Monday, January 17, 2011

Wardat (Gunmasteeeeeer geee niiiiiiiine!)

[Spoilery but not in a way that affects much. I figure if you're reading this post, either you have already seen Wardat and wish to re-live its glory or you're curious enough about it that you'll see it no matter what anyone says.]

What could there possibly be left to say about Wardat when so many people have already written about it so well? It's horrendous. It's exhausting. It's ridiculous. It's delightful. I enjoyed it thoroughly in my watchalong with Temple but never want to see it again. From plastic locusts controlled by radio signals and baby dolls suffering from drug-induced comas to bulgy-veined golden Egyptian statues and a dance hall covered (and I mean covered) with aluminum foil, it is crammed full of silly things meant to entertain you. Some of them are spectacularly ugly, cheap, and/or nonsensical (this film has little sound internal logic). And somehow it has nourished the seed of a true, completely un-ironic love of Mithun Chakraborty, who may be in some craptastic films but seems to give them his all and whose dancing I always enjoy no matter what insults are hurled at it.


My friend Denis shares my impressions and seems have a zest for putting them on paper that I just don't have - trying to cohere the insanity of the film took it all out of me - so I think he will forgive me for simply quoting him at length from his article at Wtf-Film.com.

All that combined would make Wardat a solid yet not especially remarkable movie, but the film’s director Ravikant Nagaich decides to put out all the stops for the final three quarters of an hour of his film. Suddenly everything that was alright before turns into the sort of brilliant, ridiculous fun I had hoped for from the beginning.

Mithun does SCIENCE! in front of multi-coloured, blinking lights. Suddenly, we are in Africa, at once in a jungle, a desert and on a mountain. Mithun and Kajal are drugged for a cheaply psychedelic romp of tumble-dancing. Then, we enter the lair of our true main bad guy which is probably situated in a ruin in Egypt – at least that’s what the statues in it look like, though his dancing troupe (yes, of course our heroes will pretend to be part of it directly before the big finale) is dressed in a mix of Peruvian, Aztec, and Hollywood Africana and his guards are wearing what looks like white kendo masks – and are suddenly confronted with some of the most eye-popping uses of red lighting that have ever touched human eyes, a baby farm, torture by shaking, a duel to the death with added sharpshooting archers, mind-control, Mithun wrestling a tiger and various explosions large and small. In other words, all the extreme, silly excitement on could wish for turns up, shouts gleefully at your face, dances a little jig, fights and leaves this always hopeful, yet oh so often disappointed watcher of dubious movies with a warm afterglow and a sudden and frightening love for Mithun Chakraborty.
I do so adore it when a film that is kind of a hot mess in some way or other - slow, boring, erratic, incoherent - suddenly gels into the kind of glorious WTFery that involves tigers and secret doors and ooga-booga-esque costumes and jodhpurs and archers and hand-to-hand combat and death-by-rock-a-bye-baby and a fanged sphinx, don't you?

In addition to my admission of a burgeoning love for Mithun, please accept as my humble offerings to the public discourse on Wardat this small collection of my favorite moments with limited commentary spelled badly.




Full song here.
One of the things I love about these movies is that the strangest of things can go completely unremarked upon, as though having a disco club whose dominant decorative motif is giant dismembered hands holding an equally giant bowl and surrounded by Tetris pieces is the most mundane thing in the world.


All the interiors in this film before the Egyptian themes take over are eye-scarring in that way that conjures up basement rec rooms full of cast-off furniture and a hodgepodge of yesteryear's draperies and couches.


Full song, including shots of the whole room that is covered in foil and has glittery letters spelling out "LOVE NEST" suspended from the ceiling, here.
From the moment I first saw Disco Dancer almost five years ago I have been obsessed with the use of dark socks or slippers in dance costumes. These are just about the least alluring footwear you could possibly choose. So very grandpa. And look carefully and tell me if you think the floor here is the same one in the previous song two pictures up but with the red crosses removed?








One thing Wardat does very well: blinking lights and expansive scientific equipment.






I honestly like this. Why not just knock out some hieroglyphs and add neon pink lighting?


One thing Wardat does not do very well: seamlessly overlay footage of ancient Egyptian ruins with shots of its actors in silly costumes to create the effect of being in Egypt.


