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Posts Tagged ‘Iftekhar’

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.

darmatma.orphan

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.

darmatma.culture darmatma.orphan.beg

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.

dharmatma.badguys

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

dharmatma.spell

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

dharmatma.Farida.dirtyhands dharmatma.Farida.wifewhore

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!

dharmatma.Farida.Feroz.rehki

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.

dharmatma.badguys.4

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

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dharmatma.badguys.5 dharmatma.ranjeet.2

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

dharmatma.revenge

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When I saw Nikkah (1982) which means an Islamic marriage contract, I thought it really should have been called Talaq, Talaq, Talaq! So in my post movie online research, I found that it originally was to be titled Talaq Talaq Talaq (divorce). I thought, “Hey that’s what I thought it should be titled too!”

Nikaah is a 1982 Hindi film produced and directed by B. R. Chopra. The film stars Raj Babbar, Deepak Parashar and Salma Agha in her Hindi movie debut role. The film also had Asrani, Iftekhar and Gufi Paintal in support roles. The films music is by Ravi. The original name of the movie was Talaq Talaq Talaq, but was renamed Nikaah on the insistence of Islamic clerics. (wikipedia)

No one wants to get on the wrong side of an Islamic cleric. The movie begins with a series of rather sensual oil painting in the background. Some of the paintings are nudes!

As the paintings flash by, a woman recites the following:

I am a woman the daughter of Eve
Sent down from the heavens pure and sacred
I’ve bloomed the flowers in this world
I give birth to a man and train him to walk
As a sister I tell him amusing stories
As his beloved, I make his life melodious
I sacrifice the precious pearls of my life
In a need I walk along with him
By serving him like this I lose my entity
The story of my sacrifice is in all the holy books
All that I have said is an illusion
I’ve always had one fear after many centuries
I may be pushed into some brothel
I don’t know when I may be bet in gambling
I may be compelled to prove my chastity
I may be put to death just after my death
I may be auctioned in the flesh markets
I may be accepted as a wife after marriage
I may also be divorced and rejected
My chastity may be ravaged by the same men
This is all because I am a woman

Off to a dramatic start with that opening poem, right? That’s followed by some subtitles I’d never seen before using the word buttock, not buttocks, just buttock:

That’s Haider Raj Babbar and his college buddies talking about Nilofer (Salma Agha). Haider is actually a good guy and is a real Ghazal expert. Haider and Nilo had a bit of an attraction in college, but Nilo was set to marry the fancy Nawab Wasim (Deepak Parashar) who immediately gets a business deal for a 5 star hotel! I love how often the term “5 star hotel” appears in Bollowood movies. I’ve seen enough Bollywood to know that the 5 star hotel theme is quite ominous and those involved in the deal will eventually fall from their greedy quest for power. 5 star hotel = bad guy. 5 star hotel = bad scene.

And sure enough, the 5 star hotel deal interrupts the celebration of the honeymoon. While Nawab Wasim meets with his business partners, poor Nilo sits on the rocky Mumbai beach, watching other honeymooners as she scrawls “honeymoon” on a rock, the word eventually being washed away by the crashing waves.

As may be predicted, since Nilo and Wasim’s marriage starts of with a rocky honeymoon (sorry couldn’t resist) it only continues to have highs and lows like the waves of the ocean. Eventually things take a nasty turn when Wasim gives Nilo a tight slap to the face, and the highs are gone. Nilo spends most of her time waiting for her workoholic husband, and when he finally appears after standing her up repeatedly, he’s often in a foul mood. Although Nilo dedicates herself to the marriage, she realizes that it’s not working.

But fear not ladies, Nilo is a strong woman and doesn’t take this abuse and the next time that arrogant nawab raises his hand to her she puts him in his place!

Macho Wasim has to have the last word. In fact he has the last 3 words and says “Talaq! Talaq! Talaq!” Giving her the triple talaq = D-I-V-O-R-C-E! I warn you if you see this scene and are prone to seizures, this may trigger one as it flashes back and forth between these 2 pictures at a rapid rate of about 100 times in 30 seconds.

 

Nilo gets her talaq and goes on to marry Haider, who thinks she may still love Wasim. Haider then trys to reunite Nilo and Wasim in an act of sacrifice. Nilo’s not having that! These men making all the decisions and not consulting with her at all drives her to the edge and she declares the truth:

What I loved about this movie:

  • More adabs and Subhan’allahs per scene than any movie ever!
  • 5 star hotels mentioned
  • Tight slaps to the face
  • Johnnie Walker consumed by a bad guy
  • Women triumph in the end

The most interesting part of this movie to me was the fact that Salma Agha was her own playback singer for the tune “Dil Ke Armaan” and won the Filmfare Best Female Playback Award for the song.

Thanks to anupkumar07 for the video.

LYRICS with and English translation by Madhu.

Even more interesting than Salma being her own playback singer is the fact that she was discovered at Rishi Kapoor & Neetu Singh’s wedding. And it gets even better: Salma was already famous for recording the hits of ABBA in Hindi with her sister Sabina:

AGHA – Salma and Sabina Agha sing ABBA hits in Hindi. (wikipedia)

Listen to Salma and Sabina work their magic:

Mamma Mia, Super Trooper, and Dancing Queen

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