Dhan Daulat, 1980

Directed by: Harish Shah

When I watched this film, I really liked it. I thought it was cute, a little unconventional, and I was finally going to get to a person I was trying to avoid in Neetu Week:

It’s not that I don’t have my own intense pyaar for Rishi, but I wanted this week to be squarely about our girl. In the end, I couldn’t avoid him, but that was OK too.

As I sit down to write up this film, as I have countless times this week, I find I’m uninspired and intimidated by this film. It was enjoyable, yes, but it just left me blank.

I dislike this feeling!

Just now I walked away for about 30 minutes and kept thinking “Was I doing something?”. TWICE.

Dhan Daulat, you are going to be the death of me.

Lucky (Rishi Kapoor) is found in the back of a cargo truck (Horn OK Please) as an infant. His mother had stashed him there while going to get milk for him.

This is the Maa running after the truck and screaming. 
And Kishore.
With whom my children will share DNA.

In true bad parenting style, the truck drove away. The baby is found by the two truck drivers Mangat (Prem Nath) and Bajirao (Pran). The two decide to “rear” him (that’s the word they kept using) and name the baby Lucky, since he was found and then they were given a large trucking job soon after.

We watch Lucky grow up, becoming somewhat of a rascal; stealing chickens from his neighbor and escaping with them to rooftops where the owner can’t reach them. His dads somewhat gloss over the habit, and joke with him about his antics. When Lucky is sent to University his dads praise his opportunity and are happy that he will not become a truck driver like they are. Lucky responds by being swiftly kicked out of school before classes even start by getting into a fight. Shamefully brought home his dads lock Lucky into the house as they go away on a job.

Never having been punished, Lucky suffers a terrible shock to his psyche and takes to harassing to people outside of his window. Then, as they are prone to in such situations, our heroine, Shanti (Neetu Singh) shows up. She firmly rejects the advances of a man-child hollering at her while locked inside his own house. Good for you, Shanti.

The next day, however, when Shanti walks by she is curious about the fate of the marooned moron.

When his fathers return home, Lucky is sprung from jail and goes on a hunt for Shanti, determined to win her over. He does this by spraying her down with a hose and hoisting her up in construction equipment. Filmi wooing is serious business, people.

Finally, our Shanti gets fed up and asks Lucky what he’s about.

Lucky spouts off about pyaar and shaadis and the like. Being a wise little thing, Shanti dares him to tell her “brother” who is walking down the street. He does so, is taken to what he thinks is her house and is matched up with the guy’s sister… who isn’t Shanti. Drama ensuses with offenses being taken by the brother and his sister but Lucky is not daunted by this joke.
She looks rather pleased with herself, doesn’t she?
Good girl. 
Our Shanti still needs convincing, so Lucky arranges for a dramatic suicide attempt by laying on the train tracks outside of her house until she will admit that she loves him. The locals take Lucky’s side (of course) and a song and dance on the tracks ensues. Shanti is still not swayed and it takes until seconds before the train to come, that she agrees to be Lucky’s gal. But she has serious reservations. And given her criteria, I’m soundly with her.
Inspired for the first time to do something besides being a lump, Lucky goes to work building his own match company. His business is successful and all looks good for our lovers until the ruling match monopoly decides to play dirty to ensure that they will be the king of matches forever. They ruin all of Lucky’s stock and when the matches are returned by customers Lucky’s business goes under. To compound his problems, Lucky’s proposal to Shanti is refused by her father who calls into question his lack of money and lack of parentage.
Broken, and upset Lucky falls into bad company who convince him that if he were to accumulate large sums of money no one would question his parentage and he could have whatever he wants. The next time we see our Lucky on screen he is wearing a powder blue leisure suit and he is in a den. Evil, bad, villain Lucky has emerged.
Evil Lucky spends his time ruining other companies the way his was ruined. He pulls the rug from under his competitors in order to stay on top. Driving a flashy new car, rocking expensive Aviator glasses and carrying a suitcase of rupees Lucky returns to his village in hopes of giving back the money the community gave him to start his own business. Disgusted, the townspeople throw his money to the ground and his dads even refuse his repayment.
In a last ditch effort to prove to himself that money buys happiness, Lucky wanders over to Shanti’s house and gives her a fancy salwaar suit and bids her to come to a party with him. She agrees but is disgusted by Lucky’s new swagger and publicly shames him when he asks her to sing, and she sings about how disappointed she is in him. She runs from the party.
I forget how and why and through what means it is explained that Lucky’s parents are actually a lowly fruit seller and the Don that Lucky has been trying to undo through unseemly means, but Lucky’s parents are presented to him at the climax, after Lucky comes crawling back to his dads and accepted finally by Shanti’s father. In the end, Lucky ends up with four dads, he’s redeemed in the eyes of his parents and Shanti and they hug it out, hasty Masala film ending ishtyle.
Clearly I’m forgetting some major plot points, but as I mentioned, I tried to write this up a million time, and I watched it a while back… it has been a struggle. I wasn’t really excited by the film, but it wasn’t like I was totally disgusted by it either. I remember being vaguely unhappy with all the talk about money only brings happiness and it doesn’t matter how you get it, just that you do.
I found Neetu’s character admirable. She stuck up for herself, and didn’t fall for Lucky’s charms after he found money and became a powerful person. Rather, she only took him once he had seen the error of his ways and was humbled.

