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 


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

So that's what the film was about! I've seen the second half of this, after they've been married (and it looked interesting, so I kept watching, even though I had no idea why these two people got married when they seemed to hate each other so much). Thanks for giving me the background on that.

BTW, Sridevi looks a bit like Tabu in that screen cap with the pearls.

bollywooddeewana said...

@ Anonymous You're welcome, i loved her styling in this movie too, the stylist did a great job

@ dusted off Wow i'm surprised you liked it, its an enjoyable flick though i didn't like the fact that when she was good she strated wearing Sari's and when she was bad she was in western clothes. She does indeed look a bit like Tabu only that Tabu is a bit darker and slightly fuller figured but i see a bit of the resemblance too

Anonymous said...

Heheh... no, I didn't actually like it, I just thought it interesting - and I certainly didn't like the idea of Western = bad! (Not that that's anything new in Hindi cinema, but as you pointed out, it's a rather antiquated notion in Bollywood).

Nikki said...

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bollywooddeewana said...

@ dusted off thanks for clearing that up

@ Nikki thanks for the kind words,i've visited your blog and and i'm now a follower, i look forward to your posts

Anonymous said...

Nice! Plus Monish Behl as part of a rival textile company plotting a take over = Must see. Ahh sounds like the feuding on the American soap opera The Young and The Restless, with the feuding families of the fashion industry, the Abbotts, Chancellors and the Newmans. Thanks for posting bhai.
All the Best!

bollywooddeewana said...

@ Nikki You're welcome

@ Sita-Ji You're welcome, I Didn't see that Young and Restless bit coming in I haven't watched that show in years