(Because 007 would be so unoriginal!)
I can only imagine that director Kamal Sharma was left a small legacy by his grandmother or someone, and jumped at the opportunity to make the film he’d been dreaming of since he saw his first Bond movie: “I have IDEAS! Many of them stolen, almost all of them bad, but I won’t let that stop me!” Most of his tiny budget went into helicopters and probably Helen, with nothing left over for an actual script or any production values. The lack of subtitles is even almost welcome, since the chaos onscreen is such a bombardment to the senses that having to read too would have made my head explode. In any case, I can say with certainty that I have no clue what happens, except that several different gangs of people are all vying to grab a “formoola” for some sort of bomb for which the dastardly “Chinese” are willing to pay a premium price.
These nefarious Asians have an underground lair staffed by people in brightly colored containment suits, presumably in anticipation of acquiring the bomb since for the time being there isn’t that much for any of them to do but stare at the spurious wall decor and their crazy leader who waves his arms about and laughs maniacally.
The Indian gangs trying to outdo each other in the race for the formoola have various and sundry listening and recording devices which they somehow manage to set up in random locations *just in time* for the other party to arrive and be spied upon. My favorite is a cosmetic-compact controlled bug that is a…well, bug.
This innocuous ball-point pen was easily converted into an antenna-microphone combo:
Mostly, though, these mechanisms of spying are conspicuously large and many are endowed with flashing lights. You know the drill.
All this skulking and spying results in attacks being launched and repudiated (or not) and then the cycle begins again; there is really no story that I could decipher beyond that. I never did figure out which people had the formoola at any given time, and I admit that it was never really important to me either.
What is important is that we have Helen at her most glam, acting as Chief Bad Girl for Mr. Madan (B.M. Vyas):
Plus, Shabnam, Madhumati, Rani and Jeevan Kala (plus another girl—Khurshid maybe?) form a group of Fembot-Dancer-Assassins working (and dancing) for another guy in sunglasses, who owns a fantastically tacky club called “Arabian Nights.”
They arrive, they kick ass, and they leave—and I love them.
Mr. Rakesh (Sailesh Kumar)—Agent 077—is himself a disappointment. We meet him in true super-sleuth fashion, surrounded by a bevy of lovely girls (one of whom appears to be picking lint off him or something) at the Sun ‘N Sand Hotel.
He is sort of awkward and milquetoasty, but still manages to attract Good Girl Mumtaz, although the hows and whys of that remain shrouded in mystery. Mumtaz (the niece or granddaughter of the bomb’s inventor, I think) is underused, mostly engaged in sighing after our Secret Agent or trying to seduce him in fluttering nightgowns—but she IS given top billing in the opening credits! Yay for Mumtaz!
There is a host of character actors playing gang leaders and henchpeople, some of whom I know and others I recognize but don’t have names for (and some I don’t remember ever seeing before at all). Mystery man Nazir Kashmiri appears sans mouche as Dr. Verma (he’s a good guy, presumably):
and Rajan Haksar and Ratan Gaurang are painfully caricatured Chinamen:
As is the case with many of these B- and C-grade movies, the music is pretty much the most fabulous thing about it. Music Director Baldev Nath has come up with a couple of loony dance numbers, as befits a cast so heavily weighted with dancing talent. Ted Lyons’ Cubs play under the leadership of his brother-in-law Suno in “Yeh Aankhen Teri Hain Teri Katil” (Ted says he was one of the dancers in the crowd, although the picture quality is so fuzzy and the movements of the Fembot-led crowd so frenetic that I can’t find him).
Madhumati has another short dance (no lyrics) dressed as a sparkly green bird, and thankfully Helen gets to dance too (“Ulfat Ki Nishani Deke Chale Woh“), accompanied by the Fembots in the gaudy Arabian Nights club as Mumtaz and Agent 077 look on disguised cleverly as sheikhs.
She has another number too, “Gulshan Pe Ghata Chhayee,” for oodles of Helen Happiness.
In all, this film has a lot to offer fans of our dancing girl bahens and charactor actor bhaiyyas. If you require nuanced acting, a plot that isn’t laughably nonsensical, and a production budget that’s higher than the contents of your kid’s piggy bank, you probably should look elsewhere.
This is also true if you prefer your Secret Agents to be on the more manly side, although I did grow kind of fond of Agent 077 by the end.
After all, I had Fembots.