Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Sindoor (1987)

If you ever had the burning desire to find out what happens if your wife leaves you because you have been gripped by unreasonable jealousy and she then goes to impersonate her college friend and mother of a little girl whose father never told her her mother died; this is the movie for you. If you never felt any such desire, and are not a mad fan of any of the main actors driven to see each and every movie they ever starred in, there is really no reason for you to watch it; unless, maybe as a cure for insomnia. But then, the noisy fight-scences would wake you up.

The movie starts of with this delightful picture in the title sequence:

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a young girl, Lalita (Neelam) meeting a boy, Ravi (Govinda) in College and taking an instant dislike to him.

Lalite is generally very happy:

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so is her mother:

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Ravi, less so:

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There is also a new English professor, Vijay Choudry (Shashi Kapoor) (I wonder whether he might be important to the plot)
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and "comic relief" provided by Kader Khan:

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The whole plot involving Advocate Dharamdas (Kader Khan) really went old very fast. He is sort of relevant to the plot as he is Ravi's uncle, but there was just too much time spend on him and his crush on his lady who does, which is not reciprocated. It did however, give rise to a song with some very peculiar fashion choices.

As by the laws of the filmiverse instant dislike means that you will be singing a love song within the next 30 minutes, Ravi and Lalita fall for each other, after Ravi had a chance to beat up some bad guys, lead by Gulshan Grover:

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And the love-song
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It is actually quite a cute song, with the two trying to find a place to cuddle discreetly and being continually interrupted. Their flight leads seem to more and more outlandish places:

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It is very pink:
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Over the next scenes we learn that Lalita and her mum are very, very close:
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and that her mother is somewhat of a musician:
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Some comic relied and a scene in a library involving Govinda sporting an interesting top later-

Here the interesting top
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-there is a college function and Lalita performs her mother's song:
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Halfway through the song, she starts to forget the text. Prof. Choudry who has already been puzzled by her singing this particular song, steps in and saves the day. Later he asks her how she knows the song, and she tells him that it is her mother's favourite.

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We follow the Professor home and see him thoughtful on the couch:

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He then gets up and reveals that behind his picture on the wall he hides a picture of Lalita's mother. This is all rather confusing as we know that he isn't Lalita's father. Or at least, he isn't the person whose garlanded picture is placed prominently in Lalita's and her mother's living room.

Leaving the viewer to their confusion, the movie develops the young love further. Ravi meeets Lalitas mother in a store

What is she wearing:
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And the end up at Advocate Dharamdas house to discuss the marriage. The older generation is in favour but does insist that the two youngsters finish college before they get married. This is somewhat of a problem as Lalita isn't very good in English. So, she asks her Professor to give her extra lessons. He agrees and goes to her house for the lessons. I am not entirely sure why he can't just teach her in college apart from the fact that then he wouldn't meet her mother. The two don't look exactly thrilled to see each other:

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He leave to stand on a rock by the sea-side and remember:

We learn that he and Lakshmi were married. He was a professor with slightly less grey hair and she a well-known singer, who sang duets with a partner called Mr. Kumar (Rishi Kapoor).

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It becomes obvious that the Professor isn't entirely comfortable with his wifes' success and her easy relationship with Mr. Kumar. This develops into outright jealousy when she is late for her wedding anniversary because she had to sing at a function. I have to say, that I can see his point to some extent, being four hours late to your own wedding anniversary function isn't the best behaviour.

My symbolism detector just went ping:
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Anyway, instead of having an open conversation with his wife, or indeed any sort of conversation, the Professor tries to sabotage her career by making her late for a show, and grows more and more suspicious of Mr. Kumar. In the end, he accuses her of having an affair, and she leaves the house.

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By about ten o'clock the next morning he has realised that all his suspicion was utterly groundless and he seems to have spend the next 14 or so years berating himself for not having trusted his wife.

It really bugged me that he doesn't seem to have even tried to look for her, and nobody else either. I mean, she is supposed to be a fairly famous singer, she was close enough to Rishi Kapoor's character to pick his wife for him, yet nobody tried to find her?

Ah, well, this flashback does explain how the Professor knows her, it still doesn't explain why she is no a widow with a daughter.

