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Posts Tagged ‘Farida Jalal’

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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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?

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

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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.

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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:

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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.

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Happy Independence Day to you!  We all eventually get our freedom from the Brittishers, hai na? Since I recently watched The Legend of Bhagat Singh, I’m feeling a bit revolutionary, so I also wish you on this day celebrating your long fought struggle for freedom a very happy Inquilab Zindabad! To read more about The Legend of Bhagat Singh, stop over to Philip’sFil-ums.

 

If I somehow developed Tourette syndrome I would like to have a Bollywood-style Tourette syndrome, and the phrase I’d shout out most often would be Inquilab Zindabad! I’d also shout out the following, of course using a very heavy Hindi accent: Jai Hind! Shut up! Get out! All the best! Scoundrel! What would you shout out if you developed a Bollywood flavored Tourette syndrome?

 

On this Independence Day click over to TheBollywoodFan, where you can find a great post on Indian patriotic films.  Thanks to blog posters-n-friends, jen AND Brahamandam, who both sent me a link to this Amitabh’s India Poised, perfect for viewing on this Independence Day. Enjoy, and of course Inquilab Zindabad!  Jai Hind!

And with feedback from one of my NRI consultants, Milind-ji, I will also add Bharat Mataki Jay! and Vande Mataram!

 

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Some dedicated BFC members made the trek to the Grove Sunday night to see:

Laaga Chunari Mein Daag

There are still times to see the movie this week:

Maple Grove Cinema, 13644 80 Circle, Maple Grove, MN 55369

laagaposter.jpgFri Oct 12: 6:30 & 9:30 pm
Sat Oct 13: 12:30, 3:30, 6:30 & 9:30 pm
Sun Oct 14: 12:30, 3:30 & 6:30 pm
M-Th Oct 15-18: 7 pm

Laaga Chunari Mein Daag – Journey Of A Woman (English: My Veil is Stained) is a Bollywood film to be released on October 12, 2007. The film is directed by Pradeep Sarkar who earlier directed the critically acclaimed film Parineeta (2005) and will be produced by Aditya Chopra. This is Sarkar’s first film with the Yash Raj Films banner. The film stars Jaya Bachchan, Rani Mukerji, Abhishek BachchanKonkona Sen Sharma, Kunal Kapoor, Anupam KherFarida Jalal and Hema Malini in a special appearance.

Here’s a great blog review of the movie:

http://nitawriter.wordpress.com/2007/10/15/laaga-chunari-mein-daag-movie-review/

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