The film revolves around Professor Parimil Tripathi (Dharmendra), a botany professor who falls in love with and marries his
sweetheart Sulekha (Sharmila Tagore). Parimil is a rather humorous person who loves pulling pranks. Sulekha, on the other hand,
is always in absolute envy of her friend Raghav Jijaji (Om Prakash). She feels Jijaji is simply amazing and no one can make a fool
out of him. Parimil decides to trick Sulekha’s beloved Jijaji by playing a trick on him. Jijaji is yet to see Parimil hence making things
a lot easier.
Like all Hrishikesh Mukerjee films, this one boasts of a simple story, a story that has the audience in splits. Dialogues by Gulzar are
the highlight of the movie, and those uttered by Dharmendra, Amitabh Bachchan and Om Prakash are frankly hilarious.
Rib tickling every time! That is one sentence to describe Chupke Chupke, a comedy that undoubtedly ranks as one of the top five in
Hindi Cinema. Chupke Chupke is simply lovable and is one film that demands repeat viewings. It is a true classic comedy and one
that makes sure you will have a smile on your face from the beginning to the very end.
Director: Hrishikesh Mukerjee, Music: S D Burman,
Starring: Amitabh Bachchan, Dharmendra, Sharmila Tagore, Jaya
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Jijaji was looking for a driver who speaks "shudh" Hindi and is from his hometown Illahbad. Parimil decides to become
Pyaremohan Illahbadi, a motor mouth driver who hates the English language and speaks only Hindi. Now begins the comedy of
errors, as Parimil and Sulekha play prank after prank.
First they pretend that Sulekha is not happy in her new marriage, then they put across the impression that Sulekha is having an
affair with Pyaremohan, the driver, and if that was not enough they get Parimil’s long time friend Suv Kumar Sinha (Amitabh
Bachchan), who is also a Professor, but in English literature, to pretend to be Parimil. But as it happens, Suv falls in love with
Vasudha (Jaya Bachchan) who thinks that Suv Kumar is in fact Parimil.
A huge carton covered with colored labels arrives on a boat along the Matla River
to a village in the Sundarbans. It is then piled on to a hand-pushed wooden van
and carted to a house in the village, chased by a gang of curious village kids.
What does this carton contain? More importantly, who is it addressed to and who
has it been sent to? The camera pans on the face of a bespectacled man with
slightly white-streaked hair, the one the carton is addressed to.
This is Snehamoy, and the gift is from his Japanese wife Miyagi sent in celebration
of their 15th wedding anniversary. Snehamoy and Miyagi have never seen each
other. Their means of communication is through letters penned with the help of a
dictionary on either side as both husband and wife are very weak in English. The
letters are voice-overs, the voices soft and child-like, the content as naïve and as
innocent as the people who pen them.
Snehamoy and Miyagi exchange 637 letters over 17 years of marriage, slowly
seeping into Snehamoy’s life, family and room in other ways – a Japanese lamp, a
wall-hanging, a transparent dry-flower arrangement, a collage of Miyagi’s
photographs arranged under the glass top of Snehamoy’s table and those longish
envelopes that arrive regularly. The carton of kites recurs in the film, like an ode to
the most unusual love story one ever imagined.
The Japanese Wife is a tribute to man-woman relationships mapped out over a
landscape distanced from all accepted and recognised notions of love and
marriage. It also celebrates the lost art of letter-writing by raising it to a level of
unparalleled beauty in redefining relationships. It describes a marriage where
rituals are self-styled – the husband sends the bride a pair of white conch-shell
bangles and the bride sends him a silver ring.
Aparna Sen’s film, a celluloid adaptation of Kunal Basu’s short story, sweeps
across the Matla River, scanning Snehamoy and his slowly growing family
comprised of his Mashi (aunt), who brought him up, and later, Sandhya, Mashi’s
friend’s daughter who is offered shelter along with her son by Mashi when she is
widowed. This small boy is a catharsis in Snehamoy’s quiet, introvert, timid and
diffident life, filled with the joy of writing and receiving letters to and from Miyagi, his
Mashi is not his mother but loves him as much as his mother would have, had she
lived. Sandhya is not related to him by either blood or friendship. Yet, she grows
on him, slowly and silently, her unobtrusive presence sometimes casting a shadow
on his unconsummated marriage to Miyagi. Sandhya’s cheerful little son brings him
tidings from his Japanese Kakima. He pushes Snehamoy into the beautifully
orchestrated kite competition. The contest becomes a war of prestige between
India and Japan for the villagers but for Snehamoy, it is an insight into a world of
joy and fun he has never experienced before. The huge Japanese kites in all
colours and shapes with strange faces painted on them, humble the coloured
Indian squares of colour, simple and small, dotting the azure blue sky with
splashes of colour.
(There are more kites in this movie than in the movie Kites)
The Japanese Wife is Aparna Sen’s most visually rich film till date. The colourful
threads of manja criss-crossing Snehamoy’s home and compound strike a vivid
contrast with the changing colours of the Matla River that separates the village
from its nearest town Gosaba. The river is an important character. It is the only
point of contact for the villagers with the rest of the world. It takes the villagers to
Gosaba that has a crowded market place, corner shops, telephone booths, and
practicing doctors. It is the only source that brings and sends the letters that bind
Snehamoy to his wife. It offers shelter to boats tied to the shore that Snehamoy
seeks when he is sad or filled with unfulfilled sexual desires. But when the weather
changes, it changes colour, character and mood, turning violent against the very
people it helps at other times. When flood strikes and the night sky heralds fear
and terror with its jagged lines of lightning, the river’s anger severs every line of
communication, including the lifeline to the outer world – the ferry service,
destroying Snehamoy’s hopes of hearing again from the very sick Miyagi, or,
getting the right medication when, drenched to the skin in torrential rain and
caught in a night of flood, Snehamoy catches pneumonia.
