JAANI DUSHMAN (1979)

The horror genre in the hindi film industry is a genre that has been so-called blooming since the 2000’s. Films like “Darna Mana Hai” (2003), “Bhoot” (2003) and “Pari” (2018) are good examples. The thing is in the hindi film industry a movie is quickly called a “horror”  film even when it is a supernatural thriller and not exactly a horror film.

Also since the 2000’s bigger stars were being seen in these horror films. Before that is were either wannebe starlets or actors and actresses who were past their prime who were seen in this genre as it was looked down upon. Horror films from the 70’s and 80’s were more often B grade (or sometimes even C-grade) movies with the above mentioned kind of stars in them.

In this period (the 70’s and the 80’s) there was one production house who actually specialized in horror movies. Like ” The Hammer House Of Horror”  in the west, India had the first family of horror… THE RAMSAY BROTHERS

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I will not go into the Ramsay brothers in this article. But if you would like to read some more about the Ramsay Brothers please visit a blog of my “partner in horror-crime” Rocking Bhootni her blog through this link :

Sunday the 22nd of July a special edition of our radioshow ” YAADEIN- A Walk Through Memory Lane”  will be dedicated to The Ramsay Brothers and their movies. This show will be broadcast on SunriseFM (The Netherlands) at 10PM (NL), 9PM (U.K.), 5PM (SUR) and Monday 1.30AM (IST). This show can be heard through the cable in The Netherlands, 100.1FM in Surinam and worldwide through tunein, the sunrisefm app and online : http://www.sunrisefm.nl

In addition to this radioshow a documentary will be made about The Ramsay Brothers and their horror movies and uploaded on youtube on Monday July 23rd. Come back to this page for a link to this unique documentary.

Rajkumar Kohli (father of flopactor Armaan Kohli -Prem Ratan Dhan Paayo)was a producer/director who specialized in multi starrers in the 70s and 80s. In the last stages of his career he lost his golden touch when he didn’t focus on his films but focused on launching his son Armaan Kohli as the hero of these (flop) films. The biggest flop film of his career came in 2002 when he remade one of his biggest blockbusters and gave the movie the tilte of the second of his greatest hits. With a cast consisting of Sunny Deol, Akshay Kumar, Sunil Shetty, Sonu Nigam, Manisha Koirala, Arshad Warsi, Sharad Kapoor, Aftab Sjivdesani, Aditya Pancholi, Amrish Puri and Rambha still the movie focused on Armaan Kohli making his comeback. That was one of the prior reasons for the film being one of the worst movies from India right up there with Ram Gopal Verma Ke Aag (his remake of “SHOLAY”).

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But the films Rajkumar Kohli (married to one time small actress Nishi) made in the earlier part of his career were (almost) all big hits with ensemble casts that were humongous in those times…

 

(fun side note: The 1988 Rajkumar Kohli film ” SAAZISH” which had a huge starcast is the only movie which had Dimple Kapadia and Anita Advani in it. Dimple being the ex-wife of Rajesh Khanna and Anita claiming to be his last live in girlfriend which turned out to be a hoax.)

Rajkumar Kohli hit the big time with a concept that was rare in those days. A film which had 7 heroes in it out of **SPOILER ALERT** which 6 heroes would be killed by he heroines who were actually a snake **END OF SPOILER**

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(fun side note: The male snake who is killed in the beginning of the movie -and the reason for the “NAAGIN”  to take revenge – was played by none other then Jeetendra. His daughter Ektaa Kapoor is the producer of the hit series NAAGIN which has season 3 rehashing the story of this film and even using the song that was picturized on her dad).

 

After this movie turned out to be a succes like nobody could have ever imagined Rajkumar Kohli went even further with another experiment.

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He decided to make a movie with an even bigger starcast. And when you watch the movie today the cast seems even bigger then at the time when the movie was released. The reason being that when the movie was made some “unknown”  actors were cast in some minor roles who would go on to become established actors and stars in their own right. And the experiment part…? Rajkumar Kohli decided to take A-listers and make a kind of a horror movie with them. Something which was unheard of in those days. The result is one of the best “masala-horrors”  ever to come out of India and my favourite Rajkumar Kohli film : JAANI DUSHMAN!

