May 28, 2008

Gambler (1997)

I know I know- you are probably thinking- what's a nice girl like me doing, not only seeing yet another excretory movie, but also posting extensive screen caps of it? Why the answer is simplicity itself- its all for you gentle reader. You HAVE TO see the utterly insane, campy costuming and meet Billo, the contract killer with a deadly cat.

So let me be like Alice, and begin at the beginning, until I come to the end, then stop.

Title: Gambler
Year: 1997
Cast: Govinda, Shilpa Shetty, Aditya Pancholi, Saeed Jafri, Gulshan Grover, Rohini Hattangdi

Sub-Inspector Dayashankar Pandey (Govinda), is a complete gas bag, and prefers to hang out at the police station, bragging about his past exploits to his subordinates, rather than going out and getting any real work done.


However, Daya is clearly marked for greatness: via a series of unintentional sting operations, he manages to book some pretty large sized criminals, and gets lauded for these. There is only one way to celebrate: dancing like a baboon with a team of guys in manly pink suits...

and lest our eyes get used to the baby pink, lets enjoy some nice yellow outfits, with gold trim all around...


...when the ladies dance with Daya, they must wear Michael Jackson's old BAD outfits from the 80s....


...or even better, wear a rainbow of colors while Daya pretends to be Aladdin (I guess)...


It must be owned that Daya is fairly conservatively dressed compared to his back-up dancers, but nothing can hide that belly burgeoning over his belt in every shot. The dancing done, Daya continues to inadvertently capture criminals with increasingly greater notoriety, who understandably are getting a tad peeved...

But Daya's family: handicapped dad, doting mom (Rohini), sister and brother are very happy at his newly acquired fame, while he is a bit scared that he is inviting attention from gangsters.

Daya gets promoted, and there is a huge party thrown by the cops, who apparently have nothing better to celebrate than ONE sub-inspector getting promoted to inspector. Whatever. At the party, we are hastily introduced to Daya's best friend, Inspector Shiva (Aditya), and Shiva's friend Ritu (Shilpa). We are subjected to a really dumb conversation between Daya and Shiva, which should have established the friendship and chemistry shared by the 2 men- that doesn't happen. Ritu's intro is shoved in, and her ridiculous clothes (a baseball cap with a flowery, shiny mini dress) are explained by the fact that she has just returned from abroad. (That's it- I need to buy me some caps and minis before going back to Delhi).


Ritu is apparently instantly enamoured by Daya, who is terrified of her "modern" ways and outfits. She plots around getting him while hanging at the pool with her friends, while dressed in a red dressing gown, black t shirt and an old lady's flowered hat. Her friends wear shower caps and what looks like swimsuits with orange love handles outlined on them.

There is a minor sub plot, abandoned unceremoniously soon after, about Ritu pretending to be her own unrelated twin, dressing up in a overtly traditional saree and flirting with Daya, who is instantly smitten.

As her own self, Ritu continues to stalk and sing atrocious songs around New Delhi (the plot is centered around Bombay, but they keep flitting to other cities for their songs- no trips to Europe either, I might add). Never has the Rashtrapati Bhavan (Indian Parliament) been so desecrated...



....In the same song, Daya dances like a loon in a hot pink shirt at Pragati Maidan (a huge site, normally used for trade shows etc. in Delhi), while Ritu hangs out in a shirt with huge sequins down her front- not a pretty look, but the back-up dancers are even worse off in cowboy hats and bright blue pants.


... with a final line dance in front of India Gate- it isn't apparent in the screen cap, but Daya's jacket has a silver front, to match the subtle, chic gold back- now I wonder whose brilliant mind came up with this....


Enough dancing. We are treated to a little review of the daily life of Billo (Gulshan), a cat loving contract killer...


He performs machinations programmed to bust cars like toys...

... and while his cat jumps at his prey (the screen cap's not the best, sorry) and claws their faces, thus rendering them completely hapless...

... so that Billo can finish them off with his own wash and wear metal claws...this is SO unintentionally funny, you have to see it to believe it :)


An adorable Saeed Jaffery, who is the Police Commissioner and Daya's boss, threatens Raj Babbar, the don king-pin..


... who decides to give the supari (contract) of saeed's murder to Billo and his cat.

Billo plants a bomb in Saeed's car (sans cat), from which Daya rescues him...

... but this is temporary and Saeed is killed soon after, while Daya is seriously injured. For some inexplicable reason, (save for the fact that it is required by the story that Shiva be present at the same hospital Daya is at), Shiva is called by Daya's team to expressly drive Daya to the hospital. I guess we should assume all the ambulances were out that day, and his team's cars and taxis were all at the shop. Whatever.

After some typical threatening music and closeups of Daya's crying family and the operation theatre, all's well..

..just in time for some rambunctious dancing, complete with giant drums to stomp colored powder (gulal) on.

While a very pretty Ritu dances with some very suggestively gyrating back-up dancers...


...all in front of Tipu Sultan's castle near Bangalore :S Nothing wrong in desecrating yet another national monument...

The song is done, and Daya hops dramatically back to Bombay's sea shore, where he meets his doctor from the hospital. Now I've heard of doctor's visiting at home, but at the beach?! ah well...


