Kahin Aar Kahin Paar (1971)

This film is exactly what I would picture a big long LSD trip to be like (because of course I have no actual knowledge of one). Although if it were an acid trip, I’d probably be dead now. It is that crazy: I have a pretty high tolerance—some less charitable might even say need—for eye-popping candy-colored visuals, but by the abrupt (and non-existent) end of this my head was exploding. Truly it is a dizzying kaleidoscopic bombardment of Cracktastic that never lets up. Low on budget it might be, but the heights of jugad are certainly scaled.

I also really love the cinematography (Shyam Shiposkar): the camera angles are fantastic. Much of the candy color is probably a result of film deterioration, but here that sad state only adds to the charm.

Having said all that, I cannot really tell you what the plot is. It’s a tale of bad guys ruining India through drugs, gambling and sex and the CID agent sent to nab them, and it’s one of those films where everybody lurks and spies and knows stuff but we never understand exactly how they all know where to lurk and spy and stuff. There are no subtitles which doesn’t help (or probably hurt either) and I suspect a number of scenes besides the actual ending are missing. But a film of this caliber doesn’t have to make sense or be complete. The mere fact of its existence is more than enough.

We open with a smoke-filled den of iniquity, blaring with loud go-go music and packed with young women and men smoking, drinking, dancing and describing it as “heaven”—until the police get there, that is, and round up everyone.

Goondas and smugglers are out of control it seems, and the CID steps in. The head honcho (Raj Mehra) calls in Agent Joy (Joy Mukherjee), arms him with a microphone detector disguised as a keychain and a bullet (there is no gun to put it in, and both gadgets seem sort of useless to me), and sends him off to Sikkim to beard the lion in its den.

Or should I say LIONESS.

Yes, the woman in charge of our gang is Rosa (Nadira, yay!). She shoots a man then disposes of him through a trap door in her lair. Her partner in crime is Mr. Darko (Anwar Hussain), chief of Darko Enterprises, which is Just Awesome for some reason. But I am getting ahead of myself.

Their lair is hidden under a nightclub called Gay III (how fabulous is that?!). And thank Jesus Tom has uploaded the songs; composed by the criminally underrated Ganesh, they are wonderful without exception.

This is the first of many Helen dances and features my favorite background dancer eye-candy Oscar.

Helen is only one of the dancers working for Rosa, the other two being Pepita (Jayshree T) and Princess (Vimi). Princess is summoned by a man with no neck (in true Boss fashion Nadira employs many of them) only to see her father murdered (the sad victim above) by Rosa.

Agent Joy lands in Sikkim and is greeted at the airport by a “madman” (Sheikh Mukhtar) and his dog—and I can’t believe my eyes.

Different publicist, same dog?! I think so! How many Famous Wonder Dogs Not Named Moti can there be?

Agent Joy checks into his hotel room, which is crawling with bugs and very shabby. He is not pleased. He goes to meet Mr. Darko, who surreptiously (except for the obvious blinking red light in the ashtray on the desk) records their conversation. Rosa listens in, now wearing a wedding cake on her head and dark glasses I suppose to shield her eyes from all the flashing buttons.

Joy attempts to convince Mr. Darko that he is also a smuggler wanting to go into cahoots with him, but Rosa isn’t buying it and orders Joy killed. There seem to be some scenes missing, because suddenly Joy is in a ring with Shetty and they are karate-chopping each other. Eventually Joy rather unbelievably prevails, to the delight of a crazy guy we had already seen at the airport who is in the audience and very invested in the outcome.

Following his thrilling victory, Joy is escorted by Mr. Darko to another cabaret. Helen and Princess compete with each other for his attention, surrounded by men in Egyptian pharoah outfits. You just have to see it:

When he returns to the hotel, his room has been mysteriously upgraded—gone are the actual insects, but when he pulls out his handy keychain bug detector he hits paydirt (and exclaims “microphone!” thus, I would think, stupidly informing his eavesdroppers that he’s discovered them). I have now become convinced that this movie is a non-stop roller-coaster ride, a conviction furthered by the discovery that the CSP includes the lovely Pepita; Maruti (who also directed this masterpiece); and best of all one of my favorite loony staples of B-movie fun Shyam Kumar in full glory as Pepita’s intensely disapproving father.

