B.R. Chopra’s Insaaf
ka tarazu was inspired by Lamont Johnson’s Lipstick. It
features Zeenat Amman and Padmini Kohlapure — the two sisters who
get raped by the same man — Raj Babbar. When he is exonerated by
the court. Zeenat Amman shoots him dead. Many eyebrows are raised at
the exploitative rape sequences where camera plays the Peeping Tom.
The film was a superhit. Raj Babbar as the chillingly suave rapist,
with eyes glinting and steely determination writ large on his face,
emerges as the most dynamic and dashing anti-hero. Like most of
Chopra films, the dramatic tension of the theme remains confined to
the court room.
Feroze Khan and Vinod Khanna in Qurbani
Mukherjee’s breezy entertaining comedy Khubsoorat, a
fiercely dominating Dina Pathak is a stickler of norms no fun,
frolic, no late nights. Rekha visits her sister-in-law’s house
turns everything topsy-turvy. She takes wind out of the sails of the
lady of the house by exciting members of the family to rise in
revolt against the tyranny and terrorism of Dina Pathak, playing the
lead role herself. The result is a lively comedy. Rekha’s spunky
performance gives the film its natural zing. Moreover, coming after
the Emergency, the film carries resonances that are almost political
in tone and tenor.
In Saeed Akhtar
Mirza’s Albert Pinto ko gussa kyon aata hai, the complexity
and ambivalence of Albert’s personality are interesting
dimensions. Albert (Naseeruddin Shah) is a garage mechanic who
builds castles in the air by dreaming of owning the expensive cars
he drives for his customers. He is offended by his girl friend’s
Shabana Azmi, pragmatic attitude. He comes to know the wayward ways
of the world when his father is attacked by the hoodlums of his
employer. Smita Patil as Albert’s sister — a salesgirl with a
limp — outshone Shabana and Shah with her stunning performance.
blockbuster Qurbani is the story of two friends — Feroze
Khan and Vinod Khanna — who boast and brag that their yaari,
will weather all wordly storms, remain unbroken even if the world
turns against them. But their bond breaks up when Feroze learns that
Vinod is wooing the same girl — Zeenat Amman — that he loves.
There is a load of action and drama that follows. Eventually, Khanna
sacrifices his life for his estranged friend. The foot-tapping
numbers like Aap jaise koi, Laila O Laila, Kiya dekhte ho, etc
are rage. Nazia Hassan’s husky voice adds to the sensual flavour
of Zeenat Amman.
M.S. Sathyu’s Sookha,
starring Anant Nag, Madhu Lavlin, Nitin Sethi, and Uma Sivakumar etc
is a tale of political chicanery between two ministers who try to
fish out of the troubled waters of Sookha. One of them appeals to a
mad psychic to resolve a crisis. They are unable to overcome a
disastrous drought in a district. When Anant Nag — the Deputy
Commissioner — resorts to a crazy water diviner to sort out the
problem, a crisis erupts out and major riot ensues, leading to the
resignation of a minister. But it is the cleverer of the two who
manages to have the much needed grains transported there to
consolidate his political hold over the voters.
Ketan Mehta’s Andher
Nagri traces the history of untouchability when Harijans used
to have broomsticks tied to their backs in order to erase their
footmarks while walking. When the elder queen of the king (Nasseruddin
Shah) delivers a male heir, his younger queen transpires to get the
child killed. Luckily the child survives and is brought up by a
harijan couple. He grows up into a handsome Jivo (Mohan Gokhale) who
falls in love with an Adivasi girl Ujjan (Smita Patil). The younger
queen comes to know about the true identity of Jivo and poisons king’s
mind against him when Jovo pleads with the king that his peers
(untouchables) be allowed to dress like everybody else. The harijans
dig a well to propitiate God. Shah as an idiot king was at his all
time creative best.
- Chitrath Singh’s Chann pardesi —
one of the few Punjabi films is an epic melodrama spanning two
generations of feudal warfare. The peasant Kulbhushan Kharbanda
loves Rama Vij, but she is seduced by landlord Amrish Puri. Rama
gives birth to Puri’s baby after she is married to Kharbanda,
leading to Kharbanda’s lifelong enmity and vendetta against Puri.
Kharbanda becomes a bandit and attacks Puri’s house. Law takes its
course. Kharbanda gets life imprisonment punishment. Years rolled
by. Rama’s son — Raj Babbar — falls in love with Puri’s
daughter, unaware that she is his half-sister.