Disco Dancer (1982)

From a cinematic tradition overflowing with mama’s boys, by far the biggest to emerge is Disco Dancer‘s Jimmy. He only eats if Maa hand-feeds him, he dances like a girl, he sulks, he sucks his thumb, he lets women poke him in the belly, he is a failure at adult relationships with women (seriously, just ask Rita Oberoi, she’ll tell you), and he can’t go on when his mother dies while saving him from Death By Guitar. This film sends terrible messages to both women and men: you have no value, ladies, except as a downtrodden and self-sacrificing mother, and if you are lucky to have such a mama, men, you should never cut the apron strings. It is no coincidence that the bad people in it (the Oberois) have no mother figure in their household. Oh, and also: you should always carry a grudge. It will keep you going and help you succeed.

So why does this movie’s legend endure? Why does almost everyone who comes into contact with it come away a changed person?

Because for each bad message sent, there are at least five equal and opposite utterly ridiculous ones, deadly serious in their lunacy. This movie reeks of sincerity. It is trying to help you. These are the lessons I have learned, thanks only to Disco Dancer, in no real order of importance:

I learned (somewhat to my distress) that there IS such a thing as “too gaudy”. This whole film is that thing. I blame these people. Especially YOU Kishore Bajaj.

I learned that Disco is a religion, with Gita Siddharth as its Goddess Supreme and Mithun as its Messiah. Their initials are no accident. (What? You thought it was Donna Summer? Or the Bee Gees? No no no.)

I learned that red jumpsuits can be paired with gold lame boots, but a white jumpsuit paired with a red scarf just looks angry.

I learned that Om Puri was young once! Sort of.

I learned that you can blame an inanimate place like Bombay for all your troubles and it owes you for whatever you endured within those city limits. That is all the focus you will ever need.

I learned that two men can loathe each other and feel compelled to discuss their loathing in English.

I learned about handsome Rajesh Khanna. I had no idea who he was the first time I saw this, but I knew he was the best-looking thing in it. And he seriously milked his death scene for all it was worth, too. I wanted more.

I learned for sure that the Cat Wall-Hanging House is really real! Except the Cat Wall-Hanging has finally been replaced *sad face*. Everything else—the stained glass, the stairs, the altar by the door, the gaudy bar, the portrait above the purple sofas—remains the same though.

I learned more about the exterior of it too, thanks to Oberoi’s penchant for abusing people in his yard. Someone, somewhere, has got to remember those gates.

I learned the perfect thing to say (and exactly how to say it) on my birthday:

Above all, I can now state with perfect certainty that Mithun cannot dance, although I will give him kudos for the comic perfection of several signature “moves”. Here, from just one single song, are some highlights. Do be sure to watch all the other ones for more shenanigans he passes off as dancing.

But as many answers to serious issues as I have gotten from this movie, some things still leave me with questions, only questions.

Did Kalpana Iyer’s costume designer hate her? How else can these outfits be explained? I do love that she is allowed to be a woman obviously living in sin (and with the only bastard son of a vealthy father at that) but remains a sympathetic character throughout. She gets a great Nahiiin! Face moment with an assist from Bob Christo too. But my GOD, her clothes!

Happy Mithun is so handsome! Why was he never allowed to be happy in his movies? Why is it always sturm und drang for the poor guy? This is the only time we see him smile in this entire film (and I give Tun Tun the credit for it).

How did this…TING…pass muster even with Babbar Subhash and Bappi Lahiri? The only word I can think of to describe Sam’s dancing is excruciating, but that doesn’t even come close. Do you think there were any rehearsals? Or did the dance directors just give up? Maybe everybody hoped that we’d all be too blinded by the mirrors and spandex to notice.

I actually didn’t ever plan to write this movie up at all, because it had been done so brilliantly already that there was no need. But now that I have, maybe I won’t need to watch it again. Oh, who am I kidding. Of course I’ll watch it again. And learn.

115 Comments to “Disco Dancer (1982)”

  1. Memsaab, we would be much obliged if you read our article on Disco in Bollywood


    • I just cannot like Disco in Bollywood (to be fair, I didn’t like disco any better here as I lived through the 70s). The music makes me cringe, the dancing is laughable, and everything is so shiny it makes my eyes hurt. This film at least has a well-constructed story, even if it is INSANE, but most of them don’t even have that. They are 80’s revenge masala in spandex and sequins.
      Your article is very nicely written :)))

  2. Great review Memsaab! A film called Disco Dancer without any disco dancing must have a higher purpose. It’s trying to help us! Brilliant!

