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Thursday, 22 September 2011

Mind full of Monty (Karz)

There was a friend in college who always made fun of Rishi Kapoor. She said he was too plump, too pink and too goofy to be a hero. This was the time when he was making a fool of himself in films like Prem Granth. I'm sure there must have been other duds like that. No matter how much I convinced her that Rishi Kapoor was once a seriously good-looking fellow and a very smart one at that, she just brushed my claims away. Till of course one day when she chanced upon Subhash Ghai's Karz. Next day all I could hear from her was how luscious his lips were in the film, how dapper he dressed and how crazily romantic his eyes were. The 28-year-old Rishi Kapoor had scored big time and I kept saying, "Didn't I tell you!"

Yes, Rishi Kapoor is the best part of this remake of The Reincarnation of Peter Proud. Even though I'm not particularly fond of Hindi potboilers with OTT action sequences, hyper-dramatic dialogues and performances, I found every bit of Karz falling in place like pieces in a jigsaw puzzle. It was quite an engrossing film. I wonder what happened to the director in Subhash Ghai who made films such as Karz, Vidhaata, Saudagar and Khalnayak. I did catch a glimpse of Yaadein and the least said about it the better.
Anyways, now back to Karz. A very popular film, with an even more popular soundtrack, I loved almost all of it. Ravi Verma (Raj Kiran looks good) wins a court case against Sir Juda (Premnath) and rightfully owns back his large estate in Ooty. It's funny how Sir Juda gets across his point tinkling his glass. He is mute but is wicked and mean. Premnath is utterly wasted in the role and looks ludicrous, too. There is a scene where he is sitting in a bathtub and some girls are scrubbing him. Ugghh!!!
Sir Juda's agent is Kamini (Simi Garewal is perfectly cast) who has ensnared Ravi. The deal is that if Kamini marries and then murders Ravi, she would help Sir Juda to his property and as a prize, would get a certain hefty sum every month to live a lavish life. Kamini conspires against Ravi and the two get married quickly in the city. Ravi's mother (Durga Khote) learns of his marriage, is a bit downcast but peps herself up realising that Ravi is happy after all. But she does not know that death is looming large over Ravi. On their way to Ooty, Kamini murders Ravi. The murder scene is well-executed. You do feel sorry for the unfortunate young man and you do shiver at the cold-bloodedness of the mean woman. Obviously, Ravi's family is devastated.
Taking advantage of the situation Kamini drives Ravi's mother and sister, Jyoti, out of the palatial Verma mansion. She becomes a wealthy woman in the town and is referred to as Ranisahiba.
Years later, the focus shifts on a young singer who is the darling of the entertainment industry. Monty (Rishi Kapoor) sings and dances like a dream and is always surrounded by girls. When he was a child he was adopted by a wealthy man called J J Oberoi, who groomed him up as a singer. Monty is indebted to him and obeys him at all cost. But the reality is that Oberoi sees him as just a means to earn money and prosper in business. He has Monty under contract that the latter won't sing at private functions. Monty calls him 'Daddy' but this father does not care for him. Monty has everything but he is still alone. he has only one dear friend called Dayal (Jalal Agha) who is there by him always. and
One day Monty visits Dayal in his house and comes across a young girl. He is struck by her innocence, her precociousness and her charms. Later he even dedicates a lovely song to her at a birthday party. This song melts me always. Laxmikant Pyarelal wove a good score and made Kishore Kumar sing all the tracks. But they reserved the best one for Mohd Rafi. And yes, in terms of rendition and lyrics, Darde dil is a fine number. I love how coy Tina Munim looks. I absolutely go weak in the knees looking at Rishi Kapoor. His smile is killing, his eyes smouldering. And those romantic glares makes me wobbly knees. I wonder whether Ranbir will ever unleash the magic of his father. Naah!!
Anyways, so before Monty can realise, Tina is off and away to Ooty. Monty is absolutely struck by love and sings the rocking Om Shanti Om before screaming fans. You know, I always thought that his dance had a kick to it. And why not? After all he has the same genes as Shammi Kapoor!! 
While ending the performance he plays the same tune that used to be Ravi Verma's favourite and has some visions. He is perplexed at what he sees and undergoes neural examinations. A doctor suggests that he must be having visions from his past life but others brush it away saying it's all bunkum. But Monty has no peace. He rushes to Ooty where he meets up with Tina and professes his love to her.
The two have a merry time and soon even Tina's uncle, Kabira (I love Pran and how he speaks in blank verses) also approves of the young and handsome lad. But the hallucinations continue. Monty is in turmoil and he must put an end to it. And that will only happen when he discovers the root cause of these visions and the dangerous secret that is lurking close by...
Karz packs in some superb performances. The most noteworthy is from Simi Garewal, a surprise package. Whoever thought that she would carry off this grey character with so much ease? She looks dignified and graceful but has a personality that is only too noxious. She murders for money and heartlessly drives out Ravi's parents making them completely destitute. I love how the director shows her putting on her wigs to hide her grey hair. Here is a woman who has all the money and would obviously love to project herself as a forever young and stylish woman. She dresses up wonderfully, is very attractive and does not care that Monty is a lot younger than her. When it comes to romance, she is bold enough to be with a younger lad. Simi Garewal is strong in her role as Kamini. (Though I am still wondering why she filled her boudoir with pictures of nude women!!) It was an unconventional choice for Ghai but Garewal pulled it off brilliantly.
Watching Simi Garewal finesse here, I was a bit put off by the forced childishness of Tina Munim. Yes, she is quite a looker but some of her dialogues were pretty senseless. She was part funny, and part immature. Her dialogue delivery is also quite a drone. The only saving grace is that she looks lovely in the songs, Mera sola baras ki and Ek haseena thi. And yes, she makes a cracking onscreen pairing with Rishi Kapoor.
Pran was superb. And he was quite funny. He talks in blank verses and is quite credible as the jail-returned goodhearted Kabira. It's worth it seeing Hindi film's original bad man making such an effort slipping into a character actor's role. But frankly, he does it with aplomb.
The 1980 film however, totally belongs to Rishi Kapoor, the darling of the masses, here. He is a bit loud in parts, but I guess that is the way Ghai asks him to project his heart's condition. He is suffering from something and he shows it darn well. But it is in the romantic parts that he tugs at my heart. Especially Darde dil! Aah! What a song... and what awesome picturisation. Rishi Kapoor was a natural when it came to wooing women and here he does it yet again. His eyes convey the feelings he has for Tina. His body language depicts his heart's desire. It's very easy losing yourself in that intense gaze...


