Faulad (1963)

faulad_amibad

When a filmmaker has limited means and can thus only make a movie that’s

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don’t you think he or she should choose the color portions wisely? Alas, this is never the case. In Faulad for example, most of the action takes place in fabulously ornate palaces and havelis and on a pirate ship, and it’s all black and white. At the end, when all the action is taking place in a boring, dingy dungeon—it’s in color! I don’t need to see a gray stone dungeon in color!

Nevertheless, Faulad is a lot of fun. It’s hard to go wrong when Mohammed Hussain is directing (and Dara Singh, Mumtaz and Minoo Mumtaz are starring in) a film with swashbuckling Arabian Nights championship wrestling action and gorgeous songs (by the criminally ignored GS Kohli)!

When the ruler of a kingdom is told by his astrologer that eighteen years hence a common man will marry his newborn daughter and usurp his throne, the king orders that all infants in the kingdom be killed. His soldiers rampage through every village and kill every baby they find, but one enterprising Ma bundles her son up in a basket and sends it floating down the river.

faulad_palace

Wouldn’t you want to see this room and this decor in color? The King khush hua. Interestingly, although I find this order to kill all the babies in the kingdom pretty dastardly, through the rest of the film the King is kind of a good guy.

Meanwhile, the little boy in his basket is rescued by the childless wife (Praveen Paul) of wealthy Thakur Ranjit Singh (Uma Dutt), who takes him in as an answer to her prayers.

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Eighteen years later, the Princess (Mumtaz) has grown up into a beauty, and the King’s Chief Minister has matrimonial designs on her. She doesn’t like him though, and has strong ideas of her own. And a fabulously swirled bodice too. Yay! Would love to see the outfit in color.

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We hate the Minister too, because he does things like use a little baby lamb as bait when he goes hunting. Cheater! The Thakur’s now grown-up son (and how!) Amar (Dara Singh) rescues it. I totally melt at the sight of huge Dara holding a little baby lamb—there has to be some biological evolutionary something at work on me here.

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This earns him the Minister’s enmity, which is further compounded when he rescues the Princess from her runaway chariot. She falls in love with him pretty quickly and sings a lovely song to him (“O Matwale Sajana”). He takes her home to change her muddy clothes and meet his parents and then returns her to the palace.

The King likes Amar on sight too:

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I like the King’s curly wig and beard! He belongs on a playing card! Anyway, he is delighted to discover that Amar belongs to a noble family (whew! not the common man of the dire predictions!) and is a wrestler, and asks him to help oversee the construction of a wrestling arena that a “foreign guy” is building for him.

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Here follows a series of events where Dara gets to show off his manly strength and further alienate the Chief Minister while romancing the Princess. He also unknowingly meets his real mother (who should have been crushed when a pillar fell on her but is miraculously unharmed). The Minister hires some assassins to kill Amar but he prevails over them, putting the Minister at his wits’ end until one of the Thakur’s servants appears at the palace with a score to settle.

She tells the King that Amar was an orphan and is not really the Thakur and his wife’s son. Amar is horrified, and the King enraged (he’s not forgotten the prediction); he orders Amar’s immediate arrest. Eventually (after he meets his real mother again, now realizing who she is) he is chained in the dungeon along with the Thakur and his wife, and his real mother. The Chief Minister has a suggestion for the King: a foreign ship has just sailed into their harbor.

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How convenient! There is also a lovely lass by the name of Veena (Minoo Mumtaz) on board. The Minister bribes the ship’s captain (his name is Franko, and he looks a lot like Dr. Evil) to have the wrestlers kill Amar in the ring; he forces Amar to participate in the wrestling “competition” by threatening his loved ones.

As you can imagine, it is quite a spectacle (would have been great in color!). Both Veena and the Princess are very happy to see Amar.

faulad_veena_princess

True confession: once upon a time, many years ago, I was a big fan of the WWF. I saw Hulk Hogan, Rowdy Roddy Piper, King Kong Bundy, Andre the Giant, and many others in shows at the Boston Garden. The wrestling that follows in this made me a bit nostalgic for those days. It’s a tag-team format and Dara is paired with Randhawa.

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The “foreign” wrestlers cheat at every opportunity (accompanied satisfyingly by the booing of the crowd, including me). There are over-the-head spins, headlocks, and there is a lot of sweaty, damp man-crotch on display.

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To almost everyone’s delight, the Singh brothers eventually prevail, but the King and the Minister are not done yet!

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After some sword-fighting which I admit wearies me pretty quickly, Amar manages to win again!

