12 January 2010

Shashi Can Thrill Me Anytime

Aamne Saamne, 1967
Directed by: Suraj Prakash


Get used to floating hands...

On Netflix this was billed as a "Thriller"... I don't know if I would call it that, exactly, but there were moments where I was a little startled. There are a lot of disembodied floating hands, shadowy lighting effects, Henry Mancini circa Breakfast at Tiffany's music, angry boyfriends and brothers, stalking, death threats, cliffs and a murder so if you call that thrilling by all means I allow you to do so.

And people walking far too close to cliffs...

To me the movie was all about Shashi!


I was filled with glee throughout this move. Shashi was abounding, breaking hearts with his smile and his tight, very tight white pants, awesome dance moves and that puppy-dog look that he uses as he smolders all over the place. Let's Go!

Deepak (Shashi) is accused of murdering his wife in the middle of the night, however, in court he is proven innocent due to lack of evidence or circumstantial evidence (or something ambiguous about evidence). Naturally since his wife was rich everyone assumes that Deepak has paid off the investigators and purchased his innocence.  Looking disgruntled and deliciously angsty in that tight white suit he moves to Mumbai and changes his name to Gopal.

The meaning of life is woven into that suit. 

It's worth noting that for someone who is apparently innocent he acts amazingly guilty all the time. He jumps at noises and shields himself with a briefcase in fear when he meets his gardener. This is done on purpose to create suspicion in our precious Shashi... but more on that later... His gardener is worried that he is a batchelor, but never fear! It's Bollywood, and someone (anyone!) is bound to get married sometime (anytime!) during the course of the film.

Are you accepting applications?

Across his courtyard lives the beautiful Sapna (Sharmila Tagore) at whom Gopal spends a lot of time staring at through his window, following around and trying to woo. Stalking is cute(?), but only when it's not happening to you... or it's anyone BUT Shashi or Shah Rukh.

"Sheer coincidence becasue I was... you know... stalking you."


Sapna is annoyed by his behavior, but she kind of likes it because she's a little self-absorbed, and complains to her boyfriend Prem (Prem Chopra) who is in some oddly arranged cohorts with Sapna's brother Pran (?) Both of them threaten to kill Sapna if she doesn't marry Prem... in fact most of Pran's time is spent pressuring Sapna into marriage with Prem. Sapna is hesitant on the subject (because she's falling in love with Gopal of course!).

Yeah, annoyingly attractive.


Sapna begins to understand her love for Gopal when she nurses him in the hospital after he was in a rouge merry-go-round accident (in her defense, so he thought). Gopal is in the hospital for what seems like a month, even though he's only ever shown with a single band-aid on his forehead... and what kind of injury do you get from a merry-go-round?! Injures are not important, what IS important is that they fall in love and desire to marry one another.

This is my new phone background. I stare at it for hours.


When Sapna tells her brother she is going to marry Gopal instead of Prem she is threatened (twice!) that death looms for her if she marries Gopal.

He's about ready to pull a gun on his sister... or flash her.


What kind of screwed up knife is THAT? 
No true villain would touch that embarrassment.


Naturally Gopal and Sapna run away get married and honeymoon in Kashmir (during which time it appears that Prem and Pran have forgotten their murderous desires because they aren't seen again until the big showdown at the end).

Do you know what kind of people really look like that when they're sleeping?
Gods.

During their honeymoon things start to get weird... Sapna is pushed off of a cliff (I actually screamed... I was just taken off guard) and she overhears someone talking to Gopal about his previous wife and the murder and his suspected guilt. Sapna goes into overanxious, freak-out mode.

The rest of the movie is a race to find answers, is Gopal/Deepak a lady killer or not? Is he trying to kill Sapna and take all of her money? If not Gopal, who is behind all of the madness?

I'm not going to tell you, but I will say two things:
1. In the epic fight scene in the end, Shashi was costumed in a leather vest and bright red shoes. Amazzzzzingg!
2. Just like with Severus Snap in Harry Potter, I was so right. I'm an expert at "reading" people and I'm never wrong (except for Don, that TOTALLY had me!)...

There were moments where I looked at Gopal and was a little confused, was he just playing me really well like Don, or was it all just coincidence and suspicion? Shashi did a great job at playing it both ways without giving it away. Just as soon as you were convinced one way he did something to make you think "Well... maybe not?". Bravo at playing with my head Shash. Bravo.

Sharmila was cute, I guess... It was the first time I have seen her in anything and Sapna isn't the most developed character in the entire world. She mainly stood around and looked either smug, lovey-dovey, or scared-to-death. I'd like to see her in something else just to see what she has up her sleeve, there were moments where she was channeling Audrey Hepburn like a pro and I just ate it up, clearly she has more to offer than what I saw.

The music was fantastic. It was stuck in my head when I tried to sleep after watching this film, which is typically a good sign. The only thing that was lacking was female interaction. The songs were all performed by Shashi who just walked around Sharmila while she looked on at him doe-eyed and fluttering her eyelashes. What's disappointing is that there was some great material for what could have been killer duets and the composer didn't go for it. Pity.

The costuming in this film caught my attention. Maybe it was the white suit at the beginning (probably) but I was just looking at the clothing a lot when I was watching this. It was preppy and dripping with 60s greatness. I had some wicked sari-envy and rejoiced constantly that whenever Shashi wasn't in my favorite shirt-and-sweater ensemble the costumer had the good sense to display his chest hair.

Oh, you sure did.


I should note that I watched this on Netflix In-demand and my picture quality was horrendous (but not so awful as the In-Demand Swayamvar which was nigh unwatchable) and the sound was just terrible.

I'd like to back off, if I could tell whom I was backing off of.

Despite all that I persevered, and I'm glad that I did, I really liked this film. I really like a lot of films but this one was just different because it stressed me out a little. There was a glimmer, and just a little glimmer or doubt in the outcome in the story line that kept it captivating.

Aaaand, just becasue I have a soft spot for preppy boaters:

2 comments:

  1. The debate of "stalking=love?" - as well as its small but very important subset "stalking=love if done by SRK or Shashi" - comes up a lot. (Even in my review of this movie! http://bethlovesbollywood.blogspot.com/2009/01/aamne-samne.html )I am firmly on the side of "stalking never, ever equals love, and I will yell at the screen until all writers/directors believe me AND until they go back in time and prevent Shashi-enacted characters from trying to convince audiences otherwise." But it's hard. It's so easy to get drawn in by the eyelashes and pouts and growls and squeaks, and then you realize that he is in fact being very, very creepy.

    On the clearly bright side, everything else about this is pretty great, especially the Beatles-y song where he leaps about and twists.

    I am SO glad this is on Netflix on demand!

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  2. No no, I agree. I don't know why they go that route to show the characters that someone is in love with them. Hello, dates people? A nice dinner and a movie perhaps? That says the same thing. A few months ago my ex was stalking me (post break-up) and it did not produce the "Oh he loves me so much!" reaction he was looking for.

    Ah! Beatles! That's who I was trying to put my thumb on for the song! Ay! You are so smart.

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