Ilzaam is another movie starring Shashi as older police-officer (Inspector General, to be precise) and a very young Govinda. It also has a not completely predictable plot, which does make a nice change.
After a title-sequence which is ever so slightly on the garish side, we meet a motorcycle gang who helpfully discuss there plans for the evening in great detail. A guy named Ajay (Govinda) is going to dance in the street, and the rest of the gang is going to rob the flats while their owners are outside getting irritated by the nocturnal dance performance. It sounds rather convoluted to me, but it does lead neatly to our first song, the imaginatively entitled “I am a street dancer”
You might want to invest in some sunglasses before watching this:
We soon learn that Ajay can't be all bad as he refuses to go along with killing an older man and his daughter in order to rob the money meant for her dowry. This leads to him falling out with the gang and making his way to Bombay, followed by a police inspector Yadav (Ramesh Deo), who has seen his face. On the way he encounters a very good looking young woman, who obviously knows him.
The young woman turns out to be Aarti (Neelam) the daughter of Danraj (Prem Chopra) and she is overjoyed to have found Ajay again, who appears to have been her boyfriend at some point. Her father points out that he finds her joy rather misplaced as Ajay should her up on the night of their engagement. As her father is played by Prem Chopra I can't help the feeling that he may have more to do with Ajay's non-appearance than he lets on.
Meanwhile, another family reunion takes place in the house of the Inspector Genera, Ranjit Singh (Shashi Kapoor) whose son Satish (Raj Kiran) has returned home after a year in London. Ranjit is obviously very fond of his son, but we get a bad feeling about him very soon.
Hmm, I am not sure about you:
The bad feeling about Satish turns out to be fully justified in the next scene. Not only does he drink and drive he also offers a life to an innocent and somewhat naïve girl, and promptly tries to rape her. Luckily, Lakshmi (Shradda Verma) is rescued in time by no other than Ajay. She takes him home to meet her mother, who promptly welcomes him into the family and offers him a bed for the night. During the night Ajay is tortured by his conscience, wondering who a thief like him can stay with these nice people. He decides to leave but is stopped by Lakshmi's older brother Suraj Prasad (Shatrughan Sinha), a police officer who mistakes Ajay for a thief.
He really is rather cute:
You know, this bears all the hallmarks of major awkwardness to come:
When Suraj learns why Ajay is staying with his family he quickly accepts him as his younger brother. Shortly afterwards, he follows a rather reckless motorcyclist, but when he stops the driver it turns out to be a woman, Kamal (Anita Raj) who urgently needs to get medication to her father. Suraj is rather impressed with her filial devotion and makes sure the medication reaches her father safely.
I spot a love story developing;
It also turns out that Suraj knows Inspector Yadav, so he takes him home to meet the family when he arrives in Bombay following the thief. Ajay manages to avoid being recognised by a cunning disguise involving the applications of rather a lot of soap.
Hmm, maybe the Inspector needs glasses:
Ajay sees a job advertised in a dancing school, and he goes with Lakshmi to apply for the position. It just so happens that Aarti is also at the school talking to the director about a donation. When she confronts Ajay he claims not to know her and tells Lakshmi that Aarti probably lost somebody who looked like him and has become slightly unhinged in her grief. Lakshmi is only moderatly convinced by this.
Before the suspense of what exactly happened between Ajay and Aarti claims any victims we are treated to an expository flashback, triggered by this peace of interior decoration which does seem oddly familiar:
First, it is confirmed that Ajay and Aarti where in love. They do spend some time running around trees and singing. Unfortunately, Aarti's father would have preferred a more affluent son-in-law, so he at first does not agree to the match unless Ajay comes up with a substantial amount of money. After a passionate speech given by Ajay he seems to relent and agrees to the engagement but on the night of the engagement Ajay doesn't turn up.
I don't trust you:
Not the position you want to be in at the end of your engagement party:
Aarti is convinced that what stopped Ajay from getting engaged to her was his lack of money. So she wants to organise a dance competition with a substantial prize, in order to make him confess his true identity. She asks her father for money; and shortly afterwards we learn that Dhanraj isn't an upright business man, but a smuggler (not that that is that much of surprise, in fact I would be much more surprised if he wasn't a smuggler).
Inspector Suraj manages to stop one of Dhanraj's trucks but before he can interrogate the driver he is shot by Dhanraj's men.
This guy usually has less hair:
Dhanraj tries to bribe the Inspector General over a game of snooker (well something with long sticks anyway), who is to honest to accept the bribe and advises Inspector Suraj that Dhanraj isn't all that honest.
I am fascinated by the flower patterned curtains:
Do I look like I would accept a bribe to you?
