Blossom has copies of both Apollo’s Song and Ode to Kirihito, two Osamu Tezuka classics being reprinted by Vertical books, with snazzy cover designs by Chip Kidd and a very very readable English translation. I had bought Kirihito when I was in the US, and was just about to order Apollo’s Song, when a friend called up to inform me about its availability in Bangalore. He also went to the trouble of buying it for me and sending it through someone who was travelling to Hyderabad, and as a result – new Tezuka book for me to read. Yes! 541 pages of Tezuka goodness! Though I honestly hope that people aren’t buying this book for their kids – its dipped in mature themes, I see loads of cartoon nudity as I flip through the book, and the opening sequence is bizarre look at human reproduction.
The next Tezuka offering by Vertical is another 600+ tome called MW, available for pre-order on Amazon. It’s due for release in the US in November. Am I getting it? You betcha!
The other item on the pile is an Indo-Russian production which I bought because (a) I remember being totally floored by the movie when I saw it as a kid and (b) It was available for half-price at a Planet M sale. Bless you, Indian DVD companies, for understanding the necessity of price cuts in your offerings. I bought and watched Raghu Romeo on the same day and would have also bought Benegal’s Junoon, but I got into an argument with the salesman. The MRP had been slashed from 350 Rs to 199 Rs, and then there was a 50% discount. The salesman had put the discount on the original price, not the revised MRP, and no amount of cajoling would make him budge. The hell with it, I will just buy Junoon some other time.
About Ali Baba Aur Chalis Chor – I remember very vividly the innovative design of the “Open sesame” cave, which showed a waterfall flowing in reverse and the cave opening in the cliff. When I watched the opening sequence again today morning, it was surprising how well the scene still holds up today in terms of SFX. Does not look cheesy. The other thing I noticed was the proliferation of Russian actors – and except for the well-known Indian artistes, everybody else seems to speaking in Russian, with the Hindi lines dubbed on. So it was a bilingual production! Most of the production crew was also two-fold, one Indian cameraman and a Russian one, two directors, two production designers – I am keeping an eye out for the other Indo-Russian fantasy film I know of – Ajooba, which I remember was a turkey the first time I saw it, but I don’t mind seeing it again. The scene where Sonam ( playing an Arabian princess ) puts a miniaturized Rishi Kapoor in her blouse deserves an award in itself. Did I just type that? Yes, I just typed that.