It also includes more than I’ve ever really wanted to see of Moolchand and his Giant Belly.

Rosa now sends a reluctant Princess to find out more about Agent Joy by seducing him, which she rather easily does. This is quite a racy scene which makes it clear that Princess stays overnight with Joy in his hotel room, and is further proof that B-grade cinema was much less conservative than its more mainstream counterpart.

Vimi is not much of an actress, but she looks very pretty for the most part even when burdened by a ridiculous hat.

As she is leaving in the morning, Famous Dog Bhairavon arrives with a note from the airport “madman”—who isn’t so crazy, at it turns out (surprise!). He asks Joy to meet him that night (a fine opportunity for DNCI—Day-Night Continuity Issues) and they spy on smugglers loading crates until they are interrupted by Maruti.

I think Maruti tells them that his would-be father-in-law is a smuggler and takes them to meet him—their conversation with him is listened in on by Rosa and Mr. Darko, and Helen and Pepita provide more fabulous entertainment.

Back at the hotel, Joy confronts Princess after putting some loud cha-cha music on the radio in front of the hidden bug (which causes Rosa, listening in, to wrinkle her nose in disgust). He accuses her of being in cahoots with the smugglers; she tells him about her father and convinces him that she really does like him, then returns to Rosa to tell her that everything is going along as planned.

From here my already tenuous grasp of the story goes for a toss and I resign myself to just enjoying what’s onscreen, which is really more than enough. Joy fights his way out of a gambling den (a giant eyeball door! a Degas-decorated bar!):

rides in a helicopter and fights with goondas in a forest; pretends to be in love with Rosa (which causes Princess to sing a drunken cabaret song beside a fabulous giant sequined pitcher, and which also seriously annoys both Darko and Helen); and discovers the secrets of Rosa and Darko’s disappointingly ordinary factory—although it is reached through the mouth of a dragon.

During the factory tour, Rosa tells Joy exactly how to blow up the factory by showing him where all of its power sources are.

I’ll leave it up to you to guess whether he succeeds or not, and what other mayhem ensues before the screen goes dark with Joy and Princess left forever in Darko’s clutches. Just know that it involves a Vimi-Helen catfight (with Vimi in a Santa Claus outfit), a buzzsaw, more Shetty and Bhairavon, and this:

Even the ads have presence, from the intermittently scrolling “Rasoiki Raunak Patiras Tastee Papad” to a grainy and horrifying plug for a “Mithun and Jaya Live in Birmingham” video—a video apparently made by somebody with too many special effects tools at hand.

How many movies with a missing ending can you honestly say you are sated with anyway, and even relieved that it has stopped, although you’ve enjoyed every strange minute? Not many, I think, but this one certainly succeeds on that dubious level. What higher praise can I give than that?

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55 Comments to “Kahin Aar Kahin Paar (1971)”

  1. 1971 does seem to be a key year for the “different” kinds of movies. Chetna, Hare Rama Hare Krishna, Dastak and so many more.

  2. When I saw the title it looked familiar. When I started reading the post I realised that I have actually seen this movie. And it was just about 6 months ago. Though I don’t need subs :-) it wasn’t a movie with continuity for me. Clearly there were many scenes missing in between (esp somewhere midway in the movie).

