|via Just Pazz|
|via Real Bollywood|
|via To Each Its Own|
|via Shirtless Bollywood Men|
I don't care how badly it tanked at its release in 1993. This movie is fantastic. I might even like it more than Mr. India, that other Javed Akhtar-written, Sridevi-and-Anil-Kapoor-starring film (and for all the Bollywood newbies who may have drifted over here from MOSS, that one was directed by Shekhar Kapur of Elizabeth fame). Though I know precious little about 90s films before the big hits of Shahrukh Khan later in the decade, I reckon this one seems as much like giddy 70s masala as I am likely to find fifteen years later than its heyday. While it is not fair to boil a film down to a checklist of ingredients, doing so for RKRCKR will help illustrate why I liked it so much.
the plot (for those of you who haven't seen the film)
Seema (Sridevi) was orphaned as a child when her father was killed by arch-villain Jugran (Anupam Kher) and her mother has some kind of psychotic episode upon seeing his corpse. In the orphanage, she is befriended by Ramesh (Anil Kapoor), whose father (Dalip Tahil), a customs officer investigating diamond smuggling, was also killed by Jugran when Ramesh and dad were out and about in downtown Bombay. I mention this detail only because of the great tragic poignancy of being orphaned in the maximum city, a location well-known for harboring familial near misses, especially among children who were separated as infants and thus cannot recognize their parents or each other. Ramesh is old enough to recognize his mother, sister, and brother (Ravi, a police officer played by Jackie Shroff when grown), but it takes awhile for him to encounter them. Fortunately, dad had given both brothers a special token, a lock and key, cementing their brotherhood by saying each was useless without the other. (Sucks to be the girl child, I guess.) Jugran, meanwhile, has been pretending to be his twin brother, the upstanding Manmohan, whom in reality he long ago killed, as a cover for his nefarious deeds. All of these threads come together exactly as you assume they would, with no one recognizing each other at first and all having their own reasons to use each other to get to Jugran.
the main characters and the people who play them
Sridevi is empathetic, intrepid, and funny as a thief and self-proclaimed "queen of beauty" in "the fashion and modeling world." (Why does she not include "music" among her credits when all we see her do is dance and sing—and, more importantly, act—rather than go to photo shoots?)
|At this point, Seema is trying to convince Romeo to do a job for Jugran in exchange for information about her father's killer. AND THE MULLET OMG THE MULLET.|
|I caught Raaj Kumar, Sanjeev Kumar, Shatrughan Sinha, Raj Kapoor, Dharmendra, and Ashok Kumar.|
If you like Bollywood anipals, be sure to read next Monday's installment of "Bollywood Journal" at the Wall Street Journal India Real Time blog, in which I interview Todd about anipals.
Sridevi is really funny. Yes, she bugs out her eyes a lot
"Chai Mein Chini" and the effect is...let's call it regrettable and move on with our lives.
The Laxmikant-Pyarelal songs are otherwise incredible and impressive, perhaps more visually than musically, but still. To name a few enticements: Sridevi falls out of a cake before singing with four other versions of herself, none of which are repeated in the song's many costume changes ("Main Hoon Roop Ki Rani"); Anil shakes a black pleather trouser-clad leg rather impressively (or at least relatively to what I've seen him do in other films) ("Romeo Naam Mera"); both leads do some romancing in the rain, thereby presenting an excuse for a wet sari ("Jaanewale Zara Ruk Ja"); and there's a giant golden Egyptian set for an angry dance of revenge ("Dushman Dil Ka"), in which Sridevi pouts and stomps impressively.
* I have typed the name of this film so many times I want to shoot myself. Abbreviated it shall be!
** In fact, all the screencaps of this DVD turned out really dark! Boo!