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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 (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?

 

 

Ek “Lehar” si utthi hai abhi

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lehar

If winter comes, can spring be far behind? If Helen comes and goes, can Lehar be far behind?

On 22 November 2013, as cyclone Helen made landfall on the Indian coast, another storm was seen brewing in the southeastern corner of the Bay of Bengal (Satellite image source: IMD web site) If this system develops into a full-fledged cyclone, it would be named “Lehar” as per the naming system in vogue. It could take a long time for Lehar to reach the Indian coast, if it does indeed. In the mean time, the name reminds me of an old ghazal written by Mohammed Abdul Quadeer and sung by Ghulam Ali in 1981. Singing in his inimitable style, Ghulam Ali had told us how life is made worth living by breezes of freshness in the midst of turbulent waves.

Dil mein ek lehar si utthi hai abhi
Koi taaza hawa chali hai abhi…

Waqt accha bhi aaye ga
Gham na kar zindagi pari hai abhi

(There’s a wave rising in my heart
There’s a fresh breeze blowing now…
But good times will return, so don’t be sad,
There’s a whole life to live even now…)

As we watch cyclones come and go, we may as well spend some time listening to Ghulam Ali at
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rNei7lSZZaY

 

Filmy Weather (23): Waiting for “Helen”

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gumnaam_helen

The severe cyclonic storm which is expected to hit India’s eastern coast on 22 November 2013, has been named Helen. So far, most Indians have associated this name with the famous dancer of Indian films, Helen. While waiting for the cyclone to make landfall, I remembered many of Helen’s popular and evergreen dance songs, which are all about waiting expectantly for someone. One of her dance songs even gives us tips about survival on earth. Here are a few songs picturized on Helen:

“Aaj ki raat koi aane ko hai…” (Film: Anamika, 1973, Asha Bhosle)

“Piya tu ab to aaja…” (Film: Caravan, 1971, Asha Bhosle)

“Koi aaya aane bhi de….” (Film: Kaala Sona, 1975, Asha Bhosle)

“Aa jane jaan…” (Film: Inteqam, 1969, Lata Mangeshkar)

“Is duniya mein jeena ho to sun lo meri baat…” (Film:Gumnaam, 1965, Lata Mangeshkar)

What’s in a name? Well, quite a lot, I say

Filmy Weather (22): Premachi Goshta, with a Song of Intermittent Rain

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Premachi Goshta

The new Marathi film, “Premachi Goshta” (Story of love) is not based on a conventional love triangle, but a love rectangle ABCD. At corner A is Ram Subramanian, a hybrid Marathi manoos (Atul Kulkarni), and at corner C is Sonal, an atypical Marathi mulgi (Sagarika Ghatge – remember Chak de! India?). Both of them are struggling with their respective broken marriages.

Ram is a script writer for films and hires Sonal as an assistant. They both start working on a love story for a new film. The story and their relationship evolve in parallel, as if they are writing the story of their own lives. They continue to work together as professionals, finding it difficult to openly express their love.

But as always, the monsoon comes to their rescue. The emotional outpouring comes with a beautiful song in the background, sung by Bela Shende and Swapnil Bandodkar:

Olya sanj velee, unhe savalees bilagavee, tashee tu javalee ye jara…

(Like on a wet evening, the sun’s rays go chasing the shadows, come closer)

Korya kagadachee kavita an jashee vhavee, tashee tu halke bol na…

(Like a poem born out of a blank paper, say something softly)

This is not the usual Bollywood rain song. Ram and Sonal are not even together in the song. They are at two different places, but perhaps under the same rain-giving monsoon cloud. Ram is drenched to the skin. Sonal is tenderly collecting the raindrops in her palms. But these are intermittent showers. The breaks in between allow the director to include black and white flashbacks in what would otherwise have been the continuous blue of the rain.

When the script goes silent, the rain says it all…

Filmy Weather (20): Mumbai Pune Mumbai, A Rain Song Without Rain

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The 2010 Marathi film, “Mumbai Pune Mumbai”, has a beautiful song “kadhi tu..” sung by Hrishikesh Ranade and picturised on Swapnil Joshi and Mukta Barve. The lyrics are fit for a soaking wet love scene, but in the film the song is actually shot against a totally dry backdrop. Here are the lyrics:

कधी तू…रिमझिम झरणारी बरसात
कधी तू…चमचम करणारी चांदण्यात
कधी तू…कोसळत्या धारा थैमान वारा
बिजलीची नक्षी अंबरात
सळसळत्या लाटा भिजलेल्या वाटा
चिंब पावसाची ओली रात
कधी तू…रिमझिम झरणारी बरसात
कधी तू…चमचम करणारी चांदण्यात

The song promises intense downpours, streaks of lightning, fierce winds, a drenched night, but the scene shows nothing more than brown earth, rocky hills and a placid lake.

In fact, the entire film, Mumbai Pune Mumbai, is an extraordinary understatement of life. It is a love story without love-making. It has characters without names. It is a travelogue without a journey. It preaches without sermons.

And above all, it has a rain song without rain.

A Hymn for Earth Day

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All creatures of our God and King
Lift up your voice and with us sing,
Alleluia! Alleluia!
Thou burning sun with golden beam,
Thou silver moon with softer gleam!

Refrain

O praise Him! O praise Him!
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

Thou rushing wind that art so strong
Ye clouds that sail in Heaven along,
O praise Him! Alleluia!
Thou rising moon, in praise rejoice,
Ye lights of evening, find a voice!

Refrain

Thou flowing water, pure and clear,
Make music for thy Lord to hear,
O praise Him! Alleluia!
Thou fire so masterful and bright,
That givest man both warmth and light.

Refrain

Dear mother earth, who day by day
Unfoldest blessings on our way,
O praise Him! Alleluia!
The flowers and fruits that in thee grow,
Let them His glory also show.

Refrain

And all ye men of tender heart,
Forgiving others, take your part,
O sing ye! Alleluia!
Ye who long pain and sorrow bear,
Praise God and on Him cast your care!

Refrain

And thou most kind and gentle Death,
Waiting to hush our latest breath,
O praise Him! Alleluia!
Thou leadest home the child of God,
And Christ our Lord the way hath trod.

Refrain

Let all things their Creator bless,
And worship Him in humbleness,
O praise Him! Alleluia!
Praise, praise the Father, praise the Son,
And praise the Spirit, Three in One!

Refrain
(Words: St Francis of Assisi, cir­ca 1225)

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