Garam Hawa (1973) and Zubeidaa (2001)

(That reads 'Jai Hind' in Hindi and Urdu.) The partition of India and Pakistan that accompanied independence for the region from the British in 1947, and the events following, will always be an intriguing theme for art. Art is close to life. And so is love. Here are two fine films that beautifully present the complexities involved in types of love, and indeed hatred and distrust, within the scope of the politically turbulent and socially unstable region.

Both employ accurate portrayal of sensitivities of elements driving important and difficult decisions by their characters. Both present relevant issues. Both have powerful women characters central to their script. Both end in ways I wouldn't have brought them to a close (for what it's worth). And both have engaging screenplays and dialogue. Garam Hawa (Hot Winds) is by far the better film overall, so let’s discuss it first.



The very first minute promises a treat, with pictures such as this being highlighted with the opening credits. There are several other striking (and carefully selected and sequenced) images from 1947 that portray a multitude of emotions.


Salim Mirza (Balraj Sahni) and his family, who live in Agra, face crucial choices as several among their circle of family and friends migrate to Pakistan after partition. The allure of a better life, and one perceived free of discrimination based on religion provides motivation. Salim is confused, but convinced his love for India will win in the long term, and that the country's people would foster peace after the Mahatma Gandhi's assassination. What price must he pay for his conviction? This question, at the high level, guides the film.


There are several beautifully presented character sketches, from the elderly daadi ([paternal] grandmother) of the household to her great-grandchildren. Shaukat Azmi (that's Shabana's mother) as Salim’s wife is excellent. Their children, Sikdandar and Amina, are brilliantly portrayed by Farooq Shaikh (his debut film) and Gita Siddharth, who is the star of the film for me. She plays a complicated character and is involved in a love triangle with Shamshad (Jalal Agha) and Kazim (Jamal Hashmi); Hashmi is Tabu’s father!


Gita's performance here is memorable and perfect for her critical role. An unrivaled barometer for beauty is appearance in modest dress, and she looks stunning throughout. Helps to wear saffron and green bangles (haaye Allah!)!


For ye Farooq Shaikh fans (I know you're out there):


I like that tie [Lagaanite] A. K. Hangal is wearing:


Here's a variant from my collection :)


What an interesting question:


It is far from a commercial film, but that does not mean it isn't entertaining. The lighthearted moments coupled with the love stories means it’s all rather atypical of films of the genre I have seen, and for the better.


Which leads to what I think are the biggest strengths of the film – its dialogue (Kaifi Azmi) and screenplay (Kaifi Azmi and Shama Zaidi); the film is based on a short story by Ismat Chughtai. The film employs impeccable use of the Urdu language, a treat which, when combined with the dialogue delivery and art direction (that it’s based in Agra obviously works to some advantage), conveys a magnificent sense of space. It only adds to the completeness of this remarkable film.


It also means commentary on civic and regional issues, including on the role of the media, politicians, and unions, remains respectful while being candid. There is a lot it addresses in a little over two hours, and the issues could fill countless volumes of outpourings of thought without coming to a progressive conclusion (almost like the governments of the region :) That the film has that sense of self-awareness is a major complement.

The only song in Garam Hawa, a qawwali by Aziz Ahmed Khan Warsi, is a masterpiece. I can tell you from my visits to dargaahs in South Asia and westward, that this is one of the most authentic qawwalis I have ever come across in a film.


What adds to the aura of the film is some of its history. From here:

The production of the film was plagued by a smattering of public protests; ultimately, Sathyu had to divert attention from his actual locations by using a fake second unit crew and sending them out with an unloaded camera.

Once finished, Garam Hawa was again the subject of controversy; it was banned as an "instigation to communal dissension." Sathyu was strong in his conviction, however, and he showed the film to many government leaders and journalists. The influence of these people on the censorship board led to a reversal of the ban. The film went on to win a national award for its contribution to "national integration." More recognition followed, including accolades that praised the film's efforts to create "a language of common identity" and to humanize the situation endured by Muslims in North India who did not wish to move from their homes after the partition.


