Haseena Atom Bomb (1990)

What can one really say about a film like this? For one thing, it makes me despair as a woman on behalf of us all. How can someone like me possibly find any common ground with men who find this titillating?

hab_titillating

Could we ever reach an understanding on anything? Don’t get me wrong! I myself enjoy a good meal and possibly more drinks than are good for me. I like that the women in this film are actually human-sized. I am happy to know that in the North-West Frontier of Pakistan I might be considered worthy of the enchanting name “Haseena Atom Bomb” (or “Bump” as pronouced by Madame Noor Jehan in the title song).

But. Or should that be Butt. As Todd wisely points out in his brilliant review, this film clearly supports the argument that “sleaze is an unavoidable byproduct of puritanism.” It is sleazy. Garishly, unrepentantly, cartoonishly sleazy. Still, it was popular enough in Pakistan to be dubbed from the original Pashto into Urdu and distributed in mainstream theaters (at least that’s my impression from reading about it). So I worry: what do people who enjoy this type of film get out of it? Even not taken seriously (can it be taken seriously?), it sends a whole lot of iffy messages. Or do they watch it only once in the same pruriently curious vein that I did, thinking “How bad can it be!”?

For beyond the significant raunch factor is the total incompetence of it all. It is not subtitled—and if it were, it should be done IN ALL CAPS, BECAUSE THAT’S HOW EVERYONE IN IT SPEAKS—but I don’t think that was a major issue comprehension-wise. The editing is choppy, to say the least. The bad guys are virtually indistinguishable from each other and they all shout their lines in what sounds very like Amrish Puri’s voice. They smack their lips and caress their own bare chests, and raping women is their hobby.

hab_goons

The main story begins as a bunch of them are thwarted in their attack on our heroine Haseena as she makes her way home from performing vigorously in a disco on her wedding day. (Why would she even do that? is a question not asked, or answered, as far as I can tell).

hab_haseena

She stops for a little bath under a waterfall (again, inexplicably, although she is outdoors in broad daylight, she takes off all her clothes). When attacked, she tries to run; but alas! her stout calves are no match for the slender legs of the region’s speedy little horses!

hab_run

Luckily there is a beefy man there to rescue her, and equally luckily he happens to have with him a white sheet—which she uses to cover up her modesty while he beats the crap out of her attackers, over and over and over again, to the sound of booming claps of thunder and ear-splitting dishoom-dishoom.

hab_sheet

When she thanks him, he goes into a reverie, recalling his childhood. I am not clear on the details, but as a boy he lived either with or next door to a man with a wife and three kids:

hab_kids

This “uncle” was mixed up with some very bad guys, and after our boy hero prevented him from selling auntie’s sewing machine (the family’s only reliable source of income), he gave away his oldest daughter (on the right above) to the goondas to train as a money-making tawaif. The little girl was rescued from that fate by an older, kindly man who purchased her from the goons.

Back in the present, our florid hero wishes Haseena a happy wedding day (there’s nothing like a little light reminiscing between strangers!) and they go their separate ways. He looks to me like a cross between Charles Bronson and Kris Kristofferson, and I decide to call him Chuckles.

hab_hero

But Haseena is not safe for long. These same lip-smacking own-chest-caressing guys show up on her wedding night—and this time they prevail, raping her (for a really long time) in front of her husband. Then, they string him up on a rope, forcing an exhausted Haseena to support his body weight to prevent him from hanging. Weeping, she finally buckles and he dies. Too late she is joined by some guy who shouts angrily at the camera while she sniffles and hugs her dangling husband’s feet.

hab_death

Incidentally, much of the film is framed in this way—I am not sure if it is the editing for DVD or what, but the actors are confined to the edges of the screen and cut in half while a big empty space occupies the center. We won’t even discuss the electric blue OK CD 7223382 which takes up much of the real estate.

hab_typical

Haseena and her angry friend are not alone in their determination for vengeance in this neighborhood, though. A hardworking policewali named Shabana (who periodically breaks into lurid fantasies about her Police Inspector boss) is out to get Lambu Dada, a tall goonda whom we’ve seen before in Chuckles’ flashback. She arrests him with the help of her Inspector. We next see him in court, where he is taken away at the end of a rope by a leopard-spandex-clad shag-haircut-sporting girl named Reshma (judge and police just watch as she marches in and removes him).

