Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Rajnikanth Entry Song - A Genre of it's Own

So we're one day away from ENDHIRAN's release here in the U.S. and I for one am super excited. There's somewhat of a rush going to a new Rajnikanth movie, a feeling of exhiliration when sitting in the theatre with a bunch of rowdy Tamilians who will no doubt whistle, stomp and cheer for Rajni's entry ...

... which brings me to my list of Favorite Rajni Entry Songs. Tamil movies consistently have a 'Hero's Entry Song' - usually a fast-paced, all-male dance number that uses the lyrics or setting to tell you about the Hero's background and character. It usually shows the Hero in the streets with a gang of friends (and extras!) having a jolly time, making passes at girls (the girls usually stop to dance along for a while too) and generally being charming and exciting.

Rajni's Entry Songs are even more powerful because it's simply the first moment you see him on-screen - which of course HAS to be loud and thrilling! Often times the song will echo into his next film somewhere because they are so beloved by his throngs of fans. He usually walks/leaps/turns into his first shot and gives some sort of recognition to the audience - either a smile, namaste or wink - and the masses go WILD. It's freakin' awesome.

So after creating my list of favorite Rajni movies yesterday, I found myself humming some of his most popular tunes and decided I had to make a list, and as long as I was making it, why not share it? So here is my list of favorite Rajnikanth HERO'S ENTRY songs:

Vanthenda Paalkkaaran - Annamalai

Naan Autokaaran Autokaaran - Baasha

Oruvan Oruvan - Muthu

Athanda Ithanda - Arunachalam

Singanadipottu - Padaiyappa

Dippu Dippu - Baba

Devuda Devuda - Chandramukhi (re-peeeaaatuuuu!)

Balailakka - Sivaji

I can't remember if this is the first song in Kuselan (the tamil predecessor of Irrfan Khan & SRK's Billu), but it certainly is the best! This awesome song features tons of familiar faces and is a tribute to the 75th anniversary of the Tamil Film Industry:

Cinema Cinema - Kuselan

These aren't necessarily my favorite songs from these movies, just the ones that best exemplify the "Rajni Entry". I am waiting to see what happens when Rajni is first shown on screen in Endhiran. I can't wait! I am going to be on a family vacation during the release weekend, but I'm trying to figure out a way for all of us to go see it together.

I hope you enjoy these classic Rajni songs! Check back soon for @SujoySingha's Rekhatober Celebration!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Shivaji Rao Gaekwad/SUPERSTAR Rajni's Top 12 films (according to me)

So with the release of Endhiran this Friday causing so much buzz, I thought it was time to do a little primer on Rajnikanth (similar to my post on Vikram) ...

Most people can't help but be charmed by the story of Rajnikanth, a man from a poor background who had worked as a coolie and a bus conductor, who eventually became the 2nd highest paid actor in Asia (the first being Jackie Chan, naturally). He's an institution in Tamil Nadu, a star that the masses won't let fade, because they love him too much. What can be said about Rajnikanth? He's almost universally loved. Even though he's done a limited number of Hindi movies, he's always recognized for his style. He's been called the Baadshah of the Box Office - it doesn't matter what the subject is, who the director is, or who his co-star is ... Rajni's presence will drive fans to the theatres in droves. He is so beloved that the audiences of Tamil Nadu will reject any movie in which he dies! did this nice Rajni 101 article that I appreciated ... it wonderfully describes Rajnikanth this way:
This is Rajinikanth, and he is no mere actor—he is a force of nature. If a tiger had sex with a tornado and then their tiger-nado baby got married to an earthquake, their offspring would be Rajinikanth.

That's pretty epic. As is the man it's written about. Here's another article about Why Rajni Rocks!

Yet another great article published in the PR flurry of his latest release Endhiran (co-starring Aishwariya Rai Bachchan) lists some of the most popular Rajnikanth jokes (in the vein of the Chuck Norris jokes). CLICK HERE to check out the entire article, but here's some of my favorites:
  • Rajnikanth doesn't move at the speed of light. Light moves at the speed of Rajnikanth.
  • Rajnikanth never wet the bed as a child. The bed wet itself in fear.
  • There are no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Rajnikanth lives in India.
  • Google won't find Rajnikanth because you can't find Rajnikanth. Rajnikanth finds you.
  • Rajnikanth doesn't need a visa to travel abroad, he just jumps from the tallest building in Chennai and holds himself in the air while the earth rotates.
You can check out some more Rajni jokes here. So obviously Rajnikanth is an institution and a legend in Tamil Nadu (and also in Japan!) ...