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The main story in short is : In a remote village everyone is shocked when brides (who marry wearing the clour red) get abducted from their doli by a monster and get killed on their wedding day. There is a Thakur whom everybody adores as he is upright and honest (Sanjeev Kumar), his wayward and spoiled son (Shatrughan Sinha) who lusts for a village belle (Reena Roy) who actually is in love with the hero of the village (Sunil Dutt). This hero (Sunil Dutt)  has a sister whom he adores (Neetu Singh)  who is in love with her brother’s best friend (Jeetendra). The Tahkur’s daughter (Bindiya Goswami) is in love with the hero (Sunil Dutt). Everyone gets spooked AND becomes a suspect when the brides get started being abducted and killed and everyone is a supect.

Now for the main cast : Sanjeev Kumar is great in his role as the father. In the film he is of the age of Sunil Dutt’s fater while in real life Sunil Dutt was 8 years older then Sanjeev. Shatru plays his son while in real life Sanjeev Kumar was Shatru’s best friend and only 9 years older then him. But that were the hindi films of the 70’s… and it worked. Sanjeev Kumar has always been good in his ” elderly”  roles be it in “SHOLAY”, “TRISHUL” , “KHUDDAAR” or in this movie.

Sunil Dutt is good as the hero and does his job well, Jeetndra **SPOILER ALERT** had bad luck in Rajkumar Kholi movies. After being killed off in the beginning of the classic “NAAGIN” again his fate in this movie is sad. ** END OF SPOILERS** But the Jeentendra-Neetu Singh track is my favorite love story track in this movie. Rekha has a smaller role then the others and is even credited as having a guest appearance. But as far as the heroines go, I like her role the most in this movie. And she has done a good job. This was a time before she was a so-called diva with tons of make-up etc. She really looks nice here. Neetu Singh is once again paired opposite Jeetendra and she does her role well (fun fact : when she was a kid and worked under the name Baby Sonia she essayed the role of Jeetendra’s so called sister in the all time classic  “WAARIS” in which Hema Malini was Jeetu’s leading lady). Though Neetu has a thankless role she does she does wonders with it. The main leading lady of the film who has the biggest role (as far as screen time goes) is Rajkumar Kohli favourite Reena Roy. She does justice to her role and was always a pleasure to look at (and she COULD act as well). But to be honest I liked her more in the negative role as and in ” NAAGIN” .

 

Every movie with a big cast to boast of has the big heroes and heroines and then the heroes and heroines of the “second category”. With that I don’t mean that they are any lessor actors. Take Vinod Mehra for instance. Vinod Mehra acoording to me was an superb actor who could do justice to difficult roles as well (watch him in Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s movies – especially ‘BEMISAAL”  which had him along with Raakhee and Amitabh Bachchan in a double role). What I mean to say is that though these actors were heroes and heroines in smaller movies as well in these movies they were relegaded to secondary roles. But important for the story to continue as well. But because these movies had many storylines not all roles could be filled with A-list stars (not using the word “actors” here) coz that could financially not be possible. JAANI DUSHMAN had this second category as well :

 

And then there were the character actors who were important to the story. Without them the story could not move forward. But they were no heroes or heroines. Some (like Shakti Kapoor and Amrish Puri) were unknown at the time  (don’t forget in those times it took 3 years to complete a film) but who would later on become respected (in some cases) and established stars themselves. JAANI DUSHMAN had a steller supporting cast of known and (at that time) unknown names:

 

With a cast like this and a maker like Rajkumar Kolhi AND a concept that had never been tried before with big stars there was big interest in how the movie would fare at the box office. The special effects in the movie are laughable by today standards. But remember in those days it was new and the Indian audience was not privy to foreign films. There was no internet! The movie was a major hit and people flocked to the theaters!

If there is one point of criticism on my part with Rajkumar Kohli movies it’s the music. None of his films had a killer soundtrack like say, Shakti Samantha movies, Yash Chopra movies, Feroz Khan movies, Manoj Kumar movies and so on. The Rajkumar Kohli movies had maybe one song that would become a hit or even a rage but that was it.

Like the movie NAAGIN had this one (ALL YOU NAAGIN SEASON 3 FANS AND ANITA HASSANANDANI FANS CHECK THIS OUT!)

The music in the movie was once again scored by Laxmikant-Pyarelal who were Rajkumar Kohli regulars.

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Although the movie had to hit songs at the time of release the Kishore Kumar-Anuradha Paudwal duet “O Meri Jaan”  is almost forgotten today. What still is remembered today and what is played on the radio even today for any wedding is the song made immortal by Mohd. Rafi…

On July 22nd a YAADEIN SPECIAL saluting the RAMSAY BROTHERS and their horror films will be broadcast on SunriseFM (The Netherlands) at 10PM (NL), 9PM (U.K), 5PM (SUR) and Monday 1.30AM (IST). You can listen to the show through the cable (Netherlands), 100.1FM (Surinam) and worldwide through tunein, the SunriseFM app and http://www.sunrisefm.nl  ( a link to the show will be provided IF it will be uploaded on youtube).

