I have a love-hate relationship with this movie’s star Baby Rani and its director Ravi Nagaich. Baby Rani was so very cute in Hum Kisise Kum Nahin but so very monotonous and terrifying in the film which spawned the shortest review I will probably ever write. And Ravi Nagaich insists on making films in which the whole never quite equals the sum of its parts—parts that are so mind-blowing that the whole shouldn’t even matter, but somehow always does. This leaves me dissatisfied but also intent on seeing more of his output, which leaves me dissatisfied, and on and on. I guess it takes talent to be both cute and annoying beyond belief, and so imaginative and yet so boring. And that pretty much sums up how I feel about Rani Aur Lalpari, except in addition, probably because this is supposed to be a children’s story, it is ruthlesslymiserable.
Fairy tale writers seem compelled to warn kids that life sucks, and sucks hard, especially if you are Baby Rani.
Had Ravikant (Ravee Kant) Nagaich ever asked me for career advice, I probably would have told him to stick to cinematography—he really does excel in that department. But as a director, he has an uncanny ability to take ingredients like this:
and make them into films which lull you into an uncomfortably bored stupor: uncomfortable because you are really justifiably afraid that if you fall asleep you will miss something truly wondrous. When I see his name in the credits, I am happy and sad. I adore Mr. Nagaich, truly, but he SO disappoints me. It’s confusing, almost as bewildering as his ability to convince audiences that his actors are dancing.
Despite my near-certainty that I should know better, I once again succumbed to the lure of the Mithun-Ravi Nagaich combo. Feeling that I needed something *fun* to do, I watched Gun Master G-9 battle the unnecessarily complicated maneuverings of Evil with equally needlessly elaborate gadgets and code names—all the while still failing to convince me that his lacklustre activities in various nightclubs could really be classified as “dancing.” Ahem.
The beauty of Surakksha lies in the triumph of imagination over economics. I pretty much have to love and respect a filmmaker who spends most of his spy-movie budget on wallpaper and furnishings. This lacks the yellow plastic locusts of its sequel Wardat, sadly, but compensates by making said locusts appear positively high-tech in comparison to what GMG-9 encounters here. And the cinematography, courtesy of director-producer Nagaich in a triple threat, is really interesting. Crazy angles, migraine-inducing lighting…it’s all there. This writeup is even more screenshot-heavy than usual, due to the spectacular visuals which have to be seen to be believed. No real attempt to link plot points together is made: the story consists mostly of random (stolen from Bond) events which serve as an excuse for plenty of action and accessories which are a cracktastic tribute to the Indian spirit of jugaad.
Mithun has been sadly underrepresented in my Hindi film experience—I have only seen him in Disco Dancer, Ashanti (meh) and Ganga Jamuna Saraswati(argh, plus he was totally wasted in it). I don’t really “get” the Mithun appeal based on those three films—I keep hearing what a great dancer he is, for instance, but have not seen any evidence to support it. I’ve actually never seen any evidence that there was any choreography at all in Hindi films from the 80s, so perhaps it isn’t really his fault. In any case, I thought perhaps I could watch this and expand my Mithun knowledge a wee bit. I was warned against it, I admit, but I’m tired of looking for Surakksha; Gun Master G-9 is Gun Master G-9 after all, right? How bad can it be?
How could something that begins with this screen possibly be bad? Dharmendra as James Bond Agent 116! A great many more title screens follow, with more good news: Padma Khanna, a very young Rekha, Prem Chopra in a blond wig and pink rimless glasses—ooh! my man Ranjeet!—Jayshree T, Rajendranath, Agha, KN Singh…the list goes on. I settle happily in my chair, looking forward to some stylish and loony shenanigans. But I’m in for a little surprise.
So stylish! So much of eye candy! One of those rare films to make Excellent Use of Helen (and inspiring me to add a category here), The Train is oodles of filmi noir crime-fighting fun. It also has one of the best RD Burman background scores EVER, with RD himself adding vocals. Just listen to this!
It stars a young, very handsome Rajesh Khanna *sigh* and one of my favorite heroines, Nanda, along with an absolutely hilarious Rajendranath; Madan Puri and Shetty provide the villainy. Despite an extremely silly plot with gaping holes and mind-boggling suspension of disbelief requirements (especially at the end) it is well worth the time spent watching—and I have lots of screen caps to prove it!
I really need to see more Tanuja. I like her in everything I see her in (Jewel Thief, Do Chor, Haathi Mere Saathi, for example) even if I haven’t particularly liked the movie much (Mere Jeevan Saathi, for example). It holds true for this film too: Tanuja is lovely and fun to watch. Despite a lively soundtrack from RD Burman and Amitabh’s lambi presence, the film really only lit up when she was onscreen. The story is ho-hum, and there’s all the usual overacting and melodrama, but she makes it watchable somehow.