There's even an app for Rajnikanth:

An Australian fan created an iPhone app for Rajni fans!
If you've never seen a Rajni movie, you definitely need to. Just don't start with Padaiyappa, you may not come back to us. However once you are sucked in, Padaiyappa can be fun! Especially the lines Abbas delivers in praise of Rajni - "What a man!" and "Illai, ungalakku vayasu ahallai!" (No, you haven't gotten old!)

He zoomed to popularity in films from the late 70s such as Moondru Mudichu and 16 Vayathinile, playing the baddie with such panache that you were drawn in despite the negative character. Even in Hindi films he was popular for his antics with sunglasses and cigarettes (flipping and flicking them with fabulous sound effects!), as well as his kick-a$$ mojo.

He's everyman, yet he's Superman!
He also became famous for his one-liners ... dialogues that he uses several times in his films until they become cult-classics ... much like the way Salman Khan used the line "Hum tumri jaan mein itna ched karenge itna ched karenge ki confuse ho jaoge ki..Saas kaha se ley aur pade kaha se" in the movie Dabangg (2010). However Rajni's lines were a regional craze! The image below from Forbes India showcases some of his best ones:

So EVERYONE who's ANYONE will probably be checking out what Rajni (at age 60) has got in Endhiran, which releases tomorrow, October 1, 2010. But here's a list of some of my Top 12 favorite Rajnikanth movies:
1. Billa (1980) - an almost scene-for-scene remake of Amitabh Bachchan's Don, but it's an incredible ride because it's RAJNI man!

2. Thillu Mullu (1981) - another remake, this one is of Amol Palekar's popular comedy Gol Maal (1979).

3. Geraftaar - Hindi (1985) - the combo of three of my favorite actors, Amitabh, Kamal Hassan and Rajnikanth, is too killer! And gratuitous cigarette flipping by Rajni also features prominently.

4. Guru Sishyan (1988) - great blockbuster comedy with Rajni and Prabhu. This hit was remade by Director Shakti Chidambaram in 2010 with Sathyaraj of all people, which I think is a travesty.

5. Chaalbaaz (1989) - obviously I love Sridevi, who is the ultimate star in this movie, but Rajni's taxiwallah character was really memorable and hilarious, especially his little sing-song "Aaj Sunday hai, to kya? Aaj hamare daaru peene ka day hai!"

6. Hum (1991) - Again this wasn't Rajni's movie - Amitabh was the star through and through, but it also had a powerhouse combo of Amitabh-Rajni-Govinda which made the movie AMAZING.

7. Thalapathi (1991) - again an amazing star cast, but the only one I really remembered was Rajni. And of course the awesome song "Raakamma Kai Thattu" featuring the beautiful Shobhana. How could they take such a great song and turn it into "Tu Tu Tu Tu Tu Tara"???

8. Annamalai (1992) - I think this is my ultimate favorite Rajni movie. It is HILARIOUS, and features Rajni with Khushboo (who had such a huge fan base in Tamil Nadu I heard they built a temple for her). We still use running jokes from this all the time ... such as "Prince?" "YES!" ... you just have to see it. I also LOVE the scene where there's a snake in Khushboo's bathroom and Rajni is terrified but has to save her. Just couldn't stop laughing!

9. Veera (1994) - I'm not sure why I loved this one so much, it could be because I totally love the actress Meena or the song "Madathile" ... the story takes a weird turn at some point and I absolutely CANNOT reconcile the end AT ALL, but I still enjoyed this movie in general. It was remade in Hindi by David Dhawan as Saajan Chale Sasural but Gharwali Baharwali also had that awkward, WRONG ending that Veera had. Veera also had a line-play on one of his earlier films ... a one-liner that my husband and I always say ... "How iiiis iiiiit? Suuuuuuuuper!"

