“Zindagi Ek Juaa” Madhuri as drug fiend!

In honor of Maduri Dixit’s birthday, first I’d like to wish her one:Ardent Madhuri Dixit fan, Gaja Gamini, from Bollywood-ish Blog, declared it Magic of Madhuri Week.  My little contributions are some shocking images of Maduri from Zindagi Ek Juaa  (1992) (Life is a Gamble)

The first image of the film is of  ye olde Central Jail, so right off you know there’s trouble. Maybe one day I’ll make it Film City or whatever movie studio houses Central Jail.

Now a bit about the film:

After saving the life of his employer, Jagjit Singh alias JJ (Anupam Kher), Harikishan (Anil Kapoor) is promoted with a wage increase that he had only dreamt of.  Anxious to please his employer Harikishan agrees to have his name changed to Harry, and does anything that he is instructed to do.  Soon Harry realises that he has been aiding his employer in illegal activities.  When he tries to break away, he is told that his mom (Asha Sharma) is and will be held captive to guarantee his cooperation.  Harry must now come up with a scheme that will guarantee his safety as well as the freedom of his mom, and at the same time save himself from being arrested by the police. (source)

But there’s so much more, and that’s the part about Madhuri’s character Juhi, called Baby by family and friends. Anil Kapoor’s  Harikishan ends up falling for the boss’s daughter when she comes back from Europe and dazzles him with her carefree performance at her birthday party.

 

Very soon after her first meeting with Harikishan, Baby/Juhi becomes the aggressor and makes her lustful feelings very clear:Harikishan is puzzled by her romantic overtures, so the Bollywood cure of the tight slap to the face is used to bring him to understanding:Enjoy Maduhuri’s dance of seduction in  Dil To Dil Hai  featuring the music by Bappi Lahiri and playback singer Ahsa Bhosle:

One thing leads to another, Juhi ends up pregnant, they get married against her father’s wishes, but Harikishan has to handle some of the illegal drug business in Hong Kong, see  you can tell he’s in Hong Kong by the room itself, all oriental in its styling, with the bonus of the awesome cordless phone:Hari’s best friend (Shakti Kapoor) tries his best to watch over Juhi while Hari’s away, but please take special note of the Whitney Houston poster on the wall, as it serves as an ominous warning to what could happen to Juhi. In case you haven’t heard, Houston has fallen on the path of drug abuse, which is the same fate that awaits Madhuri’s Juhi. Eventually she finds out about Hari’s business dealings in illegal drugs, and sends him packing right after she gives birth to their son.  Of course after telling him off she has a huge headache and at that moment, she’ s offered some medicine by an evil friend, Mr. Lal:And just like THAT she’s hooked!

So Juhi has sent her husband packing and quickly becomes addicted to her nose candy.  A police inspector  played by Suresh Oberoi goes to Juhi to find out more about what she knows about Harikishan and  notices Juhi’s addiction, meanwhile, I ignored most of that scene and just noticed this great subtitle ripe for a screen capture:

Harikishan realizes his estranged biwi has pushed him out of her life, and decides to soothe his anguish with music, but he’s shocked even more when a drugged up Juhi makes an appearance.  Staggering and stoned Juhi plays the trumpet stopping only to smoke. What an entrance!  Watch Kabhi Kuchh Khoya with playback singer Kumar Sanu,who incidently I saw in concert with Akla Yagnick  a few yers back when I was too new of a Hindi cinema fan to fully appreciate.

Watch here and at about 1:40 the drug fiend Madhuri enters.  Pay special attention for her crazy drugged trumpet playing while smoking at 2:09. When Anil’s Harikishan sees that it’s a COMPLETE buzz kill and he realizes, “I married a drug whore! My dealing of drugs brought this all about! The mother of my son uses coke!”

I’d like to bring up Whitney Houston again, who just this week was banned from Prince concerts due to her drug using antics and trying to get on stage with Prince in her altered state. Houston  has since gone into rehab.  This makes me wonder if that’s how Harikishan felt when Juhi trid to play trumptet while he was jamming with his friend in  Kabhi Kuchh Khoya. Poor Juhi did not make it into rehab. She realized her problem, made arrangements to have her son cared for: Then she goes down the self-destructive path of drug abuse.But then there’s a knock at the door!Harikishan pleads with Juhi to stop her drug use.