Monday July 23rd a documentary about THE RAMSAY BROTHERS AND THEIR HORROR FILMS will be online (youtube) for you to enjoy. A link will be posted here as soon as it is available.

Do you want to know more about The Ransay Brothers in advance so you can enjoy the show even more? Check out the blog of my “partner in horror-crime” Rocking Bhootni her blog here :

Do you like horror stories? Check out this post :

If you like hindi films ongs, ghazals, hindi pop, private album songs, songs from Pakistani films or just golden oldies in general become a member of our facebookgroup GEET SANGEET and by doing so participate in our radioshow LIVE during the show:

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If you like fun, games, food, Bollywood, jokes, make up, fashion and a good time? Become a member of our facebookgroup DESI PORTAL

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JAANI DUSHMAN (1979)

produced and directed by Rajkumar Kohli

cast     Sunil Dutt, Jeetendra, Reena Roy, Sanjeev Kumar, Neetu Singh, Shatrughan Sinha, Rekha, Vinod Mehra, Vikram, Yogita Bali, Bindiya Goswami, Sheetal, Aruna Irani, Neeta Mehta, Sarika, Jayshree T, Prem Nath, Shakti Kapoor, Amrish Puri, Madan Puri, Roopesh Kumar, Sulochna, Anwar Hussain, Raza Murad, Jagdeep, Paintal, MacMohan and many others

music Laxmikant Pyarelal

singers Kishore Kumar

Mohd. Rafi, Asha Bhonsle, Lata Mangeshkar, Mahendra Kapoor and Anuradha                   Paudwal

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KOI AAP SA (2005)

Like most readers might know by now I am not that a big fan of movies which released after the year 2000. Of course there are exceptions like Aamir Khan’s ” DANGAL” , Salman Khan’s  ” BAJRANGI BHAIJAAN” or Rajkumar Hirani movies (who is right up there for me with my 2 other all time favourites – Manmohan Desai and Hrishikesh Mukherjee).

 

Then I have always been a fan of certain actors and actresses who I have adored and liked who have not seen the succes they deserved according to me. In the 70’s for instance I really liked actresses like Kaajal Kiran (Hum Kisise Kum Nahin), Vidya Sinha  (Swayamvar) and Zeherra (Dharmatma).

 

1998 saw the debut of another such actress in the Salman Khan movie ” BANDHAN” . She would went on to appear in the song ” Ishq Bina Kya Jeena Yaara”  in the Anil Kapoor- Aishwariya Bachchan movie  “TAAL” for which Govinda refused the Anil Kapoor role.

It would not before the year 2003 when Natassha would make her debut as a lead actress in the hindi film industry. In an industry where anyone without even an ounce of acting talent can become a craze if they are willing to shed some clothes or have a good marketing team it is a shame that an actress of the caliber of Natassha who was a beautiful lady (and still is -although I prefer het in movies like Koi Aap Sa then  her extra slim avatar now in Naagin season 3) and someone who could actually emote and act.

It is even stranger that most roles she got were in the movies produces by the banner of Jeetendra – Balaji Pictures run perfectly by his daughter Ektaa Kapoor.

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Natassha as she was called during that time appeared in some movies -some good and some bad. But just like Rishi Kapoor – even when the movies were bad Natassha was good in them : Kuch Toh Hai (2003), Yeh Dil  (2003), Krishna Cottage (2004), Silsillay  (2005), Dus Kahaniyan (2007), Ek Se Bute Do (2009), Benny and Babloo (2010), Ragini MMS 2 (2014), Hero (2015) and quite a few hit south movies as well.

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Natashha changed her name back to her original name – Anita Hassanandani Reddy and resumed working on tv where she became super successful and can been seen in many tv shows. SHE is the reason I tune in to ” NAAGIN”  season 3 every week  (the only hindi tv show I watch).

But Anita (as I will call her from now on) her best movie -according to me-  was a movie that released in 2005. A love story that remains in my all time top 25 love stories list.

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When this film released I had only 2 reasons to watch this movie: Anita (or Natassha as she is credited in the movie)  and the killer soundtrack by Himesh Reshammiya.

