Sunday, 30 August 2009

Laadla (1994)

Long before Meryl Streep played Miranda Prestley in Devil wears Prada there was Sridevi as a no nonsense woman in this moderately entertaining drama

Sheetal Jetley (Sridevi) is a high powered, high achiever, she hates being second in life, the top is the utmost position for her and she strives for this always, She runs her father's company Sheetal's textiles making it the Number 1

One day she comes across Raju (Anil Kapoor), the two are involved in an arguement culminating in him telling her that women should be coy and men be bold

A rival company fronted by Suryadev (Prem Chopra) his son (Monish Behl) and his brother (Paresh Rawal) are jealous of Sheetal's success in leading her father's company to the top, they hatch a plan to get her married to Monish so that they can merge and then eventually take over the company, Sheetal gives them the cold shoulder,this makes them vengeful

Raju saves Sheetal's Dad from villains one day and as a reward he's employed by Sheetal's dad as Chief mechanic in Sheetal Textile Industries, while there Raju he meets and falls for Kaajal (Raveena Tandon)

Raju also gathers a huge following and the workers soon start protesting against the demands of Sheetal. When Raju challenges her ego in front of the workers Sheetal is gutted and plans to avenge his actions by marrying him out of spite, even though she knows he's in love with Kaajal

She manipulates his crippled mother Farida Jalal to get him married to her only, she also bullies her into making Raju come live with her at her place

Raju is releuctant about leaving his mother but she insists and he gets married to her and he promises to come back after teaching her a lesson

When they get married she begins torturing Raj by refusing to have sex with him, she also keeps him as her subordinate, through all this she begins breaking Raju's assertive personality

Meanwhile Mr Bhandari (Shakti Kapoor) who despises Sheila's manipulative ways makes allies with Suryadev's company, together they plan on defaming Sheetal Industries thereby knocking it off the top

Would they be successful? How much more of Sheila's manipulation would Raju be able to take? What would be the end of Sheila, would she die a filmi type bad girl death or would she li=ve to realise the errors(?) of her ways? Watch Laadla to find out

This is without doubt one of Sridevi's finest roles, given the rampant and in fact very true complaints of the lack of strong female characters in bollywood films, Sheetal's role in Laadla (Darling) was a very interesting one, albeit the fact that her character was cast in a negative light, Sridevi shines and gives and excellent performance as Sheetal.

The downsides and in fact the major reason why this interesting drama loses points with me is the fact that Sheetal's egomaniac, inconsiderate attitude was attributed to her education in a western country, in that sense the west is painted as an evil place and in the end when she finally realises the error of her ways she's starts dressing in a Sari (wrong, very wrong). I thought such moral lines were something movies like Jab Jab phool Khile in the '60s sought to convey, and surely film director's in the '90's would have been way enlightened than use such moral codes. At the heart of the film is that which Raju's character had coveyed to Sheetal that men should be bold and women coy (definitely not one i agree with)

A great point akbarnali an imdb commenter makes about Sridevi's role as Sheetal in Laadla is that it paved the way for the bollywood anti-heroine such as that of Kajol in Gupt, Manisha in Dil se & Yugpurush, Juhi Chawla in Arjun Pandit etc

Sridevi was stylish though and she looked fierce in her corporate skirt suits and bobbed hair with bangs

Very Coco Channelesque with the pearls and all

Gotta love that fringe

And of course this film is famous for Sridevi's 'understand, You better understand' dialogue after which she clicks her fingers, you can see it here around the 2.28 mark

'Understand, you better understand'

The music by Anand Milind is good among my favourites are the very 90's romance sounds of 'Meri Dhadkan suno' the infectious 'Ladki hai kya' the heavy rhythms of 'Mere Ghulam' the sentimental 'Teri Ungli Pakadke' which celebrtaes the joy of motherhood and the atypical Sridevi Anil Kapoor seductive song 'Dhak Dhak Dil Dhadak'

Total Score: 6/10 ( An enjoyable even if somewhat flawed moral drama)