    Having said that, I don’t think I minded much – it is not like you need to see every scene of a movie like this to figure out the story. :-)

    I did get to see the end also though. I don’t know where your version stopped but there’s this part where Vimi’s tied to rail tracks (arms tied and feet tied), the dog (Bhairavon) comes to her rescue, unties both arm-knot and foot-knot. Joy Mukherjee jumps from a jeep onto the oncoming train, climbs to the front, stands in front of the engine and scoops up Vimi from the rail tracks just as the engine approaches her. And thus all is well. :-)

    The last scene, with the “The End” sign shows Bhairavon dancing. :-)

    Not that you really needed to know the end but I thought I’d just give it here anyway for completeness. :-)

    The songs are a lot of fun. I watched “dil mein badi badi baatein hain” just now. Lovely! :-)

  3. memsaab, all I can say about this film is that it takes ‘rangeen’ to unexpected heights! Raja thanks for the ending – I would have spend the rest of the day wondering how it all ended (of course, ‘hero’ has to prevail in the end, but still…). Between the two of you, I have had a nice half hour of entertainment. LOL

    memsaab, if I haven’t said this before, thank you so much for sitting through these films so I won’t have to. The vicarious pleasure I take in reading your experiences is *far far better* than watching the film myself!

  4. This is a movie with music by Ganesh ! That is reason enough for me to want to listen to the songs of this movie. I have already heard the Helen song and I loved it. I really feel sorry for Ganesh. How can someone like him be wasted.

    The movie makers seem to have tried hard to please, as I can see. Wonder dog Moti ? I never heard of him those days, but that is because I did not watch too many movies those days. My dogs (and the cat) could have given Moti a run for his career if they were born four decades ago. :)

    Even Moolchand’s belly gets a good exposure ! It shows that the movie makers of this movie tried hard. It is sad that their efforts did not meet wit the necessary approval from the movie goers those days.

    I am extremely thankful to you and to Tom for the review of this movie and the uploads of these songs. These songs are worth their weight in gold, as far as I am concerned.

    • Tom has uploaded the best songs, I didn’t include links to all of them here but you can find them on his YouTube channel :) I must say that whenever I see Ganesh as the MD, I think of you!

  5. @Memsaab – “But a film of this caliber doesn’t have to make sense or be complete. The mere fact of its existence is more than enough.” – Pure genius. There is little you can say to that. :)

    I would agree that this seems like an effort that was started in the 60s and carried through to the 70s. The video makers have leapfrogged it to the 80s by adding the plug for the Mithun and Jaya show.

    Thanks to Raja for letting us know how it all ends.

    • I even WATCHED the Mithun and Jaya video ad…it was truly awful in that watching-a-train-wreck kind of way.

      • BTW this is the only Vimi movie that I have (now) known about, other than Humraz. Vimi, entered the film industry with much fanfare in Humraz but vanished without a trace after that. I did read somewhere that she fell into bad ways after her husband left her and took to drink.
        @Memsaab – I’m not sure if you’ve covered Humraz but you should try watching it sometime.

  6. *groan*
    Films without an ending!!!!
    I was watching Shammi’s film Boy Friend on the net and it…just ended 3/4 of the way :(

    • Oh no…Boy Friend is much worse to lose the ending to than this. Although I think one of my pals is going to send me the last bit of this so I can see Vimi on the train tracks and Bhairavon dancing :D

  7. Helen and Jayshree T together are fantastic. In the Egyptian song, I felt a bit sorry for Joy Mukherjee who is trying so hard to keep up with Helen. And Vimi. Just too, too much fun. Must get it and watch.

    • Poor Joy looked a little weedy here—his pencil thin mouche did him no favors…but yes, Helen and Jayshree are fabulous. Honestly, the main pair is the weakest part (although Vimi does sport some fabulous spare hair and outfits and looks very pretty)—it’s the really fantastic supporting cast that makes it so much fun :)

  8. Stoned :) It doesn’t too look too bad – probably went into oblivion because of no chartbusting music and Joy’s roller coaster career graph. The dances are pretty racy.

    • You are stoned, Salim? :) The music is pretty awesome, I love all the dances.

      • The songs compared to today’s cacophony is good – but these came out at a time when there was so much awesome music all around – even a so-so film sometimes had astounding music (Lal Bangla comes to mind – was just listening to its songs). In comparison to the hit songs of those years …. well, lack of recall by others says it all.

