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 love a good daku-drama, and Dara Singh makes one very satisfyingly manly dacoit (I mean, he is the guy who later carved “MARD” into his infant son’s chest). This film is surprisingly serious much of the time though, with an unexpected (at least to me) ending; it’s not his usual lighthearted type of stunt film although there is plenty of delicious fun to be had nonetheless. Director Mohammed Hussain has long been one of my more prolific and dependable favorites, having delivered the crazy likes of Faulad, Shikari, Main Hoon Aladdin, CID 909, Teesra Kaun, and on and on). For the cast he has roped in his usual stalwarts, including Helen as heroine and perpetually belligerent Shyam Kumar in a Prince Valiant wig. And of course, being a “B-movie” it has beautiful music too, with lively dances from the gorgeous Bela Bose, Madhumati and Rani, among others.
Let’s get to it, shall we?
When friends ask me why I haven’t upgraded to digital high-definition from my 20-year-old CRT television set, I put a movie like this into the dvd player as explanation. It looks bad enough on my old workhorse, I can’t even imagine how bad it would look on HD. And really, I don’t want to ever stop watching movies like this, no matter how abysmal the video and audio might be. It is a riotously colorful Arabian Nights vehicle for tall, handsome Ajit in a last gasp as hero, replete with the loony touches and sumptuous sets and costumes for which director Mohammed Hussain is beloved (at least by me). Usha Khanna’s music is plentiful and fortunately pleasant (sometimes very much so), and Sayeeda makes a lovely heroine. The lack of subtitles, choppy editing, and poor made-from-vhs-tape quality cannot diminish my pleasure in it; I am even thrilled by the (some would say poorly) hand-drawn title credits.
I feel Tom and his gang of subtitlers should form their own production company and give it a proper name! Any suggestions? In any case, another formerly unsubtitled and painfully unrestored vcd has been subtitled (thanks again Raja!) and given the Tommydan Treatment. I must say that I am blown away with how beautiful this dvd looks compared to the source files. I don’t know how he does it, but I’m glad he does.
Although made in 1970, this film was clearly shot on a shoestring 1950’s budget by one of my favorite B-movie directors, Mohammed Hussain. It features a very carelessly put-together plot in the hands of a very beefy (some more uncharitable than I might call him paunchy) Dara Singh and his pals Bhagwan and Agha, who are actually very funny—yes, the Comic Side Plot entertains! Opposite Dara is the very lovely Shabnam, and they are supported by the goodness that is Madan Puri and Shetty as bad people. The songs by Dattaram are very lovely too. It shares a lot of quirky Hussain characteristics with the fab CID 909, although it’s a bit more muddled and not quite as much fun. It does make an adequate alternative for a rainy day’s watching if you’re in the mood for wacky nicknames and silly disguises and don’t need much of a story.
When a filmmaker has limited means and can thus only make a movie that’s
don’t you think he or she should choose the color portions wisely? Alas, this is never the case. In Faulad for example, most of the action takes place in fabulously ornate palaces and havelis and on a pirate ship, and it’s all black and white. At the end, when all the action is taking place in a boring, dingy dungeon—it’s in color! I don’t need to see a gray stone dungeon in color!
Nevertheless, Faulad is a lot of fun. It’s hard to go wrong when Mohammed Hussain is directing (and Dara Singh, Mumtaz and Minoo Mumtaz are starring in) a film with swashbuckling Arabian Nights championship wrestling action and gorgeous songs (by the criminally ignored GS Kohli)!
After suffering through the last two films, I really needed a dose of Mohammed Hussain, maker of low-low-low-budget zany B-movie fare. Fortunately, I had just the thing on hand: a film starring Feroz Khan, Mumtaz, Helen and Bela Bose, with appearances by Tun Tun and Master Shetty! Music by OP Nayyar, choreographed by my new best friend Herman! A plot about a scientific formula written in code for making something touted as a “peace bomb”! I settle into my chair with a happy sigh.
We left our heroine Rita dangling over sudsy hot pink lava as a giant ape menaced the rest of her traveling companions.
Blinding Eastman Color! To my everlasting regret, this film has not made it to DVD with subtitles yet (*now it has!*). But my friend Suhan found it on VCD with no subs and sent it to me; having seen it, I now believe that subtitles are unnecessary, although I would still like to see it nicely digitized and put on DVD (but not by Shemaroo, please). I saw (and understood) enough to tell you that it was cracktastic! And also, chock-full of plot holes and abandoned plot threads, which didn’t matter one bit.
Mostly, the visuals were so entertaining (despite the poor video quality) that I thought I’d put together another comic strip synopsis. The completely loony amalgamation of cultural references more than makes up for any lack of narrative. Plus, the songs by GS Kohli are lovely and include two dances for Helen!
All you really need to know is this: there’s an ice-skating chimp, two crazy scientists, exotic tropical jungles, spear-throwing natives, a volcano, Godzilla, King Kong, a snake pit and more; and a cast which includes Helen, Madan Puri, KN Singh, Tun Tun, Ajit and Ragini.
Although this movie was made in 1964, it very well could have been made in 1954 or even 1944 given the quality of its special effects. They are so very special! In addition, the heroine of the film is none other than the ever-fabulous Helen, opposite wrestler Dara Singh. Aaya Toofan was the source for this trivia post, and for my avatar as well. This is not to say that it’s a good film; it most emphatically is not. It’s really bad. Silly story, bad acting, the whole nine yards. But it’s B-movie fun for those who enjoy such things (I do! I do!), and of course there is Helen. And wrestlers. Lots and lots of wrestlers.