hab_reshma

She takes him to meet Rustom Baba, who I think is the guy (and by inference, she’s that little girl) who had saved Chuckles’ neighbor-cousin from a red-light district fate. They thrash Lambu Dada for a while until Chuckles shows up and drags him (still at the end of a rope) away on horseback. He finishes Lambu Dada off by stabbing him and then draining out all his blood with a giant hypodermic needle—inspired by Mard, perhaps?

hab_syringe

Meanwhile, Haseena is keeping busy too. She lures one of her attackers to her room with help from her shouting friend and bashes him up, killing him off by stringing him up on a rope as he had her husband. This seems to be a Pyrrhic victory though: she weeps as he dangles behind her.

hab_pyrrhic

Perhaps I am overthinking it, but she repeats this pattern with every man she sets swinging. Kills him, then bursts into tears. Revenge has its limitations, it seems, at least for Haseena. Reshma has no such issues; her strange fetish appears to be escorting men from the courtroom (unchallenged by any of the authorities present) and then sending them to their deaths.

At one point she takes Chuckles from the court after he’s arrested for rather gruesomely killing someone with a giant butcher knife. They then indulge in a little romantic interlude—hopefully not an incestuous one, although I wouldn’t rule it out in this movie. This interlude is pretty much the only bright spot; I even like the song! He smashes his nose and huge aviator sunglasses into her ample chins, and then they frolic in some water. At one point she obviously slips and falls, but nobody bothers to edit it out and I laugh cruelly (see? watching trash like this will corrupt your morals!).

hab_reshma_chuckles

These water-soaked scenes do neither of them any favors in the sexy department. After they thrash about for some time in a pool, Reshma pulls out a pair of giant shears and yells at us as she points them at him. (Does nobody in the area have regular-sized household implements?) He talks her out of using them, luckily, and I never do figure out why she even wanted to.

Chuckles, Reshma and Haseena continue to trade off scenes of vengeance (interrupted sporadically by policewali Shabana and her beloved Inspector, who try—and fail miserably—to bring some law and order to things, but who also have the only other nice song). At one point Haseena channels Madonna circa 1983 and entertains us with a hideous disco dance. It makes me long for Mithun.

hab_madonna

hab_disco

I grow weary of all the thrusting female flesh, seam-splitting contortions and gratuitous butt and crotch shots. Ram Gopal Verma’s obsession with Urmila’s posterior is positively tame in comparison.

hab_sleaze

The story of our four small children comes (I assume) full circle as well, although I never figure out the details (and don’t really care). I gather that Reshma and Shabana are long-lost sisters. Presumably Chuckles and Reshma aren’t related too closely, since they continue their romance despite eventually recognizing each other as hair-pulling combatants from childhood.

There is a lot more sleaze and general mayhem, and by the end I feel worn down and depressed by the seediness of it all. I do my best to not be humorless about gender relations (although I am proud to be a feminist!) but this is just so sad and tawdry. The women in it aren’t at all empowered either; they always end up needing some man to assist them in a fight, and the only power they really seem to wield is through blatant sexual display.

In any case, I think I may just leave these fringe excursions to those more stalwart than I. I have found my Waterloo in Haseena. For a hilarious—and comfortingly sane—take on the film, do read Omar Khan’s review over at hotspotonline. You won’t be sorry! If nothing else, at least it has given us some stellar writing from Todd and Omar. And let me be clear (no hate mail please!) that I am not judging the Pakistani film industry (or audience) by this one miserable example. After all, I live in the country which gave the world Baywatch.

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76 Comments to “Haseena Atom Bomb (1990)”

  1. LOL!!!! Memsaab…I think a few days alone in the woods or some such therapeutic place is what you need now.
    You and Gemma – away from Bollywood and Lollywood.
    And the tag “So bad it makes me want to kill myself” is priceless.

  2. Had never heard of this movie – and now I have read your, Todd’s and Omar’s reviews. :-)

    Each of you has in his/her own way provided a wonderful take on the movie, in your case this take being particularly vivid too. :-)

    It would be good to see this movie, if only to see the extremes of “excess”. I can only relate this to Shakti Kapoor Hindi movies of the 1980s, but I guess I am doing this movie then great injustice – this is obviously several notches in a different league.

