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Posts Tagged ‘Rajesh Khanna’

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.

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Today is my birthday and it’s the ideal opportunity to post some images I found from Aap Ki Kasam (1974). This is a screen capture of Sanjeev Kumar and Rajesh Khanna:

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When I saw these subtitles on the screen during Aap Ki Kasam I was happy to see the mentioned date since it’s my birthday, yet even more interesting is that they used U instead of you. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen you translated as U before in subtitles. Maybe some young hipster accustomed to texting did the subtitling here. At least they didn’t translate later as L8r. Here’s a little description of the film’s plot, in case you haven’t seen it:

aapkiskasamRajesh Khanna plays Mumtaz’s jealous husband who begins to doubt her fidelity when his best friend Sanjeev Kumar enters their lives. She is unable to convince Rajesh Khanna that she loves only him. He leaves her, not knowing that she is pregnant with his child. Depressed and confused, Rajesh Khanna becomes a homeless wanderer, while Mumtaz remarries to provide a secure home for her child…(wikipedia)

Head over to memsaabstory for a great write up on the film. OK, it’s my birthday, so back to ME! In my Bollywood colored imagination, I am having a whisky party with Ranjeet and Rajesh, just like in the movie, see:

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Readers, you’re invited too! Speaking of birthdays, if you saw The Office on TV this week (Episode 5015 | Season 5 ), you’re sure to remember Kelly Kapoor’s (Mindy Kaling) fantastic tirade over people forgetting her birthday. I couldn’t find a precise link to the scene, but if you click HERE and watch from about 4:12-5:15 you can see it.

Thanks for celebrating my birthday with me blogosphere! Thanks to the balloon wallas of India for supplying balloons for my online party:

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kati

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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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Dosto, I recently watched Namak Haaram (1973). Fabulous! Here are the basics:

Namak Haraam (Devanagari: नमक हराम, Nastaliq: نمک ہرام, is a 1973 Indian Hindi film directed by Hrishikesh Mukherjee. The music is by R.D. Burman and the lyrics by Anand Bakshi. The film stars Rajesh Khanna and Amitabh Bachchan. The film also stars Rekha, Asrani, Raza Murad, A.K. Hangal, Simi Garewal and Om Shivpuri . The film focused on two friends ( Rajesh and Amitabh) and how Rajesh tries to infiltrate the trade union of his friends. (wikipedia)

For a more coherent and substantial review of the film, check out rediff.com and Memsaab Story. I will of course deal with the superficial. I like to eat the frosting more than the cake, so first feast your eyes on this screen capture of our beloved Amitabh from the film which should be titled state of the art:

All starts out well with rich Vikram (Amit-ji) and super BFF, Somu (Rajesh Khanna) hanging around, wearing matching outfits, living the good life. They visit hot nautch girls and drink whiskey. Looking at Jayshree T. here it’s understandable why these guys would like to just hang out and be entertained.

But people in town talk, (haters!) and they are starting to call Somu Vikram’s spoon. Say What? I had never heard this phrase before, and I love when something like this comes up in a movie. I start to wonder is it: a.) a term I’ve just never heard of in English?; b.) Is this a British English term?; c.) Is this a Hindi figure of speech translated directly into English? Whatever it is I LOVE it. I ain’t nobody’s spoon! I take that being someone’s spoon means to be their flunkie, stooge, yes man, or dare I say, as used in the streets, their bitch? Anyway, the point seems to be that a spoon blindly follows someone who has more perceived power than the spoon does. Hindi speakers, please, I welcome your corrections to my interpretation of the term spoon if I’ve got it wrong. Somu’s sister tells him about what people are saying and he sets her straight!

Oh snap! Oh no he didn’t say that! So fast forward, Vicky has to go manage his father’s factory and his spoon, I mean Somu, tags along. They cook up a plan that Somu will infiltrate the factory, first posing as a worker and then eventually working his way up to, you’d never guess, a union organizer. Tricky! Somu eventually understands the struggle of the factory workers.

I adore seeing Johnnie Walker in these Bollywood films, and here it is, the extra fancy black label used to symbolize the good life, and its potential for arrogance. Somu tries to tell Vicky that it’s useful to try and call the low caste workers by their names:

Somu becomes so touched by the day to day struggles of the common worker that becomes a traitor, or as was written in the movie’s subtitles, namak haraam, to his friend Vicky, switching his loyalty from his friend to the workers. Namak haraam literally seems to translate to food/salt that’s not OK to eat, not sanctioned, not clean, not pure, not halaal, but figuratively the term means traitor. Once again, over some whiskey, Somu tries to make rich Vicky understand:

I know, I know, I already used this photo in yesterday’s post, but it’s so great I had to use it twice.  Can you blame me?

These socialists are such buzz kills! Eventually Vicky learns the wisdom of Somu’s ways. When Vicky finds out of Somu’s trouble, which you’ll have to watch the movie to find out about, he shows a delicious taste of angry Amitabh:

Namak Haraam is art imitating life as evidenced here. Doesn’t this sound a bit too familiar now:

Well since elections are coming soon here in the U S of A, here’s a timely song from the film titled Woh Jhoota Hai Vote Na Usko Dena, picturized on Asrani and a hot young Rekha, with music by R. D. Bruman. You can check it out HERE.

And speaking of voting…I’m so excited to present my first poll on the blog! So here I ask you the impossible question: Would you rather be a Namak Haraam or a spoon?

extra credit:

When looking up Namak Haraam online, I came across Arun Krishan’s clever podcast on his site, Cutting Chai, Learn Hindi from Bollywood Movies, since in it he credits a tune from the film in the music credits. You will certainly enjoy this, as well as all his other great podcasts:

Episode 47. Alcohol. Is alcoholism such a bad thing?

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Elephants are my friends! I was inspired after seeing this elephant. Don’t you want a pet elephant now too? Haathie Mere Saathie is a cute little movie and was the first movie I saw that starred Tanuja. It’s an orphan movie, which always makes for a good plot.  Raju and his elephants were so misunderstood!  Over at Memsaab’s blog, haiku has been dedicated to this fine film.

Haathi Mere Saathi  (1971) is an Indian film and a favourite with children in the early 1970s. The movie has a Disneyesque appeal with an Indian twist. Orphaned Raju, (Rajesh Khanna) in the company of four elephants, has to perform with them at street corners, in order to keep alive. Slowly he amasses a fortune, and is able to build his own private zoo, housing tigers, lions, bears, and of course the four elephants. He treats all the animals as his friends. He meets with Tanu, (Tanuja) and both fall in love. Tanu’s dad, Ratanlal, is opposed to this alliance, but subsequently relents, and permits the young couple to get married. Tanu is unhappy with the amount of time Raju spends with his animal friends, and this causes some bitterness between them. Things do not improve when a child is born, as Tanu fears that one day the child will be harmed by one of the animals, and hence Raju is told to make a choice between his animal friends or his wife and son. (wikipedia)

Chal mere saathie and enjoy Kishore Kumar’s playback singing of the Laxmikant-Pyarelal tune, “Chal Chal Mere Saathi.”

Lyrics

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