Samson (1964)

Needing to recover from the horror that was Hawas, I felt that a little bit of gentleman Dara Singh might go a long way towards soothing my ruffled feelings. Sadly, not much Dara is available with subtitles, but I figured the eye-candy inherent in a sword-and-sandals picture featuring also a young Feroz Khan, Ameeta and Mumtaz would doubtless be enough. And it is! Truly I have no idea what actually goes on in this film. The plot details escape me, but I can tell you that in true Dara Singh fashion, Samson is not only a strong-man Biblical type wearing a skirt and gladiator sandals, but also a Tarzan friend-of-elephants type, and he and Mumtaz share the best romantic chemistry I’ve seen yet in a Dara epic.

Plus, there is man-boobed King Kong, always a pleasure.

I simply love the way Dara is often pictured with small lambs or goats in his huge manly arms, and when he rescues a baby elephant from a pit surrounded by tribals menacing the poor agitated thing I melt into a puddle.

He and his pal (Mohan Choti) live with the elephants in the forest eating bananas and melons and dancing. What a life!

Unfortunately the haughty Princess Sheba (Mumtaz) does not melt as easily as I do, even after Samson rescues her from a runaway chariot.

I have no idea why she’s angry with him but it seems to be her general attitude towards everyone. She yells at her female guards and at her poor lady-in-waiting Laila (Ameeta, who is even prettier than Mumtaz here, maybe because she’s not glaring and shouting). Perhaps the problem is that her would-be Amazonian guards are actually quite diminutive and sort of cowed beneath their helmets, which are in their own way as ill-fitting as Dara’s curly wig.

Or perhaps the problem is that she is surrounded only by these meek Security Females and no men except one: an evil high priest named Rashid (B.M. Vyas) residing in the palace with her. He has a dungeon filled with magicians (chief among them Habib) dressed in bright orange and yellow Ku Klux Klan outfits keeping little men in cages who can do things like spew fire and hurricane-force winds from their gullets.

This is WTF-ery that I can get on board with! Rashid is concerned with the whereabouts of Princess Sheba’s brother Salook (Feroz Khan) although I’m not clear on whether he actually thinks Salook is dead or not, missing as he has been for twenty years. Salook is very much not dead, but romancing Laila.

When Sheba almost catches them together and teases Laila about being in love, a long discussion about love and hate follows. Later that night, Sheba turns restlessly in her bed, all pouting lips and heaving bosom, as she thinks about Samson.

It really makes her angry.

She goes off the next day to—shoot him? I am not sure what she intends (possibly she isn’t either):

but she is interrupted by stock footage of a tiger that I’ve seen elsewhere, and Dara wrestles a stuffed one to its ignominious “death.” Sheba faints during this fascinating event, and when a thunderstorm erupts Samson carries her in his manly arms to his treehouse where he almost succumbs to temptation a la the Manmohan Desai Hypothermia Cure.

But being Dara Singh and therefore a gallant man with superior self-control, Samson goes back out into the pouring rain and chops down a tree instead. I have to say, I’ve seen quite a few Dara-Mumtaz films, and this is quite the most breathtakingly romantic scene in any of them—which might not mean much since the hallmark of Dara’s films is not romance—but. Honestly, it is almost Blackmail romantic.

I swoon and so does Sheba, who was only faking unconsciousness by the end of the little interlude.

The next morning she says to him that there was a big storm the previous night, and he says thoughtfully “Yes, a very big storm.” (Melt melt melt again, and thank goodness for my smattering of filmi Hindi!)

Romance ignited and my faith in men restored, it’s time to get to the loony shenanigans we know must be coming.

Rashid now almost catches Laila and Salook together, although Salook escapes. He takes Laila into custody to force her to reveal Salook’s identity, but she refuses. Sheba entreats her to give in, but she gives a long speech (I think) about the strength of love or something similar. But of course Salook shows up to rescue her and he is forced to fight a big smoke-exhaling lizard monster with LED eyes while she slips away to find Samson.

Samson shows up in the nick of time and kills the lizard, but Rashid has lots more magic and critters up his voluminous sleeves, including this genie (who admittedly, when released from his jar, is pretty unimposing—tall, but really skinny, and certainly no match for our Samson).

Rashid also manages to cause a rift between Sheba and Samson (noooooooo!).