I am told by most everyone I have asked that Garam Hawa is not available on DVD, and it took a while before I got a copy from my uncle a couple continents away, who was kind enough to transfer it to DVD for me. The good news is, as a recent Indian Express piece notes, "now 36 years after it was first released, the film will again hit theatres in August, thanks to the restoration work that is being undertaken, frame by frame, by 15 technicians at Cameo Studios in Pune." It seems a DVD release of the restored print is around the corner as well, and I'd wait for that than buy it on VHS (I'm guessing India has copies), since I cannot imagine it won't have better subtitles (the dialogue makes the film what it is).

If you haven't seen it and the theme interests you, don't think twice. It's a triumph for cinema no matter how one looks at it.

Movie rating: 4.75/5 (Fantastic!)
Think of it as beginning where 1947 Earth (1999) left off. This is relatively much easier to consume. Thank you Bollyviewer for the recommendation.

Music rating: 5/5
Ustad Bahadur Khan provides music to one song that’s simply perfect, and to the background score which will work wonders for fans of classical music.

My Classification: PG (For theme)


It is indeed a lovely name; the word carries multiple meanings, among them, 'the gracious', 'the excellent', and 'marigold'! Zubeidaa (2001), directed by Shyam Benegal, is written by film critic and filmmaker Khalid Mohammed, in what is partly inspired from a true account of his mother Zubeidaa’s life.

Film journalist Riaz Masood (Rajit Kapoor) longs to learn more about his mother Zubeidaa (Karisma Kapoor), who passed in an airplane crash when he was a young child. His quest leads him to key people in Zubeidaa's life, including Dance Master Hiralal (Shakti Kapoor) and Rose Davenport (Lilette Dubey). That he lives with grandmother Fayyazi (Surekha Sikri) to whom he is entrusted when his parents divorced is consequential, as is his visit to the Maharani Mandira Devi (Rekha). Mandira Devi is the other (and first) woman to whom Zubeidaa’s husband -- Maharaja Vijayendra Singh, or Victor (Manoj Bajpai) -- was married.


It’s a tricky subject given Zubeidaa’s romantic relationships were set in India of the 1950s. What also makes it complicated is that Riyaz’s father migrated to India from Pakistan, and desires a return to his former home country. Add to that that Zubeidaa’s father Sulaiman Seth (Amrish Puri), a filmmaker, is opposed to his daughter’s wishes to be an acting professional, and that his unrelenting desire to control the lives of those in his household ultimately gives rise to why he wouldn’t attend his daughter’s funeral.

Again, the characters are well laid out. The performances are top-notch, and led by Karisma Kapoor, who owns her role from the very beginning. Watch her interact with everyone from her stubborn father to her subservient mother, unsure husband, child, impulsive lover turned ignoring husband, and treacherous brother-in-law. She’s effective in each case, and truly makes the film what it is. Among others in the cast, Amrish Puri, Rekha, and Manoj Bajpai are the clear standouts. No surprises there. I really enjoyed most of the classy sequences, complete with the perfect background score elements, from crowd noise to toasts and colliding glasses.


There’s an apt exchange between Puri and Zubeidaa’s father-in-law, on the perceived fit of members of the Indian Muslim community in India and Pakistan, which I thought was spot on with its representation of the multiple sides of the issue. There are films that spend hours on the subject and get this portrayal wrong, and this one does it right in less than five minutes! For the record, I think both arguments presented are very valid. And speaking of Puri, we know he means it when he says this:


Here is Karisma keeping it real! Fans of henna please skip what I'm about to say (or if you read it, do forgive me; I seem to be in an extremely small minority of this opinion), I cannot stand the smell (or call it a fragrance, if you may).


This one's for you, Sita-ji ;)


You’ve probably listened to the fantastic music (A. R. Rahman; lyrics by Javed Akhtar). It's a Rahman classic, one I know many consider among his ten best of the decade. They're probably correct, because Zubeidaa contains song after wonderous song. When it’s not a great gypsy song -- Main Albeli -- in a film within the film it’s the fantastic Mehndi Hai Rachne Waali, pervasive at weddings. So Gaye Hain is one of two Lata Mangeshkar songs. Then there are a couple of love songs, Dheeme Dheeme, and my favorite song from the album, Hai Naa, which is tailored to fans of Udit Narayan and Alka Yagnik. With lyrics like, "light flames of passion along my path," need one say more? This BollyWHAT link has translations to the songs.

