Mehbooba (2008) 2 brothers, 1 woman, a chandelier, and lots of balloons, slaps, and Johnnie Walker

Mehbooba was released in 2008, but director Afzal Khan began filming in 1999.  There are a lot of reasons why the filming took so long to finally be released which you can read about HERE.

mehboobaThe film stars Sanjay Dutt, Ajay Devgan and Manisha Koirala in the lead roles. Set on a huge canvas and shot across three continents, America, Europe and Asia, with four different countries as the story’s backdrop, with New York, Budapest, Austria, Bikaner, Jaisalmer and Mumbai as the key locations, the film boasts of lavish settings and locales, expensive sets. (source) Also check out the film’s official website for more on the story.

Come with me for a quick review of what I enjoyed from the film.  Fancy NRI New York City based businessman Sharvan Dhariwal (Sanjay Dutt) meets Varsha (Manisha Koirala) and they enjoy a balloon filled party.  mehbooba.balloons

The film has some huge dance numbers, like Kuch Kar Lo with playback singer Sonu Nigam

Varsha finds Mr. Shravan Dhariwal much too arrogant for her traditional Indian ways and he takes things too far at a fancy balloon filled New Year’s party.

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Varsha warns him, and then winds up for a  tight slap to the face.

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Look at the aftermath of the slap: one sad bollywood balloon,  Sanjay, I mean Mr. Shravan Dhariwal, left alone with his feelings of regret, a cigarette, and a half empty bottle of Johnny Walker, black label, since he is a business tycoon afterall. Even business tycoons have it bad sometimes.  I almost feel sorry for him, dekh:

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Don’t feel too sorry for him because he’s got an evil plan brewing.   While sitting there he decides he will win over this Varsha woman in order to take his revenge.  He now has a vendetta!  He begins to formulate his nefarious plan the next day on his yacht, complete with the requisite blond gori extra (to represent low moral values, hai na?),  a bottle of Johnny Walker, and a phone that reveals that even thought the film was released in 2008, this scene must have been shot in 1999. ( Addition to this post:  It should be noted that  along with the Johnny Walker,  Samir the oenophile was able to identify Champagne, wine, orange juice, Perrier and  Heineken in front of the gori.  Perhaps this is used to emphasis the evil decadence of America and what it can do to an innocent NRI tycoon-industrialist-hotelier-investor.)

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Evidently Mr. Shravan Dhariwal ki plan works because he gets Varsha Merha all dancey, wiggley, and happy here in the Tu Meri Mehbooba number with playback singer Udit Narayan:

Spoiler alert: Varsha Mehra does what is normally done after making the 7  nuptial rounds, if you know what I mean. Mr. Shravan Dhariwal tricked her into a night of love all because of that slap he suffered from Varsha at the party, and then on top of all that HE goes on to slap HER!  As we say here in the USA, payback is a mother%$#@&*!

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Well you can’t just slap Sanjay Mr. Shravan Dhariwal at a lavish, balloon filled party in front of hundreds of his peers without some payback! In case those stills weren’t enough, take a look at what happens!

She was tricked by that player, but I say to Varsha, don’t hate the playa, hate the game.mehbooba.played

Like lots of girls do, Varsha heads over to Budapest with her broken dil.  She’s de-flowered afterall, so devalued in her own mind, but she meets a nice fellow, Karan (Ajay Devgan) who understands and loves her tarnished image.mehbooba.tarnish

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Karan wants to take Varsha home to India to introduce her to his family so they can get married.  Karan arrives to India before her and his brother also returns to India from New York and is delighted to see him. Karan spends a lot of time with Shravan. They party with dancing girls and drink Johnny Walker.

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And they spend more time drinking Johnny Walker.

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mehbooba.tub.2They even hang out in the hot tub together which some might find a bit homoerotic, but they’re brothers, you know how brothers take hot bubble baths together, right?  They take baths together and caress each others faces, right?

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Despite all these good times, Karan notices that Shravan is very melancholy and spends lots of time playing the piano and drinking Johnny Walker.

