Saturday, October 11, 2008

Movie Review: Kaalia (The Black One) (1981)

In a movie otherwise so mediocre how did the songs turn out to be so consistently good or great? It’s a mystery to me. All credit to the parties involved

So without much ado let me turn to the songs

1. Jahan Teri Ye Nazar Hai Meri Jaan Mujhe Khabar Hai:

Danced with verve by AB. Sung with equal fervor by Kishore Kumar

2. Sanam Tum Jahan:

I luvvvvvv this song. It’s a minor masterpiece. For starters its sung so wonderfully by Asha……with just the right mix of playfulness and flirtaciousness. With apt lyrics lending themselves to the situation the movie finds itself at, at that moment. The confident AB and charming PB are at the peak of their respective prowesses. The kitschy sets are perfect. The choreography is good. Dash it, I even loved the camera movements. And the fact that AB and PB share a great chemistry doesn’t hurt. Its great

3. Jabse Tumko Dekha:

another great tune, sung wonderfully by the male and female leads (Asha and Kishore)

4. Tum Saath Ho Jab Apne

5. Kaun Kisiko Baandh Saka the accompanying song to a prison break

And now I have to reluctantly turn to the movie itself. It’s the usual stuff of the movies around that time: Smugglers, a wronged brother-in-law, a devout and chaste white-saried widowed bhabhi, a mother who almost reveals the name of her daughter’s true father to her on her deathbed; but doesnt, the abducted daughter who is discovered after many years etc.etc. The story isn’t of much consequence.

The dialogues attempt to raise puny characters to mythical proportions. The puny characters mouth larger than life clichés. The vision of the script/dialogue writers somehow doesn’t translate into their output. The final effort is in turn laughable, pitiable, tedium-raising, ultimately boring but sometimes interspersed by some good pieces of dialogues. It’s a masala-mix, really.

So what worked?

Amitabh is fantastic but constricted by the confines imposed by the movie’s mediocrity. The transformation of the simpleton Kallu to the smuggler Kaalia is vintage Amitabh. AB is in great physical shape, very confident of his abilities and dominates every shot.

Asha Sachdev and Pran are competent. But surprisingly, the villain Amjad Khan looks and acts supremely disinterested in the whole rigmarole

There is a reasonably watchable prison escape scene. But otherwise only die-hard Bachchan fans might find some takeaways over here


Amitabh Bachchan
Asha Parekh
Parveen Babi
Amjad Khan
Kader Khan

Playback: Asha, Rafi, Kishore and others
Photography: Pravin Bhatt
Screenplay: Santosh-Taher
Lyrics: Majrooh Sultanpuri
Dialogue: Inder Raj Anand
Music: R.D.Burman
Produced by Iqbal Singh
Story, Screenplay and Direction: Tinnu Anand

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