The script to the second half of Zubeidaa could have been more compact, but that's a minor complaint when the execution never heads south. I saw the film with my parents, who didn't dislike it (they're the better critics). Although we largely agreed it was difficult to stay emotionally attached to Zubeidaa the longer the film lasted, and that this was due to her growing selfish tendencies. *Spoiler* There's no question her actions, especially toward the end, were impulsive and ignored the bigger picture. *End spoiler* But that's only a complaint against Zubeidaa the character, not Zubeidaa the film.

Who are we to complain of the character's shortcomings? She was only human, and this is a touching, soulful tribute from a son who barely spent any time with his mother. Close to four stars, then, for a story well told! This one is worth checking out for the performances and songs alone. Here is Khalid Mohammad discussing the film, the extent of its relationship with reality, and more.

Movie rating: 3.75/5 (Very good!)
Almost got away in the second half, but it’s more than good enough to recommend a viewing.

Music rating: 4.5/5 (Excellent!)
Another excellent 2001 soundtrack by Rahman and Akhtar.

My classification: PG-13 (For theme, sexual situations)

Added 7/19:
A big thank you to Darshit for sharing these pictures from his visit to Jodhpur earlier this year. He's outlined filming locations from other movies (including Sarfarosh (1999)!) at this link. The following related to Zubeidaa (click to enlarge):


Umaid Bhavan Palace, a part of which, per this Wikipedia article, is a hotel! (The exclamation is only to imply excitement at the facility to stay there during a visit. I agree these palaces should be kept in their pure form, but good luck preserving them there if not tied to maximum possible monetary gains.)


How cool a Lego version would be!


The child (right) who took over after Zubeidaa's husband the Maharaja died, and the Maharaja's daughters.


The Maharaja, his first wife (right, played by Rekha) and their children. No Zubeidaa.

45 comments:

Sujoy said...

Star Plus used to show Zubeida a lot, much like every month. Never watched it. :(

And every Ekta Kapoor serial having a Shaadi situation would play: Mehndi hai rachne waali ..Now how I know so much about Ekta Kapoor serials is a tragic story, that I'll share later.

My favourite track of the album is: Hai Naa. Udit Narayan just sounds so fresh and different when he sings for Rahman.

As for Garam Hawa,Balraj Sahni being on the cast list translates into must-watch-movie.It has remained on the must-watch list for a long time. So frustrated that I don'tt get the time to. :(

theBollywoodFan said...

'Hai Naa' is brilliant in all respects: the lyrics, the music, no useless bridges, and the vocals! (And we haven't even gotten to Karisma-ji.) So we agree on a favorite from the Zubeidaa soundtrack. It's sad Udit's been away for so long. Bring him back, Bollywood! Or Rahman, or Aamir!

The mehndi song almost makes me like mehndi, that's how manipulative it is. We're going to have to discuss the Ekta Kapoor situation offline ;)

As for Garam Hawa, Balraj Sahni was excellent, as was everyone in the film. I'll surely be checking out more of their works.


It has remained on the must-watch list for a long time.

Good luck finding it! I reckon it'll be much easier to make time for it ;)

bollywooddeewana said...

Garam Hawa is on my to watch ist its one of India times must watch indian movies, i've been curious about it since then
http://movies.indiatimes.com/Special_Features/25_Must_See_Bollywood_Movies/articleshow/msid-1250837,curpg-12.cms

and Ah 'Zubeidaa baby' i remember shakti kapoor's charatcer in the movie referring to her that way, i loved the film as well an i do agree one can't really criticise the character's shortcomings, i found the film very entertaining and equally melanchlolic at the same time.Great performance from Karisma in this, I also loved Lillette Dubey and 'Main albeli' has to be one of my all time GYPSY inspired bollywood songs

theBollywoodFan said...

I'm confident you'll like Garam Hawa! It's a shame they didn't appropriately preserve a film from the 1970s. We have wedding videos from the 1960s and '70s that are perfectly maintained, and here we're talking of what many consider to be one of the best films of all time, and by all accounts a landmark film! Thanks for that link. I'd agree with the Top 25 ranking.