10. Muthu (1995) - Another mega blockbuster that featured Rajni with Meena (who is just such an amazingly gorgeous lady, but god, do they ever stuff her into the most ridiculous outfits). Directed by one of my favorite comedy directors K.S. Ravikumar and featuring music by A.R. Rehman (the first time he did music for a Rajni blockbuster!), this movie was most memorable for the lavish song picturizations, especially "Thillana Thillana"  (yes, I know they sampled that bit from Deep Forest). This movie was apparently dubbed for Japanese audiences and made Rajni a sensation in Japan!

11. Arunachalam (1997) - a kind of version of Brewster's Millions, but Rajni-fied! I tend to get the storylines of Annamalai, Muthu and Arunachalam mixed up, but honestly who cares? They're all awesome! Once you start watching you will get sucked in and love every sunglass-twirling, towel-flourishing second. Rajni was paired with Rambha and Soundarya in this one.

12. Chandramukhi (2005) - most everyone knows this one as the remake of the Malayalam hit 'Manichitrathazhu' or the inspiration for the Hindi 'Bhool Bhulaiya' ... this was a really over-the-top and yet perfectly intriguing film. Is it a ghost story? Is it a psychological drama? It seems even most reviewers aren't sure. One thing it has in common with Rajni blockbusters is a point where a character does an entire soliloquy about how amazing Rajni's character is. All Hail Rajni! Jyothika was also given a very prominent role, though she is opposite Prabhu instead of Rajni. Rajni is paired with then newcomer Nayantara (who hasn't looked the same - or worn as much clothing - since. I suppose it worked in her favor since she's now Prabhudeva's ladylove). Interesting how Jyothika had such a great run in Tamil Cinema before marrying Surya Sivakumar but never paired with Rajni! Then again, nor did Simran who was one of the top Tamil actresses in the mid to late 90s and early 2000s. Anyway, I don't know who would EVER consider Akshay Kumar to take on a role played by Rajni ... he simply couldn't carry it off.

Also very memorable was that when I went to see this film at the theatre, there was an aunty there wearing a nightie. Awesome.

So there are definitely some honorable mentions that didn't make my personal top 12, such as Andhaa Kanoon, Gair Kanooni, Padaiyappa, Baasha, Ejjamaan, Kuselan and many of his earlier films that have merits. These are just my favorites, the ones that I can watch over and over!

I am definitely excited for the release of Endhiran, even if I do think a Rajni-Ash pairing is absolutely ridiculous ... I have high hopes that this film will erase the disappointment of Sivaji and Baba. I will probably be shelling out for that $20 ticket, because when push comes to shove, I love me some Rajni.

I'm going to try and quickly throw together a post of the best Rajni-Entry-Songs from his films. It's a genre of it's own.

I hope you check out some of Rajni's films ... if you don't know where to begin, I'd recommend Annamalai and Muthu!

Also coming up in October - it's Rekhalicious October, spearheaded by @sujoysingha over at Definitely check out his blog for some great stuff, and I'll be doing some special Rekha posts as well!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Neetu Singh-Along: The "Misseries" of "Ksiehn" - Parvarish (1977)

Because it is too, too hilarious, I have to post here EXACTLY what is written as the summary of this movie on the back of my DVD of Parvarish (1977), grammar, punctuation (or lack therof) and all. I will highlight the particularly good parts:

An encounter between the banit Mangal Singh Police Officer Shamsher Singh ended with arrest of Mangal Singh. Mangal Singh's wife delivered a baby boy and breathed her last. Police Officer Shamsher Singh brougth the new born home. A suggestion of handing the new born to an orphanage distributed his emotion as he had gone through the misseries of being brought up there. Shamsher Singh wife decided to take over the upbringing of the child alongwith her own son Kishen, the new arrival was named Amit. Mangal Singh was informed to take over the upbringing as per the wish of his late wife that both she andfree his brohter Devsingh informed him that his son was alive for fourteen long years in the prison walls, as he was set his wishes to Kishen whom he thought was his son. Kishen and Mangal Singh decided upon the downfall of Shamsher's family.

