Saturday, April 04, 2009

MR INDIA – A masterpiece for all time

So, I was watching this fantastic piece of work the other day. AGAIN. Obviously this was one of my childhood favourites but I missed a million things back then. Every repeat viewing of Shekhar Kapur's 1987 cult classic Mr India always throws up brilliant new hilarities for me.
Here are a few points, characters, writing angles I loved (some of which I didn't really notice earlier):
1. Calendar, the cook- His character is decidedly and brilliantly gay! Satish Kaushik is so bleddy wonderful with his subtle nuances. Love the scene where he goes to Lala Roopchand's ration shop and makes eyes at him. Calendar's role is great: underplayed, loveable and no-nonsense in his domain. (To the embarrassing KJo-SRK-Saif school of ‘humour’ where homosexuality is just another tasteless joke: Take a lesson.)

2. Annu Kapoor as Mr Gaitonde, the frazzled editor of... wait for it!.... CRIMES OF INDIA. Hahahahahahaaa. Love it when we get to Sridevi's (Yayyy! My fave!) intro scene. Annu Kappoor asks his clerk/assistant/somesuch where she is... by making a really quick gesture indicating a plump woman. Oh, boy, that cracked me up. Gaitonde meeting Mr India is to-die-for.

3. The brilliant, brilliant Sridevi. Unabashedly and refreshingly "healthy-figured", as they say in Khosla Ka Ghosla, fantastic at comedy, and of course, a standard sultry segment in saree as per director's orders. Sri Scenes to die for: Barely able to stand Mr Gaitonde at work. Eating fresh fruit off her fruit-hat as Ms Hawa Hawaii just before the mad, mad song. As Charlie Chaplin in the unfriendly neighbourhood gambling adda. Totally infuriated with the kids at home. Heart-breaking when the poor rascals are hungry. And so on and so forth.

3. Absolutely love the ultimate badass of Hindi cinema, our favourite megalomaniac Mogambo, in his black breeches and gold trimmings. Not to mention the unfortunate strawberry-blonde hairdo with curl on forehead. "Mogambo khush huaaaa!" with big, big eyes. And, "Hail Mogambo!" screaming his lackeys. Too much. Amrish Puri was a superstar.

4. The names of Mogambo's henchmen and other assorted baddies. Here we are: Dr Foo Man Chu, Captain Zorro (but pronounced Zoh-roh), Daaga, Teja, Mr Wolcott. Tee heee, titter.

5. Arun Bhaiyya – Anil Kapoor’s sweet fiddler with the beige-brown ensemble and floppy hat. I think I’ve loved him ever since. (Yes, even in disasters like Roop Ki Rani, No Entry and Welcome.) Him and bhabhi Sri make a great couple, nein? That doesn’t sound right but it’s true.

6. All the kids. Esp. little Ahmed Khan. And Tina, the little babe who is lost to us. Nooooooo!!!! Tear-jerker only that scene is.

6. The top item on any kid’s wishlist – an invisibility formula! Or, as they keep on saying in this film: ‘faarmyoolaah’. Big red-blue-gold flashing blingy watch-like apparatus though it was, it worked! I tell you, it worked...

7. Snappy, fun dialogue throughout the film. Like matter of fact exchanges between Arun and Calendar where Arun explains to the chubby cook that there is a fine line between sleeping and dying. Gaitonde meeting Mr India, but of course.

8. Wonderful music by Laxmikant-Pyarelal. (And background score too.) ‘Zindagi ki yehi reet hai,’ the fun parody song with the kids and Sridevi, and the most amazing song of all time….. ‘HAWA HAWAII’! Wait, this song deserves an independent mention.

9. HAWA HAWAII: The magnificent piece de resistance of Mr India. Bringing a smile, then a giggle and finally healthy guffaws to thousands of amused viewers over the years. Kavita Krishnamurti and Sridevi dazzle in this, the funniest Hindi song of all-time. Am putting the video and lyrics up. Enjoy. Took a fair bit of trouble transcribing.

The choreography is kidney-splitting good. Sri slaps, Sri expressions, the backup dancers’ reactions, the costumes, the words…. Mmmmpppfffff. *applause*



Hawa Hawaii

(Sri appears in extreme bling gold, crown and all)

HAWA HAWAII!
Ah, oui, oui, oui, oui, oui, oui, oui. [Ample backside wiggle]
HAWA HAWAII!
Ah, oui, oui, oui, oui, oui, oui, oui! [Nutty expressions!!]

Priceless INTRO: (Check out Sri’s face throughout!)
Cheeee-hawwwwwww….
Aaahhhhh, Honoluluuuuuu, [batting lids]
Loo-loo-loo-loooooo, Honoluluuuuu….
Hing-pickeee, Hong Kong, King Kong… [extreme melodrama]
I see Lucy, you see Lucyyyyyy
Assi tussi Lassi pisiiiii [dance-walk and a quick-jerk flourish with mike]
Mombasaaaa…… Ping pong…..! [THAT face]

Ooi, ooi, ooi, ooi, ooi, ooi, ooi.


