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.

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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.
Ranbir?

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:

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!