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.
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):
and a very very young Aruna Irani, who plays Bijli, the Princess’ lady-in-waiting:
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):
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.”
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.
Next, they cross a narrow bridge over a river of sizzling fire (the sound effects are fab):
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.
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!
They land on a weird beach where sparkly (electric) mushrooms and giant seashells mask the sandtraps awaiting:
Below, Cossacks wearing Ugg boots attack!
Paras is saved by the beautiful (but villainous) sorceress herself, Mayanagari (Jeevan Kala)—she is smitten by his bravery.
What lies in wait for our self-respecting (albeit girly) man? Where are Roopa and Tipu? Tune in tomorrow to find out!