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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Lajja (2001): item numbers & eye candy, or could I say aankhon ladoo?

Yaar!

I watched Lajja(2001) (translation: Shame) and got carried away with the screen capping knowing I must do a post.  Yet what to post when I see the wonderful bloggers have already said it so well?  You know I specialize in the more superficial enjoyment of all films, so I’ll share my likes here by showing some photos and focusing on the item numbers, but please go and see the great reviews and thoughtful insight on Lajjaat the post punk cinema clubUpperstall, Filmi Geek and at philip’sfil-ums.

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Starring as pictured above Manisha Koirala (Vaidehi); Madhuri Dixit (Janki); Mahima Choudhary(Maithili); and Rekha(Ramdulaari).  All four of the woman stars have a form of Sita for their name.

Epithets: In common with other major figures of epic literature, Sita is known by many epithets. As the daughter of king Janaka, She is called Janaki; as the princess of Mithila, Mythili or Maithili; as the wife of Raama, She is called Ramaa. Her father Janaka had earned the sobriquet “Videha” due to his ability to transcend body consciousness; Sita is therefore also known as Vaidehi (Vaidehi Vaydehi, or Vaithegi) (Sanskrit: वैदेही)). (source) Thanks to Philip’sfil-ums, I know that Ramdulaari (Rekha’s part) tranlates to Ram’s darling.

 

lajja.menThis is a girl power film, and unfortunately there’s certainly large amount of misandry, (and misogeny, go figure) but worry not since there are some super male heros played by the always satisfying Anil Kapoorand Ajay Devgan to help tip the scales back in the favor of good men. Even super bad guy played by Jackie Shroff is redeemed by movie’s end. The film opens with this statement by the director:

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The music numbers covered here are all written by Anu Malik. Choreographer Ganesh Acharyaputs together 3 wonderful dances which serve to hold the sometimes disjointed picture together. Ganesh Acharya really does some provocative choreography with Urmila Matondkarhere, clearly showing life in the fast lane at an American nightclub. I did wonder a bit about the reason for putting those masks on the background dancers, but why not?  Jazz hands! Can one really ever get enough of the jazz hand?  I think not, so I had to share not one, but two screen caps of the jazz hand:

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Aa Hi Jaiye with playback singer Anuradha Srirampicturized on Urmila  Matondkar:

lajja.prestigeOur story starts with Vaidehi (Manisha Koirala) who finds herself married to a womanizing millionaire crorepati and living in the wicked west, New York City that is. You can see in the item number above the loose moral environment Vaidehi’s husband subjects her to. It’s all about the sex, drinking and money for her evil husband played by Jackie Shroff, but Vaidehi herself must keep up the family name.  Vaidehi makes her plea for a moral lifestyle and he won’t stand for it and ships her back to Hindustan. Of course there’s retribution for the husband’s evil ways and after sending Vaidehi back to Bharat he gets in an auto accident, rendering him impotent. Ha! Well we see that even the very rich, amidst their leaded crystal laden mansions in the USA have problems!

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But…lekin, there is a simple solution! Evil father ( Suresh Oberoi ) suggests:

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Meanwhile back in the safe arms of India, Vaidehi meet a bandit with a heart of gold played by Anil Kapoor, who is called a biscuit wallah and scoundrel here:

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In order to hide from her husband’s men hunting her down, Raju (Anil Kapoor)  and Veidehi crash a wedding and blend among the crowd.  It’s there they meet the bride to be Maithili (Mahima Choudhary)and meet her snobbish in laws. Look at Maithili’s sweet mother (Farida Jalal) be snubbed in her gift offering:

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The bride has an admirer who I thought tried to imitate yesteryear actor Johnny Walker. The second great item number is Saajan Ke Ghar Jaana with playback singers Alka Yagnikand Richa Sharma, picturized on the lovely Sonali Bendre:

 

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Eventually Vaidehi makes her way to another safe haven, where she meets Janki (Madhuri Dixit ) who is an actress. Her first exposure to Janki is her acting out a seen on stage from the 1960 epic Mughal-e-Azam .

