January 24, 2008

Marine Drive

Title: Marine Drive
Year: 1955
Cast: Ajit, Bina Roy, KN Singh, Uma Devi (Tun Tun), Johnny Walker.

Mr. Khanna (K.N.Singh) is a criminal in operating on Marine Drive (a very populous part of Bombay- dunno how he managed it), and has a group of sidekicks, chief amongst whom is Ajit (Ajit). Most of his schemes go haywire, including the last where he was trying to smuggle gold, but the entire consignment was confiscated by the police. Cut to a chase scene on location, in Marine Drive (the director does this all the time in the movie, showing a stock picture of the area iver and again, so I will do the same.
Heavily under debt, he hits upon the idea of going to his brother who lives in a high rise in....you guessed it, Marine Drive again (how do the 2 brothers exist in the same area and one doesnt know that the other is a criminal???)

Khanna plans to murder his brother, while Ajit must woo, marry and murder Bina (Bina Rai). This way, Khanna will become the sole owner of his brother's millions. Insert chance meeting of Ajit and Bina in.....Marine Drive again!

Wasting no time Ajit and Khanna immediately become regulars at Khanna's bros's house....

Also to plan, Ajit successfully woos Bina- they sing a song or two...

Khanna in the meantime throws his brother off the roof (yup- right on to Marine Drive :D)

However, by this time, Ajit is truly in love w/ Bina, and wont go further with Khanna's plans. The latter is much displeased, and has him imprisoned (why not murdered??? cos he is the hero???) in his hideout.
With Ajit out of the picture as well, Khanna establishes himself in his brother's house, and slowly begins to drive Bina nuts- don't ask me how- its a bunch of nonsensical psychobabble.

Ajit is let off his chains by a sympathetic moll of Khanna's.

He immediately sings a song of repentence (!), tracks down Bina's whereabouts, changes into a nice suit (!!!) and runs to Khandala (mountains outside Bombay) where Khanna has taken Bina to kill her (and yes, he does pass through Marine Drive along the way- heeh). He finds a faint Bina in the woods- it is miraculous how he of all people must come across her when she has obviously fainted in a verrrry secluded place.

They try to run for the police, but are cornered once more by Khanna's thugs and imprisoned separately in his den (why the heck doesnt Khaana kill 'em off??? He has said tons of times he wants Bina dead- but whatever).

Bina tricks her captors, and runs off (leaving the hero behind???? This must be a Bollywood first!)

Ajit runs off too- and becomes a police witness right away (this is surprising common sense for a bollywood movie hero- anyone else would have gone to seek "revenge," or at try to figure out where the heck his girl went).

But just as Bina has been re-caught (another new word) by Khanna, and is about to being finally murdered by him, Ajit rescues her (in yet another new suit- this guy has lots of costume changes). And of course they live happily ever after (with him in yet another suit), on Marine Drive (:D).


While this is the primary story, there has also been a "side" story running parallel to this. Aficionados will recognize that up to the seventies, a typical Bollywood movie would have a resident comedian, whose paths would cross with the hero's several times. The comedian however would have his own little love and anguish story going on parallel to the hero's.

In this movie,, we have Johnny (Johnny Walker), who is one of the many folks cheated by Khanna's sidekicks.

Once he loses money, he marries Uma (Uma Devi/Tun Tun) for her money, but his dreams are shattered when he finds that not only is she poor herself, she also has about 6 kids (this was always considered funny by movie makers in the 50s-60s- dunno why....).
Once Khanna is done in by Ajit, the police advises Johnny to appeal to the courts to get the money he has been cheated out of. This sounds good to Johnny, and this is the supposedly happy ending of his lil story as well.

  1. I lovvvvvvve film noir.And I am happiest when I find Indian film noir. So "Marine Drive," despite lack of much substance, I adore, simply because it dares to push the envelope. At a time when there was much emphasis on social and religious drama, making a movie with smugglers and motor-bike riders must have been pretty cool for GP Sippy, who wrote and directed this.
  2. I love the way Mr. Sippy kept the names of the characters after the real names of the actors themselves. Makes so much sense!
  3. I am not sure I understnad the "Marine Drive" motif. The stock footage shows up every 10 minutes or so, but has little to do with the actual content. He may as well have called it "Chicago" and been done with it. I understnad he was at that time a new director/producer (this was only his 2nd movie), and was probably making the best of whatever resources available to him.

1 comment:

Beth Loves Bollywood said...

(Sorry for all the comments in one fell swoop. I'm catching up on my reading.)

Stock footage review! Genius!

Bolly noir sounds like a fabulous combination. Do you know of any more?