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Posts Tagged ‘Raksha Bandhan’

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

darmatma.suffocate

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:

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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.

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.

dharmatma.Farida.slap

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 …

dharmatma.slap.2 dharmatma.slap

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.

dharmatma.badguys.3

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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rakhi.2

rakhiIt’s Raksha Bandham time dosto.  Since I’m a full throttle cultural pirate of all things Indian due to my Bollywood addiction, I thought of this question for us all:  On what Bollywood star would you tie a rakhi?

Raksha Bandhan (the bond of protection in Hindi and Panjabi) is a Hindu festival, which celebrates the relationship between brothers and sisters. It is celebrated on the full moon of the month of Shraavana. The festival is marked by the tying of a rakhi, or holy thread by the sister on the wrist of her brother. The elder brother in return offers a gift to his sister and vows to look after her same while an elder sister returns offers to her younger brother. The brother and sister traditionally feed each other sweets. It is not necessary that the rakhi can be given only to a brother by birth; any male can be “adopted” as a brother by tying a rakhi on the person, that is “blood brothers and sisters”, whether they are cousins or a good friend. Indian history is replete with women asking for protection, through rakhi, from men who were neither their brothers, nor Hindus themselves. (source-ji)

I recall the first time I saw this done in a movie and someone tied a super big fancy one on  Amitabh in some film.  Fancy like this:

tying_the_rakhi_orig

It was Angry young man Amitabh, so perhaps it was in Zanjeer?  I can’t recall.  Tell me if you can.  Anyway, this got me thinking about what star could offer me imaginary brotherly protection.  It was a toss up between Anupam Kher and Amrish Puri, with Paresh Rawal as third runner up for next year.  So this year I have a tie (get it, a tie? ) and tie my imaginary rakhi on Anupam Kher AND Amrish Puri.

anupam amrish

I choose the sacred bond with Anupam for his intelligence and ability to work in a wide range of films. He offers wisdom and humor which are qualities I’d like in a brother, plus I love his bibi, Kirron Kher, so it’s like a 2 for one. Then, I’d tie the other rakhi on Amrish Puri.  I figure since he’s dead that would be some supernatural rakhi power and protection from the other side. Who wouldn’t like Amrish Puri on their good side? Imagine if someone dared to cross you and Amrish stepping on to the scene and starting one of his outrageous villain rants on your behalf. Now that would be the limit! Yeah do you know who my brother is? I’d mention his name, and there would be no trouble.

nanak

Now tell me the Bollywood star on whom you would you tie the sacred knot and why? You can think about your answer while you watch this rakhi scene from  Hum Saath-Saath Hain  (1999) which I haven’t seen but must:

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