Laadla is available with English Subtitles on Youtube in 17 parts

Edited to add
Laadla is a remake of a 1992 Telugu movie called Gharaana Mogudu

Also the late Divya Bharati is said to have been playing the role of Sheetal until her sad and untimely death caused Sridevi to replace her, below is some of the scene's Divya shot, what an awesome actress she is, I wonder what this film would have been like with her as Sheetal 

Friday, 28 August 2009

Boxer (1984)

At first i thought this film would be a rip off of Rocky, but this bollywood boxing drama holds its own very well, with a very nice even if somewhat predictable story, the performances were great and its highly enjoyable

Dharma (Danny denzongpa) a reasonably accomplished boxer is promised lots of favours should he win his next fight against Tiger another reputed fighter

A day before the match Dharma has a stomach pain but he ignores it, on the big day Tiger punches him in the stomach and Dharma is rendered weak, Tiger wins the fight

As a result of losing the match he loses money, and all the promised favours plus the doctor tells him to quit boxing as any further matches will be hazardous to his health. As a result of all these calamities Dharma becomes a drunkard

His son Shankar (Mithun Chakraborty) starts stealing, Dharma also starts resenting his son for not wanting to follow in his footsteps by becoming a boxer

Shankar meets Rajni (Rati Agnihotri) and they both fall in love with each other over time

Their love is threatened after Shankar is revealed as a thief at her birthday party by her father's friend whom Shankar had stolen from

Shankar goes to Jail , upon coming out he promises his mother Savitri (Tanuja) he won't steal anymore, he also reunites with his girlfriend Rajni

Boxing trainer Tony Braganza (Parikshat Sahni) had helped Raghuraj (Sharat Saxena) to the top but Raghuraj betrayed him and caused him to go to Jail

Following his release from Jail, Tony is on the hunt for a new boxer who would surpass Raghuraj's so he chooses Shankar whom he had met in Jail, although Shankar had turned him down at first when he falls on hard times he comes to Tony for 50,000 Rupees

Tony decides to give him if he would fight Raghuraj and then whether he loses or win he would be able to keep the money

Thus Tony starts training Shankar for the big fight

On the day of the big fight Shankar loses and his right eye is seriously injured

The doctor tells him any more hits to the eye and he'll be blind, his wife Rajni makes him promise not to box again

His father is Unhappy as Dharma had seen Shankar taking up boxing as an opportunity to show the world there is a champion in his blood

One day Shankar's younger brother Sonu gets injured and 2 lakhs is required to treat him, simultaneously a new boxng deal is offered to Shankar where he'll be able to earn 2 lakhs if he fights once more with Raghuraj

Will Shankar take up the opportunity? Will he risk going blind for boxing? Watch Boxer to find out

Overall i enjoyed watching Boxer, its an entertaining drama with all round great performances, even though a bit predictable in parts, it held my attention and in an era that was so replete with love stories here and there boxer is quite refreshing even though it had the atypical triumph through tragedy sports theme. The boxing scenes were well filmed and researched and it feels like you're watching an actual boxing match on Tv

Gotta love that big golden eagle on the floor of the boxing ring

The performances are great all around and it was nice seeing Danny in a sympathetic role as opposed to the usual villain fare

I also loved Rati Agnihotri in these, i loved her style, she is one of my favourute beauties from '80's bollywood

I'm a big Mithun fan but unfortunately he isn't seen by many to be a great performer which i guess was down to his choice in cheesy commercial flicks like Disco Dancer, Dance Dance etc. i liked him here just as much, he wasn't over melodramatic

Great music too from R.D. Burman from the disco sounds of 'Dekho Idhar' to the sweet romantic sounds of 'tere dil mein kuch kuch' my favourite has to be 'Shaadmani' where we see a joyful exuberant Danny singing and dancing

Total score: 7/10 (Entertaining boxing drama)

Here's a nice list of sports related bollywood movies

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Humjoli (1970)

Ever since i saw the Badminton song sequence in om shanti om and knowing it came from Humjoli, i knew i had to see it. This film without doubt must be one of Farah Khan's favourites as she references parts of it in Om Shanti Om and its not hard to see why though as its an enjoyable fun flick

Rupa (Purnima) the daughter of wealthy Nasir Hussain is considered ugly by her to be husband as a result he leaves her

Hmm i'm thinking he considered her ugly just because of her dark skin

Gopal (Pran) who is present agrees to marry Rupa to save Nasir's honour, Nasir is delighterd and he gets them married

Unknown to Nasir and Rupa is the fact that Gopal has a fiancee Shyama.

