Sunday, January 12, 2014

Twinkle Twinkle Five Stars!

 This post is a part of the Miss Lovely Activity in association with BlogAdda.
The ‘Off-Beat’ Tag
We all read or hear about the ‘off-beat’ movies now and then. What exactly is meant by this term? In my opinion, the term ‘off-beat’ means any work that conveys an idea or a message that is out-of-the-box or is generally ignored by the society. Off beat movies are somewhat different from art movies where the focus is on factors like performances and aesthetics. Usually we perceive them as serious movies meant for high intellectuals rather they are movies with a different theme and massage only. They too vie for profits and popularity.

Off beat movies are different from art movies/parallel cinema (as commonly termed) that are made to appeal only to a few discerning viewers and often ignore the commercial angle. Instead, offbeats are the ones that carry a specific message and strong performances. For example, ‘Miss Lovely’ is an offbeat movie because it takes us inside the world of a particular profession in a specific era through strong performances of actors. I love watching this genre, for they are a far cry from the usual movies that revolve around love triangles, family or revenge, and are full of item songs and unreal plots. An offbeat movie presents reality and makes us think and feel about the issue(s) it raises.

This genre is the ‘soul of cinema’ because only such movies use the tool of cinema for social awareness. People get to see beyond the glare of high-profile sets and overdose of glamour and music. An actor is able to bring out the best in him only in an offbeat movie where performances matter more than their outwards makeup and glamour. Offbeat movies mirror the society and raise awareness and concern. Also, many times, they help in launching new talents.

Given below are five of my favorite offbeat movies that I have watched more than once, much unlike the over commercial jokes that are released these days.

NIKAAH (1982)
·        Director – B R Chopra
·        Music- Ravi
·        Lead actors- Salma Agha, Deepak Parashar and Raj Babbar
·        Main theme- Triple Talaq

Remember that old movie in which a hazel eyed Niloufer sings ‘fiza bhi hai jawan jawan’ somberly on a beach? That was Salma Agha who fitted perfectly in the role of Niloufer, a woman given triple Talaq by her nawab husband in an impulse. Nikaah had some very memorable songs including the evergreen ‘Chupke Chupke’ by the Ghazal maestro Ghulam Ali. It was truly an offbeat movie as it carried a strong message that ‘Talaq’ is a serious thing and should not be given in an impulse as it makes a mockery of the institution of marriage. It also had many other sub themes like the predatory behavior of society towards a young divorcee trying to make a living and her remarriage, and lack of support for the divorced and helpless girl from her parents. With stellar performances by the actors and Raj Babbar’s impeccable Urdu, Nikaah remains a memorable movie till date.

Plot in Short: Niloufer, an MA in Sociology, wants to study Journalism but is made to marry her rich businessman cousin, Wasim (Parasher) who is also a ‘nawab’. Already ignored by her workaholic husband, she begins bearing his domestic abuse as well till one day an angry Wasim divorces her by triple ‘Talaq’. A broken Niloufer shifts in a working women’s hostel after her parents avoid taking her back. She meets an old college friend Haider (Babbar) who helps her get her broken life on track. Later Wasim comes to reconcile. I won’t disclose the plot as it will spoil the fun of watching this interesting movie.

Some memorable dialogues like by Dr Achla Nagar like
“Jahan mard sirf zaroorat ke liye jaaye, wo ghar nahin kotha hota hai” and “maine aapko khuda to nahin par us se kam bhi nahin samjha tha” along with a stirring introduction “Kyonki main ek aurat hoon” won her a ‘Best Dialogue’ Filmfare award too.

Nikaah launched the acting careers of then supermodel Deepak Parashar and Salma Agha who, interestingly, won the best female playback awards for the song ‘Dil ke Armaan’. This movie had a nomination in almost every category of the Filmfare awards of 1982! I just love watching it. I hope you would love it too and I think Salma Agha never looked better!

Did You Know?
· This movie was originally titled ‘Talaq Talaq Talaq’ which was later changed to ‘Nikaah’ that means ‘marriage’ in Urdu, after a protest by Islamic clerics
·  The original choice for the role of ‘Niloufer’ was Zeenat Aman.

ARTH (1982)
·        Director - Mahesh Bhatt
·        Music- Jagjit and Chitra Singh
·        Lead actors- Shabana Azmi, Kulbhushan Kharbanda and Smita Patil
·        Main theme- Independence of women

Remember Kavita’s angry lament “a wife is wife is a wife” and Pooja’s simple and dignified answer “Sorry Inder”? You guessed it right, that was ‘Arth’ which means ‘meaning’ in Sanskrit and like its name, the movie describes a woman’s quest for finding a meaningful life after being dumped by her husband for a hysterical actress. Arth received critical acclaim for its subject and theme. Amazing performances by all the actors and a beautiful musical score made me love it! Another point is the simplicity of this movie. Devoid of long clichéd filmy dialogues, Arth is as real as life can be. The ending could not have been any better and the music and story are simple and timeless.

