December 15, 2008

Naya Nasha

Title: Naya Nasha
Year: 1973
Cast: Prithviraj, Ranjit Mullik, Nanda, Asit Sen, Manmohan Krishna, Achala Sachdev.

All these new movies, and Halloween movies in the month before have kept me so busy, that I have had little time to write about those forgotten, kitchy movies that I love best. I saw this one a few months ago, but was deterred from posting- I lost the screen caps not once, but twice! Which is as well, since I saw it for the third time this past weekend (oh the humanity!) and have finally been able to post it (whew).

The movie skates from beginning as a 70's student-protest movie to a hippie movie to a revenge drama- to the extent that you really need to pay attention to know wth is going on. The movie's opener is fantastic: Nanda is on the front page as a rioting college student!

Next scene: Madan Puri is a politician, whose son insists upon wearing yellow and green outfits and protesting (while truly, someone should be protesting his choice of colors). Both Madan Puri and his son are never seen on screen again.

Yet another protesting student's house: while said student dresses like a Star Trek employee and sits next to a stuffed fox (!), his parents Ramesh and Seema Deo Scold him- the screen cap doesn't make it clear, but Seema wears a Mitchell Obama-esque brooch, as big as a house on her saree- cute! None of these folks are seen again either- perhaps they all jumped out of the square skylights and ran straight out of the movie. I do not know.

Finally the protagonist! Nanda has tea with her grandpa Asit Sen (love)- in what is the first of her many insane fashion choices (the cause of the innumerable screen caps you find on this post).

Next come the opening credits, and proof that this movie is essentially a throwback to the Hollywood camp classic Reefer Madness (1936), Indianised. I wish I could have posted the entire tirade, but but I guess I should leave something for your enjoyment if you do see this delicious clunker. Keep in mind our own 70s free love proponent Danny Denzongpa is the narrator here - hilariousness!

The opening credits is also the last time we will hear anything of student protests [sigh]- the rest of the movie has nothing to do with them :)
Next we meet Ranjit Mullik, who is Asit's doctor, and who wisely went back to Bengali cinema after making this movie.

Next up: Manmohan Krishna and Achala Sachdev as Nanda's parents. The former at least has a kindly heart, but no time for either his wayward (!) daughter or his dying dad.

We have a looongg scene where Nanda exhibits the boredom she is subject to, and also shows off her fabulous funky ring, her insane orange dress (I WANT IT!) and her surprisingly pedestrian-looking room: she is supposedly a heiress- shouldn't her room look hotter?

She calls up her friend Kitty, who is with Rana (Prithviraj)- you know they are evil, because they are in bed (gasp)!!!

On some kind of a calling spree, she also decides to call Ranjit for a date- too bad she didn't know what he was wearing- a v macho bright pink shirt with white polka dots- dreamy!

Thankfully, Ranjit has time to change into another shirt before their date. Here Nanda meets the lead singer of the band, who insists upon wearing a floral chiffon shirt with ruffles.

But dates are not helping Nanda ward off boredom, so she goes to her mom and dad for ideas- they dont have any.

Off to college then, meeting friends with obvious fashion difficulties. The guy in the green shirt scares me less than Kitty, whose yellow dress' closures are an obvious problem.

Kitty brings Nanda to Rana's den, where Nanda is served spiked drinks. Notice Kitty's earrings- she has them in every color, and parades them through the length of the movie. Rana's tight pants are scary, but impossible to ignore.

Nanda takes about a minute to get high, and then loses her inhibitions, dancing w/ Rana in his den (gasp!)Later, Kitty takes her to a worse den, where evil blondes abound, ....

... and Rana walks around with a red-cloth-covered-plate, offering red-and-yellow capsules and rolled cigarettes.

So oh course she imbibes and is totally having a good time...

But then her parents find out, her grandpa dies and her wedding is arranged with good ol' Ranjit- so she runs off to Rana one last time...

Notice his den has expanded to include a stylised beach shack- I am totally digging this!

Rana gives Nanda her drugs, wears a suitably ruffled shirt and confides to a sad-looking henchman that Nanda is good and hooked- and he will continue to get cash off her!

And so it is- on the day of the wedding, Kitty supplies Nanda with drugs,

...and the bride is high during the entire wedding (actually sounds like fun, honestly).

Ranjit realises that Nanda is a drug addict, and tries to help her- why he doesn't take her to rehab, I do not understand. Instead, she stay at home with these groovy ceilings, wears a saree which looks like the same stuff as the dress she had on earlier, and fun platform shoes.

To make matters worse, Rana becomes a tenant at their home, and begins to deal drugs from there (the movie has long stopped being a druggie-movie at this point- now we are enjoying some run-of-the mill 70s melodrama with the heroine being suitably blackmailed).

I do not understand why Ranjit doesn't suggest terminating the pregnancy when Nanda decides to have a baby despite being on drugs. She gives birth, and we know there are complications when the baby isn't immediately introduced...

The drug intake has damaged the child. This was seriously scary folks, I kid you not.

