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Friday, 16 July 2010

Swarming syndrome (Mouchak)

What happens when fathers of marriageable girls spot an eligible groom?
In Mouchak, Arabindo Mukherjee's comic caper, they attack him, hound him, stick to him like leeches and almost pummel him into submission!!! And, that's just the beginning of the fun. This 1975 Bengali comedy is another uproarious saga from Mukherjee's stable (the same man who gave us Dhanni Meye). And, here we again have the talented pair of Uttam Kumar and Sabitri Chatterjee with the cute young pair of Ranjit Mullick (he is really, really attractive) and Mithu Mukherjee (she is fireball, I tell you). And, of course Rabi Ghosh (my uncle-in-law, if you rememeber) as a cheeky lovestruck taxi-driver romancing a housemaid!! Just wait till you hear him chuckle with, "Arey ami tokey mohabbat kori!!"
Nitish Sen is the head of a happy family comprising his wife (Sabitri Chatterjee) and younger brother Sitesh (Ranjit Mullick). Sitesh has a funny nickname--Phocha!! Chatterjee keeps fretting over their maid, Chapa (a young Ratna Ghoshal), who is at the young hence, a bit flighty, and keeps giggling at the drop of a hat. Chatterjee keeps admonishing her with, "Tomar galey ek chor mere lady's finger boshiye debo! (I'll give you such a tight slap that they'll have the impression of my fingers)" after Chapa giggles and tells her that a certain Haru has informed her dharosh is called lady's finger in English!!
Chatterjee is always losing her cool with "Amar eshob ekdom bhalo lagey na ( i just don't like all this)" and cools down instantly when her darling brother-in-law tickles her feet! This is a halcyon picture of a tightly-knit family full of its sweet and sour moments (read Sabitri and Kumar bickering over puny things and Sitesh coaxing her sister-in-law to smuggle cigarettes for him from Nitish's packet)...
Sitesh gets a job as the overseer of a jute mill far away from home. Chatterjee is very upset that Sitesh's health will suffer. But, Nitish is gung-ho. He thinks this job will do good for him. So, Sitesh goes.
The fun starts when almost all the officers at the mill start eyeing him for their daughters. A bit uneasy with the extra attention, he soon is baffled by the interrogation regarding his cast, creed and family. In the scene where he meets the labour officer (played by Tarun Kumar, Uttam Kumar's brother), the old man is more interested on whether Sitesh is an unmarried Brahmin (inquiring about his caste and creed) than talking about his official responsibilities. Then there is the bluffing Banerjee who is always ready with his fibs on national heroes. Apparently his wife is a distant relative of Rabindranath Tagore, he was honoured by Netaji for a good deed, he had worked with Deshbandhu C R Das, Prafulla Chandra Ray, Jagadish Chandra Bose. And, these stories just keep coming and coming!!
Then there is the bald clerk who tucks his shirt in his dhoti!! Sitesh surely has his hands full.
But nothing beats the raging menace of Chowdhury and his wife (Geeta Dey) and their stupid daughter Lina, (played by the funny Sulata Chowdhury)!!
All these cartoons are hell bent on netting Sitesh for their daughters! And this makes Sitesh mortally scared and wobbly. A young man, fresh into his first job, is wary of all these hyenas, who are playing a massive tug-of-war among each other over him. There is a hilarious scene where all these fathers are fighting over whose house will Sitesh put up at. They literally claw at him, tug at his arms and even tear of his shirt sleeves!!! Ribtickling!!
Life becomes hell for Sitesh. Till Nitish rescues him out of the sticky situation...
Armed with ready wit and clever solutions, he starts a whispering and poster campaign to malign the reputation of his own dear brother to ward off the clowns. Watch him fool the wannabe father-in-laws with his inebriated disguise and the hilarious Jogai Madhai song. Nachiketa Ghosh's music is quite good. They are drinking black tea in glasses pretending it to be whiskey and scaring the old men away with their top act of falling over each other!!
Then there's the quick-thinking Radhika (Chinmoy Ray), the man-servant who takes care of Sitesh in his rented house (Oh! even his landlord wants him for his daughter!!). Watch him protect his master. And of course the crazy line, "Dadababu mamlet ta to jutor shuktola hoye gelo (the omelette is so cold and hard that it will resemble the sole of a shoe)" The hounding fathers just stick to Sitesh like a leech even after Nitish has tried all the tricks to slander him. They just want him. I can understand their state when they are bogged down by the pressures of marrying their daughters off!!!
The film is excrutiatingly funny. And, not just for Nitish and Sitesh's antics. It has Rabi Ghosh as Amiya, or as Nitish says, Romeo. He woos Chapa with elan saying, "Ami krishna tui radha." To which Chapa replies, "Ami dhopani (laundrette) tumi gadha (donkey) " Ha ha ...
And then when he is caught chuchichuing with Chapa on Nitish's sofa, all hell breaks loose. Nitish's wife keeps running after him with a vase all set to shatter his skull!!! And Amiyo can only scamper, skip and jump over sofas!!! Hilarious!!!
Uttam Kumar and Sabitri display impeccable comic timing. And, share awesome chemistry in the Manna Dey song, Ebar moner shuto hobo. The song is sweet as well as passionate. Their performance is just so wholesome and pleasing...
Ranjit Mullick is so damn attractive (I just wish I could show you a good picture of his) and is very good as the meek yet smart Sitesh. He is dutiful as the young brother and romantic as Nipa's lover. Very enjoyable his part that is...
Mouchak, or the beehive, explains the state of Sitesh. His eligibility as a good groom attracts many bees. But the most apt is Nipa, his fiesty neighbour. Played to perfection by Mithu Mukherjee, she is loud yet charming. Always ready to pick up a fight and with a mind of her own, she is not afraid of being the first one to admit her love for Sitesh. With a perennial spring in her step and a svelte frame, Nipa is what all the other bees are not. And Sitesh is obviously smitten. Watch her in the Asha Bhonsle bouncy track, Besh korechi prem korechi, and you know that this girl is modern, smart and clever! A perfect foil to the sometimes milquetoasty Sitesh!
The film is full of entertainment. The Pankaj Mitra, Manna Dey and Mithu Mukherjee song, Pagla garod kothay achey is one of them. A fabulous jugalbandi, it stands out for Uttam Kumar's superb expressions, too.
And then, the tiger and goat mask scene. Nipa and Sitesh hiding their faces with two ludicrous masks, to avoid getting caught by Nipa's stern father in the park. I call this a perfect example of a seriously light-hearted comedy...