  3. So many things to learn…

  4. Thanks for reading our article :)

    PS : Your arrangement of the ‘Death by Guitar’ sequence is quite Andy Warholic.
    PPS : This may also prove that B Subhash was positively ‘Modran Artist’

  5. Bappi Lahiri, to me, is an enigma.
    I mean how do you explain that a person who can compose this:

    and this:

    is also the creator of this?

    Here’s one more specimen of his “caliber” (just audio, but that’s more than enough): http://goo.gl/X3YTM
    No wonder he didn’t last.

    • It’s kind of like he gave up when 1980 arrived. So much of his “disco” music is lifted, and all of it is BAD. But before then he did give some lovely soundtracks.

  6. There’s another facet of Bappi Da, which is his singing. My friends and I love his voice and often try to imitate it (Yaar Beena Chein Kahaan Reee….) but can of course never match his awesomeness. The 80s were weird, true, and Bappi Da went really obscure in the past decade, until in my opinion he sang the song ‘Boombai Nagariya’ for Taxi 9211 and off-late the ‘Ooh La La’ track for Dirty Picture. Both were times when he did not compose the music and was there only in his capacity as a singer.

    And I admit that I was amazed, both the songs turn out to be pretty awesome.

  7. For whatever reason, I’ve never been moved to write about Disco Dancer, though I inflict its songs on whomever will hold still for a few minutes. So glad YOU did, though!

    • I know what you mean. Really, there’s nothing to add to everybody else’s analysis of the subject already. But my sister made it fun to watch again (the Angry Two-Year-Old! Ha ha ha haaaa!), and I was thrilled to see the Cat Wall-Hanging House :D

  8. Ha ha, that is why I said I was amazed that I liked the two songs that I have mentioned here :) but then I guess in ‘Ooh la la’ it is because it evokes nostalgia for the 80s.

    PS – The trick while imitating Bappi Da is that you have to be the right amount of nasal in a Bong accent, if you over-do either of them, you fall into the Himesh Trap

  9. A Masterpiece!
    Your review, not the film! :-)
    You put into words, what I felt about the film,when I watched it ages back. Now I hope, I have cleared my Disco Dancer karma for ever.

    • You and me both, although it’s always one of those things I feel compelled to share if someone will let me. There may be no way to clear one’s Disco Dancer karma, think of that!

      • Maybe we have to make our own Disco Dancer film to really purge off our Disco Dancer karma or at least dance that way! :-D
        See you on Saturday night at the local disco! ;-)

  10. Well if you want to catch up. It’s here in all it’s glory. http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=pyu0RUSWitg

  11. The only way you can try to make the music in this film bearable is to twist it in some bizarre way. And even then, the results are…questionable.

  12. I was not even 10 when the movie released. Those days, I was very keen to know if there were fight scenes in a movie. And if so, who were pitted? And who won?

    “Disco Dancer” caught my imagination due to the fight factor. It was only later that I started liking the music much more.

    Maybe today I would look at it with a more critical eye….

  13. I didn’t see the film because I did not care much for Mithun (though he is not a bad actor) and HAD to listen to the music because it was blaring everywhere (especially in Calcutta, his hometown). He had crazy fans and many women were squealing fans of his (my wife too was batty about him those days). In certain circumstances (like large get togethers) the songs sounded suitably noisy and peppy. And with Disco in the title it personified ‘disco dancing’ for many (sigh). As to his dancing, that is what most actors did – why blame him alone. For all the gyrations – classical or otherwise – Hindi film dancing was/is by and large not great. Hero and Heroines generally make up for it by sheer energy and charisma. Nowadays the choreography (with hordes of extras) has become more demanding – but with fitness and practice most can do it – and I think you have been lucky to have seen it on sets. And Mithun was branded the dancing star with this film – so much so he is now the head judge in a TV dance competition program. Very often when he makes an appearance anywhere songs from this film are his signature entrance music.

    This film appears to have got your goat – but if the story is well structured (as you mentioned) the film has already succeeded on most accounts. An underdog making good struck a strong chord those days and it was a massive hit – especially in Bengal. And Gaudy – especially those days – were not an issue with us – though really what on earth were they making poor Kalpana Iyer wear :D

    • I mention Mithun’s not-dancing in particular exactly for the reason you state: he is considered a god of dance in India. BUT HE DOESN’T EVER ACTUALLY DANCE. Hrithik dances. Shahid Kapoor dances. Even Shah Rukh DANCES. Mithun does not :)

      I don’t know that this has “got my goat” as you put it (I’m not sure what you mean by that exactly). I’ve seen this at least ten times and am always happy to watch it with someone. I just can’t explain WHY!

