We all have our guilty pleasures (if you don’t, I recommend you get some)…and Baadshah is one of mine. Shah Rukh Khan is the first Indian actor that I truly fell head over heels for, and although I have hardly written about any of his movies here it’s not because I haven’t seen them all. I saw this film very early on in my pyaar and what stuck in my head was that although it struck me as incredibly stupid, it was also immensely fun; there was a ridiculous eye-transplant side plot that I found ludicrous at the time which—given what I know now—barely registered on this watch. There is a fair amount of painful hamming and silly slapstick (yes, someone even slips on a banana peel at one point) which puzzled me more than anything (“Does anyone actually find this funny?”), although now of course I realize that it has its roots in a very rich (if mostly unloved by me) CSP tradition.
It is amazing what a mere eight years of devotion to Hindi cinema can teach a person.
Everyone knows that Dharmendra is a he-man, good at fighting and drinking and other manly stuff. Luckily for us ladies, he is also good at romance. And as Jaya Bachchan has famously pointed out: he is as handsome as a Greek god. Almost all the playback singers of his time could sing realistically for him, too; he didn’t fit just one type of voice. Here are my ten favorite (so far! I still have lots more of his films to watch) Dharmendra musical moments.
Oh oh oh I love this movie! Beautiful Rakhee, yummy Rajesh, imperious Veena, nuanced characters, an interesting story, plot twists, humor, lovely RD Burman songs, and plenty of squishy dil™ (ppcc)! The melodrama was saved for the very end, when it was welcome, because by then I cared so much about everybody and everything turning out okay. The film is also beautifully shot—a visual feast, with sumptuous sets and lovely hilly scenery, and interesting camera angles. And beautiful Rakhee and yummy Rajesh!
This may be the most aptly named film in the history of cinema. It’s an all-out early Yash Chopra romance: boy and girl fall in love, marry despite opposition, are separated tragically, then reunited—but with big obstacles to their happiness. Particularly satisfying are Rajesh Khanna and Sharmila Tagore as said boy and girl. Their performances are enhanced by setting (snowy Himachal Pradesh) and beautiful songs courtesy of Laxmikant Pyarelal with stunning lyrics from the great Sahir Ludhianvi. I—shameless romantic that I am—loved every heartwrenchingly glorious minute of it.
If you are entertained by a crackling great story, brisk direction which keeps things moving along, and a cast of stalwarts who give good performances, you will like this movie. The central theme explores the importance of honor over money—it’s hackneyed, and we are beaten over the head with it, but the plot is engrossing. Love, betrayal, vengeance…be prepared for an emotional rollercoaster ride. Get your hankies out!
How do I love Vijay Anand, the director? Let me count the ways: Bullet, Tere Mere Sapne, Johnny Mera Naam, Chhupa Rustam, Nau Do Gyarah, Tere Ghar Ke Samne, Kala Bazaar, Guide, Teesri Manzil, Jewel Thief and above all, this one. They are of different genres, with varying levels of seriousness, but all are fabulous.
Blackmail is one of the first Vijay Anand films I ever watched, and I simply adore it. It may be the most romantic Hindi film ever! and that’s saying something! It also features international villains, a “formoola” that will change the world, blinding fashions, a gorgeous hero and heroine pair, and lovely songs by Kalyanji Anandji. Oh happy, happy!