He leaves, only to return another time…

to find an overdosing Juhi.

What happened to Juhi?  Watch the movie if you dare to see, or ask me in the comments and I’ll tell you.  Let this be a warning to you, don’t do drugs!  Thank you for reading this post, but now, with all due respect, all I have to say is…

 Report to  Bollywood-ish blog  for Magic of Madhuri Week‘s  FULL LIST BLOG POSTS.

Awaargi (1990)

Awaargi (1990) is a little tale about a prostitute with a heart of gold who is rescued from the brothel while she’s still chaste, by a goonda who also possesses  a heart of gold under his rough exterior.   This picture rolled at the film’s start and aren’t we all grateful to Hema for something?  Allow a moment to reflect…

The lead Meena (Meenakshi Shishandri) never actually becomes a full-fledged prostitute, but I like to write prostitute with a heart of gold, so let’s just leave it like that, instead of the more clumsy nearly became a prostitute with a heart of gold.  That sounds too awkward, doesn’t it?  Here’s a nice little collection of screen captures of Meenakshi/Meena as a nautch girl before the lovable scoundrel Azaad,  played by a well-mulletted Anil Kapoor, saves her from that fate.

I just loved Meenakshi and can’t believe I hadn’t seen her in more films.  I now would love to see her entire filmography and was able to find a mutual love for her at Nicki’s Hmong Chick Who Loves Indian Cinema’s blog and also at Bollywooddeewana.  Meena’s innocent past included singing at the mandir and studying music under the guidance of her music teacher father.  After a near miss at a prostitution career, Meena is catapulted toward super stardom and is half of the singing and dancing duo.  How does that happen you may wonder?  Well as it so happens, pop star Dhiren  (Govinda!) sees Meena performing in a hotel lounge singing gig that Azaad secured for her and is immediately enthralled by her.  Govinda is very luscious in this film.  How would YOU like to be the focus of Govinda’s gaze here?

Doesn’t that make your heart skip a beat? He invites her to become his song and dance partner and to go on tour with him.  She’s so nervous!  But look how he helps encourage her to go!I didn’t realize that Bollywood invented flamenco dancing until I saw this film and the song Ae Mere Saathiya featuring playback singers Lata Mangeshkar and Mohammed Aziz, with music by Anu Malik, and lyrics by Anand Bakshi.  This is proof:

This wonderful flamenco inspired number includes an impressive backdrop of chandeliers that Apni East India would covet.  It’s so hard to capture the fluid and graceful Govinda in the dance, but despite the blurred focus, these are still something to behold. Govinda and chandelier:

Meena stays with Azaad, and he begins to fall in love with her and dream of a life away from the one he’s lived as a goonda.

Ever since Azaad  has lost his drive for the goonda lifestyle,  his don, played by Anupam Kher, notices this change and tries to encourage Azaad to not lose his focus on crime.

And if this isn’t enough trouble for Azaad, now Meena realizes that she’s falling in love with Dhiren, and the Bollywood love triangle begins!Meena is aware that Azaad is the one who saved her from the fate of being a nautch girl/prostitute, so she is indebted to him and thus rejects Dhiren’s love to fulfill her perceived obligation to Azaad.   Eventually she lets Azaad know her feelings are conflicted.


Azaad finds out about the feelings Meena and Dhiren have for each other and to stop their love from blooming rushes ahead with a marriage proposal.  Dhiren falls into a sea of despair, thinking he’s lost his chance with  Meena.  Normally I see Govinda as a jolly good time guy, dancing and prancing about, but  behold the deliciously rare emo-Govinda!

At a party to announce his engagement to Meena, Azaad becomes drunk and decides to deal with his jealousy over Dhiren and Meena’s love by telling everyone that he bought Meena from a brothel.  Now that  somehow did not help smooth things over.

Dhiren is at the party, and witnesses Azaad humiliate Meena and can’t understand how she could agreed to marry Azaad.

