Sinbad Alibaba Aur Aladin (1965) Part 1

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I’ve been dying to see this ever since I found out it existed. It’s not any big secret that I’m a sucker for an Arabian Nights tale, especially as done in 1960s India on a shoestring budget. And if Helen is in it along with Sayeeda, Minoo Mumtaz, Bela Bose and Madhumati, how can it possibly be bad? It’s a dance extravaganza! The music is by one of my favorite music directors, Ravi—and it is lovely. Alas, the film is only available on VCD¬†so no subtitles; whatever I got out of the story I’ve basically made up wholesale because it was seriously bewildering. But the visuals are so fabulous (despite the poor video quality) that I thought it time for another comic-book style entry, which is my way of saying: “Look at the pictures and figure the story out for yourselves.”

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Oh boy!!! A three-for-one deal! The film opens with an announcement by two of the sultan’s men (Ram Avtar and Polson), and then the sultan himself (SN Banerjee) is entertained by two lovely dancers:

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In the sultan’s dungeon sits an old man, who is surprised when he hears thumping and banging noises coming from the floor and walls of his cell.

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Alibaba (Baghwan), Sinbad (Pradeep Kumar) and Aladin (Agha) are surprised but happy to find each other in the old man’s cell. There is some discussion about the Princess’s wedding, and then we are treated to another song courtesty of Princess Jameela herself (Sayeeda) and her ladies in waiting. I like the song a lot so am sharing it here (just picture colored fountains and waterfalls!):

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Please note how the annoying Ultra Video mark changes size and moves around—this happens throughout, and is occasionally accompanied by a stern warning against pirating which scrolls across the screen too, obscuring much of the action. This naturally only results in me wanting to pirate Ultra VCDs and DVDs instead of buying them! Why would I pay money for something as annoying as this, Ultra? Why?

In any case, after the Princess’s colorful waterfall song ends, our three heroes manage to escape with the old man thanks to the stupidity of the sultan’s guards. Sinbad heads straight for the Princess’s rooms; they are apparently already acquainted. I love her bathtub.

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As you can see, the sultan’s guards find Sinbad there. Swords are drawn, and Sinbad escapes over the wall and reunites with his waiting friends. They are chased through the bazaar by the sultan’s men, knocking over fruit carts and so on as is always the case, before they find refuge in a restaurant owned by a friend (Rajan Haksar).

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The buffoonish guards are easily led astray by the three dancing girls and their lovely song, and our three heroes, the old man, and their friend sit and talk about something. I have no idea what though. A magic show outside distracts them.

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This prompts them to dress up in disguise and go to the sultan’s palace as magicians. I am highly entertained by the sultan’s lecherous little goatee-stroking midget:

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and Agha dressed up as a gypsy girl, who has to bear the unwanted amorous attentions from said little person and the sultan.

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(And Ultra inflicts yet another unwanted viewing obstacle on me.) Jameela runs away with Sinbad and his friends, although Sinbad appears to be surprised that she is the Princess. Didn’t he visit her earlier in that same palace? Isn’t the point of this visit to take her away? I’m seriously confused.

Then our three heroes are summoned by public announcement to the sultan’s court, and go to see him. It appears to be amicable, and they all leave without any problem. I have no idea what they talk about or if the sultan has any clue that Jameela is now staying with them, although the sultan’s vizier says something about her marriage again.

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There’s another meeting at home, with Jameela looking shyly on, but I’ve got no clue what it’s about either.

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In any case, Sinbad, Alibaba, Aladin and Jameela set sail on Sinbad’s (I assume) ship, and the adventures begin.

First up: Aladin spots a mysterious pink light flashing at sea, and Sinbad dives down to see where it’s emanating from. He spends some time walking on the bottom of the ocean while doing the breaststroke with his hands, which is pretty funny. He also finds a sword inside a giant oyster shell and does battle with a mostly unseen tentacled creature; Sinbad finally uses the sword to hack off the tentacles.

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Khoon! It’s even that same gaudy red that we see on land. Once he’s back on board his ship with his shiny new sword, we cut abruptly to the desert somewhere, where Alibaba and Aladin have found a restaurant. Aladin is passed out drunk, and the manager asks Alibaba to pay their bill. Some other guy pays it for them and discusses something with Alibaba, who leaves the restaurant (and Aladin, still slumped over the table).

Meanwhile, Jameela and Sinbad are asleep on the sand when they are set upon by some horsemen who take them to their camp. I am thrilled to see one of my favorite bad guys, Shyam Kumar, as their leader. Sinbad catches sight of ¬†beautiful Zarina (Minoo Mumtaz) and romances her with a song (Why? This confuses me even more. Isn’t he in love with Jameela?) while Shyam Kumar assaults poor Jameela.

