Intaquam (1969)

intaquam_helen

Ah, what a film this is. If you have a hankering for something that careens wildly along, going from completely loony, to sweetly touching, to dumb and illogical, and back to loony again, look no further. I wouldn’t call it technically a good film, but it is highly entertaining. And I loved it! With features like Excellent Use of Helen, a zealous and melodramatic murderer named Snaky, a disfiguring cake, useful little white mice, lost and found family members, fantabulous songs (Azad in blackface!), plus Memsaab favorites Ashok Kumar and Rehman as friends-turned-bitter-foes, how could I not?

I have been longing to see this with subtitles, but didn’t think it was available except on an unsubtitled (and unplayable after ten minutes) VCD. Many thanks to Tom D (the most banned-from-YouTube-person-on-earth) (my opinion only, not backed up by anything resembling actual facts) (but still: I think it’s because he does what Indian DVD manufacturers can’t be bothered to do, which is to clean up the picture and sound quality, remove their intrusive and gaudy logos, and add subtitles, thereby making them look bad—as they deserve to—so they complain and he gets suspended, over and over again). Anyway, thank you my friend! for supplying me with this particular ginormous rock of crack.

It begins promisingly with one of those hilarious disclaimers that I so love in Hindi films:

intaquam_sonadeptstore

I settle happily in my chair to see how the filmmaker (in this case, RK Nayyar, husband of heroine Sadhana) has managed to trash a department store’s reputation. It’s rather easily accomplished, as it turns out, by casting Jeevan as Bankelal, the greedy and ruthless store manager, and Rehman as Sohanlal, the greedy and ruthless owner. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

First we meet Heeralal (Ashok Kumar) at the Bombay airport as he comes in through customs. I realize quickly that if nothing else, plot developments will not be subtle.

intaquam_customs

Heeralal flees from the police in a stolen car, abandoning it finally near a chawl and flinging the packet of Picture Postcards of Rangoon at the feet of a girl who lives there named Rita (Sadhana). He asks her to keep them for him from the police—he’ll return for them—and she does so, covering for him when the police arrive.

I’m not sure I would do such a thing for a stranger running from the police, but maybe in 1969 India I would have. Actually, given how incompetent the police turn out to be in this film, I am positive I would have. So never mind.

intaquam_cover

Rita lives with her ailing mother (Leela Chitnis). Judging from her cough, Maa has tuberculosis, but they can’t afford medications; Rita has been unable to find work despite her hard-earned education. Her father disappeared when she was young, and her mother sacrificed everything to give Rita a chance at a better life. Good news finally arrives in the form of a letter scheduling an interview for Rita at the Sona Department store.

She’s hired!

intaquam_typing

She begins working for Sohanlal, an arrogant and very rich man who refuses to give her a salary advance of 400 Rupees for treating her sick mother, although he is happy to give his adored but wastrel son Rajpal (Sanjay Khan) 12,000 Rs to pay his evening’s gambling debts.

intaquam_gambling

Rita’s secretarial job, she soon discovers, includes things besides “typing.” She is sent off to entertain one of the store’s wealthiest clients, Murlidhar (Asit Sen). She slaps him when he makes indecent advances, and is called onto the carpet the next day by Sohanlal. One of the unsubtle themes of this movie is the overweening arrogance of the wealthy, who answer to nobody, and the plight of the poor who, despite their nobility of  character, are downtrodden.

intaquam_indecent

Sohanlal fires her, but she tells him that she’ll complain to the employee union (HOORAY for you, Rita!) and he backs down. Enraged by her insolence and gumption, though, he later tells Bankelal to get rid of her by any means possible. Bankelal frames her for the theft of an expensive necklace, and she is sent to prison for a year. On the day of her release, she is told that her mother is gravely ill and rushes from the jail as Heeralal makes his appearance again.

intaquam_released

He follows her to her home, where she arrives to find that her mother has just died. After the cremation, she goes to a nearby temple and renounces her faith in God, and vows to take revenge on Sohanlal for his evil deeds. Heeralal approaches her, and tells her that Sohanlal is his mortal enemy as well. He asks her to join forces with him, reminding her that she has his packet of Picture Postcards of Rangoon.

intaquam_wallofwealth

This packet contains the funding for his revenge: smuggled diamonds. Rita’s plan was to simply kill Sohanlal and then be hanged for his murder, but luckily for our story, Heeralal has a much more convoluted one.