Time lapsed and Mangal Singh and Ksiehn jointed the under Supremo. Amit grew upto be a promising Police Officer of he ciountry. Neetu and her sister Shabbu lived on witts. their entanglement with Amit and Kishen led to happy romance. Then one day Neetu discovered that Mangal Singh was the Killer of her father, he planned to murder Mangal Singh with Shabbu's help. Amit one day learnt that he was only an adopted boy in the house, the real son was to rteturn his file incomplete. Shamsher Singh was a duty bound officer,everything in the world came next to his duty. He refused to accept Amit's file. At the risk of their lives Amit and Shamsher Singh decided to expose the Supreme and bring could hold back Amit, Kishen realised his misunderstanding that he was the son of Mangal Singh, he jointed hands with Amit and thus put an end to the world of Supreme.

WHAT? Oh my god. I was laughing SO HARD reading the back of my DVD. My 2.5-year-old son thought I was having an attack or something.

If you have any idea what this movie is about based on that then you deserve a prize or something. But this movie, which came out the year I was born FYI, is one of my absolute favorite Bollywood movies. It is such a nonsense masala film. The star cast is absolutely perfect, and though Vinod Khanna is not one of my favorite heroes (*ducks from thrown chappals*) this is probably my favorite film of his (besides Chandni, which really can't be called HIS film now can it?). Of course I'm a die-hard Amitabh Bachchan fan, and the added bonus of Neetu Singh and Shabana Azmi? Awesomesauce! (Incidentally, has anyone ever done a list of actual commercial/masala films that Shabana Azmi starred in? I am curious)

It's an AME - Amitabh Masala Entertainer!
But it's HPK FTW with his angsty, conflicted performance!
Since this movie has been recapped so fabulously by other BollyBloggers such as Beth Loves Bollywood, Filmi Geek, Post-Punk Cinema Club, The Bollywood Fan, Filmi Girl and I'm sure many more, I won't go through the entire storyline (which is masala-fabulous, btw). I'll just highlight my favorite things about the movie.

1. Double Hero and Heroine
If you read my post about Jaani Dost, you know that my sister and I used to play a game we brilliantly called "Nothing" so we could honestly answer when our grandfather asked us what we were playing. And this game almost exclusively required the soundtrack of a movie that had multiple heroes and heroines, so that we could each choose a character to be. Though our double heroine movies usually involved Parveen Babi, who my sister liked to be, occasionally we'd have random characters (for example she was Aradhana and I was Rajni from Satte Pe Satta). Anyway, movies like Parvarish were perfect for our game. I believe that she got to be Neetu and I was Shabbu for this one.

Group Hug!!!

But the multi-starrer Bollywood movie is something I generally look forward to ... there's just something more FUN about it, especially when the chemistry between the heroes is really good (not TOO good though, like not so good that you think the heroines are unnecessary ... I'm looking at YOU Akshay Kumar and Saif Ali Khan!). The more the merrier, you know?

2. The Fashion
Why can't it still be the 70s? I absolutely love the bell-bottomy, print/patterned blousey goodness this movie provides. There's also a good assortment of costumes or disguises in this one! Vinod as the stuffy schoolteacher for the blind, Neetu as the Euro-Maid, Amitabh as the Strawberry-Blonde Gentleman, The girls going from street urchin to sari-clad and then mujra dancers to nagins ... there's some craziness going on here!

Patchwork chic!

Full tan suit, or full denim?
Check out that collar!
VK's partial to the all denim ensembles
Bellbottomy Goodness!
Cleans up pretty well!
Pretty in Pink!
Fancy dress competition, Bearded Man Amitabh vs. Swiss Miss Neetu
3. My two favorite cuddly Uncles - Shammi and Amjad
I think I've already professed my love for young Shammi, but dare I say he's one of my favorite "Uncles" of Hindi Cinema? He's adorable and still has those bright, sparkling eyes. He'd make one hell of a Santa Claus. And as for Amjad, I have a deep-seated love for Amjad that sparked somewhere around the time I first saw Yaarana. Even when he's the bad guy, he always manages to make me feel sorry for him. I wish there were more movies of him in good guy roles, I really do.

