Blogadda Who are you reading today?

Visit to discover Indian blogs

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Duplicity (Some Like it Hot)

Okay, pop quiz. What do Rishi Kapoor and Tony Curtis have in common? Apart from great looks, rivetting performances and sexy voices. Well, here goes. Kapoor's Dev was a duplication of Curtis' Joe in the 1975 film Rafoo Chakkar. Inspired by the 1959 classic, Some Like it Hot, this film was a typical Bollywood masala flick. Only, where the Hollywood comedy trumped, the Hindi cousin lacked a soul.
Both films did well but collections don't always mirror good art, or do they? Here's why I vote for the Curtis-Monroe roller-coaster rather than its Hindi cousin.
First things first.
We have a superb lead cast of Curtis (read handsome and funny) and Jack Lemmon (read comical and innocent fumbling with ribtickling results) that delivers each time. Couple that with the smouldering sensuality of Marilyn Monroe. Her silky voice, luscious pout and vulnerable gaze is unsettling. She is anyday a zillion times better than the not-so-slim Neetu Singh, playing Ritu. What scores? The sheer-sheathed smoothness of Monroe's back or the superflous curves of Singh embellished with tacky plumes? I say, the former. Acting??? Well, who's bothered!!!
Curtis is fantastic as Joe/ Josephine. He is smart, sexy, manipulative and commanding. He looks a million bucks. I chuckle when he lands up on the beach as the millionaire using his antics to dupe the foolish Sugar Cane. He is spot on with his comic timing and is fiercely romantic in the couch scene (I call that being romantic by default). And yes, I actually find him pretty as Josephine...a tad extra tall, but eye-catching nevertheless. Rishi Kapoor is adequate...but I kind of prefer the charismatic Kapoor flooring girls in Karz and Amar Akbar Anthony with his smooth manouevres than wearing loud girly makeup and flirting with Singh here.
Now we come to the fumbling Lemmon, whose part was copied by Gufi Paintal in the Hindi film. Lemmon's Jerry follows Joe's instructions and Daphne finds herself overpowered by Josephine's clever act. He tries to disclose the ploy to Sugar but is too meek. Whatever infatuation he harbours for Sugar is washed out by his friend's stronger overtures. It's hilarious when he tries to fend off his suitor, played cracklingly by Joe E. Brown (Rajinder Nath in the Hindi version is too old and boring...could do with some charm). In fact, very soon we find the two men sharing quite some chemistry! Daphne's automatically funny...this is director Billy Wilder's ace...rendering a comical facet to the characters that is suggestive yet subtle. Thumbs up for that!!! Paintal however, I feel, is the only saving grace. Though he looks unimpressive and is doing mostly slapstick, there are times when you laugh at his actions.
After all the miscommunications are clarified in Some Like It Hot, the plot rushes to its denouement: the mafia boss is slain and the protagonists escape for a secure future. Short and sweet...Monroe's lost gaze stays as she realises she loves the poor but caring Joe and Daphne is more than happy with Osgood Fielding III. Rationalisation can be kept aside for more serious films. Wilder wants you to enjoy and he makes sure you do it.
But what happens to the Hindi story? It just degenerates into some potboiling saga where fathers patch up with their lost sons, villains ensnare heroines and so on and so forth. Fist fights ensue and all hell breaks loose. What happened to good ol' comedy?
As always, I'm not giving out the story of either. When you have seen both the films, come back and tell me what you feel. True, the makers have to keep in mind the audience. But, there is something called limitations of reasoning...
And, if you do have to copy, do it Hrishikesh Mukherjee's Chupke Chupke...inspired by the Bengali comedy, Chadmabeshi, starring Uttam Kumar. But on that, some time later...


  1. The parallels you have drawn are very interesting...shows one how to look at cinema beyond just entertainment.

  2. Nice writing. But again, my limited viewing of films is playing the spoilsport. The silver lining: two more films to add to my must-watch-some-Sunday list!