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Varsha arrives and she soon finds Karan’s rich, bahut rich, but little does she know he’s got a brother who is that same man who she had the intimate encounter with in New York. In fact, she never even catches a glimpse of him until her marriage to Karan is already taking place.mehbooba.crazycrazycrazy

Karan does eventually figure it all out and goes pagal and swings from a chandelier, did you know about THAT chandelier Shweta?

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mehbooba.manishaHow does Mehbooba end? Does Varsha marry Karan? Or does she marry his brother, Mr. Shravan Dhariwal?  You know I can’t even remember since it’s been a while since I’ve seen the film, so even if I wanted to tell you I couldn’t.  I do recall that they didn’t even ask Varsha what she wanted and I’m not sure that she should choose either if they didn’t even check with her.   As usual, please let me know what you thought of this film, I’d love to hear from you.

Dharmatma (1975) Feroz Khan does The Godfather, Bollywood style

When Feroz Khan died earlier this year, I thought I’d better see a few more of his films in order to pay tribute to his career.  One of the most mentioned films of Khan’s career seemed to be Dharmatma (1975), so I watched it.

Feroz Khan, who has died aged 69, was an Indian actor and producer who became one of Bollywood’s biggest stars; with his swagger and tough-guy styling he was compared to American leading men like Clint Eastwood or Steve McQueen. He based one typically all-action picture, Dharmatma (1975), on Francis Ford Coppola’s Oscar-winning film, The Godfather, and starred in another as a suave racing driver who wins the world championship. Later he appeared in a series of cowboy films that aped the Spaghetti westerns of Sergio Leone – they became known as Curry Westerns. (source)

First off, let me get this spectacular image out of the way:

Hema Malini’s character declaring her orphan-hood.

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Don’t you think that reel for reel Bollywood may have the highest occurrence of orphans than any other film industry in the world?  Now back to the movie Dharmatma (1975), which is essentially supposed to be a Hindustani-ized version of The  Godfather.  One thing The Godfather doesn’t have is Helen.

Here’s a brief synopsis of the film I copied from IMDB:

DHARMATMAWealthy, powerful and influential Seth Dharamdas leads a financially secure life in a palatial mansion. He is known to come to the aid of all people who are beyond any hope of assistance, and this leads to him being known as “Dharmatma”. But Seth Dharamdas does have a number of skeletons in his closet, and a parallel life as a gangster. The only person Dharamdas hates and fears is none other than his very own son, Ranbir, who has sworn that he will never compromise with his father’s dark career, and threatens to expose him. Dharamdas has never conceded surrender or defeat at the hands of any mortal, and will never even consider to do so – even if this means the death of Ranbir. (by rAjOo)

Rekha plays a smaller part in this film and is in love with  the rugged, morally upstanding Ranbir (Feroz Khan).darmatma.enemies

Alas,  Ranbir has sets his sights on Reshma (Hema Malini) a girl living over the border in Afghanistan, since it’s never quite Bollywood until there’s a love triangle.  I enjoyed the lavish tent like home where Hema’s character lived. It looked like a high class yurt, but I thought yurts were in Mongolia, not Afghanistan, right?   Even in this opulently decorated  tent, she’s stifled

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Her adoptive father isn’t going for her relationship with a man of another culture, but she does what she can to change his heart and mind.

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For a taste of that nomadic life, enjoy Meri Galiyon Se, featuring playback singer Lata Mangeshkar with the music of Kalyanji Anandji, and picturized on Hema Malini in some nomadic camp in Afghanistan, or maybe it’s in movie studio, you be the judge. Both Danny Denzongpa and Khan’s character are smitten with Hema’s Reshma. Who will win her love?

Besides digging the hip 70′s vibe of this flick, I was delighted to find it had one of my favorites, Farida Jalal, who played Mona, the sister to Feroz Khan’s Ranbir.  Unfortunately, she’s married to a dacoit, Kundan (Imtiaz Khan) but it takes her sometime to figure this out.  Kundan’s  gangster side kicks are played by Ranjeet and Sudhir, who wear matching outfits throughout the film.  Their shirts are always open, and often made of sheer fabrics. They are very, very bad men, but more on them later.

