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Filmy Weather (36): “Half Girlfriend”, with a Full Rain Song

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I saw Half Girlfriend not exactly first day first show, but almost. What I liked was that while the story was about the half things of life, the movie had a full rain song. That too at the very beginning. St Steven’s College (St Stephen’s College?) has just put up its admissions list on the notice boards. The moment Madhav Jha (Arjun Kapoor) and Riya Somani (Shraddha Kapoor) see their names, it starts raining. Shower se zyada, cloudburst se kam. And Ash King and Shashaa Tirupati sing to the accompaniment of thunder:

Yeh mausam ki baarish, Yeh baarish ka paani, Yeh paani ki boondein, Tujhe hi toh dhoondhe…

Yeh milne ki khwahish, Yeh khwahish puraani, Ho poori tujhi se, Meri yeh kahaani…

Hawaaon se tera pata poochta hoon, Ab toh aaja tu kahin se, Parindon ki tarah yeh dil hai safar mein…

Tu mila de zindagi se, Bas itni ilteja, Tu aake ik dafa, Jo dil ne na kahaa, Jaan le…

Intermittent showers continue through the movie but towards the climax, it graduates from rain to snow. As New York celebrates Christmas eve, it begins to snow. Snowflakes se zyada, snowstorm se kam. Arjun Kapoor runs, slips and recovers in the snow, as the movie ends half-heartedly.

Filmy Weather (35): Swinging in the Rain with “Meri Pyaari Bindu”

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I saw Meri Pyaari Bindu on the day of its release in a half-full theatre. It was a rather slow film with a nostalgic storyline and so it had many things that I could relate to. Like the manual typewriter, or life in old Calcutta, or Bengali humour. Or like disentangling an audio cassette tape from a player. Or like rotating the terrestrial tv antenna on the rooftop for a better signal and the family near the tv set shouting “Bas abhi theek hain!”.

But what I liked particularly was the long finale of the film that was shot entirely in the rain. There is an outdoor birthday party with banners, cake and all, that becomes a washout. But the partying goes on in spite of the heavy downpour. People are drenched but they sing and dance. Bindu (Parineeti Chopra) and Bubla (Ayushmaan Khurana) find shelter in a room on the terrace to have the conversation of their life with the rain providing the background music. Having said all that had to be said, they too join the party in the rain to get soaked and have their makeup washed away. “Maana ke hum yaar nahin” sings Parineeta Chopra, as the film comes to an end.

I came home after watching the film and there was thunder, lightning and a little rain, for the first time in this really hot summer of Pune. Had there been no rain on earth, what would have human life been like, I wondered!

Filmy Weather (34): Rustom, the Courtroom Drama with the Rain Song

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rustom poster_

I went to watch “Rustom” for reasons of sheer nostalgia. I just had to see how the “Commander Nanavati case” had been portrayed on screen 57 years after it had actually happened. My late father Ratnakar Hari Kelkar, a retired postmaster, used to take keen interest in legal matters and court proceedings, and the Nanavati case of 1959 was his favourite. It was then the hottest topic of conversation in our home. I was a college student, but I had become familiar with the names of Sylvia Nanavati, the wife, and Prem Ahuja, the lover who was shot. Not only that, I even knew names like Karl Khandalavala, Nanavati’s lawyer, and Ram Jethmalani, the prosecution lawyer, and all their arguments. In those days, the Bombay courts used to have a jury like in Perry Mason’s novels, and the actual setting itself was in a sense “filmy”!

So I saw “Rustom” and was, frankly speaking, impressed by its authentic recreation of the Bombay of 1959 and its courts. There was a very realistic interior shot of Bombay GPO, especially the huge circle of service counters located right under its massive dome. My father would have loved to see it!

And midway in the movie, it was there – the unexpected sharp shower! Vikram Makhija (actor Arjan Bajwa) is entertaining Cynthia Pavri (actor Ileana D’Cruz) in the sprawling lawns of his home. Suddenly there is thunder and lightning. Vikram says, “Lagta hai bin mausam barsaat hone wali hai.” And bang on, it really begins to rain, the unseasonal “Avakali Paus”! Cynthia is drenched and trips while hurrying to safety. Of course, Vikram has to carry her to his bedroom and the rest follows.

So that was “Rustom”, a crime-courtroom-love triangle, complete with the rain sequence that Hindi movies must have! But honestly, I liked it!

Filmy Weather (32): Awesome Mausam, for the World Meteorological Day

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Awesome Mausam

It is a common practice to synchronize the release of new films based on love stories with Valentine’s Day. But for the first time, a Hindi film named “Awesome Mausam” is being released around the World Meteorological Day which is celebrated on 23 March! Seven tracks of the film’s music are already out. There are songs like Tere Naina Mere Nainon Se, sung by Shaan and Palak Muchhal, Kaisi Ye Pyaas Hai sung by KK and Priya, and Sathiyaan sung by Sonu Nigam which are quite sweet and already popular. The film is directed by Yogesh Bhardwaj, produced by Mukesh Choudhary, and the cast includes Mukesh Tiwari, Rahul Sharma and Ambalika Sarkar and veteran Suhasini Muley.