So *spoiler alert* Dhiren goes to comfort Meena after her public humiliation and ends up (as we say in the USA) going all the way with her during the time that Azaad is sleeping off his drunkness.  When Azaad wakes up, his friends tell him about what an idiot he was at the party and he goes to look for Meena to apologize.  Remember, Azaad is a goonda, savvy to the ways of the world, so when he sees a clue like this…

Now you are most likely not a goonda, and perhaps a bit more naive than Azaad, so I’ll help you out with a clue.  Look beyond that bottle of Johnnie Walker on the table, and take a closer look at what Azaad sees…

That’s right! Lipstick on the glass, a glass that is emptied of its Johnnie Walker red liable whiskey! Which can only mean *spoiler alert* that Meena and Dhiren went all the way! Meena tells a Azaad something like, yeah I slept with Dhiren, and!  Then of course the fight begins over her love and a love triangle Bollywood brawl begins.

How does it end?  I’ll let you guess!  The entire movie has been uploaded to YouTube with English subtitles HERE so if you need to know who ends up with who, give it a watch.  Have you already seen this film?  If so, tell me what you remember.  Now before I leave, I have to share with you that Awaargi had so many instances of Johnnie Walker bottles, that felt obliged to make a visual record of it.  Some bottles are red label, others are black label, but they all show up in scenes here that warn of trouble brewing. Let this be a lesson to you: When you see a Johnnie Walker bottle in a Bollywood film, trouble is not far behind.

Now just LOOK and how lucky this shot is!  It includes BOTH the Johnny Walker bottle and a threat of the tight slap in the same shot!  These of course are two of the things I track in all Bollywood films, so for this reason, I say Awaargi is a classic, because I really don’t take a Bollywood film seriously until I see a tight slap, or at least the threat of one, and a bottle of Johnnie Walker.

Ram Jaane (1995) featuring a mini SRK tribute.

I love a good orphan film, and there’s not much more I can say about Ram Jaane than hasn’t already been said so well by Fortune City and Post Punk Cinema Club, but I can show you some of the parts that I really enjoyed.  Just look at the cool movie poster from the film with bloody fisted, red headband wearing SRK and I think there’s ample evidence that this is a good film.

Ram Jaane (1995) translation: “Ram Knows” or “God Knows”) is a 1995 Indian Bollywood movie directed by Rajiv Mehra about an unnamed kid (portrayed by Shahrukh Khan) who grows up to become a gangster. He uses the name Ram Jaane after meeting with a priest who in response to the kid asking about his name said “Ram Jaane” (God knows). The movie ranks the 8th highest grossing Hindi movie of 1995 and is also the fourth time Shahrukh Khan is playing a negative role after BaazigarDarr and Anjaam. (source)

So here we start with a feisty young street lad, Ram, who meets his childhood companions who he continues to befriend into adulthood.  Prior to being named Ram, short for Ram Jaane, he was known as Footpath.

Eventually he becomes officially known as Ram Jaane.

He’s a small time hustler with lots of style, the bad boy you can’t help but love.

Sometimes his goonda living and dacoitery catches up with him and he lands in the clinker, and he suffers and bleeds from the mouth, which is something that I firmly belive King Khan does better than any actor!  Dekh:

One day I’ll do a post on a collection of SRK screen captures from various films where he bleeds from the mouth. Devdas would have some good mouth bleeding  material, na?  The story has the love triangle plot between the 3 life long friends.  After a bit of jail time, Ram reunites with his childhood pals Murli (Vivek Mushram) who helps the street kids, and Bela (Juhi Chawla).

Ram falls for Bela, but realizes that his pal Murli also loves Bela, or is it Bela who loves Murli, details.  Either way, Ram Jaane becomes a tad jealous and insecure as a result of this situation.  He begins to question his self worth.

Ram eventually is overtaken by what the viewer may think is blind rage and he roughs up Bela, and eventually gives her a tight slap to the face, which he immediately regrets.

BUT, but, but did he hit her out of a jealous rage? Did he hit her because of his inability to soothe his own psyche independently of his love object?  Nahin!  As it turns out he hit her out of love, because he knew his friend loved her and by hitting Bela she would turn to Murli for love.  Problem solved!  Hey, I’m not saying it’s a good idea, but it worked.  Now clear your mind from the disturbing image of SRK’s character being violent with his love interest, and enjoy the title track from the film Ram Jaane with playback singers,  Alka Yagnik,  Sonu NigamUdit Narayan, and music by Anu Malik.