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Wait a minute, even the good guy wears an open, chest hair bearing shirt a lot of the time:

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Eventually Mona lets her creepy gangster husband know that she doesn’t like the lowly company he’s keeping which causes some marital strife.

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Doesn’t she know this is Bollywood and a woman cannot talk to a man in such a way without suffering a tight slap to the face?  Even I saw that one coming.

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Mona’s husband may be a hopeless pig, but her brother is reliable and caring.   Everything is fine on Raksha Bandhan and she ties a rakhi on brother Ranbir.  Look how sweet!

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Yet moments later she changes her warm feelings when she realizes that …

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Can’t you almost feel that tight slap to the face, or at least hear it?  When I saw this in the opening credits I was very pleased:

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I’m a big Ranjeet fan.  It’s most likely psychologically problematic that I find his bad boy characters irresistibly attractive, but I’ll work that out on my own time.  dharmatma.sudhirNormally I love Ranjeet, but his character was so extra creepy in Dharmatma, that I found him only mildly hot, not ultra hot.  Hats off to his acting distracting me from his beauty. Was is due to being paired with a creepy sidekick played by Sudhir that was too much?  Who knows, but together in their sheer, unbuttoned, and always matching shirts, they were repulsive. I looked forward to seeing each new outfit.

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Their characters were abusive and drunk most of the time. Take a nice look at them here. I believe there can never be enough photos of Ranjeet out there for the world to see, no matter what.

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Ranjeet wears a pinky ring here, which is a tell tale sign of villain-hood:

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Now allow Feroz Khan’s memory to live on and please read his words of wisdom.

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Izzat (1968) featuring Jayalalitha

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Izzat (1968) stars  Dharmendrain a double role playing brothers who don’t know they’re brothers until late in life. One is rich, the other poor; one dark, the other fair; one a land owner’s privileged son, the other an illegitimate  hard working student who’s just been orphaned.  There are no illegitimate children, only illegitimate parents!..doesn’t Amitabh or SRK scream that out in some film, maybe it’s Amitabh in Lawaaris?  Tell me if you know.  Fate brings the Dharmendrai together and wacky misunderstandings occur and vendettas are settled.  Here’s a plot summary courtesy of  the prolificrAjOo, but skip it if you don’t want spoilers.

After completing his college, dark-skinned Adivasi Shekhar returns home and finds that his mother, Savli, has passed away. Distraught, he is consoled by Father Abraham, who also tells him that his mother had an affair with wealthy Ramgarh-based Thakur Pratap Singh, who refused to marry her even after she became pregnant. Shekhar decides to avenge his humiliation and sets forth to expose Pratap. Upon arrival in Ramgarh, he finds that he has a fair-skinned look-alike half-brother, Dilip, as well as a sister, Neelu. Dilip meets him, hires him as an office staff person, and asks him to impersonate him in order to meet Deepa, the only daughter of wealthy Vinodbabu, and Shekhar agrees to do so. Shekhar meets Deepa and both are attracted to each other. Shekhar decides to tell her the truth about himself, and returns to Ramgarh. Once there, he finds history repeating itself as Dilip is in love with an Adivasi belle, Jhumki, but is refusing to marry her. Written by rAjOo (IMDB)

At the beginning of the film Shekhar who I will refer to as dark Dharmendra, since in the film they make a big deal about this dark skin, finds out about his mother’s tragic past, and his parentage.  That Thakur (Balraj Sahni) kaminey found his dark skinned, low caste villager good enough to sleep with, but once she was with child, he coldly accuses her of wanting his lakhs. Thakur is wrong, all she wants is his love, and ek chutki sindoor and blessings of the goddess.izzat.$

"Ek chutki sindoor!"

"Ek chutki sindoor!"

