Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Chakkar pe chakkar (1977)

Chakkar pe chakkar provides one with an odd viewing experience. In contrast to some of the other movies I have reviewed, this doesn't look like something which was made on an extremely tight budget. It looks like something which had a moderate budget but managed to misplace a chunk of the script during filming (or never had one in the first place). It doesn't help that there are obviously scenes missing from my copy. However, once one abandons attempt to make terribly much sense of the plot it does provide a fun couple of hours as wacky disguises abound, people look etremely attractive and most of the music is fun.


The movie starts with an exciting chase seen involving a holy man carrying a briefcase and assorted armed people. After we have been told the important things:


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and


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we learn that it is in fact a scene from a movie in the process of being shot. The main protagonist is played by Ravi Kumar (Shashi Kapoor) a famous film star who does the movie as a favour to the director who is a childhood friend.


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We then go and see the holy man who is (presumably) the model for the one in the movie. He is holding a meeting with a substantial number of devotees, but after the praying public has left, he uses a switch to activate his revolving platform. On the other side is a group of young women in white singing devotional hymns but on his signal, that is, when he turns round a record to play disco music, they drop their white sarees to reveal party cloth, and the whole temple turns into a disco with a bar. It also includes an old man forging money hidden behind a statue, but in a stunning twist he does not turn out to be anybody's long lost father.


Looking all very devout:

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The all important signal:

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Even the columns change:

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One of the Holy man's henchmen is somewhat worried about the movie being made, but the Holy man assures him that the movie will not be made, he has means and ways of dealing with the director. The director is on his way home, where he is confronted by his wife, who also thinks that making the movie isn't the best idea her husband has ever had; and by a threatening letter. However, he is determined not to stopped either by spousal or postal dissaproval.


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Usually people get that concerned about letters from their bank:

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Next we are introduced to our comic relief guy:

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Ravi also has returned home, and we learn that he lives with his widowed mother (Lalita Pawar), who is rather determined to see him married, a plan he isn't too keen on.


I have no idea why:

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The comic relief guy (Asrani) comes to Ravi's house, to tell him that a journalist urgently wants to interview him, but Ravi refuses, he doesn't want to be disturbed when he is with his mother. Ravi then finds a young lady on his bed, presumably the journalist, though the movie doesn't tell us and this seems to trigger a memory of another interview, which seems to have led to more romantic feelings and our first song.



He has much the similar reaction to the guy as I do:

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I can see that he might have been distracted:

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Mind you, the same goes for her:

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Ravi tells Shila (Rekha) that he has to leave town for some outdoor shooting. We also discover that Shila has a missing brother, and he indeed will become important later. During the outdoor shooting Ravi learns that his character, while being central to the story is actually the villain of the piece (wouldn't one generally establish something like this before filming starts), a fact about which he is very unhappy. The director manages to calm him down by promising him to narrate the script to him that night (again, this seems an odd oversight, but there is evidence later that Ravi may not be the sharpest knife in the drawer).


You want me to play what?

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Later the same night, in a remote farmhouse, Ravi and the director settle down for the narration. The director says that on a night very much like this, in a farmhouse very much like the one they are in at the moment, his father was confronting the evil holy man about his evilness (the holy man's not the father's) when all of a sudden a knife-wielding man appeared at the window, very much like the one who now appears at the window and proceeds to kill the director. Ravi, proving once and for all that he may be good looking but is not necessarily well endowed in the thinking on your feet department, grabs the murder weapon and is found in the incriminating position by the director's wife. He does, however, manage to escape, before the police arrive.


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I can't even say I wasn't expecting him:

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Oh, Ravi:

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His flight through the night, is stopped suddenly by the appearance of horsemen who block the road. They turn out to be Dacoit Sher Singh's (Pran) men, and they take Ravi hostage because refuses to sign a cheque for a substantial amount of money. Luckily for Ravi, Sher Singh turns out to be his greatest fan and is more than willing to help him.