So Captain Franko makes Veena distract Amar one evening with the absolutely gorgeous “Jaan-e-Jaana” (how I love this song!) while he slips a mickey into Amar’s drink. Amar wakes up chained in the cargo hold of the wrestler-pirate ship along with an assortment of sorry-looking men. Being Dara Singh, he is able to break free of his chains though, and then free the other guys. More swashbuckling ensues, and Amar and his new friends are in command of the ship! And what a ship it is…or would be, in color.

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They embark on some Sinbad-like adventures, encountering a giant bug, treasure chests and a fabulous den of iniquity belonging to a pirate named Alberto (Shyam Kumar, one of my favorite sidekicks from this period). All of it would have been absolutely stunning in color too.

faulad_adventures

Meanwhile at home the Chief Minister has imprisoned the King and is bent on forcing the Princess to marry him. She sends Amar a message via carrier pigeon, but Veena intercepts it on board the ship and keeps it from Amar.

Will Amar wake up from his pirate fantasy and remember his beloved? Or will Veena’s charms distract him? Can he stop the Chief Minister? What about his parents (adoptive and real), still locked up in the dungeon?

The end drags on far too long (even Dara Singh’s shirtless torso wears thin after a while), but there is a lot to enjoy before you get there. I really love the music too, including a great pirate ditty. GS Kohli worked as an assistant to OP Nayyar for a long time, but he also composed on his own: songs for Shikari, Char Dervesh, and other films that I’m getting to soon, and would watch just for his music if nothing else. It’s one of those perennial mysteries of Hindi cinema why he didn’t get acknowledgement and more work in the mainstream. Le sigh.

And also, color arrives just in time for us to discover that the Chief Minister has been dressed as one of Santa’s elves this whole time:

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and to see pendulous man-boobed King Kong as the Executioner.

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Of course, I didn’t need to see that in color.

UPDATE: Since I wrote this post, it has come to my attention that two songs filmed in color were—in Shameroo’s infinite wisdom *heavy sarcasm*—cut out of the dvd. You can see them on YouTube, at least until Shameroo makes the uploaders take them down.

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53 Comments to “Faulad (1963)”

  1. Hahaha ! Great review. The producer must be really broke. But still he got Dara Singh, Mumtaz, G S Kohli etc are bargain price.

    • I don’t know! The thing is, the sets and costumes were quite lavish. Just not filmed in color! It’s exasperating. Even if you can only afford to use a bit of color, don’t just slap it on at the end. THINK about it. :-)

  2. You make a very good point about the poor distribution of the color sequences in this film. Among other things, I would have liked to see that damned dog/bug thing in color, because, as is, it’s not very well defined (probably for good reason). As I recall, the major flaw I found with Faulad was that it was too similar to the other Dara Singh movies I’d watched immediately previous. But it looks like it would be pretty entertaining if viewed at the tail end of a suitably long Dara Singh moratorium. Great review. I’m glad you took time out from playing with your collection of WWF action figures to write it!

    • The bug was creepy as all get out (but I hate bugs)…Dara Singh is awesome, but you can’t watch a bunch of them in a row. They are all pretty much the same. There were several places where it dragged too, but that’s what FF is for (although I didn’t use it this time around, I would in the future). It helps that it had subtitles too :-)

  3. This review is really funny..santa’s elves…ho ho ho :)))

  4. That swirled bodice is hypnotizing!

  5. Memsaab, another great review! Re: the color question, I wonder whether it was used at the end of the film because that was the one sequence that the filmmakers could be sure wouldn’t end up on the cutting-room floor.

    And it’s heresy, I know, but judging from the stills you’ve included Faulad cries out for colorization. Maybe someday…

    • I don’t know that there’s any way to make sure even color film at the end won’t need to be edited? And yes, Faulad could be one of those rare exceptions where colorization is welcome :-)

  6. Memsaab, the early bit is the story of Lord Krishna – one of hte incarnations of Lord Vishnu in Hinduism.. His evil uncle Kamsa was told that the eighth son born to his sister Devaki will kill him. Kamsa was a prince. So wicked Kamsa ordered all the kids born to Devaki to be killed. Krishna the eighth child was saved by his father who placed him in a basket on a rainy day. I have copied and pasted Krishna’s birth story from one of the websites below just for your info

    Story of Lord Krishna’s Birth
    A long time ago in ancient India, there lived King Ugrasen. He had two children, prince Kansa and princess Devaki. Prince Kansa was evil by nature. When Kansa grew up, he imprisoned his own father Ugrasen and made himself king.

    Soon, his sister Devaki was married to King Vasudev. However, after the wedding, Kansa heard a divine warning from the sky, “O King! Your sister’s eighth son will grow up to kill you.” After Kansa heard this, he was afraid. Immediately he imprisoned his own sister Devaki and her husband king Vasudev, and kept them under continuous watch.