Shakti Kapoor in Zubeidaa was great. I also liked the nickname 'Zubi'. And how cool was Karisma in 'Main Albeli'? Again, the lyrics were quite outstanding, and I liked how they tied in the setting of the song to that of the character outside of the film within the film! And it's just extremely well integrated in the narrative. Everyone seemed to step it up after the song. Or maybe I started paying more attention ;)

Thanks for stopping by.

bollyviewer said...

I am so glad you liked Garam Hawa. I saw it years ago and Balraj Sahni's firm convictions from the film still stay with me! Thanks for all the background data on the film (Tabu's Dad! I can see where Farah got her looks from!!!). How could a film like that incite communal disharmony? It advocates very strong (and perhaps misplaced) belief in communal harmony! What was it about its end that you didnt like? And I had no idea that it was so hard to find! I found it here a few weeks back, though I havent gotten round to watching it yet.

Zubeida was a slightly different kettle of fish - I didnt take to Zubeieda's character at all. She is a spoilt brat, a perpetual rebel-without-a-cause and NEVER grows up. The character never evolves, and that to me is a major flaw in the film (apart from a very un-Maharaja-like Manoj Bajpai). So, while its still a great film, it just doesnt match up to Shyam Benegal's other films - his other exploration of 1930s/40s Bollywood (Bhoomika), his other period films (Junoon and Sardari Begum) and most of his other films are just so much better!

ajnabi said...

Thank you for the breakdown on these two films... I've been wanting to see more Karisma, and I think Zubeidaa might be where I start (she was the best thing about the mediocre Dil To Pagal Hai, that's for sure).

maxqnz said...

You are an EVIL, EVIL man, bollywoodfan. I need to save money and you keep throwing 'must see' (which means 'must buy') films at me. :)

Seriously, thanks for the recommendations. I have grown increasingly enamoured of Lolo recently (I'm sure it's totally unrelated to how smoking hot she looks in Nach Baliye), and this film sounds dacinating.

As for Garam Hawa, that really is a must-see. Any Partition film is a must for me, and that qawwali is very intersting. I am not a big fan of the devotional qawwalis - no disrespect to Nusret Fateh Ali Khan, who is undoubtedly a genius, but 12-20 minutes of Sufi prayer is not my idea of fun. This one, on the other hand seems to sit nicely in between the light frothy nature of normal filmi qawwali and the denser, more challenging nature of proper qawwali. It is probably aabout as far toward the authentic end of the scale as I want to go, and its melancholic tone makes it an interesting change from the "poetic lechery" of filmi qawwali. I will track both these down and blame you when thye phone bill doesn't get paid this month! :)

bollywoodfoodclub said...

VAY!
theBollywoodFan!
I think I have that same screen cap somewhere in my computer. Thanks for acknowledging the black label! In this particular scene it stands for that guy is a doubley bad guy, na? I enjoyed Zubeidaa but now must see Garam Hawa. I saw a preview online and you're right about the credits in the beginning being a treat. That reminds me of the beginning and ending shots from Mumbai Meri Jaan which I saw last night.
Ah yes I recognize Nawab Sultan as "Nawab Sultan" in Umrao Jaan. I spit on him since he spit on the dil of Umrao Jaan! I will check back after viewing Garam Hawa. Thansk again for the 2 shots of Johnnie Walker mitr!
All the best!
Sita-ji

theBollywoodFan said...

Bollyviewer: Thank *you* again. As I was saying above, I really need to see more of Balraj Sahni's films, so if you have any more recommendations, please do share. Here, he reminded me of Naseeruddin Shah, except that it probably works the other way round, lol.

Funny you mention Farah, I'll probably add her to the sentence; recently saw a movie starring her too, which I'll save for later.

Agreed on what Garam Hawa promotes, guess there will always be those who deliberately interpret it the other way :'( Good thing you found a copy easily, none of the stores in Greater L.A. or online seemed to have it, so it was just easier to get it the other way. Either way, assuming the new restored version is released on DVD, it'll be well, well worth getting.

As for Zubeidaa...agree on the utter lack of evolution, and I too kept thinking how she just wouldn't allow herself to 'get it'. But again, that might be Khalid Mohammad reminding us that his mom was only 19 when she died! I guess I can be more forgiving since it's tied to a true account. It impacted the movie-viewing experience, no doubt. What about Manoj Bajpai did you think was un-Maharaja-like? Some of my friends feel that way too, not sure I agree.