Plot in short: An orphan girl Pooja (Azmi) suddenly gets a jolt when her ad-maker husband Inder (Kharbanda) dumps her for an actress Kavita (Patil). She feels completely helpless in the big bad world and gets panicky. She moves to a women’s hostel and is helped by Raj who falls in love with her. Pooja gradually learns to stand up and live on her own. There, Inder’s life is made miserable by Kavita who is neck deep in her own psychological problems and one day kicks him out of her life. Meanwhile, Pooja gets something to which she decides to devote her life to. I won’t disclose the full plot here.

Arth is a simple offbeat movie that explores the dark area of extramarital relationships and the meaning of a woman’s dignity. It also shows how important it is in life, especially for women, to have an independent existence, and of course, something to live for. What takes years to build, can take a few moments to get destroyed. I just love this movie and the songs esp ‘koi ye kaise bataye’ and I think it is a must watch!

Did You Know?
·  Arth is one of the ‘25 Must See Bollywood Movies’ in the list compiled by Indiatimes Movies.
· Arth was inspired by its director, Mahesh Bhatt’s real life and was autobiographical in nature.

BLACK (2005)
·        Director - Sanjay Leela Bhansali
·        Music- Monty Sharma
·        Lead actors- Rani Mukherji, Amitabh Bacchan, and Ayesha Kapoor
·        Main themes- Education of disabled people and student-teacher relationship.

Remember Michelle and her teacher, Sahai, clad in jet black, trying to enjoy snowfall and rain? 2005 hit ‘Black’ was more than a pure student-teacher relationship. It describes the world as perceived by a visually impaired and deaf & dumb girl and her determined teacher trying to teach her all that he could. The role of a young Michelle was played to the perfection by Ayesha Kapoor (daughter of ‘Hidesign’ owner). ‘Black’ is an emotional treat and can be enjoyed fully when ‘felt’ more than watched. I think, this was the best role of Rani Mukherji’s life and made the viewers as well as critics see her acting abilities sans her glamour and beauty. No one could have played the role of Sahai better than Big B. Black is a must watch!

Plot in Short: Michelle, who loses her sight and hearing at the age of two, becomes a frustrated child. Her family finds it difficult to control and teach her anything. An alcoholic teacher, Debraj Sahai, enters her life and in his own ways, begins her education. Years later, Sahai is in an asylum with Alzheimer’s and is visited by Michelle who tries to bring him back to normalcy.

Black is a very touching movie and also explores the relationship of siblings. No points for guessing, it was inspired by the life of Hellen Keller and was set is pre- independence Shimla in a rich Anglo-Indian family. It is an offbeat movie in a true sense.

Did You Know?
·        By winning eleven Filmfare awards, Black boasts of an all-time record.
·        It was selected as one of the ten best movies of the Year 2005 across the world.

PAGE 3 (2005)
·        Director- Madhur Bhandarkar
·        Music-Shamir Tandon
·        Lead actors- Atul Kulkarni, Boman Irani and Konkona Sen Sharma
·        Main theme- Hypocrisy of Page 3/high-society

Remember the friendly Madhavi Sharma exploring the Page 3 parties for the newspaper she works for? The movie received a critical acclaim and I just loved Konkona in it! She did the role of a naïve journalist to perfection! This movie won several awards including Filmfare awards in best film, actor, actress and director category. It shows the hollowness and façade of the rich crust (who usually appear on page 3). It also shows how ruthless people can be, to grab opportunities. This movie pulls the veil from the loathsome high society and reflects disgusting realities.

Plot in Short: Madhavi Sharma joins as journalist in a Mumbai based newspaper where her work is to cover high-profile (Page 3) parties. Two of her room mates too have ambitious plans for their future but take disgusting shortcuts to fulfill them. She realizes that her boss is not what he shows to be; he lacks high integrity and is under a lot of stress to save his job. Sick of the hollowness of such parties, she joins Vinayak Mane (Atul Kulkarni) in crime section. However, things take a toss and she ends up in trouble.

I loved this movie; it is offbeat in a true sense. Like ‘Miss Lovely’, this movie too, takes us inside a particular world, we do not know much about. It is like a sneak peek into the ruthlessness and the unfeeling world of high end socialites, film stars, industrialists, models, cricketers and bureaucrats, their double standards, bored wives and delinquent children. Various sub themes have been explored too. I think, till date this is the best work of the director, Madhur Bhandarkar.

Did You Know?
·Unfortunately, during principal photography, lead actor, Amit Ralli (26 year old) expired suddenly from jaundice. 
·Page 3 won three National Awards!