Jaani Dushman, 1979

Directed by: Rajkumar Kohli

I’m a finishing things kind of person.
No matter how awful a book, or a TV show or a movie is, once I start I must finish.
The exception being this movie.

The only thing I’m aware of about this movie is:
1. Neetu is in it.
2. There are like, 42 other famous people in it. Each, mind you, with their own plot line. It got really confusing after about 2 minutes.
3. If you get married, then your bride will be killed by some psychopathic man who can’t look at bridal red without a) going crazy and b) turning into a werewolf.

4. I fell asleep a few times while watching, so I might have missed all the good parts?

Yeah, not so sure about that last one…

I’m not a horror genre person, but I can tolerate them if I have to. Indian horror flicks are something else entirely. It was part scary movie part love story with no connection to the scary parts until someone got married and the wolf man came out. It was like watching two completely unrelated films that were sort of mashed incoherently together. Almost like two different films were started, and then canned, but being economical, a crafty editor melted them into one film and gave us Jaani Dushman.

Who knows.

Here are some screen caps of Neetu, though:

Shankar Dada, 1976

Directed by: Shibu Mitra

Take a moment and consider something, this picture, to be exact:

And just think about if you can handle two things:
1. All of this bumptiousness (it is a word) up in here.
2. If Neetu Week gets a little derailed and we smush in some Shashi.
Is that OK? Because, I totally intended for this to be a Neetu-centric post! I didn’t even know Shashi was IN this film and… well… I got a little VERY distracted once I put in the DVD and saw him on the menu screen.
I am only human.
Je damn! I loved this movie. Don’t ask me why, you should know better than to ask me why at this point. I wish I had the skill, care, and ability to read into things, to dissect them and analyze but I don’t and I never shall.
Our happy little fillum starts off with Police Inspector Amar Singh (Pran) and his wife (Anjali Kadam) in the typical household squabble of “Men never remember important dates”*. Amar tries his best at guessing, leaving the wife much unamused.
The long-suffering wife reminds him of what day it REALLY is, and points towards the two things my uterus will ever do anticipatory backflips for.
The two things:
1. Indian children.
2. Twin boys.

Of COURSE it is the twin boys, Ram aur Shankar’s birthday! And Baba forgot! He quickly kisses the boys on the head, feeds them some sweets and promises to see them that night.

At work, Police Inspector Amar Singh does his duty in combating goons and corruption from the local Don, Babubhai (Anwar Hussain).

No…and I DID bribe a police officer while in India…
Phew! I was lucky!

After a long day of “battling the lions of injustice” (name that movie) Amar Singh returns home too late to celebrate his boys’ birthday. He makes some phone calls about work related matters and settles in to dinner with his biwi when there is an urgent knock on the door. A frantic woman enters, crying hysterically and begging Amar to come with her as goons have invaded and surrounded her house and are holding her husband captive. Off they trot leaving the twin boys and Amar’s wife at home (Can someone smell what is coming?). As soon as Amar leaves the house goons come to incapacitate Mrs. Singh and kidnap the little boys.

Amar and the frightened woman enter her house.

The way the light comes through the sari…
That’s magic. Lovely!

Once inside Amar is once again matched against Babubhai. Appealed to again and and again Amar refuses to join Babubhai’s evil club. Until, that is, that Ram aur Shankar are brought in and used as leverage.

Amar instructs his boys to run away. Once they are gone from the house, Amar breaks the lights in the house (ALL of them, but just shooting ONE lightbulb) and ambushes Babubhai and all of his goons in the dark. Grunts and shots ring out and the rest of the police force arrive just as the action ends.

Meanwhile, as they are running away, Ram aur Shankur are separated, and since we neither saw that coming OR understand what significance that will play in the following hours, I propose we just ignore such a plot device for the time being.

That’s sarcasm, folks.

In trial Amar is accused of illicit behavior and of murder and is sentenced to life in jail. Clearly he is convicted under false terms, but were he to get off scott-free that would make his sure-to-come-revenge all the less sweet. Amar is carted off to jail.

