Chunaoti, 1980

Directed by: Satpal

I really liked this movie for a few reasons:

1. It looked like Idaho.

Oh the cowman and the farmer should be friends…
Wait. That’s Oklahoma…

I’ve spent a lot of time in in Idaho. Hell, fine, I lived in Idaho for three years. I’ll never admit that to my children (should I have any) but, it looked like Idaho and it made me miss open spaces. And ranchers. And the funny things the ranchers would call me… like “a pistol”.

2. Neetu is a total pistol in this film.

She’s basically the hero. Total role reversal. Totally awesome.
Totally. (I said it 4 times.)
3. Fringe.

Lots of fringe. Lots of leather. Lots of guns. Lots of horses.
4. This is a Bollywood Western.

Enough. Said.
5. Funny subtitle text font!

And even less funny subtitle placement. Boo!

Basically this movie is really straight forward, an evil dacoit (Danny Denzonoga) is ruling the town, committing all sorts of heinous crimes and murders. Revenge must be enacted, parents avenged, and justice restored to the town but not before a lot of cows, a bunch of rifles, pyaaaaar and ropes… lots of ropes. And horses.

At first, they try to get the dacoit to surrender, in honor of saying “no” to the authorities he wears his flashy anti-surrendering get up. Can we say sexy?

They say the golden triangle on his forehead gives him “special powers”!

He later celebrates his new found badassery by holding up a car. With a horse. And steals the treasure chest of beads expensive and priceless jewelry.

Exhilarated by his new acquisition of beads (that he can add to his flashy work-in-progress spangly sweater)priceless riches he heads on over to a bungalow and kills  Roshni’s (Neetu Singh) parents. Just to celebrate, you know? The Maa is vengeful and proclaims that her daughter will have revenge on him.

Fast forward 20 or so years and meet our hero. Vijay (Feroz Khan) is just a bounty hunter who spends his free time napping on the prairie while polishing his spurs.

Home home on the range, where the deer and the antelope play!

He’s also big hearted and uses his award money to keep up the local orphanage.

He is assigned the task of hunting down the dacoit that has been at large for the past 20 years. He gladly takes on the challenge and spends the next couple hours hunting down the baddie’s henchmen and torturing them by tying them to trees and rubbing their boss’ wanted poster in their face.

I’m totally serious.

You didn’t think I was serious, did you?
I was. 

Back in Neetu land, Roshni has grown up hungering for the revenge of her parent’s murderer, even though she has no idea who he is or what he looks like. As she claims, she will know him when he crosses her path.

Instead of our bad guy, however, pyaaaaaaaar falls into our fair Roshni’s lap and we watch her casual annoyance at his advances mellow out instantaneously explode into lover’s bliss.

Annoyed Neetu…
Ahem. A NOT so annoyed Neetu…

Finally Roshni crosses paths with her parents’ killer, only to let him run free because, unlike she thought, there wasn’t some mystical transcendence where she suddenly knew who she was.

She doesn’t. Even though she knew she would.
Ride on, cowboy. 
This tragedy is only compounded when she is kidnapped by one of the goons and placed into a cave. However, being the totally amazing person she is, she beats up the guy and leaves HIM stranded in the cave. YES!

Then she decides to dress in a disguise and entertain the goons to distract them and sneaks her way into The Lair.

Please note that she went from jeans, to traditional wear, to this Laura Ingalls Wilder getup.
And she STILL changes after this scene.
That dacoit had a ton of clothes laying around. 

Then, of course, there is some Maa drama. You can tell by the setting/lighting/flashing lightning and over all sadnocity of this screen cap:

The epic showdown ensues wherein orphans are brought in as leverage AND they use fencing foils. As far as “deadly weapons” go I wouldn’t say that fencing foils come up in first place, but you have to roll with the punches in Bolly land.

I had a gleeful time watching this film. It was just so wacky. Granted, the costuming probably had something (read: a lot) to do with it. In other terms it was just another wacky vintage Bollywood. And aren’t those just the best anyway?
I really enjoyed Neetu’s character, not just because we’re celebrating her this week, but because it was such a reversal of female characters in action fillums. She was a shoot first and ask questions later madam! Many times I kept thinking that she was the actual hero of the film, she certainly had more fights and screen time than HE did. Wah! Wonderful!
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One thought on “Chunaoti, 1980

  1. OMG this sounds so good I cannot even stand not having already seen it! What a great way to do a western! EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE! My eternal gratitude for bringing it to my attention. That is all.

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