August 4, 2008


Title: Black Mail
Year: 1973
Cast: Shatrugan Sinha, Dharmendra, Rakhi, Madan Puri, Iftekhar.

Don’t believe it is 2 words? :D Check out the credits:

Kailash (Dharam) has inherited his dad's business, and owns power plants, and therefore has lamps lit during meetings to emphasize the fact (?!)...

Dr Khurana (Madan Puri) is researching solar power for Kailash, but instead of working in a physics lab, his experiments seem to be chemical in nature. He also favors a bright yellow fluid- liquid sunshine anyone?

Kailash's rival Mr. Mehta (Iftekhar) meanwhile lives in another part of town. His daughter Asha (Rakhi) is engaged to one of his employees, Jeevan (Shatrughan).

The happy couple sing and dance, while looking suitably hip (this has to be one of Rakhi's hippest avtars ever)!

Jeevan seems to be following a different thought pattern though- he talks to Mr. Mehta is the latter's living room, which is decorated by battery operated torches (!!!!) and car batteries :D He suggests that Mehta regard Kailash as a suitable boy for Asha, since Kailash is going to be the next big thing soon. He assures Mehta that he is doing this for the welfare of Mehta and Asha, and will even help Asha hookup w/ Kailash. Iftekhar happily agrees!

Turns out Kailash and Jeevan are best friends and drink beer together in flowery china beer mugs often. Introducing Asha to Jeevan is as easy as pie (in fact how come she wasn't introduced to Kailash earlier? Best male friend meeting GF is normal, no?)

While Kailash begins to dream of Asha (Jeevan hasn't mentioned Asha is his girl- merely a friend), Dr. Khurana manages to rein-in solar power: in a sequence meant to simulate Archimedes' Eureka!

Pretty soon, Dr. Khurana is famous internationally, as we learn from various newspapers which have Khurana's photo very obviously and tackily glued-on on top.

Evil people all over the world want to get Dr. Khurana's secret plans describing harnessing of said solar power. They converge to Kailash's town, and meet with Jeevan, who is more evil than we originally thought. Their choice of a meeting spot? A golf course in bright daylight, with all the henchmen wearing cool outfits...

Meanwhile business is booming for Kailash, as he begins to romance Asha.

An Asha begins to get attracted to Kailash (who wouldn't?), as we see in "Pal pal dil ke paas..," where Rakhi looks the prettiest she has ever been.

Asha is confused, more so by Jeevan's behavior, as he continues to push her towards Kailash.

He explains to her it would be better for her dad if she married Kailash, and himself disappears from town. Asha proceeds to have a discussion with her inner self, which scene is highly reminiscent of Sharmili.

Therefore Asha and Kailash end up married...

... only for Jeevan to come back on their wedding night and ensure that Kailash knows of his past relationship with Asha. He does have a soft spot for the girl, but has had to orchestrate this wedding to suit his own nefarious plans......

... and we are made aware of these plans as he begins to blackmail Asha- with doctored-up pix of them, threatening to send them off to Kailash if she doesn't steal the solar-power plans and give them up to him.

Asha tries to think of a way out, while Kailash continues to suspect her in their Ert'e-esque living room...

In a surprising move for Bollywood as we know it, Dr. Khurana comes to Asha's rescue! He coaxes her to confess her troubles to him, and when she does, he successfully gets her photos AND negatives back after throwing fake plans at the villains.

When Jeevan in his pink 'n orange hunky outfit realizes he has been played...

.... he kidnaps Khurana's surprisingly young kids....

Whom now Asha proceeds to rescue (lol)...

But now SHE is kidnapped by Jeevan (rofl- oh someone stop this merry-go-round of kidnappings...heeh)

Can Kailash distract himself from his gold wallpaper long enough to rescue Asha? Will Jeevan, despite making silly phone calls to Kailash (to be received on this very groovy phone) be able to steal the plans?

Above all, will the international gang of baddies steal our sainted woman (Rakhi) and solar-power plans which were formulated from chem-lab experiments and yellow paint??????

To find out, just watch............... Black Mail!

1- Shatru and Iftekhar playing bad boys- they've done this very seldom, so any chance I get to catch them at it, I am in glee.
- Madan Puri as an adorable good guy- this like #1 is fairly rare (he was a good guy in Alibaba too though), which was fun.
4- Rakhi and Dharam wore cool outfits, but Shatru's fashions rocked.
5- I really liked that the heroine is shown to have some brains and a spine- while she DOES sob and weep, she is smart enough to fool the villains and rescue children :)

None! The mediocre 70s sets enhance the fun of the watch, not detract from it in the least.

Now I gotta go buy me some gold wall paper...


Anonymous said...

The science used in this movie is unique. In all my bollyviewing I dont think I have come across yellow fluids (red, pink, green, blue, yes, not yellow!). lol

Congratulations on noticing all the decor and sets. I have watched this movie several times but never noticed anything but Dharam, Rakhee and Shatru, and the melt-into-a-puddle sweet romance! :-D

Nicki said...

I have to watch this movie!! I haven't much many 70s Bollywood films. Sadly but true. I have only watched a handful. Gosh, blogging has inspired me to rewatch a lot of my faves and look at others reviews too.

I've never seen Rakhee in her earlier films. I've always seen her as a mother, lol. I did order Sharmaliee which I can't wait to watch when I get it.

ajnabi said...

Iftekhar looks like desi Christopher Plummer in that screencap. LOL I think that we should alert the media that we've discovered that yellow tempera paint is actually the key to deriving electricity from the sun's rays. Don't worry, Shweta, I'll make sure they list your name first on the patent application, and that your picture is the one that's glued on the cover of Newsweek. :-D

Anonymous said...

I love love love this film. I think "Pal Pal Dil Ke Paas" may be the most romantic thing of all time.

And the decor and fashions are just icing on the cake :-)

Shweta Mehrotra Gahlawat said...

Bollyviewer: lols- I am trying to imagine if Dharam was the baddie and Shatru the good guy- that would make the romance so itneresting! But I dont think Dharam has ever played -ve :/

Nicki: Rakhi HAS done some fun stuff, but usually she is the damsel in distress in most of her movies as a heroine, so it depends on which one u do see. I can vouch for this one as a fun flick tho :D

Ajnabi: Oh thank u thank u- I better go get my glamorshot done asap :D

Memsaab: I do beleive I saw this about the same time you did, and got lazy about posting after reading ur fabulous post on it- u had covered it so well! Romance isnt usually my cup of tea, but the science and "international" theivery in this won me over - heeh :)

Anonymous said...

Dharam did play a baddie too - in Aayee Milan Ki Bela - but he was way better as the desi 007.

Shweta Mehrotra Gahlawat said...

He played a baddie??!?!?! thats so cool! i need to get a copy fast - thanks so much for the info! And yeah, so love him when he is Bond-esque :)