4. Neetu Singh
Obviously. I mean, I AM participating in a whole blogging week dedicated to her.

5. Awesome Chicas
 Neetu and Shabbu are really fun, interesting heroines. They do far more than just sparkle and shine. They go after what they want, even going for the guy and then approaching his parents to take it to the next level. They have a storyline of their own really ... Mangal Singh is the bad dude that murdered their parents, so they have a score to settle with him. They don't just sit back and wait for the heroes to avenge their parents, they create an entire stage show, hire sidey dancers, create giant gun sets and choreograph a whole dance routine to try and off him (oh, and when I saw Zoolander, the ending scene with the Prime Minister of Malaysia TOTALLY reminded me of this song!). They're also clever and sneaky - not your typical sharmili ladkis. Though they DID need to get men to go see it, so of course the guys have to save the girls at the end of the day. BOOOOO!

6. Crazy Villains and Wacky Lairs
Let me just say that I love when villains in movies have crazy names. Does it get any better than "Supremo"??? I think not! And this is one hell of a lair ... Beth can tell you all about it! But not only is there a fabulous lair, there's a SUBMARINE. And a Submarine Chase Scene!!! Let Beth tell you about that one too. 

Stalactites! Buffet table draping! Stick on leaves! Random statues! Railings for the lines waiting to get on the rides?
Danger around every corner!
For realsies, you could get hurt here. It's the Quicksand Pit of Doooooom!

7. The Songs, Arre Wah, the songs
So many fabulous songs on this soundtrack by Laxmikant Pyarelal I don't know which one is my true favorite! The first one that comes to mind when I think of this movie is the scandalous number with Neetu dressed as Heidi and Amitabh as Sir Redbeard:

And then of course the AWESOME Sab Janta Ka Hai number where we are introduced to Neetu and Shabbu's wily ways:

And the Double-Hero/Heroine number posted before, Jaate Ho Jaane Jaana, which I think of as a pre-cursor to my favorite song of this type (two heroes chasing after the two heroines, that are mad at them), Jaanu Meri Jaan from Shaan.

But the two that make me laugh the most are what I consider lasting memories from this movie ...

8. Memories
Clearly I was not the only one taken with this movie. Two songs from this movie proved to be especially popular with the Indian population of Metro Detroit. We used to have a 3-day India Festival every summer in downtown Detroit, and people would come from all over to participate in the dance competitions. Sometimes we had some "special items" (like the guy named Dimple that used to dress up every night to dance to Disco Dancer. I'm still scarred from his lusty dance moves).

One year two girls managed to either find or create the EXACT pink and green costumes that Neetu and Shabbu wear in this number, and performed it on stage carrying little WATER PISTOLS. It was awesome. Awesome as in hilariously bad. That's taking your inspiration from the film a little beyond the necessary.

But even MORE memorable were the two guys that decided they wanted to perform to Hum Premi Prem Karna Chahe. What they ended up doing was pretty much walking around the stage through the whole song, except for the part where the Amit character (wearing a white suit) KICKED the Kishen character (wearing a black suit)'s injured leg JUST LIKE IN THE MOVIE. On stage. While walking around in circles. They also got some of their friends to come in to be Shammi Kapoor and the Maa's characters. They just walked on for a little while, arm in arm. There was absolutely no context for anyone who hadn't seen the movie. We had by then, many times, so when the guy got kicked in the knee, we were CRACKING UP. I don't think anyone else in the audience was. But I will never, ever forget these two guys and their "performance".

My sister and I still enact the kick in the leg part every time we hear this song.

Ohhhh I love this movie so much. Seriously, it is action-packed, fun, exciting and the entire ending fight scene has this really happy, peppy music in the background that is totally incongruous. There's angsty Vinod, honest policeman with something to prove Amitabh, and a Matryoshka Doll of Villains (is it Mangal Singh? Nooo it's Supremo!). What's not to love??? Don't you want to see Vinod Khanna "jointed his hands" with Amitabh Bachchan to "put an end to the world of Supreme"?

