'Anhonee ko honee karna hamara kaam hai,' (Making the impossible possible is our job). The line leading into the title songs of the blockbuster Amar Akbar Anthony sums up the magic of Manmohan Desai, the master entertainer whose desire to please his public made his name synonymous with success during much of his career in popular Hindi cinema from 1960 to 1998. In Enchantment of the Mind: Manmohan Desai's Films, Connie Haham delves into the director's work and analyses some of his cinematic signatures - speed, fun, adventure and delight, alongside a devotion to motherhood and a stance in favour of inter-religious harmony. His cinema is fondly remembered for its many catchy tunes and for characters brought to life by leading stars from Raj Kapoor to Amitabh Bachchan. Lending extra magic to this book is Manmohan Desai's own account of a life dedicated to cinema-a medium he wielded artfully to depict both struggle and an affirmation of life.
From the Back of the Book:
My plots are not realistic. My characters are realistic. You see, If I make the stories real, they're not interested in seeing them. But put those characters on a trip of fantasy! When I was kid I went to the stadium and saw Dara Singh, the famous wrestler who was in many stunt films. I imagined I was Dara Singh. I would go to the wrestling bouts full of arranged gimmicks
. There were challenges: 'Next Saturday I'll fight you!' I used to think if I were Dara Singh, if I had a body like that, I'd also hit ten people. Now, I like to make these people into what they would like to be aren't. What's wrong with that? They feel, 'Re, I could've been like that chap! I could've been like Anthony!'
About the Author:
Connie Haham encountered Indian cinema in Paris in 1979. Since then, she has written on Hindi Popular cinema for magazines and newspapers in India, France and the United states. Fascinated by Manmohan Desia's films, she dedicated in the early eighties to get the root of their ever-lasting appeal. In 1985, when the Pesaro Film Festival in Italy showcased Indian cinema, she was invited to speak on Manmohan Desai. In 1987, she was a consultant for The Miracle Man, a programme that appeared in the Movie Mahal series, directed by Nasreen Munni Kabir for channel 4 in Great Britain. Connie Haham has also written and spoken on the dialogues of writing team Salim-Javed.
She has taught English as a foreign language in Paris, France and Austin, Texas. Presently she divides her time between Paris and Austin, with regular dips into the enchanting world of Hindi cinema.
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