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How can you not adore Madhuri?  The third item number is Badi Mushkil with playback singer Alka Yagnik,picturized on Madhuriand Manisha:

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That’s all the fun we get because Janki finds herself pregnant out of wedlock and her fiance is made to question her virtue by her Ravana-esque manager.  So when she’s doing her staged performance of Ramayana, she asks why should Sita  have to do the trial by fire to prove her virtue, why not Ram?

lajja.Ramayana

Backstage she continues to share what’s on her heart and mind:

lajja.Ramayana.aftermath lajja.Ramayana.aftermath.2

lajja.question

Now that’s a great question, but I guess she forgot she was in India. It’s more than just an elephant in the room, it’s the elephant in the country.  The aftermath of the big question about equality has predictable results in a man’s world:

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The crowd beats Janki and as a result she miscarries.  Infuriated, Vaidehi goes to confront the evil, gossiping, lecherous pervert manager of Janki and get a load of what she says:

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Yeah!  She said it! Vaidehi escapes that mess and finds yet another safe haven with  Rekha‘s Ramdulaari. Do you see how in Rekha’s world they keep it real, cow dung patties drying on the wall.  Now that says “village!”

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And while I speak of cow dung patties, here’s a photo I took of some I saw on my trip to India:

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Back to Rekha and Manisha and their suffering:

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Another hero that comes to Vaidehi’s rescue is the super human Bulwa (Ajay Devgan) who handles dacoits on a train as well as the evil town leader Gajendra( Danny Denzongpa ). Now Bulwa has held a grudge ever since the Gajendra boiled Bulwa’s moms hands in oil.   This resulted in Bulwa amputating one of Gajendra’s arms back in the day, which of in turn caused Gajendra to hold a grudge against Bulwa.  Years pass and Bulwa returns for another confrontation and Gajendra whips off his pashmina to reveal that arm he’s been missing for years:

lajja.39amputation

 

Amputations are one of those things I look for in a Bollywood film.  Nothing says revenge like an amputation. Bulwa even commits a double arm amputation on another scoundrel.

lajja.40amputation lajja.40amputation2

 

Bulwa is once again to the rescue when Vaidehi’s evil  NRI husband catches up to her. The sword wielding hero is ready to chop off her husband’s head, but to Bulwa’s horror, she stops him:

lajja.38worstenemies

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Well Bulwa does have a valid point there Vaidehi, hai na?

Here’s one more screen cap to show what a bad-ass Bulwa is:

Since I’d like to end on a positive note, feast your eyes on the ever beautiful Madhuri:

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If you’ve seen Lajja, tell me what you thought.

“AIDS Sutra:Untold Stories from India” with a touch of Bollywood

http://sajablogs.typepad.com/.a/6a00d83451dd1469e20105361b738b970b-800wiFor time-pass I watch a lot of movies and I also read books.  I suppose it’s normal to find stories about films in books about India, since the film industry infiltrates the culture. Even in this anthology on the serious subject of AIDS,  I was able to find a bit of very uplifting Bollywood material.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is pleased to announce the publication of AIDS Sutra: Untold Stories from India, a landmark collection of essays that presents a complex and gripping picture of the disease. Sixteen of India’s most well-known literary writers go on the road to tell the story of people affected by the epidemic and the stigma that surrounds them. “This book reveals the human side of the disease,” write Bill and Melinda Gates in their introduction to this groundbreaking anthology. (source)

Bhoot Ki Kahaanian by Jaspreet Singh references Taare Zameen Par (2007).