intaquam_casino

I almost faint with glee at this point. This is approaching Apradh in its cracktastic-ness: no higher compliment can be paid to it than that. Rita and Heeralal build the Casino Egyptiana in order to attract the wealthy, debauched and idle rich—including the likes of Bankelal, Murlidhar, and Sohanlal’s doted-upon son, Rajpal. To that end, they have also hired an enthusiastic emcee (Jankidas), and a magician named Sheikh Pasha (Bhagwan):

intaquam_casino2

and Rebecca (HELEN), who performs a sizzlingly erotic and politically incorrect cabaret number with Azad (Zimbo!) in blackface and a golden cage:

intaquam_aajanejaan

“Aa Jaane Jaan” is of course one of Helen’s best-known songs, but I had never seen it like this. In Merchant-Ivory’s “Helen Queen of the Nautch Girls” documentary it’s in black and white; on my VCD of the film it’s inaccessible due to the disc crapping out way before this point; and whenever I’ve seen it on YouTube it’s been very fuzzy. Believe you me, it needs to be seen in color, on at least a large TV screen, with the picture quality sharpened up by Tom. Words fail me.

The casino is also blessed with interesting 1960s decor and a band of gori waitresses dressed in gold lame minidresses and pillbox hats. It’s not long before Rebecca has ensnared Murlidhar in her own little web (this is a side revenge benefit for Rita), enabling her and Rita later to relieve him of a large portion of his fortune.

intaquam_casino3

Three years pass, during which Heeralal grooms Rita in the fine arts of sophistication and seduction. When she is finally ready, he sends her off to Kashmir in pursuit of Rajpal, who spends his vacation there every year. In no time flat she has caught his attention and he’s fallen hopelessly in love with her. Heeralal’s master plan to have Rita marry Rajpal and then ruin Sohanlal’s precious family honor is working!

intaquam_love

A couple of pretty songs later, we are all back in Bombay, where Sohanlal throws a party to celebrate his beloved son’s engagement. Only Bankelal is unhappy, since he had wanted Rajpal to marry his own daughter Indu (Anju Mahendru). When Sohanlal meets her, he fails to recognize wealthy, gorgeous Rita as his wronged secretary—but Banke finally does.

intaquam_banke

When Rita sees him whispering to Sohanlal, she leaves the party with Rajpal in anxious pursuit. She persuades him to marry her that night, before his father can tell him who she really is.

intaquam_wedding

Mission accomplished! Well, sort of. Rajpal is heartbroken to discover that Rita has married him to avenge herself on his father, and not because she loves him. This sends him into a downward spiral of drinking himself into oblivion while Rita succeeds in embarrassing Sohanlal in front of his friends and business colleagues, first by pretending to be drunk (although of course she isn’t really, because she’s a good and noble person), and then by announcing that she’s a convicted felon, thereby cementing her position as the worst bahu EVER with delicious irony.

There are several more great songs—the first by the above-mentioned “drunk” Rita, another by a genuinely drunk Rajpal (this one really a poignant beauty—“Jo Unki Tamanna”), and one more crazy Helen dance. It hasn’t gotten much press, probably due to it not being “Aa Jaane Jaan,” but it’s still a doozy (“Mehfil Soyi”).

intaquam_songs

I have to admit though, that my favorite part of the end of this film is the completely crazy villain hired by Banke to make Rita less pretty, rendering her therefore unlovable to Rajpal, which will rescue his friend Sohanlal from his distress. Yup. That’s the logic. This villain (named Snaky!) is played by one of the loony-tune villains from Apradh (yes, again!), and he is just as creepily hilarious here as he was there. I think the actor may be Sidhu (or Siddhu), but if anyone can verify that I’d be grateful (Update: verified! Thank you!). His weapon of choice in the quest to disfigure poor Rita: cake.

Cake!

intaquam_cake

Cake revenge!!!! Only in Bollywood, my friends. Only in Bollywood. There is a balloon hidden inside, and the frosting is apparently made of acid or something. When Rita cuts into it:

intaquam_cake2

*Mwaaa-haaa-haaaa-haaa!*

He threatens Rebecca, who has overheard him, and ties up her beloved Pyarelal (Rajendranath—who isn’t in the film that much, but is still better than no Rajendranath) to keep them from warning Rita.

intaquam_sealed

Snaky has a finely tuned sense of melodrama. Will his diabolical plan succeed? (Hint: useful little white mice!)

