Saturday, 25 September 2010

Jal Bin Machhli Nritya Bin Bijli (1971)

First of all what a fabulous poster that is, i hope to make it into a Tshirt one of these days, in fact i've been doing a lot of that, wearing some of my favourite bollywood posters as Tshirts, i'll share the images on here at some point, now back to Jal bin Macchli Nritya Bin bijli (Fish without water, lightening without dance), is yet another V. Shantaram film that is very much an acquired taste, from what I've gathered from the comments on my blog this seems to be a lot of people's least favourite V.Shantaram film

The film starts with the memo of "No art form is great if there is no imagination behind it"

Alaknanada's (Sandhya) mother had given up her love for dancing for the sake of her husband Dr Verma (Iftekhar) all in the name of not wanting people to label her as characterless. Before she dies she urges Akalnanda to fulfil these dream of hers


the ever so quirky but undeniably lovable Sandhya

She impresses Kailash (Abhijeet) a wealthy artist/musician who sees her dancing, he's taken aback and says its the kind of dance he wants for a show he's working on as her dance comes from the heart and is full of passion


Her father thinks she can take up whatever dancing as much as she wants after marriage, thus refusing to let her go to Kailash but she overrules him and starts meeting Kailash for dance lessons, over time they both fall in love


Meanwhile Kailash parents are matchmaking him with foreign returned Princess Roopmati (Minal), his mother Rajamata (Dina Pathak) had promised Roopmati's mother she would be her daughter in law


Despite his parents choice of Roopmati, Kailash only has eyes for none other than Akalnanda which leaves Roopmati frustrated adding to her frustrations even more is when Akalnanda saves Kailash's life from a tiger which makes him love her even more


When Akalnand's uncle Mr Rai blabs about Kailash and Akalnanda's love to her father he reprimands her but she refuses to leave him as she wants to stay not only for her love but for the sake of her art


Also trying to break them up is Kailash's mother who tries to buy her out Akalnanda refuses, but when her mother in a case of "why don't you just let her go ahead and do it" attempts to swallow poison, Akalnanda in order to prevent her death decides to sacrifice her love (yawn!!)


On the day of her dance , Uncle Rai sabotages her performance which results in her breaking her spinal cord


She's taken to hospital where after treatment she's left with the support of crutches. Kailash goes to her with his marriage proposal (Gotta love him, broken spines and all) but she turns him down (Silly girl) saying she never loved him and had only been leading him on for the sake of learning dance from him


Kailash is angry and thus decides upon hating all womankind


Will kailash find out the truth behind Akalnanda's lies? Will Akalnanda be able to dance again? Will Kailash ever love womankind again? Will Akalnanada and Kailash end up together? Watch Jal Bin Macchli Nritya Bin Bijli to find out

There's melodrama and then there is hyper-melodrama, this film is the latter of the two, I'm not surprised this ends up on the bottom pile as a lot of people's least favourite V.Shantaram movie, its completely zany.

Of Course the major theme of the film is on the passion and sacrifice of dance, especially Akalnanda's struggle to prove the purity of her art since it was considered dirty for her mom, a little bit of emphasis on the spirituality and sacrifice needed for one's art just like in Jhanak Jhanak Paayal Baaje. Overall i don't know if i'd recommend this for everyone, let your tastes do the talking, if you do love your flamboyant art as well as costumes this might be the film for you. Personally as much as i enjoyed the music and the dance sequences some of it especially the second half was rather exhausting to sit through, it took a lot of effort on my part not to forward through some scenes

Here are some of the flamboyant costumes we were treated to, which i have to say i found rather interesting

a human snake

a peacock man





and Sandhya in an amazing holographic skintight Green Lantern-esque jumpsuit complete with troll like green wig hair and glittery mask, if you're stuck for inspiration this halloween perhaps watching the clip which i've embedded below will help you decide on what to wear (the actual song starts at about 3.20)


And imitation as they say is the sincerest form of flattery, that is in fact the case with this 'Kajra laga ke' song which i'embedded above, everything from the costumes, the choreography and the song itself was copied in the 1981 Telugu movie 'Agni Poolu' with Jaya Prada in Sandhya's role in the dance above



