A to Z of Films Meme (K)

Everybody’s sin is nobody’s sin. And everybody’s crime is no crime at all.

K

Kinsey

Being from the land of Kamasutra, but living in the era of moral policing, Kinsey was like a breath of fresh air. Dr. Alfred Kinsey was the world’s first modern sexologist, and a lot of today’s knowledge of our sexuality was the direct result of his seminal work.Kinsey

It was a time when everyone accepted that masturbation was harmful, but did it anyway. An era where everyone accepted that missionary style sex with one’s spouse was the only ‘permissible’ sex, but engaged in oral and homosexual sex anyway. It was a society of hypocrisy and it took one intelligent scientist, who could be detached from sex and study human beings as a biological species, to openly publish that the Emperor wore no clothes.

Kinsey was an unusual and difficult man, focused like a laser beam on his research, blind to everything else around him. After collecting and studying 1 million wasps, he accidentally stumbled on studying human sexuality. His detachment was instrumental in making people reveal their personal sex lives in his surveys. He and his team of researchers interviewed thousands of Americans over several years and laid bare shocking statistics that showed homosexuality, promiscuity, and ‘non-standard’ sexual behavior to be rampant in conservative America.

The movie brings to life an intelligent but impossible man, often extreme in his ways, and makes us root for him. Despite the gay director making this film in times when gay rights is a hot issue in the US, it neither focuses unduly on it, nor is heavy-handed about it. Liam Neeson is outstanding in his sensitive portrayal as is Laura Linney, who plays the loving, understanding wife who learns how to live with this difficult husband.

The film’s final achievement is that despite the provocative and serious subject, it is a thoroughly entertaining film, with its share of laughs and humor.

KanoonRunner Up

Kanoon

A gripping courtroom drama, a psychological thriller, India’s first talkie film with no song and dance sequence. B. R. Chopra directed this off-beat film in 1960, at a time when a successful soundtrack and hit songs were considered a must in Indian cinema. The anecdote goes that Chopra was at a foreign film festival when he overheard someone remarking that Indians could not make a film without song and dance numbers.

A murder case where the burglar accused of the murder is defended by a lawyer who is the prospective son-in-law of the judge. The twist is that this lawyer is witness to the judge himself committing the crime. Though the climax seems trite today, the movie nevertheless entertains with good deal of suspense. Fine performances by Ashok Kumar and Rajendra Kumar as the judge and lawyer.

Noteworthy Mention

Koshish (Attempt), the life of a deaf-and-dumb couple in India. Read my review here.

Khamosh, a murder mystery ahead of its times in Bollywood, directed by Vidhu Vinod Chopra.

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  • Ah, I like your selection Mahendra!

    I often quote the Kinsey scale while educating people who are unaware of homosexuality or sexuality in general. I think the movie is made very nicely and has a good blend of theory, humor, ‘adventurous’ social behavior etc. The other movie I liked and was part of many scary dreams was Khamosh. If I remember, the movie has no songs. For a long time I was skeptical about houseboats and I swore I’ll never live on one. hehehe!

  • Mahendra, Kanoon is one of my favourites too. This was one of the few films where Rajendra Kumar at least made an effort to act. You didn’t mention Nanda, she had a small but important role to play.

  • JagChan

    Mr Mahendra,
    As you rightly mentioned, Kanoon was released somewhere in 1960.
    At that time Nands was 20-25 years old.
    In the picture Nanda was Ashok Kumars daughter and Rajendra Kumar was prospective Son-in-Law.
    You forgot to mention Nand Palsikar, who gave a sterling perfomance in the movie.
    Regards.

  • Dev

    Have watched neither of the first two..thanks for the recomemndations..

  • I’ve seen your noteworthy mention but not the others. Filed those other names away!

  • Anand

    I had not commented on (K) because I have not seen any of the movies that you listed. Plus I didn’t think of any recommendations… until today 🙂

    I can’t believe that I couldn’t remember Kaagaz Ke Phool.