Sometimes it happens that an actor whom you are not that a big fan of makes a movie which you really love and that is a sign of a very well made movie. This happened to me with Anil Kapoor in “LAMHE”  (later on I did became a fan of Anil Kapoor) and Vinod Khanna in ” KUDRAT” (where for me he stole the thunder from Rajesh Khanna and Hema Malini in double roles and from Raajkumar and Priya Rajvansh).

I have never been a fan of Aftab Shivdesani (my favourite Aftab movie still is ” Mr. India”). But in this movie he actually is good. Himanshu Mallick (best known for his role in the first ” TUM BIN”)  was the second hero of the movie but he is nothing to write home about. And the second leading lady of the movie was Dipannita Sharma (best known for her role in  “16 DECEMBER”) who did a commendable job in the movie.

 

But for me the main attraction of this movie – and the reason to watch were Anita and the songs.

Talking about the music of the film. Himesh Reshammiya was the music director of the movie. And for this movie he composed some really good songs and thank God he did not sing any songs for this movie. He lest the singing to some of the best singers of the era: Alka Yagnik, Udit Narayan, Sunidhi Chauhan, Sonu Nigam and Shaan.

This was the era when Himesh Reshammiya songs still had some melody in them and some  ” Indianess” as well. Remember the time when Himesh composed songs like ” Tere Naam” !? This is the era I am talking about. A killer soundtrack which sounds as fresh and as romantic as when first released. The best song of the movie according to me is the song which comes during the end credits.

 

 

When I first saw this movie I was astonished in the beginning and thought  ” Oh my God another ” KUCH KUCH HOTA HAI”  ripoff. But then the “haadsaa”  happens in the movie and the movie takes it’s own course.

I would not like to give away any spoilers about what that “thing”  is that happens in the movie so I won’t spoil your pleasure of watching the movie (for the first time). But believe me when I say that as far as story goes this movie is even better then ” KUCH KUCH HOTA HAI” which boasted of stars like Salman Khan, Kaajol, Rani Mukherjee and Shah Rukh Khan. This movie does not have that big stars but manages to touch your heart nonetheless. And that my friends is the sign of a well produced, well directed and well acted movie which can be seen over and over again.

And again this movie totally belongs to Natassha aka Anita Hassanandani Reddy! For all you NAAGIN (season 3) fans check out this movie for sure and see Anita in action!

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KOI AAP SA (2005)

produced by Ektaa Kapoor  (Balaji)

directed by Partho Mitra

cast   Anita Hassanandani Reddy (Natassha)

Aftab Shivdesani, Dipannita Sharma, Himanshu Mallick and others

music by Himesh Reshammiya

playback by Alka Yagnik, Sonu Nigam, Sunidhi Chauhan, Udit Narayan and Shaan

 

If you like those golden oldie songs and song from the 90’s listen to my radioshow  “YAADEIN – A Walk Through Memory Lane”  every Sunday evening on SunriseFM (The Netherlands) at 10PM (Netherlands), 9PM (U.K.), 5PM (Surinam) and Monday 1.30AM (IST). The show can be heard through the SunriseFM app, tunein or online : http://www.sunrisefm.nl

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Feel free to leave all your feedback in the comments section…

Sholay (1975)

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So when I started writing this blog it took me all of my willpower NOT to start with “Sholay”. But recently I spoke to 2 persons who confessed not to have seen the movie ever. This prompted me to write about the “greatest film ever made”

There are all kind of films where ever films are made. You have cringe-worthy movies, super bad movies, bad movies, average movies, good movies and evergreen movies. And then you have  “Sholay”.  Sholay is -according to me and many others-  the best movie ever made (in India). “Sholay” is the most remade, the most admired and the most referenced movie ever to have been made in the Hindi Film Industry. Books have been written about  “Sholay”, thesis have been written and studies have been done to try to find out what made “Sholay” the movie it is. Whatever the outcome one fact remains: “Sholay” was, is and will remain the best of the best and think about the following: Whenever a top 10 list is made “Sholay” is on the list. Be it a list about action films, love stories, comedy films, the best on-screen pairing, songs that became an anthem… whatever the case “Sholay” will feature on the list.

There are too many facts and stories about “Sholay” to include in a simple blog like this. But I will give you my opinion about “the greatest movie ever made” with some facts and stories thrown in for fun. For all the people who have lived under a rock for the last 43 years and have not heard of or may not have seen  “Sholay” beware that this blog has been written assuming that everyone – from the elderly to unborn babies- have seen “Sholay” at least once in their lifetime.