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AIDSsutra.TZP

aamir-khan-with-children-in-taare-zameen-par

Umrao_Jaan_movie_poster

 

Return to Sonagachi by Sunil Gangopadhyay presented a delightful dilemma: where on earth do we hide the whisky?  I bet it was Johnnie Walker.  Read on to see how the dilemma reminded me a bit of Umrao Jaan (1981) and (2006):

 

 

 

 

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Now here’s the Umrao Jaan-ish part:

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(p.158)  

See!  A poetry writing prostitute with a heart of gold, just like Umrao Jaan.

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Love in the Time of Positives by Nalini Jones baghban00 describes how Baghban (2003), and in particular the part played by  Salman Khan, ended up saving someone’s life.

On the day he planned to die, he decided to spend his last afternoon at the movies. Basavaraj described the film he saw at great length-a family drama starring Amitabh Bachchan called Baghban. It is the story of loving parents who give everything they have to their son and look froward to a happy old age.  But their children have grown selfish, caught up in their own concerns, and the parents are left destitute until an unlikely saviour, a street boy the couple had adopted and educated, comes to their rescue.  Sitting alone in the theater, Basavaraj began to worry about this own parents. He realised he was their only son, their best hope for ‘a good old age’. He wanted to be like the adopted boy in the film, the only one who doesn’t forget what he owes his family.  Basavaraj went home, threw out the pills, pored away the alcohol, and cast himself as the unlikely saviour- the son who is secretly HIV positive. (source p.320)

baghban

 

So if you’ve seen Baghban, I suppose the credit would go to Salman Khan  for saving the life of Basavaraj! Who would have thought!?  I wonder if Salman-ji knows about this.

 

The Daughters of Yellamma by William Dalrymple includes an Amitabh Bachchan siting!  In some parts of India young girls are “married” or dedicated to the temple goddess as prostitutes.  Dalrymple interviews one of the women and she recalls the time she lived in Bombay:

I ate fabulous biryani at the Sagar Hotel and once when I was in the streets I saw Amitabh Bachchan pass by in his car. (p. 226)

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As much as I enjoyed to Sunil Gangopadhyay’s piece, I enjoyed The Last of the Ustaads by Aman Sethi which both mentions and pays a great tribute to Gadar, Ek Prem Katha (2001).  Maybe I loved Sethi’s piece so much because Gadar is one of my favorite movies.

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Questioning the plight of truck drivers in India and their higher tendency to have HIV than the general population, Sethi interviews a truck driver:

Is it just ‘modern life’? When finding answers to sudhcomplex questions in a country infested with faux holy men, one must turn to the sole oracle of truth—Bollywood super hit film Gadar: Ek Prem Katha(Gadar: A Love Story), Tara Singh the truck driver, played by trucker demigod Sunny Deol, is asked a poignant question by Partition refugee Sakina, played by Amisha Patel.  ‘Tara Singhji,’ she asks as sh expertly ties hi turban, ‘why don’t you get married?’ Tho this, Tara Singh shakes his turbaned head, and gives her an answer that made practically every truck driver in India nod his head approvingly and say ‘Wah!’ ‘Madamji,’ says Tara Singh, ‘I live in Khana Buddur; today my truck is parked here, but tomorrow I might  be in Delhi. After that why would anyone want to marry a truck driver?’ Thought the movie is set in 1947, Tara Singh’s question touches upon an issue that is relevant even today.  Truck drivers aren’t particularly discriminated against when it comes to marriage partners; but some of the younger drivers I spoke with said that finding partners was becoming harder and harder.  I watched Gadar on the recommendation of Sanjay and some of his friends Played out against the backdrop of the Partition riots in 1947 in the border states of India and Pakistan, Gadar tells the tale of how a heroic Jat-Sikh truck driver rescues a wealthy Muslim girl from a rampaging mob; wins her trust, marries her, rescues her once more–this time from her rampaging father–and finally settles down, in a happy ending. While several films have had their heroes careen up and down highways in trucks, the heroes. are rarely truck drivers;l the truck just happens to be the closest vehicle at had to make good their escape, rescue their lovers, or run over their enemies.  Gadar is perhaps the only mainstream hit in which the protagonist is a truck driver who proves to be a good husband, father, patriot, and all round nice guy.  Unfortunately, Gadar  too starts with Tara Singh accepting that fate has dealt him a poor hand by making him a truck driver.  He obligingly sings and dances and plays the part of the happy truck driver, but he understands the distance between him and the object of his desire.  As he says, ‘Even if I wanted to, I can’t touch the moon, can I?’ The rest of the plot is a story of redemption–of proving that truck drivers are honourable, powerful , and patriotic.  Why does truck driving lack izzat?  Why are truck drivers victims of negative stereotypes?  Is it class? Is it their association with a high-risk behavior group? Does, in fact, being categorised as  a high-risk group stigmatise them even further? From Gadar to their portrayal in the Indian press, truckers are regarded as rough and ready and reckless, dirty and dissolute.  Prone to drink, driving accidents–and now disease. (p. 306-7)