Fake pretend night, the best there is:

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He is quite a sight to behold:

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If this is what being a devoted movie-fan leads to, I may need to find another hobby:

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We are then taken to the house of a local (presumably) dancer (Bindu), for who Sher Singh has a great affection. The police want to use this to catch him and have set up a trap at a wedding where the dancer performs, which mainly seems to involve draping wooly blankets around policemen. Sher Singh arrives, also in disguise, carrying flowers and what appears to be a cauliflower. Despite the police's best efforts he manages to abduct the dancer during her performance.


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I can not guess at all who of these guys may be hiding a uniform:

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Actually, it is an improvement on the earlier outfit, cauliflower and all:

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Of course, the was all part of the police's cunning plan, and the dancer leads the police to Sher Singh's hideout by dropping her jewellery along the way. While the police is still following the lead of dropped jewellery (a good thing she didn't go for the minimalist approach in accessorising), Sher Singh and his men are having dinner. However, Sher Singh notices that Ravi isn't eating, and when aksed why, Ravi pours out his heart telling the tale of the evil holy man, who is an enemy of the country and has ruined his life with the false murder charge. Sher Singh, who may rob rich people, but still is a patriot at heart, promises Ravi to help him in his quest to bring the evil holy man to justice and to clear his name (given Ravi's performance so far, he needs all the help he can get).


No Dacoit's lair is complete without a stuffed tiger:

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He is taking this whole "my favourite actor is accused of murder"-thing quite calmly:

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Sher Singh aslo comes up with a cunning ploy to fake Ravi's death (pushing his car of a cliff). Unfortunately, nobody had had the time to inform Maa of this cunning plan and she isn't taking the news of her son's death very camly, which really is no surprise. Comic relief guy also is upset, but I have less sympathy for him, especially as he seems to be mainly concerned about the fact that he owes some rather unpleasant people some money, which he had invested in Ravi's movie, and they would quite like it back (presumably, the movie isn't terribly explicit, and I don't know why it feels that we need a third lot of bad people, besides Sher Singh and the fake holy man).


The car actually catches fire before it hits the ground; it's amazing:

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Maa is complaining to a higher authority:

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They are trouble:

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Meanwhile, the holy man is given the reels of the unauthorised biopic by his henchmen:

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Sher Singh and Ravi make their way to the city quietly and unobtrusivly with the help of a song and some fake beards. I haven't seen this approach to keeping a low profile since Dhongee.


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After a thankfully brief interlude chronicling the adventure of the comic relief guy trying to escape the money retrieval comittee, we meet Ravi revealing the fact that he isn't quite as dead as the newspapers' reported to his girlfriend (ts, ts, shouldn't he have gone to Maa first?). She is somewhat perturbed to by the company he is keeping, but Sher Singh solves the problem by making her his sister.



Now only literraly in the dark:

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You know, sometimes a movie doesn't need a plot to provide you with moment of pure bliss:

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Instant family:

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After they discover the comic relief person in the fridge (don't ask), we are thrown right into a car chase, which involves Sher Singh in a different wig, and leads the police to the fake holy man's ashram. The chase takes as along a beach and there is lots of spraying water and I am not sure why comic relief man is there, too.


This makes comparatively more sense:

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than this:

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Moving swiftly on, we know see the police asking for permission to search the ashram as some robbers were seen to make their way over its walls. Unfortunately (for the police) there was enought time for the holy man to transform his disco/club back into a temple, a process which is signalled by another turning of the record. The police see no reason to doubt his holiness and sincerity (though it seems as bit odd that all the devotees are young and female).


From this:

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to this (I do wish I had their rapid saree draping skills):

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Ravi and Sher Singh then come up with a cunning plan to con their way into the Ashram. Sher Singh is going to impersonate what appears to be a minor royal complete with (extremely irritating) stutter, and Ravi his secretary. They move into the hotel one of the holy man's henchmen uses as a front for his illegal activities. They manage to attract his attention by talking freely in their bugged room about valuable diamonds which need safekeeping and are then taken to the gang's hideout.