Miyagi arrives in a boat to the village across the river. Black circles surround her
eyes because she is terminally ill. She is draped in a pristine white sari and blouse,
as Snehamoy had told her in one of his letters that Bengali widows wear white
when their husbands die. But he had forgotten to add that they take their white
conch shell bangles off too. So, she still wears the conch shell bangles on her
|The Japanese Wife
Director: Aparna Sen
Cast: Raima Sen, Rahul Bose, Moushimi Chatterjee
Rating: 8.5 / 10
Final Grade: A
Sen keeps the three deaths – the death of Haiku, Miyagi’s pet pup, the death of
her ailing mother and Snehamoy’s tragic death away from the visual frame making
the tragedy all that more palpable and moving. The credit for the visual richness of
the film goes to cinematographer Anoy Goswami and also to art director Gautam
Basu. Sagar Desai’s background score, sometimes as if floating in from a distance
complements the mood of the film.
Rahul Bose gives his career-best performance as Snehamoy. He slowly grows from a diffident and extremely shy young man to a mature,
somewhat responsible husband and ‘family’ man who grows fond of Sandhya’s little boy and is intrigued by the quiet presence of Sandhya in
his life. His English pronunciation with its heavy Bengali accent – the ‘f’ pronounced as ‘ph’ – is grounded in reality. Moushumi Chatterjee as his
Mashi puts on a heavy dokhno accent and her talkativeness stands in sharp contrast with the quiet silence of Sandhya and Snehamoy.
Moushumi is wonderful in a character crafted against her grain. Raima speaks with her eyes, with tiny gestures, with her body and gait and has
little to do with speech. She is stripped of glamour and this makes her beauty more eloquent. Chigusa Takaku in her maiden performance as
Miyagi is tender and soft as she grows from a teenager of 18 to a woman of 35 wracked by cancer. She lisps rather than speaks. Her face is
captured mainly in mid close-ups, mid-shots and long shots, lending a touch of the unreal to the character. The brief cameos – the Ayurvedic
doctor who insists on feeling the pulse of his patient, the homeopathic doctor, the shopkeeper who gives away kites for free, the young boy
whose pride is humbled in the kite fight, the oncologist who is surprised when Snehamoy walks out of his chamber, are fleshed out as if from
The Japanese Wife is a film that grows on you slowly, much after the film is over. I would give it a rating of eight on ten. The two I take away is
for a film based purely on an absurd premise – a ‘marriage’ that crosses all conventions of the social institution, and one in which the married
couple remain distanced till one of them passes on. The Japanese Wife, all said and done, is poetry on celluloid.
Director: Nikhil Advani
Producer: Bhushan Kumar
Cinematography: Santosh Thundiyil
Cast: Akshay Kumar, Anushka Sharma, Rishi Kapoor, Dimple Kapadia, Hard Kaur, Prem Chopra
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2011 has brought in a lot of excitement. But one of the most exciting and awaited events of this year is the ICC Cricket World
Cup … Movies based on the world cup is inevitable … Nikhil Advani combines the excitement of cricket with the melodrama of a
family nok-jhok. This is probably a good way for the producers to make an impression in the box office.
Introducing to you Patiala House as a joint Sikh family, consisting of sons, daughters, ghar jamais and cousins, homing various
talents. Unfortunately, none of them could live their dreams, reason being the bigoted and adamant Rishi Kapoor.
Times change, people also change but Gurtej Singh Khalon aka Bauji (Rishi Kapoor) wasn’t made out of the changing material ..
The movie is about Bauji developing hatred against the goras after a horrid incident of his mentor (Prem Chopra) getting killed
under a racist attack … This triggered a sense of deep pride and Bauji started fighting for the cause of Indians residing in
Southall, finally making it an Indian friendly country.
Pargat Singh Khalon aka Gattu (Akshay Kumar), then a kid, knew only one way and that was his Baujiway. Puppet like, he
follows his Bauji’s orders instead of following his heart- being a pace bowler for the England Cricket team. Gattu, suppressing
his desires, is content taking care of his Bauji’s provisional stores. The younger generation of Patiala House, holds him
responsible for their individual sacrifices.
Anushka Sharma aka Simran, a chirpy and energetic young girl, along with her brother Zee, wittness Gattu losing himself and
with the combined effort of the entire Patiala House, gets him to join the England Cricket Team, against his Bauji’s wishes.
Patiala House, in every possible way tries hiding the truth from Bauji until the cover is blown by Gattu’s brother. This news didn’t
go well with Bauji which in turn led to him disowning Gattu. Soon the father realizes that his son was at such a stage where the
entire British nation is dependent on him for their victory.
Nikhil did a pretty impressive job on the direction front. The film consisted of various emotions in the right proportion. The
Cricket cast was very real with Andrew Symonds, Herschelle Gibbs, Kieron Pollard and the legend Nasir Hussain making special
appearances. The cricket scenes wasn’t as thrilling as Laagan or Iqbal, but it did serve the purpose. Manan Sagar’s editing was
good but could have been better. Shankar-Ehsan-Loy’s music was apt for the film, Akshay Kumar was very convincing as a
cricketer, Anushka Sharma, a natural actor that she is, did a brilliant job, not to forget the flawless acting of Rishi Kapoor and
Dimple Kapadia combined.
The film is over all an eye watering yet fun-filled family drama.