Sunday, December 13, 2009

What's Hindi for "...like Jell-o on springs"? Rafoo Chakkar

Look how cute!


Like chocolate and peanut butter, 70s Bollywood and Some Like It Hot turn out to be two great tastes that taste great together. Rafoo Chakkar is a dead ringer for the American original, but it's so successful at being a great film that I sometimes forgot it was a copy. Nothing is lost in translation, and the changes all make sense, even the addition of long-lost family members and a pairing of evil-and-not-so-evil brotherly friends (what, you didn't expect those?)! There are even a few riffs on details I didn't think they'd bother to include - like Tony Curtis's millionaire routine claiming his family's oil business was named after their favorite seaside souvenir, here translated to Rishi Kapoor saying his company is named Esso as a shortened form of part of his name, Eknath Sada Shiv Omkar. Rafoo Chakkar also makes no bones about being a copy. After his first stage number, new band member Devi (Rishi in drag) bumps into Narendra Nath, playing himself. He hits on Devi, saying "Surely you've seen my films." When Devi says she doesn't watch Hindi films, he asks her why, and she says "Because they are a copy of English films" and looks directly into the camera.

And yes, the hotel's bathroom doors are painted like playing cards.
The only way to improve this movie would be to credit the people involved with the earlier incarnations of the story (I learned while writing this that Some Like It Hot is itself a remake of a 1951 German film called Fanfaren Der Liebe).

You know, I really don't have much to say about this other than it's freaking hilarious. Rishi and Paintal are both very good in their witness-on-the-run-and-usually-in-drag routines, especially Rishi, who bubbles over with physical antics and facial expressions.


Dishy Rishi!
And watching him lovey-dove with Neetu Singh just makes my heart squish and smile because they're sooooo adorable together.

Neetu's role is not as juicy as Marilyn Monroe's, but it's still fun and she nails it - and at only seventeen years old! Everyone is funny, the clothes are fab, the locations are lovely, and the songs are great. Especially "Din Dena Buri Bala Hai" (starts at about 1:10 in this link).


Do you think Ranbir Kapoor ever encountered this crazy song on late night tv and thought "Oh my god, those are my parents"?

With that hearty recommendation out of the way, how about a parade of fun details!? There's a bad guy with a cat, just like Bloefeld.

And other bad guys make a bomb to match!

See the weird cat head? Creepy!
During the staple rambling brawl at the end, this guy throws his cat on to an enemy. I couldn't get a good picture, but it is fantastic. 70s henchman staple Shetty is actually an undercover cop! (Don't worry - this information is totally inconsequential to the plot.)

What's next: Bob Christo as US embassy staff?
While in disguise, Neetu wears blue contacts and a light wig and looks startlingly like Rani Mukherjee!

Rajendra Nath is a hoot as the open-minded elderly millionaire who falls for Paintlal (as Salma).

Indie Quill, I think you'll know why I posted this picture especially for you. The tummy, it aches!
This film is early enough that it probably escapes most of the Rishi Knitwear Excesses of later years, but he does have a cheerful sweater vest with heart.

This is his millionaire outfit. Choice.
Anwar Hussain and Madan Puri are the afore-mentioned wrong-doing brotherly friends, and they were so often dressed alike that I began to have a hard time telling them apart.


Sculptural filigree hair!

Also in good masala fashion, there is a ton of villains at the end, and I don't know who they all are, nor does it matter.

Well said, Asrani!I wish this were their lair. It's a stage set for a song performed for them, though, so maybe that can count?

If I weren't already in love with this movie, it even nods towards cultural looting! Whoa!


Collage of leftover fun to end!





Memsaab has told me that this used to be hard to find with subtitles, but she tracked it down on Nehaflix and Induna, and I got it from Netflix. Obtain! Watch! Eeeeee!

18 comments:

jensc00t said...

Some Like it Hot + Bollygoodness = Netflixed. Ohh how can a a gril resist?

Anarchivist said...

You had me at "Rishi in Drag," and then, this parade of awesome! Wow!

Amrita said...

BWAHAHAHAHAHAA!!! A moustache like a horse' tail for someone who's like a horse's ass. Perfect.

Re: RC, not only do I love the movie but I must report that I have seen actual restrooms in tony hotels that had playing card logos. I don't remember where and I don't think they were painted all over the door like that but they definitely had little tags either on the side or over the door with King and Queen (of hearts? clubs? what's appropriate for a loo? and why did I not pay greater attention. maybe take a photo or two?) to guide the needy.

"Do you think Ranbir Kapoor ever encountered this crazy song on late night tv and thought "Oh my god, those are my parents"?"

And now I'm jealous of Ranbir Kapoor. :-(

memsaab said...

I am going to have to give in and buy it NOW. So much of villain goodness! And a Kapoor man looking PRETTY in drag! Oh my!

Beth said...

jensc00t - She cannot - and should not! :) I am putting my copy in the mail first thing tomorrow morning (though I hope they have more than one!)

