March 25, 2013

They can't all be masterpieces

I don't want to dwell too much on the hot mess that is MF Husain's Gaja Gamini.  I have not spared the movie in my new review on Filmi Geek, and you can go read it over there.

Here at Sounds Like Power, the focus is on Shabana Azmi.  I can only guess that it is respect for MF Husain that led her (and other actors of similar stature) to sign on to this project.  I wonder if she had seen the script or understood Husain's so-called vision.  The movie is regressive, objectifying claptrap masquerading unconvincingly as feminist empowerment.  It's utter nonsense. 

However, it is only two hours long, is full of Madhuri Dixit looking gorgeous, has some very nice music, and is probably worth sitting through for the Shabana Azmi completist (if there happens to be another such in the world, besides myself).  After all, Shabana ca. 2000 may be the most gorgeous Shabana there is.

Sigh.  Shabana ji gets to carry a lantern and look fierce with Farida Jalal.

And, she gets to display some delightfully WTFish costuming while delivering the film's torturous final speech.
So, all right.  It's not as painful as Son of the Pink Panther, which this devoted fan also sat through in the name of Shabana-pyaar.  But it comes with stern, graphic warnings:  This film may induce the flinging of items at the screen accompanied by plaintive wails of "Why, Shabana ji, why?"

January 13, 2013

Recent Filmi Geek reviews of Shabana Azmi movies

In recent months I've added a few more reviews of Shabana Azmi movies to the archives at Filmi Geek

  • Matru ki Bijlee ka Mandola (2013) - Vishal Bhardwaj's latest, playing in theaters at the time of this writing.  This is an absolute must-see for any Shabana Azmi fan.  If you liked her character in Loins of Punjab Presents, the corrupt minister she plays in this movie will delight you.  She chews the scenery with obvious relish and is just hilarious to watch.  I could watch Shabana Azmi all day in this kind of role.
  • Namkeen (1982) - My review of this touching Gulzar movie gave short shrift to Shabana ji; there was just so much to say about other facets of the movie.  Shabana ji plays a mute character with a penchant for poetry, and her performance is touching, with funny moments.  Late in the movie, however, it turns tragic and disturbing.  This is an excellent movie that's worth seeing with or without the draw of Shabana ji.
  • Chor sipahee (1977) - There is always a perverse sort of WTFery in Shabana Azmi's earliest masala roles, before her persona as a mature actor was fully formed.  As with most masala movies of its era, Shabana Azmi and the other female stars of this movie are underutilized.  She does have a few hilarious scenes early in the movie where she outsmarts Vinod Khanna's character.  She also gets an excellent qawwali (link embedded in the review).
As always, you can find links to my reviews of every Shabana Azmi movie I have ever seen in the column to the right.