Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Doston Se Pyar Kiya ... Shaan se!!!!

The early 80s was a smorgasbord of awesomesauce, as evidenced by movies like Shaan (1980). I admit I haven't seen the Bond movies w/ evil Blofeld who is supposed to be the inspiration for Shaan's villain Shaakaal, so for me, Kulbhushan Karbhand's Shaakaal was the ultimate Dr. Evil (so much that when I named my friend's pet turtles Shaakaal, Mogambo and Gabbar Singh, Shaakaal was my favorite). But this movie has all the coolest elements from the Bond movies, the villain's lair, complete with a board room table that revolves and at the push of a button drops the selected henchman into shark-infested waters. The back-projection of sharks swimming behind Shaakaal was particularly effective.

 Thanks FilmiGirl for the pic!

Shaan has some of my favorite opening credits of all-time, sung by house favorite Usha Uthup. Oh my god, this song is awesome. The crazy gyrating chick in spandex is an interesting choice, but never stopped me from loving the opening. Our video had a musical sequence where they show all the actors and freeze frame on each of them - it's not on here so I'm not sure what happened to it ... but I remember it sooo clearly because my sister and I used to act it out. But this opening is still amazing.

So the characters in this movie, even besides Shaakaal, are awesome. There's Ravi and Vijay, played by the great duo of Shashi Kapoor and Amitabh Bachchan. There's con artist uncle and niece team played by Johnny Walker and Bindiya Goswami, Sunita, played by the fabulous Parveen Babi, and of course Rakhee and Shatrughan Sinha thrown in there for good measure, and Sunil Dutt in a cameo as Rakhee's husband. There's the rockin' Mazhar Khan in there too, playing disabled & homeless dude/informant Abdul who gets a song that is super memorable because of the subtitles we had on our tape: "My Name is Abdul. What? Oh, My Name is Abdul, I keep eyes on everything!"

 Now I haven't re-watched Shaan recently, so I'm going to just recap some of the most memorable scenes for me ... I have over my lifetime watched this movie MANY times so I'd say I remember most of it, but rather than re-hash the plot, I'll just do a highlights reel.

We started the movie meeting Sunil Dutt, good, nice cop. He's married to Rakhee, and they have a spoiled rotten little girl with the most annoying voice ever. Sunil Dutt generally fights crime and is awesome. His brothers are small-time crooks Ravi and Vijay. The guys meet up with con-artist duo Johnny Walker and his niece Bindiya Goswami, and fall prey to one of their scams. They track them down through Abdul  (in a fabulous scene where Amitabh wears a jumpsuit of some kind with "69" embroidered on the chest pocket) and eventually fall into a partnership. On one of their planned scams, they come across Parveen Babi who is also a con-artist, and kuch kuch happens between her and Vijay (Amitabh).

When we were little, every movie with two heroines was game for me & my sister to act out the scenes taking one of each of the roles. My sister (who consistently got to be Parveen Babi in movies like this, Jaani Dost, Burning Train, Mahaan, etc.) got to be Sunita, which means she got the limelight for one of the best songs ever (Pyar Karnewale)

And I was Bindiya Goswami in this one. Which actually turned out to be ok, because I got one of the most fabulous movie names of all time: "Pushpa Bhargav" (Naam to bada pyaara hai). I still use Pushpa Bhargav as my "club name" (name I give to random guys at clubs that dare to try and speak to me).

Anyway so the Pyar Karnewale scene is particularly awesome because at the end of the song, Bindu (who plays some rich heiress) gets her necklace stolen and all our con-artist heroes stand in a line and say "Kya Tumne?" "Nahin to" ("Did you?" "No!") to each other while trying to figure out who took it, ending with Johnny Walker who turns to a stranger and says it. My sisters and I used to do this all the time.

 There's an homage to this scene in Roop Ki Rani Choron Ka Raja (1993) where Bindu AGAIN gets her necklace stolen at the end of the "Mein Hoon Roop Ki Rani" number, but the original takes the cake. "Mera Haar! Aaaaah!"

In another fabulous scam, the team dress up Ravi and Vijay as swamis to do a great fun poolside dance number.

So eventually Shaakaal, admist sending henchmen to their shark-infested death in his revolving boardroom of death (one of whom was Som from Satte Pe Satta! And the bearded dude who tried to kill Seema by giant boulder was also in this boardroom! Trump, you've got to get one of these!), tries to coerce Sunil Dutt to be on his side. Good, kind, wonderful Sunil refuses, and is chased down by instruments of evil and eventually shot to death from a helicopter on the beach. A sad demise indeed. Vijay and Ravi are pissed, and naturally decide to about-face and become good to destroy Shaakaal and avenge their brother. But not before being late for their date and pissing off the ladies, which requires a song sequence of awesomeness. Enter "Jaanu Meri Jaan" - come on, you couldn't stay mad at these guys either.

Shatrughan Sinha shows up in between as a marksman who is blackmailed by Shaakaal to kill Sunil Dutt. Rakhee is all "He's the one!" but then he tells his sad story and we're all "awwww". Plus he's super sweet to annoying-voiced Guddi. So he joins forces with Ravi and Vijay to save the day.

The big plan to go in and get Shaakaal is to dress up as a dance troupe and perform the amazing "Yamma Yamma" (incidentally, my sister does a killer R.D. Burman voice for this song, Pyar Hume Kis Mod Pe from Satte Pe Satta and Mehbooba from Sholay).

Afterwards there's lots of running, shooting, chasing and explosions, very Austin Powers-esque. Of course Shaakaal loses, and our bad-guys-turned-good save the day and avenge Rakhee and stupid Guddi.

The songs in this movie are incredible, and the early scenes with the cons are truly hilarious. The duo of Amitabh and Shashi Kapoor is always great (Namak Halal, Do Aur Do Paanch), and this movie started my love for these two as a team.

I happened to find this movie (subtitles and all) in its entirety on youtube, but I doubt it will be up for long, so watch it while you can!!! Enjoy and jiyo shaan se!

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