    Movies are a reflection of society and the times. The fact that this movie became a smashing hit – and was dubbed from Pashto to Urdu to be accessible to a wider audience – would only indicate that those times (1990) and that society it was targeted towards liked this sort of movie. I am sure there are other movies also made along these lines in that region, this one probably really hit gold.

    I am pretty sure I would not be able to sit through this movie. Not because of the poor camera-work or hypodermic syringe or no sub-titling or anything like that. All that I can handle. But I feel extremely uncomfortable when women are portrayed as “objects”. (Heck, I do not even like it when Nutan plays those “sacrificial lamb” roles – and that is nothing compared to being just an “object”). I used to hate some movies of the 1980s for this alone – and somehow Shakti Kapoor seemed to figure in many of them. Hence my reference to him earlier.

    But then, to each his own, I always say. What society wants, the movie-maker giveth. Apparently this is what his target society wants, so this is what it gets. Market economics.

    • That’s what worries and depresses me, Raja. What kind of people would actually embrace a movie like this and make it a hit? *shakes head in despair*

      I loathe Shakti Kapoor, but he had nothing on this one. I did want to see this to test those boundaries of excess, and I guess one point in its favor is that I discover that I do have some standards beyond which I won’t go, however low they may be…

  3. I sit here laughing, having sat through Wanted, Haseena Atom Bomb’s shy younger cousin from across the border. I bet this movie would make a hell of a drinking game.

    • Also, that DVD cover on Omar’s site is PRICELESS! Why didn’t you call it Haseena Atim Bum? It seems to be a better title.

    • Ha ha!!! Shy younger cousin! Even Shaitani Dracula is this film’s shy younger cousin! I have to confess that I’m kind of looking forward to seeing Wanted. I know, I know…

      I don’t know why I didn’t call it Haseena Atim Bum. I guess because the DVD titles itself Haseena Atom Bomb.

  4. If somehow this be the only transmission from earth that the SETI dishes of some really intelligent Alien species out there in space manages to catch, without doubt they will either nuke us ( or whatever it is that they use for mass destruction, assuming they don’t make such films) or hopefully they will just leave us all alone and undisturbed. Dismantling those dishes, they will maintain complete space silence for next billion years.

    That’s too optimistic, probably they are already hooked to those documentaries that have slimy alien tentacles exploring female human anatomy.

  5. As soon as I saw the image on the post I thought to myself that it was something featured on thehotspotonline.com and I was right. There is a load of trashy clips on that site and some were shown before his slasher film Hell’s Ground at the New York Asian Film Festival in 2007.

  6. Actually there are a lot of such films being made in India too. We don’t hear of them because the mainstream overshadows all.

    Here’s at least one link; :-D

    http://satyamshot.wordpress.com/2009/09/13/soft-porn-and-horror-in-gurgaon/

    LOL!!

  7. That sounds so… vile. Ugh. I’m curious though, where did you get this? Because I’ve been looking for this Pakistani film Majajan, but can’t find it anywhere!

  8. Have you looked on eBay? There are some sellers there (I think out of the UK and India) who sell Pakistani films. I haven’t looked much for them myself, and got this one courtesy of Todd who wanted a female perspective on it :-)

  9. Greta, I have seen only a handful of Pakistani films…but none of their Z grade movies like this, yet.

    Those Pakistan films which I have seen, (both were current movies), remind me more of the Hindi films of the 90s……and then there is the wonderful Zinda Lash vampire film from the 60s which released on dvd a while back (with subtitles).

    So, not all Pakistani film makers learned everything they know from Kanti Shah, it would seem.

    • Oh I know that this doesn’t represent the entire output of cinema in Pakistan! This is originally a Pashto language film—and I know next to nothing about what most of those movies are like, either. In any case, as I said, we are guilty in the US of some pretty massive crimes against art too—it all depresses me equally. I just don’t understand what the need for any of it is…ugh.

      I have Khuda Kay Liye, which was recommended as a great film—I need to watch it soon :)

  10. “He looks to me like a cross between Charles Bronson and Kris Kristofferson, and I decide to call him Chuckles.”