Can Rajpal’s love save Rita from the endless dismal cycle of vengeance?

intaquam_revenge

Ooooh! That is so refreshingly…logical! Will the people he loves ever come to their senses? Why is Sohanlal’s former friend Heeralal determined to destroy him? And what did happen to Rita’s vanished father all those years ago? (Ahem.)

There are some problems with this movie (she says with a straight face, which should maybe worry her a little). Apparently the only print of it left in the world has been subjected to immersion in salty water, set on fire, eaten by a dog, run over with a truck, and Lord knows what else. It is missing entire scenes and what’s left is very choppy, including the songs. Large scratches and blotches mar its surface (even before the Cake appears), and it is in sad, sad shape. I can’t compare the quality to my VCD, since that doesn’t play beyond the first ten minutes (did I say that already?) but I doubt that it’s much better. Also, I haven’t seen much of Sanjay Khan till now, and don’t really think I’ll rush out for more. He is not a patch on big brother Feroz. Although he did okay in the big sad puppy-dog-eyes department, he was pretty wooden overall.

Still, I managed to thoroughly enjoy Intaquam. As I knew I would, really.

intaquam_mice

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50 Comments to “Intaquam (1969)”

  1. OMG i hate mice but these thingies look very helpful! Loving the plot of this film, hell I’m gonna conjure up some cake revenge myself and plant it on my sister! My gosh i love ludicrous revenge schemes like that and of course if Dadamoni and Rehman have a face off then I’m there!
    But what’s this about a crappy print? Is it horrendously choppy that it affects the plot?

  2. Again a good review from you, Greta.

    Saw this movie a few years back – it came on TV in India. I found it Ok but it is not the type of movie I would watch a second time. Am not a big fan of Sanjay Khan or Sadhana. Of course Rehman, Ashok Kumar and Helen do make up for this to some extent. I like Rehman a lot.

    The songs are pretty good – aa jaane ja, ye dil tum bin, jo unki tamanna, kaise rahoon chup etc. I remember the songs being one of the main reasons I actually looked forward to seeing this movie.

    • Yeah, I don’t really get Sanjay Khan. I think Sadhana is beautiful, but I don’t feel one way or the other about her otherwise, and certainly there wasn’t any hero-heroine chemistry in this. But the songs are FABulous, and the secondary characters make up for whatever is missing in the main pair. It’s one of those films for me about which I can only say: without Hindi cinema and its particular brand of crazy, my life was incomplete.

  3. i think there should be more “cake revenge” movies XD

  4. Inteqam is famous for its songs as you have rightly pointed out. I have seen a good quality colour version of Aa Jaane Ja on a songs DVD. Awesome song. Apparently Lata was determined to sing a cabaret number as Asha was more famous for these types of songs in the 60s and 70s. So for a change you hear Lata singing this number with Helen dancing. It was a super hit song.

    I don’t like Sanjay Khan and tend to avoid his movies. Sadhna is not only beautiful but also a good actress especially in movies like Mera Saaya, Woh Kaun Thi etc. Haven’t seen this movie – I shd after reading ur review

    • It really is, and her other song in it is fab too. All the songs are quite wonderful, actually, and so diverse! I find Sanjay K. to be extremely expressionless and I don’t even find him that pretty to look at. I do like Sadhana just fine, although I don’t love her like I love Asha :) I guess I just have a taste for the “naughtier” people.

  5. Hey, so you finally managed to get to see Intaquam! Not a great film by any stretch of imagination, but very entertaining – and I love the songs.

    I read somewhere that of all the films based on Marie Corelli’s novels, Intaquam (which was based on Vendetta) is the only one to be made in colour. And a ‘talkie’, if I’m not mistaken.

    • It is one of those films which allows me to say with full confidence that sometimes entertaining is just as good as “good.” I have never read any Marie Corelli novels, but would love to read Vendetta as an exercise in Hindi adaptations—was there cake revenge in it, I wonder?

      :)

      • I remember reading only one Marie Corelli novel – Thelma, and that was years ago, so I recall next to nothing of it. From what I know of Vendetta, it certainly had no cake revenge (the very idea!!!), no white mice, and in fact no end of the sort that happened to our heroine in Intaquam. But what the heck, I still enjoy Intaquam. At least it’s paisa vasool!

        • O this isnt anything at all like Vendetta which has a mistakenly-declared-dead (and buried) husband come back for revenge on his adulterous wife and her lover who happens to be his best friend. (The two Ashok Kumars film Afsana – was based on Vendetta.)

