Yaadon ki baaraat: classics can also be bland

Publié le 1 Juillet 2010

 

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                                                                                Oh my God, why are you saying all that!

Yaadon ki baaraat (Nadir Hussain, 1973) is a classic tale of revenge, where the good but separated boys who have been witnesses of their parents’ murder will reunite and pursue revenge on the murderers. It’s a not under 15 movie, presumably because of that violence, and I suppose the immorality which is described to be that of the gang of thugs. It features Dharmendra at his most feisty, Zeenat Aman at her her curvy loveliest, and the music score (RD Burman) is simply great: so it should definitely be more than a simple entertainment picture!

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Alas, it is very disappointing. The story is not bad, really; there is a good mingling of the pretext scenes with the compulsory revenge strand; but nobody acts – the actors are pitifully bad, even Dharmendra (above), who in spite of being sometimes romantically soulful, was often too stilted.

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I was never able to forget that Vijay Arora is playing the 70s teen idol (neither did he, unfortunately) and Zeenat’s little innocent voice is such a sham! The “rock and roll” scenes are pathetic. Well perhaps it’s because the movie tries so hard to reflect what the mood was at the time, and is so dated. I don’t know. For example, the famous “idyllic” scene where we see the 3 boys (among which a young Aamir Khan) embarrassingly surrounding their mum at her birthday, at the beginning the scene which is seen in Swades), reeks of amateurish complacency!  (see at bottom) There isn’t an ounce of psychological realism, not a wink to the audience! The only explanation I can give for the torrents of praise I’ve read here and there (a Facebook page!) are because the movie chimes in with the spectators’ youths.

vlcsnap-75825.jpg Perhaps the excess of the stylishness saves the movie, because everybody is really representative of his role: Shakkal, for example, is a “perfect” villain: his blue glasses turn him into a species of super model of the genre! The costumes on the whole are also a success; one cannot but smile at seeing again all that psychedelic colourful eccentricity. I suppose there’s a public for all that!

YKB5.JPG In spite of all the recipe formulas that stud the film, there is nevertheless a certain charm, a vague appeal, perhaps coming from that cry: “Bhaiya!” at the beginning, when Shankar cannot catch his little brother’s hand and is obliged to leave him on the railway track, while his last carriage enters the dark tunnel of separation. The lingering desire of needing to see that murder avenged, too, and actually seeing it (did anyone in Bollywood teach train-drivers to use their brake?), well, this somehow triggers a sort of “poetic justice”. And then there’s the music: both “Chura liya hai”, and of course the title tune “Yaadon ki baaraat” (Memories on the march) which is so infectious that it’s able to take the whole movie into its swinging verses. As somebody says on IMDb, “General advice: buy the soundtrack, not the DVD!”

 

Rédigé par yves

Publié dans #Film reviews

Commenter cet article

sunheriyaadein 08/07/2010 21:11


I second (or third rather) everything that dustedoff and harvey have said. YKB is aired so often on tv. Just 2 weeks ago, I was in Banglore with my college friends. We were sitting and catching up
on latest gossip. It was around 1 A.M. And I was also editing my R.D Burman special post. They saw my list and they wanted to listen to Meri soni . So I payed it on youtube and all of us
were commenting that it's such a shame that a film with such lovely music is so awful. Just then one of them happened to switch the tv on and this movie was coming on one of the channels - we all
ended up watching the entire film all over again - for the umpteenth time. No substance as such in it - it's too loud, acting looks so forced and inconvincing, and it's so OTT but it has lovely
songs - the only good thing about the movie. And the style...oh my! I enjoy watching it with friends and commenting on everything possible. We were literally rolling on the floor watching the movie
that night. And the title track - no matter how many ever times I see the film, I get goose flesh everytime the title track plays. I still remember my anticipation when I had seen this movie for
the first time.


yves 09/07/2010 08:45



Hello sunheriyaadein,


You are very lucky to be able to share those wonderful friendship memories with people you love, and it's great that your culture contains films that whatever their intrinsic worth can give you
such joy. I applaud with both hands! It's true that I, as a European, will have trouble connecting to your movies in such a way, but at least I can understand the fun!


thanks for visiting!



harvey 06/07/2010 22:08



Why I like this movie is because it brings back memories of summer vacation, listening to the old tape recorder, dancing to its tunes and maybe even shwoing it off in the evening to the elders.


One is just not supposed to get mixed up deeply with such pictures. It is a movie, where you can get up and get popcorn and chips in between without having to press the pause button. You can
converse with your friend on the phone in between, maybe even read a shallow book, write a facebook message 'YkB is an awful fim, but love it'. Discuss with your friends why Tariq only featured
in Nasir Husain's films. Is he the Uday Chopra of the 70s?


The above lines are sort of a working manual for nearly all 70s films with exceptions like Deewar & co. :-)



yves 06/07/2010 23:26



Hello Harvey,


What you say is a great confirmation of what I thought: you're right, certain films have a value which doesn't depend totally on their own worth, but on the period context in which they were
enjoyed, and they serve their purpose just the same!


thanks,


yves



Sharmi 02/07/2010 09:06



Hi Yves,


You've said what I feel. I've seen Dharmendra in much better roles (where he also looks even better). I never liked Zeenat as a performer but here she looks nice. Vijay Arora was very okay.


The movie is one crass potboiler (OTT).


The only saving grace are the songs (My favourites are Aap ke kamre mein & Meri Soni). Otherwise a very forgettable film :(



yves 02/07/2010 11:57



Helo Sharmi,


True, one "crass potboiler"! I like that, because indeed that's really what the director does, he puts all the popular ingredients in one pot, and makes them all boil together so as to ladle them
to the hungry masses! That's Bollywood's (and in general the cinema's) temptation, to which it succumbs so often: heat up the same dish, just adding a few new spices.


Cheers



dustedoff 02/07/2010 06:35



Yves, i agree with you about the stylishness of Yaadon ki Baarat, and about its great music - I guess those are the two best things about the film. I'm not a huge fan of Yaadon ki Baarat, but I
think I can understand why so many people are... perhaps a case of having seen it SO often? I remember this as being one of those films that was shown very frequently on TV, and even now, I think
rarely does a week pass without it being available on some TV channel or the other. I suppose when you've seen it that often, the flaws tend to escape your glazed vision! ;-)



yves 02/07/2010 11:50



Hello Madhu,


Well, in my mind perhaps that stylishness was a little OTT, but indeed there's a fun aspect now that you look back at it. I feel that Hussain had really wanted to give his movie an "American"
look, and it is this mimetic, subservient attitude (perhaps I'm wrong!) which I don't really like. I prefer the stylishness of Deewar, if you want, where everybody had those garish
clothes too, but where I can't feel any of that systematic copying.


thanks!



astia 02/07/2010 04:10



Thanks a lot for this review, Yves. I saw the film so many times when I was young and was overwhelmed by Zeenat Aman and Darmendra (over) acting! You're right, I don't remember even a
single scene of this film but only the colourful costumes and the so unforgettable tunes!!! Souvenir,souvenir! 



yves 02/07/2010 11:44



Thanks Astia for your visit and to have shared your memories. It does look like it that this film belongs very much to people's past! That's nice.


cheers