Laki chiki laki chiki, chiki laki choom
Rrrrup chiki laki chiki, chiki laki chiki choom
Laki chiki laki chiki, chiki laki choom
Rrrrup chiki laki chiki, chiki laki chiki choom

Main khwaabon ki shahzaadi,
Main hoon har dil pe chhaayi! (2)
Baadal hain meri zulfen,
Bijli meri angdaai

Fantastic CHORUS:
Bijli giraane main hoon aai!
Ho, bijli giraane main hoon aai!
Kehte hain mujhko: Hawa Hawaii (Hawa Hawaii!) [Feathers up nose]
Hawa Hawaii (Hawa Hawaii!)
Hawa Hawaii, Hawa Hawaiiiiii! (ooooh-oooh-oooh-oooh)
[Sri swings around, slaps backing dancers and apologises – FUNNNEEE!]
(Repeat CHORUS)

[Costume change: Greco-Roman-esque dress, but with bling intact. Backing dancers in fantastic fluorescent polystyrene tribal gear]

Zum zum zum zum

Samjhe kya ho naadaanon? (Zum zum zum zum)
Mujhko bholi na jaanon (Zum zum zum zum)
Main hu saanpon ki raani, [Weirdass snake move]
Kaanta maange na paani,
Saagar se moti chheenoon,
Deepak se jyoti chheenoon, [cigar steal]
Patthar se aag laga loon, [nutso face again]
Seene se raaz chura loon,
Haan! Chura loon, chura loon, [Messing with bad guy Wolcott]
Haan haan chura loon (rum pum pum pum)

Jeeno jo tumne baat chhupaai
Ho, jaanoon jo tumne baat chhupaai
Kehte hain mujhko: Hawa Hawaii (Hawa Hawaii!)
Hawa Hawaii (Hawa Hawaii!)
Hawa Hawaii, Hawa Hawaiiiiii! (ooooh-oooh-oooh-oooh)
Bijli giraane main hoon aai!
Kehte hain mujhko: Hawa Hawaii [Fanning self to indicate ‘Hawa’]

Chiki laki chiki, chiki laki choom
Rrrrup chiki laki chiki, chiki laki chiki choom
Puck chiki laki chiki, chiki laki choom
Rrrrup chiki laki chiki, chiki laki chiki choom

[SLO-MO DANCE Sequence!!! Followed by staccato Mediterranean dance bit.
Background dancers have now morphed into habshis with harem pants and sleeveless waistcoats. Sri in gaudy ‘80s splendour.]

[Bum shake again]
Zum zum zum zum

Laai rangeen afasaane (Zum zum zum zum)
Tu bhi sunle, deevaane (Zum zum zum zum)
Aa dil mein halchal kar doon
Aa tujhko paagal kar doon
Meri aankhon mein jaadu
Meri saanson mein kushboo [Heaving chest and all]
Jab mera ye tan lachke [falls back and misses bad guy]
Jaaye na koi bachke
Koi bachke, bachke, bachke, [Messing with bad guy]
Haan haan ji bachke (rum pum pum pum)

Soorat hi maine aisi paai [Cross-eyed funs]
Ho, soorat hi maine aisi paai, [wave dance!!!]
Kehte hain mujhko: Hawa Hawaii (Hawa Hawaii!)
Hawa Hawaii (Hawa Hawaii!)
Hawa Hawaii, Hawa Hawaiiiiii! (ooooh-oooh-oooh-oooh)
Bijli giraane main hoon aai! [nonsense pointing here and there]
Ho, bijli giraane main hoon aai!
Kehte hain mujhko: Hawa Hawaii (Hawa Hawaii!) [Fanning self]
Hawa Hawaii (Hawa Hawaii!)
Hawa Hawaii, Hawa Hawaiiiiii! (ooooh-oooh-oooh-oooh)

HAWA HAWAII!
Oui, oui, oui, oui, oui, oui, oui, oui! [Head weaving]
HAWA HAWAII!
Oui, oui, oui, oui, oui, oui, oui, oui!]
HAWA HAWAII!
Oui, oui, oui, oui, oui, oui, oui, oui! [Egyptian move meets disaster]
HAWA HAWAII!
Oui, oui, oui, oui, oui, oui, oui, oui! [Hands in a twist]

[Ridiculous dance moves till final slap by Bad Guy]

Hurrahs, and well done.

9 comments:

Apoorv Gawde said...

:D awesome review ! Like all well written fanfares, this makes me feel like watching the movie once again!

hmmm, don't know how I can get my hands on it though!

REad Persepolis!

Anonymous said...

"Wait for it"? Yet another Barney fan? -AR

PS. The word verification is making me type 'unkhol'. Pretty khol review though.

longblackveil said...

@Good Gawde: Aiyyo, you will easily get this brilliance on Shemaroo videos at Rs 99/- or somesuch only. Go fastly.

@Anon: Barney, aah? No, that allusion would be not me.

Ostrich said...

Awesome awesome awesome! Loved reading every word of this and Mr.India was my favourite childhood film too. Yenjaid like yanithing!

longblackveil said...

Ostrich: Izzit? Yes, yes, and who could not have loved this movie? Show me such a person and I would like to have a word or two with it.

Raman said...

Seetis and whistles for the fantastic review. More seetis and more whistles (include cartwheels too) for the lyrics of Hawa Hawayi. Enzoied reading the review more than I enzoied watching the movie! Asattitte machi!

longblackveil said...

*blush* Aiyyo, thanks, Raman. But no, no, no one could 'enzoi' anything more than this movie. That is an impossible.

Abhimanyu said...

Can someone tell me where to find the back ground score of Mr. India... specially the music which comes when Arun turns invisible. Its pure magic. I wont be surprised if it isn't original as its not the part of the soundtrack.
Does anyone have an idea where to find that score from ??

longblackveil said...

@Abhimanyu: Absolutely no idea, sir. Try recording off YouTube or some such. Hindi movie OSTs don't provide background music though. So you won't get an official version I think.