          • “Intequam” was based on a stage play “Within the Law”, and there had been 5 other film adaptions, the most famous of which starred Joan Crawford in “Paid” (1930). Crawford is a department store employee who is sent to prison for a crime she did not commit. She plots vengeance on the wealthy store owner, who testified mistakenly against her. After her release from prison, she meets the store owner’s son, and gets him to fall for her. They get married without the owner’s knowledge. Then she actually does fall in love with the son.

          • “Paid” sounds like fun! although Joan Crawford scares me :-D

  6. Yes. He is Siddhu.

  7. I fell on the floor laughing at the cake conspiracy. What an ingenious way to inflict agony on someone. I wish he had come up with a couple of options to choose from. Maybe splinters filled sweetmeats or some chemical in a toothpaste or a shampoo maybe..

    Thanks a ton for sharing this one though.

    • He was so pleased with his plan too!!! Siddhu is now one of my new favorite character actors. He didn’t work a lot according to imdb’s list, but they aren’t always very accurate or by any means complete, as we all know.

  8. I can’t stand “aa jaan-e-jaan.” There I said it. From a musical perspective (ie. taking out the scene and Helen), I think it completely fails as a seductive/erotic song. Any sexiness is provided entirely and solely by Helen.

    And I wish this fiction of “aa jaan-e-jaan” being Lata’s first foray into cabaret songs would die already.:-( Lata has sung many cabaret songs before and after Intequam.

    • LOL! You sound as cranky as I do these days ;-) I agree that the song itself (I think I even said that in my favorite Helen songs post when people complained that this hadn’t made it) is not one I’d “listen” to. But the picturization, my GOD. Is. FAB. I just can’t get over Azad dressed up like a golliwog. And Helen’s use of her body in this one is AMAZING. Sister has some serious moves. The song from this that I DO listen to over and over is “Jo Unki Tamanna”…so beautiful. And the ones they sing in Kashmir are very pretty too.

      Yes, Lata sang lots of cabaret style songs before this, it’s true. This isn’t even the first one she sang for Helen, by any stretch.

  9. OMG!!! I’ve been dying to see this one for ages!

    I love loopy 1960s masala!

    *sotto voce* Where did you “aquire” this?! I will trade you some picture postcards of Rangoon!

  10. I am almost certain I saw this movie during my early Bollywood watching phase. I must check my DVD stock.

  11. Speaking of odd revenges – I seem to recall some sort of balloon revenge/attack in a Sidney Sheldon novel that I read long ago (I think it was Windmills of the Gods). So, Bollywood may be extremely inventive, but it isnt the only one!

    I remember seeing part of this film on TV long ago – cant remember why, but I flipped channels at some point and never saw the whole film! And so, I missed seeing Jo unki tamanna hai – one of my favorite songs, too.

  12. I am one of those who always believed that the cabarat songs of this movie were sung by Asha Bhonsle, so when I first realised that the singer was in fact Lata then I could not believe it.

    Of couse, now I have come across some more cabarat songs sung by Lata.

    I may have watched this movie on big screen, but I am not very certain about it.

    You say that good quality DVD/VCD of this movie are not available ? Even I am not a fan of Sanjay Khan, so there goes my motivation to look for a good quality DVD/VCD of this movie. All that I will be interested in is to see that the songs of this movie are good enough to be playable.

    It has been commented here that the song “aa jaane jaan” is erotic only because of Helen, and not because of Lata. I think one main reason why this song is erotic is because of the lyrics of Rajinder Krishan. When I paid attention to the lyrics of this song, I found the song quite seductive, as did others who were paying attention. And indeed this is a song where everyone tends to pay attention.

    • Sadly, even the songs are very choppy on this DVD—they skip in places. But still, they are wonderful. And you are a master of understatement as always: “indeed this is a song where everyone tends to pay attention.”

      LOL!!!!

      • :-)
        I decided to watch the youtube video of this just now to try to pay attention to the lyrics.
        And guess what ? In front of Helen’s dance, the lyrics did not stand a chance. To be fair to me, I was watching the video after a long time. :-)

        So, here I have something for those who want to concentrate on the lyrics and yet watch video. One can safely say that there are no distractions here. :-) And you have subtitling.

  13. OMG, they used to show the songs from this movie on TV when I was growing up and it was INSTANT LOVE. I wanted to see it so badly! And then I finally did and it was fabulous!!! They showed it on TV and there were some odd editing choices (maybe the film had degraded? they wanted to fit in more commercials? who knows!) but it was a pretty decent print and I enjoyed myself thoroughly even though it was a school night and I ought to have been in bed hours before it finished.