And finally, thanks also for references to other Shyam Benegal works! :)

theBollywoodFan said...

Ajnabi: Karisma's done really well here, so go for it! (Knowing that it's one of her best works.) Then there are Andaz Apna Apna (especially) and Judwaa for comedy, and Raja Hindustani for family drama (that gets into a loop of some sorts in the second half, but still well worth checking out). I remember very little of Dil To Pagal Hai, except that it didn't work for me either. Do share more of your experiences with Karismatic (doesn't that sound cool? :D) films!


Maxqnz: If you like films on Partition, you'll most definitely appreciate Garam Hawa. I don't consider myself a fan of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, and that has little to do with whether I like or dislike devotional qawwalis. The thing I do like about the devotional qawwalis is exactly what you describe about this one in Garam Hawa. So, true to the two major types of love that dominate poetry, the subject of the 'devotion' can be somewhat ambiguous. Think of the possibilities! ;)

Haven't see Lolo in Nach Baliye, but she's looking lovely throughout in Zubeidaa, you must see it if you are a fan. And you're very welcome (just be sure to hold on to the Internet connection, at least...so you can continue to garner more recommendations from the many Bollywood blogs! :D).


Adab Sita-ji: I always enjoy your commentary on symbolizations. So much of it seems obvious but only after you note them! As we'd discussed the other week, I'd love to hear your take on Garam Hawa.

Umraao Jaan, you say! True. That's very relevant to any discussion on several actors in these two films.

Thanks again for the 2 shots of Johnnie Walker mitr!

Any time. Cheers!

Pessimisissimo said...

As you so eloquently say, Zubeidaa is a film with strong performances, excellent music, and subtle direction. I agree with Bollyviewer, though, that its heroine is problematic. I hadn't realized that her real-life model was only 19 when she died. Still, I waited in vain for Zubeidaa to recognize that there was something beyond her pride at stake.

In any case, I very much enjoyed your review (and now I have to see Garam Hawa!). And if you're interested in an amplification of my thoughts on Zubeidaa, you can find it here.

theBollywoodFan said...

Hi Pessimissimo, and welcome to the blog! I hope you find Garam Hawa to be worth the while. I certainly enjoyed it immensely.

Still, I waited in vain for Zubeidaa to recognize that there was something beyond her pride at stake.

Agreed, and wouldn't things have been entirely different had she come to that realization? Khalid Mohammad probably have gotten to spend more time with his mom had that happened... (sigh)

Thank you for your comment! I'll be headed over to read your thoughts on Zubeidaa soon.

bollywoodfoodclub said...

Adab!
Somewhat on the same subject, as far as the partition and Pakistan, have you seen Silent Waters?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kirron_Kher

I just finished watching that tonight and thought, "theBollywoodFan would like this." Though not Bollywood (yes still on my art house/ parallel cinema streak to set thing in balance after Kambakkht Ishq. :)

I must write up something on it Khamosh Pani soon. Here's a bit about it:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tpRVKuEf19g&feature=related

All the best!
Sita-ji

bollywoodfoodclub said...

p.s.
In my fervor I mistyped in my first comment and meant to say that I recognized Farooq Shaikh as the same actor who played the Nawab Sultan in Umrao Jaan, but you probably knew what I was trying to say.
All the best,
Sita-ji

theBollywoodFan said...

Thanks, Sita-ji. I haven't seen Khamosh Pani (Silent Waters), but know now to check it out! Appreciate the recommendation, as always. I'll try to see it soon, the many negatives (that is my opinion, history is evidence!) of the Zia-ul-Haq regime in Pakistan deserve a closer look in the world of film, that's for sure. And you know how it goes with me and the term 'Bollywood', which I like to use liberally. :)

Got it with the Sultan in Umraao Jaan, that was quite a shame. I'll hope to have more on Umraao some time over the next couple of months.

Darshit said...

The subject 'partition' has always been a difficult subject to portray on screen, and sensitive too. And it looks like Garam Hawa has done quite justice to the theme. I must search for this. As I am always interested in the theme. 'Freedom at Midnight' on same theme is my one of the favorite book. Also, do you remember Tamas a tele-series, which used to come on DD? I can see where it was inspired from.