    Each time Devaki gave birth to a child in the prison, Kansa arrived personally and killed the child. When Devaki became pregnant for the eighth time, King Vasudev’s friend’s (King Nanda’s) wife Yashoda was also pregnant. The eighth child, Lord Krishna, was born to queen Devaki at midnight in the prison. As soon as the child was born, Lord Vishnu appeared in divine form and the prison was filled with a dazzling light. Both Devaki and Vasudev prayed to Lord Vishnu. At the same time as Lord Krishna was born in the prison, the divine energy of Lord Vishnu was born in Gokul, as a baby girl to queen Yashoda.

    A divine message came to Vasudev soon after the birth of Lord Krishna, “Take this child across the Yamuna River to Gokul and exchange him with Yashoda’s daughter. You will return to the prison before anyone comes to know about the birth of this child.”

    Vasudev immediately followed the advice. As he carried the child in his arms, he found that the prison doors opened automatically and the guards were put to sleep by God. Vasudev approached the Yamuna River, which was very turbulent due to fierce winds and rain. However, as soon as Vasudev reached the riverbank, the river parted and made way for Vasudev carrying the divine child. Vasudev reached the opposite bank of the river safely and found all the people of Gokul fast asleep. He entered the palace of king Nanda and queen Yashoda, and put the baby Krishna in the place of Yashoda’s baby girl. Then Vasudev returned to the prison with the baby girl.

    As soon as Vasudev laid the baby girl by Devaki’s side, the prison doors shut automatically. The guards were now awake and were startled by the cries of the baby girl. The guards ran to Kansa and announced the birth of the eighth child.

    Kansa rushed to execute the child in the prison, remembering the divine warning that the eighth child would kill him. Devaki appealed, “O Kansa, this baby is a girl, and not the boy that the divine warning told you about. How can this child harm you?” However, Kansa ignored her, snatched the child from her lap, and hurled the child against the prison wall.

    The child did not fall down; instead, she flew up and appeared in the sky as a Goddess with eight arms, each arm carrying a weapon. She said, “O evil king! You will gain nothing by killing me. The one who will destroy you is elsewhere.” Then the Goddess disappeared. Kansa freed Vasudev and Devaki from prison.

    Meanwhile, there was great rejoicing in Gokul, hailing the birth of a son in the household of Nanda. Nanda named the child Krishna. Entire Gokul wore a festive appearance. The streets were swept clean and all the houses were decorated with flags and flowers. Cows were smeared with turmeric, and adorned with peacock feathers and garlands. All people of Gokul danced in joy and flocked to Nanda’s house to see baby Krishna and to offer gifts.

    Moral: The story of Lord Krishna’s birth shows how powerful and loving God is. Whenever evil in the world like Kansa’s wicked rule becomes unbearable, God Himself comes to save us in the form of an Incarnation like Lord Krishna. Against God, not even the mightiest evil can do anything. Hence, daily we should pray to God and remember Him by chanting* (repeating) His Name in everything we do – be it getting ready, eating, walking, playing or going to bed.

  7. Fabulous review! I guess the coloured sections in Parasmani were better planned… as soon as the film got really wacky and the hero was battling everything from electrical toadstools to tinsel spheres, the colour came on.

    But I do love Mumtaz, and she’s so cute in that first screen cap. Must’ve been about 16 at the time, and looks it! I have to see this one.

  8. OMG man boobs in color! Aiyooooo.

    still its got Dara in droves and it is almost the weekend. Everything is good!

  9. Todd, this is for you too. :) Dara Singh will always be uber-cool in my books expecially because he got his body BEFORE the world (and the likes of the WWF) started abusing steroids.

    There used to be a hugely popular comic book Chacha Chowdary (mind faster than computer and this is BEFORE Indians knew what computers were) and his sidekick Sabu(when he is angry volcanoes in Jupiter explode) where one of the plot-lines was a inter-galactic wrestler comes down to wrestle earth’s champion (Dara Singh) to see who is Rustom-E-Jahan (Champion of the universe). Wily Chacha says you first got to defeat ME and then proceeds to win using mind games. :)

    Heck, even as I type this, kid in TV ad asks his father, “is it harmful to eat eggs in summer?” Puzzled father asks his father who in turn asks HIS father (great grand father
    Dara Singh) and he thunders, of course not. :)

    • I was actually thinking about the steroid thing watching this, because Dara’s body is SO solid but it doesn’t have those ugly veins popping and weirdly overdefined musculature. It’s just beautiful!

      That comic book is begging to be made into a film!!! And I wish I lived in a country where I could see Dara on TV all the time.

