About Silver Ambrosia

Silver Ambrosia is a bookworm and filmbuff, who uses this blog primarily as a place to vent and discuss texts, films and issues which, she believes, do not receive the attention or appreciation they merit. Basically, she aims to bring to light and convey her perspective on neglected, insufficiently understood, or otherwise underrated cultural texts and artifacts. However, the blog is not exclusively devoted to all things underrated. It is also just a place where Silver puts down her thoughts on the things which interest her.

20 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. veerbhadra
    Mar 26, 2014 @ 19:11:03

    i used to think that i was the only one who could love and see pakeezah countless times for its subtlty and YES! THE RAAJ KUMAR!words are not enough to describe his strong,manly, personna…….ye meri panah mein hai(when asked by his grandfather about sahibjaan)….his politeness(ittafaqan aapke compartment mein aa gaya…. aap so rahi thi..muaaf kijiyega)..and so many….i m yet to see any indian male actor with such a strong and commanding presence as that of salim khan(raaj kumar) of pakeezah…this movie forces me to think of rehabilition of sahibjaan at any cost…unison with her lover….forces me to think of so many sahibjaan who await their salim..ek tamanna raat bhar mom ban ke pighalti rahti hai…ek subah ke intzaar mein


  2. veerbhadra
    Mar 29, 2014 @ 18:05:00

    watching TERE GHAR KE SAAMNE featuring nutan-dev anand is always fun and mood elevating.while nutan is very expressive of her feelings(she pens down her feelings” agar tum yahan shimla mein hote to bohot accha lagta”),dev anand is equally chivalrous and funny and treads a very delicate situation involving his parents and and his love interests’ parents.the scene where both climb up qutub minar is especially worth watching where she is “not sure of reluctance” to his advances and yet never admitiing,rather softly distancing and he is persistent….pure romance


    • silverambrosia
      Mar 30, 2014 @ 05:04:06

      I really like ‘Tere Ghar ke Samne’ as well. It’s a very different sort of film though, a lighthearted romantic comedy, difficult to compare with ‘Pakeezah’ in terms of the genre. ‘Dil ka Bhavr kare pukar’ is a very nice song, and Dev was quite charming in the film. A small quibble with a film I otherwise really enjoyed: throughout the movie I was wondering how Dev Anand was going to get out of this tricky situation; ‘how’s he going to pull this off?’ I kept thinking, when both set of parents come to know the real state of affairs. The tangle was just resolved right at the end through that song. Too easy. Vijay Anand was was capable of coming up with something much more ingenious than that. One male protagonist I really liked was ‘Raju’/Dev Anand in Vijay Anand’s ‘Guide’ (a film I love almost as much as ‘Pakeezah’). Just the way he supports Rosie for much of the film, tries to help her, raise her self-esteem, and make her have aspirations for herself. Like ‘Salim’ he also, in a way, takes on the world for her. In the first half of the film he is pitted against a lot of opposition, and stands by Rosie. The film posits a perhaps slightly narcissistic ending for Dev, but there are a lot of things to love about ‘Guide’.


  3. veerbhadra
    Apr 06, 2014 @ 17:52:25

    Raju(guide) was lovable not just for his unflinching love and concern for rosie,but more so for his determination to prove right drought affected villagers belief in him.He goes to the extent to starv himself and ultimately die(read ‘nirvana’)to keep villagers faith.Last scene takes you to philosophical zenith where you actually feel detached from the world..For a moment you loath material pleasures and start emulating him.Sheer “divine”.Like PATHER PANCHALI, guide is the movie which redefined indian film making.Though former is still the movie which brings out tears.Surely from satyajit ray,india started speaking through the language of cinema