One recommendation here is Shaheed-E-Mohabbat: UdhamSingh. A really really good Punjabi movie, title role played by Gurdaas Maan. It is based on true story taken from Freedom at Midnight. And also has got a really good soundtrack by Nusrat saab. Later 'Gadar' did take 'inspiration' from the movie, and ruined the story to death. :(

I love Zubeidaa just for its sheer classy setup and serene OST. I can get totally absorbed if the two things are so perfect like the movie had. Yes, performances are so good. And even I am not a big fan of Lolo, this made me re-think about her. She always looked like a 'baby girl'. But here she proved her skills too.

What!! No henna?? I tell you, even I put mehendi on 'my' hand sometime whenever I get chance. Love its smell. :D

And same pinch for 'Hai naa...' Divine Melody... Tu Meri Raahon Mein Chaht Ki shabnam Jalaa". But yes, symphonic 'So Gaye Hain' too..is out of this world too.

Pessimisissimo said...

Garam Hawa was apparently Farooq Shaikh's first film (at least, according to the IMDB). Of course, the Nawab in Umrao Jaan (1981) is deservedly one of his most famous roles, but if you want to see him as a more sympathetic character I recommend Sai Paranjpye's charming Chashme Buddoor. You may want to read Memsaab's wonderful review of this comic gem, which also stars the excellent Deepti Naval; BethLovesBollywood also wrote an appreciation.

theBollywoodFan said...

Darshit: If you get a chance to see Garam Hawa in theaters next month, go for it! Haven't read 'Freedom at Midnight', thanks for the tip. And I don't remember seeing Tamas, although I remember hearing about it and that cast! Same with Shaheed-e-Mohabbat, which I haven't seen either. Gadar was interesting. I rather liked it, but the last 30 minutes ruined an otherwise good product. It was almost there!

Dude, let's not even discuss henna any more, lol. As I said, I know I'm very like in the very small minority.

I really like all the songs in Zubeidaa too, but 'Hai Naa' does it best. The Lata songs were interesting. They're turbulent (pun intended), but interesting. And while this is easily among Lolo's best films, I always liked her, really.

Pessimisissimo: Thanks for those links and the recommendation. I saw Chashme Buddoor as a teenager, and I remember liking it. I know I must see it as an adult to appreciate it even more. So, thank you. Also, apologies for misspelling your name the first time around :)

Cheers!

bollyviewer said...

"What about Manoj Bajpai did you think was un-Maharaja-like?" - to me he is always Bhiku Mhatre of Satya and he just doesnt have the acting chops to convince me otherwise! Plus, I remember being annoyed by his English accent - Maharajas of those days were pretty Anglicised and would speak English with a more British accent (Utpal Dutt did one such excellent Maharaja in Merchant-Ivory's Shakespearewala) than Mr. Bajpai could muster.

As to Balraj Sahni, Do Beegha Zameen and Kabuliwala (reviewed by dustedoff here and here) are generally considered his masterpieces. My personal favorite (I have yet to see his two masterpieces, though I am a big fan) is Seema - it has a socially relevant message in a very well told story with lovely songs and great acting.

Sushil Prasad said...

Came across your blog while trying to search for Garam Hawa's DVD (for the umpteenth time) on the net.

Some more great Hindi movies - that I have really enjoyed and highly recommend.

Dharmputra (1961 National Award Winner)
Dharma (starring Pankaj Kapur)
Yeh Woh Manzil tho nahin
Teesri Kasam
Bandini
Mere Apne

Richard S. said...

I haven't seen Zubeidaa, but I did see Garam Hawa a few months ago, and it is a superb film.

Originally I saw about half an hour of it at Veoh.com, where there was a copy posted with English subtitles. I had every intention of getting back to it, but unfortunately, I couldn't that night. Then, when Veoh updated their player, my computer no longer worked with it, and I hear I'm not the only one to have had this problem. Nonetheless, people should give that site a try if it's the only way they're going to be able to see this film for now.