For more about the book,  read a review  from The Telegraph, Calcutta India, and another from The Indian Journal of Medical Ethics. Listen to the NPR Podcast on the book: ‘AIDS Sutra’ Challenges Widespread Denial In India’

Also, if you want to get filmy with it, here’s something else.

The AIDS Jaago (AIDS Awake) project is four short dramatic films which aim to dismantle myths and raise awareness about HIV/AIDS. These films were funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and made by acclaimed Indian filmmakers Mira Nair (Monsoon Wedding; The Namesake), Vishal Bhardwaj, Santosh Sivan and Farhan Akhtar. Designed to use the immense power of moviemaking to wake people up about AIDS, the project was the brainchild of Mira Nair and was produced by her company Mirabai Films. (source)

Watch for Free on Jaman HERE

other Bollywood Movies on HIV

Images from Sawan Bhadon (1970)

Sawan Bhadon is a campy 1970 Bollywood film reviewed cleverly and thoroughly over a The Hot Spot Online and Planet Bollybob. With the film already being so well reviewed, I’m simply here to add some screen images to show some of the fun.

Within minutes of Sawan Badon starting, we see Jayshree T. as “Dolly” grooving around at a party, representing the evil influence of the West. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a video of this song to add, but a full listing of the film’s songs along with the album cover can be found over at Music From The Third Floor.

This dancing gets her noticed by an unsavory man who is ready to exploit her.

  

Sawan Bhadon is teenage Rekha’s debut film. She’s oh so sassy! Oh so spicy! Click HERE to see her picturized on playback singer Asha Bhosle’s Ik Dard Utha.

  

It was Planet BollyBob where I first read about The History of the Indian Movie Thermos.  Sawan Bhadon has one of the most thrilling thermos plots ever.

  

There’s also a wig that plays a pivotal part in the film:

Finally, Sawan Bhadon has the Bollywood staple of one actor (Navin Nischol or Naveen Nishal if you prefer) playing two roles in the same film. Is the Vinod or Vikram?

  

Tomorrow I will continue to avoid work, shopping, holiday preparation, and responsible living and upload to rest of the pictures I screen captured of Jayshree T. from this film. Namaste!

Would you rather be a Namak Haraam or a spoon(chamcha)? My first poll!

Dosto, I recently watched Namak Haaram (1973). Fabulous! Here are the basics:

Namak Haraam (Devanagari: नमक हराम, Nastaliq: نمک ہرام, is a 1973 Indian Hindi film directed by Hrishikesh Mukherjee. The music is by R.D. Burman and the lyrics by Anand Bakshi. The film stars Rajesh Khanna and Amitabh Bachchan. The film also stars Rekha, Asrani, Raza Murad, A.K. Hangal, Simi Garewal and Om Shivpuri . The film focused on two friends ( Rajesh and Amitabh) and how Rajesh tries to infiltrate the trade union of his friends. (wikipedia)

For a more coherent and substantial review of the film, check out rediff.com and Memsaab Story. I will of course deal with the superficial. I like to eat the frosting more than the cake, so first feast your eyes on this screen capture of our beloved Amitabh from the film which should be titled state of the art:

All starts out well with rich Vikram (Amit-ji) and super BFF, Somu (Rajesh Khanna) hanging around, wearing matching outfits, living the good life. They visit hot nautch girls and drink whiskey. Looking at Jayshree T. here it’s understandable why these guys would like to just hang out and be entertained.

