...can't catch a break!
Directed by S. A. Kader and produced by Jalil Ahmed, Daulut Ki Jung (The War for Wealth) is an adventure film. Rajesh Chaudhary (Aamir) and Asha Agarwal (Juhi) are lovers who elope in the face of parental opposition, with Shafi Inamdar and Tiku Talsania playing the fierce fathers, respectively. As the young and innocent escape, they run into gangsters involved in a treasure hunt, and must join them or face certain death, because Rajesh is the only one who knows where the treasure is. As they reluctantly join the organized quest for riches, they encounter plenty of those who want a share of the prize. But will anyone get it? Will Rajesh and Asha survive? And will their love survive through a couple of triangles? And what of the parents? Daulut Ki Jung has all the answers, and lots more that's sure to amuse and surprise.
Having first seen this before I turned a teen, I wasn't sure what my response would be following over a decade and a half. I'm now admittedly more willing to appreciate the pure commercial -- or masala -- film, so that part of me has evolved since. And that means even a film as inconsistent as ever with its blend of masala goodies, will have its share of positives. I have no other explanation for my fondness of this film. I'm sure you're going, "Doh, it's Juhi and Aamir, stupid!", and that would be fair, but it's okay for some questions to go unanswered.
Check out this sample of elements: Feuding parents; Bodyguards; Mistaken identities; Disguises; A love story set on a college campus; Two love triangles; Eloping lovers; A helpful aunt; A street fight for a woman's necklace (justified, given the woman...haaye Allah!); A car accident leading to a startling discovery; A place of worship without a priest to conduct a wedding ceremony; Gangsters; Cops; Robbers; A villainess named 'Sherni' (Lioness); Long-lasting enmities; Traitors who somehow earn trust; Unashamed and unregretful displays of [protagonistic] selfish altruism; An influential snake; and to top it all off, a hero who has photographic memory, and (this makes the movie for me)...cannibals! Haaye Allah!
They make for an interesting Bollywood adventure film, indeed. And that's not all. Throw in some love of Hindi film that will give us film lovers plenty of evidence that all the heart we put into our fandom can actually do us some good. Yes, if push comes to shove...
...Bollywood knowledge (and some wit) can mean the difference between life and death...
...and can be used to strike fear in the hearts of the enemies.
New additions to the group that seeks the treasure aren't entirely wasted, and the cast somewhat makes up for a lacklustre screenplay. There's Kiran Kumar, Dalip Tahil (Aamir's dad in Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak (1988)), Paresh Rawal and Viju Khote (from Andaz Apna Apna (1994)), and they're all rather good. My favorite here has to be Kader Khan, who is the primary catalyst for comic relief, and reminds one of The Undertaker (the wrestler and the World Wrestling Federation, now World Wrestling Entertainment, was very popular in India in 1992, given the advent of satellite television a couple years prior). Named 'Topchi' (literally translated as 'little cannon'), he sleeps in and operates from a coffin.
This might be an appropriate moment to debut my newest Bollywood-inspired Lego character. A fair representation of the climax to this film (sans spoilers, of course, which is a decent excuse for my laziness to search for the correct pieces/animals). If you've seen the film, consider this a piece of abstract art, with the alligator symbolizing a lot more than just a wild creature. The central character Rajesh, though, is in place. (Excuse all the silliness, I'm having too much fun with this film!)
The music (Anand-Milind, lyrics by Majrooh Sultanpuri) is good and fairly well-integrated. Bolo Sanam Ab Kya sums up almost every Aamir-Juhi starrer. Samjha Karo is a cute consolation song. Aye Mohabbat is hilarious but sad (refer to the opening sentence of this post). Ab Teer Chale by Udit Narayan and Anuradha Paudwal is the pick of the lot, and is aptly worded (I'll brave arrows and swords to hold my lover's hand). Check it out (here is its not so happy version):
The dialogue is redundant (and often out of place). The film is much longer than it needs to be. And it's sadly not a film I'd recommend if you are not particularly fond of the greatest filmi couple ever. (Although you could sample the first few minutes -- see link below.) Add to it that the folks over at Ultra DVD haven't digitally remastered this, which means one almost feels it's being viewed on VHS. Yet, the film does serve up some undeniable laughs (many for the wrong reasons, but credit where credit is due :D), although one absolutely must view it from within the scope of the masala mindset of the 1980s and '90s to appreciate them. For fans of the lead couple, it's certainly worth the watch, and a campy treasure in its own right. Oh, and if you're a fan of Tintin comics, you might enjoy it too. Singa Bonga! May the force be with you!
Movie/Music rating: 3/5
Watch it for Aamir and Juhi (and all that adventure!), and chances are you'll find it's a fun time-pass film. Skip otherwise.
My classification: PG-13 (for theme, violence)
Watch it for free!
Rajshri has it available for free viewing at this link (without subtitles).
They're not related, but doesn't Juhi in this frame remind of Bhoomika Chawla? Not enough to be mistaken for the other, but there's some similarity, surely.