 

G.P. Sippy was a producer who produced 22 films in a time span of 46 years. He started out with producing films like “Sazaa” (1951- Dev Anand with the evergreen song  “Tum Na Jane Kis Jahaan Mein”), 12 O’Clock (1958- Waheeda Rehman and Guru Dutt) ,Raaz (1967- which introduced Rajesh Khanna and Babita- the morher of Karishma and Kareena Kapoor) and “Brahmachari” ( Shammi Kapoor, Rajshree, Mumtaz, Pran, Jr. Mahmood and Sachin). Though everything would change with the movie that would release after “Brahmachari”.

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Ramesh Sippy – who was the son of G.P. Sippy- was learning the ropes on the films produced by his father. He had been the assistant director on some movies and was the executive producer on “Brahmachari”.  He would finally go on to make his directing debut with a film that would release in 1971 and that would make him a hit director with his first film. It was also with this film that he would work with the writers duo that would become not only an integral part of his success but who would also become an integral part of Hindi Cinema…

Ramesh Sippy would go on to direct some movies which would be all different in genre but would all become a benchmark for those genres: Andaz (1971- Shammi Kapoor, Hema Malini, Simmi Garewal, Ajit and Rajesh Khanna in the first special appearance for a superstar) would be the first collaboration of Ramesh Sippy and the leading lady who would feature in some of his best work -Hema Malini. “Seeta aur Geeta” (1971- Hema Malini, Dharmendra, Sanjeev Kumar) , Shaan (1980- Amitabh Bachchan, Shashi Kapoor, Sunil Dutt, Parveen Babi, Raakhee Gulzar, Shatrughan Sinha, Kulbhushan Karbanda, Bindiya Goswami and Mazhar Khan), “Shakti” (1982 – an underrated masterpiece with Amitabh Bachchan, Dilip Kumar, Smita Patil, Raakhee Gulzar, Amrish Puri and an unknown Anil Kapoor), “Saagar” (1985- Rishi Kapoor, Kamal Hassan and Dimple Kapadia- who would go topless for this movie) followed. After these movies the magic disappeared and movies like “Bhrashtachar” (1989 – Rajnikant, Rekha, Mithun Chakrevotry and Shilpa Shirodkar in her debut movie), “Akayla” (1991 – Amitabh Bachchan, Jackie Scroff, Meenakshi Shehshadri, Aditya Pancholi and Amrita Singh) and finally “Zamaana Deewana” (1995 – Shatrughan Sinha, Jeetendra, Raveena Tandon and Shah Rukh Khan) would follow and would all flop.

Ramesh Sippy would also be the only director to have another casting coup after bringing Amitabh Bachchan and Dilip Kumar together for the first and only time in “Shakti”. He started a movie with Sridevi and Madhuri Dixit as the two leading ladies. This movie  “Zameen” also featured Rajnikant, Vinod Khanna and Sanjay Dutt. The movie started and shooting progressed. But due to lack of funds the movie was shelved and never completed. But Sridevi- my all time favourite actress along with Madhubala-  and Madhuri Dixit did shoot for the movie together and even shot for a song together.

One movie made by Ramesh Sippy though has not been mentioned yet…

The casting of  “Sholay” could be subject to an entire book. When the film was to be started Sanjeev Kumar -who eventually played the Thakur- wanted to play the role of Veeru (since he was in love with Hema Malini and after “Seeta aur Geeta” wanted another opportunity to be her leading man). Dharemendra -who eventually BECAME Veeru wanted to play the role of  the Thakur. Amitabh Bachchan initially wanted to play the role of Gabbar Singh. Ramesh Sippy went to Dharmendra who was “silently” in love with Hema Malini (and it was common knowledge that Sanjeev Kumar was in love with Hema Malini as well) and told him that if he plays the Thakur Ramesh will give the role of Veeru to Sanjeev Kumar and Sanjeev would be able to romance Hema on-screen. Better judgement prevailed and Dharmendra accepted the role of Veeru. Sanjeev had no choice but to accept the role of the Thakur. Hema Malini was always there as Basanti. No second option was even considered. Jaya Bhaduri-Bachchan was cast as the widowed daughter in law of Thakur- Radha. Two more roles were to be cast: Jai and Gabbar Singh.

For the role of Jai Shatrughan Sinha was considered. And Danny Denzongpa was considered for the role of Gabbar Singh. Amitabh Bachchan however who really wanted the role of Jai approached Dharmendra and requested him to recommend him to the director. Dharmendra -who is all heart and emotion- could not say no to Bachchan and not knowing that his friend Shatrughan Sinha was considered for the role recommended him to Ramesh Sippy. But that was not enough to persuade Ramesh Sippy. Two others would have a big hand in the decision.

