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Posts Tagged ‘Laxmi Chhaya’

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.

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izzat

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

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

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

"Ek chutki sindoor!"

"Ek chutki sindoor!"

So Shekhar works himself into the fancy home of his father and finds that he’s got a fairer skinned half brother.
izzat.vendetta izzat.double Shekhar’s got some killing on his mind, but he also finds himself at a party.  What to do? Dharmendra sings at  the party, as Shekhar and they all think he’s his look alike rich brother,  Dilip.  Please take note of the bollywood balloons that decorate the party:izzat.balloonI suppose I should have been excited by Dharmendra and Tanuja’s performances  here (yawn), but for me this was  Jayalalitha‘s film.   It was the first time I’d ever seen her.  She plays a super spunky mountain girl, who likes that fancy Dharmendra character, fair-skinned Dilip, but he’s socially out of her reach, being wrong caste for her to desire, let alone acquire.  She can’t possibly marry up…or can she?  Take a good look at her, I think she can:
izzat.item.3

The live wire  Jayalalitha of Izzat transformed herself into a  real life politician. It was the first time I’d seen her in a movie, and she was a Tamil star, so her part in a Hindi film was not the norm.  She also did some playback singing.

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

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

izzat.youth

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

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

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

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

izzat.maid

izzat.jesusandtheflagstone

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

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