        Stoned on YOUR LSD trip :D Rosa with wedding cake on her head and dark glasses etc. You said it: the film is cracktastic! A full version of the film would have been great.

  9. I was singing the title (unheard of, by me at least, until today) to the tune of the Aar Paar song. I also know how an intensely disapproving father looks on screen. Another movie without subtitles and an ending? Wah re DVDwaalon, wah!
    Vimi – we watched her make a friendly appearance in `Guddi’ this past week – from afar, she sort of looked like Hema, fondly watching Jai Dharmendra play the piano.
    What a convoluted plot, and I absorbed enough psychedelic glory from the scream caps, this should’ve been titled `Kab? Kyon? Kahaan?’
    I love the characters’ names. Darko was Flash Gordon’s best friend, I think (Indrajal Comics).
    I’m grateful your blog exists.

    • And I’m fondly looking at `The Sunday Standard’ (that used to be the name of Indian Express on Sundays and my father remains a loyal subscriber to date). Almost missed the connection because of the different typeface. What a howler of a headline! I remember the paper I worked for being used to depict a sensational, `Ghayal’-related headline – we had fun reading the bromide, as it air-dried.

  10. I for one never have patience to sit through such films. Joy Mukherjee had become quite successful after a few hit films, he sort of made it to the A- list and starred opposite some of the top heroines but after a few flops, he came hurtling down to terra firma and this film was around the time he was on his way down. Incidentally did you know Joy Mukherji is Kajol’s uncle? You do I guess given your knowledge of the industry.

    • I did know that :) He is one of those actors that I don’t mind, but would never seek out either. He did do a fair number of loony films though, and I have to respect him for that!

  11. “Truly it is a dizzying kaleidoscopic bombardment of Cracktastic that never lets up.”

    Word. I had such a great time watching this film! Not a single moment of it makes any sense but the determination of the folks who made it to ENTERTAIN even if it kills them (or us) just has to be respected. :-D Brij would have wept with joy had he seen this. :-)

  12. HAHAHAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA… I nI need to see this for Moolchand’s great scene alone.

  13. I liked watching the “Lo Chal Gaya” clip… It’s a rare enough treat to see Helen dancing WITH Jayshree T. on…giant alligator teeth(?)… But then…oh, I love those shots of Nadira (possibly having a flashback to that other LSD trip she was in, back in 1952).

    • Nadira all by herself is a trip, bless her. She really relishes her role here as “Boss” :) She struts around in her knee high boots and crazy Spare Hair and looks completely GORGEOUS.

  14. “Teenaged girls napped in police raids”. Hmmmm…They must’ve been really bored to be “napping” during a police raid.

  15. Have you guys noticed how fashionable and stylish the actors and actresses were back in the days in old Bollywood movies?

    I find this very interesting. I remember the movie Silsila…all the actors were dressed very well.

  16. Vimmi died a tragic death,I have read somewhere, Please someone share more information in this regard.I want to know about that.

    Greta ji

    Again I want to tell that your selection of movies for review is superb, marvellous and what not?????!!!

    In fact, it is becoming a daily ritual for me to read thrice or 5 times all the comments written about here, like a exam going student.

    so much of Nadiraji, Helenji,Shyam kumar,Moolchand and above all that word Brij-worthy, I simply love it.

    regards

  17. Joy Mukherjee is Kajol’s father Shomu Mukherji’s elder brother.

  18. Yes they are all brothers and their father is S. Mukherjee who was one of the most respected producers of the Hindi Film industry. His Filmlaya school of acting trained many stars and Filmalaya studio continues to thrive even today when most studios are closing down.

  19. I had dinner one night with Karan Johar and Ayan Mukherjee (directed Wake Up Sid) and they were surprised that I knew who Ayan’s great-grandfather was :D

    • Greta ji

      Please correct me If I am wrong,
      Ashok kumarji`s sister married S.Mukherjee(i.e.Shashdhar Mukherjee),the founder of Filmalaya.
      If my weak memory serves me right, I have read this bit,somewhere, many years ago.

