was tampered with the induction of unnecessary characters like Neeraj Vora[Nattu, Dev’s side-kick], Rani Mukherjee and Anil Kappor in guest appearance. The comic sequences of Dev and Nattu marred the movie, and the romance came undone due to some sleepwalk acting by Manisha. The music by Sanjeev-Darshan was the only saving grace of the movie. The grandmom sequence with Sharmila Tagore lacked sensitivity and warmth, it seemed like a gimmick. All in all, it was crass.
9. Memento – 2000 : A movie about anterograde amnesia [short-term-memory-loss] was made by Nolan brothers. The movie starred Guy Pearce who played an insurance fraud investigator. During a burglary his wife is killed and he is hit hard by severe psychological trauma where-in he is incapable of making new memory and his memory lapses every 15 minutes. He devices a method to recall things, he walks around with a polaroid camera and shoots every image and makes detailed notes about the person/place which can help him in recognizing them later. He is on a search for the killer of his wife. How he finds the killer with all the various clues forms the rest of the movie.
AR Murugadoss picked up the idea and the original plot of this movie, added the usual Indian tadka with songs, romance, violence, revenge
and came out with Ghajini in 2005, in Tamil. Surya essayed the role of the STML patient who was out there looking for a man named Ghajini, to avenge the death of his love Kalpana[Asin]. I dont think there is need to write anything else.
Inspired by the success of this movie, Murugadoss wished to remake this movie in Hindi. He roped in Aamir Khan, tweaked his screenplay to
remove some of the glitches like the double-role of Ghajini etc, asked Aamir to work-out and develop 8 packs to make the action sequences look believable. In 2008, the movie was released by the same name Ghajini. The rest is history, the movie raked in 200 crores in 2 weeks. By the way, I thought Aamir was brilliant in the movie. He brought out the angst of the character very well. The romance between him and Asin was refreshing, and Rahman’s music gave a flair to the movie.
Let me end this by saying that Aamir Khan has made quite a few movies based on literary works. His famed debut with QSQT was straight out of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, 1947-Earth was the movie adaptation of Bapsi Sidhwa’s novel ‘Ice-candy Man’. And his next movie ‘3 Idiots’ is based on Chetan Bhagat’s ‘Five Point Someone’. I hope they expand the horizon of that movie to include the educational system machinery and expose the flaws.
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