Pursued (1947)

Exactly a week back, this blog was celebrating the birthday of a favourite of mine: the gorgeous Mumtaz turned 70. Today, Dusted Off celebrates the birth anniversary—the centenary, in fact—of another favourite of mine: Robert Mitchum.

Born on August 6, 1917, Mitchum first began appearing in cinema during the early 40s (having already worked in an eclectic range of jobs, from ditch-digging, professional boxing, theatre actor and writer, to a machine operator at Lockheed). Although he is today best known for noir films (think Cape Fear and The Night of the Hunter), Mitchum acted in varied roles and genres. From one of the best submarine war films ever (The Enemy Below) to an unusual—and endearing—love story in Heaven Knows, Mr Allison; from the angsty medical drama Not as a Stranger to the hard-hitting expression against anti-Semitism, Crossfire… Mitchum was in films of all types.

To commemorate Mitchum’s birth centenary, I found myself in a dilemma. I’ve already reviewed several of his best-known films (not to mention several that are barely known). I’ve even devoted an entire week on Dusted Off to Mitchum. It seemed appropriate to review a Mitchum film: one of the classic noirs? Blog reader Hurdy Gurdy Man suggested Out of the Past or The Big Steal. I decided, instead, to review an unusual film, a sort of cusp between the Westerns that marked Mitchum’s early career and the noirs that marked his later years as an actor. Pursued is a noir Western.

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Announcing: The Eighth Guest & Other Muzaffar Jang Mysteries

A number of readers have been asking me when the next Muzaffar Jang book – the sequel to The Englishman’s Cameo – will be out. So here it is.

Muzaffar Jang features again, in this series of mystery stories, nearly all of them set in Shahjahanabad, the Dilli of Shahjahan’s last years as the Mughal Emperor. As the blurb on the back of the book puts it:

“It is the year 1656. Muzaffar Jang, that rare creature in Shahjahan’s Dilli, an aristocrat with friends in low places, is recovering from injuries sustained during his recent adventures involving two mysterious Englishmen and some reprehensible activities against the Imperial Exchequer.

Muzaffar’s bruised shoulder has yet to heal when he finds himself catapulted into a series of mysteries: An elephant in the Royal Elephant Stables goes berserk and kills its mahout – or does it? A scholarly nobleman – but, oh, such a pompous bore – is left a very puzzling legacy by his father. An artist at the imperial atelier is found murdered next to one of his works.

Muzaffar must pit his wits against treacherous noblemen and scheming traders, greedy villagers and lovelorn men – and women.

But who knows? Before the year is out, Muzaffar may just meet his match…”

I am especially fond of writing short stories, so this collection is one I’ve particularly enjoyed putting together – and they’re stories I hope you will like. The book will be formally released in Delhi, at the India Habitat Centre, on August 19, 2011 – but you can pre-order now on any of these online bookstores:

Landmark | Flipkart | Crossword | IndiaPlaza

And yes, there’s even an early review already published, on this blog.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

The Hound of the Baskervilles (1939)

My last two posts were related in a way common in cinema: the first was a review of a film based on a book, and that was followed by a review of a film that was a remake – in another language – of that film. So here’s the first of another duo of reviews, along the same lines. This film too was based on a book, and engendered in its turn a remake. And, to further keep up the link with the previous post, this one is suspense too.

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Ittefaq (1969)

Fact 1: Today, January 8, is Nanda’s birthday (mine too, but that’s a different matter).
Fact 2: Since one of Nanda’s finest performances is in Ittefaq, I’d decided I’d review Ittefaq today, as a tribute. Nanda deserves it!
Fact 3: Bollyviewer yesterday did an interesting post: a link to a youtube clip of the launch party of Ittefaq.

Mere coincidence? Perhaps.

And ittefaq, by the way, means coincidence.

Nanda in Ittefaq

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