Friday, January 12, 2018

‘Reel’ Republic, 2018

‘Reel’ Republic, 2018

by Esha Sahor Lepcha on January 9, 2018
When we cannot decide upon a decent plan on a public holiday, we must know one thing that there exists a film for every mood possible and trust me, the experience is remotely exhausting. Let us feel the ‘inqilaab’ this 69th Republic Day and indulge in some ‘soul searching’ through cinema. While we are at it, we realize the strength of social issues and in the process we fall in love with revolutionary films which have helped build roads out of darkness and evil. Rejoice the ‘Reel’ republic this 26th January with the set of films we have picked for you.

  • Achhut Kannya (1936): 


You cannot give this one a skip. It is one of the oldest blockbusters of Indian cinema. A timeless saga of love and revolt, true to 1936. The film primarily depicts the atrocities of caste system and how our protagonists Pratap, a Brahmin boy (Ashok Kumar) and Kasturi, a Dalit girl (Devika Rani) fall in love just to part ways. Both the characters are strong and determined within, however societies take long to change and under the light of orthodox beliefs, the land gets blinded. The film has to be watched the way it was watched in 1936 and you will realize how futuristic it was when created 82 years ago.

  • Mother India (1957):


You cannot not mention Mother India when we talk of classics. This was not just a film but a harsh portrayal of how the society then took freedom for granted. Greed, detrimental life condition and a mother fighting the odds of an unjust rule. Radha played by Nargis is the hero of this film and one cannot deny the fact that Radha emerged as one of the most powerful lead characters of Indian cinema. ‘Mother India’ forces us to question our mindset every time we watch it. Have we truly created a better society for women all around the world? The day we get a unanimous yes, we shall rest the case.

  • Mere Apne (1971):


“Kitne Saare Chaand Ke tukde Geere hain Humare Aangan Mein”, quotes Naani Maa (Meena Kumari), the strength behind this directorial debut of Gulzar. This film had ‘splendid’ written all over it. Details about a society that had very little to make a difference for the youth. The film belonged to that time of turmoil, unemployment, self- doubt, politics, gang wars, elections, Laal Salaam and squirming under the pain of a life less lived. ‘Mere Apne’ turned out to be a critically acclaimed film, however created a blockbuster effect for the lesser known new age actors in the film. Watch it to befriend these tremendous characters and understand how it took us years to reach where we are today and how we can only get better if we do not repeat the same mistakes.

  • Mrigayaa (1976):


Yet another powerful depiction of the cruel caste system which is deeply rooted till date in the remote pockets of our country. This film won accolades for the grit it exhibited in cinematically handling a topic so large and political. Mithun Chakraborty’s act was gripping enough to land him with a National Film Award for Best actor. Redemption is the true element of Mrigayaa. The only land where we find freedom is in the movies. This movie will undoubtedly keep you glued to your seat this Republic day.

  • Manthan (1976):


Samudra Manthan has its own deep significance in Hindu Mythology and sets an example for us to understand the complicated process of churning goodness and better times. Our character Dr. Rao (Girish Karnad) in the film is an apostle of good deeds and social reform. This film is the closest we can get to the historic episode of ‘white revolution’ in India. How a man single mindedly brings about the uprising and encourages the uproar against the handful of corrupt rich lords. Manthan surely is a work of art and research and can easily be tagged as one of the most cinematic case studies of its time. Shyam Benegal indeed is one of the honest doyens of revolutionary films in India.

  • Aakrosh (1980):


This film questions the mere existence of humanity. The broader picture beyond Aakrosh is grimmer and uncontrollable. The powerful has always bullied and the downtrodden has followed. Aakrosh is an intense court room drama and it is remotely possible that there could be another Bhaskar (Naseeruddin Shah) fighting for a stone faced helpless Lahanya (Om Puri). These actors have almost lived the characters and have graced us with their modern age method acting. Aakrosh is a lesson and not just an off- beat film. It sets us on a journey of a young idealist lawyer who wants justice for a destroyed tribal man in silence. There is so much we can talk on this film and reform ourselves while we are at it.

  • Ardh Satya (1983):


How can we not believe in a narrative so real? It is impossible to turn a blind eye towards ‘Ardh Satya’. An honest realistic natural Om Puri and his presence on screen will keep you going till the end. This film has nothing over the top. The approach is minimalistic and so simple that you start believing the film. It is a cop story with all the fundamentals in place. The hero in this film is the hard working, sincere, lawful common man.

  • Damini (1993):


It was the 90s and not many films brought about a remarkable change. Rajkumar Santoshi broke the trend of loosely handled stories, jumping around the bushes and melodramatic plots. He gave us Damini. And those who have watched Ghayal or Ghatak, must see this film. It is a victory of womanhood and their struggle for a basic respectful life. This film changed lives and minds and lent its audience a strong voice, an opinion against the atrocities.

  • Lagaan (2001):


Lagaaan is the history that was never told to us before. International viewers were stunned to watch a commercial Hindi film with so much to offer. You take the characters home with you and feel proud for the next few days. An outright sports drama with splashes of beauty, politics, love, jealousy, humor, romance. This film is one of the best choices for the Republic Day.


