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Posts Tagged ‘limb amputation in Bollywood’

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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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:

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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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kati

kati-patang

Finally I’ve gotten around to seeing Asha Parekh in a film with 1970’s Kati Patang. I even love the title, which the subtitles translate to Guideless Kite. I know I feel like a guideless kite a lot of the time, so that title spoke to me. How about you? I loved the film right off the bat, since within the first few minutes there’s lots of drama. Lovely Asha is just about to get married when she opens the gift from her former flame and reads:

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Now how great is THAT? Way to guilt trip her! Plus even better, should the future bring me a situation where I’m in love with a Hindu man who is just about to walk around that marriage fire 7 X with his new bride and not me, his true love, I can easily plagiarize that for my own dialogue. “But when you go around the holy fire with your wife, think this to be a funeral pyre of my love. Yours, and all the best! Sita-ji.” I don’t want to spoil the movie in any way, but let’s just say some stuff goes down shortly after this wedding scene which results in seeing the big nahin. Another reason to love the film for me. I love hearing nahin screamed as much as I love to be surprised by seeing a tight slap to the face.

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Yet another thing I like in Hindi films is to frequency of limb amputation. Remember that Sholay, Lawaaris, and Mother India all have double arm amputations, which always makes me think of insurance dismemberment clauses. You may also remember the limb amputations parodied in Om Shanti Om. I know I’ve seen other Bollywood films with limb amputations, but I can’t remember others right now, so I welcome your comments if you remember any others.

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Then for even more pleasure, I get to be simultaneously repulsed and attracted to Prem Chopra. I am grossed out by Prem’s character, yet also strangely attracted to the sleaziness, evidenced by the his open shirts, chest hair and large medallion. Yuck! Yet I must see more! See his effect of Bindu’s character? She just hangs on him. She can’t help it. In addition to his medallion, his glasses are noteworthy.

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I’m seeing what I like in Kati Patang, the same stuff I see repeatedly in these Bollywood films: the drama, the big nahin, sleazy bad guys and gals, amputations, misunderstandings, and coincidences. Then there’s the requisite item girl number with outlandish costuming and suggestive choreography, but this time I am startled more than usual. I invite you to watch Bindu in the scary and captivating number Mera Naam Hai Shabnam, with music by R. D. Burnam and playback singer Asha Bhonsle. The choreography is by Surya Kumar. Surya, hats off to your work. Unfortunately, the only quality footage I could find from this song for now is rather short, so see the entire film with the complete song, which involves Bindu rolling around on the ground a lot. Now dosto, I dare you NOT to have the same expression and reaction that Asha Parekh’s character has when you watch Bindu’s dance, because I know I shared Asha’s response, “I can’t believe this is happening. NO WAY!”

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This ARTICLE states that, “Overnight Kati Patang turned Bindu into the hottest dancer in movie town.” I can certainly understand why that was true. Now if you’d like to read more on the film, head over to memsaabstory.

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