  1. This is a mast film. A potboiler in the true sense. Of course, Rishi Kapoor is fantastic. Please get your friend to see 'Bobby'. What a first film (not strictly, he's performed as a child), for a star. And how brilliantly he carries it off. I think he is the best actor in the Kapoor clan.

  2. Oh, and if your friend doesn't mind completely unlikely romances, and another of my favourite Rishi Kapoor ones (with a more bearable Tina Munim in it) is Yeh Vaada Raha. He is fabulous in that too.

  3. @Banno: As much as I like Rishi, I do not want to believe that he is the best one in the Kapoor clan. My heart beats for Shammi and I love Raj's piercing gaze in some films. BUt yes, Rishi is awesome in all his films. He just leaves a mark!!

  4. @Dustedoff: Ohhhh yes, I've seen that one. With a Poonam Dhillon in the beginning, who has a cosmetic surgery done by a doctor (played by Shammi) and becomes a Tina Munim. There is a saucy Sarika also in there who has her eyes set on the dashing Rishi. My friend really will be overwhelmed!! And do you know that YEh Vada Raha is based on Daniel Steel's book 'Promise'? That was a fine book, too. :)

  5. @Sharmi: Karz is a great entertainer with superb songs. I love the song Darde dil. What a rendition by Rafi. The picturization with coy Tina Munim is also nice. Om Shanti Om is an evergreen hit song. The guitar tune in the movie is haunting. Simi Garewal suited the role very well. Overall, an evergreen hit movie.

  6. I liked how Simi Garewal portrayed her role, I usually don't care for her acting but she seemed fine here..Tina Munim, on the other hand, seemed too child-like and therefore, quite annoying at times.. but Rishi steals the show, as he probably is meant to! Love him :) But I think my fav Rishi movie is Kabhie Kabhie, he and Neetu Kapoor are adorable!

  7. @Neha: Havent seen that one yet... but if you insist will do it very soon!!

  8. @Sharmi: Yes, I know about Promise - I haven't read the book, but I've seen the movie. Frankly, I thought Yeh Vaada Raha was better than its Hollywood original. ;-)

  9. @Dustedoff: Ekdum. No ways you can beat the charms of Rishi Kapoor. And he looked so godd with Poonam Dhillon as well as Tina Munim!! And the title track was so lovely!!