Highly Highly Highly Recommend for some excellent dishoom-dishoom and fun, unique heroines.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Neetu Singh-Along: 10 Forgotten Neetu Singh Songs (heh heh, I said sing-song)

 Though my actual favorite Neetu Singh songs are from Parvarish and Chorni (my two favorite Neetu movies BESIDES Do Kaliyan), and then of course the popular Khel Khel Mein and Kabhi Kabhie, there are some total gems that I had completely forgotten about that some YouTube scavenging unearthed.

Sadly missing is the title song from Jhoota Kahin Ka, which I couldn't find a video of on YouTube, but some of these are really gorgeous and more rare/unknown/forgotten songs in which Neetu is just amazing. Check 'em out!

10 Great Unknown or Forgotten Neetu Singh songs

Mein Haseen Hoon - Rikshawala (1972)

Hai Re More Jaani Chunar - Shatranj Ke Mohre (1974)

Kal Raat Usne Sapne Mein - Hawas (1974)

Dil Cheena Chen Churaya - Dhongee (1976)

Hum Banjaron Ki Baat - DharamVeer (1977)

Na Na Na Jaane Na Doongi - Priyatamma (1977)

Abhi Zarasi Dher Mein - Mahabadmash (1977)

Tere Haathon Mein - Jaani Dushman (1979)

Pehle Pehle Pyar - The Great Gambler (1979)

Mere Dooron Se Aayi Baraat - Kaala Patthar (1979)

Want more Neetu? Well you're in luck. I created a MASSIVE Neetu Singh Playlist on YouTube. ENJOY!!!

Don't forget to visit all the other fabulous Neetu Singh-Along posts! I'll be back with more soon!

And a PSA - my buddies The Currysmugglers just premiered Season 4 of their fabulous podcast, filled with badmaashi, ghaati fun but also tons of amazing dance tracks - Bollywood, Bhangra and Beyond. Check them out for sure! You can download on iTunes ... I have already and can't wait to listen during my next workout session.

Have a great one!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Neetu Singh-Along: Shambhu Dada wants Booty - Chorni (1982)

As I think I've stated before, 1982 was THE YEAR. So many fabulous movies came out in 1982, including (but not limited to) Namak Halal, Disco Dancer, Khud-dhar, Prem Rog, Vidhata, Sanam Teri Kasam, Arth and my personal favorite Bollywood movie EVER - Satte Pe Satta.

Among these was a Neetu Singh gem - Chorni. Chorni was directed by Jyoti Swaroop, who also directed Padosan and worked on the screenplays for Satte Pe Satta and Ram Teri Ganga Maili. It was a unique film in that it was heroine-oriented, which was quite unusual! And what a heroine to center it on, too. Neetu is feisty and tough as the hardened Deepa, who turns to a life of crime after being wrongfully accused of being a thief.

Right off the bat, the fashion is amazing in this movie. The 80s was really a different animal. Immediately we are treated to check-patterned frocks, bold-print shirts (including one on Jalal Agha that is fashioned after the American flag, with a stars and stripes collar!) and exposed chests (with copious chest hair).

Also, Neetu is luminous in this movie. She has those awesome layered bangs that are totally in right now, she wears definitively 80s make-up with drawn-in thick eyebrows, and looks absolutely lush, healthy and glowing. I guess I'm so used to today's pathetic, starved model-turned-actresses that I forgot what a healthy WOMAN looks like. And I love her simple cotton salwar kameezes and lehengas.

Anyway, within the first 6 minutes of the movie we have an attempted rape scene, but I TOLD you, this movie is unique! It's not Shakti Kapoor or Ranjeet! But we KNOW that the guy's evil because of his exposed chest and gold chains. His friend (he of the American Flag shirt) tries to stop Exposed Chest from attacking poor, simple Deepa and in the melee Deepa escapes. She almost drops her earring, but she runs back to grab it and then flees. American Flag Shirt is afraid that they will be in trouble for harassing the servant girl Deepa, so Exposed Chest calls the police and frames her for stealing. Deepa is unceremoniously sent to jail.

