Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Guide is Good, Guide is Great (1965)

As soon as Guide ended, I wanted to hit "play" and watch the whole thing all over again. It was just that good (And had it not been 2 a.m., I just might have done so!).

I couldn't resist this photo of Waheeda any longer; I'd seen it in practically every book I've read on Bollywood. Sigh, time to watch the movie about the woman who leaves her husband for Dev Anand and becomes a dancer, I told myself. If you're gonna twist my arm, that is. ;)

While I thought the film had a rather slow beginning, everything was all good once Waheeda started dancing and Dev started...well, falling in love with Waheeda's dancing.

But so did I! I loved that this film gave Waheeda sooo many opportunities to show off her talent! And man, did she ever. She danced in the streets. She danced on stage. She danced when she was pissed off at her lover. And, when she finally got her hands on a pair of jingly new anklets, she pranced all the way home in them, unable to contain her excitement. Yep, all Rosie wanted to do was dance, baby, dance!

After she ditched her cad of a husband, Rosie became famous. Hooray! More excuses for colorful dance sequences and costumes. Which Vijay Anand was more than happy to provide.

Dev Anand, the tour "guide" who encourages Rosie to leave her husband and pursue a dancing career, was just as passionate about Rosie as she was about dancing. I loved that he never looked at her like she was "tainted", despite what family and friends had to say. Sure, Raju had issues of his own, which became more apparent with Rosie's success. But he never made her feel like she was less of a woman because she was divorced. To the contrary, he treated her as a queen deserving nothing but love, his love, which he was more than willing to give. Ironically, it was this pedestal he placed her on that caused him to feel inadequate, which led to his insecurity, which contributed to the eventual meltdown of the relationship.

The interesting thing about the breakdown of Raju and Rosie, as a couple as well as individuals (Which I didn't post a spoiler about because its pretty obvious; As Rosie becomes more and more popular, you just know its all too good to be true), is that I never fully figured out whaaaat exactly went wrong. Or whose "fault" it was. I just couldn't pick a side! I'll admit, I usually pick the woman's side (Team Aniston!!), but its usually the man's fault anyways, especially in Bollywood! Here, I wasn't so sure. The characters were so passionately portrayed that I felt the pain in both directions. On the one hand, you have Raju's growing possessiveness and alcoholism that would drive any woman away (Run Rosie, he's not man enough for you!!). But on the other, you realize all he wants is Rosie's attention (That cold-hearted, unfeeling witch!).

But Guide was more than just another Barbara Streisand-type tearjerker (which I am always up for, by the way). After things with Raju and Rosie hit a heartbreaking climax, Raju is sent to prison, and the flashback ends. Back in the present, Raju struggles on his own spiritual journey that brings him to an unexpected crossroads, equipped with "dream" sequences that reminded me of one of Raj Kapoor's films (I especially liked the whole Ego/Id conversation that appropriately displayed question marks in the background). Its this bend in the film that makes it unique, and probably something I will understand more and more with each viewing experience. That's what made me want to watch it again--I feel like I'll notice something new every time. And maybe even understand the whole thing a little better, because I've gotta say, I didn't fully "get" the ending (****SPOILER**** I get the whole concept of enlightenment, but...why Raju? Ahh, could it be to prove that everyone and anyone could be as close to God as they want to be?*****END SPOILER*****).

Whew! Such a long post already--and I didn't even get to rave about the the music (And was it just me or did I catch a glimpse of Shashi Kapoor in one of the songs?)!


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