Fortunately, Bollyviewer was not the only blogger encouraging fellow bloggers to see Garam Hawa... A short while after my aborted viewing at Veoh, I got a copy of the film in a little package that the good Doc Bollywood sent me, which also included the movie that we wrote a joint review on, Anmol Ghadi. (A moving film about partition along with one of the greatest Bollywood films with Noor Jehan - that certainly was appropriate!)

Balraj Sahni was a very fine actor and it seems to me that he was also a great human being. I really enjoyed reading his autobiography a short time ago.

Unfortunately, Do Bigha Zameen was another film that I did not get to see all the way through.

I did thoroughly enjoy a few films starring Balraj that are maybe not as well known. I saw him in Sunghursh, where he costarred with Dilip Kumar and Vyjayanthimala, Kath Putli, where he costarred again (or, rather, first) with Vyjayanthimala, and Bindiya, where he costarred with Padmini. (You need not ask whether the leading ladies had anything to do with my choices there. :)

I've never seen Balraj not give a fine performance. But other people were great in Garam Hawa too. You are right that Gita Siddharth was just amazing in this.

You know, I think I am going to have to see this film again sometime soon.

theBollywoodFan said...

Bollyviewer: That's a good response to the question :) He was great in Satya, from what I recall. I guess there's always the 'what-if' part of it, so I didn't have many issues ignoring it. While on Manoj Bajpai, I really liked his performance in 'Swaami' a couple years ago opposite Juhi Chawla! Now, I'll admit there's a great likelihood I enjoyed the movie because of Juhi (surprise! LOL), but he was really good in it. Also in Dus Kahaaniyaan, albeit in a small 'kahaani' opposite Dia Mirza (know you've seen the film, just thought it'd be appropriate to mention here).

Thanks for the recommendations. I should have waited for until after this post for my third quarter shopping spree, but I'll be sure to get them in the fourth! Always a pleasure, Bollyviewer, thank you, ji. :)


Sushil: Thank you for your comment, and welcome to the blog! I haven't seen any of the films you've recommended (a shame, since I have heard of some), and I'll definitely look forward to checking them out! I'll update this post if I find anything on a Garam Hawa DVD release. Do stop by again.

Richard! Thank you for the tip regarding Veoh.com. I think the film is also available on YouTube, and it's a shame that's the only easily accessible means of seeing this fine film. It really deserves to be seen on a big screen and hi-res to be appreciated more.

You've shared such great info. I'll hope to check out your joint review of 'Anmol Ghadi'; haven't seen the film, and can't wait to learn more about it. And the autobiography! That means I add his films (and those starring the other great actors too) and the book to a Guru Dutt biography I've been meaning to check out.


Thank you again, everyone!

Saadia said...

Mmm...I hope they release it in Pakistan too.

maxqnz said...

Curiously Garam Hawa is "coming soon" at induna.com, so when it does I will have 3 films to watch together - Garam Hawa, Ramchand Pakistani and Firaaq - in that order since the first two are related by theme and the other are connected by some Oriya actress/director I've never heard of before. :)

theBollywoodFan said...

Saadia: It certainly deserves to be seen. Fingers crossed for a wider release!

Maxqnz: I haven't yet seen Firaaq, but I really liked Ramchand Pakistani, and that Oriya actress is one fine professional, eh? ;)

theBollywoodFan said...

Bollyviewer: I just realized I hadn't answered this question from your first comment:

What was it about its end that you didnt like?

**SPOILER**
In a nutshell, the treatment of Amina. But that only added more resolve for the final few minutes, so it wasn't wasted, just approached in a manner I wasn't too fond of.
**End SPOILER**

Cheers!

theBollywoodFan said...

All: I've added to the bottom of the post some pictures from Jodhpur related to Zubeidaa and the Maharaja. Thank you again Darshit for sending them for inclusion!

Also, for more background on Jodhpur and Umaid Bhavan as it relates to the film and its subjects, check out this Times of India article, and this from Rediff.

bollyviewer said...

Great addition, tBf, and thanks to Darshit for sharing. The Maharaja looks like Mohammed Rafi in a pagdi, to me!

theBollywoodFan said...

Thanks, Bollyviewer. That's hilarious about Rafi in a pagdi. You're right! The first persons who came to my mind when I saw the pictures were Udit Narayan and the former cricketer Manoj Prabhakar. :D

Anonymous said...