Will Sheba be freed from the clutches of Rashid? Will Rashid realize who Salook is, and that he is a threat? What will happen to Salook and Laila? Will Salook and Sheba ever realize they are bhai-bahen and Salook the true heir to the kingdom? And most importantly, will Samson and Sheba realize that their love is true true true?

As with all so-called B-movies, the music (by Chitragupta) is lovely. I particularly like the qawwali featuring guest Jagdeep and Mohan Choti in a frilly gingham frock and feathered headdress.

Many times when I watch unsubtitled films I feel that not understanding the plot is possibly a blessing, but I would really really like to see this one without a gaudy logo and with subtitles some day. I have a feeling it might be my favorite Dara movie ever in that case (so far). Please, universe, make it happen! Dara Singh deserves subtitles! I deserve subtitles!!

Updated to add: I have subtitles! If you leave a comment with your email in the email address field (not displayed to others) I will send you the subtitle files, which synch perfectly with the vcd. Please note that you will need to have the Samson vcd, I will not supply that.

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40 Comments to “Samson (1964)”

  1. Oh memsaab, you’re a hoot!! This sounds like a Z grade movie….but what is it about those type of movies that actually mesmerizes us and wheels us in like a bait on a fishing line?

    • Well the acting is pretty bad, it is def. low budget, and I can’t speak to the plot or anything, but honestly I think these films stand on their own as an art form. I would rather watch this a gazillion more times than watch a Raj Kapoor film or Mother India with subtitles ever again. If that makes me low-brow, then I am very very happy and proud to be low-brow :) I adore Dara Singh, I really do.

  2. For some reason I thought you had already seen this movie otherwise I would have recommended it to you long ago. Anyway, it’s a pretty wonderful film, ain’t it. When all the people involved (including the actors) get into the spirit of the thing, nothing beats a “b-grade” film for guilt-free, fun.

    • It is, and I hope someday to see it with subtitles :) Yes, everyone in it participated very enthusiastically, and I liked the songs a lot too.

      • I love the songs too and had uploaded a couple on my old YT channel. I might reupload them if someone hasn’t already.

  3. Mumu looks chubby and very young too. Mayb it was puppy fat.

    • Mumu had acted as a leading actress earlier in Rusto Sohrab (1963). Not sure why she chose to play the second lead in later movies like Kajal (1965), Mere Sanam (1965), Pyar Kiye Jaa (1966), Brahmachari (1968), Aadmin aur Insaan (1969) and so many others.

    • She does still have that teenaged puppy fat :) So cute! And I don’t think we can fault her strategy of acting as second lead in those films—it paid off in spades for her! She is great in whatever she does.

  4. I’m not much of a Dara Singh fan, but that ‘stormy’ romance sounds very sweet! I need to see this. :-)

  5. Hahaha, that is a great description of this movie. The review is hugely entertaining, certainly far more entertaining that the movie could possibly be. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

    • Do you know the songs from it? (I will check your blog to see if they are there)…they are very nice. There is a lovely dance too with Jeevan Kala and Madhumati.

  6. Hi,
    You know this is one of those C-grade films that Mumtaz started in…and you have Ameeta! She couldn’t make a mark for herself in bigger films (remember her in Tumsa Nahin Dekha) though she was very pretty!!

    • I know, I’ve seen Ameeta in several things and don’t understand why she didn’t have a bigger career (if she wanted one). She is very pretty indeed and I’m always happy to see her :)

  7. Very good review ! We can “feel the love”. :-)

    I am not sure of this but I think this is one of Dara Singh’s best-known movies. Well, at least if you had asked me to name one of his movies, this would have been it. :-)

    Dara Singh is supposed to have discovered Mumtaz – for that alone, he has a special place in all our hearts. :-) Even otherwise, he comes across as such a warm person, you cannot but feel good when you watch him.

    In my childhood days he was better-known for his wrestling exploits – we were all proud that he was world champion. Of course we got to see more of him in movies than in any pics of wrestling. Some of his movies had wrestling scenes to compensate though.

    I have not seen this movie but I only knew that it had Dara and Mumtaz. If it has Ameeta and Feroz also then it must be overflowing with eye-candy.

    9 out of 10 times, I do care about a storyline (just a reasonable one will do) but I can totally make an exception for a movie that has Dara, Mumtaz, Ameeta and Feroz. :-)

    • “Some of his films had wrestling scenes…” LOL!!!! ALL of his films had wrestling scenes, and lots of them! This one is no exception!

