Wednesday, July 20, 2005

meet the avenger: zakhmo ka hisaab

[june 18/19/23, 2005]

Meet aadarsh kumaar (Vikram Gokhale in an ill-fated role in flashback). An honest man of values, ideals and principles (VIP). A widower, who marries na.ndinii (Aruna Irani chomping away at the scenery in dolby). Alas, she turns out to be a whining, avaricious, selfish, ... you get the idea. Of course, AK must die. And the man bumping him off for reasons that don't seem terribly important is dhaneshwar "dhanii" seth (Kiran Kumar sleepwalking through a by-the-numbers part with porcine gusto). This sets the stage for AK's son suuraj (Govinda) to grow up, entertain people, fall in love, and exact revenge. His love interest comes in the form of bi.ndiyaa (Farha trying to get her name in the growing list of hams), a street-wise, smart-talking con and pickpocket (Yes, the good old Bollywood rule of falling in love with the person who picked your pocket). Meanwhile, one of several unexplained plot turns comes about -- suuraj is now a surrogate member of a family of four (excluding him, of course): kailaash naath, a school teacher (yep, Alok Nath, providing the standard dash of grief-tinged happiness), his wife (Seema Deo), and daughter puujaa (Vaishali Dandekar). The fourth member is the son and bread-earner amar. Amar serves as a strong presence in the film for a while, before finally appearing on screen, breathing his last. Here's why. KK indulges in some nasty drug smuggling as well, and manages to sneak in some powder as part of amar's baggage when amar is on his way back home for a visit. In a combination of ill-fated events that happen off-screen, amar is wounded and comes home to breathe his last (why he wouldn't go to a hospital is a question you shouldn't really ask). There's a strange sequence later on where amar's employer (a sheikh, clearly) arrives at the house to hand them a large sum of money (amar's earnings and savings). This is where things get even more interesting. With the coincidence meter running high, there is just one family that is involved in all the crime that our favourite family has to deal with: the dhaneshwar family. When suuraj takes the money to the bank to make a deposit, dhaneshwar's son (Mahavir Shah, who's done this a million times before) and his goons stage a robbery and despite his efforts, suuraj is unable to prevent his kitty from being part of the loot. Now, he can't tell the family for fear of sorrow and heart failure. So he launches his own inefficient private investigation (assisted by filmic luck) to find the culprits. The quest is on a timeline, because in a critical moment, a certain large sum of money is required as dowry for his sister's marriage. Somewhere along the way, in all the hardship, thanks to a couple of obligatory songs, bi.ndiyaa ends pregnant up with their child (no suuraj is not God; this is not a case of immaculate conception; just some bad editing).

It's quite clear that this is a Govinda vehicle. His introductory sequence has him (presumably a stunt actor in a film) appearing to rescue a damsel in distress and then beginning the dhulaaii of the goons while indulging in some voice imitations (in this case Raj Kumar; although later you hear some decent takes on Dilip Kumar, Dev Anand, good old Mithun Chakraborty, and Raj Kapoor): cha.nduu aaj terii zi.ndagii ke aaka.De khatam ho gaye lalluu .

Farha gets her share of lines that portend the stuff that Govinda pelted out with more comic abandon in Deewana Mastana: abe o kauwe ke sa.De hu_e a.nDe, are o gariibii kii khaaT ke khaTamalo.n, are o haraamii baap kii laawaaris aulaado.n.

Kader Khan gets to do another serio-comic take as gyaanii, aadarsh's lawyer friend, who later succumbs to drink after aadarsh is bumped off, and becomes a low-quality private eye with Rakesh Bedi playing his sidekick. Consider this exchange of twisted dialogue (all credit to Kader Khan):

KK: jisako maukaa naa mile aur binaa mauke ke mauke me.n se maukaa nikaal le use asalii maukaa bolate hai.n
RB: kaise sir?
KK: haa_e mai.n tere se bahut ##bore## ho gayaa; chal yahaa.N se nikal chalate hai.n

Somewhere in this mix, KK also has a daughter, who loves an inspector (but this angle is rarely explored, except when all loose ends need to be tied up).

KK also gets to indulge in several kaafiyaa-laced conversations with Govinda (yes, these are a common feature in a lot of our Bollywood films). To top it all, he manages to challenge physics by displaying the ability to throw remote punches at people. Of course, Govinda being the hero gets to challenge physics again by issuing kicks that send people flying across several tables. Which is part of this bank robbery thwarting sequence. After the said event, he exchanges a snatch of maraaThii with a bank patron, twirls his hat onto his head, and as a goon escapes, turns to the guard and says "open the curtain". As the goon passes by, he issues a new instruction ("open the door"), fires through the door at the passing car, and then as the crash occurs off-screen, he accepts applause.

Rajesh Roshan manages a collaboration between his mellow simple-with-occasional-bongo compositions and the softer simpler melodies of Bappi Lahiri. So you have the motif of the film (aka the song that exists in happy, hopeful, and despondent versions) in jiine ke liye zi.ndagii ko / duniyaa me.n har aadamii ko / kabhii ha.Nsanaa pa.Dataa hai / kabhii ronaa pa.Dataa hai / kuchh paane ke liye / kuchh khonaa pa.Dataa hai. Then there's the our-hero-with-the-kids song in sar pe Topii aa.Nkh pe chashmaa gale me ##muffler## Daal ke / aayaa huu.N mai.n tumhe ghumaane bachcho.n chalo sa.Nbhaal ke (##hero## chaachaa ##hero## chaachaa) . Then the dress-up-as-performers-to-infiltrate-the-evil-lair number (referred to in the film as "grand variety entertainment") tin tin tinak tin tin daanaa ... ik raaz hai mere siine me.n, a mix of Arabian riffs and pa.njaabii refrains.

As it all draws to a predictable close, we might wonder (should our brains still be intact) about the title. Well, in addition to spouting the menacing-vengeance-laced naa mai.n ko_ii mujarim huu.N aur naa hii ko_ii qaatil; magar aaj mai.n tujhe is baat kaa ahasaas dilaa_uu.Ngaa ki zaKm kise kahate hai.n aur dard kyaa hotaa hai, Govinda enlightens us in the end. With the reward of Rs. 25 lakh (only) for nailing dhaneshwar, suuraj intends to make a movie called ha.Nste ha.Nste lag gaye raste (I wonder if the echo of the Rajesh Roshan song in Khoon Bhari Maang is pure coincidence) with the motto zi.ndagii vahii jo auro.n ke kaam aa_e, zi.ndaa\-dil vahii jo auro.n ko ha.Nsaa paa_e, aur jigarawaalaa vahii jo apane zaKmo.n kaa hisaab chukaa_e.

That made sense.

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