    The Helentastic aspect of this was stunning and Sadhana has always been one of my favorite actresses. And I never really cared for Sanjay Khan so if she’d wanted to torture him a little bit more then I wouldn’t have objected.

    I forgot about the Revenge of the Cakes but that’s why I love you so – you’ll remind me of it! “muahaahahaha” indeed!

    • I think “odd editing choices” may not have been (for once) voluntary. This is probably the worst film I’ve seen in terms of being incomplete—scenes missing, abrupt cuts in action, etc. Too bad!

      Mmmmm…cake.

  14. On the plus side this movie does contain a couple of great songs (Aa Jaane Ja & Kaise Rahoon Chup) & Sadhana & Ashok Kumar & Rehman. On the minus side is Sanjay Khan (I agree Feroz is much better) & what seems like an average plot. Probably the best is to watch the songs, and that hilarious rats episode.

    • The plot is not bad, what there is left of it, that is. You do have to use your imagination to fill in some gaps, but hey! What is an imagination for, anyway :) And the songs (and their picturizations) are just FAB.

  15. Oh i love this film so , its just one of those where you feel giddy with pleasure every time you see it. Its wonderful.

  16. My VCD has a good print. Though I forgot from which company, since I left it in india.
    But it jsut didn’t make sense.
    What good does it do her if she the family she marries into has a ‘bad’ bahu. So many families have. And he can always divorce her. Happens so often. I just didn’t get the logic. If she could have relieved them of their millions, that would have helped. But since the son is a gambler himself and loses money right left and center, thoat wouldn’t need mcuh helping
    It had so much potential!
    Only highlight was Helen’s dance!

  17. i watched a couple of songs from Intaquam on TV but when i enquired from shops in new delhi about a dvd of this movie, i found to my horror that not a single shop have one, not even in palika bazaar. Many informed me that ‘EAGLE’ had the copyright earlier. Kindly inform me where else can i get a dvd copy of this movie in new delhi.

  18. hi,this aryaan…………..this is my favarate movie, I loke sanjaykhan, nayyar saheb and sadhanaji….these are my favarate actors. The most beatufilful pair of 1969, kashmir, sanjaykhan the dilip kumar of Hope, and sadhana very smart,lovely lady, beauftiful voice, the chudidar girl,kashmir,patte and chanare….wow those btful days never comeback. saddhanaji married when she was on peak, and nayyar saheb well known director. In shama of august we saw all the mariage photos of sadhana and nayyar saheb aughst 1965. So butful days will comeback. Now she is blind but our love is forever, it is not going to be diminissed. We love the mere mahboob girl, the most sucessful , susspense heroine of rajkhosla,madanmohan saheb and raja saheb of sarhad. His songs still famous in the world. Raja saheb his pen was different, which penetrates the hearts of the lovers. songs like gure gure chand se mukh pe, kali kali aankhen hai,lagjagale,aapkinazron mein,tittle song of who kaun thi.and mera saya….& jaipur forts, and dutt saheb….where are they now……???????

  19. thanks .very much, lataji,helenji…………nayyar and sadhanaji

    very beatiful movice …my favt movie

  20. hello, sorry if this annoys you – one of my favorite lata songs is “kaise rahoon (rahum?) chup,” and i would love an english translation. if that is at all possible, please email me or reply to this. i’ve been searching all over the internet, and this page is the closest i’ve come! so thank you for posting even this much!

  21. Ag, here is an attempt at translating this song. Not claiming it to be perfect but I guess something is better than nothing. :-)

    Hindi
    *****
    Kaise rahun chup, ki maine pee hi kya hai
    Hosh abhi tak hai baakee
    Aur zara si de de saaki, aur zara si aur

    Muddaton ki pyaas, aaj ek jaam ban gayee
    Ye khushi ki shaam, shaam-e-intequam ban gayee
    Jo baat hum mein tum mein thi, wo baat aam ban gayee
    Aur zara si de de saaki, aur zara si
    Kaise rahoon chup….

