of love and muddy shoes and hard work


For the last couple of weeks, it’s been all excel sheets, phone calls and meetings. No, there hasn’t been a leopard in sight. On a commercial film, you would have a casting director, production manager, travel agent, accountant, and several, several assistants and personal managers. But ‘Kaphal‘ is a tiny, tiny film in comparison, and most jobs need to be done by Teja and me, as they come up. One of the jobs that really drains me of energy is rejecting actors, and I wish I had other people doing the dirty job.

On a rare evening off, we wander off to see ‘Tere Naal Love Ho Gaya’. We are so tired, we are sure that any of the more ‘illuminating’ fare (‘The Artist’, ‘Moneyball’, ‘An Evening with Marilyn’) will put us to sleep. At a party recently, Skp said, “When you sit in a car with a good driver, you can go to sleep, knowing you are in good hands. I think a few minutes into a good film, you are reassured that the film is safe, in good hands, and you can go to sleep. A bad film keeps you on the edge of your seat.” A young teacher and I laughed. She said, “I don’t think so. You go to sleep in a theatre because it is dark.” “And cool,” I said, “and your mind says it is time to go to sleep.”

Genelia does ‘cuteness’ with grimaces. They work at times, and then, you wish she’d look for a different expression, now and then. I liked Ritesh in ‘Bluffmaster’.Β  But here his hands and legs seem out of control. “You are no Salman Khan”, his father tells him in TNLHG. Yet a lot of him in the film comes via Salman and more than that, via Shahrukh. The stretching out of the hands is totally passe, particularly after Shahrukh himself makes fun of the gesture.

Teja watches ‘Daata’ in fast-forward, but I cannot sit down to it. I worry though about Prem Chopra being dragged behind a horse. Later, in ‘Blackmail‘, we watch Raakhee and Shatrughan Sinha rolling and sliding down grass and pebbles, and I squirm with pain.

‘Pal pal dil ke paas’ is of course, a favorite, though Teja laughs and says it is because it is so easy to hum. But it’s the background song ‘Mile, mile do badan’ that squirms its way into my brain. Raakhee and Dharmendra hide under a pile of logs in the forest while Shotgun and his men look for them. After all the misunderstandings between them, from their wedding night until now, and the consequent celibacy, they now lie next to each other, heads opposite each other. They start with caressing each other’s legs. Dharmendra kisses her bare foot, which seems quite ‘modern’ to me, as opposed to the idea of a woman’s place being at a man’s feet. Then Raakhee kisses his sock and muddy shoe. (No, no, I don’t envy an actor’s lot.) Then, they slide down against each other, until their faces are close to each other. Then, somehow he sits up and lies down beside her. The space under the logs miraculously changes dimensions to accommodate each move. But who cares, the song is sizzling hot. And as Teja points out, unlike any other climax song in a villian’s den.

Later, after the mandatory fist fight, and moral resolution, Dharmendra and Raakhee walk off into the sunrise. (Shemaroo however having tele-cine-ed all ‘day for night’ scenes as day, we move from day to evening to morning to night, in the most confusing way.) Teja says, “But what about Ganga Ma? She hasn’t been punished at all.” Ganga Ma, introduced as a faithful servant of the household, someone who has looked after Dharmendra since he was a child, had gone on in the very next shot to betray him, by passing on information to Shotgun and his associates. She is not caught, and we can imagine that she continues working in the household, a potential hazard for future times.

Sated at the end of the evening, I conclude that making films is hard work, it is much more fun watching films and talking about them. You can get in some popcorn and chocolates and cuddling up too with the latter.


  1. I’d been a little wary of watching The Artist too, fearing that it would be too ‘illuminating’ (I’ve been pretty swamped with work, too)… but while it IS emotional, it’s very heartwarming and sweet too. Do watch sometime!

    • Dusted Off, I don’t know whether I will finally get around to watching ‘The Artist’. I leave for Garhwal in about a week, and will be there until May, shooting my film. All I can manage right now, is bits and pieces of DVDs at night.πŸ™‚

  2. Ha ha.. love your description of the mile mile songπŸ™‚ Your observation is too good, and your interpretation of things, with genuine doubts thrown in, is priceless.

    • Thank you, Harvey.

      Despite all the work, I do end up watching a few bits and pieces, but watching an entire film is difficult. So, none after ‘Blackmail’.

  3. I was wondering where you were, and missing you!
    It seems like ages since I saw a movie. A good movie, maybeπŸ™‚
    I haven’t seen TNLHG.
    I often wonder how people manage to make films at all – it seems like such a long and complicated process, with so many uncontrollable factors that need to be controlled!
    All the best!

    • Thanks, Dipali. You don’t know at what an opportune moment I read your comment. I do feel like that right now, stuck in a complicated process, in the middle of a lot of uncontrollable factors. So your missing me, makes me feel good, and normal again.πŸ™‚

  4. The next time I watch a film I shall think about all your hard work, Banno, and you and Teja and all the long hours you are putting in. I confess to being hugely excited at being able to watch this process of yours, even if it is from afar….all the best for the next weeks and months…

  5. I have yet to commit the blasphemy of saying that Akira Kurosawa’s work puts me to sleep. I think he was a good driver. BTW, I liked Moneyball – it’s not *that* illuminating.

    • Atul, sometimes all foreign films are ‘illuminating’, even if they are hard-core Hollywood. Sometimes, you just want to have the oily, spicy ‘Indian Chinese’.πŸ™‚

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