Fast forward 20 years or so, or however long it takes Shashi to turn into a 30 something, and feast your eyes on adult Shankar:

He’s a facial hair wearing, swashbuckling, oddly moralistic con man with a knack for disguises and very, I’m talking impossibly fast, costume changes.

Shankar has done the unthinkable. He has one-upped Babubhai and stolen the Don’s stolen goods. Because that cannot be tolerated, especially from such a young whippersnapper, Babubhai sets him up with Bindiya at a night club.

Shakar, totally enjoys himself,

And essentially, falls for it:

Falling for the dashing diva only gets Shankar in thick with Babubhai and he takes a job from the Don. Heists, cons and narrow escapes ensue and we have the joy of seeing Shankar work his disguises for all they’re worth.

In other news, Amar Singh is release from prison, apparently having outlived a lifetime sentence and goes undercover in attempts to infiltrate Babubhai’s inner circle in hopes of enacting his revenge. During this time, Shankar gets aquatinted with both of his parents, not that he knows it of course.

In order to deal with the swelling of crime that Shankar has brought upon the town, the police decide to bring in an Inspector Ram, from Delhi, who will be handling the case. Being all that we want him to be, Ram meets and falls in love with a lovely ladki, Roopa (Neetu Singh) in the airport.

Look at his eager little boy body language!
Cho chweet!

Without warning, Roopa is taken immediately upon landing to the villain’s lair where her father is being held for reasons that aren’t really specified, but she pleads for his release, and becomes distraught when she witnesses his torture at the hands of a machine that… heats him up(?).

Thinking that it will set her father free, Roopa agrees to work for the bad guys. The goons have discovered the doppleganger Ram after a few hours of mistaken identity and accidently foiled plans wherein I got really confused trying to tell both Shashis (in disguises) apart from one another. Suffice it to say that my dreams came true in one disguise….

In the name of all things holy, Shashi as a Sardarji is the most UNFAIR yet
amazing thing EVER. 
Roopa agrees to take on the job of seducing Ram to get him into the cavern of villainocity. She proceeds to meet him at a pool, pretend to drown, then pretend to get drunk and entices him with a sexy song in his bedroom. I love Neetu so much.
The short and short of seduction by Neetu Singh is that it works. Ram falls heads over tops with Roopa and accompanies her to an art gallery (Date win!) where they snuggle a bit before she insists she go study a particular engraving before she pulls a lever which causes him to fall through the floor and into the cavernous jail in the villain’s lair.
Ram is lucky enough to land in a cell that shares bars with Roopa’s father. At first angered by her betrayal, Ram settles down after he learns that Roopa is only cooperating with the thugs in a hope to save her beloved Babaji.
On the outside, Pran has donned the guise of a leprechaun and invades a political rally to shame the politicians and demand the end of poverty in India. There is also a map of India… made out of people.
Back in the underground jail, a fight breaks out between Ram and the head thug wherein fire torches are thrown.
Ram is presumed dead and is dropped into the ocean. Fortunately he survives and climbs out onto the beach sparkling with sea water dripping from his curls. Yum. He hightails it over to the police department where Shankar has been impersonating him. The police chief bids Ram to hid behind the door while he calls in the impostor. Ram and Shankar meet at stare at each other in amazement.
His deceit found out Shankar runs back to Babubhai and kidnaps an old woman, who will later turn out to be his mother. On his way to catch him, Ram encounters the soon-to-be-kidnapped Maa who informs him of who he is and who his brother is. A hop and a skip before you know it and we’re all corralled into the villain’s lair awaiting the last 30 minutes of dishoom!
During the battle Ram informs Shankar of their brotherly bond and that he kidnapped their very own Maa! In a secret winking ceremony while scuffling, the two boys decide to work together in bringing down the Don. Thankfully, the happily reunited sons and Maa don’t have to wait too long before their long lost Babaji, Amar Singh, reappears and kicks the tar out of the bad guys.
Then, in order to get her revenge, Roopa pops out of a trunk pointing a pistol. Can I repeat it? I love Neetu Singh.
It all ends with the Police Chief showing up, Roopa being threatened and the Don getting his just rewards for being such an awful man.
Then, Shankar must face the consequences of his actions, but in a total b!t*h move, his dad makes his own twin brother arrest him. My disk ended abruptly after the cuffs were on and Shankar was smiling manically. I kind of hope that wasn’t the real ending, because it was totally creepy.
Ok. I’d be all analytical and stuff, but this post totally exhausted me. Granted, I was toiling over a pot of chai at the same time, more than visibly concerned that I’ll make an awful filmi wife one day**. Oh, and I’m not analytical. However, I did really like Bindu’s cabaret song, seen here.
And, just for some gleeful things, extra screen-caps of pyaaaaar:
I was so obsessed with this wall. 
SO going in my house….
when I grow up enough to get a house.
Those hands.
The very Piet Mondria entrance to the liar.
*I’m awful at remembering important dates and anniversaries. It’s not always the men!
**Don’t judge me.