    From the screencap, he looks more like John Candy with a Dev-Anand-singing-‘Dil Aaj Shayar Hai’-in-‘Gambler’ moustache ( http://i.ytimg.com/vi/pQF7UEPR_UE/0.jpg ) to me. And he gave *me* chuckles.

    • He and Reshma were by far the best things about this. They were kind of awkwardly cute together in their uncomfortable-looking love song picturizations. (Reshma actually could kind of dance too, when she wasn’t drowning under all the drenching water effects.)

      • I can imagine (or rather, I can’t). Watched the opening, er, item number from YouTube just now. I’ve decided to skip sleep tonight (a Pakistani nightmare is the last thing I need) and re-read Stephen King’s ‘The Stand’ instead.

  11. Omar Khan’s reviews are hilarious, he has great sense of humor, and writes very well. The only thing I have against him is that when he writes so well, why don’t he write reviews about classic Pakistani films like Saheli, Piya Milan Ki Aas, Gumnaam and many others. He mostly writes about trashy Pakistani cinema and C grade films (films no one even heard about) – films like Khaufnaak, Khatarnak, Haseena Atom Bomb – all violent, sleazy C Grade films featuring notorious vamps like Anita, Mussarat Shaheen etc. All these films were targeted towards narrow segment of society – lower middle to working class illiterate bachelor males.

    It is like writing about 80’s Shakti Kapoor movies or soft porn movies made in India featuring fat Shakeela.

    It is also sad that most old Pakistani classic movies remain unavailable commercially, and trashy film like Haseena Atom Bomb is.

    • Well, I guess he has a right to write about what interests him :-)

      I would love to see some classic Pakistani cinema, but it’s hard to find with subtitles (hard to find, period, as you rightly point out). I feel your pain!!!!

  12. Amazing movie…Haseena Atom Bomb….waah! infact these movies should also be part of film-makers’ curricullum of ‘ How not to make bad movies?’.

  13. I remember you mentioning this film in your last post – and since I’d never heard of Haseena Atom Bomb before, I thought: “Oh, that sounds interesting!” Yuck, yuck, yuck.

    BTW: If Haseena had been dancing in a disco at her wedding, where was her husband while she stripped off and cavorted in the waterfall?

    On second thought, I can imagine. Still at the disco?

    • It’s a great title, isn’t it??? I want to make a film about Helen and Laxmi Chhaya and Bela Bose and call it “Haseena Atom Bomb”…and erase all memory of this.

      She was dancing in a disco on her wedding day, but her husband was apparently at work (he was not at the disco ;-). They got married in the evening.

      • Ah, so that’s why.

        I’m all for a Helen-Laxmi Chhya-Bela Bose film called Haseena Atom Bomb! A home production, with loads of songs (well, maybe mostly all songs)? Can’t wait for it :-)

  14. This was hilarious. I’ve borrowed some Pakistani films from The Third Man, and just not got around to watching them. Must do, must do. Even though ‘Haseena Atom Bomb’ is not on the list.

  15. This looks truly awful!

    Regarding Pakistani cinema in general, a lot of it looks quite appealing to me, nothing at all like this film. But the best are from the late ’40s to the ’60s, just like with other cinema from the subcontinent (IMO).

    I’ve watched a few ’50s Pakisitani classics, though most of them without subs. (Though I caught the classic Dupatta with subs, as can anyone.) Well, anyway, of course I started watching them for Noor Jehan. But I’ve sat or skimmed through a couple of non-Noor films and they were fine too, mainly for the singing and dancing scenes. I like them as much as similar scenes in many Hindi films.

    As I’ve said in my blog, where more current fare is concerned, I get a kick out of clips from Pakistani stage shows and mujras. Maybe the women are objectified a bit in some mujras (OK, big understatement :), but the best mujra dancers really are good. And though they get a nasty rep, I find the average real Pakistani mujra dance clip (as opposed those labeled “mujra” that are just softcore porn) to be far less vulgar than much of the skin-flashing current-day Bollywood fare (especially those remix videos – yuck).

