Cabaret on Film – Then & Now

Pooja Bhatt’s much-anticipated movie, Cabaret has finally released on ZEE5. The film stars the Fukrey and Masaan star, Richa Chadha, in the lead role and focuses on the almost forgotten genre of dance in Bollywood – Cabaret.

Origin of Cabaret in Bollywood

The modern Cabaret culture has its origin in post-World War – I Germany. In Bollywood contrary to the popular belief Cabaret was introduced much earlier than Helen made it her own. It was Cuckoo (an Anglo-Indian performer) in late 1940s and early 1950s who introduced Cabaret songs in Bollywood. She performed a brilliant cabaret song in the 1948 romantic drama movie, Anoki Ada that made her the heartthrob of the then Bollywood. She went on to give memorable performances in Awara (1951) and Aan (1952).

It was Cuckoo, who introduced the 13-year-old Helen to Bollywood. They both starred in Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi (1958) and Yahudi (1958). While Helen continued her walk towards glory, Cuckoo bid adieu to the film scene after making a final appearance in Mujhe Jeene Do in 1963.

Throughout the 60s and 70s, many leading ladies such as Jayashree T, Asha Sachdev, Fariyal, Aruna Irani, and Bindu featured in many super hits, evergreen songs of Bollywood. But none of them could reach to the heights achieved by the vivacious and glamorous Helen. Helen literally rules the Golden Years of Cabaret in Bollywood in the 1960s and 70s. Some of the memorable cabaret songs of Helen are: Mera Naam Chin Chin Chu, Aa Jaane Ja, Jeena Kaisa Hai Pyar, Hello Everybody, Haye Mere Paas, Is Duniya Mein and O Haseena Zulfon Wale to name some. According to socio-cultural historian Mukul Joshi despite having a humongous fan following, Helen couldn’t really get her due.

Other than the Cabaret specialists many well-known A-grade actresses featured in cabaret songs such as Parveen Babi, Zeenat Aman, Mumtaz and Rekha among others.

Richa Chadha-In-Cabaret-Movie-2018

Richa Chadha-In-Cabaret-Movie-2018

Cabaret’s Present and Future

By 1980s and early 1990s, cabaret songs were replaced by other variety of dance songs such as Disco and Western. Eventually, cabaret songs faded from the Bollywood except for rare exceptions.

By the dawn on the 21st century, a new craze took over the industry–Item Songs. This marked the end of Cabaret in Bollywood. We can easily think of old Cabaret songs as today’s item numbers; though the stark difference between them is that they were a part of the movies’ story and were an integral part of them. While almost all of the item numbers of today are “forcefully fitted” into the films.

Now coming to the movie Cabaret, it revolves around the life of a Cabaret dancer Rosa and her struggle to live a normal happy life. The songs have been beautifully choreographed and give a feel of the golden era cabaret of the 1960s and 70s. Richa has performed extremely well and seems in place with her role. The background score is extremely well composed and goes in sync with the overall theme of the film.

Perhaps it wouldn’t be wrong to say that Richa Chadha has once again made Helen relive on the silver screen. It might be another dawn for the cabaret genre in Bollywood. 

Written By: Absar Ahmad

Disco Polo – Movie Review

English Title – Disco Polo
Direction – Maciej Bochniak
Country – Poland
Language – Polish
Releasing Year – 2015
Genre – Comedy

Disco Polo Storyline

It’s the 1990’s and Poland is free again. Everything is possible. Two young boys, Tomek (Dawid Ogrodnik) and Rudy (Piotr Głowacki) are decided to become the next stars of the entertainment industry, particularly the “Disco Polo” music genre in Poland. For doing so, they’re decided to meet the eccentric music manager Daniel Polak (Tomasz Kot), who incarnates by himself the music preferences of all Polish people.

Everything will go very nice when they sign the contract and a huge success is arising in their careers with their new band named as “Laser.” He buys colorful and shiny new clothes, drinks the most bubbly sparklings at nightclubs, he is surrounded by beautiful girls and even acquires a very classy yacht. Then he realizes he has fallen in love with Anka/Gensonina (Joanna Kulig), another artist of Polak’s music company … and Polak’s girlfriend too! So they start having an affair until Polak has suspicions of what is going on.

The film’s best essence can be concentrated in this moment, where Tomek has to decide if he loses himself to money and girls betraying not only his own manager, but the spirit and base of the fans who have supported him. Since there’s a political agreement between Polak and his partner, in which another music band, “Atomic”, should be always on the top of the list, Tomek should decide on how to balance the concerts and the complexes of being always the second-placed. “Laser” will find a way on how to beat those obstacles and demonstrate everybody the talents which can make him be at the top.

Disco Polo Movie Review

Despite the typical cliché of young people trying to acquire the American dream, with money and fame and taking the beautiful girl to bed, I think this film has something more to think about on. First of all, the desire of Tomek for being a better singer and growing in his career. Second, it shows the impressive hunger of success in Poland during those revolutionary years. Third, the importance which Polish people give to faithfulness and loyalty over all what I’ve previously mentioned. Fourth, it shows a kind of “Leviathan” shadow in some Polish minds in which there are any type of conspiracy theories, for everything, just not to let you be and enjoy who you actually are.