  14. As to the last clip – Koi Yahan Aha nache nache – it was catchy and at least they are keeping to the beat. Watch this clip of Sujit Kumar in Lal Bangla and see how much bad it can get (that it becomes good :D):

  15. I love making people watch this film.
    I saw it early on in my Hindi film excursions and I like seeing what it does to the unprepared. Plus I have a running argument with a good friend about Mithun – she claims him as a dance inspiration and I beg to differ. But Guitarophobia is to good to miss. Maybe Jimmy could have danced instead? No. Course not.
    Silver pants for everyone!

    • I saw it early on too. I can never resist the “So Bad It’s Good” gauntlet when it’s thrown. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Had to watch it again with other people to make sure I wasn’t hallucinating :D

  16. I think I need to bring in my “Disco Dancer” soundtrack to work today. Don’t worry, they already know I’m crazy.

  17. Happy Mithun and my brother-in-law look extremely alike – could pass off as one of Manmohan Desai’s separated-at-birth identical twins, He did not like the comparison much. I wonder why. :P

    Loved your review. Remember seeing the film as a wee child and liking it! (I’m glad to report that my taste has since improved.)

    • Mithun is very handsome, especially when he’s not pouting-sulking-angry, which is hardly ever. So just looking like him is not a bad thing. “Densing” like him, though, is another story.

  18. You’re right…there isn’t much actual dancing going on in that clip! I’d say that the choreographers didn’t just give up, they weren’t even there in the first place. Works on the theory of spangle it up enough and flash enough lights on it and no one will guess that you’re just jogging to the music. Puts the AWE in awful for me. But how can a film with so many flashing lights be so darkly lit, especially on the faces? Is the film degrading or were the actors trying to hide their identities? I would have.
    Jenny K

  19. Fantastic review! Even if I haven’t watch the movie myself, I was like in the movie just by reading your review. The 80’s wardrobe was really colorful and some of its styles were already reincarnated today like Kalpana Iyer’s costumes minus the laces.

  20. In 1985, I found myself in Madras, attending the neighbour’s son’s wedding, without parents, just the girl-next-door and her best friend and all we could think of was finding theatres to watch Hindi movies and if not, then a decent Tamil movie. And we stumbled into this theatre and no sooner than the credits rolled, the best friend, not a Tamil speaker, burst out, hey, this is Disco Dancer. I didn’t mind the movie at all, except remorseful that a `Jimmy, Jimmy’ viewing would have to wait (until YouTube). My teenage self was quite traumatised by the `Death by Guitar’ sequence. I went on to learn that Rajesh Khanna did a special appearance in the Hindi version. On Thursdays, my day off from school, Vividh Bharati had then started taking listener requests for `Madhumalti,’ an hour-long filmi-song programme and `I’m a disco dancer’ always found its way in. And for the nth time, I found myself envying my friend Nisha because her name was mentioned in the song. Kim acchhi lagti hai mujhe.
    Never ever would’ve guessed the B in B Subhash stood for Babbar.

  21. Sorry for OT question. You don’t have to publish it.

    I found a movie Arpan (1957) directed by Chatan Anand which is
    in youtube. It seems to be truncated version of Anjali (1957).
    It stars Nimmi, Shiela Ramani and Chetan Anand.

    Anyway I am hoping if you might review it and find full version
    where most of the songs are not missing. or at least provide
    the story behind to names.
    Movie might interest you non the less.

    Thanks in advance.

    • Almost every film available now has been cut to pieces :( I have to say, I’m not a big fan of religious-themed films, although I am a great admirer of Chetan Anand.

      • Sitara Devi is also in Arpan/Anjali, and her dancing here is some of the best I’ve seen anywhere! Kumkum’s in this, too. It’s worth it just for the cast. :) But, unfortunately, no English subs in this…

        • She did the choreography too (Sitara Devi did)…and Kammo is in there too :) It is a good cast but…I think it might be one where I watch the songs and nothing else, especially w/out subtitles.

          • sorry I want’ clear.

            Its not a religious movies except the story is taken from Buddhist Story.
            Chetan Anand play the begging monk.
            All the songs are missing except for Rafi Solo “Buddham Sharnam Ghatchami”
            8 songs are not included.
            Mehmood is missing.
            Obviously there is a discrepancy between the two titles.
            I thought you might know someone who would know the reason.
            Someone must have full version that could be located.
            I can create srt file and add it to the mp4 file but getting the full movie is the problem.

          • Well somebody here might have it and let us know, we always live in hope :)

  22. Yes, I saw this movie when it was a rage (early 80s). Yes, the costumes and dances are a tad too garish. Kim looks good, though. Wonder what happened to her after this movie…
    Contrary to what everyone says, I am a fan of Bappida. The guy is talented – one needs to squeeze him a bit to extract good music out of him. Who can forget Chalte Chalte, Aap ki khatir, Zakhmee, Apna paraye…. His numbers for Yesudas are just mind-boggling. I also like his voice: Jana kahan hain (Chalte Chalte), tumhaara pyaar chahiye, bombay se aaya mera dost…
    Of course, his disco lift offs are totally c***.