Finally one of the best things about this film asisdes from the flmaboyant costumes and art are Laxmikant Pyarelal's music. My favourites are 'Taron mein sajna ke' with its clever use of Ennico Morricone's The Good, the bad and the ugly theme , 'kajra laga ke' which i've embedded above with English subtitles, the cabaretesque 'Ek to jawani ke din char' my favourite of the whole lot though is 'Jal bin mahhli (Man ke pyaas)' where Sandhya dances like a fish out of water, she even colour coordinates her outfit with that of the fish


Now head over to My music Movies and Mutterings blog for an amazing write up of the soundtrack and to get the music for free

Total Score: 6/10 (Extra points for the sake of the costumes, songs and sets)



20 comments:

Sharmi Ghosh Dastidar said...

I've heard a lot about this film. But I think Sandhya looks a bit old here. And just one thing: Jal in this case means water. But a great post :)

harvey said...

I find the music nice as well, but not really astounding like in his earlier films or even Pinjra,which released one year later.

Nasir said...

As far as I remember, Jal bin Machhli... did not cause any ripple. As Rashmi remarked, Sandhya looks old in this movie. Of course she does since this comes 20 years after her first Hindi film, Parchhaiyan. V. Shantaram's daughter, Rajshree, too had already made her debut eight years before Jal bin...
Having said that, one cannot deny the typical Marathi sex appeal in Sandhya, something that may be termed as "laungi-mirchi". Unfortunately, she never had any wider appeal. By 1971, times were fast changing and hence the movie did not make any impact. A couple of songs were good but nothing in the league of earlier Vasant Desai compositions - say, as in Jhanak Jhanak (1955) and Goonj Uthi Shenai (1959).

Veen said...

Great write-up Bosun. And looking at the pictures, Sandhya does look pretty old. i wonder why she was casted in the role.

Sharmi, thanks for the definition of 'jal' .... honestly thought it was net.

avdi said...

Strictly to be seen for the weird dances, including the one on crutches.

The name of the movie translates as 'Fish without water, Lightening without dance'

dustedoff said...

When I was a kid, we only had one TV channel, on which they'd show maybe two movies a week. The one at 5.45 on Sunday used to be almost sacrosanct for us - we HAD to watch it. Jal bin Machhli Nritya bin Bijli was shown at 5.45 one Sunday, and by the time the second half came around, I was the only one watching in our house - my parents had given up after an hour, and my sister by the halfway mark!

I did rather like that clingy green costume though.

Richard S. said...

Bollywooddeewana, thanks for another fine detailed writeup.

But, yes, this is by far the worst Shantaram film that I ever saw. But I love the "Fish Out of Water" dance and I agree that the music is good.

Like Harvey above, I also found myself comparing this to Pinjra (1972). That was a better film with better music and better Sandhya. I liked watching her do such good dances (well, at least I think they were good...) more than 20 years since her first films - and she was sexy too. All the more credit to her!

Shilpi Bose said...

Here some behind scenes info about Jal Bin…… V.Shantaram called in eminent theatre lighting expert Tapas Sen to do the lighting for some of the dance sequences. I think it was the song Taro Mein Sajke…. where you see his lighting. Tapas Sen is considered a pioneer of sorts in his field. He was responsible for lighting up Howrah Bridge for some occasion as well as the Eiffel Tower for the Festival of India. If you google Tapas Sen you will get plenty of info about him. But here is something interesting that I would like to share. I was very young then but I remember hearing all this being discussed at home – an art director had mentioned it to dad---- having signed such an eminent person Shantaram was quite prepared to spend money but was absolutely surprised when the sought after lighting expert asked just for a broom, empty tins of Dalda (Dalda was a cooking medium quite popular in India then)paper and cellophane sheets of different colours. At a low cost Tapas Sen was able to get the effect Shantaram wanted.

MinaiMinai said...

Nice post! When I saw your first few images I knew I had seen a similar dance in a video recently- apparently this film was remade in Telugu (I presume) as "Priyuda Paraaka," and Jayapradha tries her hand at the snake dance/peacock song in "Angi Poolu": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QLTZSlFyKJ0

I think Jayaprada's costume is even more holographic than Sandhyas! Haha, thought you might enjoy the southie version. Toodles! ~Minai

bollywooddeewana said...