OT: Didn't you have a video on Sita Sings The Blues, or was it the one of other blogs?

theBollywoodFan said...

Hi, Anonymous: I know Bhargav has the video at this link. The video is also available for download at http://www.sitasingstheblues.com. Cheers.

Pitu said...

Wow I am so happy someone blogged abt Garam Hawa- it's one my faves! And Balraj Sahni oh what a hottie! As is Farooq *sigh*. Also thanks for the Zubeidaa review. I read an interview once where it said that Khalid Mohd. (the TOI film reviewer) who wrote this script is the journalist/son in the film and that this is in fact his mom's story. Cool, na? And I have visited Umaid Bhavan! Last Feb in fact! But the Zub link never occurred to me!

Pitu said...

Bah! I just read all the comments (usually, I read comments before commenting but I was just too excited lol) and realised you already knew about Khalid being the son in RL. Anyway, yeah, I also think that her shortcomings etc are okay given her age. Who among us was smart and wordly wise in our teens?!! Also, she is in very awkward situations so that's tremendous stress for a person to bear (from a character evolution perspective) which I'm sure doesn't help.

Suhan said...

And for all those of us who can't wait after that wonderful review of yours TBF, there's always youtube :-) And it's subtitled. Here's the link to Garam Hawa.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ac_yUF86jQw&feature=PlayList&p=1EB7406BD9F31E70&index=0

theBollywoodFan said...

Pitu: As you can tell from my comments above, this is the only Balraj Sahni movie I've seen, so I'm looking forward to more. That you've been to Umaid Bhavan is awesome! Speaking of Khalid Mohammad, would you recommend Fiza?

Who among us was smart and wordly wise in our teens?!!

One moment I'll never ever forget from my teens ... being out stumped to a super-fast bowler! Kya, yaar? Everyone in my high school still makes fun of me for that, and I always find myself laughing with them. All those runs, bas wohi wicket yaad hai unhein, LOL. Back to your point, you're right, of course.


Suhan: Thank you! It's certainly better to catch it via an online streaming service than to not catch it at all! Thanks for the link.

Nicki said...

I just learn about Zubeida, the film, based on a real-liver person name Zubeida recently.

Thanks so much for pointing out the pics from Darshit from Zubeida again. Loved it.

theBollywoodFan said...

Isn't it interesting how our perspectives change when we learn a film/book is based on a true story? Certainly made Zubeidaa the film a lot more likable to me.

Glad you enjoyed the pics. Darshit was very kind in sharing them!

BB said...

I really enjoyed Zubeidaa, but honestly, I know a lot of that has to do with my love for Manoj Bajpai. He usually has a knack for villains, but this movie proves he can be charming and sweet, too.

theBollywoodFan said...

I know a lot of that has to do with my love for Manoj Bajpai...

I thought about whether this held true for me and Karisma, and have since determined I'm comfortable either way :) No, that and that this is based on a true story works for me. The acting was rather good throughout.

I thought Bajpai did well enough here. Have you seen 'Dus Kahaniyaan' (Ten Stories)? One of the stories has him and Dia Mirza, and there are multiple shades of his character in a very short period of time. Very powerful. Cheers.

Pitu said...

TBF: Yeah, I would def. recommend Fiza. Lolo did a swell job. It does have its flaws, like the bizarre sudden addition of the song 'Ankh Milaungi' in a disco where a hiherto salwar kurta wearing Fiza wears leather pants :-p But it's a good movie. I would so not recommend Mohd's next directorial outing tho- the absolutely hideous Tehzeeb!

theBollywoodFan said...

Sounds like I need to check out Fiza, then, if only for the song at the disco! :) Tehzeeb sounds familiar, I might have seen it, but the mere uncertainty probably speaks to its effectiveness. As always, thanks, Pitu.

Darshit said...

Thanks tBF and all, Glad you liked my pics. :)

theBollywoodFan said...

No, thank *you* man :)

dishoomdishoom said...

Hey is Garam Hawa available on DVD format now, any news about that?

aishwarya gulati said...

zubeidas been one of my all time favourites.i cant help being moved to tears everytime i watch it.if anyone has any site displaying the pictures of the real zubeida,pls pls pls post the link here.