  23. I have to mention GOVINDA here. He should be the original disco dancer, he was very good. Bappi Lahiri’s music also was better for his films and ofcorse his hit pairing with NEELAM. People seem to dislike the bad (or good) comedies he did in the 90s and ignore his good dancing even in the bad films he did. I never cared for Mithun’s disco films or Bappi’s music in those, but liked Govinda’s films in the late 80s specially because it was a respite from the awfulness that were Dharmendra’ films at the time except the ones he did with Govinda.
    Here is a song http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T6rl6eOYxKk.
    Govinda with Neelam dancing http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b71Ec8VdDlk&feature=related

  24. B. Subhash is the original serial plagiarist, lifting scenes and plots from Hollywood in his ‘every’ film. Did you note the background music of his films? you might find blatant refences (actually using them as-is) to hollywood’s movie soundracks specially Star wars.
    He even copied an Australian TV Film called ‘Fortress’ almost scene by scene to ‘create’ a film called ‘aaj ke angaarey’.
    I hate ‘disco dancer’ even though it seems more original plot wise over his other films. only like the songs ‘yaad aa raha hai’ and the kids song in the beginning.

  25. can any one tell me whre is kim, heroine of disco dancer, she acted in few films, good looking girl.

  26. Memsaab – Fantastic review on Disco Dancer of 1982, which is one of the classic and evergreen movie of all times. Super Star Rajesh Khanna who appeared as Special Appearance in the movie.

  27. Taking movies ahead in quantam leaps – Super Star Rajesh Khanna:

    Super Star Rajesh Khanna evoked a type of hysteria in India that only Elvis and the Beatles did in the West. The receptivity to his persona was due to the actor’s exuberant presence on screen. The masses felt a type of “deliverance” to a higher and better level through his films. They were elevated and taken forward. They wanted this progress; to cast off the “static” patterns of the past. There was no mere identification with Super Star Rajesh Khanna. He broke all previous success barriers without a godfather or godmother to guide him or shower their favouritism to him. He did it alone and so was called “superstar” for the same reason. Super Star Rajesh Khanna in the eyes of the Indian cinema-goer was taking movies ahead in quantam leaps. Wherever he took them, they would follow. This was a celluolid utopia no one had experienced before or since. As an actor, he broke out of orbit to become a “superstar” and lead. Super Star Rajesh Khanna delivered the cinema from a usual place, and ended “where they lived well” to the other, “but we lived better”. Until another breaks his unforgettable groundbreaking precedent of euphoric conditions, he is still ’the pride of the nation” and the “National Super Star.”

  28. I’m coming very late to commenting on this thread – by my standards, that is. :-)

    I’ve watched this movie just the one time – I remember that occasion very well. We (four of us) were on a project – and we had a site visit at Hubli-Dharwar in Karnataka. This was in 1987. We were there for five day / four nights – and really had nothing to do in the evenings in that place. So every one of those four evenings we went out for a movie after dinner, to different theaters. We didn’t even know what movie was running in what theater, we just decided we’d go to a theater and see whatever was running.

    The first night it was “First Blood” (Sly Stallone), the second night it was “Waqt Ki Deewar”, the third night it was “Disco Dancer” – but the fourth (and last night) was the best of the lot – “Wait Until Dark” (with Audrey Hepburn).

    So that’s how I got to watch Disco Dancer. By then, I knew all the songs of course – they were quite popular. I don’t remember liking or disliking the movie too much – for me (and all of us actually) we just had to kill that time in the evening.

    I remember “D” se hota hai “Dance”, “I” se hota hai “Item”, “S” se hota hai “Singer”, “C” se hota hai “Chorus”, “O” se “Orchestra”. Disco, Disco, Disco, Disco….:-)

    At that age, I could take all those bright, flashing lights – am not sure I can take them anymore. In fact I’m pretty sure I cannot. I’ve become very averse to this sort of stuff – I cannot even take much of the special effects in movies nowadays. I guess I’ve grown old – I like substance in the content, more than all this blinding flashiness.

    Good review, memsaab. And as usual, with its doses of LOL moments. Just love your reviews. :-)

  29. @Memsaab – Nice review. I do not know why but just the title was enough to make sure that I did not make any attempt to watch this movie. Your review kind of validates my decision. It is not that I have anything against disco but I would rather prefer to hear the music without any flashing lights.

  30. Anybody who was a school kid in those days knows : Disco Dancer was when Hindi movies officially gave up, and the watchers sort of grew up. The movies gave up, with increasingly crazy plots, nightmarishly poor taste in clothes, music rip offs, amazingly poor choreo … and the audience learnt to laugh at them and itself for watching.