    By the way, there is a Pakistani DVD place in Jackson Heights, NY (at 74th and Roosevelt) that has a whole bunch of stuff, but unfortunately, these DVDs are not guaranteed to have English subtitles like all the Bollywood ones…

    • Well, you know I prefer older movies to the newer ones too :) Always did, even when I was young and watching Hollywood. And I wish Bollywood films could be guaranteed to have subs, but that’s not the case either!!! Maybe more likely than Lollywood, but still…

      Apparently though some better cinema is being made now in Pakistan than was the case through much of the last few decades. Fingers crossed!

      On another faint note of praise for Haseena—I did enjoy listening to Noor Jehan singing, even though I couldn’t bear to watch what was going on visually to accompany it. But it led me into downloading some of her songs from emusic, and her voice is just absolutely divine.

      • Yes, that voice is truly heavenly!

        Just subsequent to my last comment, I remembered that Noor Jehan’s birthday was sometime this week. Then I looked it up and saw that it[‘s today, Sep. 21. Of course, I had to put together a Noor Jehan birthday post – another reason to put off everything else I should be doing in order to enjoy more Noor Jehan film clips and songs. :)

  16. It sounds much worse than the worst movies that I have ever watched. It is clear that there are yucky movies like this which are being made in places where there is market for such movies.

    Life is far too short to waste on watching such movies. There are countless movies of your liking still left to be watched and reviewed.

    After reading this review, I have begun to look at Mithun da movies with respect !

    • Ha ha! I could hear your voice chastising me as I watched this, Atul! “Why are you watching this when you could be watching something GOOD!”

      As I told Todd, I do feel a little richer—dirtier and sadder too—but richer experientially, for having seen it. At least now I know what I’m passing up. Some of us just have to learn from our own mistakes ;-)

  17. You know, there’s actually no way you (or anyone, re. the others you’ve linked to) can post such a review without it resulting in me wanting to see this film. Which I will, soon as the torrent’s finished downloading :-)

    • Well, do let me know what you think! You HAVE BEEN WARNED.

      Although thinking about it, I would imagine that if you are a man it’s less repulsive to sit through than if you are a woman. I just wanted to take all the women in it, and run—what on earth must their lives be like, to induce them to tolerate this kind of treatment by a “filmmaker”? I think by the end of it I felt raped on behalf of my entire gender. Ugh. Ugh. Ugh. It is vile.

  18. I literally cannot tell what those body parts are in your first screencap. I mean, I can guess, because of the verbal cues in the paragraphs below ;-) but visual information has failed me. SO. WRONG. Also, the makeup. Also, the “plot.” Also, I cannot believe you could bring yourself to watch the film long enough to capture so many scenes. You are my hero, Memsaab.

    • My very dear late friend James, who was a buyer of ladies’ wear for a huge department store, used to say that spandex should only be available in one size: extra small. There are hundreds of “close-ups” in this film which should remain unidentifiable, and they are all of the more intimate parts of female anatomy. Makeup and plot were the least of this thing’s problems. And also, I watched it once, then had to go through it again for screen caps. Heroic or stupid? It’s a fine line.

  19. I have not seen Haseena Atom Bomb, but find Todd and Memsaab’s discussion of the exploitation elements, and the audience for the film fascinating. I have to say, that although The Bandit Queen is a highly regarded “art” film, I felt that the treatment of the heroine’s rape and her subsequent revenge also carried queasy elements of exploitation for the delectation of some viewers. The critical distance between these two films is vast in some ways, but in others, not so much.

    • Interestingly I was talking along these lines yesterday with my friend Suhan, who said that Sharmila Tagore defended some of her decisions as president of the Censor Board by using Bandit Queen as an example: when it was shown in the rural centers of India people (men) in the audience whistled and cheered at the rape scene—to them it was sex, not rape. I’ve gotta say: I see her point! It IS about the audience it’s aimed at, and how it’s viewed by them, so much.

  20. A comment above;

    >It sounds much worse than the worst movies that I have ever watched.

    I don’t think it is a mainstream ‘film’.
    It’s a porn film, a modern version of the oldest profession.
    Nor do I think this film is the result of suppression, otherwise how would one explain their existence in very liberal countries.
    It just suits tastes which seem to be quite universal.

    The women acting in it are I presume of the profession, and the film being a hit is I think the very low budget it must have had.

    A sad exploitation of women.

