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Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Packing a punch (Shikar)

I'm a happy soul today. I've just watched a film that brought under one roof two good-looking men, three fetching ladies, a thrilling murder plot, plenty of feet-tapping songs, awesome action, rib-tickling comedy, superb dialogues and... Well, if you ask me, the list is endless! Yes, Shikar, directed by Atma Ram is one scintillating entertainer. It grips you from the word go, and rivets you to your seat till the very end. A solid romance does not slacken the pace of the mystery, the hero is as dashing as the heroine is glamourous. Just about everything in this 1968 film is perfect. So much so, that a friend of mine have been discussing the clothes and probable marriage of the investigating officer and one of the suspects in great detail. Yes, the effects of Shikar have been profound!

Shikar takes place in Timli Forest Estate where Ajay Singh wins everyone over (I'm included) by his daredevil stunts. He slays a man-eating tiger who had just killed an innocent tribal woman. Ajay is so good-looking that I could almost pause the video there and sit tight for the next couple of hours. But, I had to know what happens next. Need I mention that this Ajay is played by a very strapping and fit Dharmendra (they even have a scene where he is bare-bodied!!!)! He works for Naresh Mathur (Ramesh Deo), a philanderer who informs him that he has just officially written his will and that when he is no more all his wealth will belong to his aunt. Things seem fishy when Vera (Helen), Naresh's colleague pass on a letter to him clandestinely and her actions appear strange.
That night, a jeep accident occurs near Ajay's cottage, and it throws up Kiran (Asha Parekh) in his life. He leaves Teju (Johny Walker), his servant, to see over the unconscious woman lying in his house, while he goes over to Naresh's bungalow. When he reaches there, Naresh is found murdered in cold blood. Ajay is flummoxed but keeps his cool and informs the police. Here enters another heart-stopper---Sanjeev Kumar, as Inspector Ray, who is witty, clever and so charming.
When Ajay tells Inspector Ray about the unconscious woman in his house and takes him there to meet her, he learns that she has left. Ajay is again flabbergasted and feels weird about the missing links. It appears that Naresh was murdered with his own pistol and that a gentleman and a fashionable lady was present when the crime was being committed.
Without wasting much reels, Atma Ram throws us in the midst of a thick mysterious plot that points fingers at a whole lot of people. Does Vera, who has vacillating tendency towards good-looking men, have anything to do with the murder? She is a mere secretary by profession but lives in a posh bungalow. From where is all that money coming? Who is Vimla who vows to have committed the crime but will not say anything more? And what relation does Robby (Manmohan) share with Vera? Are they having an affair? Or is Robby merely interested in Vera's wealth that she might soon win?
Similarly why is retired Commissioner Sharma (Rehman) hiding more than he reveals. Why isn't he telling the police that he indeed knew Naresh?
This brings us to the curious case of Kiran, Commissioner Sharma's pretty daughter with a yen for dancing. She is introduced in such a scintillating avatar. Shankar Jaikishan's music is as usual fabulous. And it's not for nothing that Asha Bhonsle won the Black Lady for Parde mein rehney do. It's such a super song with those Turkish overtones. And Asha Parekh is like the blithe spirit, tossing and turning like the wind, with the music.
Kiran (Asha Parekh), who is otherwise like any normal attractive young woman, as an anomaly. The moment she hears the beats of the drums played by the tribals, she gets unnerved. A stabbing fear grips her and she starts mumbling nonsensical things. Why is this happening? And will Ajay be able to get to the root of this problem. He has fallen in love with her and has promised her father that he will take care of her. But what if she can't be saved from the clutches of law for the wrong she did? Absolutely teasing, I tell you...
Sanjeev Kumar won a Filmfare Award for his supporting role in the film. He does play an able police officer trying to get to the bottom of the matter here. But somehow, he is so cute looking here that I cannot think of anything else other than that! And that song he shares with Vera... Haye mere paas to aa is kick-ass. Helen is sexy, Sanjeev Kumar is dashing and oh how I'd love to see this inspector marrying this perky woman! Ever since I've heard this song, it refuses to go away from my head. Helen's tantalising gaze, Kumar's piercing look just plays havoc with my senses.
Helen is so well-used here. She has some very smart lines to utter and she does that with super panache. She is funny, clever and angling with danger at all times. That's what I love about this brave actor. She matches her steps with Asha Parekh from the very first. Parekh might be the lead woman here, but Helen is not to be missed. She is an important plug in the whole story.
The third fetching lady is Mahuwa (Bela Bose) who matches her nimble steps with Parekh in Jab se laagi tohse najariya, an awesome folk song that maximises the dancing prowess of these two ladies. Mahuwa shares a crackling chemistry with Teju and both of them are so funny in the film. 
This might not be so important but I thought I just had to mention this. Two of Kiran's costumes just fascinated me. One, the fuchsia salwar suit with the golden spangles on it--- it's high fashion, I say. And then, the gold and red gown that she wears on the night of the crime! Absolutely haute couture!
I've given too many reasons on why you shouldn't miss this one. And here's the best news. The full film is available on YouTube! So, what are you waiting for???


  1. Yes, yes, and yes to all what you've said :)
    The songs are gorgeous. Love, love love haye mere paas to aa, and jab se laagi, and parde mein.
    Drooling over Dharmender can alone be enough for a film, but to have so many additional things makes this film just perfect.


  2. I love Asha Parekh's costumes in most of her films. I must see this film, especially since it has so much of Helen. And Dharmendra.

  3. Sharmi, let's share the joy - for everybody who hasn't seen it yet, here is the link on Youtube:

    I love this film to bits. :-) I do wish there'd been more like it!

  4. @Pacifist: Ya, like Sanjeev Kumar and his cheeky looks !! Loved!!

  5. @Banno: Please see, please see, please see!!

  6. @Dustedoff: I'm going to be a greedy pig Madhu and watch this film for the next four days everyday!!! And drool, drool, drool away :)

  7. @Sharmi: Great review. I own the DVD of Shikar and absolutely love this movie. The plot is very gripping and the lead actors are super. The song Parde mein rehne do is fabulous to listen to as well as watch. You can't beat the combo of AshaP and AshaB :)

  8. @Sreenath: You bet. BUt I also feel Asha sings her songs a bit more evocatively for Helen!! Haye mere paas bears testimony to that!!

  9. We cannot imagine a Helen number without Asha singing it, except may be Mera naam chin chin choo. One titbit is tha Helen used to call Asha every time she had to sing a song for her just to remind who Asha was singing for. She even used to send a Chocolate for Asha before the recording so may be that did the trick :)

  10. @Sreenath: So sweet of her!! And so funny, too!!

  11. Will watch it, as soon as I lay my hands on the DVD.

  12. @Roshmi: Please do and you'll never regret the decision :)

  13. Found this blog while looking for Asha Parekh movies! Thank you for taking time out and writing with such enjoyment about these movies. I have a soft spot for the 50's, 60's movies too. They are a pleasure to dive into. I had not seen Shikar before your review - but well worth the watch. Agree about Dharmendra being pretty drool worthy and even though both Helen and Asha slightly past their peakare good. And yes, that gown and the spangly pink outfit! Fab! I want that suit!

  14. @Anonymous: Thanks a triple ton for the appreciation...