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What is going on? Will Sinbad rescue Jameela? Or is he too distracted by Minoo? Where are Aladin and Alibaba? Tune in next time as Aladin finds his lamp (and genie Helen!). Plenty more adventures that I don’t understand at all await!

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52 Comments to “Sinbad Alibaba Aur Aladin (1965) Part 1”

  1. What is going on? Hehe .. thts lovely. Though the minoo mumtaz/pradeep kumar song could be a minoo dreaming about it. the famous dream sequence.

    • I don’t think it’s a dream sequence…but I have no idea why he suddenly is so interested in her. But at least it gives us another nice song and a Minoo Mumtaz dance, which is never a bad thing! :-)

  2. Seems like I have the honor of posting the first comment on this!

    The first song by the waterfall looks like Brindavan Gardens in Mysorre. Quite a few songs were picturised there in the 60s and 70s.

    Pity about lack of subtitles and Ultra’s annoying postings. The movie itself sounds like fun. Alas my DVD player won’t play VCDs.

    • Oh, thanks :-) Those gardens are lovely, I hope I can see them in person some day!

      Ultra DVDs won’t play in any of my computer DVD players (I have three)…so annoying.

      • I wouldn’t be too enthusiastic about seeing those gardens these days. I think the gardens went into disarray in the early 80s itself.

        I prefer watching movies on TV rather than computers. My
        DVD player for some reason does not play VCDs.

      • Yes… I can vouch that to be Brindavan Gardens in Mysore. Also seen in Padosan and RaajKumar.. Watch the fountain show at night set to music… I believe they still play the song – Mohabbat Isko kahte hain from “Jab Pyaar Kisi se Hota hain”… anyone remember that?

  3. Ultra is rivalled, in my opinion, only by Friends when it comes to really intrusive watermarks. Most of the Hindi films I possess were bought years ago, when DVDs still hadn’t arrived in India, and all one got were VCDs – that too mostly by Ultra. Not only do they have a large and colourful logo, they plaster it across the bottom of the screen along with that `Video Presentation’ thing during every song. And whenever there’s a scene that’s particularly suspenseful/romantic/funny/in any way memorable, there’s the anti-piracy stuff. You’re right, they do drive one to piracy.

    But, watermarks aside, I can hardly wait for Part 2 of your review. This film sounds like so much fun. :-)

    • Yes, and they seem to have cornered the market between them of these fantastic old gems. Arrrggghhh.

      *Shakes fist at Ultra and Friends* Mend your ways, people!

      And this is a very fun film, although it made no sense at all to me :-)

  4. Brilliant review, can’t wait for Part 2 of it. I remember watching this film on National Network as a kid and was quite thrilled, seeing all 3 of my fav. Arabian Nights heroes in the same film. Though I never liked Pradip Kumar…Those colored fountains are from Vrindavan Garden, Mysore where most of the songs were picturised in that era…

  5. Genie Helen? In her prime? OMG, that is so much way cooler than 65 year old genie Amitabh. :)

    You love midgets? The single greatest use of midgets outside Appu Raja/Mukhri. :)

  6. Sorry, should have said, “hands down the coolest railway station in the world”. :)

    • Aaaah! Midgets AND Indian disco music! I’d sworn off disco movies for a while, but I may have to venture back to them just for this one.

      • If you like midgets, you have to see Aurat. Poor blinded Aadil/Samson is tormented by a horde of midgets in something that resembles a Roman arena… weird.

        • Is that the Rajesh Khanna Aurat? Dharmendra is taunted by midgets in Dharamveer as well, one of my favorite scenes. He’s in a cage surrounded by them :-D

          • No, that’s the Premnath-Bina Rai Aurat, the one I reviewed a week or so back. Inspired by the story of Samson and Delilah, though from what I remember of the Bible, there’s no mention of midgets taunting Samson. ;-)

          • Ah, I will have to search for it. It may not be on DVD yet though I fear…

  7. Hmm, maybe they got the genie Helen idea from Yahudi.

  8. Hahaha, your guesswork about the plot of this movie is similar to how I used to try and figure out what was going on in Hollywood movies.

  9. This is a colored film?! I saw this as a kid on a B/W TV in the good old days and remember finding it quite fun. Sounds like it still is, and in full color! I need to find this.

    PS: Helen is indeed made for a genie role. I can totally see her with Larry Hagman.

  10. Never heard of this movie but lovely review – waiting for part 2.
    I also remember not understanding a word of Hollywood movies as a young boy.
    I hated “room talking”, i.e two (or more) persons sitting in a room and talking.
    In the case of war movies, there would be these guys pointing a map and talking to each other.
    I would have no clue what it was all about – and would just wait for outdoor action. :-)
    If, by chance, I caught one word (more likely thought I had caught one), my heart would swell with pride.
    If I actually managed to get a complete sentence, that movie would become my favourite. :-)
    And this, for somebody who was the best in his class in English. :-)

    • Me too, me too!

