Saturday, September 25, 2010
If you can't trust that face ...
(By the way, I KNEW I recognized these outfits from somewhere).
I really had no idea what I was getting into with Badaltey Rishtey (1978), but I was delighted to revel in the enjoyment of Rishi Kapoor, at his baby-faced best, getting to play the bad guy, at least for a while.
Pretty music teacher Savitri (Reena Roy) meets hard-working but happy-go-lucky Manohar (Rishi) in scenic Simla. Every glimpse of view out everybody's window made me swoon! Eventually, he wins her over, as Rishi will. Meanwhile, Sagar, the brother of one of her students, comes to town, and he's totally smitten with her voice, among other things. He's rich, he's handsome, he's Jeetendra, and although Savitri's family lives in genteel poverty, his family is thrilled with the match.
A run of bad luck brings down the heroine's spirits, and poor Reena spends the second half of the movie looking melancholy:
Jeetendra scoffs when he hears about his supposed fate, and cheerfully marries her anyway. (The brass band that meets the newlyweds, by the way, plays "Jhoot Bole," from Bobby!) Just in case, though, he vows not to touch his bride until he's safely passed the 40 days.
Feeling guilty over Manohar's eventual broken-hearted decline, Savitri writes a "shameless" letter, revealing all about the prediction. At her brother's wedding reception, Manohar, who's been the life of the party, decides he's not going to leave it up to fate:
Savitri manages to thwart this effort with song, but she can't stop the two men from becoming friends without betraying herself.
The normally reserved Sagar says that peppy Manohar is "a magnet! An absolute magnet!"
"Jumping Jack" Jeetendra was subdued and likable in what I kept thinking of as the Ajay Devgan part. Rishi, of course, deserves a Lifetime Achievement Award in Cheerful Puppy Love, and he's good at it here, but he was also quite convincing (and much more fun) when full of smiling duplicity. Of course, the things that are not as they seem really aren't as they seem -- this isn't exactly a hard-hitting film -- not that I want to spoil any surprises.
There's another villainous Rishi film out there called Khoj -- a Ramsay Production, co-starring Naseeruddin Shah, with a Bappi Lahiri score. This sounds like a whole new level of awesomeness; sadly, one that's only available on VCD. More motivation to study the Hindi!