A while back I did a post on B.Rohrer’s SRK Fantasies in which the artist pays tribute to SRK in a series of creative pieces.  Recently I was lucky to run across another such creative fan on youtube and Breaking Free of the Box has taken things to a whole new level with this video tribute to Ram Jaane.  How can my humble collection of screen captures from the films measure up to the devotional nature of Breaking Free of the Box‘s work? It can’t, so now, I’ve saved the best for last so sit down and get ready to be entertained.  In the words of Breaking Free of the Box:

Here’s a miniature tribute to Shahrukh and Juhi . . . Let’s hope that someday they make another romantic film as intense as their earlier ones. . . Enjoy!! (source)

Did you notice the Central Jail on the mini set?

To wrap things up neatly as Bollywood so often does,  let’s take a moment to empathize with our film’s orphan:

Let’s now go on to be uplifted by the orphan, who has been enlightened through his suffering, only to go on to inspire us all!  Jai Bollywood wisdom:

P. S.  Due to heavy international pressure from the blogging community, and to avoid further mutiny from blog commenters, I must make mention of SRK’s style of wearing a suit jacket without any shirt underneath (think of the ring around the collar!) in the film and link in the song Pump Up the Bhangra.  Thanks readers for keeping me on my toes! Now pump up some bhangra!

Mera Gaon Mera Desh (1971) or Sholay Lite

As part of Beth Loves Bollywood‘s international mandate,  7 days of 70′s, a week-long festival of any and all things 70′s from Bollywood, I offer to you my readers, Mera Gaon Mera Desh (1970) somehing I like to call Sholay Lite!  
 


This film is a delightful mix of  some of the 70′s most delicious masala staples: orphans, dacoits, bandits, dancers, damsels in distress, amputated limbs, music by Laxmikant-PyarelalAnand Bakshi as lyricist,  playback singing by Lata Mangeshkar and Mohammad Rafi, and starring Dharmendra, Asha ParekhVinod Khanna, Laxmi Chhaya, and Jayant.

Now let me take you on a visual walk through Mera Gaon Mera Desh.  We start with Ajit (Dharmendra) as a pick pocket, caught and put on the stand, explaining his fate to the judge and jury…

Ajit gets a chance after serving a light sentance to start over in a small village to where he’s been summoned by  a one armed Hawaldaar-Major Jaswant Singh (Jayant).  Ajit carries a coin that he flips to help him make major life decisions, and it flipped to the side that made him agree to go to the little town. But why?  Why would the one armed man want orphan?

Maybe to help him with some farm work.  That seems to be the reason. Then Ajit hangs out partying with the villagers, and Jayant’s character doesn’t like this and dekh what happens:

Such ugliness! Such mean words!  That’s the limit!  So he tells Ajit to leave, but then has to change his mind:

Enter bad guy, dacoit, and bandit extrodinaire, Thakur gone bad, Jabbar Singh! I’m telling you Vinod Khanna was delicious in this part.  Look at the sideburns and the scoul on his face. Hot!

So as it turns out, the one armed guy sought Ajit for the village (gaon) not for farming alone, but instead to take the lead in fighting off the band of dacoits who have long been terrorizing the villagers. Luckily Ajit finds a double agent in Munnibai (Laxmi Chhaya) who was sent by Jabbar to find out about Ajit, but ends up falling for him instead.

Munni does her spy duty, finds out what’s going on in Jabbar Singh’s dacoit camp and reports back to Ajit.

Ajit informs the authorities, Munni’s mom get’s upset at her indiscretion because like all villagers she rears the wrath Jabbar Singh and his bandits.

In the song, Hai SharmaonLaxmi Chhaya‘s character alerts Ajit to what disguises the bandits are wearing to the fair so that he can catch them.


After some of his men are captured by police at the full moon fair, Jabbar Singh suspects a traitor among his flock and conducts a threatenging interrogation fitting a bandit.

Thing get a wee bit misogynistic.


Meanwhile, back in town, Asha Parekh’s character, Anju, freaks out when Hawaldaar-Major Jaswant Singh (one armed guy) is killed by the bandits. I love it when Asha breaks down. She of course needs a tight slap to the face in order to get a hold of herself.  To make matters worse, now poor munni is thought by Ajit to be responsible for the bandits’ attack on the gaon village.  So she’s once again subject to some man handling, and once again, things get just a tad mysoginistic.

Oh no he didn’t!  Ajit can verbally abuse her, choke her, shake her, and shove her down into the river two times, but what sets her over the edge is that he doesn’t understand that she did not betray him, and that she loves him!  He pushed her over the edge in so many ways, and now look at the face of a woman scorned! DEKH! LOOK AT IT!