      I guess it probably has something to do with an accent one’s not familiar with, since we spoke mainly English at home anyway. Despite that, I had to guess my way (or ask my parents what was going on) through a lot of Hollywood films.

  11. Yes! There is way too much “room talking” in this! :-) You are making me feel much better. Usually I can pick up at least a semblance of the plot, but not with this one. Have been feeling more stupid than usual as a result :)

  12. Btw, that sultan looks like S.N.Banerjee. What do you think ?

  13. He so does!!! I didn’t think of it while watching, but in the screen cap he def. does. I’m pretty sure that he’s credited in the film too so it probably IS him!

  14. and i thought i knew or atleast had heard the names of all old Hindi movies…. continue digging them out Memsaab…. someday students of cinema will be referring to this site….

  15. Your review is way fun, but I have to confess that the overwhelming “ULTRA!” on everything has ensured I will never actually see the movie. ;-)

  16. Oops, the anonymous who posted above was me. I wonder how I ended up being an anonymous. This movie appears such fun. Too bad there were few takers for such movies among mainstream audiences those days.

    • There were lots of films like this made it seems. And they are really wonderful—so imaginative and beautifully crazy, AND the music for most of them is really outstanding too. I don’t understand why they are dismissed as B- or C-grade films.

      It really tempts me to start up my own subtitling/licensing/dvd distributing company (sans huge scrolling logos and advertisements!). Memsaab Video! bringing gorgeous loony films from 1960s India to the world!

      • Seriously, why not? Ultra, I understand was nothing but a video lending library in Bombay. They had the foresight to understand that the “other media” rights of these movies was not worthless as the producers wrongly assumed. They assidiously went on to purchase these rights from a lot of producers and look were they are!

        • All I need is a sugar daddy to bankroll it for me! Or a sugar momma—I am equal opportunity when it comes to this :-D

          • Point is, as Ram Gopal Varma knows atleast subconsciously, it is not the supply of money that is the limiting factor in
            growth, it is the DEMAND for money that is important. :)

  17. Just the kind of review I love!!! :-)

    As I mentioned before, this brings out a lot of other interesting comments.
    Now I’m tempted to buy this and fill in the gaps of all the ‘room talk’ – ha ha ha, very descriptive words – the reason why Pradeep Kumar is singing a love song with the wrong woman etc etc

    And yes, I’m among those who never understood what was happening in Hollywood films, and lost interest in them.

    I don’t mind Pradeep Kumar in costume or as a prince. Even otherwise I don’t really mind him, but care less when compared to his princely skills.

    Thanks, memsaab. I’m waiting impatiently for part 2.

    • I love “room talk” too, am definitely going to be using it going forward :)

      Pradeep is okay, I don’t mind him in Taj Mahal, although I haven’t seen him in much else. He just doesn’t make my heart flutter the way Shammi does!

  18. This looks good. I like Pradeep Kumar, probably because he was the hero in the first Hindi film I ever saw in its entirety. “Gunghat”. I first found Indian films on a public access tv show back in 1982. They showed half the film per week, and I usually tuned in on a “second half”, and had no idea of what I was watching, but found it fascinating. After a few weeks the music began to “click” with me, but one Saturday I tuned in, only to find the program was gone, never to return! No more bollywood until an asian market opened near my job, 20 years later. A few years ago finally got computer and internet and discovered a wealth of treasures including your site. Thanks as always!

  19. memsaab have you seen jumping jack jeetendra’s hatimtai & dharmendra & hema’s ali baba & 40 theives filmed in uzbekistan?
    pure fantasy – luverly

  20. “hatimtai” & “ali baba” are 2 different films i meant

  21. No, I haven’t seen either one yet, although I have Dharam and Hema’s Ali Baba Aur 40 Chor. Will look for Hatimtai :)

    • oooh its full of goodies ali baba is
      1. zeenat’s belly dance
      2. hema’s yellow princess dress
      3. dharmendra
      4. prem chopra as the comic villain
      5. amrish puri as the villain
      fantasy land, sword fights, a bit of standard bollywood baap beti, maa beta, desh ki sewa thrown in for good measure

  22. Memsaab, not related to this post at all, but is anyone able to access Bollywhat? For the last week or so, I get an SMF error when I try to log into the Forum.

    I emailed the Bollywhat admin acct and didn’t get a response, so wondering.

    Thanks!

    Bitterlemons on Bollywhat

    • I haven’t tried recently but did a few days ago since FiLMiNDia asked about it, and I couldn’t access it either.

      Hope all’s well there…and it’s just a minor glitch of some kind :)

  23. Hello
    Where can I purchase this movie sindbad ali allddin

  24. Anyone Know where i can Find this? I REALLY wanna Watch it from what ive seen here!

  25. yes, you can buy the movie from http://www.webmallindia.com

    i got it from the same alleady:)

    enjooooooooy

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