Talash
 
   


Director: O.P. Ralhan
Year:  1969
Rating: 5.0

Well, it has two lengthy musical numbers that Helen dances to in a nightclub. That is worth a lot to us Helen-aficionados. Outside of that there isn't too much to recommend about the film. Oh, and Sharmila Tagore in a double role. Those double roles that Bollywood loves so much. It is just a long 3 hour crawl that really leads nowhere you wanted to go. I stuck with it just to see if my observational powers were not dulled by time and age. It is directed by O.P Ralhan's whose film Mujrim I suffered through last week (and he even steals a bit of his from that film for this one with the same heavy actress, Tun Tun). Fortunately, Ralhan only made seven films so I may not feel the need to go down that path again. It was in truth coming across one of the Helen dances on YouTube wearing a bikini and a big feather headgear contraption that brought me here. I have my weaknesses. But this is the sort of Bollywood film that if you showed it to someone outside the Bollywood world, would leave after about 50 minutes saying why is he such a dufus and why doesn't he tell her the obvious. And I would say, I wish I was going with you but I am already home.



Let's see if I can say a bit about this without putting anyone into a coma. Raj Kumar (Rajendra Kumar) is a lower middle class man brought up by his single mother (yet Sulochana once again getting stuck playing a mother much older than her real self). Once he graduates he swears he is going to get rich to take care of dear old mom. Now Rajendra Kumar was one of the sons in the film Mother India that to a large degree began the theme of mothers being semi-Gods in Hindu films. A word of warning - don't ever bad mouth this film in a crowd of Indians or you may have to fight your way out. I admit to not seeing it because I don't want to hate it and write a negative review and be pilloried for the rest of my life. Now fathers in Indian films are fair game - often characters who leave their wives or take up crime or are the ones who refuse to let their children marry the one they love. But mothers? Don't mess with mothers.



Back to the film after that commercial break. Raj wants to get rich. But living up to the creed of his mother - honestly and through hard work. He joins a corporation and works his way up. He and his goofy friend Lachchu (played by the director) go off on a holiday where Raj falls off a horse and wakes up to see a beautiful village belle Gauri tending to him. In the time I can drink a can of Coke Zero (please send me a case for the free ad), he tells her he loves her, she tells him she loves him and a wedding date is set. Meanwhile Lachchu falls in love with Helen who has a father in hiding. That is a whole different drama that I won't go into but nice to see Helen get more than a few dance items which she was famous for. And she plays a good girl - something also rare for her. Her mixed heritage of English and Burmese seems to have stuck her in most films as a vamp.







Raj gets invited to his boss's house the size of Windsor Castle and meets the daughter. And lo and behold she is the spitting image of Gauri! Who would have thought. Except she is rich, drives fast cars, opens a closet to more gold than Fort Knox in her bedroom. In her bedroom where she tries to seduce Raj. She also falls in love - Raj has the personality of a turnip so it must be his large hands. Now most of us would say to her, hey guess what I just met someone who looks just like you - your doppelganger - but he says nothing - just looks vexed. So which will he choose - the innocent sweetie pie with no money or the one that will bring him riches and advancement. I figure it is a no lose proposition. I mean it's Sharmila Tagore. She is like a kitten made out of pumpkin pie and whipped cream. One scene is great when rich daddy comes to beseech Raj to marry his daughter with five suitcases of diamonds, gold, emeralds and cash and dumps them at Raj's feet - and all I could think of was - who is going to have clean that up. At two hours this might have been ok - but three hours was stretching it like a victim on the torture rack.






This was according to Wikipedia the first Bollywood film to have a budget over Rs 1 Crore which means absolutely nothing to me. I should mention that the film has some very good songs - two were familiar to me from my compilation cds - from the great composer SD Burman.