Thursday 23 July 2009

Tohfa (1984)

This is one of the superhit remakes of a South Indian film in the '80's, these southern type films were very melodramatic in nature and usually starred Jeetendra, Sridevi and Jaya Prada with the music being composed mostly by Bappi Lahiri. These potboiler melodramas became a winning '80's box office success formula with movies such as Himmatwala, Mawaali, Justice Choudhary, Maqsad, Swarag Se Sunder etc all becoming box office hits. Tohfa (Gift) is one of these films, it was a remake of the Telugu film Devatha (1982), the film became the highest grosser in 1984 at the Indian box office

Janki (Jaya Prada) is a self sacrificing person who always helps and keeps a smile on everyones faces

She even sacrifices her own education so that her sister Lalita (Sridevi) can attend college without worrying about fees

Even Ram ( Jeetendra) the first person in the village to gain a law qualification attributes this to Janki, as he could only study due to Janki's help caring for his mother

Things take a turn when Janki falls in love with Ram, but Ram on the other hand loves Lalita but Janki does not know this

Many villagers come to seek Ram's hand in marriage for their daughters, but Ram's mother wants Janki to marry Ram, while Ram himself had promised to marry Lalita

When the two sisters's realise they're both in love, they decide to tell each other and in a game of 'no you go first' Janki reveals to Lalita that she's in love with Ram and their marriage has been planned by his mother

When Lalita finds out she keeps schtum and doesn't reveal her feelings and the fact that she's been dating Ram to her sister

Lalita out of desperation and heartbreak then marries a local tout kamesh (Shakti kapoor) in an attempt to get rid of her feelings for Ram

When her sister finds out about her marriage to loudmouth Kamesh she's disappointed and when she voices her opinion, Lalita accuses her of jealousy. Janki disowns Lalita and the two sister's part ways

Ram is disappointed when he finds out about Lalita's marriage to Kamesh

Lalita moves out of the village with Kamesh, while on the train to Mumbai kamesh gets in a fight which results in murder, he's sentenced to 7 years in Jail

Also Lalita is now carrying Ram's baby but Ram does not know this. Following their marriage, Ram and Janki also move into the same town but they find it hard to have a child of their own

Soon enough Ram comes across his son Gopi but he doesn't know Gopi is his son, soon enough Gopi takes him home to introduce him to his mother Lalita

Will she reveal Gopi's identity to Ram? Will she and her sister ever speak again? Will Janki ever learn of lalita's baby with Ram?

This melodrama while entertaining in some way was quite annoying at times, i hated the self sacrificial nature Janki was often subjected and praised for, but i still i enjoyed the melodrama, i loved the way it explores the consequences of what we might think are our good actions often wrecks havoc in the lives of others. For instance Lalita thought that by keeping her love for Ram quiet she was giving her sister happiness, but of course this complicated their relationship even further and both of them were never truly happy in their various lives

The music by Bappi Lahiri is superb they all had a hindi peppy folk touch to them, the picturisations of the songs were amazing to behold, from the carefully arranged steel pots and carefully lined dancers in a Busby Berkeley kind way in the catchy 'Gori Tere Ang'

the Busby Berkeley style arrangements of steel pots and dancers

Sridevi and Jeetendra in karma sutra style pose close to the carefully arranged pots in 'Gori tere ang'
to the car with colourful balloons in the breezy tuneful 'Albela Mausam'

and my favourite picturisation of all has to be 'Tohfa Laya' where saris were draped to form tents and maypoles (see below) and as one imdb commenter cleverly puts it "the best sari exhibition you'll ever see in bollywood" The producers even made it a point to thank Bombay dyeing

Jaya prada and Jeetendra in the tent made of sari's

Jaya and Jeetendra in the Circular tent made with Sari's in 'Tohfa Laya'

And my other favouite is the peppy 'Ek aankh Marun toh' with Sridevi and Jeetendra's doing some amazingly synchronised even if somewhat cheesy dance steps

Total Score: 6/10 ( An entertaining even if somewhat annoying in parts hyper melodrama)


dustedoff said...

Somehow, I've seen very few 80's films - too many of them seemed to focus on revenge and ceaseless violence, or (as in this case) self-sacrifice. And an aging Jeetendra is not my idea of hero material.

But that display of saris is innovative, and Jaya Prada is so beautiful!

bollyviewer said...

I remember the saree song from Chitrahaar (a weekly programme of songs on Indian TV) - those 80s dance moves were hilarious even back then! I could never figure out why Jeetendra wore wigs in all those movies with Sridevi and Jayaprada - he isnt bald even now.

Ava said...

what a story some of these southie flicks had. Jaya and Sri together with Jeetu - what a tohfa

bollywooddeewana said...

@dustedoff indeed such is the theme of many '80's movies, but the '80's was my introduction to bollywood and its very close to my heart for that reason, even though they pale in comparison to the quality of movies made in the 40's-70's. Funny about the aging Jeetendra the '80's were a very successful period for him as he had loads of box office successes in movies like Tohfa, Jyoti bana Jwala, Himmatwala, Meri Awaz suno etc. Jaya is indeed beautiful, she still looks good even today

@ bollyviewer I had no idea he was wearing a wig, the songs & Picturizations from these southern influenced movies are indeed somethng to treasure, i love them a lot

@ Avdi I know right, their stories were hyper melodramatic this is my first one in the line of the big south influenced bollywood films starring Jeetu, Jaya and Sridevi, i really want to check out the rest

Daddy's Girl said...

This looks really interesting... I've only seen Jaya Prada in one film (the weird, wacky and OTT 'Sharaabi', with Amitabh), and she didn't leave much of an impression, so I'd definitely like to see more of her. I remember reading some gossip about how she and Sridevi hated each other in real-life and weren't on speaking terms. I think there was also a story (no idea whether or not it's true) that Anil Kapoor once locked them in a trailer together as a prank, and when the trailer was unlocked ages later, both actresses were sitting away from each other, having exchanged not a single word. Funny stuff!
Bollywoodddeewana, I love it when you write about 80s films, because the 80s are almost the forgotten decade of Bollywood, aren't they? They get such a bad rap, sometimes very well-deserved I think, but there are definitely some films from that era that are worth watching...

bollywooddeewana said...

i read the very same thing on Imdb for the movie Maqsad, which i'll be reviewing at some point. It was actually Rajesh Khanna who locked them up, i really don't know what to make of that story but i remember LOL while reading it

Thanks Daddy's Girl, Indeed the 80's is the least talked about and considered shameful decade, as wacky and over the top those films seem in comparison to what was made earlier, i adore them. Ghulami, Arth, Masoom, Ardh satya,Umrao Jaan, Bazaar are all considered great films from the '80's as they all had an art cinema feel to them, i'm yet to see any of those.

I haven't seen Sharrabi but its been waiting in my collection

Sujoy said...

I have grown up watching the songs of Tohfa playing on early Sunday mornings on Rangoli :P Those were the days of Matkas, Jhatkas and Sridevi Saris :P

Thanks for bringin back those memories

bollywooddeewana said...

you're welcome Sujoy, i know ths movies that Jeetu did are often looked down upon by many but they simply had the most fab music plus they were the hit films of the 80's

Beth Loves Bollywood said...

Oooh that sari song looks amazing! Must watch!

bollywooddeewana said...

Indeed Beth, that song was one of the major highlights of the film for me