You cannot finish the list without mentioning Rang De Basanti. A young film with shades of every possibility in life. You find characters you can relate with all across this movie and how their story unfolds and find solace in a timeless zone. Reflection of a dear past in current life, thought for a life beyond imagination, freedom to be rightful on individual levels, promise we make to ourselves; Rang De Basanti is everything but a drag.
As we come to an end we hope you will keep searching for films as per your mood and day. We love cinema, we hope you do too.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Bollywood- Ek ‘Aatmaa’ Katha

 Bollywood- Ek ‘Aatmaa’ Katha

by Esha Sahor Lepcha 
The technique of horror film making has always been an interesting topic to research on. It is one of the most difficult arts to present on screen and packaging the film attractively for the audience is an achievement in itself for the film maker. 

Films are the portrayal of the film maker’s thought process. But, what if one has to think horror? Bollywood have set examples of the funniest and the scariest horror films of their times. 


  • Kamaal Amrohi’s debut film ‘Mahal’, marked the successful beginning of popular Horror films in the Hindi film industry.


  • It is also immortalised by Madhubala’s beauty and Lata Mangeshkar’s first major hit song ‘Ayega Aanewala’.

  • The earliest ‘horror’ films in Indian cinema revolved around themes of reincarnation and rebirth. To phrase it right “bhatki hui aatmaa.”  
  • In 1976, a star studded shocker hit the screen and it was called ‘Nagin’. This was one of the most popular classic horror films in India.  
  • Most of the ghosts in the films are just looking out for revenge. 
  • The film starred Bollywood superstars, Sunil Dutt, Jeetendra, Rekha, Reena Roy, Feroz Khan, Kabir Bedi and Mumtaz.

  • Nagin follows the bloody revenge of a female ichhadari (shape shifting) snake against a group of people who kill her mate.

  • The English horror films became extremely conveniently available with the beginning of the eighties thus the Indian film makers had to think of fruitful ways to revamp the scenario of horror cinema in our country.

  • In 1980 Padmini Kolhapure played the possessed child aka Linda Blair in the unnerving ‘Gehrayee’. Probably the best of the ‘Exorcist’ inspired films; Gehrayee has a number of eerie sequences and an uncomfortable atmosphere.

  • In a similar vein, Reena Roy and Feroz Khan starred in ‘Jaadu Tona’ as the tormented guardians of Baby Pinky who is possessed by a spirit from a nearby Peepal tree.

  • Rajesh Khanna, the super star of the 1970s, takes on the role of a serial killer in ‘Red Rose’ during the 80s, shifting away from his lover boy image.


  • The horror film genre continued to remain stuck in a warp which saw films that were made on a shoe string budget, had amazingly awful special effects and repeated all the same people film after film. And yet the films had great entertainment value and at least offered something different from the mainstream.

  • The most popular names which believed with lot of conviction in such sort of films were that of Ramsay Brothers.

  • Some of the well recognized titles of Ramsay films could be ‘Saamri’, ‘Sannata’, ‘Purana mandir’, ‘Haveli’, ‘Dak Bangla’, ‘Shaitani Ilaaka,’ ‘Veerana’.


  • These films travelled along the lines of horror as well as kinky scenes of thinly clad women and sexual portrayals of characters. The films could pass the censor board requirements and they would express as much adult content in the frames as they were being updated by the censor board.
  • ‘100 Days’, was however one of the path breaking stories, which was about a secret, hidden under the heap of bones in Jackie Shroff’s life thus leading him to an unfortunate end. Madhuri Dixit looked powerful in her then frail frame of body.


  • Gradually these so called Horror films underwent a make over when South Indian film makers like Ram Gopal Verma came into the picture with his very progressive ghost story ‘Raat’.


  • The film saw the freshness of relationships and family. ‘Raat’ portrayed how the family stood by strongly even during the times of crisis. The biggest impact on the minds of the viewers was left by the newest element of powerful sound effects and the modern appearance of an Indian ghost.

  • Then, the story of a female psycho killer acted by Urmila Matondkar in ‘Kaun’ enthralled the viewers with the gradual act of psychotic terror.


  • The Bhatt camp, which came up with their blockbuster horror film, ‘Raaz’ set an example of a musically horrifying story based upon the life of an urban couple.

  • ‘Raaz 2’, another musically super hit horror production of the Bhatt camp, revealed a certain truth about not just spirits and ghosts but also delivered the morals of being unselfish and pure hearted.


  • Ram Gopal Verma has achieved the stature of one of the best horror film makers of Bollywood.

  • ‘Bhooth’ conducted waves of thrill and fear in the minds of the people whereas ‘Vaastu Shastra’ was an excellent example of a good remake of a Hollywood film. (‘Grudge’).

  • ‘Phoonk’, cast its spell on the audience and again Ram Gopal Verma proved his Horror.

  • 13B had set certain trepidation on the minds of the people regarding the idiot box resting in their drawing rooms. Never know it might just start showcasing some serial which is not just a drama but a tale being told to you with an underlying purpose. Madhavan faced his own horror in the film.

  • Therefore, Horror has always been the favorite genre of many and has always managed to catch hold of the breath of millions of fans who are glued to their seats till the end of the ‘ghostly’ movie.