Saturday, 25 April 2009

Pakhandee (1984)

Pakhandee is a very silly movie which nevertheless manages to be highly entertaining. We start of in court where Ashok Ahuja (Sanjeev Kumar) is charged with having promised marriage to a lady and then made of with her jewellery on the day of the engagement. It turns out that ir isn't the first time he has done this, and he is sentenced to three month in prison and a fine.

Suave and handsome confidence trickster?
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Well, it appears she got her jewellery back:
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Once in prison, he has bad luck in picking a sleeping spot, as that spot belongs to Shetty Dada, and he literally thrown on top of another prisoner, Kishore (Shashi Kapoor). The two join hands (and feet) and proceed to beat up Shetty and his henchmen. Once they have managed to knock him out, Kishore says that he will have been released from prison when Shetty comes round, but what about Ashok. Ashok decides to fake illness and is taken to the prison hospital.

This is were I sleep:
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You came from where?
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This is only a temporary solution:
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Kishore is impressed with Ashok's quick thinking. When one of the other prisoners asks why he helped a stranger as if he was his brother, he says, he doesn't really know why but once he finds his brother (ah, isn't it nice when a movie doesn't let you down), his life will be made. We get a short flashback, of him and his brother as children getting a tattoo split between their two forearms because it was too big to fit on one of them.

The extremely significant tatttoo:
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and it's origins:
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Meanwhile in the prison hospital Ashok is interrupted in the enjoyment of a cigarette by the arrival of a nurse bringing ice-cream. He also remembers his childhood, and how he lost his little brother when the lorry in which he had hid him from their evil aunt and uncle choose an inconvenient moment to depart. The flashback makes it clear that he is indeed the other half of the tattooed brothers, rather than a completely unrelated person who just also happens to have been separated from their family in childhood (now, that would be a novel twist).

Ice-cream is really no substitute for a nice cigarette:
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More childhood memories:
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Kishore has been released from prison, well temporarily, the guard asks him when he is going to come back, so he seems to be an old customer. We learn that he regards 13 as his lucky number, and he uses taxis with a 13 in their number plate, and cons people who live in houses no. 13 (Hmm, shucks, I don't live at no. 13). His first stop is at the house of a doctor for homoeopathy whose living room wall seems oddly familiar.

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He pretends to be the adopted son of their neighbour back in the village they came from, and when the questions of the more suspicious wife become to awkward, he starts shaking all over and collapses “unconscious” (this is his standard way of getting out of being asked too many question). The doctor force-feeds him some of his pills and they leave him to recover on the couch, with the wife grumbling about all the trouble they will have if he dies during the night. She doesn't seem to have overly much confidence in her husbands medical expertise.

It's really a very simple and straightforward relationship:
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Aw:
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The next morning, Kishore has recovered, and he leaves, after accepting a present of 20 rupees from his “uncle”. We learn that he never takes more than 20 rupees of anybody and we move on into a song which shows us Kishore conning a variety of people out of 20 rupees each.

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Ashok also is released from prison, and finds a welcoming committee in the shape of members of a gang who are impressed with is work and would like to hire him. He isn't entirely convinced that this is a good idea:
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Kishore is now returning home. He lives with an elderly laundryman (who presumably took him in after he was separated from his brother, but we are never told this explicitly) and a lady, Asha, (Asha Parekh) he rescued from a suicide attempt, and her little son, who isn't his.
This is actually not quite what it seems:
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While his not-quite relatives are happy to see him, the are also angry about his long absence, and challenge him as to where he has been. Kishore manages to evade their questions (without resorting to a fainting fit) and then turns round and asks Asha, why she was trying to kill herself that day. She tells him that she was abandoned by her husband on her wedding night. He took all her jewellery and left her. As she was pregnant and therefore couldn't go back home, she tried to kill herself. To the viewers complete surprise, her absconding husband turns out to be:

Well, who didn't see that coming?
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Kishore realises that the husband is probably one of his colleagues and is going to try and find out who that might be. The next scene takes us to Ashok crying his eyes out about how the first woman he conned stole his heart. I have to admit I have only limited sympathy for him. While he is still wallowing in his grief for his lost love, some members of the (quite persistent) gang turn up and ask him again to join them. After he beats up some of them, he meets the bosse's son (Ranjeet, in a very ugly hat) and agrees to have a look what this business is all about.

Lovesick:
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Oh dear:
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Basically, the idea is to court Preeti (Zeenat Aman), the only daughter of an extremely rich father and relieve her of her money before abandoning her after the wedding (Ashok's plan)/killing her of after the wedding (everybody else's plan). I sense a conflict in their future.

Preeti isn't easy prey, as she has a black belt and isn't really interested in finding a life-partner. Ashok, however, is confident that he will be able to deal with her. Before we see him go about his business, we check back in with Kishore, who his followed by a crowd of people, dissatisfied with being conned out of their money. He hides in a car, which belongs to no other than Preeti who proceeds to race her friends to their picnic destination. Kishore is most dissatisfied with her driving style and tells her so in no uncertain terms when they arrive.

And off we go:
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Unexpected lugage:
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I am not sure you have any reason to complain about other people's driving:
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Where is our picnic?
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Kishore and Preeti suffer a severe case of dislike at first sight; and she is most adamant that she is not going to give him a lift back to the city. She is however going to give a lift to a random elderly gentleman who has had his money stolen. She also offers him some money for a taxi when they arrive in the city, but he only accepts a one rupee coin.