Its bad news for Daya- per the doc, he is dying of an old Bollywood standby- inoperable cancer. Naturally, there is plenty of angst, which he channels by basically mowing down baddies all over town.

Strangely enough, the baddies themselves are whiling away time in their den with some panoramic, suggestive cabaret style dance shows...

.. and yes, those back up dancers are wearing golden and pink curly wigs for no apparent reason.

Daya is arresting more baddies in the meantime,

.. and is getting awarded for it, but remains sad, 'cos he is dying dammit...


... and of course he must dance as well, sad as he may be, while borrowing one of the Jackson BAD costumes from the first song.


... and he must dance dressed as Alexander the Great (guessing) in front of the Victoria memorial (I am probably wrong) in Calcutta...


Dancing and angst only mix so well, so he behaves like a jerk with Ritu, in order to drive her away from the pain of his dying (OF COURSE he hasn't told anyone he is dying- that'd mean lesser angst- and a possible second opinion from another doctor- and less drama- and where would we be then? certainly not in Bollywood).


But all good things must come to an end- we are told that there was a mixup at the hospital and the nurse tested Shiva's blood instead of Daya's, so guess who is the one with inoperable cancer....

yup it's Shiva, who isnt intersted in further investigations or a second opinion either. Instead, he decides to cry and stand around hugging Daya very closely- decidedly homoerotic- well you decide...


So Daya must now dump Shiva and skip off to another song with Ritu. This one has the strangest "special" effects ever; we are treated to a very badly digitized Daya....


... who must dance on badly-attempted sci-fi stage with red and yellow light...


... yes really ...

... he even mock shoots Ritu, who is burning in fake flames dressed as a panther, while he is pulling a look best described as beefy Bond...

Thankfully, or tragically, this was the last song of the movie. Things get serious as Daya's family is being held by the baddies...


... and he himself is attacked by Billo's cat, who has mysteriously turned white (why? for better visibility in my screencaps? :D

.. but the brave, overweight, not-so-young sod defeats the kitty cat (we are never shown him actually killing it- fear of PETA, no doubt)


.... and who cares whether Daya rescues his family, kills any more baddies or walks away with Ritu- you only need to walk away with this last screencap in your minds: Shiva is shot saving Daya, and dies in his arms, with Daya kissing him goodbye (which is more physical than he has gotten with Ritu through the course of the entire movie).


And now I've come to the end, and as promised, I must stop.

9 comments:

theBollywoodFan said...

I'm still laughing out loud at this: "dancing like a baboon with a team of guys in manly pink suits..." =)

Indeed! If I recall correctly, that song was titled 'Stop that' and was 'adapted' from 'Chok There' by Apache Indian. Still remember these lyrics, only because I am a Madhuri Dixit fan:

Madhuri Dixit mili raste mein,
Khaaye chaney hum ne saste mein,
Us ne kaha tere sang shaadi rachaaoon,
Tere ghar aake main parathay pakaaoon.

ROTFL. So silly, it's hilarious. Only Devang Patel and Govinda can pull that off. I remember buying my first Devang Patel album in Wembley after this. =)

bollyviewer said...

rofl! Havent enjoyed a movie as much as your review!!! Beefy Bond - you should copyright the phrase. :-) And do go on seeing such cheesy charmers for your readers' benefit!

ajnabi said...

From now on, any time I'm having a rough day, I'm coming over here to look at those screencaps, because I could not stop laughing the whole time I read this entry. Dude. Duuuuuude. Any movie with Govinda and Johnny Lever in the same frame is bound to be a real, um, "winner."

Shweta Mehrotra Gahlawat said...

Bollyfan- ah yes- good ol Apache Indian- its been so long :) Its amazing to see movies from the 90s- what with the dated styling, most of them can be v easily placed in the 80s.

Bollyviewer- oh gwash- thank u than u (heavy pretend blushing underway)

Ajnabi- u should have seen me cracking up every time the cat attacked- I was flying home and watching this on my comp, and giggling every lil bit- my fellow passenger kept giving me some v funny looks :D

I dont think i'll every recover from "the attack of the killer cat"- that'd be an excellent title if this was made in hollywood :)

memsaab said...

This seems like a Terrible Misuse of Cat(s).

But glad you got some laughs out of it :-) thanks for providing us with all the goodness and saving us from the badness!

TS said...

Stupid movie,I can't get over shilpa shetty's nosejob.

There was one nice song in it though 'hum unse mohabbat...", right?

haven't been here in a while, hope all's well!

cheers,trupti

Shweta Mehrotra Gahlawat said...

Hi Greta, Trupti- thanks for visiting folks! Its always a pleasure to have you come by. I have been horribly delinquent as regards the blog, since my current engagements are absolutely killing me- been at work at 6am every day just trying to clear up the maddness. and yes, u are right about the song Trupti- was prob the best of the lot- I was just so shocked and awed by the outfits/plot meanderings that I wasnt listening too closely to the songs :D

Amey said...

Hey, we don't need no second opinions in Bollywood. Otherwise, how can we fit the last minute "prayers" to God in the hospital or convieniently located temple? Remember, the tradition has lived on since the days of Akbar ;)

More "(re)views" please...

Shweta Mehrotra Gahlawat said...

haha. too true Amey- thanks for visiting! and writing some over the weekend for sure :D