When she is released she has no way to support herself, so she goes to notorious goon Shambhu Dada for help and ends up being one of his best pickpockets (I don't really understand why she couldn't pickpocket on her own without giving him a cut, maybe it's a territory thing?). She accepts this as her new life, hardens her heart and sings a song that I start singing every time I think of Neetu Singh:

Eventually she is caught again, and this time brought before the charity-and-social-reform-minded Judge Sinha (played by the fab Dr. Shreeram Lagoo). She's sentenced and sent to a Remand House, and on a subsequent visit there Judge Sinha comes across her again. He sees something in Deepa, something special, some vulnerability. Particularly when she gets in a fight with another girl who has stolen her earrings. He finds out why those earrings are so special to her ... (drumroll) aaaaand we have a "Maa Ki Aakhri Nishani"! The earrings belonged to her mother and are all she has left of her family.

He decides that the best way to reform young people that turn to crime is to consider oneself personally responsible, and to bring them into your home and provide them with a loving environment. So he decides to adopt Deepa, even though he's got a brood of four at home and one son already grown and living away from home.

At Judge Sinha's, Deepa has a hard time fitting in. The younger kids (including Dr. Sinha's own Tiny Tim, Subhash, his disabled nephew) take to Deepa pretty quickly, considering her a breath of fresh air from their stuffy, proper life, but Judge Sinha's wife and and daughter Rani are impatient with Deepa's manners and speech. Rani is quite a caricature by the way. She's your typical "rich bitch" ... snotty mannerisms, speaking in mostly English, wearing Western dresses, etc. Rani and Deepa clash immediately, and rather than share breathing space with Rani, Deepa decides to sleep down in the kitchen on a mat.

She does however befriend Judge Sinha's elderly mother (Leela Mishra), though I'm not sure how since she's blunt and rude to her, as she is to most everyone in the house. I don't remember finding her quite so abraisive when I saw this as a child. Obviously she's the heroine and you're supposed to sympathize with her and find her charming. I must have changed quite a bit though, because I really found her annoyingly ungrateful and unnecessarily argumentative. But I suppose they DO make a point of that in these scenes. In this re-watch though, it made it difficult for me to really like her character.

But SOMEONE does! The Sinha household's eldest son Kishore's school friend Doctor Vikram (Jeetendra) comes by the house often, and he happens to have been a former victim of Deepa's pickpocketing ways. They also clash at first, but eventually settle into a teasing friendship of sorts. He also points out her unnecessarily harsh behavior to her, particularly after her antics in the household cause Mrs. Sinha's blood pressure to rise dangerously high. 

Eventually the eldest Sinha, Kishore (Jalal Agha), comes home and it is him that finally drives Deepa to accept the family as her own. And interestingly, Deepa makes a cup of chai for Kishore with salt instead of sugar to tease him. This cup ends up in Dr. Vikram's hands, and is what brings him to fall in love with Deepa. Brought together by salty chai! Isn't this movie unique?

Kishore encourages Dr. Vikram to tell Deepa his feelings, and arranges for them to meet at a local temple. I found this scene really cute, because Vikram tells her that he comes there for "Shanti" and she immediately thinks he has a girlfriend named Shanti, but then he tells her that he means his "man ka shanti" and that SHE is the one he is interested in. She denies having any feelings for him at first, and then Dr. Vikram decides to pull a Roman Holiday but finding a statue that he can stick his hand in and claim that if he is not telling the truth his hand will be cut off. Since I saw Chorni before I ever saw Roman Holiday, I thought this scene was really cute.

They then consumate their love in your requisite running around trees song sequence:

Their troubles aren't over though. Dr. Vikram is obviously a wealthy, eligible young man and his mummy-dearest (she of the amazingly varied hair lengths) isn't too pleased about him choosing a former pickpocket as his bride.

At a surprise party for Judge Sinha, Deepa gifts an expensive silver set to him. Mrs. Sinha and Witchy Rani accuse Deepa of stealing something from them to afford the silver set, and Dr. Vikram's Mummy also spews some venom about how she probably hasn't kicked her stealing habits. Dr. Vikram runs out, leaving Deepa there in turmoil.

But Judge Sinha notices that Deepa's "Maa ki Aakhri Nishani" are missing, and realizes that she sold her precious earrings to buy him the gift. He marches her right back to where she sold them and buys them back for her. She is so touched she calls him "Papa" and they go home happily.