P.S. I'm off to Mumbai (the Bollywood land) for a week. Will resume my journey with old films on Monday, July 25. Till then take care and keep watching great films! Taataa...


  1. Fun film. The quintessential comic caper of the seventies. The good part of Mouchak is everyone looks his part and age. Chinmay Roy doesn't overact and this is one endearing glimpse of Ranjit Mullick before he started essaying the cliched angry young man roles for a decade or two to come.
    Rocking post!

  2. @Netdhaba: Yes, Ranjit Mullick looked so good here. He should have stuck to such roles.
    Thank you for the comment. :)

  3. Oh, this sounds like so much fun! Have heard of it, but didn't know the story: will certainly try to get hold of it. :-)

  4. This really sounds like a lot of fun. Was this re-made in Hindi?
    Checked out the songs on youtube...loved Pagla garod kothay achey but cudn't find Besh korechi prem korechi .
    Have a great week in Mumbai!!!

  5. Oh! This sounds like Damaad, which had Amol Palekar playing the besieged bachelor. He did not have an elder brother coming to the rescue though, if I remember correctly. As far as I recall, Ashok Saraf plays one of the men trying to get his sister married to Palekar, and puts out the "bad character" rumors to scare away Palekar's other suitors! This one sounds a whole lot more fun! Another movie added to my never-ending to-watch list.

  6. @Dustedoff: Yes, yes you must. I'm sure you will love it. It's sheer madcap fun and laughter :)

  7. @Sunheriyaadein: Hi Archana, thanks. Had a great week in Mumbai. :)
    I guess it was remade in Hindi with some changes. Bolliviewer says so, but I have not seen the hindi version. Will try to see it. Besh korechi prem korechi is really cool with mithu mukherjee in it. I'll send u the link if i get it online :)

  8. @Bollyviewer: Oh acha I dint know about Damaad. Have to see it then. But you wil like this one I tell you, just for Uttam Kumar and his antics :)

  9. Will link this with my next post. Hope you are ok with it...

    P.S. Superb movie. Have watched it several times and never got bored. Have this DVD too :)

    P.P.S. By clicking on the header... one is directed to google. Please check.

  10. @Roshmi: Sure go ahead, no problem. That google thing has been bothering me. Don't know how to solve it :(

  11. I am so curious where is Mithu Mukherjee nowadays and how is she doing so far. Can anybody tell? She is one of the most enchanting beauty Tollywood have ever produced.