With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013

With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013
With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

ACF 1300: WHERE THE GANGES FLOWS at MoMA

 Where the Ganges FlowsJis Desh Men Ganga Behti Hai
Directed by Radhu Karmakar
India, 1951, 167 minutes
Where: The Museum of Modern Art
The Lewis B. and Dorothy Cullman Education and Research Building 
4 West Fifty-fourth Street, between Fifth and Sixth avenues, NYC
In Hindi with English subtitles

A controversial entry in the Kapoor canon, this film (nominally directed by Karmakar, the studio’s cinematographer-in-residence) marked Kapoor’s final direct incarnation of his tramp character, and the first time he was not paired with the actress Nargis. Raju, a pilgrim to the river Ganges, is lured from his religious observances by a tomboyish (yet scantily clad) female bandit. Ardently pursuing her, he bumbles into a bandit encampment, where he attempts to convert the brigands into latter-day Robin Hoods. Kapoor’s performance is a constant question mark: Is he indeed a fool or is it a put-on, an act to win the lady through charm? While expressed in borderline simplistic terms, Raju’s homilies reflect Gandhi’s teachings on bringing nonviolent change to the countryside. In any event, the film is hilarious, and it is Kapoor’s cleverest use of (often charmingly raunchy) double entendres.

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