  4. silverambrosia
    Apr 10, 2014 @ 21:53:57

    I didn’t think the last half hour of ‘Guide’ was that convincingly executed; it was really the development of the relationship between Raju and Rosie, and the latter’s confrontation with her husband that held the maximum interest for me. I haven’t read the original R.K. Narayan novel, but judging the movie on it’s own terms (without reference to the novel it is based on) it’s a fantastic film. I liked Ray’s ‘Pather Panchali’ but I think we had some truly excellent mainstream “commercial” films such as ‘Guide’, ‘Ganga Jumna’, ‘Pakeezah’ and ‘Mughal e Azam’ which were by no means less than Ray’s output…In fact I would say they were better films in terms of the impact they had on me (they were stellar in terms of writing, direction and performances). In ‘Pakeezah’ it wasn’t consistently great writing per se (the first half of the film does drag somewhat, though there are some great scenes and exchanges between the characters later on) but rather the confluence of several elements which go towards the creation of a certain mood and atmosphere. Kamal Amrohi’s idiom in ‘Pakeezah’ is perhaps in some respects similar to Ray’s, but you do have highly dramatic scenes as well (a sort of deliberate interspersion of minimalism and high drama).These mainstream Hindi films do not necessarily translate that well for international audiences, but all four of these films were brilliant in several respects, including their fabulous music. I’ve always found the ‘commercial’/’art’ cinema divide to be pretty tenuous anyways.


  5. veerbhadra
    Apr 12, 2014 @ 16:56:01

    Guide will never be guide without its last sermon(last half hour) however it might sound unaesthetic and unconvincing.Or may be i forget to do autopsy of the movie when i m immersed in it.Ganga jamuna and mugle azam were good movies though i can hardly put them in genre of pakeezah,guide and pather…ganga jamuna was earthy though mother india was far more involving..and mugle azam was more about opulence and madhubala looked jaded even if scene didn’t require.the divide between commercial and art is rather a film maker’s percepton as the former is solely made for earning money(main motive) and the latter for entertainment(personal satisfaction),but they may overlap as an art movie may become a commercial success and a commercial might attract critical acclaim.


  6. silverambrosia
    Apr 13, 2014 @ 17:52:03

    If the viewer finds something insufficiently convincing then they won’t become immersed in it. It’s not a question of ‘doing an autopsy’ on the film. How is ‘Ganga Jumna’ in a different category from ‘Pakeezah’ or ‘Guide’? All of them engage in serious commentary on important social justice issues.They are all didactic films, and yet their artistic merit and effectiveness is not compromised by their identifiable moral positioning. ‘Mughal e Azam’ is a different sort of film, but it transcends categorisation as a mere costume drama because of the excellence of the writing. The literary quality of the script ensures that the film amounts to something more than mere spectacle. The aims of Ray in ‘Pather Panchali’ seem to be slightly different from these other film-makers, in that the film seems to be more impressionistic and less about conveying a particular moral or social vision. About ‘Mother India’ being more engaging than ‘Gunga Jumna’ that is a matter of individual opinion. I think ‘Ganga Jumna’ is the superior film, but you are free to disagree. I thought Madhubala looked very beautiful in Mughal-e-Azam (certainly in the colour portions of the original version). See her in the song ‘Jab Raat hai Aisi Matwali’. The ‘art’/’commercial’ cinema divide is a formal one. In reality it isn’t difficult to find pretentious art films which have little to recommend themselves and take a considerable toll on the viewer’s patience, and highly creative and intelligent mainstream commercial films which have an interesting point to make, and cause the viewer to see things in a different light. Of course you also have some good ‘art films’ and many very trashy mainstream ‘commercial’ films (particularly in the Indian context). But I prefer to look at the film on its own merits, irrespective of the ‘art’/’commercial’ label attached.


  7. vicharak1
    Jul 28, 2014 @ 04:07:27

    Gaurang G. Vaishnav: I am curious to know what you think of Jis Desh mein Ganga Bahati Hai. That film was contemporary of Ganga-Jamuna and I like both of them immensely. Thank you.


  8. silverambrosia
    Jul 31, 2014 @ 15:11:02

    Have yet to see ‘Jis Desh Mein Ganga Bahti hai’.


  9. Syed Ahmed Shah.
    Aug 24, 2014 @ 15:48:23

    It is by accident I stumbled upon your blog; but your translation from snatches of Mughal – e – Azam took my breath away. It is not s often people encounter such fathful yet silky rendering of Urdu into English. You are awesome.