When Rupa's father dies he deceives her into taking a trip to a temple on her way there Rupa boat is capsized by bandits hired by Gopal, he then marries Shyama

A stranger rushes to Gopal telling him about Rupa's death, he hands his baby daughter Rani to him telling him she was saved from the accident, Gopal asks him to keep this a secret between them, he then asks him to raise her for him

A few years later and Gopal has inherited all of Rupa's millions, he keeps in touch with his now grown up daughter Rani (Leena Chadravakar) on the sly, when she asks to move in with him he refuses but instead he gets her a house

Rajesh (Jeetendra) & Shobha (Aruna Irani) leave their his fathers house after he makes plans to remarry (selfish kids aren't they, poor man has been single for a very long time)

They both come to Mumbai and there rajesh meets Shivram (Mehmood) who offers him a place

Shobha also meets Rani with whom she had gone to college, she gets her brother Rajesh a job with her father

Shobha and Rajesh fall in love

but their relationship is threatened when her step mother Shyama's relative Manmohan blackmails her father telling him to marry him to Rani otherwise he would tell the police of how he had plotted his wife's murder

Gopal then urges Rajesh to break up with Rani, which he does by gyrating with Mumtaz in a club thereby driving Rani to shedding tears of anger & jealousy

How will things turn out, will Rajesh and Rani ever come back together? Will Gopal change his mind about letting Rani marry Manmohan? Will his secret ever be known?

Humjoli represents that genre of classic camp escapist bollywood cinema, high on melodrama, full of fun and Mehmood in a a very tolerable comic side plot. Great perfomances from everyone as well as excellent songs and picturisatons make Humjoli an entertaining watch, no wonder Farah Khan referenced bits of it for Om Shanti Om

Other reasons to watch Humjoli are

Pran what a class act this man truly is, he never bores me, i loved his facial expressions and dialogue in the scrrencap below, i wish i could say it in Hindi

A very cute Leena Chandavarkar, there's a a coy cheekiness and likability she exudes this is my second film i've seen her in and i'm a fan

Jeetendra at his charismatic melodramatic best, gotta love him in the wine suit and tie below

Mehmood in a comic triple role

Mehmood's wacky joke of distributing diarrhoea inducing chocolates

the poor victim of mehmood's chocolates

Mehmood as a baby in a dodgy special effect

Some fabulous interiors

A very cool winebar, why is it that my local bar can't and doesn't look like this

Gotta love Pran's bedroom

Manmohan is some whacky cool sunglasses

And of course the superb music by Laxmikant Pyarelal there's the super cute and fun Dil gaya 'dhal gaya din' where Jeetendra and Leena play badminton while singing, you can even hear the sounds of shuttlecock pop which Farah Khan references in the 'Dhoom Tana' song from 'Om shanti Om'

Jeetendra and Leena in 'Dhal gaya din'

Deepika and Sharukh Khan in Om shanti om
Even Leena's outfit seems to have been the inspiration behind Deepika's

Notice the tight churidars and head scarves are similar to that Deepika has in the 'Om shanti om' poster above

Chal shuru Ho ja where Jeetendra and Mehmood dance in their pants at 'Hotel my love' you can hear the slaps, kicks and punches in the song

'Hai re Hai' a fun fun rain song all those who like rain songs better add this one to their list

The catchy 'Tik Tik' where Mumtaz and Jeetendra's dancing makes Leena shed tears of jealously. Mumtaz's outfit in this song is also the inspiration behind Deepika's showgirl outfit in the posters of 'Om shanti om' and in the 60's scene from the 'Dhoom Tana' song

Mumtaz's feather head dress in 'Tik Tik'

Her full showgirl outfit with two side slits

Deepika wears a very similar one complete with feathery head dress in the om shanti om poster and in the 'Dhoom Tana' song

Total score: 7/10 (Highly entertaining camp fun)