      And I think it had a storyline, but most of it went over my head is all. It is overflowing indeed with eye-candy and crazy. Fun, fun, fun!

      • Ha ha…true, wrestling was to Dara Singh what dancing was to Helen. Actually when I saw him in Jab We Met (IMO one of the cutest movies of this decade), I half-expected him to pick up Shahid in one hand and hurl him across the room. :-) Am pretty sure even at this age this would not be a problem for him. :-)

  8. B C or Z grade, what I really enjoy is Dara Singh’s pronunciation of hindi/urdu with a punjabi accent :-D

  9. I don’t know what the heck is going on in this movie, either. But I sure love it.

  10. Oh yes Memsaab, such a fine movie. It is a toss up between this film and Aaya Toofan (with Helen in a lead role!!!) as my favorite Dara Singh movie!

    I think this was one of my first films without subtitles, and I was amazed at how easy it was, still, to watch.

  11. I hope one of you bloggers do get to interview Mumtaaz who I heard is suffering from a serious illness (if mags are to be believed). Since she also has a base in London, perhaps some body may be lucky in interviewing her for their blog!

  12. j’ai vu ce film dans les années 60 mais a l’époque j’étais un petit garçon je ne me souviens bien de l’histoire du film. malgré cela les films de dara singh passent bien car il y a toujours des combats qui étaient un régal pour nos yeux admiratifs.je voudrais vous demander comment pourrait télécharger certains films de dara singh. je cite pele mele certains de ses films. banjarin, naujavan, sher dil, janwemard, ayaa toofan, samson, awara abdulla, mel mitranj, et d’autres dont j’ai oublié les titres.je possede quelques films de darasingh. comme rustom -rome,dakhu mangalsingh, faulad,barangbali,nassihat, badsah,lootera, king kong -tarzan, tarezan comesto-delhi.le plaisir d’avoir de vos nouvelles

  13. He rescues ittle bittle baby ellies?? Awwwwww that Dara, my kind of man :)

  14. I love Dara Singh starrer movies because his movies got very beautiful music and rare songs of Rafi Sahab.Nowdays I am uploading some of his movie songs on my youtube channel at “boblovenyc”.

  15. What Samson did to that reptile really ticks me off. I wish that the lizard killed him by biting off his arms and hands, and later going for the rest of his body.

    Samson’s actions remind me of what King Kong did to many reptiles and what Hercules did to more than one animal. Like those other primates, Samson should have gotten killed by the animals he fought.

    King Kong, Hercules, Tarzan, Samson, and other muscular primates make me ashamed to be human. Heck, they also make me ashamed to be a mammal. I’ll always love reptiles more than mammals just as I love animals more than humans.

    • LOL!!! You do understand that it was a FAKE reptile :D But I totally adore your comment.

      *falls off chair laughing*

      I am with you on the loving animals more than humans; but reptiles, as much as I respect and even admire them, I find difficult to actually love. But someone has to, and I’m glad you’ve stepped up to the plate.

      • I’m back and I want to why you found my first post funny when you agreed with me on loving animals more than humans. I didn’t mean for my first comment to be funny at all because I was being totally serious about it.

  16. memsaab i know dara singh and mumtaz were paired together in 16 films which are faulad, veer bhimsen, samson, hercules, aandhi aur toofan, tarzan comes to delhi, tarzan and king kong, sikander e azam, rustom e hind, raaka, khakaan, boxer, jawaan mard, daku mangal singh, do dushman and jung aur aman, Since you are fan of their movies, i personally want to know which were the good ones of them( irrespective of box office success). I an aware that Fauald, Samson, Hercules,sikander e azam, rutom e hind successful at box office though……..Help me out in knwoing which of the other movies of this pair were hits?
    do find the answers for these 2 questions i put to you,

    • I have no idea which movies were hits, and I don’t care about such things…I only know which ones I like :) Samson is my favorite with both of them (although I haven’t seen them all). It’s hard for me to say which ones are best because almost none of them are subtitled, so I can’t really follow them that well.

  17. Dara Sing had paired with Nishi in many films, to my knowledge Lutera,Hercules if anybody
    knows films with Nishi please list it.
    Thanks

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