Khel Khel Mein, 1975

Directed by: Ravi Tandon

I’m seriously going to marry the man who sells me DVDs. This was another one of his suggestions. He placed it into my hands and said “I watched this last night. It is my very favorite.”

How can you ignore a rave review like that? Plus it had Rishi Kapoor and Neetu Sing lovey-doving on the cover.

For once in my life I’m going to try not to give away spoilers. Eek!

Oh, this film is so tricky! The first hour or so you’re convinced it is just a simple romantic comedy between Ajay (Rishi Kapoor) and Nisha (Neetu Singh) and the pranks and exploits of their group of friends fronted by Vikram (Rakesh Roshan). However, when a prank goes farther than it should the movie turns into a fast aced, high suspense thriller.

The change in pace and genre happens so seamlessly and effortlessly that you can’t help but get sucked in.

Call me dense, but this plot had me up until the very end. I had no idea who was right, who was wrong, and who the real bad guy was.  The story line was so clean and so free from excess “stuff” that it was easy not only to follow along, but to empathize and theorize with the characters.

There is a very streamline feeling to this film, from the story to the editing,to the production quality it is done with such refreshing neatness. There are no gaps, no drops, no superfluous additions… even the Item Number has plot relevance! Perhaps the streamlined nature of the film is to be attributed to its base, “Good Children Don’t Kill”,  a play by Louis Thomas. Not being familiar with the play I cannot add weight to my speculations, but having an established story is always a good framework.  After doing some Googling, the play seems to be anything but well known, but the synopsis I found was close enough to the plot of the film that it seems to go hand-in-hand with the original text.

This film is also interesting as it seems geared mostly towards teenagers. Oh sure, there are plenty of films set in colleges but I have seen few that keep their characters appearance so young. They still get in trouble with their parents, they make phone calls to their beloved under the covers at midnight, they sit in class and take notes, they get into trouble with teachers.

Now that I list everything out I keep thinking of films that do the same thing, but I feel as if the ambiguous age of other characters in other films is always somewhere around the mid-20s. There is always a shred of maturity to them that is absent in this film. It was very clear to me that our trio was no older than 16 at the most.

Perhaps this is because neither Ajay, Nisha or Vikram wanted to take responsibility for their actions and that is inherently a very teenaged thing to do*, but there was just something so youthful about the entire scope of the film and the energy of the ensemble.

The songs in this film are just superb. They’re stuck in my head and won’t get out. I know I laud Kishore Kumar all the time but I do think that his voice worked the best with Rishi. There is just something about the two of them that work so well together to present the illusion of singing, it is a very good match.

Special mentions must go to “Ek Main Aur Ek Tu” which besides being just too cute for words is full of mad dancing and Neetu-Rishi pyaaring. Plus: pigtails.

Also, fans of Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi will recognize Rishi’s getup in the cho chweet and best wooing song ever, “Hum Ne Tum Ko Dekha

There is so much to love about this fillum:

A lively group of pals:

Magic guitar playing prowess:

The “Fourteenth Annual Function”:

Princess Neetu!:

Prince Rishi!

Annnnd Neetu-Rishi!

Romps in the Snow:

Staring contests:

Ok, this little 30 second segment was deliciously adorable. First Rishi would start to laugh, and then Neetu, and vice-versa. They held it together enough that it wasn’t obvious, but it was so precious that I literally died ten times.

Neetu n’ Rishi sittin’ in a tree…Twice!

The Omnipresent Self Portrait in someone’s bedroom:

Um. Murder:

There is also a host of fun fashions in this film, but none more striking than Rishi’s recurring pom-pom hat. (Especially pared with his banana suit!)

A word about Rishi Kapoor; he might be slowly but surely stealing Shashi’s place in my dil. I’ve known this for a while, he’s just so fabulous. Shashi might have the sex appeal but Rishi brings my pyaar to the yard.

In doing some preliminary stalking I discovered that very few people in the BollyBlog world have seen (or written about, at least) this film! Rectify this! See it now! Maybe I’ll lend my DVD, na? :)

*Says the super mature 22 year old.