Teesri Ankh, 1982

Directed by: Dubodh Mukherji

All of the good (well, let’s say “alarmingly awkward and funny”) bits of this film can be watched if you YouTube the songs and as I posted them here you won’t even have to go scavenging for them, hence you have no actual reason to watch this film other than the bits I provide for your education in all things wacktacular.

You love me too, I know.

You MUST check out the short shorts, awkward hopping and side-boob in this one!! 

This film just felt so stale. It was too long, too boring, to cliche and too long. Did I say it was too long? Because it was.  Granted, it only has a run time of 2 hours and 29 minutes, which is not terribly long for Masala standards, but it just drags on and on and on with no end in sight and no clear point of view.

The cinematography styles changed from moment to moment and the movie fell apart due to the inclusion of characters that were treated as “main” and should have stayed in the “supporting” category. Everyone had a back story, everyone had a love story, everyone had revenge to enact or a parent to love…

You can do a multi-perspective film well or you can do it poorly, and this one… well, it was done poorly.

There was only one reason I watched this, and as it is Neetu Week, I’m sure you’ll know why, obviously because Neetu is in the film, and because it was her last film before she retired.

The film follows the basic Masala plot-line. Man loves woman and marries her. Daddy disapproves. Woman leaves baby at Shiva’s temple. Man finds it. Man takes home baby to wife, wife loves orphan baby. Wife has own kids. Man dies and tells her the orphan baby is his first wife’s child. Man makes woman promise to keep loving orphan baby. Woman promises. Man dies. Woman’s real child dies. Orphan baby is blamed for child’s death. Woman shuns orphan baby. Orphan baby just wants Ma’s love. Orphan baby grows up good. Woman’s other baby grows up bad. Villains are on the loose. Love scene. Ma’s retribution. Orphan baby’s acceptance. Fight scene. End.

This was my personal favorite, not only did the hero show up JUST in time, but he’s singing as well… and wrestles with people in their knickers! 

Granted, there are other things that flush out those rather obtuse details, but they’re not really important in the context of this film because this film just didn’t feel like it had some lesson it was teaching or a great idea that needed planted into our minds. I have no idea how the movie did commercially or how it is ranked in greatness these days, but it just felt like a “middle-season” release. The kind of movie you go see only because there is absolutely nothing else to see.

Maybe it was a hit, a Platinum Jubilee or something and I am just not seeing the greatness hidden within. Whatever it was, I took over 600 screen caps (about 2.6 caps/second) so either I was alarmingly trigger happy, or there was just a lot of fantastic WEIRDNESS going on. (Pick the latter! Pick the latter!)

Neetu was not around a lot in the film, which compounded the problems of attention I was having, but when she was on screen she radiated her bubbly self and gave life to her character. She did well playing the scorned daughter with vengeance to enact, and I would have liked to see more of her character developed, but with competition from 23 other story lines, I understand how that might have been diffacult.
And now, a screen-cap retelling of the film… because it’s easier:

The adoption:

The Day-Glo Devil Worshiping lair:

A Disembodied Appendages Robbery:

The Lovers Meeting… and it goes badly:

A Girl Fight:

The lovers meeting again and falling in love:

Can I just tell you something?
Violence, especially when MEN BEAT WOMEN does NOT mean pyaaaaar.

Maa Drama:

The CREEPIEST Revenge Mural:
A Journey to Space:
You MUST watch this song too, click here, as embedding was forbidden. 
Bad Spying Technique in the Hallway of the Person You’re Spying On:
Awkward Backdrop Walkie Talkie Usage:
I love magically changing backgrounds! 
Flashy Scorned Neetu!
Um. Owls:
It turns out about 400 of my screen caps were of the owls in this film. 
They. Were. Everywhere.
Whatever THIS Is:
Interesting Friend-Making Techniques:
And the Bloody Happy Ending:
And All of THIS:
…This is Hrithik’s father. 
It took me only 304,313 hours to figure it out. 
This is what I think I look like on a daily basis…
I don’t, by the way…

Just as a post script, looking back on this post and all the giggles it brought me I’m rather confused as to why, with such a abundance of crazy I disliked the film… and I re-watched it a couple times. Hmmm… perhaps I needed a few other people to watch it with me. It would work well in a group viewing, this film.

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!