Jabbar Singh cointinues with his dacoitery and kidnaps Anju to lure Ajit into his evil den, where he proceeds to tie them up for torture.  Any chance I get to screen cap a scene with the word enmity in it I do, so here:

NOW here is the scene and song that compelled me to see this film in the first place: Maar Diya Jaaye Ya Chhod Diya Jaaye, Bol Tere Saath Kya Sulook Kiya JaayeRaj and Pablo, the charming and lovely radio hosts of BBC Asian Network’s Love Bollywood,  posted this video from the film on their Facebook page. It starts off with Dharmendra tied to a pole getting slapped in the face, and that was only the beginning of this outlandish number, featuring him, Laxmi Chayya and Asha Parekh.

Spoiler moral message ending alert! In the end the lesson is learned: The village must take responsibility to self govern and not rely so heavily on the government, meaning it’s a joint effort, but this effort must first begins at the grassroots level.  As it’s said it takes a village to raise a child, and in this movie, it takes a village to eliminate a dacoit. So now that title makes more sense: Mera Gaon Mera Desh = My Village My Country.

EXTRA CREDIT:  Here’s why Mera Gaon Mera Desh can be called Sholay Lite

Since Asha freaks out so beautifully, I shall end on this note:

Check out all the other groovy 70′s week posts HERE and HERE.

Ram Aur Shyam (1967) and the Dramatic Birthday Party!

Let me start off by announcing it is my birthday today so it’s fitting to share with you my favorite birthday scene (so far) in a Bollywood movie.

Ram Aur Shyam (1967) stars Dilip Kumar in a double role-playing identical twins separated at birth who know not of each other until they unwittingly switch parts and their worlds collide. Kumar’s Ram is  a  timid dimwit, reminding me a lot Anil Kapoor’s  parts in Beta (1992), and  Yuvvraaj (2008); and Shah Rukh Khan’s part in Koyla (1997). Here’s Dilip playing his special needs Ram part.  Can you tell he’s slow here?

Ah, they’re all confused by Shayam acting so much unlike Ram, and we all know the cure for this, the tight slap, as suggested by Mumtaz here:

OK, let’s get the synopsis out of the way so I can get to the good stuff.

 Ram Aur Shyam is a 1967 Indian Hindi feature film, directed by Tapi Chanakya. Its producer B. Nagi Reddy previously produced Ramudu Bheemudu, a Telugu film starring N.T. Rama Rao, in 1964; Ram Aur Shyam is Nagi Reddi’s Hindi version. Ram Aur Shyam has music by Naushad and lyrics by Shakeel Badayuni, it stars Dilip Kumar (in his first dual role), Pran, Waheeda Rehman, and Mumtaz. The theme owes its origins to Alexandre Dumas, père’s story The Corsican Brothers: twins separated at birth who grow up with very different temperaments and then exchange places, leading to the villain being taught a lesson. Like The Corsican Brothers, which has been adapted into several feature films, Ram Aur Shyam has inspired remakes in Hindi movies too, with Seeta Aur Geeta (featuring female twins, played by Hema Malini) in 1972; Chaalbaaz (starring Sridevi) in 1989; and Kishen Kanhaiya (starring Anil Kapoor) in 1990. (source)

I have a filmi friend who jokes about Hindi movies saying, “and there was a wedding,” which is funny because isn’t there a wedding in 75% or more of all Indian films?  The Indian social system is glued together by marriage,  from the joint family system, to the industries that profit from the actual wedding functions themselves, so of course weddings are part of the movies because they’re so much a part of the culture. Yet nearly as often as the weddings are part of the films, I’ve noticed there are a lot of parties in general, and in particular birthday parties, the singing of  huppy burdhay tew ewe, and birthday cakes!  I love a good birthday cake!  Since it’s my birthday today, please indulge me and allow me to focus on the birthday section of this film, complete with some Bollywood balloons.

The Dramatic Birthday Party of Ram Aur Shyam go like this: The party for Shyam’s  niece, Kuku (Baby Farinda) begins, (except it’s Ram pretending to be Shyam): giant birthday card, huge cake, many guests…

Enter deliciously evil daddy of birthday girl, Pran, demanding silence. Khamosh!