    • This is worse than porn in my opinion, since it does masquerade as mainstream entertainment (in the sense that it was released in regular theaters where families take their children). And even “regular” hard-core porn in this country generally doesn’t inflict the sort of mayhem and violence on women that this film does (I am sure that some niche porn does, but luckily I haven’t been subjected to it and wouldn’t want to be).

      • Memsaab,

        It looks like you don’t know much about Pakistani entertainment scene and most of your knowledge if any is coming from Omar Khan’s website. Pashto Film Industry or Pollywood based in Peshawar isn’t even part of mainstream Lollywood (Urdu/Punjabi film industry).

        Up until recently (I have heard that in recent years the standard of Pashto films is getting better and they are moving away from soft porn), everyone in Pakistan knows that Pollywood = violence and soft porn. Pashto films are released in select theatres and women, children, families etc never go to watch these films because in Pakistan it is a known fact Pollywood films are “bad”. As I said before, these films are released for special segment of society.

        Forget about Pashto films, most Pakistanis don’t even watch mainstream Lollywood for the last 3 decades because of the sub standard movies being made. Most Cinemas have bulldozed and being converted into Shopping centers.

        I don’t know where Omar Khan’s got this “fact” that this movie was a big hit all over Pakistan. Maybe he meant that the pirated videos of this film were dubbed in Urdu and released in video stores. The film is so bad and disgusting, that no sane/decent family in their right minds will ever go and watch this movie (either in theatres or on video).

        • I will hope that this is truly the case!!!! although it wasn’t only Omar Khan’s review which gave me that impression (I “googled” the film to see what else had been written about it). Certainly I think Omar Khan’s take on it was very tongue-in-cheek, at least I hope it was, although I was surprised to see that even the British Film Institute lists it as the 7th most popular Pakistani film and seems to take his review seriously!

          • When I saw British Film Institute Top 10 Film List and I saw Haseena Atom Bomb in that list I was greatly offended and was in shock. At that time I was in contact with Aijaz Gul (Pakistani Director and Producer) and even he didn’t know how that film appeared in Top 10 films made in Pakistan. It was like mocking Pakistani Cinema.

            Later when I looked at the Panel of Judges, it included Indian Journalists like Nasreen Munni Kabir etc who have very scant information about Pakistani Film Industry and for the most part they based their list on what they read on the Internet, instead of doing a thorough research. And their inclusion of Haseena Atom Bomb might be based on Omar Khan’s review because if I remember correctly they have quoted few sentences from his review.

          • I was pretty shocked by it too, and offended on behalf of Pakistani cinema—I do know that HAB is not representative of the whole industry in the least. And I was equally shocked that anyone would take his review as seriously as they seem to have—to me it seems clearly tongue in cheek! (Does it seem that way to you? or am I misunderstanding him?) But they quoted those sentences out of context and seemingly in all seriousness!

            I have no idea how they arrived at their conclusion that it’s in the top 10—i guess we would have to ask the judges. I know Nasreen Munni Kabir is a pretty serious film scholar, although I don’t know how much she knows about films from Lollywood or Pakistan.

            In any case, there are quite a few errors even in terms of Hindi cinema on the BFI’s site :-)

  21. How could you sit through this?
    Poor you!

  22. Ugh! This sounds absolutely dreadful. Can’t believe this could possibly have been a hit.

  23. OMG what an utterly hilarious review. It’s really late here and I guffawed really loudly, startling poor Hunnybunny who’s all Can we PLEASE go to bed? I’m bookmarking this so I can make the hubby read it tomorrow. And don’t think of this as a mistake, you’re doing a social service by watching and reviewing it. It made me laugh helplessly :-D hehehe….

    • Hunnybunny should be grateful that you didn’t make her sit through it (poor Gemma did, although she found all the horses v.v. entertaining and since she’s deaf all the thunder claps and LOUD DIALOGUES didn’t bother her, and the songs just sent her off to sleep).

      Am glad my pain has entertained you ;-)

  24. Unfortunately, most Bangladeshi films are as bad as this, with or without the sleaze. At least Pakistan has some decent films to make up for this (I think).

