This is a very silly adaptation of “Crocodile Dundee” which I love frankly because Sanjay Dutt is so freaking sexy in it. I’m even glad there are no subtitles, because it would be sad to have text cluttering up the screen and possibly partially obscuring him. There is other fun stuff too, like a wooden killer crocodile a la Khoon Bhari Maang and a “Pagal Gorilla” (actual dialogue not made up by me), but the main reason I watch this is Sanju. If he doesn’t do it for you, there’s Juhi Chawla, who would definitely be on any list of superb comediennes that I might make. In a role which could have been grating she is just adorable and hilarious, despite being flogged by the frilly excesses of Nineties ishtyle and a lot of mud.
She plays Anjali Aggarwal, daughter of Ajit (Suresh Oberoi), Chairman of Aggarwal Industries; and Asha (Tanuja), the company’s Managing Director. Anjali is ambitious and works very hard for the family firm. Her mother cherishes the idea that she will one day marry klutzy Shekhar (Monish Behl).
The Aggarwals want to build a factory on Manjira Island, off the coast of South India beyond the Lakshadweep Islands, but Asha is told that the inhabitants there are opposed to any construction. After Shekhar disables himself, she sends Anjali to the island in his stead accompanied by two complete idiots, Misters Johnson and Johnson (Sanjay Goradia and Rakesh Srivastava). On the way, the Johnsons tell her that she will have to negotiate with someone named Captain Kishan, who is influential with the local people.
To scope out the landscape and look for the elusive Captain Kishan, she rents a plane from “Uncle” D’Silva (Sudhir! Wheee!).
She mounts a camera to the side of the plane and takes off over the island, looking for Kabila (the location they’ve chosen for the factory) and talking with the Johnsons and Uncle D’Silva as she goes. While thus distracted she fails to see a camp full of armed men below her; their leader Gwana (Sharat Saxena) murders one of them in full view as the camera rolls. Seeing the plane (she is flying very low, dangerously so it seems to me), Gwana grabs some binoculars and spots the camera just as Anjali’s attention returns to it.
I think the sight of her in the plane with goggles and a pointless leather helmet which wouldn’t protect her head from a large insect is absolutely hilarious.
She has missed the murder but as she flies away Gwana and his men open fire on the plane, hitting the fuel tank. She crashes into the jungle and is saved from death by some tangled vines which leave her hanging upside down. She is rescued by Captain Kishan himself (Sanjay Dutt). He cuts her loose and then fashions a rope pulley thing to get her back up to the plane where the Johnsons and D’Silva have been frantically calling over the radio. She tells them she’s fine and retrieves her camera. The sight of her hanging from the tree like a marionette also makes me giggle.
Not as much as the giant crocodile which tries to steal her camera, however.
They set off for Kabila in Kishan’s boat (the Captain), haughty city girl and affable jungle man (I love the Caribbean-flavored title song which Kishan sings as they go). Meanwhile, Anjali’s father arrives on Manjira where D’Silva reassures him that since Anjali is with Kishan she will be safe. But Gwana and his men have now reached the plane wreckage, discovered that the camera and Anjali are gone, and are continuing in pursuit.
As they chug along, Anjali listens to Kishan’s life story: he grew up in the jungle and was never educated. He knows plenty about his home environment, though, and as she learns about the forest around them she begins to thaw a little bit despite her initial discomfort. I’m not sure where this was filmed, but it’s really lovely and looks to me like Periyar National Park, a wildlife sanctuary in Kerala where I spent some time a few years ago.
As they near their first destination the son, Manola (Pramod Kapoor), of Kabila’s chief comes to greet them. It’s obvious that he and Kishan are great friends, and he accompanies them to his home deep in the jungle where they are welcomed with evident affection by the chief himself.
We have already had a glimpse of what Kishan calls the “Pagal Gorilla” one night (which compelled Anjali to put her sleeping bag right next to Kishan’s). The morning after they arrive Kishan shows the village an absolutely priceless drawing of the ape, which doesn’t look crazy to me so much as severely traumatized. He evidently has some plan to capture it which involves tranquilizers—but the villagers are only interested in Anjali.
He explains to them that she is as crazy as the gorilla, and that she wants to build a factory but that’s all I get out of it.
The girls of the village give Anjali an unasked-for makeover which results in Kishan’s jaw dropping and which makes me giggle once again at Juhi’s antics. He is clearly impressed with her new look and she is just as clearly happy that he’s impressed.
But here comes the infamous Pagal Gorilla! The young men head out into the jungle with Kishan while the old folk, women and children barricade the village—except one little boy, another of the chief’s sons, who blithely heads off into the forest himself. Anjali runs after him with the boy’s mother.
suit is quite spectacular, I must say, and so is Kishan’s camouflage even if it does stop at the neck down. He rescues Anjali—using his large colorful beads—after she sends the boy and his mother back towards the village using herself as bait to distract the The Pagal One from them.
Eventually the village men bring the poor ape down with tranquilizers and discover that he has a wounded paw, probably the reason he has been so, well, pagal. Everyone agrees that they should bandage up the poor fellow and let him go back to the jungle when he’s healed (I think), and a celebration is held that evening. This of course is an excellent excuse for a song and for Kishan and Anjali to make eyes at each other. I don’t know why Kishan is dressed as a matador though.
Kishan and Anjali take leave of Kabila (somehow the factory isn’t brought up again) and set off for D’Silva’s and the coast. But Gwana and his men now catch up to them. Luckily, D’Silva’s faith in Kishan has not been misplaced and he rather easily (although Anjali does a fair job of defending herself too, yay!) dispatches first the men and finally Gwana. Before they escape from him, Gwana manages to disable the boat and thus enables our hero-heroine to drift along and continue their romancing.
A few more adventures later, and Kishan delivers Anjali back into her father’s embrace. Poor Anjali finds herself in a dilemma: she loves Kishan but her home and work is in the city, and she’s expected to marry Shekhar. She’s also not sure that she could be happy in the long run with uneducated Kishan. Then her mother gets the news that the people in Kabila have refused permission to build the factory, and she tells Anjali that the company’s future depends on it.
Can Anjali persuade Kishan to let the factory go forward? Does he love her enough to leave the jungle and go to the city, and if he does will he survive its very different ways? What about Shekhar, who is not about to let her go that easily? Will she ever look at all that film and see the murder that her camera captured? Gwana thinks so, and he is still looking for her—and more than willing to go all the way to Bombay to ensure her silence.
This is, as I said, a very silly movie indeed. But if you are in the mood for a fluffy romantic comedy with a few gangsters and fun songs thrown in you could do worse. I really love Juhi Chawla—she is very funny as Anjali finds herself out of her depth. In her element she is feisty and self-assured, making her a good foil for Sanjay’s macho Kishan. They are sweet together.
As for Sanjay Dutt—well I have probably already said too much. But he has always been one of my favorite leading men and he seriously is the only person on the planet who has ever rocked a mullet. Even his moobs are lovely (sorry King Kong).
All right, now I am sure I’ve said too much.