Danny Denzonpa was considered for the role of Gabbar Singh and was even offered the role. But Danny had just signed to play a role in Feroz Khan’s take on  “The Godfather” which had a big cast as well (though not so big as “Sholay”) and his dates for shooting which were required for ‘Sholay” had already been alloted to Feroz Khan for his  “Dharmatma”. The principled gentleman that Danny is he turned down the role of Gabbar Singh. And once again those 2 gentleman came to the rescue…

Salim-Javed were at the top of their game at that time. It seemed that every script they wrote turned into gold. They started as writers for G.P. Sippy films but didn’t get credit for films like “Haathi Mere Saathi” (1971- Rajesh Khanna and Tanuja). But they went on to turn out hit after hit including Ramesh Sippy’s own  “Seeta aur Geeta”. And when they intervened with suggestions those suggestions were taken seriously as the past proved that they were right, not most of the time, but all the time in those days. Salim-Javed had in the meantime created the role of the angry young man and had made Prakash Mehra cast Amitabh Bachchan in “Zanjeer” 1973. Salim – Javed insisted (though “zanjeer” had not been released yet when “Sholay” started and Amitabh Bachchan had not yet become the God of Hindi Cinema) that Amitabh Bachchan be taken for the role of Jai and so happened. Salim ( who by the way is the father of current superstar Salman Khan) had seen Amjad Khan in a play many years ago and was impressed and had not forgotten him. Amjad Khan’s name was suggested and eventually he ended up doing the role. There are some other stories regarding Amjad Khan and Sholay like how he was disillusioned with Salim Khan later on and never worked in another Salim-Javed script which we will not get into in this blog.

As far as I know “Sholay” might be the only movie of which each and every character is remembered (and quoted in our daily lives) and loved. Who can forget Asrani as the “angrezon ke zamane ke jailor -HA HA” who would reprise this role in two other films (in one of these films he would see Amitabh en Dharmendra -a clip would be used from the song  “Ek Rasta Do Rahi” from the movie “Ram Balram”- and it would be mentioned that those two were the sons of Jai and Veeru).  Jagdeep as  “Soorma Bhopali” who would eventually make an entire movie with this character in the lead, A.K. Hangal as the “chacha” , Sachin, Viju Khote as  “Kaalia” and who will ever be able to forget McMohan as Sambha!?

The dialogues of this film are one of the many highlights. And the writers have seen to it that each and every character have dialogues that stand out. I am not going to quote any dialogues here but the dialogues are used even today in our daily lives. Though I must confess -and this is not because I am the biggest Amitabh fan on the planet-  Amitabh has the best lines because I can identify with his sarcasm filled humor.

Now for the main star cast:

Each and every member of the main cast gave an outstanding performance and it is impossible to visualize any other actor in any of the roles. Sanjeev Kumar as the ex police officer intent on revenge is bang on. Hema Malini as Basanti  “jinko fuzool baat karni ke aadat nahin” is so great it is still etched in our memory and even today when a girl talks too much we call the girl Basanti. Amjad Khan, what can be said about him as Gabbar that has not been said or written before. Amjad Khan is remembered till this date for his superb portrayal and he would go on to reprise this role in the spoof  “Ramgarh ke Sholay” which had imitators of heroes in the lead. The actress who is not usually credited with the sublime work she has done in this movie is Jaya Bhaduri Bachchan. The way she emotes without actually saying anything is a masterclass in acting. You feel her pain and feel for her.

In the following clip which is the death scene of Jai you get to see a masterclass in Hindi Cinema by director Ramesh Sippy, music composer R.D. Burman and actors Sanjeev Kumar and Jaya Bhaduri Bachchan. The scene itself is emotional but the song composed by R.D. Burman takes it to another level. The direction by Ramesh Sippy is nothing less then genius. But the performances by Jaya and Sanjeev are superb. Jaya emotes without saying a word (like for most of the movie)  and Sanjeev wants to comfort his widowed daughter in love who was going to be married to the deceased Amitabh Bachchan but he can’t even comfort her as his arms have been chopped off. Masterful!

