Wednesday, May 08, 2002

As Adam Heimlich reviews the CD Bombay the Hard Way: Guns, Cars and Sitars, he goes one ahead and launches a little attack on Kalyanji-Anandji... Brothers Kalyanji and Anandji Shah were but cogs in the staggeringly productive machinery of the Indian film industry in the '70s, when "Bollywood," as the Bombay film center is called, was making a transition from Busby Berkeley-style musical super-extravaganzas to low-budget James Bond-inspired thrillers. and later, about the album itself Like the best Bollywood films, it presents a reinterpretation that is at once shamefully derivative and proudly original. {rmim post}
{google search: more on the album}
Guess what, I had even covered this album in one my eBay trips ... {right here}

Movie for the evening: Aag Se Khelenge: Viewers could have relished this film as a respectable entry into the B genre. (strictly a B minus). However, since the film is backed by the Sippys (Pravesh Sippy to be precise) one can only lament the bad script, the horrible lines, and the tepid songs (a real disappointment from my personal favourite R. D. Burman) that only underscore the futile facetious lyrics. Cringe!!! You want a story? sure sure ... Here's the extract off the DVD jacket (yes, they actually dared to convert this to DVD .. although the original print was bad enough and the DVD scores no high points at all) with typos and errors intact! (it's the least I could do for the film)

Features Police Inspector Shekhar Kapoor's(Jeetendra) chief purpose is to end the wild terror that the underworld don Zaka(Amrish Puri) and his son Shaka(Shakti Kaprro) had spread. Shekhar while solving his case gets hold of Johnyy. But as it turns out Johnyy reveals that he is Inspector Ravi Saxena a Delhi cop who has sneaked into Zakas gang in the guise Johnny, small-time criminal. Johny(Inspector Ravi Saxena) explains to Shekhar that his ultimate mission is to bust Zakas gang. Shekhar suggests that they work together, under his supervision, to which Johnyy agrees. But tables take a sudden turn when Shekhar discovers from his Delhi office that Inspector Ravi had been killed six months back. Who is Johnny then? Can Shekhar sales the mystery? Watch Aag Se Khelenge... .

The B-moments:

Shaka has an annoying habit of blowing farts from his mouth and incorporating that into his dialogue. NOT FUNNY.

The opening titles (except for the film name, which employs a blatant hyperbole/simile that is so typical of the assembly line action films that Bollywood churned out in the 80s) are appealing for their simple spartan look. Unfortunately, the chase sequence (Shekhar in a jeep chasing Shaka on a motorcycle) against which the titles feature doesn't provide continuous contrast for the credits to be visible. Add to that a nice smooth gloss on the print, and, voila, fuzzy credits (which is probably just as well for those involved). The chase is interesting in the number of times that Shaka turns around and launches his motorcycle over Shekhar's jeep. Seems like they had a small stretch of road to shoot on, and they made the best of it by reversing directions whenever necessary

Cool torture technique: Shekhar twists a lock of Shaka's hair with his police can (Shaka repeats this act when the tables are turned in the latter half. I must mention here, that several elements in the film provide closure as time progresses ... just like a sequence of opening braces followed by an equal number of closing braces).

Howlarious threat: Wish I had this verbatim. Over the phone, Shekhar asks Zaka to get a piece of paper and a pen and write down the name of his father and put the paper in his pocket. This is so that when Shekhar beats the 'living crap' (not exact quote) out of Zaka, he will need that paper to refresh his memory (needless to say, Shaka provides closure for this moment when he tortures Shekhar).

Vehicle of the film: Yamaha motorcycles. Riders at various points in the film include: Shekhar, Johnny, Geeta (Meenakshi Sheshadri), Bijli/Barkhaa (Kimi Katkar). And all of them wear a red helmet (visual metaphor for danger? Yeah right!)

Familiar locations: That famous dockyard where countless fight sequences have been shot.

Obvious inspirations: Lethal Weapon (the finale, minus the rain) and Tango and Cash (need to verify this: Johnny's torture at Zaka's hideout)

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