But people in town talk, (haters!) and they are starting to call Somu Vikram’s spoon. Say What? I had never heard this phrase before, and I love when something like this comes up in a movie. I start to wonder is it: a.) a term I’ve just never heard of in English?; b.) Is this a British English term?; c.) Is this a Hindi figure of speech translated directly into English? Whatever it is I LOVE it. I ain’t nobody’s spoon! I take that being someone’s spoon means to be their flunkie, stooge, yes man, or dare I say, as used in the streets, their bitch? Anyway, the point seems to be that a spoon blindly follows someone who has more perceived power than the spoon does. Hindi speakers, please, I welcome your corrections to my interpretation of the term spoon if I’ve got it wrong. Somu’s sister tells him about what people are saying and he sets her straight!

Oh snap! Oh no he didn’t say that! So fast forward, Vicky has to go manage his father’s factory and his spoon, I mean Somu, tags along. They cook up a plan that Somu will infiltrate the factory, first posing as a worker and then eventually working his way up to, you’d never guess, a union organizer. Tricky! Somu eventually understands the struggle of the factory workers.

I adore seeing Johnnie Walker in these Bollywood films, and here it is, the extra fancy black label used to symbolize the good life, and its potential for arrogance. Somu tries to tell Vicky that it’s useful to try and call the low caste workers by their names:

Somu becomes so touched by the day to day struggles of the common worker that becomes a traitor, or as was written in the movie’s subtitles, namak haraam, to his friend Vicky, switching his loyalty from his friend to the workers. Namak haraam literally seems to translate to food/salt that’s not OK to eat, not sanctioned, not clean, not pure, not halaal, but figuratively the term means traitor. Once again, over some whiskey, Somu tries to make rich Vicky understand:

I know, I know, I already used this photo in yesterday’s post, but it’s so great I had to use it twice.  Can you blame me?

These socialists are such buzz kills! Eventually Vicky learns the wisdom of Somu’s ways. When Vicky finds out of Somu’s trouble, which you’ll have to watch the movie to find out about, he shows a delicious taste of angry Amitabh:

Namak Haraam is art imitating life as evidenced here. Doesn’t this sound a bit too familiar now:

Well since elections are coming soon here in the U S of A, here’s a timely song from the film titled Woh Jhoota Hai Vote Na Usko Dena, picturized on Asrani and a hot young Rekha, with music by R. D. Bruman. You can check it out HERE.

And speaking of voting…I’m so excited to present my first poll on the blog! So here I ask you the impossible question: Would you rather be a Namak Haraam or a spoon?

extra credit:

When looking up Namak Haraam online, I came across Arun Krishan’s clever podcast on his site, Cutting Chai, Learn Hindi from Bollywood Movies, since in it he credits a tune from the film in the music credits. You will certainly enjoy this, as well as all his other great podcasts:

Episode 47. Alcohol. Is alcoholism such a bad thing?

Indian Drag Queens, Gulabi Aaina, and “In Aankhon Ki Masti Ke” from Umrao Jaan (1981)

I have been fooled by official looking film festival palm leaf logos before. Haven’t you?  Those palms make something look legitimate and award worthy. So when a friend sent me Gulabi Aaina (2003) and I saw those leaves on the DVD I thought it would be great.  It’s a movie about drag queens who perform some Bollywood hits.  How could I not love it?  Unfortunatley, the palm leaves and the drag queens performing Bollywood tunes gave me high expectations that simply could not be met.  The film opens with “In Aankhon Ki Masti Ke” from Umrao Jaan (1981).  For those who’ve seen that, you already know that there’s no way to improve upon perfection.  Enjoy Mohammed Zahur Khayyam‘s gorgeous tune from the original movie, picturized on Rekha and performed by playback singer Asha Bhosle.