They are certainly making a grand entrance:

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More disguises, just what the movie needed:

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After depositing the diamond's in the high security chamber in which also the reels of the movie (remember the movie? the one whose director was killed?) are kept, the gang try to kill Sher Singh with the help of a poisoned drink, and when things don't work out, they invite him to a party, with a view to getting rid of the superfluous owner of the valuable diamonds.


It looks a bit like an oversized bird-cage:

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More plotting:

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During the party we are treated to another song with Bindu dancing (it's all about daggers) and it becomes obvious that Sher Singh has been recognised. In the end, his is arrested by the police, which on closer inspections are actually members of his gang. While all this is going on, Ravi is liberating the movie reels.


This is probably not the best moment to trash out your relationship problems:

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The evil people then learn from a movie poster that Sher Singh and Ravi are planning to finish the movie about the fake holy man. They have roped in Shila, to play one of his devotees, but before they can get very far, the holy man's henchmen appear, and there is a fight.


Movie-making seems to lead to odd choices in head-gear:

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Maybe it would have been an idea to first finish the movie and then advertise for it:

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Presumably the good guys one, but the movie is reticent on this. We continue with a song which involves Shila trying to seduce hotel henchman (which means that he isn't her as yet unidentified brother), while Ravi tries to sneak into the Ashram.


I am rather used to seeing her with more clothes:

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I think this may be Shila's brother (not that there is much of a family similarity)

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Unfortunately, the not so holy man recognises that his henchman's voice has changed. He is, however, completely shocked to discover that the intruder is Ravi, as he assumed him to be dead. Ravi proceeds to demonstrate that a turban makes a very handy weapon but it is all to no avail as Shila has ended up as the holy man's prisoner.


One cunning plan not working out so well:

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Now working out even less well:

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However, the ashram is surprising well supplied for the ensuing fight with fire and water squirting fittings and a provison for poison gass.


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What will happen next? Will our heroes escape? Will there be more disguises? How many of the substantial number of loose ends will be tied up? Will Maa ever learn that Ravi is still alive?


What is going on here:

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And don't miss out on the climax envolving a death trap:

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and a white horse:

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There is also more cauliflower:

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For me, there are two reasons to watch this movie: the sets, which are elaborate and quite bizzarre, and Shashi, who is extremely good looking. If neither of these are attractions enough to make you go and watch an entire movie, you are better of spending you time doing something else. Otherwise: enjoy!


Gratuitous Shashi pictures:

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I realise my blog has become somewhat of a Shashi-only zone recently. This is about to change, but I just couldn't let the opportunity pass by to share the cinematographic gem with my readers.

4 comments:

queen's said...

wow, i started loving shashi kapoor after reading all d 'shashipradesh' 's citizens' posts...as a result watched half a dozen of movies at one shot. cool job for a cute man. gr8 going.

Bollyviewer said...

"I realise my blog has become somewhat of a Shashi-only zone recently. This is about to change"

NAHIIIIIN!!!!! Shashi-zone is GREAT! :-)

I saw this on rajshri.com but the print was bad and the movie kept getting interrupted by irritating ads. So, I just gave up half way through. Guess I must get hold of the DVD, since Shashi and Rekha look super beautiful and even Shankar Dada didnt sport such a wide variety of zany disguises. I must clearly watch the whole film!

Nida said...

The screencaps speak for themselves, don't they? Sounds like pure, unadulterated fun :) Rekha looks smashing in the black dress, but her face looks pasty, don't you agree? And I love that shot of Shashi with the flame -- I'm sure you do, too ;).

antarra said...

queen's: Hello; and oh, you still have some many movies to look forward to (well mostly, he did some pretty awful ones as well).

Bollyviewer:The blog will never become a Shashi-free zone; however, there are a couple of other movies I have been meaning to review.

And yes, both Shashi and Rekha are beautiful here.

Nida: Yep, both leads are a pleasure to behold. I suspect Rekha has make-up issues in the one screen-shot.

And yes, I love the picture with the flame.