The film’s photography is hyper-colorful and the music is so vivid that it invites you to watch this production as a genuine belated jewel of Disco Polo, the 90’s Polish urban-folk music by excellence.


Photon 2017 – Movie Review

English Title – Photo

Direction – Norman Let

Language – Polis

Narrator – Andrzej Chyr

Country – Polan

Releasing Year – 201

Photon 2017 Full Movie

Photon Storyline

This very interesting Polish film starts with a single dot, a pixel, and develops a kind of history of matter, since the so-called “particle of God” existed, by its relation with the first photon. It has a wonderful overview of protons and neutrons and how they stick together and separate each other, and amazing images of electron movement around the nucleus. It explains with incredible molecular photography how the tension beneath the bodies occur while they come into contact. The film continues this sort of “history of matter”, explaining the chains of atoms in the prehistoric oceans and how living beings (without calling them as that) start to appear.

Then it explains some basic animal instincts as the sense of belonging and the necessity of religion and law in human beings (even showing with apes that “people in other continents don’t know the value of death”), through a mistaken only-biologist approach. The film acquires a new dimension while the scientist is interviewed in a very natural and human perspective, even showing some mistakes and anger in his behavior. The story continues showing, again with wonderful molecular photography, the marvels of neurobiology, neurophysics and neurochemistry.

It ends making a kind of prospective on how terrorists will have no sense to exist, how physical pain will diminish throughout the world and everything will be controlled by robots which can even make mind-backups, insinuating someday energy will beat matter, to realize in it’s final conclusion that in this just material absurdity, ignorance on behalf this scientific challenges is the best.

Photon Movie Review

This 2017 movie has won, deservedly, several prizes across Copenhagen, Toronto, New York, Sydney, Moscow, London and all around Poland obviously. The molecular photography is really worth to watch the film, it’s wonderful balance and contrast of blue and red pixels in it’s neurological part can make your mind blow out of astonishment.

Nevertheless, in my particular opinion, it fails in explaining the whole universe only by biological means and discrediting since the beginning all religious and moral perspectives. Watch out and be cautious with the extreme and bloody scenes of feti in surgical tables! In someway, due to this extreme materialism and mechanism, Andrzej, the narrator, feels his will annihilated. In this line of ideas … what lack of faith can do! Even colors according to Norman do not really exist, since they are a subjective consideration of the brain and only the brain.

The movie is thus, seriously viced by a sterilized trascendence in the message it wants to give, ending by a full (and fool) skepticism, afraid and contempted of watching the broad and total perspective and more conformed or satisfied with a closer, specific and atomic image of a “History of Life”, in which if hope doesn’t have a place, it’s worth of a neurotic and suicidal patient in a mental institution.

Reviewed by:

Jorge Isaac Veytia

JORGE ISAAC VEYTIA, is a Mexican who works as an international commercial lawyer in Berlin, Germany. His practice involves the use of more than six languages. He is a cinema fan since a child. His favourite films focus mainly on French comedies even he also loves the analysis of Scandinavian movies and kitschy Mexican masterpieces. He is also a true fan of Berlinale festival. “The Red Violin” and “La Soif de l’Or” could be listed as his favorite movies.

Stay tuned to read many more reviews from him. Follow him on Facebook.

Bollywood’s Best Movies of 2018

As 2019 is a few hours away from us; The World of Movies takes a look at Bollywood’s Best Movies of 2018. The list is compiled by our regular contributor Pooja Mishra and me. We have included only those movies that we ourselves have watched and feel that they deserve mention in this list.

Pooja’s 5 Best Bollywood Movies of 2018 

  1. Hichki

The film helped many in India discover a new term for abnormal Hichkis, Tourette. Before watching the movie, no one would have ever wondered that mere Hichki could be that annoying and turn out to be a strange syndrome. Rani Mukerji truly justifies her role in her comeback film by spreading a necessary awareness and sharing a beautiful social message about the neurological syndrome-Tourette.

The movie may not meet all the criteria for being in the list of the top bollywood movies but it has certainly met the expectations of the viewers and hence it holds a position here in my list of Best Bollywood Movies of 2018.

2. Sanju

Rajkumar Hirani, Ranbir, Paresh Rawal, Manisha Koirala and a new rising star of Bollywood-Vicky Kaushal, what do you think this combination of one of the most acclaimed directors and the finest actors of India can produce? I would say, nothing less than Sanju-the mega blockbuster hit of 2018. Though, like all other biopics Bollywood has made, Sanju was also deprived of some realities and facts but entertainment, acting, music and story reciprocated the missing parts perfectly. Sanju is the Highest Grossing Bollywood Movie of 2018!  