Thanks to amangill for the video.

LYRICS

If you haven’t already seen the classic Umrao Jaan, check out what these wonderful blogs have to say:

Philip’sfil-ums HERE.

Bitten by Bollywood’s Nida, HERE.

Filmi Geek HERE.

Doc Bollywood HERE.

About Gulabi Aaina:

The Pink Mirror pits two Indian drag queens against a westernized gay teenager in a battle to woo a handsome hunk. It’s a clash of the east and west. Who will win? The drag queens, who are expert in the art of seduction with their wit, innuendo and cunning or the young teenager who is saucy, slutty and sly? Underneath the campy humorous exterior, the film is an exploration of the Indian gay landscape and understanding of the deep, humanly tender bondings that exist between drag queens in India who form unique, non-patriarchal families. Using the Bollywood soap idiom of song, dance and drama and for the first time in the Indian drag queens’ very own language, Hindi, the film also explores other veiled issues related to the Indian gay community: the lurking threat of HIV/AIDS. (IMDB)

 Controversy around Gulabi Aaina:

In 2003, the Indian Censor Board banned the film ‘Gulabi Aaina (The Pink Mirror)’, a film on Indian transsexuals produced and directed by Sridhar Rangayan. The censor board cited that the film was ‘vulgar and offensive’. The filmmaker appealed twice again unsuccessfully. The film still remains banned in India, but has screened at numerous festivals all over the world and won awards. The critics have appluaded it for its ‘sensitive and touching portrayal of marginalized community’ (Wikipedia)

I think maybe it was banned because it was offensive that anyone would try and recapture Rekha’s Umrao Jaan performing “In Aankhon Ki Masti Ke.”  :)

If I’m going to watch a drag queen, it will be Queen Harish of Rajasthan, the “Dancing, Whirling Desert Drag Queen,” featured a few months back over at Rough In Here. If I’m going to watch “In Aankhon Ki Masti Ke,” it must be picturized on Rekha! I’ll also accept Queen Harish‘s intrepretation of Umrao Jaan.  

Ever wondered about those huge homes in Bollywood movies?

motiba1.jpgI recently read Motiba’s Tattoos, a memoir by Mira Kamdar. Kamdar is an American born Jain woman and her book traces the life of her grandmother. I was reading along, not expecting anything Bollywood, but when describing her time spent in Mumbai as a kid Kamdar served up some spicy Bollywood dish:

The slum was still cloaked in darkness, but on the other side of the street, the mansions of stars were lit up here and there with the garish florescence of hundreds of high-voltage projector lights illuminating the last of the nightlong marathon of shooting. ‘Bollywood’ movie stars are rich people in a poor country. Their real-life homes provide ready-made back-drops for the improbable lives of the wealthy heroes, heroines, and villains they play in their films. We children would often go up to the rooftop terrace of our Jehu apartment building after dark and pick out the homes of the stars where scenes were being filmed. ‘Look! Over there. Tonight they are shooting at Amitabh Bachchan’s house over on Tenth Road. You know who is starring, Hema Malini.’ Star struck teenagers in the neighborhoods waited patiently outside the gates of these villas for hours hoping to capture a glimpse of a favorite actor. When shooting was going on late into the night at Meena Cottage, directly behind our apartment it was hard to sleep. The bright lights and the knowledge that just yards away from where we slumbered, one famous star or another was breathing, walking, sitting, or drinking tea was simply too enervating.(p.150)

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Now everytime I see Bollywood movies, I’m going to wonder if the homes featured are possibly some star’s actual home. How exciting! Want to learn more about where Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan, Rekha, Aishwarya Rai, Aamir Khan, and John Abraham live? Click HERE, though it’s a bit dated, it’s still interesting. Remember what you see, because it could show up in a movie. I wonder if SRK’s home, Mannat, pictured here will or has ever been in a film?  For a thrilling and humorous account of seeing Mannat first hand, check out In Praise of All Things Dharmendra related.