Unfortunately, Satish has no qualms about joining Dhanraj in his illegal activities. He is overly fond of money and always needs more to finance his extravagant life-style. At Dhanraj's hotel he is introduced to Kamal, who he takes an instant liking to. Kamal is a dancer and we get our next dance number, which involves a lot of water and not many clothes.
Oh, hmmm, this doesn't bode too well:
It is a miracle she doesn't catch a cold:
Things get even more complicated, when Inspector Suraj turns up at the hotel, where he has been send to investigate. He manages to save Kamal from being raped by Satish, but lets him go because he doesn't want to embarrass his father. Suraj drops Kamal home and it is very obvious that he is more than fond of her, and doesn't even mind her working as a dancer.
Not the brightest idea ever:
Satish then enacts a complicated ploy to get the truck back which the police confiscated, using the fact that his father is so well-respected to his own advantage. Inspector Suraj becomes more and more suspicious but there is little he can do at the moment. He tries to share his suspicions with Inspector General Ranjit but he isn't willing to listen to anything negative about his son. The conversation puts quite a lot of strain on the relation between Suraj and Ranjit, and Suraj vows to make Ranjit see his son's true nature.
Meanwhile, Satish has met Aarti at her father's house and has decided that he would rather like to marry her. Aarti is less than impressed with this development. She decides to take matters into her own hand and confronts Ajay who is still staying with Suraj's family. Their conversation is overheard by Lakshmi who is know convinced that there is more to the whole Ajay-Aarti business than Ajay is willing to admit.
Guys, you aren't as alone as you think you are:
Before Lakshmi can quiz Ajay in greater detail, the whole family sets off to meet Lakshmi's future in-laws to sort out the arrangement for her marriage. Unfortunately her sleazy future father-in-law demands a lot of dowry. Lakshmi is heartbroken; Ajay remembers the dancing competition and joins in to earn the money for his adopted sister:
Why would you want to marry into this family?
Of course a dance competition means another, extremely bright song (you are still wearing your sunglasses, aren't you?) performed in the presence of a somewhat bemused Inspector General:
Of course, Ajay wins, but does not endear himself to Aarti by saying that he won the money for his sister's wedding and not to marry her. On the way out he is waylaid by the motorcycle-gang who have finally caught up with him. He manages to fight them off backstage though.
Aarti comes home to find Satish trying to flirt with her, which she doesn't appreciate at all (really, can you blame her?). Inspector Suraj, meanwhile is trying to find the driver who helped Satish to get the truck with the smuggled goods back. He manages to find him and arrest him but he is shot in prison. Luckily, he manages to make a written statement before his death, and miraculously avoid smearing blood all over it when he clutches it to his bullet riddled chest.
Doing the right thing proves fatal in this case:
Satish obviously wants to prevent that statement from ever reaching his father, so he instructs Kamal to retrieve it form Suraj's flat. He can do that because she is deeply in debt to Dhanraj and has a very sick father. Before she can do so, she meets his family who take an instant liking to her, especially after she has changed into a sari.
Kamal takes the file, and on the way out meets Ajay, whom she obviously recognises, which causes her some distress. When Suraj notices that the file is missing he is most distressed, especially since he very shortly is going to have a meeting with the Inspector General.
As can be expected, the meeting doesn't go to well. Ratish accuses Suraj of going after his son to protect Ajay, as he has now learned that Ajay actually is a thief. Surja is shocked and immediately jumps to the conclusion that Ajay must have stolen the file in order to pay for Lakshmi's wedding. He proceeds to throw Ajay out of the house. Before he can do any greater damage to Ajay, he is stopped by Inspector Yadav, of all people, and Ajay ends up in prison.
However, not all is lost: When Aarti hears what has happened to Ajay, she goes to Suraj and tells him that Ajay won the money in a dance competition and convinces that he must be a decent person.
Suraj and Ajay are reconciled, and Aarti starts to resemble Princess Leia:
So, how will this work out? What did actually happen on the night of the engagement that stopped Ajay from coming and pushed him into a life of crime? What part did Kamal play? Will the Inspector General ever learn of what his son is up to? And what consequences will that have? Are there going to be any more songs?
This is a very enjoyable movie. The plot moves along at a decent pace and there is just enough mystery going on to keep one guessing without leaving one completely confused and some twists couldn't be spotted a mile of. The music is pleasant and it helps having a lead who can actually dance when your story requires his character to win dancing competitions and be an accomplished dancer. Otherwise the result can be highly entertaining, but not terribly convincing. The different elements of the story are well balanced and everybody is doing a good job. This is actually a movie I would recommend wholeheartedly for anybody interested in any of the actors or cinema form this period. Just don't forget your sunglasses.
And to end this, you are not going to escape more gratuitous Shashi pictures: