I must admit that I went into this film with pretty low expectations. Hrithik has never struck me as much of an actor, although he certainly is very beautiful and I love to watch him dance. Plus, the whole fuss being made about “global appeal” strikes me as sheer idiocy. Good art is good art: Vermeer didn’t have to paint scenes from daily French life to appeal to the French; Michael Jackson didn’t need to sing Hindi film songs to appeal to Indians; and Kurosawa didn’t have to sacrifice any of his culture-specific sensibilities for his films to appeal to Americans (nor did Aamir with Lagaan). The Roshans don’t need to either.
And of tortuous eye-searing aesthetics! It also defies convention in its lack of a “hero”: all this film needs is Rekha. What a presence she has indeed!
By any standards (even mine) it cannot be called a good film. But I was never tempted to stop watching. I only ever even paused, in fact, long enough to refill my wine glass. How Bollywood manages to consistently churn out things which are dreadful but riveting is a mystery to me. Gemma liked this one too, because the cast included two highly intelligent animals: Raja the horse, and Jumbo the dog. She barked at both of them gleefully, no doubt in encouragement for their perspicacity and valiant attempts to combat evil.
The really burning question which this film poses (besides the standard corruption and wealth versus honor and poverty blah blah blah) is this: Which is worse, Rakesh Roshan’s wig, or Rajesh Khanna’s actual hair? Really, at times it’s a toss-up. It does contain goodies such as a soothing all-white wedding-cake villain’s lair with Ajit at the helm of said lair; Ranjeet, Manmohan and Kuljeet as Ajit’s go-to guys; Parveen Babi at the height of her gorgeousness; several dismembered dolls and some genuinely funny moments. On the downside (besides the distracting wig/hair equation) is a seriously annoying child and a patchy nonsensical plot that wanders off on tangents, accompanied by a lot of overacting and very shallow characters.
Basu Chatterjee’s films are difficult for me to like. There: I’ve said it! They tread a fine line: even the ones that do work for me (Piya Ka Ghar, Chhoti Si Baat), despite being funny and sweet, ultimately find me getting restless. The ones that don’t work (Rajnigandha, Baaton Baaton Mein) just bore my socks off.
Dillagi had moments which made me laugh very hard (like the scene captured above where Dharmendra puts on one of Hema’s saris so that his own rain-soaked clothes can dry). It also helped that I watched it with Beth, whose witty commentary kept me entertained even when the film didn’t. It had potential, but in the end Hema’s character was so egregiously tiresome that it made me want to poke my eyes out. It also rendered Dharmendra’s pursuit of her—the essential plot point—completely unbelievable for me.
A cute fairy-tale of a movie, elevated by the presence of Sanjeev Kumar and Shashi Kapoor.
Durga Devi (Nadira) is a rich widow with a stepdaughter, Shanti (Vidya Sinha), and a daughter, Roopa (Moushumi Chatterjee). She treats Shanti like a servant and is so ill-tempered that she can’t keep an actual servant around for very long. So long-suffering, patient Shanti is perpetually left with all the work.