      • BTW, No Michael Jackson love? Now that his life is over, the world (and especially blacks) seem to be reclaiming him as one of their own.

        • I don’t have anything to add to what’s already being said everywhere else :-) It’s sad but not surprising I think. I am also sorry about Farrah Fawcett’s death—she was a huge pop culture icon when I was in my teens.

          • I had a feeling there was something wrong
            about all this mourning and then someone on another
            blog pointed it out – more people are mourning his death than did Mother Teresa’s. What says something very interesting about us as peole? :)

          • read as “That says something
            very interesting about us people”. :)

          • I don’t think I’d ever mourn that vigorously for someone I didn’t know personally. I mean, it’s sad, but I’m not going to hold a candle vigil or anything. But I am somewhat antisocial in nature :)

  10. Great review. And here is a link to a recent Mumtaz photograph. She looks fabulous. Have a look. You need to scroll down a lot but it is worth it.

  11. You may have to copy paste the whole link on before it connects….

  12. would love to see it.

    Maybe the lavish sets and mUmtaz’s bodice and Dara Singhs trousers were all in cardboard khaki and grey. After all it comes cheaper that way, thus the b/w filming. ;-)

    Aulad is the progeny, what is faulad? A bad/evil progeny?

  13. Forgot to mention, that line about the king belonging in a pack of cards was a zinger! RIP Michael. Now that he is dead, the world (and especially blacks) are reclaiming him as one of us. :)

  14. Dara Singh is one of the handsomest men ever. How great he looks as the patriarch in Jab We Met.

  15. That’s interesting about you and the WWF, Memsaab! Did you ever see Bret Hart in action? I stopped following since his brother Owen died. Anyway…on to the film…

    …and you know the deal with Minoo Mumtaaz, but this is a very interesting film, no doubt, and one you have certainly convinced me to check out, if only for all the eye candy and of course, the music!

    • I watched WWF in around 1985-6, I don’t remember Bret Hart particularly although I know who he is. Minoo is very lovely in this and I LOVE the songs. Do let me know what you think when you get around to watching it!

  16. “Faulaad” means Steel. “Loha” is Iron.

  17. The screencap of Mumtaz sitting on her throne really looks like Natalie Wood circa “Rebel Without a Cause.” I did a double take when I saw it.

    • You know what’s funny about that, Laura? I have been told (when I was younger, ha ha!) that I look like Natalie Wood AND that I look like Mumtaz. The Mumtaz resemblance I can actually see a bit, although the Natalie Wood thing has always mystified me :)

  18. “True confession: once upon a time, many years ago, I was a big fan of the WWF. I saw Hulk Hogan, Rowdy Roddy Piper, King Kong Bundy, Andre the Giant, and many others in shows at the Boston Garden.”

    Hey! Me too! High Five!

  19. Hey, what an absolutely fantastic review !!!
    And very funny !!!
    One of your very best – and seeing how much I rate your reviews, that really says something !!!

  20. Btw, I had never heard of this movie before this.
    Never heard the songs either.
    But I just love songs of Shikari and do rate GS Kohli highly.
    Pity he never got more opportunities.
    Maybe there is a story there that we need to dig for.
    Since you seem to be highly resourceful ;-), maybe you can ask around ? :-)

  21. The King belonging on a playing card…sheer class !!!
    How do you come up with these ? :-)

    • I just write what comes into my head as I’m watching :)

      Love GS Kohli. The songs from this are available on iTunes and eMusic (and probably elsewhere)…Yes, need to do some research on him. If you find anything, let me know! and I’m glad you enjoyed the review—the movie is fun too!

  22. I don’t mean to spam you :-) but the actor playing the Thakur could have been a “young” Uma Dutt.
    I noticed on imdb that he is in the film. In later movies he often played lawyer or doctor.

  23. I discovered a wonderful movie ( appears a wonderful movie going by its songs). This movie is called Tamasha (1952). It has Dev Anand, Meena Kumari (very young and pretty looking), Kishore Kumar. This is a comedy movie and from the songs it looks as great a movie as “Miss Mary” which came 4 years later.

    Please search for this movie. It looks like one of the great forgotten gems.

    • Ooh! Sounds fun! I like young Dev Anand too, generally :-)

    • Tamasha certainly had brilliant songs. I simply love Geeta’s divine Raat Mohe Meetha Meetha Sapna Aaya Re. The young Asha’s Jinse Thi Pal Bhar Ki Pehchaan was also quite good. The movie was originally to have music by Khemchand Prakash who of course died. Manna Dey and S.K. Pal gave music to the movie. Wish they’d done more work. Thanks for reminding of it Atul.

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