Horrible news out of Calcutta today. I can’t really do anything to make it better, but at least I can put up a post in honor of the city today.
Calcutta of course has it’s own film tradition, going back almost as far as the Bombay industry. But I don’t know much about it, so I’m not going to try to honor it. However, there is also along tradition of Hindi films being set or Calcutta, and that I can honor.
1. I don’t usually like Rekha, I find her a bit too much in most roles (too much make-up, too much attitude, too much gesticulation), but she is used perfectly in this. As is Raima Sen, all youthful excitement, and Sanjay Dutt, all cheerful enjoyment.
2. That was a Vidya movie, even though she wasn’t in that particular song, and of course Vidya was the spirit of Calcutta in another movie a few years later.
3. Kahaani and Parineeta were both extremely female focused, one of the best parts about Calcutta based movies, whether it is the Goddess worship of the city or the novelistic tradition, they tend to have very wonderful and strong female characters. But not always! Here’s a Calcutta song with a very male focus.
4. Speaking of manly Calcutta songs….
5. Of course, Calcutta isn’t always that bright and happy. One of the all time great songs of the problems of modern India is set in the Calcutta slums. Guru Dutt visited the slums himself and took photo references, and had them recreated on a sound stage for this sequence.
6. Pyaasa was all the way back in 1957, and the most recent big hit Calcutta film was just last year, Piku.
7. Pyaasa and Piku both had a bit of a dark tone to their Calcutta sequence. But it is a general friendly and happy place, so I’ll take you out with Om Prakash as the spirit of Calcutta in Howrah Bridge.