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Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Hidden identities (Bade Dil Wala)

I'm often forced to watch a film because I'm smitten by some of its songs. The tracks play on in my mind and Kahin na jaa, a lovely track composed by RD Burman and rendered fabulously by Lata Mangeshkar and Kishore Kumar is a prime instance of this. The melodious track shows a stylishly clad Tina Munim (with a French chignon) beckoning to a dapper Rishi Kapoor on not to leave her and go. They are at a party and soon the good-looking pair serenade to the song that is so infectious. In the background are Sarika clad in a stunning saree and a suspicious Amjad Khan keeping track of what's happening. If that was not enough, Pran, replete in a well cut suit, looks on happily. He is old but looks so handsome. I thought these are enough reasons for seeing Bade Dil Wala, a Bhappi Soni film.

the picturisation is good enough to pique my interest in the film.
Perhaps, I should have just stuck to the song and let it be. Another song added fuel to the fire. Tujh mein kya hain deewaney is another love song that convinced me that I should delay my watching this 1983 film. It had Tina Munim (her slim and shapely frame looked so good in those dresses) with a chic hairstyle romancing Rishi Kapoor (he was yet to become podgy and was so smart).
Frankly, am not so impressed with Soni's handiwork. Bade Dil Wala has too many things going on at the
same time. The story sounds good but the sequences are not neatly placed. The start is too abrupt, the scenes are too disjointed, the acting isn't convincing and the denouement is patchy. What looks like it could have been a good thriller-cum-family drama turns out to be a convoluted potboiler of sorts with some famous names thrown in for the punch. But Soni's execution wastes a solid cast and ruins the day for them.
Rishi Kapoor is smart, handsome and tries hard. He is Amrit, a popular singer at a hotel where people flock to hear him. He is in dire need of some money but is not desperate to steal it. He is charming and has Kajal (Kalpana Iyer), his co-performer falling all over him, despite having a boyfriend in Bhagwat Singh
(Amjad Khan), a fiend who is the security-in-charge of the hotel. I feel so bad for Amjad Khan. This actor is too talented to be wasted in a drab role like this. He plays a roguish, cunning, selfish man who steals for some quick cash from one of the hotel guests and cleverly shifts the blame on Amrit who has to keep his mouth shut for some silly reason. Amjad Khan is obese and the director shows him having an affair with the sexy Iyer. What is he thinking? Later Amjad Khan tries fighting and looks funny doing that. Khan, if given a chance could have pulled off any cerebral role. I wonder why he wasted himself in these commercial films.
So Amrit is sent to prison but his sentence is truncated because of good behaviour and he comes to seek
revenge from the couple who made him fall into trouble. During the fisticuffs, a shot is misfired at Kajal and Amrit scoots believing he killed her. While on the run, he takes a train where in the compartment he chances upon his friend Vijay Kumar Gupta (Vijay Arora), his wife, Juhi (Sarika) and their son. The three are off to Shimla to meet Juhi's father, who initially did not want to have anything to do with his daughter as she married without his consent. But the grandson melted the old man's heart.
Fate plays a funny trick with Amrit. A train accident kills Vijay and renders Juhi missing (Amrit mistakes her
to be dead). Since he knows where his friend was off to, he takes the kid to Shimla to the wealthy Sinha's house. I am so excited to see Sinha's bungalow. It happens to Woodville Palace, the Art-deco style palace (turned luxury hotel) of the Jubbal royal family. I happened to once do a story on the family and interviewed the King, his wife, his son and daughter. We even had a fabulous photoshoot at this palace. There is something about Indian royalty that is so charming. King Uday Singh Jubbal (he has the largest collection of comics) kept me hooked with numerous tales of yesteryear and of the many fascinating stories of the film shoots that took place at this beautiful palace. Trust me, the palace has scores of stories in its every nook and cranny. Legends from Hollywood and Bollywood have been here to spend time and make merry. Anyways I digress...
So when Amrit reaches Shimla, he has every mind to tell the truth to the rich man. But the family doctor, played by Bharat Bhushan, believes he is being sentimental, pleads him to forget what's gone and start life afresh in this house. So, even though Amrit feels guilty of faking, he complies with stepping into the shoes of Vijay Kumar Gupta, the son-in-law and staying on. The grand patriarch is happy that his son-in-law and grandson are now back for good. But, danger lurks in the corner. When Rashmi (Tina Munim), Sinha's younger daughter, is back from college, she is pained to learn about her deceased sister. However, she knows the true identity of her brother-in-law and suspects Amrit of foul play. But soon, she falls into Amrit's line when she learns that Amrit is innocent and is here because he is forced by fate. Soon, Rashmi falls for Amrit and the two sing and dance together, to the chagrin of Makhanlal (Madan Puri) and his rogue son who are out to thieve from Sinha.
Everything is going on smoothly until Juhi comes back from the dead with Dr Joshi, who has apparently
saved her life. But Juhi is suffering from amnesia and recognises no one. But this doctor is fishy. He has a past and is faking plenty of things. Interestingly he also knows a lot of things about Amrit. The plot contains people in all quarters wearing masks of deceit. And, it's only a matter of time that these masks tear up to reveal true identities.
What could have been a gripping drama fails to be so so some silly loopholes. The comic relief is hardly comic. I was so shocked to see Dhumal. He looked frail and emaciated, hardly his old self. Aruna Irani is wasted as a vagabond. Her side of the story is too forced and rushed.
The point is the narrative is not flawless. The scenes do not flow into each other like water. Even though the story is good, it looks like the actors are not giving in their hundred percent. Except of course, Pran, who breathed every part he played. I loved how handsome he looked with that wig. He is fit like a fig and wears awesome clothes. Might I add that he was giving Rishi Kapoor stiff competition in the personality department.
The women look non-committal towards everything that goes on here. Sarika has no expressions on her face (well, that's the case in almost all her films!). Tina Munim's dialogue delivery makes me feel sorry for her. She looks so stylish and in command when she is not opening her mouth. But when she opens those pretty lips, all goes kaput! But she does make a good pair with the leading man. I think she should try doing a film now with Rishi Kapoor. Would love to see whether the old magic continues...
Rishi Kapoor is smart here but his character is not
well-etched. He does have some good scenes but I'm so used to seeing him call the shots that picturing him as the absconding one isn't satisfying. I guess, I simply should have been happy with those two wonderful songs that caught my fancy...


  1. The story sounds Kati Patangish with other elements thrown in the blender.

    Yes it is enticing to see a film for its songs, but risky. Good films are fewer in numbers, most are 'time pass' or 'ok'.

  2. @Ava: Ya this was katipatangish from the male point of view I guess. But Katipatang was far far better executed and had nice performances.

  3. It's been ages since I watched this one, and even though I remember the basics of the plot (which I agree is a little Kati Patang-ish; that's what I was thinking when I was reading your review), I don't remember enough to be able to say whether it worked for me or not. I like the title song a lot, by the way.

  4. @Dustedoff: I'm more in love with Kaahin na jaa.. title song, for me, was so-so. And ya, you are better off just remembering the songs. The movie is so worth forgetting.

  5. @Sharmi: Haven't watched this one and will skip it based on your recommendation :)

  6. @Sreenath: You can watch it if you like. I liked Pran in there.