So Shekhar works himself into the fancy home of his father and finds that he’s got a fairer skinned half brother.
izzat.vendetta izzat.double Shekhar’s got some killing on his mind, but he also finds himself at a party.  What to do? Dharmendra sings at  the party, as Shekhar and they all think he’s his look alike rich brother,  Dilip.  Please take note of the bollywood balloons that decorate the party:izzat.balloonI suppose I should have been excited by Dharmendra and Tanuja’s performances  here (yawn), but for me this was  Jayalalitha‘s film.   It was the first time I’d ever seen her.  She plays a super spunky mountain girl, who likes that fancy Dharmendra character, fair-skinned Dilip, but he’s socially out of her reach, being wrong caste for her to desire, let alone acquire.  She can’t possibly marry up…or can she?  Take a good look at her, I think she can:
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The live wire  Jayalalitha of Izzat transformed herself into a  real life politician. It was the first time I’d seen her in a movie, and she was a Tamil star, so her part in a Hindi film was not the norm.  She also did some playback singing.

Prior to her venture into politics, she had a successful career in the Tamil film industry as an actress. She acted in the English language movie “Epistle” released in 1961 produced by Shankar Giri, son of former president of India Dr. V.V. Giri. Chinnada Gombe, her first film (in Kannada) was a major hit. Her first Telugufilm Manushulu Mamathalu made her famous. In 1972, she was honoured by the Tamil Nadu government with the award Kalaimamani. She has acted opposite Dharmendra in the Hindi Movie named Izzat. Her last film was Nadhiyai Thedi Vandha Kadal in the year 1980. (source)

Now that I know she’s an over achiever, I’m a bit suspicious of her, but after her performance in Izzat, I’d vote for her, no problem.  On a side note, I would be an extremely reckless voter in India, for that very reason. “Jaylalitha is on the ballot!?  She was soooo cute in Izzat, and what a dancer!” I’d check that ballot, not even caring about her politics simply because she was so cute in that film.  Good thing I can’t vote in India. In her role as Jhulki, she’s fearless, not afraid to love:

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She’s not afraid to defend herself against a dirtball goonda/thug/dacoit. This scoundrel has lusted after her and when he tries to forcefully move in, she delivers a tight slap to the face! Go girl!

izzat.slapI wasn’t able to find a version of the item number featuring Jayalalitha dancing with about 30 other women to the music Laxmikant Pyarelal and a lavish set, but I did find it as part of a set clips of the full movie uploaded on youtube. Now THIS is what I call an item number:

The beginning part of this number, which is not in the above clip can be seen about 8 1/2 minutes into this link.  This number was so lavish that I needed to screen cap some of it for the world to see.  Look how fantastic Jayalalithaa looks here.izzat.item.7izzat.item

Eventually that nasty Thakur gets his just rewards.  It was only a matter of time before karma catches up with him.izzat.tribalsWell, tribals will be tribals, so easily incited and ready to light a torch for justice.izzat.riotThough she had a small part, I was very taken with Laxmi Chhaya’s performance as a servant.  She’s a real mess here, but very hot, so I suppose she’s a hot mess. I just love the colors here, from the walls to her sari, to her make up. Fantastic!izzat.maid.2

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And as a nice touch, there was a cute little statue of Jesus, in front of some stylin’ flagstone.  I like my Jesus with flagstone, sort of how I like my coffee with mile and sugar. Now I’ve got to see more of Jayalalitha, so looks like there will have to be some more Tamil, Telegu and Kannada films are in my future. Now head over to Memsaab’s blog, to read her impressions of Izzat.

Sonu Nigaam rocked Minneapolis tonight!

sonu-nigam-concert25Well I’m up way to late for a school night and it’s all Sonu Nigam‘s fault!  Sonu Nigam’s concert in Minneapolis this evening was very enjoyable and I am still so thrilled from the show  that I can’t sleep and want to hear him sing some more.  I played the part of the gori extra in the audience.  Kya showman!  What a heavenly voice!  He put on an excellent show and was very jokey jokey.  Sorry I don’t have a set list from the show, but here are a couple of the numbers he did:

Mere Haath Main from Fanaa:

And a little something from Om Shanti Om, “Main Agar Kahoon”

He teased the crowd with Jodhaa Akbar’s “In Lamho Ke Daaman Mein,” but only did a few bars from the song.  I wanted to hear it all, so here it is:

After seeing Sonu bhai’s performance, this clip doesn’t seem quite that crazy:

I mean it is crazy, but I can sort of excuse her, after all, I’m crazy enough to be up late writing this post aren’t I?