Kismat
 
   


Director: Manmohan Desai
Year:  1969
Rating: 7.0

This Bollywood film is a hard one to get my hands around. There are times it is so over the top loopy that I loved it like new found sister and other times I wanted to strangle it in its crib. At the fifteen minute mark I thought this would be in the class of the Bollywood spy or crime films like Shaan or Don or The Great Gambler - my toes were tingling. By the one hour mark I was wondering if I wanted to finish it. But by the end my whole body was tingling - the final 45 minutes are deranged and ridiculous but I loved it. Not for people who are going to ask questions about the lack of common sense displayed or just how from the shore they toss a grenade to a guy bring dragged by a boat who catches it and tosses it into the boat. You just want to think, whoever came up with that idea is a genius. In Bollywood. Nowhere else.



My toes were tingling when the song One-Two-Three Baby, Ya Ya Ya came on. It is one of those rock nuggets that gets on to a few cd compilations that I have and I love it - and then to see it danced to by the immortal Helen in a nightclub was like hitting the lottery. By that time ten minutes in - a couple people had been killed - one being a woman in the gang who has just successfully murdered someone by playing a damsel in distress - and then asks the boss for a rest. You want a rest? Here you go says the leader and shoots her dead. No resting on this job. And we meet Scorpion, head of the organization that is working with the Chinese to sabotage India's military. In his roomy lair with giant TVs in which he can watch the world.







Let me back up a bit. A store owner being forced to work for Scorpion hides information into a guitar when the gang comes for him. The guitar belongs to Vicky - a male - (Biswajit Chatterjee) who unknowingly takes the guitar to his gig with Helen. The bad guys come looking for him. And chase him and his indestructible guitar for the remainder of the film. Through crazy scenarios. This guitar can withstand a nuke. He uses it often to beat people up with it, jumps off a moving train with it, lands in quicksand from a balloon with it , is on a bridge when two cars coming from opposite directions try and squash him and he jumps up lands with a leg on each car and then jumps down to a boat below. It is the only thing his father left him. Little did he know he had a secret weapon.








On his journey he teams up with two people. One is Roma played by Babita. First time I have come across this actress. Kind of a cute goofy face that has a bit of the anime in it - but it also looked vaguely familiar. She is a cousin to Sadhana and married into the great Kapoor family - Randhir - and the outcome was Karisma and Kareena Kapoor - two hugely popular actresses.  At certain angles her resemblance to Karisma is striking. It took a while for her to grow on me but when she does this adorably drunken song performance she won me over. Her father in the film is in fact her real life father. Bollywood is basically one big incestuous family. Add another actress to my list from this period that I like.








That is all good  - but the other pick-up is the comic relief (Kamal Mehra - the producer of the film) and you basically want to take out a machine gun and spray him with bullets. He is like Soupy Sales has escaped from a mental asylum - with his crazy car that can shoot paint balls, jump huge distances, become a smoke machine and a blood hound - and his apartment is nuttier with his trap doors, punching gizmos in closets and much much more. It is just too much and brings the film down to being a silly comedy when it could have been very cool. But it is still as fun as a popsicle down your pants with some fabulously ludicrous moments and some painful ones.







The male lead Biswajit is new to me as well - and I may keep it that way - cherubic chipmunk - his attempts at action scenes are pretty lame even though the two main fights are crazy good (in intention) - one with a man with a hook instead of a hand and the other in mud that goes on forever. It is filled with good villains - the one armed guy, the big bald man (M.B. Shetty) who is always a mean henchman, a couple treacherous women and some guy with a face that makes every day look like Halloween. The director is Manmohan Desai who directed the cult classic which I have still not seen, Mard! I ended up at a 7 rating - a mid point between the good, the bad and the ugly.