3. Robot 2.0

The super duper legendary actor of India, Rajnikant is indeed one of the reasons why Robot 2.0 has achieved an immense success, but the other factors in the film are also equally important.

The movie brings viewers’ attention towards a neglected problem of our country, which no politician has ever being heard saying about, neither the media has thrown the light on, and common people are least bothered to take any responsibility for. Using the medium of comedy and entertainment, the movie communicates a very vital social message which undoubtedly needs to be implemented.

4. Andhadhun

A surprise hit of Bollywood in 2018, the movie indeed is a big break through of the year for its lead actor Ayushmann Khurrana. On the other hand, for the movie lovers it served the perfect dish cooked with some thrill, drama and a pinch of comedy being its main ingredients. The story revolves around a pseudo blind singer, Akash (played by Ayushmann) who unfortunately happens to witness the blood-game and then survives a series of foxy conspiracies.

5. Badhai Ho

Badhai Ho, is a coming of age, low budget popcorn movie, that unexpectedly turned out to be a big hit of 2018 making Ayushmann Khurrana the Bollywood’s face of the year. Though it is a family film, it is not recommended to watch Badhai Ho with your parents or children, of course, to avoid any embarrassment. Who doesn’t enjoy a lightweight funny family drama; Badhai Ho has it all. To some it gives a good laugh, at the same time to others a nightmare. Well, whatever it is, in every sense it is a comedy worth your time.

Ayushmann Khurrana the Bollywood’s face of the year - 2018
Ayushmann Khurrana the Bollywood’s face of the year – 2018

Absar’s 5 Best Bollywood Movies of 2018

  1. Stree

For me Stree is the Bollywood’s movie of the year. The film is an excellent display of avant-garde cinema. For the first time in Hindi film industry, we have seen such a great seamless portrayal of horror and comedy intertwined. The on-screen presence of Rajkummar Rao along with the upcoming stars-Aparshakti Khurana, Abhishek Banerjee and the veteran Pankaj Tripathi is a treat for any cinephile. Shraddha Kapoor as the Stree has given her best on-screen performance till date.  The movies music and dialogues have become instant hit.

The dialogues: “O Stree Kal Ana” and “O Stree Raksha Karna” have become immortal in the industry.

The most astonishing aspect of Stree film was the rustic, antique and tranquil setting of Chanderi-a small town in Madhya Pradesh. It added a distinct charm to the movie.

2. Blackmail

A black comedy, most people failed to understand the gist of Blackmail movie. It tells that “once relationships are broken, they never mend”. The movie narrates the story of Dev Kaushal (Irrfan Khan) in a funny, often disgracing manner. Blackmail is not your regular dose of cinema, so please be cautious if you are about to watch it any soon. Also, it is a strictly “A” rated movie (in Indian society), therefore avoid watching it with parents and children.

The best element of Blackmail movie is its high-class acting by almost everyone involved in the film. For me, Arunoday Singh as Ranjit “Tommy” Arora was one of the best performances of the year in a negative role.

3. Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety

Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety is another typical Luv Ranjan movie. It has all that razzmatazz, mirch masala, latke jhatke and adult humor that are so inherent to Luv Ranjan’s cinema recipe. In his own words, Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety is a saas-bahu story with a twist.

The trio of Kartik Aaryan, Nushrat Bharucha and Sunny Singh is well supported by Alok Nath, who played a role opposite to his “sanskari” personality. The movie was a huge commercial success and had one of the best soundtracks of 2018.

In my view, “Tera Yaar Hoon Main” is the Song of the Year.

4. Nanu Ki Jaanu

Nanu Ki Jaanu failed to achieve its goals-to spread awareness about not using mobile phones while driving, value of wearing helmet even when you are going for a short ride, and how cow lynching has filled people’s lives (especially butcher community) with fear even when they are not doing anything wrong. However, it turned out good to watch cinema ‘in patches’.

Abhay Deol’s acting and movie’s background score were memorable. The movie was a box office flop, but I am still adding it to my list of Best Bollywood Movies of 2018 because of Abhay Deol and the noble intentions of its Director, Faraz Haider.

5. Batti Gul Meter Chalu

It was difficult for me to chose only 5 movies out so many that I have seen this year. Therefore, I had to give preference to movies that had social message in it. Batti Gul Meter Chalu is one such film that is set in Uttarakhand and takes up the common but neglected issue of inflated electricity bills in rural/small cities of India.

The movie had some great picturesque locations, soothing music and great acting by all the cast. My favorite was Shahid Kapoor, he absolutely nailed it with his witty dialogues and aggressive body language. Batti Gul Meter Chalu was not a huge commercial success but still managed to grab people and critics’ attention.

So, here was our Best Movies of 2018 that Bollywood offered us. Other than the 10 movies mentioned in the article, we would love to tell about some good movies that couldn’t make it to our list. Some notable movies of 2018 that couldn’t feature in our list are: Padman, Karwaan, Tumbbad, October, Simmba, and Gold.

Written by Pooja Mishra & Absar Ahmad

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