Even with subtitles, I probably would have fast-forwarded through vast stretches of this film; without them I spent much of my time bewildered by the plot and bored by its meandering. I might not have bothered to write it up either except for there’s an absolute dearth of material about it out there, and it does have some very redeeming qualities. It seems to have had a decent budget: there are a lot of well-known character and comic actors; the costumes and sets are lush and colorful; Helen and Laxmi Chhaya each have dances. I suspect though I can’t confirm that none of the money lavished on it went to a script writer, however. Mohammed Hussain is a director whose name I am always happy to see in the credits, but he might have been rather worn out or bored himself by the time this was made. It lacks his trademark lunacy, and that craziness is sorely missed.
I watched this with Carla (Filmigeek), who liked it more than I did possibly thanks to the dazzling spectacle that is Sharmila in a swimsuit. For me it was ruined on the mystery front by obvious red herrings thrown at me like bricks and then left unexplained; and elsewhere by the insistence of the men who supposedly “loved” Sharmila (including the hero, argggghh Shashi) threatening repeatedly to kill her if she didn’t do what they wanted. There was fun to be had in some foot-tapping Kalyanji-Anandji musical numbers (and background score) and the general gorgeous sixties ishtyle of Shashi and Sharmila (what splendid alliteration!), but it didn’t quite make up for the annoyances above and a sad lack of gadgetry, lairs or any other kind of embellishment which might have made it less predictable.
Khair. You cannot always win everything.
Kishore Kumar is one of those actors (Mehmood being another) who either makes me laugh out loud or completely irritates me. The script, direction and supporting characters make the difference usually, and I think that’s the case (and by “case” I mean problem) here too. Even though Shakti Samanta directed, after about the first hour I was fast-forwarding through more than I watched—not only is the frantic slapstick not funny, but the Curse of the Second Half derails what little entertainment there is. The story manages an interesting turn in the middle but then resolves itself in the stupidest manner possible. Plus the supporting cast are grating—even Madan Puri as a buffoonish bad guy just isn’t funny. In fact Edwina, who watched some of it with me and appears in two songs, asked me how on earth I can sit through such stuff.
She seems quite amazed at my tolerance for total crap, but I’m sure it comes as no surprise to any of you who come here regularly.
Here we have another relatively obscure film which does not deserve to be abandoned to the unprofessional shenanigans of Ultra, although it isn’t any masterpiece for sure. But stars Shashi Kapoor and Sharmila Tagore are young and gorgeous, as is the exotic setting (Kenya, complete with Masai warriors and lovely wildlife footage). They are backed up by the *extreme* cuteness of Laxmi Chhaya—who dances several times too—and the blessed presence of stalwarts Madan Puri, Rajendranath, Nirupa Roy, and Jayant. It is of course not subtitled and much of the angst went over my head (not necessarily a bad thing); but I loved the travelogue eye-candy of the first half and giggled through the melodramatic soap-opera quality of the second half, complete with crazed camera angles and abundant overuse of the zoom lens, Emoting Shashi, and strident musical effects.
Help me, 1970s Hindi cinema fans!
I have seen the same ballroom or restaurant or something which I believe was not a set but an actual place—quite possibly in a hotel—in Bombay in the mid-1970s. It was used in a gazillion movies made between 1973 and 1978 or so. I call it simply “The Room” because it really defies any other kind of description; and I LOVE IT.
I’ve said it (many times) before and I’m saying it again now: I love Laxmi Chhaya. And I *totally heart* this new Tom dvd compilation which contains 23 songs featuring her in all her versatile and gorgeous glory. From a simple love song which showcases her girl-next-door brand of beauty, to the crazy “Jaan Pehchaan Ho” and Peacock-Cobra danceoff with Madhumati, plus everything in between (tribal, cabaret, mujra)—it’s all here. And you will never see these songs in better quality, never. I am blown away by this dvd, and I’m even getting used to Tom’s magic.
This was an unexpected treat, a breezy comedy starring Kishore Kumar, Kum Kum, IS Johar, Prem Chopra—in a not-villainous role!—and my would-be bahen Laxmi Chhaya. Greedy bad guys, plenty of disguises, goofball antics and a fine sense of the just plain silly are its hallmarks, along with one of my new favorite Laxmi songs. Actually, all the songs by Usha Khanna are fabulous and worth watching. Kum Kum is an excellent dancer too and plays one in this (as well as her long-lost mother) so she has plenty of scope for showing off her talents as well. The storyline is contrived and conveniently glib, but all in all it’s a very fun watch if you feel like shutting off your brain for some simple but satisfying entertainment.
*Now with subtitles!*
I guess wishing very very hard for something does make it come true—at least sometimes, when you have friends like Tom and Raja. I saw this film a couple of years ago but never bothered to write it up because there was no reason to: Todd over at D4K already had, and brilliantly so. We have long lamented the lack of subtitles for this; it has a LOT of plot, and much of it is incomprehensible without understanding the dialogues. So when Tom recently found some awesome people willing to help subtitle songs for his wonderful compilation dvds (hooray for Ava, Madhu and Raja!), I somehow got him to agree to make a subtitled version of this enchanting and stylish Indian science fiction should-be classic.
Most fans of Shammi Kapoor and this fabulous film are by now painfully aware that no full version of it has made it onto dvd or vcd. Well, fear not! Shalini has shared her videotaped version which is intact (though unsubtitled), and I am here to tell you what we’ve been missing.
On the dvd, Sunita (Asha Parekh) and Rocky (Shammi) return from their little excursion having fallen head over heels in love and Rocky discovers that his room has been ransacked while he was away. He realizes that someone is investigating Rupa’s death a year earlier, and is confronted by a jealous Ruby (Helen)—she says cryptically that she hopes that Rupa’s little sister doesn’t find it necessary herself to leap from the third floor to the arms of mother earth. Then suddenly the scene switches to a rural fair, with Sunita and Rocky singing a song on a ferris wheel; and from that point on wealthy Kanwar (Premnath) is suddenly part of the plot and Sunita’s father (Raj Mehra) is also inexplicably present along with Ramesh (Prem Chopra) and his father.
For my favorite expert Tom has done what no dvd manufacturer has even attempted (and if they had, his would still be better because he actually cares about things like video and audio quality)—he has made a Bela Bose compilation dvd! Tom has gone to great pains to do justice to Bela’s delightful career, in collaboration with fellow blogger and friend Ava. She has beautifully translated the unsubtitled (or badly subtitled) songs for those of us who don’t speak Hindi but know that the poetry in every song is something we sadly often miss out on. Bahut bahut shukriya Ava!