The theme of World Meteorology Day 2016 is “Hotter, Drier, Wetter, Face the Future”. I do not yet know the theme of Awesome Mausam but it could be something very similar!

Filmy Weather (31): Dilwale, Romance in the Rain

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dilwale3

There are many things that make Dilwale such a lovable film. Kajol’s eyebrows, Kriti’s chin, the colours of Gerua and the melody of Janam Janam, to mention a few. But the meteorologist in me spotted the rain and the umbrella.

Bollywood films have an unceasing obsession for rain and Dilwale is no exception. It has not one but two rain situations. In the first, Kali (Shah Rukh Khan) shuts the door on Meera (Kajol) but she does not leave. She continues to sit on the steps on the verandah waiting for him to come out. It grows dark and then it begins to rain. She refuses a friendly offer of refreshment but prefers to brave the rain. Until Kali relents and his hand holds out an umbrella over her.

Dilwale brings back memories of the classic scene from Shree 420 in which Raj Kapoor and Nargis sang a whole 3-minute song Pyaar hua ikraar hua standing under a small leaky umbrella. But there is a difference. In Dilwale the umbrella is large and strong, and it is soon dispensed with. The message perhaps is that it is love that matters and not the protection of the umbrella.    

The situation is repeated later in the film but with a role reversal. Meera’s car has broken down on a dark deserted road and she is clueless. Just then Kali’s car happens to pass by. He gets down and tries to fix the problem. But it starts raining heavily, and unpredictably as always. While doing the repair job, Kali gets soaked to the skin. Now it is Meera who holds out a large and strong umbrella for him. And again, it is dispensed with, and sent flying away with the wind. The situation quickly transforms into a fantasy song, Janam Janam, shot in black and white with streaks of blue and full of energy and rhythm, sung by Arijit Singh and Antara Mitra.       

When you are drenched in love, why would you need an umbrella?

 

 

The Mystery of the Monsoon

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Dr David Suzuki is a Canadian academician, science broadcaster and environmental activist. Since the 1970s, Suzuki has been known for his TV and radio programmes, documentaries and books about nature and the environment. Most popular among them is the long-running CBC Television series, “The Nature of Things”. One of his recent episodes is about The Mystery of the Monsoon and it can be viewed online at 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PKSmr2tFyYs

Monsoon is India’s main source of fresh water. Despite the torrential deluge, massive flooding and loss of life, there is a palpable sense of elation as the monsoon storm clouds arrive. Part road movie, part spectacle, part human drama, The Mystery of The Monsoon is a cinematic exploration of the force of the monsoon and its unpredictability. With people’s very existence dependent on the monsoon, meteorology occupies a special place in India but even with satellite imagery and powerful computer models, scientists struggle to more accurately predict it.

Filmed across the Indian sub-continent and charting the huge system’s path as it surges toward and gradually engulfs every region of the country, The Mystery of the Monsoon introduces us to a remarkable array of individuals whose lives are in different ways entwined with the phenomenon. There are the meteorologists, who seek to contain the monsoon within an explanatory net of scientific analysis and rational forecast; there are the farmers and fishermen, who depend on and contend with the system’s godlike, life-and-death caprices; there are the citizens of Mumbai, where the monsoon’s arrival is felt from the slums to the stock market to the dreamscapes of the Bollywood film; there are the nature conservationists who are concerned with the monsoon’s impact on the country’s endangered species; and there is the ordinary Indian family, for whom the annual deluge is part of a rhythmic cycle, at moments unfathomably cruel and joyously affirming.

A still from the film showing Prof R R Kelkar explaining the monsoon

A still from the film showing Prof R R Kelkar explaining the monsoon

 

Filmy Weather (30): Another “Monsoon” Coming Soon

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Monsoon 2015 Poster

A new Bollywood Hindi Movie titled “Monsoon” is all set for release shortly this year (2015) under the banner of Mango Movies. It is produced by Mahendra Dhariwal and Jitender Gulati and directed by Suzad Iqbal Khan. The film will have an all-new cast of Srishti Sharma, Sudhanshu Aggarwal, Shawar Ali, Vijay Singh and Raja Gulati. “Monsoon” is a story of the coming of age of a teenager who falls in love with a much older married woman, whose husband dies while on duty as a forest officer. The film revolves around the boy’s dreams, fantasies and feelings towards her.

There are six songs in the film and their music videos have already been unveiled by Zee Music. The music is directed by Biswajit Bhattacharjee and the lyrics are written by Krishna Bharadwaj and Shabbir Ahmed. The songs and their singers are:

“Thoda Sa Pyaar”  Mohammad Irfan, Veena Bhatiya
“Rasleela”  Neha Kakkar and Santokh Singh
“Soni Kudi”  Divya Kumar
“Man Hoya Bawra”  Biswajit Bhatacharjee
“Maahi Ve”  Shahid Mallya
“Maula”  Krishna Beura

The music has rhythm and romance, and the tunes are catchy. Why is the film titled “Monsoon”? Perhaps because it is difficult to predict its success!

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