Scene of the Week: Mahal

8 Comments
  1. aryan 7 years ago

    Both the scenes almost same but Ashok Kumar performance was better than Dilip Kumar..

    • Author
      sputnik 7 years ago

      Yes Ashok Kumar is better than Dilip Kumar comparing the two scenes.

  2. Ritz 7 years ago

    @Sputnik

    2 things

    1) I cant get over this for last 2-3 weeks – amazing song and direction. Each frame is amazing.

    Lata has sweetest voice (Dont have high opinion of her because of her limitations ..but that someday later)

    2) Which was that interview which you had posted of Ashok Kumar …maybe on the other site…where he had mentioned a scene of confrontation with his wife etc…while rehearsing….on tea table etc. Do u remember?

    Thx

    • Author
      sputnik 7 years ago

      Love the song and Lata’s voice in that song too. Don’t like Lata’s voice in her later year songs from 90s onwards.

      I think this is what you are referring to. It was on PFC by Khalid Mohamed.

      But naturally… Ashok Kumar’s acting instincts

      “Ashok Kumar – Dadamoni – would once in a while shoot off a letter, jesting about a certain performance or a film. “Lekin aaj kal koi heroine nahin achhi lagti,” he’d twinkle. “Hanh Rekha zabardast thi..aur ab sirf Madhuri Dixit mein kuchh baat hai!”

      “Have you ever thought of acting in theoretical terms? Do you have a definition for acting?

      No, no, no. I’ve never believed in theories, never felt the need for a definition. I’ve never halted to think of the acting process. I leave that job to the ‘intellectuals’. If I’ve followed any technique, it’s that of taking the scene home. I’d rehearse the lines of dialogue, plan out my body movement and repeat all this the next day on the sets. gumraah-1963 When I was doing Gumrah, B R Chopra told me there would be a scene with me sitting between my wife (Mala Sinha) and her lover (Sunil Dutt). They would be silent while I’d go on talking non-stop, telling her to hurry up with the tea and so on. For three days, I improvised on the scene at home with my wife. I drove her crazy, I kept on telling her to hurry up with the tea till she was ready to hit me with the kettle. I jotted down the lines we exchanged, gave them to B R Chopra. When my wife saw the film, she said, “Why do you have to make our private life public?” I told her, “Look, you’re paying me a compliment.” I’ve always acted naturally, in front of the camera I behave the way I would at home.

      But what if you didn’t get the scene beforehand? Our movies are notorious for haphazard scripts, for sequences and dialogue written at the last minute.

      I insist on being informed about I have to to do, at least a day in advance..unless it’s a small line of dialogue which is altered on the sets on the spur of the moment. I have to be prepared. I work like a baby. I’m very accommodating but I have to be fed at the right time. I can’t work with chaos around me. That’s something I just can’t adjust to. I guess like a baby I’m still toddling. Every walk, every role can be done in so many different ways. One has to discover the way the audience will relate to it best. Dilip Kumar has specialised in this, he always keeps the audience in mind – how they will respond to every gesture, glance, pause, inflection in the voice – and that’s why he is Dilip Kumar.

      Do you also keep the audience in mind?

      That’s not an obsession with me. I act without thinking of the thousands and millions who will react to my performance. I don’t want to be conscious of the fact that we’re all players performing before the public. Instead, I play from the heart, I talk-walk-think before the camera the way I would beyond its range. Sometimes the audience likes this style, sometimes it doesn’t.”

      “You’ve often used ‘props’ – like a cigarette has been your constant companion. The way in which you smoked on screen became a part of your persona…as it did for Humphrey Bogart.

      Bogart! My God don’t mention my name in the same breath..he was flawless. I wasn’t a chain-smoker but became one, it added to what some people called the Ashok Kumar-style. I wouldn’t pause while lighting a cigarette, I’d continue rattling off my dialogue. So a cigarette wasn’t really a prop, it became part of my normal technique. If the director wanted me to brandish a gun, I’d say fine, give it to me, let’s see how I can use it coolly. I’m not the argumentative sort, if a director tells me to do something I do it..except if he tells me to jump off a cliff!”

      “Eventually, I gave up the habit of trying to make the director see logic. The director’s supposed to be the leader. If an actor gives his two paise’s worth of advice, it’s misconstrued as interference. Thank the lord, some directors did agree with me..that economy of dialogue is so much more effective. I’ve calculated that, despite the crazies, in my 260-plus films, I must not have uttered more than 700 lines of dialogue.”

      Part 2 of the Interview.

      “Kismat (1943) is considered the prototype for the ‘lost and found’ films. Also as a pickpocket, the hero had a certain grey tint. Would you agree that Kismat continues to be imitated to this day and age?

      Of course, it is, it was a trend-setter. But then so was my Mahal (1949), a ghost story. And Parineeta (1953), a low-key romance which came at a time when action was in vogue. Even more than in Kismat, my character in Sangram (1950) had vicious shades. But women liked this kind of hero.”

      “Did the entries of Dilip Kumar, Raj Kapoor and Dev Anand affect your market?

      Aah, it was good they came. They were fresh, lovable, each one of them had distinct personalities. I remember Dev hanging around the studios in seach of work. Raj Kapoor and Dilip Kumar were terrific together in Andaz (1949). Both their roles had been offered to me by Mehboob Khan, but I was far too busy as a producer then. There was no question about my market going up and down as it does for vegetables and oil. There was place for all of us, especially because the film production rate was rising with every year.

      After India’s independence, did you detect any changes in the concerns of Hindi cinema?

      They became escapist, very escapist..the serious edge became blunt. The accent was on making big money. Producers became concerned less with quality and more wuth buying Cadillacs and diamonds for their wives.

      In this atmosphere, how did a director like Bimal Roy fit in?

      He was a good director, yes. I had sent for him from Calcutta since New Theatres had closed down. I asked S D Burman to come to Bombay too. Bimal Roy directed Parineeta for me but while it was being shot, he wanted to start his own production company. I felt a bit bad about this since he was supposed to finish my picture first. But he didn’t pay much heed to that, he completed and released Do Bigha Zameen (1953). So there was a fall-out between us.”

      “From your track record, it would seem that you shared a special rapport with B R Chopra.

      Yes absolutely. He had made a third-class picture called Karwat (1949), and then he came to me. I was told that he was a Partition-time refugee, he needed help. The result was Afsana (1951), a detective story. One day on the sets, I felt B R was being cheeky to impress the distributors who had come to watch the shooting. He kept telling me I wasn’t doing a shot correctly. The next day when I saw the rushes, I had to admit he was right. I liked acting in his Kanoon (1960), in which I modelled my acting on Justice Chagla. Gumrah (1963) didn’t have a great story – about a man suspecting his younger’s wife fidelity—but it clicked with the audience. I was supposed to do B R’s Naya Daur (1957) but I had recommended Dilip Kumar because he was more suitable for the role.”

    • Ritz 7 years ago

      Talaash the movie is more close to above song from Mehal than anything else people have written in reviews/comments.

  3. Ritz 7 years ago

    One thing is for sure – Talaash will have a inspiration from Howrah Bridge and a reincarnation angle like Mahal/Madhumati/Mera Saaya etc. Its less like Kahaani.

    Btw I am very much fond of Ashok Kumar’s natural acting than Dilip Kumar. But in above scenes there is hardly any similarity other than both are in an unknown place ….and I find Dilip Kumar at par with Ashok Kumar.

  4. Ritz 7 years ago

    @Sputnik,

    Something interesting for you. I think it would be better if you can post it as a separate post.

    https://youtube.com/watch?v=UI5HeLplxvg

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