He's not under cover anymore at this point, but still. Why provoke your captors?


For those of you who have not seen the film, allow me to catalog the components of this image:
• a posse of unidentified black dudes in very polyester suits,
• yards and yards of plastic tubing that, if I understand the scene correctly, carries some kind of locust-transmittable poison to babies (actually dolls) from the mouth of a sphinx at the back of the lab who oversees the torture area,
• Shakti Kapoor with his shirt halfway undone, and
• an anonymous female minion who has been force-fed a chemical that makes her super strong but mind-controlled by Shakti.

And to end: something you definitely do not wish to think about in conjunction with Jagdeep.

As if that weren't bad enough, note the skinny baby blue belt. Cinch it!

10 comments:

Banno said...

WTF. Wish I could magnify the font and make it like a huge WTF. I must see this movie. Locusts! Really. Your screencaps are hilarious. :)

houseinrlyeh aka Denis said...

Thanks for the quoting, Beth!

The last forty minutes of the film or so are a constant stream of everything that is right with weirdness.

SVH said...

Hilarious as always. Speaking of mithun, have you seen Titli?

Shweta Mehrotra Gahlawat said...

Must rewatch, though honestly you've lent a lot to the movie with your subtitles :)How crazy was Mithun's Intro song? The dancers they had got were SO sad-looking, which really killed the intended establishment of G9's cool. And I loved Iftekhar in it- bet he got a real kick doing this one :D

Temple said...

When anyone asks me what I did on Sunday morning, I will direct them to this post :) Wardat really is SO Bad It's Great! I especially enjoyed the Gunmaster secret hideout - the bright red tent with the Gunmaster G9 stealth car parked beside it. And Beth, I think your Mithun love is even less explicable than my love of the one and only Chiranjeevi.

Beth said...

Banno - Before I realized the name of the website where Denis's excellent review is published, I had named this post W(ardat) T F :D You really must see it. It is amazing and awful and all those great things! And the locusts - OH MY THE LOCUSTS! SOOOOO plastic!

Denis - But of course! I was amazed at how perfectly we agreed about this film - that never happens. More testament to the magic of Mithun, perhaps?

SVH - Yay! :D And no, I haven't even heard of Titli. It looks interesting - do you recommend?

Shweta - I recommend drinking first. You'll definitely find plenty to laugh with/at/around/through here :D

Temple - YES. We must record the great events in our lives thusly. I did not get a great picture of the secret hideout - though perhaps that would not even be possible, given how secretive it was. * nod nod *

Lime(tte) said...

Funny!
I don't know if I want to watch this one, though...

Todd said...

Now the only excuse I have for not having watched this is that I have absolutely no reason to review it, because it's been covered so well elsewhere.

And, hey, now you have to review Suraksha, too. You can't just watch one Gunmaster!! G-9!!!

SVH said...

I've got to see Wardat now.

Titli is highly recommended. Directed by Rituparno Ghosh, starring Mithun, Aparna Sen (!) and Konkona Sensharma. Mithun plays Rohit Roy, a bwood superstar, Aparna Sen the girl who got away, and Konkona her teenage daughter with a crush on Rohit Roy, unaware of her mother's history with the star. Came out the same year as Mr and Mrs Iyer I think. A Bengali kid gave me a copy. What a gift.

The only downside is there won't be many opps for hilarious screenshots.

Miranda said...

There seems to be a dearth of Wardaat copies floating around at the moment, so I had to catch this one on the Youtube without subtitles. It certainly can't match Surakksha for consistent entertainment value, (as far as I could tell in my sans-subs haze), and I kind think Nagaich may have only showed up on set to direct the last 30 minutes, but it was fun, nonetheless.

I did like the female lead in this movie--she was spunky and actually provided useful action back-up; and besides the excellence of the Egyptian lair, I kinda loved the "we're high by accident" song. I also NEED that ill-advised/labeled Gunmaster pair of wheels...

Personally, think that car proves, by the the way, that Gunmaster G-9 is a far pluckier spy than James Bond. Bond may name drop, but Gunmaster G-9 literally advertises.

"Ladies Faint 4 Mithun!" That needs to become a fandom descriptor... LF4M forever :)