    Bappi was actually brilliant in parts as a composer, but hid that facet well : check Dheere Dheere Subah Hui from Hathyar.

    In chrono order, the top three in crassness from those times have Mithun , Bappi n B Subhash : Disco Dancer, Kasam Paida Karne Waale Ki n Dance Dance.

  31. This is a westerner’s perspective of an enormously sucessful cult fun film.Millions of viewers across india,russia,eastern europe and the middle east loved it and Jimmy,jimmy aaja is still one of the most nostalgically remembered song of the film.It was a fun film not made for high brow audience and was damn sucessful as well.Instead of celebrating its awesome ridiculousness you are trying to analyse it critically while this is a film to be enjoyed.As for Mithunda he is one of the best actors in indian cinema who has won the national award 3 times and it is the national award not one of the sponsored and sold award given these days.So if you cannot appreciate a cult film for its awesomeness you haven’t understood bollywood at all despite all the movies you seem to have seen.Or maybe you are one of those people who likes only yash/dharma/srk sissy movies.

    • I’m sorry, but I don’t see how I have analyzed this “critically” in any way. That isn’t really what I do any time. I am celebrating its ridiculousness, there is no other way to get through it. And I appreciate thoughtful comments here, but if you are always this rude then you can feel free to stay away or keep quiet.

    • There’s always a delusional bitter fan. Don’t bother responding to them, Memsaab.

      Your review rules!

  32. Making fun of a cult film of one of the greatest bengali icons of bollywood is rude.Mithunda defined dancing in the 80s and 80s dancing,costumes etc were universally Different than today.It does not mean that they were bad or gawdy but it was just the 80s mood.Maybe some generations later will laugh at the costumes used today as one never knows what fashion in the future will be.Also,i wrote my commentary because you said that hrithik,shahid even shahruk dance but not mithunda.While i can accept that hrithik,shahid can dance what shahruk does is just ridiculous jumping and cannot be categorised as dance in any way.Mithunda does way better than that and what more he has a signature dance step still imitated by millions of his loving fans.

    • Mithun is great you know. Mithun is the music king. Mithun is a star!

      Nooo, Mithun is a great! Grrrreat! He’s a thing foreveerrrr.. foreveeer!

      • LOL Upendra.

        There is always someone who thinks that his is the only opinion that counts and doesn’t actually even bother reading a post before leaving comments with his assumptions. I love Mithun, and he could act when he needed to (which wasn’t often sadly), but watching him “dance” is…just hilarious.

  33. Mr,Upendra,he is much more than what you will ever be in your life.Btw,i am not a bitter fan but a loving fan of the great bengali icon.

  34. Nice review.I remember this movie when in early 80s the Disco culture in India was at its peak,its title being inspired by that culture only,at that time everything was being rechristened with prefix ‘Disco’ may it be Disco vegetable,Disco fabric,Disco footwear or Disco TV.
    For a long time my little mind was under impression that Disco Dancer is not a movie but collection of Disco songs only.It was only after watching it several times at a later or rather matured stage i came to realize that its a feature movie.
    As you already mentioned Rajesh Khanna excelled in a small cameo and that song on him “Goro Ki Na Kaalon ki,Duniya hai Dilwaalon Ki…” did won many hearts for him.

  35. Memsaab, the insanity of this film is an endless source of amusement and amazement. How, how, how? No whys!

  36. I had watched this movie during its release and I disliked it. In my mind the movie was too crude and lacked class. I was in the minority as far as my opinion was concerned, Just because others felt otherwise does not mean that my opinion of this movie was wrong or incorrect.. Majority is not always right. I have seen opinion of the majority changing (as well as getting influenced) quite frequently,

    There was a section of population which identified with Mithun da and that section was in good majority at that time. Later on, when Mithun da movies began to be prodced and released in an assembly line manner (at the rate of one movie every week), even that section of movie goers got fed up.

    Considering the humble background from which Mithun da came, it was a great achievement for him to break into Hindi movies and achieving the kind of success he did. I feel happy that he made the most of his opportunities and success.

    idolising one’s favourite star and worshipping him/her is not uncommon among some movie watchers. But as a rational thinker, one will do well to realise that no one is perfect to become a god. Even gods are not perfect, if one thinks about that. Mithun da, like most actors of Hindi movies had his inadequacies, but actors succeed not because of their adequacies but because of their “stronger” points which have their takers at that time. People actually believed that he danced (or densed- as it was pronounced), but if someone says that he did not dance, then why why cannot one examine this statement by having a relook at these dances and analysing them ? But that needs qualities like having an open mind, ability to think originally, ability to research and analyse etc, which devotees to matinee idols may not always possess.