Meanwhile Witchy Rani's been up to no good. She's dating good ol' Exposed Chest ... yep, the same guy that got Deepa incarcerated in the beginning. He takes her to this super-shady place (where Helen is rocking the house).

Exposed Chest gives Rani roofies and takes her up to his hotel room, where she passes out. He then undresses her and takes compromising photos of her, and blackmails her with the pictures for 1000 rupees. I must say this was a great PSA for me as a child. That idea of being knocked out, stripped and photographed totally haunted me throughout my high school and college days, and totally kept me from ever getting too toasted.

My poor Mom & Sister had to explain this to child-Me. Oy vey.
Anyway Deepa finds Rani crying her eyes out one night and they bond. When Deepa finds out what's happened, she goes and TOTALLY KICKS EXPOSED CHEST'S A$$!!! She totally is AMAZING. And I feel like Neetu Singh is one of the few heroines that can pull off scenes where she beats up guys. She realizes too that this is the guy that screwed up her life pre-Judge Sinha, and gives him an extra good thrashing (I just wanted to use the word "thrashing"). But now of course, Exposed Chest has it in for her.

Then Dr. Vikram's Mummy-Dearest wants him to marry Aruna Irani, who is supposed to be from America and is therefore a boozing, smoking whore fest. Check her out:

I think she's a little over-accessorized. The matching headband AND bow in her hair? The silver belt AND shoes?

Their fabulous solution to this issue is to have Deepa take lessons from the grandmother and Kishore in how to be a lady. Cue Pygmalion scenes of Deepa balancing books on her head and walking, learning how to talk like a lady, etc.  Someone was a bit obsessed with Audrey Hepburn movies during the making of this movie.
The Rain in Spain stays mainly on the plain!

Dr. Vikram loves makeovers. They give him a sense of control in a world filled with chaos.
Dr. Vikram takes her to the club, where he gets all judgy about her moves. I think she's awesome!
 And then to top it all off, they decide to have Deepa pretend to be some foreign princess to get rid of Aruna Irani and convince Dr. Vikram's mom once and for all. They rent some fabulously 80s carpeted ballroom and a bunch of frocked background dancers, as well as a veiled wedding salwar suit. This miraculously works?

So everything's all good now right? Deepa's got a family, a love interest, and manners now.

Soon after, Kishore realizes that he knows Deepa. He recognizes the "Maa Ki Aakhri Nishani"! It turns out Kishore was American Flag Shirt from the beginning! Despite the fact that he was a pretty nice guy and tried to stop Exposed Chest from doing what he did, he feels totally ashamed for what they did to her and flees back to Poona.

Two things also still threaten to destroy Deepa's happiness. One, when she went to beat up Exposed Chest, she failed to retrieve the negatives of the Rani's scandalous pics. Also Shambhu Dada has been released from jail, and he wants Deepa still working for him. He threatens her that if she doesn't steal from Judge Sinha that he'll kill him!

Because I am 12, these subtitles made me snicker ...

Deepa's definitely in trouble! But she DOES have Dr. Vikram and his power of tight white pant suits on her side, as well as her fabulous new BHAIYYA Kishore. But even if she is able to find happiness with her family, will they continue to accuse her everytime something goes missing in this house?

That was the question I was left with folks. As well as how Dr. Vikram fights in pants THAT tight, and how does Rani not have the most massive inferiority complex now that everyone LOVES Deepa and considers her the light of the household? Not to mention that Deepa's mother-in-law is pretty much guaranteed to suck.

Also, for a film that was so heroine-oriented and had such a fabulous, tough female character, it DID suck that at the end she had to be "saved" by the two guys.

But still a fabulous role MADE for a fabulous actress. Chorni is definitely worth the couple of hours. Also to see a slightly hardened, imperfect heroine was pretty unusual. The supporting characters played by Jeetendra, Jalal Agha and Dr. Shreeram Lagoo were fabulous of course, but the star all the way is Neetu as the beautiful and spunky Deepa!

There's tons of fabulous Neetu-Singh Along posts available for viewing on Beth Loves Bollywood's Delicious Links page. Be sure and check them out! Parvarish is next on my list, hopefully I'll get to it before the week is done. And coming up next month, REKHA WEEK October 4-10!