Cute daughter approaches him and offers him some of her birthday cake:

It’s Pran, so you can guess what he does, right?  He slaps that plate right out of her hand on her birthday, in front of everyone! Look at her cry!

Oh no he didn’t!  Oh yes he DID!  Enter fake docile Shyam, lekin it’s really badass Ram:

Ram/Shyam picks up the cake from the floor…



then shoves it in Pran’s mouth! Can it get anymore dramatic and filmy than that? YES IT CAN! Because DEKH!  In this photo there is a Bollywood hat trick of:

  • a chandelier
  • grand central staircase
  • Bollywood balloons

Technically it’s even better than the hat trick, since it’s also a birthday party, with Pran, and a cake. Start watching at the 6 minute mark in order to see this wild scene take place.

Is the birthday ruined from this drama? Nahin!!! Enter Ram/Shyam with some more balloons and a happy song.

All is saved by a fantastic song and all the kids dancing to Aaye Hain Baharen Mite Zulmo Sitam by Mohammed Rafi.

Here’s one more Bollywood chandelier from the film for chandelier specialist, Shweta at Apni East India Company:

OK, the party is over, so I’ll just add that all the wacky mix ups and drama end with a double wedding ceremony for Ram aur Shyam, but this isn’t quite a spoiler alert, because I bet you can’t tell Ram from Shyam in these photos.

Wandering around the web, I found this great blog review of the film at Ranranbolly as well as one by the intellectual gold standard of all things filmy HERE at Philip’sfilums.

Boot Polish (1954) Orphan Power!

Orphans Unite!

Slumdog Millionaire (2008), step aside because Boot Polish (1954) has trumped you by delivering more tragic orphans frame per frame than your film and possibly any movie ever…well in any movie I’ve seen.

Boot Polish is a 1954 Hindi film directed by Prakash Arora and produced by Raj Kapoor. It won Best Film at the Filmfare Awards and was nominated for the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival. Belu (Baby Naaz) and Bhola (Ratan Kumar) are left to the care of their wicked aunt Kamla (Chand Burque) when their mother dies. She forces them to beg in the streets and grabs all the money they get. A bootlegger John Chacha (David) teaches them to lead a life of self-respect and work for a living instead of begging.
They scrimp and save to buy a shoe-polish kit and start shining shoes. Kamla finds out about what they have been doing behind her back, beats them and throws them out of the house. John Chacha gives them shelter, but then he is arrested and the kids are left to fend for themselves. When it rains and people don’t get their shoes polished any more, the children are in danger of starving. But Bhola believes that he will never beg anymore but on one rainy night, a man tosses him a coin and he rejects it, but Belu takes it as she is very hungry…(source)

Brother and sister, Bhola (Ratan Kumar) and Belu (Baby Naaz) are abandoned in the slums in Bombay.  The siblings get slapped around by their cranky and evil auntie  Kamla (Chand Burque) and though I love kids, I kept thinking what a fun part that must have been for Burque to play with its over the top wickedness.

She screams at them and hits them and send them out to beg and demands their earnings when they return to her hutment each night.  Yes, I used the word hutment, and I’ll use it again, since I’ll have the chance.  Chacha John played by David, is a  hutment bootlegger dweller with a  heart of gold who instills in the orphans the desire work rather than beg for a living.  Easy for him to say.  He spends a lot of time doing the sign of the cross and praying to a picture of Jesus sporting the flaming  sacred heart with the thorns around it. To beg or not to beg, that is the question.

Just when you think things can’t get worse for these orphans they get a break with a little song and dance. Let song writers Shankar Jaikishan, with playback singers Mohammad Rafi and Asha Bhonsle lift your spirits here with Nanhe Munne Bachche Teri. I couldn’t find a video with the lyrics translated into English, but the message of the song is that we hold destiny in our fists.  I’ve screen capped much of the song below and you can find it translated into English over at Dances on the Footpath HERE.

Uncle John has a strong hold over this group of orphans, convincing them to not beg, and to also cheer up through their starvation, since a better day is coming. I can’t even imagine that starving children would dance happily, but they do here, so don’t feel too sad for them, see:

I get crabby if I miss a meal or a snack so I don’t know how these orphans do it. Things can’t stay too happy for too long and the siblings get separated one night at the train station during a raid.  Belu, delirious with a fever, ends up on the train where she’s discovered by a rich couple.