I have mentioned all the supporting actors in the movie as well as the main leads except for one:

What can one say about the greatest actor to have ever graced the Indian Screen? For the younger generation who only knows The Great Bachchan from his father roles in those Akshay Kumar, Salman Khan, Shah Rukh Khan movies… watch this and anyone will understand why we love, admire and respect Amitabh Bachchan the way we do. And some people like me just worship him. There has never been anyone like him before him and, hell, there will never be anyone remotely like him again. No matter how hard people try. Some actors may try to remake his films like “Don”, “Zanjeer” or “Agneepath” and these movies maybe technically more advanced then the Bachchan versions but these remakes lack in one thing when compared to the original: AMITABH BACHCHAN.

Everyone I spoke to and all articles I have read question one aspect of the movie: did Jai have to die? I wish Jai did not die in the movie. Since I know he will die, whenever I watch the movie and the train comes in at the beginning and the title music starts to play, I start getting emotional knowing Jai will sacrifice himself at the end. I realise that the death of Jai gives the film an extra emotional graph that is needed near the ending of the movie, but, to be honest, I wouldn’t have minded it that much if Veeru would have sacrificed himself. There is no other actor who could have pulled of this role with that sarcastic humor except for Amitabh Bachchan.

The tracks of  “Sholay” and the sublime theme music have been composed by R.D. Burman who was the house composer for Ramesh Sippy. Noteworthy is that for Ramesh Sippy films “Seeta aur Geeta”, “Sholay”, “Shakti” and “Saagar” a great theme music was composed by R.D. Burman. The songs sung by Kishore Kumar, Manna Dey, Lata Mangeshkar and R.D. Burman himself were all hits but not that big a hit as the dialogues. The Anand Bakshi written songs are remembered even today. Even today when we think of a song on friendship the songs that comes to mind at once is  “Yeh Dosti Hum Nahin Todenge”. There is one song which was not used in the film which was sung by Kishore Kumar, Manna Dey, Bhupindra Singh and lyricist Anand Bakshi.

“Sholay” was the first film for which records were released  (and sold out!) containing the dialogues of the movie.

There are 3 versions of “Sholay doing the rounds :

01. The theatrical version as the film was first released in cinema’s.

02. The version with the alternate ending. This was initially supposed to be the ending and was filmed first by Ramesh Sippy.  The censor board (even in those days!) rejected the ending and wanted it re-shot.

03. The extended edition with some extra scenes including scenes of Sachin’s character and Gabbar Singh, a few seconds extra of Jaya Bhaduri Bachchan and a shot of Amitabh Bachchan before he is cremated and an extended scene (just a few seconds) of Amitabh and Jaya.

This is not the only Amitabh Bachchan film which has two different endings. There is another ’70s film which has two different endings doing the rounds. In one ending Amitabh dies in that movie and in the other ending he survives. And that movie stars Sanjeev Kumar as well. But that is for another post!

Do you like behind the scene stories about movies, movies till those from the 90’s or those film songs when hindi film songs were actually any good? Then tune in to SunriseFM every Sunday 10PM (Netherlands), 5PM (Suriname), 4PM (New York), 9PM (London) and Monday 2.30AM (IST) for my radioshow  “YAADEIN- A Walk Through Memory Lane. You can tune in to the show on SunriseFM through the cable (if you live in The Netherlands). Otherwise you can listen to the show through Tunein, The Sunrisefm app or online : http://www.sunrisefm.nl

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Sholay (1975)

produced by G.P. Sippy

directed by Ramesh Sippy

music by Rahul Dev Burman

lyrics by Anand Bakshi

singers Kishore Kumar, Lata Mangeshkar, Manna Dey, R.D. Burman, Bhupinder and Anand Bakshi

cast Amitabh Bachchan, Dharmendra, Hema Malini, Sanjeev Kumar, Jaya Bhaduri Bachchan, Amjad Khan, Asrani, Jagdeep, Keshto Mukherjee, Viju Khote, Sachin, A.K. Hangal, McMohan, Om ShivPuri and others

Sholay -Jai & Veeru

Jhuk Gaya Aasmaan (1968)

JGA -lekh

Lekh Tandon was a director who made some movies that went on to become super succesful. Films like Professor (1962 -Shammi Kapoor), Prince (1969 – Shammi Kapoor), Ek Baar Kaho (1980 – Navin Nsichol, Shabana Azmi and in one of his very first roles -Anila Kapoor) and Agar Tum Na Hote (1983 – Rajesh Khanna, Rekha, Raj Babbar) were some of the movies he made which really worked big time. Lekh Tandon also was an actor who did character roles in movies such as Swades (2004) and Rang De Basanti (2006).