@ Sharmi She does indeed look old here but i didn't really mind that. thanks for the Jal tip, i'll make corrections.

@ Rightly said Harvey I 'll look out for Pinjra

@ Nasir Indeed Sandhya can best be described as having that special "laungi-mirchi", thanks for that word, i shall be putting it to use

@ Veen You're welcome i'll make the corrrection as noted as well. I really didn't mind Sandhya being a bit older i guess I'm that much o f a fan

@ Avdi bahut bahut shukriya, thats the exact translation i'm looking for i'll re-edit it into the post. Yes the dance numbers were without doubt the best thing about the film

@ dustedoff thanks for that anecdote, i really like hearing such stories and i learnt a new word too ;0) 'Sacrosanct'

@ Richard thanks a lot, i'll definitely look out for Pinjra now, Harvey has recommends it too

@ Shilpi Thanks for that extra bit of information, i always like hearing such tales. V.Shantaram is definitely very much of a showman and his picturisations are always very interesting, great to hear he goes arms and lengths for them

@ Minai Thanks a lot i shall include that video in my post, not only did they copy the costumes and choreography they've also sampled the the song itself heavily, imitation really is the biggest andmost sincere form of flattery

"THE BARD WHO DOESNT HAVE TO TRY TOO HARD" said...

my fav is "boond jo ban gayi moti" more than tis as it has 1 of my fav songs "haan maine bi pyaar kiya" :)..

nevertheless,gud job wit d review!!!

bollyviewer said...

I've always wondered if I'd have found Sandhya more likable had she worked with a director who did not insist on extracting 1930s-style (ultra dramatic!) performances out of his actors. And that is my major problem with Shantaram films. He usually brings up great themes, lovely music, and novel ideas, but the execution is so much like his earliest films that the movies are effectively unwatchable (for me!). I must've seen this at the same time as Dustedoff, and remember finding it a rather avoidable film. I do remember liking Boond Jo Ban Gayi Moti, but that may be just because of Mumtaz and the lovely songs!

Mister Naidu said...

Jal Bin Machhli Nritya Bin Bijli: wonderful review, very good soundtrack and absolutely amazing poster!

bollywooddeewana said...

@ the Bard Thanks i hope to have the review of Boond jo ban gayee moti before the end of today or by early tomorrow

@ Bollyviewer i agree with most of your points but i do have to say i enjoy his films in a very theatrically campy kind of way and yes Boond jo ban gayee moti is probably one of his films where the drama wasn't hyper

@ Mister Naidu Thanks Mr Naidu, great to see we both agree on the fabulosity of the poster and music ;0)

Daddy's Girl said...

Hi Bollywooddeewana... thanks for this very detailed review, a great read, and I look forward to seeing the movie. Wanted to let you know there's a guest post up over on Dustedoff's blog that I think you (with your love for Hindi film posters) will absolutely adore....

bollywooddeewana said...

@ You're welcome Daddy's girl, thanks for that tip off, I've just left a comment over at dusted off's blog, i simply love those retro posters, i never get tired of looking or reading about them

The nitty-gritty tales of a housewife said...

Glad i found you! I love indian films! right from when i was a kid...so colourful, cultural & beautiful...just finished watching an old movie yesterday....NAAGLOK...can't wait to see your next review...weldone.

bollywooddeewana said...

@ The nitty grritty tales of a housewife Thank you so much, i haven't seen Naaglok but it looks interesting from the posters i've seen of it

bollywoodfoodclub said...

bollywooddeewana-ji,
I LOVE your idea of getting that poster replicated on a t-shirt. I also think it would look fantastic on the hood of a car, perhaps an Ambassador. I have ordered this into my netflix queue at number one and will report back. I will watch all movies that include peacock men.
All the best,
Sita-ji

bollywooddeewana said...

Lol Sita -Ji its such an arresting art work that yes it could be used on the hood of a car. Please be sure to report back in fact i'd like you to blog on it when you do see it, i love how you're abble to pick on the most obscure things