DOR (2006)
·        Director - Nagesh Kukunoor
·        Music- Salim-Sulaiman
·        Lead actors- Ayesha Takia, Gul Panag and Shreyas Talpade
·        Main themes- A young widow’s quest for Freedom

Remember the cute Takia sans makeup walking slowly on sand dunes of Rajasthan? That was ‘Dor’, a movie that will strike a chord in every heart for sure. This word means ‘string’ in Hindi. The issue of blaming widows for bringing bad luck and their silent bearing in such situations is raised in the movie. The memorable song ‘ye hausala kaise ruke’ is one of my most fav Hindi songs! This movie is simple and realistic yet never gives a dull moment to the viewers. Full of twists and turns, this off beat movie is rather more interesting than most of the core-commercial films.

Plot in Short: A docile and innocent Meera (Takia) becomes a widow at a young age and finds oppression and humiliation everywhere. Zeenat (Gul Panag) is a young wife of a man accused of murdering Meera’a husband Shanker in UAE. She takes the risk to travel all the way from Himachal Pradesh to Rajasthan all alone for a particular purpose. Later, when Meera learns that her father-in-law prefers to barter her modesty for their old ‘Haveli’, she decides to kick all this oppression out of her life and walks away to her freedom.

It explores the theme of mindless societal rules for widows and freedom from such oppression. Dor received much critical acclaim and many awards. Critics spoke highly of it and I think this film deserved all the praise it gathered!

Did you know?
· The director, Nagesh Kukunoor played a small role too (of Chopra who lusts after Meera)
· It is a remake of a Malyalam movie, ‘Perumazhakkalam

Miss Lovely, an off-beat film directed by Ashim Ahluwalia is set in the lower depths of Bombay’s “C” grade film industry. It follows the devastating story of two brothers who produce sex horror films in the mid – 1980s. A sordid tale of betrayal and doomed love, the film dives into the lower depths of the Bollywood underground, an audacious cinema with baroque cinemascope compositions, lurid art direction, wild background soundtracks, and gut-wrenching melodrama. Miss Lovely is scheduled for commercial release on 17 January 2014.
You can check the trailer of the film 

Did You Know?
·The film’s soundtrack has rare work of famous Italian composers-Egisto Macchi and Piero Umiliani.
· Miss Lovely competed in the 'Un Certain Regard' section at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. The film has since screened at numerous film festivals including the 'Toronto International Film Festival' and 'International Film Festival Rotterdam' and has won various awards in India and abroad.

 This post is a part of the Miss Lovely Activity in association with BlogAdda.


  1. DOR was one exceptional movie. Now waiting for Miss Lovely!

    1. Hi Red

      yes, I just love it esp that song 'ye hausla'..superb!

  2. Nice description.....I also like off beat movies and can add to the list many..Katha,Ankur, Rajnignadha, Aamras,..

    1. Renu

      Thanks a lot! yes, all these movies are awesome too :)

  3. Creatively done! All the best for the contest :)

    1. Hi Tarang

      I am glad you liked the post! Thanks a ton! :)

  4. black was in my list too
    U mentioned few old movies which made this post unique :)

    1. Hi Afshan

      Yes, same pinch!
      Thanks a lot!!

  5. I have not seen any of these but I can't wait to check out some Indian movies! Thanks so much for the recommendations, Ankita!

    1. HI Katrin

      Yes, please do check out these movies esp. 'Arth'. You won't be disappointed, I am sure.

      Thanks! :)

  6. Nice description!! And you have included some great movies in the list. Liked the post a lot

    1. Hi Shrikant

      Thanks a ton! I am very happy that you liked this post :D

  7. very interesting post Ankita

  8. You've done some good research Ankita. Very interesting!

    I had no clue about this movie Miss Lovely. Thank you for informing us.
    Looking forward to watching it.

    1. Hi Mirage

      Thanks a ton! I am so happy that you liked this post :D

      Ya, I am looking fwd to it too!

  9. Khala BhairavaJanuary 16, 2014

    simply superb fantastic marvelous amazing,. really wonderful and lovely,. excellent,. thanks for blogging,.

  10. Hi Khala

    Thanks a ton!


  11. Yes, what you said about off-beat movies is true, they present real life stories and the characters are challenging and a chance for actors to prove themselves.

    Nice description of your favourite offbeat movies, I'll watch the ones which I didn't watch before. Thank you for sharing this post.

    Cheers!! :)

    1. Hi Sai

      Thanks a lot, I am really happy that you liked the post :)

      yes, offbeats show the very reality and also launch new talents.


  12. Dor, Black and Page 3 were all amazing movies. I have not seen Arth and Nikaah, it was released before I was born. But I shall torrent it today and watch.

    Hey congrats on the win! You deserved it. The way you presented the topic was exceptional :)

    1. Hi Soumya

      Thanks a lot! I am really so thankful to you for such a wonderful compliment!

      I am sure you'll love them! plz do watch :)

  13. Replies
    1. Hi Surbhi

      Thanks a ton! and same to you! I loved your post :)

  14. Hey!! So glad you won! A great compilation of must-watch movies! :)

    1. Thank you dear! Congrats to you as well!