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This coin leads us neatly into the next song, which has Kishore imagining running around trees with Preeti, amongst other more peculiar things:

It sort of makes sense in context:
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Ashok also sets out to woo Preeti. First he refuses to fight with her in her Karate class, on the grounds that she is a woman. Then he buys a statue at an auction which she wants to buy and presents it to her at a party. She sends the statue back, but is impressed with all the flowers he has send and there are signs of her softening towards him. At the same time, Ashok also sets about to impress Preeti's father with is charitable work.

I am impressed by this dress:
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Father and daughter both suitably impressed, they agree that they want Ashok as Preeti's future husband. Ashok now plays difficult to get by refusing to come and visit Preeti's father and insisting they come to his house to see his (fake) mother. The members of the gang are quite worried by this, but Preeti's father continues to be impressed and is even more keen to have Ashok as a son-in-law. Preeti's father is also good friend with the lawyer from the beginning of the movie (Kader Khan), but he has conveniently lost his memory following an accident. While they are still talking, who should turn up but Kishore (Ashok lives at no. 13) pretending to be Ashok's younger brother (ping goes the irony-meter). Of course, Ashok knows Kishore from prison, but he goes along with deception.

Hi, I am your fake-pretend brother:
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This is a loud meeting in more than one way:
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Preeti's father's probing questions soon have Kishore collapsed on the floor. Ashok takes him to a bedroom, where the whole gang the presents to have a meeting trashing out all the details of their plan, in the presence of a random stranger whom they believe to be unconscious. I wonder how they managed to stay out of prison as long as they have.

Keeping your eyes firmly shut seems the way forward here:
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Aw:
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When Kishore gets up (probably to look for some food), he sees a picture of Preeti on the bar, so he realises that Ashok's target is the girl he likes. He is spotted by the gang but manages to escape. Next he invades a dance competition in which Preeti takes part. It's a rather fun song:

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He then winds up at Preeti's house, which after the interior decoration madness previously enjoyed/endured (delete as appropriate) is decidedly dull:

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No somewhat less dull:
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Be that as it may, Preeti only knows Kishore as the irritating guy who first turned up in her car and then in her dance competition, but of course her father thinks that he is his future son-in-law's younger brother, so after some difficulty he is invited to stay the night, in a lavishly appointed room, complete with early morning wake-up service and fresh egg dispenser:

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He soon relocates, but Preeti doesn't seem to be happy about this either:
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The next day, Preeti insists on driving her car to go to Ashok's place, rather than joining her father who is taking the plane. Of course, the car isn't Kishore-free, which turns out to be a good thing, when Preeti joins some dancing hippies who turn out to be (at least partly) a gang of wandering rapists. Not that she needs terribly much rescuing, what with the black belt, but it is the thought that counts and she realises that she is really rather fond of Kishore.

Kishore never leds an opportunity to eat pass him by:
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True love means: letting him drive:
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Will her father agree to a switch in fiancee? What will happen with Asha and her son? How long will it take for either of the brothers to bare their arms? Will the lawyer regain his memory? Will there be a dance number including Helen and/or a climax involving a helicopter?

It's a fun movie; extremely silly in bits, quite predictable in other's and I personally have problems believing that Sanjeev Kumar managed all these women to get engaged to him, but definitely worth a watch. My main complaint is that Asha Parekh is woefully underused. I would have liked at least a song with her and Sanjeev, maybe in exchange for one of the fight-scenes. There are some plot holes, especially the question why Ashok actually went through with the marriage to Asha, but I suppose that was necessary given the presence of the child, but they are easy to overlook.

Gratuitous Shashi pictures:

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6 comments:

Bollyviewer said...

OK, I am clearly living in the wrong place since none of my North American or Indian video sources carry this one (or Kaala Paani, either) and I've been looking for it for ages! It only needs for you to tell me that you've found Jahan Pyar Miley and I will totally pack my bags and move!!!!

As to how Sanjeev convinces all those women to marry him - he probably shows them some of his old romantic film (like Anamika) and also boasts of being Shashi's brother! ;-) But Asha Parekh+Sanjeev Kumar is certainly an unusual combo - dont recall them pairing anywhere else. Do they have any scenes together?

antarra said...

No, no jahan pyar miley other than a vcd. It would be very nice to see Shashi wandering around in stripy pajamas in better quality.

Asha and Sanjeev have the honeymoon scene before he runs of with all her jewelery and there later re-union scene together. They didn't jar as a couple, but neither did I feel driven to check whether they had any more movies together.

memsaabstory said...

Well, I clearly need to see this one too.

*joins bollyviewer in beth-antarra-movie-watching-envy*

antarra said...

Memsaab: Now you can see it. Maybe we can plan another watchalong.

Bollyviewer said...

How come you didnt mention that there is HELEN in it? A bit plumper than what I am used to, but still so graceful and supple. AND Shashi shakes a leg with her! We totally have to see this for our next watchalong. :-)

PS: Do you realise that you have a stray video from a previous post obscuring some Shashi-caps in this one?

antarra said...

I do mention Helen briefly at the end. Also, I need to keep some of the suspense.

When I look at it, I don't see a stray video. Very curious.