  10. silverambrosia
    Aug 25, 2014 @ 12:30:51

    Thanks 🙂


  11. veerbhadra
    Aug 08, 2015 @ 19:13:35

    Recently I watched after a long time”Sagina mahato” starring dilip kumar ,saira bano & others.the film was first made in bengali(1970) &hindi version was made four yrs later.The film is worth watching,entertaining with mix of masala,song(saala main to sahab ban Gaya)dance,drama &emotion.What captured my imagination most was the story & screenplay.The film predates to early 40’s in tea gardens(siliguri,Darjeeling)and highlights the tussle b/n owners and workers(which we ‘ve seen in quite number of movies).ENTER the trade union leaders.They are armed,hold kangaroo courts(in jungles),prepare chargsheet,make arguments,pretend of giving accused a hearing,pass verdict and execute then and there.These people are very well educated,ever antiestablishment,always believing that “power flows from the barrel of the gun”.well you guessed it right.The director was pointing towards the menace of Naxalism.kudos to the director’s narrative& boldness for being so politically “incorrect”.This issue is so burning!we witness it so often. And we ‘ve seen scores of intellectuals,writers,academicians,human rights activists,lawyers,and student unions of very renowned universities who wholeheartedly support and many times propagate their ideology and so called “cause”.the director of movie “tapan sinha” really deserves accolades for such a classic


  12. silverambrosia
    Aug 09, 2015 @ 22:44:22

    I haven’t seen the film and don’t really know that much about Naxalism and it’s ramifications in India…perhaps I should watch it.


  13. Abbas
    Sep 21, 2015 @ 18:47:54

    I do not know how I ended up on this site, but glad I did.
    Sensitive, insightful analysis and commentary, crossing cultural boundaries into pure humanism. You will go far.


  14. silverambrosia
    Sep 22, 2015 @ 17:49:04

    that’s a really nice compliment. thanks 🙂


  15. Mohan Naik
    Feb 27, 2016 @ 19:41:33

    Like Abbas, I ended up here via a round about route, I suppose while looking for more on Pakeezah. While I dont think I have ever watched that film completely at one stretch, I have watched it several times – various pieces at a time (and enjoying each of those ventures). I probably developed that style to overcome the problem of slower pace of older films (I think). Anyway coming to the point, yes I found your articles great reads – as I am a big film buff myself (with a very wide ranging taste). Also, like you I had some shared tastes, like the nuances in dialogues, script, lyrics, etc. and RajKumar – though I am not entirely inclined to agree with your assessment of his ‘bad’ era – – – life is not just about seeing films that have a deep meaning or a social message. It can also be of just fun or style or enjoyment, etc. etc. So, for me Rajkumar held a special spot no matter what the film – as long as I could sit through it.
    Thank you again for such detailed interesting and enjoyable commentary on so many of the topics that you touched upon. While I am nobody special, I can say this much – that I have very rarely left a note on any subject outside of an article on Rahul Dravid.


  16. silverambrosia
    Feb 28, 2016 @ 10:57:49

    thanks Mohan 🙂


  17. Tina
    Apr 16, 2017 @ 09:48:53

    Thank you for such a thorough and exact analysis of Pakeezah that helps me understand better why it has stayed with me for so many years. In fact, Pakeezah was the first Indian film I ever saw in 1984, being a 18-year old Swedish au pair-girl in Paris wanting to discover the world in all its aspects. I still remember the huge impact it had on me but my interest for Indian (film)culture was left dormant for quite some time until some 25 years later all of a sudden I wanted to see it again. And miracle, I still remembered the name! This was the beginning of a very passionate period of catching up when it comes to Indian films and now I have quite a collection ;-). Having just watched it for the x-th time I wanted to read more about certain details and so I found your blog. I do so agree with you that it has been underrated when it comes to the metaphysical and symbolic depths of it. Although the visual pleasure is huge there is indeed more to it than meets the eye and thank you again for bringing Pakeezah out of the closet! I have become so infatuated with the way (wise) things are said in these films that I will start learning Urdu/Hindi (apart from the 20 odd words I know from merely watching, but they are mainly restricted to “love”, “life” and “problems” ;-)…)
    Keep up the good work, I will most certainly check out your blog again.
    All the best ✨


  18. silverambrosia
    May 08, 2017 @ 09:58:03

    thank you Tina 🙂 That’s fascinating, in terms of your background and sudden recollection of the film years later. Sounds like u love the film as much as I do (possibly even more)… sorry for the late approval. I just saw your comment now.


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