    • Hmmm. Thanks for the warning :)

      • Here’s the real warning:

        Some ways to recognize horrid Bangladeshi films:

        -Ugly, fuzzy haired guys (some w/ giant moustaches)

        -Fat women with giant hair and gads of make up (and/or a lot of skin showing)

        -***(Nothing but) horrendous, uber-dramatic, over-the-top histrionics

        -*****Heavy, heavy breathing inbetween every bit of dialogue, as if the people were having asthma attacks (I never could understand the reasoning behind this)

        Unfortunately, I have witnesses these since my relatives like to watch these, As a result, I can’t even bring myself to watch the few decent Bangali movies (aside from the Apu Trilogy- excellent)

  25. @Forlorn Rage: It’s unfortunate if you’ve relegated all of Bengali cinema to the dust heap because of the kind of films you talk of churned out both by the Bangladeshi and West Bengal film industry. Since you mentioned Ray, trust me, Bengali cinema has no parallel in South Asia probably in the amount of ‘art’ cinema it’s generated and the general sense of miserable ‘realism’ that it entails :-) (NOT Memsaab’s genre of choice)!

    I profess total ignorance about Bangladeshi cinema but for some stuff from the other side of the divide (West Bengal), try the parallel cinema from directors like Mrinal Sen, Ritwik Ghatak, Bimal Roy, Tapan Sinha for some pretty potent stuff dating all the way from the 1950s. For some of the more recent work that’s interesting, obviously there’s Aparna Sen, Buddhadeb Dasgupta, Rituparno Ghosh, Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury, Goutam Ghosh, etc.

    And if in the midst of all the ‘realism’ you should want a dose of pretty then of course, don’t miss wallowing in early Uttam Kumar, Suchitra Sen and Soumitra Chatterjee starrers as well as some 70s Sharmila Tagore :-) Cheers and happy viewing.

  26. At this point these movies appear to be stupid to us but the truth is, they were really appreciated back then.

  27. Memsaab I am sure you did´nt read warning on dvd before watching this movie.it should be written on dvd plz watch this movie after take two tylenol or advil.backround in paki movies is like someone is hitting on your head with drum sticks.in so many year paki film ind made only one good movie that’s“ khuda ke liye´´ a must watch paki movie memsaab. 

    • I have Khuda Ke Liye, has been highly recommended–I haven’t gotten to it yet though.

      Pakistani cinema did have some gems in the early days although it never took off I guess as it did in India…I don’t know that much about it and certainly hope that Haseena…is not representative of the whole country’s film output! :D It certainly did feel like someone hitting me with drum sticks on the head (and poking hot fire irons in my eyes too, for that matter)!

  28. Hello Memsaab! I just finished watching this movie, and ofcourse knew of the DDDK and Omar Khan reviews (btw, the icecream is really nice, the lahore branch was like 5 mins from my college.. hehe.. )

    I need to get my head around it, but needless to say that this movie must have been made when everyone involved in the film were influenced by the best poppy products from Afghanistan! I thoroughly enjoyed all the sleaze that it had to offer (and even i cannot understand whether there was incest involved between the police officer and Shabana).

    However, my favourite character has to be “Ghulam”. The guy who comes in and helps Reshma, and didnt say a single word till he died in the climax. Theres this amazing video of how awesome Ghulam was.

    I have so much going up in my head, so I will wait a bit and write something different of my own… And we can talk about Pakistani cinema then as well..

    • I did not enjoy the sleaze—it made me want to stick needles in my eyes pretty early on. But if nothing else, HAB taught me that my low standards do have their limits, and for that I am grateful, I guess :)

  29. I almost want to watch this one now!!! Almost but not quite…. The worst revenge flick I ever saw (and believe me I’ve seen a few) was “Diya Aur Toofan” (The lamp and the storm) starring the incomparable Mithun Chakraborthy and Madhoo. You should see it; it even has Suresh Oberoi as a neurosurgeon. I wont say more and give away the plot (!!!), but I nearly died laughing when I saw it all those years ago.

  30. To be fair, the bald henchman looks hilarious. :D

  31. After watching clips of Yusuf Khan Sherbano (Pakistan’s first Pushto film ) and what a wet blanket Yusuf is most days, I can understand why the Pashtun film heroine was chomping at the bit to abandon all aspirations towards piety and make a run for it.

    Re: Maula Jutt..Sultan Rahi might have been bellowing his lungs out but the other protagonist Mustafa Qureshi was famous for speaking very softly hence striking fear in the audience and the baddies’ heart!

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