But his swan song as a director came in 1968 when he achieved something that is rarely achieved in the Hindi Film Industry…

JGA03

Its was in this year that his swan song was released “Jhuk Gaya Aasmaan”. Saira Banu was a beautiful actress who had some hits credited to her at that time already. And the hero of the film -Rajendra Kumar- well his nickname at that time was “Jubilee Kumar” because all of his films went on to become golden and platinum jubilees at the cinemas. A feat which is unthinkable in today’s times when a movie stays in the cinemas for 2 or 3 weeks max.

In 1941 a Hollywood movie was released titled “Here Comes Mr. Jordan” which had Claude Rains in the lead. The movie although a good one was a moderate succes. but succesful enough to warrant a sequel. In 1978 (a good 10 years after “Jhuk Gaya Aasmaan”!!) this Hollywood movie was remade by Warren Beatty as “Heaven Can Wait” with himself and Julie Christie in the leading roles. And finally in 2011 Chris Rock remade the movie once again with himself in the leading role as “”Down To Earth”. This last film surprisingly had a lot in common with “Jhuk Gaya Aasmaan”… Does Chris Rock watch Hindi movies…?

So “Jhuk Gaya Aasmaan” which released in 1968 was a remake of “Here Comes Mr. Jordan” and with this remake Lekh Tandon achieved something that is rarely achieved by anyone. And that is to make a remake which is actually much and much better then the original! Yes you read it right!! “Jhuk Gaya Aasmaan” is the best version of all the films mentioned above.

The cast of the film couldn.t have been better selected. In those days there were no so called “casting directors”, the producer and director did the casting themselves.

Rajendra Kumar as the hero does a fantastic job. You really feel for him, laugh with him and cry with him. Prem Chopra as the evil step brother in the second half of the film does his usual “Prem Chopra” role but he is effective. Rajendra Nath – best known for his “Poppatlal” roles in the Nasir Hussain films is really funny for once. But that is not just because of his antics, it is also because of his role. he is one person whom we can identify with. First as the friend of Rajendra Kumar who cremates his friends body after his death and then when he is called by his friends lookalike in another city who tells him that he IS his friend since his soul is in another body. It is also funny to see the interactions between Rajendra Nath and Prem Chopra when you keep in mind that in real life Prem Chopra is married to Rajendra Nath’s sister.

Saira Banu as the leading lady is good. This role seems to be written especially for her. Though a fan of many actresses of those times (and there were a lot of good actresses those times) I can’t visualise any other actress in this role. Kudos to Saira Banu. Durga Khote as the dadi as very effective. Now I must confess I know her from a film that was released almost 12-13 years later – Karz (the original Rishi Kapoor one that is) and her role in this movie reminded me of her role in Karz. But she did very well. And finally I must mention the name of an actor whom I like very much (mostly thanks to the Hrishikesh Mukherjee films) but whose name mostly doesn;t ring any bells for most viewers – David Abraham. David as he was billed in the movies portrays the role of Clause Rains in this movie and is fun in his short role. The entire cast was well chosen and each and every member did their best. No complaints here.

Now since this is a movie released in the times when the soundtrack of a hindi movie produced gems of songs, let’s have a look at the music of this film.

Shankar Jaikishan compsed 8 songs for this film which were sung by Mohd. Rafi (this was before Kishore Kumar took over the nation), Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhonsle. All the composed songs are well placed in the film and enhance the story (an aspect that is missing in today’s times and movies in general).

According to me 4 to 5 songs that were composed for this movie became immortal. The songs I mean are Sachha Hai Gar Pyaar (part 1 and 2), Kaun Hai Joh Sapnon Mein Aaya (inspired by the Elivs Presley song “Margarita”), Kahan Chal Diye Idhar Toh Aao and my personal favourite from the movie “Unse Milli Nazar ke Mere Hosh Udh Gaye”.

There is one thing however which I would like to mention for the people who have only seen this movie on dvd: When i watched the movie as a kid on VHS I remember seeing the song “Sachha Hai Gar Pyaar Mera Sanam” part 2 in the movie. But for some reason -and I really can’t fathom why- this song was deleted from all dvd versions. I remember the song was picturised when Rajendra Kumar goes to heaven after his car crash right before the interval point this song was picturised on him and David. But like I mentioned this song is deleted from all DVD’s. If anyone has a VHS copy of this movie just check out the song – it’s really a very beautiful song. And if you have the VHS please let me know.

“Jhuk Gaya Aasmaan” (1968)

directed by Lekh Tandon

music by Shankar – Jaikishan

singers Mohd. Rafi, Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhonsle

cast Rajendra Kumar, Saira Banu, Durga Khote, Prem Chopra and Rajendra Nath