Unique Pictures present a very UNIQUE PICTURE indeed. How I love the Indian penchant for stirring a hodgepodge of fantasy stories into one big pot. In addition to Tarzan and his magic lamp (and its Genie resident, with no Aladdin in sight), there are:
- A Cyclops King Kong
- Ooga-booga tribals
- Stolen footage from another Tarzan film featuring a lion fight
- A “Chinese” magician named Bing Pong
- Bing Pong’s own genie
man in an ape suitgorilla
- Tun Tun
- A python-eagle fight
- A hilarious moose costume
- A chicken-headed idol
It lacks subtitles, and any semblance of a coherent plot (for me at least) is lost, along with about an hour of obviously missing footage. Plus the sound is pretty indistinct in places, not that it matters one bit. Anyway, it seems like the perfect vehicle for a screenshot-heavy post (in other words, I don’t have much to say but plenty to show you). Let’s go!
The Diwan of a kingdom somewhere in thickly forested India orders the Queen’s midwife to take the newborn Rajkumar and kill him so that his son can take the little Prince’s place as heir. She puts him in a basket and sends him down the river where he is rescued by elephants.
The grieving Rani Maa (Mehar Banu) makes Diwanji’s son her heir, loses her mental balance, and leaves the palace to roam about in the forest screaming “Nahiiin!”
The infant Rajkumar grows up to be Tarzan (Azad). One day while swimming he finds a lamp floating in the river.
When he rubs it dry, surprise! His new Genie takes him cloud-surfing.
Meanwhile, the Diwan’s son has grown up as the Rajkumar Uday Singh (BM Vyas) and his daughter, the Rajkumari Anjali (Kammo). They have their own special magician named Bing Pong (Amrit Rana) who uses scare tactics and cackling laughter to do his magic. There are also a couple of really annoying CSP characters (Sheikh and Shakeela Bano Bhopali, whose qawwali, if she had one, is gone).
They form a hunting party, and Tarzan scrambles his elephants together to stop them. But even he is surprised when this thing shows up. I adore its spiked Prussian Pickelhaube helmet circa World War I—a perfectly balanced accessory for a guy with a single huge eye (and monobrow) in the center of his face. And pointy ears.
Tarzan saves the local village chief’s daughter Mala (Sunita) after she falls (and faints femininely) in the monster’s path.
Tarzan is smitten if unable to speak (“Mala! Tarzan! Mala! Tarzan!”), and they ride around on elephant back for a while giggling as the chief frets about her safety. Bing Pong conjures up his own toothless hag of a genie to find out if Mala is okay. She tells them that Mala is with Tarzan and that furthermore Tarzan is the rightful heir!
This is bad news for Rajkumar (not) Uday Singh, and Mala’s reciprocal feelings for junglee Tarzan don’t meet with her father’s approval either. Uday calls in reinforcements in the form of hunter Rai Sahab (Dalpat) and his companion Professor Albert (?), along with Ismail as another CSP character that we really didn’t need. They persuade the Chief that Tarzan must be killed and after a thwarted attempt or two, Uday and Rai Sahab manage to shoot Tarzan, who calls in his elephant khandaan.
Uday and company run away, and the elephants take Tarzan home to his tree house where Mala finds him bleeding from his moobs (even though when he was shot he clutched at his stomach). The Genie gives her a bottle of liquid to sprinkle on Tarzan’s wounds and stands by, gravely concerned.
I love this Genie. When he feels he’s being ignored, he jumps around (meaning the lamp jumps around) until someone lets him out. Plus his rescues are needlessly complicated. For example, earlier when Bing Pong had conjured up a giant snake to kill Tarzan, the Genie conjured up an eagle to kill it. Seriously, Genie, you couldn’t just zap it or something? And you couldn’t just wave Tarzan’s wounds away? Where is your mojo?!
By now the ranks of the CSP have swelled (no pun intended) (maybe a little) with the addition of Tun Tun, who makes everything 500% better. For reasons unclear to me, she shoots at Ismail and Sheikh as they run around in a moose costume.
This actually makes me laugh and laugh, and I even rewind to watch it all again.
Meanwhile, Rajkumar Uday Singh and Rai Sahab continue to sow discord within the village against poor Tarzan while he and Mala try to romance each other between assassination attempts. There is also lots of footage missing, so I have no idea how things get fully resolved but never mind. It doesn’t matter.
It’s a festival of crazy.
Very UNIQUE PICTURE indeed.