Z for Ice Station Zebra

Imagine you are in a submarine, you are supposed to reach the icy top of the world before the Russians do and there is a saboteur in your ranks in the submarine. Based on Alistair Mc’ Lean’s pulsating novel of the same name. The movie directed by John Sturges, produced by MGM with an all star cast headlined by Rock Hudson released in 1968 and was a decent box-office success that built on the psychological fears of the Cold War era.

Watch the trailer here:

 

Those who love watching spy/army thrillers and don’t mind a bit of rambling dialogue and old school special effects will love the movie though it makes significant alterations from the original novel.

The movie is a good watch on a rainy evening, with a glass of single malt and something spicy and crunchy to eat! 🙂 🙂 🙂

And with that dear readers this exercise in vanity, a race against a deadline and artificial ego-boosting on knowledge of cinema is done 🙂 Whosoever read my posts – thanks!

A shout-out to Miss Shri Abirami who blogs at – https://astrogogal.wordpress.com/ and featured me along with other stellar bloggers at the half-way mark. Thank you Abi!

Other leading lights who have blogged with great panache, passion and dedication and whose posts I loved reading are:

Dhivya Balaji

Rajathilagam

Mokkai Mannan VSR aka Gils the Great!

Kavya Janani

Nandhini

Kishor

Megha

Sylvian

Sneha

Good luck friends! Make a great May 2017 ahead!

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Y for Young Sherlock Holmes

Before RDJ and Jude Law made Sherlock Holmes ubercool on celluloid and Mr. Benedict C.; became a superstar on television and then to cinema, a movie came out in 1985. It re-imagined the Holmes-Watson friendship by putting them together in boarding school. Written by Chris Columbus, directed by Barry Levinson and produced by Amblin Entertainment the movie is a well-written and directed mystery.

We see the murders of prominent people, resulting out of eerie hallucinations. Who is the murderer? What have the members of the boarding school got to do with these murders? How does Holmes become the detective? Does he solve the case with Watson?

Watch the movie for answers! YouTube has scattered videos and dubious click-bait web-links – search for a good torrent. See the trailer below:

 

X for Mr.X in Bombay

In the 60s Kishore Kumar had a remarkable stint as an actor and worked in a number of reasonably successful movies that blended his comic flair and good songs to provide a safe bet for the producer. Mr. X in Bombay released in 1964 and was directed by Shantilal Soni starring Kishore Kumar, Kumkum and  Madan Puri in principal roles.

The movie has a bit of science fiction as we see a scientist creating a potion that leads to a death. Then there is a love story between the scientist’s daughter and the hero. Hero is eliminated by the villain, but hero returns and gets the heroine and the villain is punished. How does all this happen?? Watch the movie 🙂 There is an invisibility potion in the movie 🙂 that plays a key role 🙂

W for Waqt

‘Waqt’ means Time – a classic BR Chopra produced blockbuster with a stellar starcast, sample the names – Raaj Kumar, Rehman, Balraj Sahni, Saadhana, Sharmilla Tagore, Sunil Dutt, Shashi Kapoor. Directed by Yash Chopra, the movie released in 1965 and broke all collection records at the time. The movie starts in a celebratory mode as we meet a prosperous businessman Lala Kedarnath played by Balraj Sahni his wife and three young boys and there’s a classic song in true festive mood.

Then an earthquake hits the town at night and there’s complete chaos as everyone is separated. The first child Raju lands up at an orphanage, the second boy Raju is adopted by a rich couple who find him lost and crying in the streets, the last child Vijay is with his mother Lakshmi. Lala Kedarnath is a broken man and seeks to rebuild his fortune.

We then follow each of the young boys growing up into smart men – Raju becomes a brilliant thief – oozing charm and class and is portrayed with panache by Raaj Kumar, Ravi played by Sunil Dutt is an advocate/lawyer and his engagement is called off when his unknown parentage and religion comes up. Vijay played by Shashi Kapoor is a driver in love with Sharmilla Tagore Ravi’s foster sister.

The movie with brilliant writing looks at how fate/kismat – works at every stage and moulds one’s life and at the end all the knots are conveniently untied and Lala Kedarnath and his family re-unite. Watch the movie for Raaj Kumar’s brilliant dialogues, amazing songs tuned by Ravi and a stellar show by all the characters.

 

V for VanjiKottai Valiban

Vanjikottai Valiban – The youth from the Vanji Fort

Another gem from SS Vasan with kings, queens, princesses, fights, wars, brooding, evil villains and love, romance, comedy and swashbuckling sword-fights – Vanjikottai Valiban was a blockbuster. Inspired by the Count of Monte Cristo, the movie stars Gemini ganeshan, Padmin, Vijayanthi Mala and PS Veerappa.

Watch the movie:

 

 

U for Uttama Villain

The presence of this movie in this list may irk a few; but I believe that this is Kamal’s best work in a long time. At times, throughout the movie, I wondered if Kamal and Manoranjan (the character’s name) just mirrored!

The movie released in 2015 with Ramesh Arvind as the director. The story works with the film within a film concept and sees a superstar learning of his life-threatening disease, looking to come to terms with his past transgressions and doing one final film with his mentor – Margadarsi played by K Balachander in a brilliant bit of casting. This was KB’s last role and he died in real life.

There is a touching scene where Kamal’s son says to him, I want to go to the USA learn filmamking/screenwriting and come back and make a movie with you that’s believable and real. The theatre resounded with claps and it was a genuine moment of joy.

The film within the film set in ancient times sees Uttaman rescuing a princess from an evil king and incorporates an elaborate Theyyam sequence as well.

Urvashi as the superstar’s long-struggling wife really deserves the most applause and really showcases her inner pain as well. In real life, she has had a messy divorce and is struggling with alcohol issues.

Watch the film:

T for Thaneer Thaneer

As most of the southern states are looking at a disastrous drought and cruel summer, the situation in Tamil Nadu is at its pathetic best and the water-crisis  that we are looking at – we only have human greed to blame!

At such a crucial juncture, K. Balachander’s brilliant movie – “Thaneer Thaneer” – “Water Water” seems to be the perfect post. The movie shows the efforts of a village handling water scarcity and the people battling against corrupt politicians who seek to politicise the issue. Saritha gave a brilliant performance and the movie based on a play by Komal Swaminathan is ranked among the 100 best movies of Indian Cinema. The movie released in 1981 to critical acclaim and won numerous awards.

Watch the movie: