Tuesday 4 May 2010

Lahu Ke Do Rang (1979)

I kick off my own Khanna-0-Rama week with Lahu Ke Do Rang (Two Shades of Blood). I had watched it in my early days of my Helen Fandom simply because it was the film that won Helen her first filmfare award, now you might ask why i go on so much about the filmfare awards, the thing is, when i rediscovered bollywood the award winning films /performances were my guide on what films to watch. Asides from Helen, I also remember loving Vinod in it, any way here's the story

The Indian Army led by Netaji Shubash Chandra Bose stationed in China (circa 1943) by the British government to help fight the Japanese, see Hong kong as the perfect opportunity to turn against the British

One of the soldiers Shamsher Singh (Vinod Khanna) while being chased by the British runs into Suzy's (Helen) house for help. She protects him when they come hunting for him and its not surprising she finds it hard to resist the hotness of Shamsher, as a result they both get busy between the sheets

Few months later when its time for him to leave for India, she reveals news of her pregnancy, he's reluctant to go back but she urges him to go and help India and then come back to get her and the baby (No Girl! No! i think we all know what happens in cases like this)

Back in India it turns out Shamsher Singh is married to Ladjo (Indrani Mukherjee) with whom he already has a child named Raj, he tells her about Suzie, she's heartbroken but promises to accept Suzy as a younger sister

During a plan to raise money to buy more weapons for fighting off the British, one of Shamsher Singh's men Shankar Kathuriya (Ranjeet) betrays them to the British government which results in Shamsher being killed off

Asides from the betraying, Shankar also loots the bank gold, he does this with the help of Mac (Mac Mohan) who later betrays him too by hiding the looted gold at the bottom of a lake before handing himself over to the police and then betraying Shankar to the cops

Raj grows up to be a hard working inspector, who's determined to avenge his father's death, he also happens to be the spitting image of his father

When Mac gets released from prison Raj tracks his movement and hopes he might lead him to his father's murderers. Shankar who is now known as Devi Dayal threatens and tortures Mac for the location of the gold they had looted from the bank years ago, which Mac reveals is in the boot of a car at the bottom of a lake. Upon arriving at the location, the Car had sink so hard that an expert diver would be required, they decide on hiring a foreign diver from China called Suraj (Danny Denzongpa)

Suraj turns out to be surprise! surprise!, Shamsher Singh's long forgotten son he had with Suzy. Suzy is now in old age and is still awaiting the return of Shamsher, Suraj on the other hand is vengeful and angry that his father had left him and his mother alone in China subjecting him to lots of abuse and prejudice. Suzy is hopeful he might find him in India

Upon arriving in India he meets Shabo (probably one of the most charmingly annoying kid actors you'll ever see) she turns out to be a pain in the (you know where). Shabo (Baby Shalu) and Suraj end up being buddies and when Suraj is sent by his employer Devi Dayal to live in Darjeeling with Roma (Shabana Azmi) he falls for her, with little Shabo giving him tips on how to win Roma's heart

A fellow competitor arises in the form of Inspector Raj Singh who has also come to darjeeling to investigate the death of a certain Doctor and get closer to to the investigation of his father's death.While there he and Roma fall for each other

she reveals how Devi Dayal had gotten her mother addicted to drugs and forced her into working for him, he also finds out Devi is responsible for Mac as well as a certain Doctor's killings, his determination to find Devi Dayal leads him to Hong Kong

before leaving his mum reveals news of a gift he must bring back, the said gift being Suzy who's still awaiting her Husband's return after years

Will Raj find Suzy? Will Suraj & Raj realize they're brothers? Will he succeed in finding Devi Dayal?

Writing up the plot of Lahu ke Do Rang is one of the hardest plot write ups i've had to do on this blog (no wonder on one bothered writing up on imdb) there seems to be so much happening but i hope you all get the gist of the story. Overall its an enjoyable fare, definitely not a bad one if you're a Vinod fan, i wouldn't say its up there with the masala classics like Muqqadar Ka Sikandar, Pavarish etc. It just doesn't have the masala craziness and style those other classics had, but Lahu Ke do rang holds its own relying on Vinods charms and other 70's style formlaic plots like long lost brothers, love interests, scheming villains etc.

I watched this film for Helen at first, as it was the film that earned her the best Supporting actress award and oh! how disappointed I was, she barely had much to do and i believe she got the award for her self sacrificial mother mumbo jumbo. I've seen and i prefer Helen in many other supporting roles such as that in Gumnaam or Shikar, i'd have preferred if she was awarded for any of those rather than these

Danny was enjoyable as Suraj, i wonder why he had no love interest though, Couldn't they find him one, rather than place him next to a 9 year old, who then goes on to him dating advice, i would have liked to see Danny with his own love interest

Now i know Shabana is an acting legend, but she seemed so stiff in this, either she was uninterested or just in it for the money (as she was mostly an art film actress) or she completely bowed to what the director demanded of her, i would never know

This one's for you Sita-ji
As for Ranjit i never tire of his villainy, he just delivers pure villain awesomenss in this, from his pimping ways, all the way to his disguise as 'Fu Man Chu'

And how can i end this post without a gorgeous picture of Prema Narayan one of my favourite side Heroines of all time, i wonder why she never hit it big, she definitely had the looks and acting capabilities to be a leading lady

The songs by Bappi Lahiri well before his disco king days in the 80's are further proof of Bappi Lahiri's talents, I hate when he's spoken of as a shameless lifter who stole people's songs, though in fairness he did plagiarise, i believe he did it with much style and he always added his own Midas touch. I love his songs in this, none have been lifted as far as i know, this film has not one but two of my favourite Vinod Khanna songs of all time

There's the fun 'Chahiye Thoda pyar' (a VK favourite of mine)

the absolutely lovely 'Muskurata Hua' ( yet another VK Favourite)

and Helen in very un-Helen (Mathe ki Bindiya) but still very lovely song

a fun duo between danny and his lovely sidekick in the cute 'Hum se tum mile'

and a lovely 'Masti jo mein nikli' for all daaru (drunken) songs collectors with Vinod and the lovely Prema Narayan

Paisa Vasool Rating: 5.5/10


Nasir said...