    • Worshipping any human being as if they can do no wrong is just weird to me. I wouldn’t want the burden of being perfect. I doubt Mithun does either :D Am I to think you will not be discussing the songs from this on your blog? You are welcome to use my descriptions of his dense moves if you want ;-)

  37. I will discuss the songs from this movie no doubt. In fact I would request ypu to do the honours of doing a writeup for the iconic “I am a disco dancer” song from this movie.

    I had forgotten that Rajesh Khanna too had played a cameo role in this movie and had lip synced a song too.

  38. Well your review seemed to have got somebody’s goat (meaning “make him annoyed” – me and my ancient English phrases!). But you seem to have enjoyed the film anyway – (so I was wrong in my comment above). I only hope poor Mithunda (in Bengal you add ‘da’ to the name to mean ‘Big Brother’) does not read your reivew :D – he may well reach the same conclusion as his fan above. It was a MILESTONE for him. But he should take consolation in the fact that you (like his many female fans I know) are floored by his smile :).

    • Bhartiya Naari movies annoy me; this one just makes me stare in wonder (and, occasionally, revulsion mixed with pity) :D I have often said that I hope Mithun never finds my blog. But, you know, when you put your work out there for people to pay to see it/own it, you have to be able to take the criticism that comes along with that. He is handsome, and he can act when it’s warranted, and he has a certain presence. It’s just his status as a dancing star that I question.

  39. Hi Memsaab,

    Very eloquent review, as always!
    If you would like to change your opinion on Mithun’s acting capabilities, you might want to see his debut movie called “Mrigya” from 1976……. if not for the serious storyline (a far cry from DD), then for the sheer animal magnetism that a raw and untamed Mithun exudes from every fiber of his being! And yes, that ice-melting smile is very much there…….. :-)

    • It’s not his acting abilities I doubt, but his dancing skills. I KNOW he can act when he wants/has the opportunity to :) If I can ever find Mrigya with subtitles I most certainly will watch it!

  40. I have been following your blog for a while now, and tremendously enjoy your wacky descriptions of old Hindi movies. I’m sure I must have watched Disco Dancer as a kid, but can hardly recall anything, except the songs! A while back I happened to catch Rajesh Khanna’s death scene on TV and laughed till I cried! This is definitely one of those so-bad-that-it’s-good movies! I do like the songs, though :D I find them peppy and fun.
    BTW, have you watched Mithun’s cult classic, Gunda?
    Also, another great movie to watch is Rajesh Khanna’s ‘Swarg’. He really has perfected the “dying” scene!

  41. What a coincidence that Disco Dancer, and Mithun, seem to be in the news.
    Came across this today.

  42. The fan’s planning and execution was perfect !!!! Absolutely loved this story.Serves all these critics right who have never made a hit film in their life and still somehow try to make themselves important and intelligent by trashing down superstars who are loved by the masses.It showed actually how intelligent the critics really are in reality.Would really love if more such fans take down critics this way.Absolutely awesome !!! Take a bow,Mithundaan !!!!

    • I suppose the fan had made a few hit movies in his life ? Or he too was unimportant and unintelligent like the critics. In what way did that fan take down the critic ? The “critic” turned up at the appointed place but the “fan” did not. It shows that the “fan” was just an anonymous keyboard warrior.

    • More than anything, it makes me wonder if that poor fan has any life of his own!

  43. The whole point of the act was not to turn up and make the critic pay up at the costly restaurant !!!! Ha,ha!! Take a chill pill.Btw,fans are fans and they are not into little nitpickings and stuff while critics talk as if they have made some great blockbusters.I am so inspired by this fans work and aim to do something like this once.Just have to decide which critic riles me most.

  44. Memsaab, your way of describing films of yore are very readable. However, there can be many opinions which may not toe your line. In such situations the host should be more courteous and not tell anyone to stay away or keep quiet if it is presumed that your writing is essentially to share your take on such films.
    And Mithun Da is a good dancer as far as competence, grace and individual style in filmy dancing is concerned. Including Shahrukh Khan (or the other two Khans) in the good dancer’s group is without any basis. Disco Dancer was a film of the times and a very successful one at that, like what is being witnessed today by a Dabang, Rowdy Rathore or Singham, which are not classics, or for that matter, even 3 Idiots or Rock On

    • I don’t mind at all if people disagree with my opinions but be courteous about it! My opinion isn’t wrong either just because it doesn’t fall in line with yours. Life is too short to put up with people who are rude.

      • I sincerely appreciate, enjoy and like your writings. That is why I visit your blog site regularly. However, your replies to your readers are not gentle either (in fact it is arrogant), when it is known that all comments only reflect the impact (positive or otherwise) you have on readers. You are a gifted writer. Only being a bit gracious and persevering with critics and readers will make things better.