In addition to writing about Amitabh, Kamdar also writes about Rekha’s romantic involvement with her cousin on page 165. Wow!  I also like Kamdar’s description of Bombay:

Bombay has been called a whore, a temptress, a slut. The city is a woman, enticing, betraying, extricating great sacrifice, sucking one dry. Indian speakers of Marathi, Gujarati, and Hindi call the city ‘Mumbai’ after a local female deity, Mumbadevi, whose distinguishing characteristic is the lack of a mouth. (p.131.)

Until I read this, I didn’t know anything about the Mumbadevi and that she has no mouth. Of course I this made me think of Hello Kitty, who also has no mouth. I fell in love withbarbielogo.gif as a kid, and sanr_icon_kitty_1.gifas a much older kid, and Bollywood is my adult Barbie-Hello Kitty. Now I feel more justified in this hobby, because the Mumbadevi has no mouth.
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Video of the Day: Asha Bhosle’s “O Saathi Re” from Muqaddar Ka Sikander (1978)

It’s day 3 of “O Saathi Re”!

sikandar.jpgLook at the young Amitabh trying to attend the party of his high caste friend. Isn’t that the same boy who played kid-Amitabh in Lawaaris? It is! Look at him now!

Both songs come from the 1978 movie Muqaddar Ka Sikander, starring Amitabh Bachchan, Vinod Khanna, Raakhee Gulzar, Rekha and Amjad Khan.

As luck would have it, I came across another blogger smitten with this great movie.

Check out “the post punk cinema club” review of Muqaddar Ka Sikander .

 

 

Thanks to youtuber balleballe48 for the video.

LYRICS in Hindi and English courtesy of BollyWhat?

Video of the Day: “O Saathi Re” from Muqaddar Ka Sikander (1978)

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sikandar10.jpgYesterday’s video from Omkara was the song “O Saathi Re” and here’s a different “O Saathi Re” song, this time Kishore Kumar is the playback singer, and Amitabh Bachchan is pretending to sing. Amitabh’s speech before the song is so touching, even though I don’t understand too much of it, he still makes the point. This clip is from the 1978 movie Muqaddar Ka Sikander, starring Amitabh Bachchan, Vinod Khanna, Raakhee Gulzar, Rekha and Amjad Khan. We’ve already posted another great song from the movie on this blog, “Salaam-e-ishq Meri Jaan” , also written by Kalyanji Anandji, so check that out too.

Thanks to youtuber rajnishnagar for the video.

LYRICS

And here’s another set of the lyrics translated by theBollywoodFan.

Video of the Day: “Mohabbat Dil Ka Sakoon” from Dil Hai Tumhaara (2002)

dhtramdas.jpgAs mentioned in yesterday’s video, I haven’t seen the movie Dil Hai Tumhaara (2002) English: My Heart Is Yours; starring Rekha, Preity Zinta, Mahima Chaudhry, Arjun Rampal, Jimmy Shergill and Alok Nath. I now MUST see this! At the very beginning of the song, a part is played by a puppet, named Rangeela, which is always interesting if not startling. Sounds familiar? Well if you’ve read this blog it should be familiar, because puppets by these same people appeared in the movie Mahaan, which was this blog’s very first Video of the Day.         

  “Mohabbat Dil Ka Sakoon” with playback singers Alka Yagnik, Kumar Sanu and Udit Narayan:

Video thanks to 0five1zero6nine 

Lyrics HERE in English and Hindi, thanks to BollyWhat?