Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Shaan (1980)

Today's songs are being accompanied by a review of the movie from our good friend Beth over at Beth Loves Bollywood. Even though the movie being reviewed is from 1980 - like all great art, the first time you experience it - it is new for you.

It was inevitable of course that five years after the mega-success of 'Sholay' (Bollywood's tribute to the spaghetti western) the powers that be would get together and attempt to do the same tribute for 007. The result was 'Shaan' which took over 3 years to make, brought back many of the same people that made 'Sholay' and was one of the costliest films of it's time (barely making back it's original budget). The movie itself is just one breathless sequence of events that combines romance, buddy flicks, great songs, implausible plotlines and of course the thing that no Bond picture would be complete without - a signature villain. Seeing Kulbushan Karbhanda now cannot be done without picturing Mike Myers' famous Dr. Evil from 'Austin Powers'. But in his debut film, Karbhanda handled the role perfectly and proved to be more than just a caricature in his alligator infested lair. Amitabh is his usual uber cool hero - fans of AB 2.0 should watch this film to see what made his dad such a star. This film also stars Shashi Kapoor (brother of Raj & Shammi) and my favorite heroine from the 80's, the angelic Parveen Babi.

Try to make this movie today and you can just imagine the pitch... "Ummm - I need the biggest actor of the day, an unlimited budget, great songs, melodrama, side-splitting comedy, action sequences never attempted before in Indian cinema - and oh, did I mention the lead actor will have to wrestle an alligator in the final sequence?". Yes, this movie (like all great Bollywood masala films) is like many movies rolled into one - but with all cylinders firing. The end result is inspired madness that will keep you entertained until the final reel. At times the editing and plot development will challenge your logic but the film has so much energy and enthusiasm you just won't care.

R.D. Burman provided the music for this movie and is universally regarded as one of the true legends of Indian cinema inheriting his talent from another legend - his father S.D. Burman. The song for today is Janu Meri Jaan. The song unfolds in a scene in which our 2 heroes have to get our 2 heroines back after being caught in a lie. The setting? Try a double decker bus then a two seater bicycle followed immediately by a machine gun shootout, view it here.

1 comment:

PolkaStripes-ZebraDots said...

keep up the good work!