      Then please tell me How Ayan Mukherjee is related to Mukherjees, I don`t know about it.

      regards

  20. Great-grandfather? Who is his great grandfather? Please enlighten me.

    • Oops, I should have said grandson…Ayan Mukherjee is Deb Mukherjee’s son, and cousin to Kajol and Rani. And yes, Sashadhar was married to Ashok/Kishore/Anoop Kumar’s sister. He got Ashok into films I think.

  21. Oh Indian spy films, you always look like I want my life to look like. This one goes on my need to own list, for the swirling colors alone.

  22. Yes I knew that I got confused about the great grandfather bit and incidentally Ashok Kumar I am told was extremely fond of his sister (Mrs S mukherjee) she was the one who fondly referred to him as Dadamoni, Dada meaning elder brother and moni means jewel this is quite a common practice among Bengalis or rather was now times have changed. Everybody in the film industry thus began referring to him as Dadamoni.

  23. A cursory search on the Internet furnishes the following info about Vimi:-

    “Vimi was a headstrong Punjabi girl who first rebelled against her parents when she married Shiv Agarwal, a Marwari industrialist’s son. But a second shock was in store for her in-laws. Though married and a mother, Vimi was so beautiful that she attracted attention despite keeping to herself at a party in Calcutta. Music director Ravi took the initiative, invited Vimi and Shiv to Bombay and threw a party to introduce her to B. R. Chopra. And so, she became the heroine of ‘Humraaz’.

    Against the wishes of her in-laws, but supported by husband Shiv Agarwal, she entered films. The Agarwals disowned the couple. As Sunil Dutt sang to her (Na Sar Jhuka Ke Jeeo, Na Munh Chhupako Jeeo) the enchanting image of Vimi won the viewers’ hearts. The film was a hit but Vimi seemed to be more interested in what she was wearing and her make-up rather than in the character.

    Producers slowly heard how she had to give take after take before giving a passable shot. Husband Shiv too was found to be ‘interfering’. Vimi did a few more films (‘Vachan’,’Patanga’, ‘Aabroo’) but the money was peanuts for the couple who was used to an expensive lifestyle. Finances from their family had long back dried up. The couple split.

    The husband returned to his family and Vimi started living with Jolly, a dubious film maker. The wooden but beautiful actress was no use to the producers, and she found solace in alcohol – cheap alcohol which ultimately killed her. She had even taken to prostitution to make money to quench her ‘thirst’.

    When she died, there was not enough money to even cremate her. She was taken on a ‘thela’ by Jolly and a couple of other well-wishers to the Santacruz crematorium. But she is still remembered for her fragile, out-of- the- world beauty.”

  24. Yes, I recall reading about Vimi. It was a full fledged article in Filmfare about how Vimi in desperation started sleeping around. When she and Jolly were living in Khar/Bandra, they had no money to pay the electricity bill and they lived without electricity. She approached her mentor Ravi in court complaining about her husband but even then she was reeking of cheap tharra(alcohol).
    It is even more sad that Vimi had 2 children when she debuted in Humraz.
    Her husband rubbed B R Chopra the wrong way during the premiere of Humraz so BR Chopra never cast her again.Not only that, her debut movie Hamraz where she gets killed and her real life ran on parallel tracks. She could not act – that was for sure. Vyjayanthimala and Sadhana were her role models.

  25. Vimmi died in 1977 of alcoholism

  26. Vimi met a VERY,VERY tragic end.Cannot say who was responsible.Herself or her hubby Shiv Agarwal,a prominent businessman from Calcutta.It was not Ravi but BR Chopra who mentioned that she was reeking of cheap alcohol when she came to meet him at his office,repeatedly asking for forgiveness and work.

    Her son is a Sanyasi,a follower of Osho,now living in Pune.

  27. R.I.P Joy Mukherjee. . . So many of the stars who ruled the roost in the sixties have left as in such quick succession! Always imagine them having fun up there somewhere…..

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