        • I do this purely for the fun of it, Preetam. I don’t see how I owe people who are narrow-minded and insulting any courtesy. It is my website, and to be honest some of my readers wonder why I even let comments like that go by. It doesn’t make them feel good about the community here. I could just delete them, and perhaps I will think about doing that. I respect other people’s opinions, unlike the person(s) complaining here. I am not going to tolerate rudeness, though.

  45. Mr.Preetam thanks for your kind words of wisdom. As for the writer,Its easy to criticise somebody but when the tables are turned then we are bit skittish aren’t we,calling people rude and all that ? As kabir said ” Bura jo dekhan main chala bura na miliya koi , jo man dekha aapna mujhsa bura na koi”.I took up her case because she needlessly criticised Mithun da and his dancing skills.If you are not aware then let me tell you that Mithun da is also the judge of one of the biggest dance reality shows and all the best choreographers and dancers in the country look up to him.If you had a bigger pedigree than all the best choreographers in india and then criticised him i would have rationally thought about the reasons and tried to understand it.However,since you don’t hence criticising Mithun da in a public forum is just not done.

    • And I thought Rajesh Khanna’s fans were bad…

      • Be thankful you don’t follow cricket. :-) Try saying something slightly critical about Saurav Ganguly, Sachin Tendulkar…

      • Am crushed :-) Have you seen the WARS being fought over the 3 Khans by their devotees! Fascinating actually, more than the love, the energy expended in hating is amazing.

        Raja and Salim below are right on the money. Only I am much less good humored about this. What makes your blog special, apart from you of course, is the quality of the comments. It would be a pity to sully them with this kind of drivel.

        • There are always exceptions, dear, like you and other Kaka fans who come here. Those are the people I like to keep around!

          Shalini sent me this quote from Bhardwaj Rangan: “…we live in a country where if you don’t don’t praise someone to the skies it’s assumed that you’re damning him. If you don’t sing bhajans exalting a person, then you’re a rabid hater. I find that attitude baffling.”

          So do I. Baffling and stupid, not to mince words (which is not one of my strengths).

    • I’ve been following this blog for a few years now and I’ve always found the author to be extremely warm, welcoming and appreciative of all commenters, even if their opinion is different from hers. To suggest that she is rude and arrogant, doesn’t sit well with me, sorry. I HAVE to respond!

      I think memsaab is one of the most gracious bloggers out there when it comes to responding to comments – as long as the commenter is himself or herself polite to begin with.

      And I do know for a fact that she’s always welcomed an opinion different from her own, seeing it as healthy debate. Commenters need to realise that she is fully entitled to her own point of view – and to express it here in a manner she sees fit. This is HER blog, after all. All of us, readers and commenters, are guests. The least we owe her is courtesy in our comments, even if we disagree with her.

      There’s a famous quote out there – “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” (attributed to Voltaire). If somebody is a Mithun fan, fine. Nobody is questioning his right to be a Mithun fan. By the same token, he cannot deny others in this world their right NOT to be quite the Mithun fan he is.

      There’s no right or wrong in these things. That’s why it is called “opinon”, not “fact”.

      • Hear Hear! Raja I heartily second your comments (as I am sure a lot others do). I wasn’t aware this battle was still going on :D. Memsaab is ineed a most gracious blogger – and she is absolutely entitled to her opinion. If she doesn’t like Mithun’s dancing, you can’t make her like it. And if you don’t agree with her opinions, RESPECTFULLY agree to disagree. I personally would just ignore such comments – Greta you are greater than me in having patience in trying to reason with such commentators :D. I would say to all, call it a day and move on to Nadia and Supermen of Malegaon :)

        • Thank you both indeed for defending my character :). Somehow I have managed to make my way through life with lots of friends from all walks of life, and my days are mostly filled with warmth and laughter. I am pretty sure it’s because I am kind, and not generally rude and rarely arrogant. I didn’t really think I needed lectures on how to behave, but it’s nice to get outside confirmation.