Anarchavist - Exactly!

Amrita - Bingo! I am v glad to have this particular image in my mental arsenal. Who wouldn't want to be compared to Rajendra Nath?

I am jealous of your card-door-seeing experience! These were really cool. The whole hotel was of course awesome. I didn't catch its name sadly. It had lots of heavy wood and red and mirrors in the lobby (that's where the "villains" line is).

I think we're all jealous of Ranbir Kapoor, aren't we?

Memsaab - Yes! You will love it, I think. I think everyone will love it. And Rishi is actually full-on beautiful in that last picture before the trumpet - in green with pigtails. It's so mysterious.

myrna-nora said...

I don't think I have commented before, but I have been watching your blog for a month or two.
This movie has been on my to-see list for a while, but I think it just moved up to near the top of the list. I suspected it would be hilarious, but this looks even more awesome than I imagined! Thanks for sharing.

Ness said...

All I have to say is: Rishi makes a hot lady.

I mean that totally respectfully.

Rum said...

OMGG after bollywooddeewana's review and yours now, I'm gonna have to search Vancouver in the snow to find this! I watched this once on Zeetv, a long time ago and thought Rishi is super fine man/woman !

I loved Some Like It Hot and any Bollywood version had to be good! Anwar and Madan almost look like Ranjeet and Sudhir in Dharmatma, same matching clothes makes a villain and his friend quite distinguished lol! Cant wait to see this and Shetty as an Iftikar role, I AM SOOO THERE!

Banno said...

Truly EEEEE! Any wonder then that these two have reproduced Ranbir Kapoor. Want to go see it all over again. Rishi Kapoor is truly, truly gorgeous as a woman.

Pitu said...

OMG people, those cards on restroom doors were at MUMBAI AIRPORT before the renovation. HAHHA! I used to love going straight to the Queen of Hearts after Baggage Claim. Also, Rishi as a woman = hot hot hot. Ritesh in drag was also cute but not this cute, obvy.

Beth said...

myrna-nora - Hi! Glad you are commenting! :) This movie is truly delightful - I hope you love it as much as I did!

Ness - YES. Yes he does!

Rum - You'll love it, I'm sure! I even want to see the German version now, since it's the original and surely must be hilarious, even though I probably won't get a lot of its cultural references (mid-century Germany being one of many things I know very little about). It's too bad Shetty doesn't get to do more, but when he was revealed to be SIPAHEE I about fell off the sofa because I don't think I've ever seen him as a good guy before!

Banno - EEEEE! Agreed! Can you, with your years of wisdom on the subject of Kapoor projects, explain why Rishi is only occasionally pretty as a man but a gorgeous woman, while Shashi is always gorgeous as a man but makes such a hideous woman?!? The mind, it boggles!

Pitu - NO! That is awesome. I'm sorry I never saw them! These particular doors are in...oh dear, Kashmir somewhere, I believe. At least according to the script :)

SpyGirl said...

Yes, Rishi does make an amazing woman. I've always thought Rishi and Kareena look a lot alike. It's the nose. And the cheekbones. And the lips.

This was an awesome movie, by the way. Anarchivist and I watched it this afternoon, then afterwards when I was looking up how tall Rishi is (5'7" according to the imdb) I noticed that Rafoo Chakkar is "Up 26% in popularity this week" on the imdb moviemeter.

Hmm, I wonder why... :)

Anonymous said...

This ranks high on my all-time faves list along with Badshaah, Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron and (yep, I know what that says about my tastes) - it's crazy funny, the actors are all super-cute and the dialogs (I love Some Like It Hot but these dialogs are *original* to me)are awesome....
Thanks for reviewing it!!

Temple said...

am about half way through this, and loving it. I think Rishi manages to buck the "good looking Kapoor men make less attractive women" trend.

jensc00t said...

Squeeeeeeee!

What makes a romantic musical comedy even better? A brawl! With sword fighting! And Neetu whapping people with a stick! And Rishi with purple boat shoes!

And boats and stage sets which are bigger on the inside. How did Kashmir got ahold of Timelord technology?

Beth said...

SpyGirl - Ooh interesting! I think all the Kapoors look alike but not all in the same way. Rishi and Kareena are not a pair I have considered before. I find Ranbir relatively UN-Kapoor-y, actually, I think because he reminds me so strongly of his mother.

anon - Diverse tastes are what make the world go 'round! :)

Temple - He really does. It is mysterious.

jensc00t - Hee! Fortunately Neetu gets to whap people with sticks in at least one other movie that I can think of (Kala Pani). As for the presence of a Tardis, I'm not sure how early that technology made it to Bombay. I know the time machine aspect was certainly around by the time of Dharam-Veer but that film is two years after this one, so clearly something else is going on....

The Floating Lush said...

So I finally got around to watching this, months after I had tossed it in my mental queue after your review here. And my friend and I just about DIED OF SILLY and had too many fits of the giggles to count. It was very fun, and I think I need my own copy. :D

Philip said...
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