Parasmani (1963) Part 1

parasmani_title

What’s not to love in a film with a title screen like this? Not much! The hero—Mahipal—is a bit of a girl, but luckily the actual girls in it are badass enough to make up for him.

parasmani_prey

The first half is a pretty standard story about a highborn little boy named Paras (Mahipal) who is separated from his father, the King’s Senapati (Jugal Kishore) during a shipwreck and brought up by a poor family, who falls in love with the king’s daughter the Rajkumari (Gitanjali). 

Highlights include Helen! (a great song called “Ooi Maa Ooi Maa”—all the songs in the film are really lovely, by Laxmikant Pyarelal):

parasmani_ooima

and a very very young Aruna Irani, who plays Bijli, the Princess’ lady-in-waiting:

parasmani_aruna

There’s plenty of filmi irony (the son and father meet without knowing, and the father spends a good deal of time trying to kill his unrecognized son):

parasmani_baapbeta

The Senapati harbors hopes of finding his lost son and usurping the King’s throne for him. The King (Manher Desai) is mostly worried about his astrologer’s prediction that the man his daughter marries will be the cause of his death. When Paras appears on the scene wooing the Rajkumari, the King and his Senapati do their best to kill him but he is saved time and again by his adopted sister, Roopa (Nalini Chonkar) and occasionally by the Rajkumari herself.

Finally, the King gives up and agrees to let his beloved daughter marry Paras. But when they find out about the astrologer’s prediction, they refuse to get married. The astrologer, though, has a solution for the problem: find the magic stone called the “Parasmani.”

parasmani_deadman

The rest of it is as B-movie nutty as you could ever hope for in a Babubhai Mistry film. Accompanied by intrepid sister Roopa and his cowardly Comic Side Kick brother Tipu (Maruti, who is quite funny actually), Paras sets off on a quest to find the magic stone: a quest that really cries out for the comic book treatment.

First they encounter a disembodied head who tells them about the sorceress who guards the Parasmani, and then wishes them the best.

parasmani_head

Next, they cross a narrow bridge over a river of sizzling fire (the sound effects are fab):

parasmani_bridge

And reach the entrance to the magic place wherein the Parasmani lies hidden. One by one the three siblings are blown backwards into the mouth of the dragon. 

parasmani_dragon

Inside, the film’s budget has increased! Our hero(in)es are chased by a giant colorful tinfoil ball in an eerie precursor to Indiana Jones!

parasmani_color

They land on a weird beach where sparkly (electric) mushrooms and giant seashells mask the sandtraps awaiting:

parasmani_sandtrap

Below, Cossacks wearing Ugg boots attack!

parasmani_cossacks

Paras is saved by the beautiful (but villainous) sorceress herself, Mayanagari (Jeevan Kala)—she is smitten by his bravery.

parasmani_maharani

What lies in wait for our self-respecting (albeit girly) man? Where are Roopa and Tipu? Tune in tomorrow to find out!

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15 Comments to “Parasmani (1963) Part 1”

  1. The film copied a few of things from Journey to the Center of the Earth (1959), e.g. giant rolling ball chase and the giant mushooms.

  2. I am trying to remember if Mahipal is wearing lipstick in this one, as he seems to do in all of his mythologicals.

  3. It has some truly lovely songs but the one thing that always stays with me is Mahipal’s mini-dress! I wonder if the costume choice was dictated by his figure? The women all seem to be in Indian dresses.

  4. This has to be one of the most `huh, what?!’ Hindi movies I’ve ever seen – the giant mushrooms, the coloured tinfoil globe, the disembodied head, the sorceress (and her real form!) plus the guardian of the Parasmani – they’re all so delightfully amatuerish :-)). A must-see movie, I’d say, even if only for the absolute unbelievableness of it. And the songs, of course: superb!

  5. when I saw the movie as a child, I was totally bowled over by it.
    is it the same movei, where there is sort of sex change? Jayant to Jayanti or vice versa? or is that another film?
    Early LP music is always great, lots of joi de vivre (?)
    looking forward to part II.

  6. FiLMiNDiA: Ah, I have never seen that. Thanks for the info :)

    Mike: Mahipal does not wear lipstick (or at least not much)…but he still looks too pretty or something to be very manly.

    bollyviewer: The songs are gorgeous, I really really like them. Who knows where costume ideas come from? Certainly I do not :) He is wearing pajamas underneath the short skirt, though, unlike Dharmendra years later in Dharam-Veer.

    dustedoff: Yes, it’s a crazy one! So much fun.

    harvey: No, there is no sex change, only Tipu pretending to be a woman. Part 2 coming right up!

  7. Then it must have been another film.
    I remember the dialogue clearly.
    – What’s your name?
    – Jayant.
    – Jayant?
    – no, I meant Jayanti.

    Can’t remember the name of the moview.
    If I remember I’ll tell you.

  8. 1. The giant rolling stone -The scene where the giant stone rolls down was also seen in one of the Indiana Jones movie. Wonder where they got it from – could it have been Parasmani.

    2. The Skirt – Prithviraj Kapoor wore it for “Sikander’, Have seen all our macho stars – Dara Singh, Dharmendra etc wearing it. I think this is the Bollywood Roman-Julius Ceaser look. I dont know who carried it off the best.

  9. Mike: Mahipal does not wear lipstick (or at least not much)…but he still looks too pretty or something to be very manly.

  10. The Senapathi is Manher Desai, the Maharani is Naazi, the Maharaj is Uma Dutt and the adoptive Father “Baba’ is Jugal Kishore. Jeevan Kala is Rupa’s co-dancer in the song “Hansta Hua”.

  11. memsaab, I should have read your review first before writing my post. Your screen caps make me want to watch the movie again, even though I know, in my heart of hearts that I’m going to regret it! And I still wonder why the movie was half B&W and half colour.

  12. Yes, indeed it is a budget issue. The celluloid films had to be imported, got them processed and printed abroad. Even a lavish movie like Mughal-e-Azam had just four reels in colour, two before the interval and two before the close. Both had excellent songs, first Pyar kiya to darna kya and at the end, Jab raat hai aise matwali to subah ka aalam kya hoga. It is believed that K Asif had shot the coloured parts in B/W too in case the prints did not come out good.

  13. Don’t think the sorceress is Jeevankala. She is a dancer. also one of the songs hansta hua was co-sung by kamal barot.

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