The rich folks adopt her and despite the comforts of her new posh lifestyle and new loving family, Belu is distraught, missing her brother.

Bhola is picked up in the raid and sent to an orphanage.

Now both kids are at least in better conditions materially, but they are not content since they are separated and don’t know the whereabouts of each other.  Then one day, Bhola hears Uncle John’s voice through the window, runs to find him, and invites him in to her new home.  She’s happy talking about all the material comforts, but then remembers how much she misses Bhola.

Uncle John sets out to search for Bhola while newly rich Belu and her family are  preparing to take an extended leave from the city.  It seems as if John will not meet the deadline to reunite the orphan siblings, but, BUT, BUT, as Belu is about to board her train with her new family, a young orphan boy begs for some money and she hands him a coin…

Only to look up to see her long lost brother, Bhola!
Bhola has a rush of shame seeing his sister and knowing he is a hypocrite, having demanded they never beg for money, no matter what. In his eyes he’s been caught and exposed, which caused him to spiral into a flashback of slapping his sister for begging.  I enjoyed seeing the tight slap to the face in a flashback form, with images superimposed on each other:

Bhola runs away in shame.  Belu chases him and looses him in the crowd. Uncle John  appears and hobbles along  on his crutches after Bhola, but in his attempt to catch up to  Bhola, he’s hit by a car!  Spoiler Alert! So  that sequence plays out like this: Happy! Happy! Shame! Run! Run! Sad! Hope! Run! Sad! Hit! SAD! Wait, not sad, HAPPY!

The rich people adopt Bhola too, and all cleaned up, fed, safe and happy, they go off to school.

Thus in the end, Raj Kapoor managed to make a light-hearted movie about tragic poverty, starvation, and orphans, and that’s Bollywood yaar.

Now head over to Bollywood Deewana to see his write up of Boot Polish.


Aamir Khan the Pucca Idiot, a “3 Idiots” promotion

Have you been enjoying the 3 Idiots promotion that Aamir Khan has been doing? I have.

Play the Aamir Khan Game at:http://www.idiotsacademy.za…
Solve the clue and you could spend New Year’s Eve with Aamir Khan

The series of clips in the game to promote the movie have Aamir Khan in various disguises and locations in India. They have been quite sweet.  In one of the videos he pops up in a school in Palanpur.  It’s fun to see the students’ reaction to him; they serenade him and he returns the favor by singing the title song from  Taare Zameen Par to them.  So sweet! Dekh:

The kids go on to play cricket with Aamir, and feed him their lunches from home.

When Aamir is undercover, not everyone recognises him, and some don’t know who he is even out of disguise. This is one of my favorites so far with Aamir-ji in Tamil Nadu.  His tour guide, Lakshman, really has no idea about who Aamir is, even after he reveals himself.  Enjoy:

Lakshman, don’t make me come all the way to Tamil Nadu, all the way to that monument made from sirf ek pathhar and find you! Lakshman, I will have to give you a tight slap to the face for not knowing Aamir.  But since you do seem to know at least the story of Ghajini , I will not slap you.  I must say if I ever make it to Chennai, I will try and get Lakshman as a guide.

You can view all the game videos HERE. 3 Idiots premiers tomorrow.  If you’d like to find some great translations of the film’s songs, head over to TheBollywoodFan.

Aaina (1977)

I had originally tried to order Aaina (1977) from Netflix, but got the 1993 version of Aaina instead, which I reviewed HERE.  I eventually did get the 1977 version of Aaina that stars Mumtaz and Rajesh Khanna.  I would not be tricked by Bollywood’s duplicate titles and miss out on my original plan to see the 1977 version!

Shalini (Mumtaz)  is a poor yet happy brahmin girl who spends her time laughing and smiling, despite her  family’s poverty.  Ashok (Rajesh Khanna) and Shalini like each other but are from different castes.  They tease each other and have a lot of fun, but ultimately they come to understand that society’s norms will keep them apart.