In order to clarify the situation, Lakshmi goes to see the Professor the next morning, and we are treated to another flashback:

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After she left her husband, she was going to stay with a college friend who married a famous business man. She meets with an accident due to an unfortunate combination of a ball, a little girl and a lorry, and it turns out that the girl's father is Prem Kapoor (Jeetendra), the same-said famous businessman and Lalita's father. Lalita's mother died some time ago, but he never managed to persuade his daughter that her mother is really dead, and since she suffers from a weak heart (not that this is mentioned ever again in the movie), she won't be able to bear the truth. He begs Lakshmi to impersonate Lalita's mother for the next day, as it is her birthday. Reluctantly, Lakshmi agrees.

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The night after the birthday, Lalita is kidnapped by Shekar, Prem's step-brother's son, and in the fight following the exchange of the ransom money, Prem is mortally wounded.

Ah, Shakti, I knew someone was missing:
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He makes it to a temple with Lalita and Lakshmi in time to make Lakshmi promise him that she will look after Lalita as her mother. Nobody seems to think that taking him to hospital might be a good idea. But then, that would kind of put a spanner into the plot.

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During the next night, Lakshmi is accosted by her conscience, who points out, that in order to convince Lalita that she is her mother she will have to pretend that she is a widow. How can she do that, as her husband is still alive? Lakshmi takes her problem to a priest who reassures her that the sacrifice she makes in living as a widow for Lalita's sake is a very noble one, and it promptly starts to rain, and her Sindoor gets washed off.

No, she hasn't hurt her head, its her Sindoor being washed off by divinely appointed rain:
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The professor is suitably impressed with her story, and the two sort of reconcile. This is were things get rather akward. Lalita and Ravi still believe Lakshmi to be a widow. Lakshmi is happy to have found her husband, but doesn't want to tell Lalita the truth before she isn't married.

Hmm, I wonder what could possibly go wrong:
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However, one day, Ravi sees the two of them share a bench and a cuddle in the part. I went aaaawww, whereas he is all moral outrage.

I think they are cute:
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He doesn't
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He basically starts to think of Lakshmi as little better than a prostitute and doesn't want anything to do with her daughter any longer. He threatens the professor to leave the city or else. When Lalita finds out what her mother is accused of she leaves the house.

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So, will Ravi and Lalita ever find out the truth? Will they actually accept Lakshmi's love for the professor before they find out the truth (I wouldn't be holding my breath)? What havoc will those to wreak:
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Will I ever get an explanation why anybody thought this scene was necessary:
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One for the difficult to find men's-wear collection:
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My basic problem with the movie was, that there wasn't enough of any of the actors to really satisfy a fan. There were too many subplots, and some of them were quite soporific, so I had plenty of time to think about all the holes in the plot and get annoyed with them. I really can't recommend this; I would like to, but I can't.

5 comments:

a ppcc representative said...

Ah! I own this one but haven't seen it yet. I keep it picking it up, weighing it in my hand, and then going, "Hmm. Not yet."

Oh, Shashi.

Still, I love middle-aged romance as a genre. It's so sweet! And you capped an excellent reunion moment where Shashi registers shock in that inimitable way of his. Might have to watch it just for that.

And why does the woman look younger than her "daughter"?!

antarra said...

The middle aged romance is sweet, but there isn't enough of it. Which is a shame. And Shashi has plenty of opportunity to register shock.

The "mother" is only for years older than her "daughter"; and I think the choice of clothes doesn't help to accentuate the supposed age difference.

Reviewer said...

Oh yes I remember seeing this movie quite some time back and I completely agree with you assessment that unless one is a major fan of one or more actors in the film it may not be a great watch,loved reading your post on it though especially the bit about divine rain and the sindoor LOL :)

Rum said...

wow this could be a great movie for old superstar watching! jeetu, shashi,rishi. this may be the only movie where i found govinda cute, especially with his silly fashions, i do like neelam, though i wonder whatever happened to her?

antarra said...

Reviewer Thanks for coming by. Yes, it is for dedicated fans only.

Rum There must be better movies out their for old superstar watching. But I agree, Govinda is very cute. I have no idea what happened to Neelam. I always assumed she got married and left acting.