Thanks for the review. Yes, Helen loook a little unhelenic in this movie. She had better roles in Teesri Manzil, Pagla Kahin Ka, Bairaag, etc.

Bollyviewer said...

I am so glad you wrote this up! Chaahiye thoda pyar was a regular on Indian TV back in the old days, and I always wondered what the back story for that song was. Now I know - kind of... :-) This will probably go on my next shopping cart, if I can find the DVD. I dont think I can resist seeing Danny AND Helen play semi Chinese characters and mother-son. That it has Vinod Khanna in the lead has nothing to do with it - nothing at all! ;-)

Anonymous said...

I remember having watched this years ago, and liking it quite a bit. Thanks for reviewing it! I think I'm tempted to try and get hold of the film for a rewatch. :-)

ajnabi said...

Oh, someone just posted "Chaahiye Thoda Pyar" on another Khanna-o-Rama entry and I *wondered* why the little girl was there! Now I know. Bummer about Helen, though; she really won that award just because she wasn't playing a sex kitten.

Nicki said...

Wow! I want to watch now!

Danny looks like he could be a Hong Kong actor. It's the hair, I tell you. Seriously!!

Vinod looks really good in the caps.

I almost didn't recognize Helen.

That is a famous still of Shabana.

Who is this Prema Narayan? She is gorgeous! I have to see more of her

bollywooddeewana said...

@ Nasir Yes Indeed i loved her much more in teesri manzil and would have even preferred if she won for those

@ Bollyviewer do indeed pick it up, its fairly available as for writing up the ployt synopsis i guess i found it a bit tedious and i guess it shows from my review ;0) Here's a more fun take on the movie i found online


@ Dustedoff You're welcome give it a go, the songs are good and it was nice seeing Vinod ni a leading role

@ Ajnabi Thats the only rason i can think of as to why she won it as well

@ Nicki Prema was a bollywood acters in the 70's whooften played the side roles such as the baddies girlfriend or the Heroine's friend, she was gorge and i often wonder why she never became a central Heroine

Danny did look vey Chinese in this, Perfect casting is what i say

Mister Naidu said...

Thanks for the nice review of the film.

I believe Helen also played a Chinese character in at least 4 other films: Howrah Bridge, China Town, Singapore and Hong Kong. Although, her real ethnic makeup is 1/4 Burmese, 1/4 Spanish and 1/2 French. Her true ethnicity was revealed in Jerry Pinto's book about Helen. She told Filmfare in 1958 that her passion for dancing came out of the French and Spanish blood in her. "I have quite a mix pedigree! Father was French and mother half Burmese and half Spanish. My great grandfather was a Spanish pirate!"

bollywooddeewana said...

yes indeed Mr naidu of all you've mention i've only seen Howrah bridge and her character was indeed Chinese, of course we don't kno wthis for sure as she appears in just one scene singing 'mera naam chin chin chu' but i guess that confirms it :0)
Thanks for reminding me of her heriatge, i remember reading the exact same thing in Jerry's book which I'm yet to finish by the way, but what an amazing mix she is, i guess that's why she's one of a kind

harvey said...

A Mahesh Bhatt film without an illegitimate son is impossible!
He needed lots of films to get over that trauma.
Vinod looks hot, even with his moustache he looks hot!

Beth Loves Bollywood said...

I just watched a few of these songs the other day and had NO sense of the plot from them! Wow! Sounds...interesting, if confusing.

sunheriyaadein said...

Vinod looks really hot! I haven't seen this, though I've always liked the songs. Will give it a try. Thanks for the review.

bollywooddeewana said...

@ HARVEY Really was that a constant trope he used, i do enjoy his films though (well all the ones ihave seen so far, he keeps to the point and makes wasy for little silliness) and Vinod as per usual is always Hot

@ beth its not as confusing as my writeup as made it, i guess i found it tricky to write up, read a hilarious more fun review here

@ Sunehriyaadein You're welcome, Vinod, Danny and the songs are what this films worth watching for

Anonymous said...

Shukriya for including that lovely & sleazy image for me. Delicious!
All the best!


wat a story!!..filmy 2d hilt..cant quite beleive vinod khanna n helen romancing ;)

else,u 4gt d song "muskurata huva..." whc is a nice kishore da no..

bollywooddeewana said...

@ the bard i was surprised too, though in actuality she was only a few years older than him, all the songs are beautiful but i have a soft spot for Muskurata hua too

Unknown said...

Cool review....these days Videocon D2H screens this movie on one of their home channels - 215. I liked this movie and as you said songs are good, and the film has been carried ably by Vinod Khanna who looks handsome and Danny.
Thanks for your efforts in reviewing this slightly forgotten (but a hit) movie!

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