Parvarish: 1970s Masala exemplified

Saw Parvarish (1977) recently. Starring Amitabh Bachchan, Vinod Khanna, Shammi Kapoor, Neetu Singh, Shabana Azmi, Indrani Mukherjee, Amjad Khan, Kader Khan, and others. Directed by Manmohan Desai and with music by Laxmikant-Pyarelal.

Glad comments to this post on Neetu Kapoor by bloggers Memsaab and Beth led me to it. Here are some highlights:

1. The film began with Daku (bandit) Mangal Singh (Amjad Khan) surrounded by cops, as his wife was about to deliver a child.

The police were led by DSP Shamsher Singh (Shammi Kapoor).

Really liked the way the chase unfolded. It could have been shorter (and I have given up on bullets to the legs of animals or to tires of stolen vehicles), but the outcome was fitting. Mangal Singh was captured and imprisoned. But his wife was not going to survive through childbirth. In her last moments, she requested the DSP to protect her baby boy (Amit) from his father's shadow.

The DSP took the child home, and any doubts he had about his wife (Indrani Mukherjee) accepting the child into their household (they had a boy child of their own -- Kishan) were dismissed when she said this:

And so began their journey of providing parvarish (an upbringing) to Amit and Kishan.

2. Mangal Singh's imprisonment ended, and he sought permission to take his child. The DSP refused. When Kishan, who was often scolded by his parents, overheard their conversation, he thought he was Mangal's son. And he made his sentiments known. Of course, all those years in jail didn't do much to change Mangal. Kishan would live in the DSP's home, but subscribe to Mangal's philosophies.

3. Fast forward a couple of decades, and Amit (Amitabh Bachchan) and Kishan (Vinod Khanna) were into their adulthood. Amit a cop, and Kishan an instructor at a school for blind children (well, at least that was what he had most believing was his primary profession).

4. Next, we were introduced to lead smuggler Supremo (Kader Khan) who employed Mangal and Kishan's services. His hideout was a submarine! And that instantly reminded me of a Japanese cartoon that was popular in the 1980s -- Thundersub.

5. This frame makes it for the wonderful flow to the sentence (well, and for ye Vinod Khanna fans):

6. Shabbo (Shabana Azmi) was introduced next. I was looking forward to seeing her in the film (she's a fantastic actress, but we've known that for long). That she would have a reference to my favorite food of all-time among her first bits of dialogue made it even better!

7. Shabbo and her sister Neetu (Neetu Singh) were orphaned at a young age. They were pickpockets, and rather good ones. While Shabbo picked on Kishan, Neetu worked on Amit.

Shabbo was smart to even con the DSP's wife. (And Neetu the DSP.)

8. The song Sab janta ka hai (Everything belongs to the public) was one of the best of the lot. Its placement made sense, especially since it was at Nariman Point! It is the most frequently mentioned roadway on the blog.

This frame is fitting, because the pictures in the post on Neetu Kapoor were taken at an event right by The Oberoi.

9. This scene at the police station was hilarious, and just a small example of the quality of acting that was a feature of the film.

I'd never imagined we would get to see Neetu and Amit like this:

10. What made things interesting was the rivalry between Amit and Kishan (among the many others). This was a song put to excellent use:

This one could have ended the film an hour earlier. But we're conditioned to not worry about it.

11. Amit suffered an injury and lost his eyesight (he didn't). I was prepared to let this sequence go, too. As I watched, I said to the person I saw this with, "at least give him a towel". The person's response after the scene (shall not spoil the end of the scene for you): "Hah, they got you!" Indeed, they did! The sequence was a highlight, especially given the song 'Bandh aankh se dekh' was used in the backdrop. Excellent!

Could easily identify with the first frame, for the outfit was my uniform in high school. And here is a good example of product placement -- see the Dalda can in the backdrop?!

12. Mangal Singh's lair was impressive (although I liked Shakal's better, from Shaan (1980)), complete with women endlessly dancing in the background, behind red screens (glad to be spared of an item number there). It was also where Amit was forced to go through an interesting test to validate his blindness.

13. There was a sub-plot with Neetu and Shabbo and Mangal that prompted a unique qawwali. While the ladies looked very pretty, the revolvers didn't do much at all for me.

14. Having said that, the climax was fitting. Would Amit reveal his ability to see? Would they discover Mangal's son was Amit and not Kishan? If they would, what would their reaction be? What about Shabbo and Neetu? And Mangal and Supremo? And the DSP and his wife?

Aside: Watch this video *only if* you have seen the film. How could one not like this?!

For answers to these questions, watch Parvarish. It really is 1970s masala exemplified (do you agree?). In addition to an immensely talented cast that delivers performance after fine performance (I couldn't pick one actor that outshone the others, they were all excellent), the plot is good enough to hold the attention of the audience throughout. The only bit I didn't enjoy as much was the way in which the love stories developed (decent at best). The film probably reflected on this as well (was a DCP really asking his sons to marry pickpockets?):

But the film has far more in it to enjoy and is a fine product of entertainment, carefully packaged within the brand of cinema it has no problems clearly identifying with. For those of us who are willing to suspend disbelief, this was well worth checking out! Thank you Memsaab and Beth!

Movie rating: 4/5 (excellent!)

My classification: PG (for violence), but mostly clean otherwise

Music rating: 3.5/5 (very good)


Anonymous said...

I don't suppose you got round to organising all your film reviews into one place? Would be great if your reviews are more easily accessible.

theBollywoodFan said...

Hi Anonymous: Thank you for stopping by. I recently added this page with the A-Z review listing. Trying to make it more prominent in the sidebar.


Anonymous said...

Is it OK for me to leave this shallow comment:
Man! Amitabh looks HOT as a blind guy!

OK, let me clean things up now. It's in my Netflix queue. Also, I'm enjoying your A-Z listing page which I hadn't seen yet and am now exporing. I must do this too.

All the best!

Beth said...

Had you not seen this one before? I'm so glad you got to! Definitely my favorite masala! There's just so much goodness crammed in - I think you and I both could have made a highlights list go on and on and on. (In a good way, of course.) I've even made my parents watch it. :)

Shweta Mehrotra Gahlawat said...

This was a really great review dude- had fun reading it. Vinod was so so beautiful {heart} :D

theBollywoodFan said...

Thank you for your comments.

Sita-ji: Amitabh was fantastic in this, as was Vinod Khanna. It'll be worth the wait! Apologies for the delay in compiling the A-Z listing page, and hope to keep it updated.

Beth: I had seen this as a kid, and all I remembered was Mangal's lair and the very last scene. I didn't even remember those belonged to this film, so it was almost as good as watching it a first time. Yes, there were so many highlights throughout! Did your parents like it?

Shweta: Thank you, and glad you enjoyed the review. Vinod Khanna was excellent throughout! I liked how despite being a bad guy, he showed flashes of loyalty to Shabbo. I think he and his son Akshaye form one of the few father-son duos that both were very good actors.

memsaab said...

The whole film is one big highlight. I *heart* this movie. Shammi! Vinod and Amitabh! Shabana and Neetu! It could not be more perfect. Well, maybe if Pran and Helen were in it.

theBollywoodFan said...

Hi Memsaab: There's such an abundance of acting talent in the film, not to mention good-looking acting talent (especially Shabana-ji). Thank you again for the recommendation!

MinaiMinai said...

I thought you would find it interesting that I was searching google images for product placement examples in Hindi films and your Dalda can screencap came up on page 2! Funny how searches often lead us back to our little blogosphere! :D Reminds me of how I often search for things and end up being linked back to BollyWhat, haha.