April 26, 2011

Phir Wohi Raat

I'm a great one for buy a ton of movies, and then letting them gather dust until I find out something intriguing about them, and THEN watch. Phir Wohi Raat came at a time when I was recovering from busy season, and definitely not in the mood to watch intellectual cinema. THEN I found out that not one was this late 70s "mystery" fare, this movie is also Danny's only directorial venture. Watch this, and you will agree with me that as adorable as Danny is, its really good he never tried his hand at directing again. Oh and this is also "Disco dancer" alum Kim's 1st movie (IMDB says different- ignore them, trust me)

Title: Phir Wohi Raat (That night, again)

Year: 1980

Cast: Kim, Aruna Irani, Kajal Kiran, AK Hangal, Rajesh Khanna, Suresh Oberoi, Danny Denzongpa

Its a dark and thunder-&-lightening kind of night. Kim is skulking around in a dark mansion (literally- someone didn't turn on the lights), and trying out different doors. The stage this was shot on looks very space-age for some reason.

Kim enters a room to meet the Wicked Witch of the West - no, scratch that- a green-faced Shashikala!

See the kinship?

Shashikala does look pretty scary, and so with a scream, Kim wakes up- it was all a dream! Luckily, Aruna, her chum and room-mate is on hand for support.

And apparently some support is needed, since this is a nightly occurrence. Kim is haunted by dreams, and wakes up screaming every night. Also apparently, her voice carries a bit, since the rest of the YWCA/women's "hostel" gets disturbed nightly. They complain bitterly, and look adorably good and mad- I like the hair clips :)
The matron, played sympathetically by Lalita Pawar (!) rubbishes their grumblings, speaks sweetly to Kim, and advises Kim to meet with Rajesh, who is conveniently both her (Kim's) boyfriend and a psychiatrist.

Next morning, Kim dresses in Laker's colors of purple and yellow, and meets Rajesh with Aruna in tow. Lets take a moment and appreciate Rajesh's sartorial sensibilities- a safari suit with a tie on kung-fu style belt, and a hand across his mid-section to hide the belly. Brilliant.

Rajesh has take a seat on his very mod furniture, ... ... and proceeds to talk mumbo jumbo with her while having her wear a head-dress that's a poor cousin of Rishi's from Karz.

Here's Rishi from Karz (1980)
..and here's Kim. Rishi had a ton more wires, while Kim is more Disco. Nice.

Rajesh hypnotizes Kim into remembering her childhood. The dreams she is having feature Shashikala, her aunt and the family's skeleton in the closet. Shahsikala was crazy, so the family was "hiding" her in their mansion. One night, she got out and killed Kim's mom, which Kim bore witness to.

Shashikala was sent to the asylum following this, where she eventually passed away. Kim cant get her out of her head, which Rajesh convinces her is OK, and thus-ly wraps up any treatment that he may have given her as a patient. Kim feels better after talking to Rajesh, and goes back to the hostel, which turns out is attached to the university she attends, and is bullied by the girls in hair clips again. I wanted the mean girls to really give it to her at this point. Alas, Aruna jumps to support her again.

Rather messed up, Kim decides to run away from school that night.She makes a break for it while wearing a red trench and boots (among other things). Subtle.

Kim doesn't get very far without dozing off, and dreaming of Shashikala again. This scene is truly fantastic, and the film's high point- Shahsikala scared the heck out of super-jaded me.

Conveniently, Kim has chose to sleep/fain/whatever at Rajesh's doorstep :S. Aruna, who has secretly (why?) been following her grabs her as she falls, and Rajesh come out dressed in a Apache-style kimono. yes, apparently such things exist.

Next morning, the college President throws Kim and Aruna (!) out of school for taking a jaunt at night.

So Aruna and Kim stuff themselves in Rajesh's rather nice red Impala, and take off to Kim's mansion in the hills. Obviously Rajesh doesn't have a huge patient list demanding his attention.

The servants, AK Hangal and his daughter Kajal Kiran have been cleaning up at the mansion,

... when the party drives UP ONTO THE LAWN, and parks randomly in the garden. High style.

Greetings are exchanged,

... and then Rajesh and Kim decide to go out and sing songs in the hills. This isn't the sound of music, and Rajesh and Kim are not Julie Andrews and Chris Plummer. But Rajesh brings sexy back in red newsboy hats, and Kim also takes to wearing adorable hair clips!

The song done, Rajesh leaves back to the city (maybe he does have patients!) and we settle in for the night, when Kim wakes up again, and sees a pretty, white-faced girl hanging out in the mansion.

This freaks her to screams and fainting,

.. at this point, we assume that Aruna and the servants have called Rajesh back from the city, because we next see him meeting Danny (!) on the back roads to the mansion.

We witness minor bromance while Danny helps fix Rajesh's broken down car.

.. and they meet again at Kim's, where it is found that Danny is Kim's cousin, back from abroad.

Meanwhile Kim continues to be haunted by the pale-faced, red-lipped woman. I miss Shashikala.

..more fainting...

... more fake-medico nonsense...

.. more disco/psycho head dressses...

Until Rajesh, Aruna and Danny decide that since Kim's birthday is coming up, the best thing to take her mind off going crazy (seriously, that is the doc's suggestion), is to have a party. Danny's wife, who incidently, Kim has never met, is also going to join them for the occasion.

Its the day of the aprty, and the girls look foxy, Danny looks hot and Rajesh just a tad dumpy while he sings...

.. and finally Kim is about to cut the birthday cake, when...

.. the pale-faced woman from Kim's dreams enters the room, and slows walks towards her with open arms. Kim, who has the cake knife in her hand, is so supremely freaked,

...that she stabs the new comer and faints in Rajesh's arms. Danny announces that Kim has just killed his wife, whom she had never met.

A doctor at the party confirms the death, and Suresh Oberoi, a inspector at the party (convenient how both medical help and law enforcement were present), decides to dial for back up. Fun times!

Saying more than this would give away the movie, so I wont.

Phir Wohi Raat isnt a good movie, but it isnt the worst Bollywood mystery you will ever see. The fashions are fun, you can make fun of Rajesh and admire Shashikala, and commisserate with Danny's inability to Direct very well. Actualyl I think the story is pretty decent, and if only he had let someone else direct, and gotten a really good editor, this would have been a better film. I can recommend this to you if you enjoy bad films.


Mette said...

Hahahaha, that looks like a really bad and funny movie!
I shouldn't say that I don't think I'll like it, because I said so about TMK and Action Replayy, and it turned out I liked them.

harvey said...

Never heard of this film!
But I think during this time Danny and Kim were together. I remember a phote from a gossip magazine, where one sees Kim presenting Danny with a pair of sport shoes.

Shweta Mehrotra Gahlawat said...

Lime(ette): I wouldnt be suprised if you didnt- its hard to love this one!

Harvey: I think you are absolutely right. Danny and Kim were indeed supposed to be together during this film, and he was helping her make it into the movies. In fact I've read the rumor that they were even briefly married during the making of this film- but that may be simple rumor without substance.

harvey said...

I'd heard about the rumour as well. But you know how the film magazines are! But that is immaterial!

Anonymous said...

i would like to know the ending as im intrigued, so what happens at the end?

Shweta Mehrotra Gahlawat said...

Anonymous- Danny is the evil mastermind, and Mr Khanna vanquishes him! :D