When Ashok notes that Shalini’s only sari is worn to the point of having holes, he buys her a new one.  Shalini’s mother (Nirupa Roy) lets her daughter know that she can not accept this sort of gift from a man because it would be shameful for the entire family.  I love how this lesson of  family honor is filmed with the characters on either side of the worn sari:

Things continue to worsen for the family when the dad’s evil sister, Janki (Lalita Pawar) comes with her daughter to live with the already financially stressed family.   Janki doesn’t do a thing to help out, in fact she just spends time going to frivolous Bollywood  movies and gossiping.  When Janki finds one of her starving nephews begging for food she fails to understand that her taking money to go to the movies has caused the problem since that money would otherwise go for food for the children. Then Shalini finds her mother one night mixing poison in with the food so the she can poison the family out of their misery.

The next obstacle is that one of Shalini’s brothers wants to go to medical school, so in an attempt to get a recommendation to insure his entry to the program, Shalini travels to the big city. She stays with some friends of the family in the a home with a large central split staircase, so often seen in Bollywood films, hai na?

Shalini’s connection to try and get the recommendation for her brother’s entry to medical school is a fraud, and the situation ends with her being raped, as represented by a mirror aaina being broken.  She then hears of another person who can help her get the medical school recommendation, who invites her home to meet his wife.

But the wife is not there, only her picture is on the wall, and this powerful man has the same nefarious interests in Shalini as the man who first violated her.

So this is how Shalini, a young Brahmin girl, eventually turns to prostitution to support her family. One night she’s enjoying the company of a client, and he discovers that she’s Brahmin like him.  Note the symbolism of the mirror aaina on the wall saying hey, why don’t you look at yourself first yaar, before you point any fingers.

Shalini points out the ridiculousness of his hypocrisy and returns his tight slap to her face with one to his face.  Ironically, later in the movie when Shalini returns home to pay for and attend both her sister and brother’s weddings, who turns out to be the groom for her sister?  Not to spoil things, but it’s this creep here!

I learned from Suhan, a commenter on my 1992 Aaina post, that Laaga Chunari Mein Daag (2007) pulled from the 1977 Aaina.

This one comes out smelling of mothballs, like a wedding dress stored for decades in an attic trunk. Not surprising, since the plot is vintage 1977 from Aaina, and the 1995 Marathi film Doghi. (Hindustan Times).

If you’ve seen LCMD, perhaps like me you remember once Rani Mukerji became a high class call girl, she lived in a super deluxe apartment in Mumbai.  This was the only shot of that apartment I could find, but you get a general idea of its sleek, modern look.

Like Rani Mukerji’s character in Laaga Chunari Mein Daag,  Shalini also gets a fantastic place to live thanks to her profession.  I’m not saying it’s a good trade off, but it sure is a cool place.  One of my favorite parts of the film was when Shalini got a visitor, she would push a buzzer on the table and a curtain would automatically pull open, revealing the client behind the door. Check it out:

Sometimes it was a shock just who would stop by, like in this case, her friend Ashok from back home who told everyone he died in the war.  After knowing he could never be with Shalini, Ashok faked his own death, but eventually years later fate brought him right to her door!

Is that double lucky kismat at work or what?  Not only does he get a prostitute, but she’s also the woman he loves!   What are the odds of THAT happening!?  Alas, Shalini is shocked and ashamed.  Don’t you love that torpedo/bullet bra she must be wearing under her shirt?

Despite her circumstances, Ashok understands and more importantly accepts her as she is, and wonders what could have been between the two of them and life hadn’t taken them on different paths.

Shalini returns home to give her family money and pay for her siblings weddings. A cute part of the movie was the film within the film where the village  watched stars Dharmendra and Neetu Singh film a song sequence to Jaane Kya Ho Jaye with playback singers Mohammed Rafi and Lata Mangeshkar.  This is scene cuts back and forth being picturized on filmi film stars and the “real” young couple in the film, Shalini’s sister and that scoundrel she’s engaged to, Shalini’s former client:

Shalini sacrifices herself to fund her family and is disgusted to return home only to  find her mother pregnant again!  There are already about 8 kids in the family. Of course her mother has no idea just what Shalini has done to earn money.

Seems word has gotten out around town about Shalini’s new job and her little sister points out how her music teacher (paid for by Shalini) was staring at her. Shalini flirts with idea of suicide to answer the question of her eternal suffering, but when she’s about to jump, she hears the sounds of her siblings calling to her.

So how do you think it all ends? If you’d like to know more, please go to see the plot summary by rAjOo.

I’d love to hear your impressions of Aaina too.

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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