    Pata hai tumko raaz kya hai, mere is suroor ka
    Ki iss suroor mein hai, rang zara sa mere guroor ka
    Jo maine pee to kyon nasha utar gaya huzoor ka
    Aur zara si de de saaki, aur zara si
    Kaise rahoon chup…

    English Translation
    ****************
    How can I be quiet now, I have hardly had anything to drink yet
    I am still in my senses
    Give me some more to drink, give me some more

    My age-old thirst has now got transformed into drink
    This evening of joy has now become an evening of revenge
    That which the two of had between us
    Has now become common knowledge
    Give me some more to drink, give me some more
    How can I be quiet…

    Do you know the secret of my mood today
    That there is in this mood, a bit of my pride too
    It is I who is drunk
    So why does your face look pale
    Give me some more to drink, give me some more
    How can I be quiet…

  22. oh, thank you so much! you are fantastic!

  23. I second that Raja :) Thanks!!!

  24. I’ve watched this only once, as Bombay Doordarshan’s Sunday evening movie offering and do not remember a bad print – of course, I was dying to see all the songs and remember impressing some hard-to-impress classmates with my rendition of the first few lines of Geet tere saaz ka…
    They remade it in Marathi with Ranjana playing Sadhana’s role – Naav Mothe Lakshan Khote (can’t spell it exactly right in English) – I remember Anuradha Paudwal’s voice in the song `Shodhu mee kashi kuthe priya tulaa…
    Fascinating plot for me (while I will not pass up a chance to watch Paid, yes, Joan Crawford does give me the shivers, Mommy Dearest) to see the avenging Woman.
    Ditto to Sanjay Khan, wooden.
    Wonderful translation of song by Raja there.
    Your review, absolutely the tops…`I wouldn’t call it technically a good film, but it is highly entertaining. And I loved it! With features like Excellent Use of Helen, a zealous and melodramatic murderer named Snaky, a disfiguring cake, useful little white mice, lost and found family members, fantabulous songs (Azad in blackface!),
    Hey, isn’t there a cake called `bombe’?

  25. Muddaton ki pyaas, aaj ek jaam ban gayee
    Ye khushi ki shaam, ***shaam-e-intequam*** ban gayee
    Jo baat hum mein tum mein thi, wo baat aam ban gayee
    Aur zara si de de saaki, aur zara si
    Kaise rahoon chup….Hick!!

    Great song! Great mood, at that juncture of the movie. Sadhana Ji did alright with her performance in a situation like this. It reminds me a song of Hema ji in Seeta aur Geeta (1972) – Hanji haan meine sharaab pe hai. 10x greater performance there by Hema ji.

    Nevertheless, Kaise rahoon chup… The song had its luck. Did very well in 1969 race of songs and scored maximum to be published as the top song in Binaca geet maalaa that year

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Binaca_Geetmala

  26. I have a dim memory that one of the film magazines of the day mentioned that the English-language play on which this film was based on had been onstage in the not too distant past; it was contemptuous about the heroine sitting in her cell watching the changes in a tree to indicate the passing of the seasons (which I myself thought worked well as shorhand); and, on the short scene witth the heroine in white at her parent’s cremation (on the seashore?), a film-goer in one of the “blooper” columns asked, “Since when have women attended funerals/cremations?” (about the sociological correctness of which I know nothing), and another noted the oddness of palm trees in Kashmir.

    I thought the vignette of Ashok Kumar sipping a tiny glass of sherry or similar rather nice, since drink is usually seen in Hindi films in large glasses (or cf the overflowing beer-mug which indicates bad/weak character in this film).

    When a Sindhi boy callled Mahesh sang “Kaise rahoo chup?”in a school singing competition c. 1970/1971 in Bombay, Jesuit eyebrows were discreetly raised at the selection of song, the loud hiccups punctuating it did seem a trifle out of place, and though the singer was mellifluous, he did not win a prize. I have long thought that all such scenes have their ultimate origin in one of the three standard forms of “The Philadelphia Story”. Helen’s giggling “sirf Coca-Cola pani ke saath” at does a nice job of Indian having it both ways: the salacious pleasure of seenig a woman drink (to excess, and make an exhibition of herself, for is there any scene in which a “decent” woman can take a drink decently?) and a heroine retain her Sahib-bibi-ghulam “Hindu nari” status? “Rita” is an interesting double-barrelled/eitherway-bothways name here, flowing between, “native traditional” and “strong independent westernised, going from long-to-short-haired”… The pair marry in a temple, as I recall, rather than in a traditional ceremony at home, too…

    Are there many other examples of “Indian blackface”, I wonder? (I know the one in the Bengali “Ali Baba”).

    Is Rebecca’s Rajendranath of her community, or not?

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