  46. memsaab, making fun of old films to have fun is fine. I enjoy it. There is a different and fresh perspective in the writings. But all that is within the purview of the film being reviewed. I know that in DD, Mithun’s role was emotional and Mama’s boy role. One can tear a film to shreds or make wholehearted fun which is being done to many films, and is enjoyable also. But saying authoritatively on a stars dancing ability is something different. Here, there is a thin line in having fun and passing opinions, which was transgressed. Maybe Mithun does not utilize his full potential to dance, or he takes dance casually due to his overconfidence in dance department, injects classical dance moves in his songs, or focuses more on histrionics than on dance, or gives only a few signature movements rather than reorient his dance for each song (Like, he could have danced much better in the “Julie Julie, Johnny Johnny” song of “Jeete Hain Shaan Se”), unlike Helen, Madhuri or Govinda, but on no counts can it be said that Mithun is a non-dancer. You could have said that the quality of dance expected from a film titled Disco Dancer, was not there and Mithun dance here cannot be termed as dance of the highest order, or even disco dance, which I also agree. Or the way you branded his dance moves on the “Eh Oh Aah” song was funny to me and I also accept such branding, but sorry to say, Mithun dances when given the scope, just as he can act if given the opportunity, when it is a fact that his opportunities to dance were lesser than the opportunities that he got to act.

    • Ah but Preetam, everything I say here is an opinion. That should be implicit. It’s my personal blog, with my personal opinions (and much of it hyperbolic, because that’s who I am). There is nothing authoritative in anything I say—I am not writing film criticism for the New York Times, nor am I qualified to! If you say Mithun dances when given the scope, I will have take your word for it because I have never seen any examples myself where I find his dancing anything other than impossible to look at without laughing at its absurdity. If you would like to give me some examples I’ll be happy to look at them, but it might be better to agree that we disagree and that IT’S OKAY.

      • Yeah! its okay! It is healthy to disagree but carry one nonetheless because I like your writings and see no reason why New York Times won’t like your writings. However, they have to be appreciative of the subject matter just like me and many in this forum are. As for examples of good dancing of Mithun, I will recall and inform. But one thing is certain, and that is Mithun hardly dances seriously and his moves look as if he is making a mockery of those dance move. I think he danced well (I feel, and I am only saying as a member of the audience) in “Tu Mujhe Jaan Se Bhi Pyaara Hai” along with Kalpana Iyer in Wardat (1981) and in “Dil Dhak Dhak Karne Laga” in Patita (1980) besides some flashes of good dances in many of his films, like in Muddat (1986) and Waqt Ki Awaz (1988), but overall he gave more attention to his dramatic scenes and action / fight scenes (many scenes can be said to be precursor or similar to the Rajnikant style of fighting) than to dances, unlike Govinda who gave attention to everything, including dances. I liked Mithun’s “Prem Pratigya” very much though it had no dances. I have some information about Hindi films, like in the artist identification category, which I will share ; considering that I am seeing them since the 70’s and have been a avid reader of film magazines, especially “Madhuri” and among others, besides “JS”. This is because of my mother who subscribed it, and still loves to see films.

  47. I am happy that you pointed out this issue with Bollywood and Disco. In the past you have shown fairness to judge Indian film music apart from western music. While you know, and maybe remember, Disco was in during the mid to late seventies then completely given up on in north america. During that time RD Burman would make a few disco tracks and move on. India had a ban on imports and music in the western world went towards Rock. Bollywood was stuck on Disco, and Bappi Lahiri was making “his version” of disco music. Disco is the kind of music that you would want to hear if you went out dancing in a club but otherwise is more niche music.
    Mithun Chakraborty was given a bad rap in bollywood due to, of all things, the colour of his skin. His dark complexion was considered a no-no for a “Hero”. Hence he was always the first to be cast as a poor hero, a low caste hero, even though his first film won him the National Award. Later on those , more regular Indians, who were of the same “skin colour” made him the biggest actor and the richest actor as well.
    He is very handsome and charming when he smiles.

    • There is plenty of great Indian film music (both with Western influences and without). Disco though…ugh! Did not much care for it here either, although now it has a bit of nostalgic kitsch value or me, much like probably Mithun and Bappi do for some Indians.

      The whole “shades of brown” thing does baffle me (here too)! Handsome is handsome, and Mithun certainly is that.

  48. When Mithun Smiles…
    You have dedicated so much time to Indian cinema that I do respect your views, sadly disco probably was the longest lasting music genre for their music… I mean from the late seventies to nineties :/

  49. Hats off to you, Memsaab for yet another fantastic (and hilarious) review! I just had to watch this movie after I read this the first time (and for Rajesh Khanna, of course) and you are spot on every single thing from Rajesh milking the death scene to ‘Om Puri was young once! Sort of’.
    I really like the happy Mithun but his dancing and the costumes, yuck!!!
    Thank you so much for bringing me back into the good old 70s!

  50. What a load of trash, Mithunda is the baadshah of Bollywood.

  51. a memorable (sigh) movie for me, as this is the first movie that watched in VHS format….
    but the music i like most…i grew up with pure Disco music, & i still love them …..d u know Russians are so Pagal about Mithunda’s Disco Dancer! & in Africa too (don’t b’lieve..? search YouTube)

  52. What is the Song when Mithun is Dancing on the Bridge

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