Nanda is really sad, but loves her baby,

...even when her parents are simply horrified.
But the worst is yet to come- from a 70s melodrama, we are going to jump straight to crime thriller and revenge when the evil Rana grabs Nanda's child...

The shot after this involved Rana killing her child- not terribly graphic, but horrible enough. The murder done, Rana runs off to his den (huh?) to escape the revenge-seeking Nanda.

She shoots him, and the murder is witnessed by the entire den full of disco dancing teenagers- it would be a strong shot, if I hadn't begun to giggle at the blank face of the guy behind her :)

Nanda is bought to book and there is a court scene- its really quite fun how Manmohan Krishna has only had that 1 suit to wear since the beginning of the movie and Achala is wearing her sunglasses indoors- so socialite of her :)

After a teary scene with her husband, Nanda steps off to the police van that'll take her to jail, and I would honestly be quite moved,....

...if only this didn't appear on the screen next: A enlarged view of the supposed druggie capsule, with a appropriate warning, in case you missed the whole point of the movie.

1- DO NOT go looking for stellar production values/songs while watching this! Instead, watch this anti-drug sermon sans seriousness, and you will have spent a hilarious few hours.
2- The tragedy that fell Reefer Madness (1936) is probably what affected this. The movie is full of stereotypes- the poor-little rich girl, parents who don't care, a caring grandfather, agitating students (you couldn't throw a stone in the 60s/70s without hitting a agitator I guess, even in Bollywood).
3- Surprisingly, the husband is a doctor, but doesn't recognize his wife's drug habit until way later- or are we supposed to believe he was merely ignoring the inconvenient truth?
4- I do believe that drugs would hurt a unborn child- but would he be necessarily born resembling a monkey??? I actually asked my parents (she- a RN, he- a doc, so I had a legitimate reason to query them), and was told that while malformed children were a likely possibility, simian features were not.
5- This was one of the last few movies Nanda did; not sure why she left- perhaps she just didnt feel she needed to work anymore?
6- Acahla Sachdev and Manmohan Krishna were unintentionally comic in their snobby-millionaire parts- if for no other reason, the movie is worth its price for watching them alone :)

Conclusion: Movies like these arent high art, but are a decided novelty- which makes them watchable for that reason alone. I loved it, and this is going to be a prized asset to my DVD collection :)


Anonymous said...

Where do you find these obscure ones? With Nanda in it I'd have expected at least a more coherent tale. Speaking of her, she seems to have stolen Neetu Singh's 70s wardrobe and I WANT it! And ya, I want the movie too... :-)

Banno said...

I have to look for this. Just for the costumes, if nothing else.

Nicki said...

Man,I love reading your blog! You always come up with interesting Bollywood films I haven't heard about! Thanks for the lovely screen caps. This is one film I'll add.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I must.see.this...

Thank you for telling me about it!!!! Woooh! And the guy who plays Rana looks like the villain from Imtihan, which I am just about to write about (sadly, not nearly as much fun as this one) but there's nobody named Prithviraj in the confused (imdb has him identified as Ranjeet, but they are wrong, Ranjeet is someone else in the film)...sigh.

Shweta Mehrotra Gahlawat said...

Bollyviewer: The bargain bin of the DVD store is where many gems lie- the worse they sound, the greater is my urge to buy :) I think Nanda was kind-of done w/ Bollywood at this point- maybe did this just to oblige a friend or something, because I cant imagine any other reason :)

Banno: Oh you will like it- the costumes in the "hippie" dances were the best :D

Nicki: Oh thank you! I have a pile of obscure movies sitting at home- just need to dive into them now...

Memsaab: I will look out for the screen cap, I am curious now. Looks like this guy did v few movies, and its v possible he didnt get credit for all of them.

Filmi Girl said...

Oh my god! I need to see this! Nanda can be kind of a wet blanket but those outfits...!(!) LOVE THEM!

PS How much Ramesh Deo do we see? (I find him to be rather handsome.) :D

Shweta Mehrotra Gahlawat said...

Filmi Girl: Sorry- Ramesh and Seema have 1 scene only- his entire episode is simply left hanging, without a followup :) Insane, but hilarious. Nanda tries her best to b her susual sad self here, but manages only in the 2nd half- the 1st half is taken over by all her drug taking :D

Crazy on Bollywood said...

It would remain unknown to me if you didn't share it that very well known actor Ranjit Mallick acted in a hindi movie.

Shweta Mehrotra Gahlawat said...

Crazy on Bollywood: He did one more, which I am still looking for: "Lal Kothi." I dont think this movie did well, and I am guessing that's one of the reasons he moved back to Bengali cinema.

Rum said...

I must find this now, the screencaps are brilliant, I'll try and find the same funky clothes too! Nanda was sooooo stylish back then, and the baby looks like soooo scary!

Shweta Mehrotra Gahlawat said...

That baby freaked me out completely. Also, its face changes- its a monkey in closeups, and a real baby from a distance (cos it moves its arms and legs) :) 60s & 70s fashions were the best!