Brothers Brijmohan, Jagmohan (or Jaggu), and Manmohan (or Mannu) -- the Kumar brothers Ashok, Anup, and Kishore, respectively -- operate a garage. Their organization does not cater to women, given Brijmohan's tremendous dislike for 'them'. This remains acceptable to his younger brothers, until Renu (Madhubala) stops by one night. A delightful courtship follows, complete with fascinating insights into the lives of each character surrounding it (the chain even includes K. N. Singh), and with villains and the accompanying greed for material wealth and lust for power that drive the film to its fitting climax.
There is a lot to like here. One is reminded of the fantastic soundtrack with the opening credits (the tunes are instantly recognizable, shame on me for not having known before that they belonged to this). What follows almost immediately is even better -- the area I grew up in, in Bombay!
Better yet, the stretch of roadway mentioned most often at this blog (the Queen's Necklace), although it's evident that it's not the car that's moving, but we can overlook that.
The lovely, fabulous, heart-stealing, glamorous, one and only, Madhubala (Haaye Allah is reserved for Juhi Chawla, but would be more than appropriate here as well) is absolutely delightful as Renu. Some bias is inherent in this comment, but the film belongs to her.
It's easy to misinterpret this as a sign of weakness. There are few who can say it with authority that commands respect.
The comic timing and overall chemistry she shares with Kishore is fantastic. They would marry a few years later.
This would be testing, but worth risking for Madhubala (or Madhuri, or Juhi, or Tabu)!
Much like this:
How times have changed.
Ashok Kumar is a class act, and is perhaps most convincing of them all.
Convincing in his mannerisms, that is, not in this argument (although he is flexible when it comes to 'emergency situations', let's credit him for that).
Seriously, who wouldn't be accomodating?
The soundtrack is among the finest works of the vocalist in Kishore Kumar, Music Director S. D. Burman, and lyricist Majrooh Sultanpuri. I wouldn't dare pick one favorite from this playlist:
- Babu Samjho Ishaare
- Ek Ladki Bheegi Bhaagi Si
- Main Sitaaron Ka Taraana
- Hum The Woh Thi
- Haal Kaisa Hai Janaab Ka
- Hum Tumhaare Hain Zara
- Ruk Jaao Na Ji
Most of these (especially 1 through 5, although 6 is lyrically superior and features Helen in an unusual avatar for the actress) are immensely popular and almost legendary, infused in pop culture for decades. I recall first listening to #2 at an inter-class antakshari contest on Childrens Day way back in middle school. I don't believe I've laughed as loud as I did when #3 played (especially the bit about Laila's admirers) -- its integration is brilliant, and makes Rs. 5.75 more material than the amount will ever be in our lifetimes.
My introduction to #5 came via the Maine Pyaar Kiya (1989) antakshari song (see 2:13 in). And the iconic 'Jaate The Jaapaan pohanch gaye Cheen' (ended in China when headed to Japan; a common phrase most often used jokingly to imply hopeless navigation) in #4 showed up in Dil (1990):
Anyone recall this bit of dialogue in Andaz Apna Apna (1994)? (On another note, it's pretty cool that the films have the same lyricist.) It's shown up in several movies through the years, but this surely must have been one of the older instances.
Champion really has a personality of its own. I think in all the fun we have viewing, the biggest takeaway is a reminder to, as John Madden would say, "keep chipping wood".
Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi is a delightful film with a lot to like. It does have a few segments in the second half in which the focus shifts from comedy to drama. While this is arguably essential to the plot, one wishes it would have been avoided in favor of more comedy (because the comedy is all so very good). But it's more than well made up for. When it's not the music, it's the acting and dialogue that add much value to a film that is perhaps best described as smile-inducing :) Thoroughly enjoyed it. If you haven't seen it, you'd probably want to.
Movie rating: 4/5 (Excellent)
Thank you Bollyviewer for the recommendation!
Music rating: 4.75/5 (Stuff of legends)
My classification: PG (For villains and their evil ways)
I'm considering sending copies of the soundtrack (with translations to lyrics, of course) with upbeat car-related songs to Detroit -- those guys and gals (not the corporate leadership that flies to D.C. in private jets to ask for bailout funds) could benefit from some of the contagious (albeit temporary) enthusiasm. Aise mein (in such a case) I wonder what the U.S. equivalent of Champion would say or do (from here):