Saturday, October 18, 2008

Mehndi Lagi Mere Haath

I knew nothing about this movie when I bought it except that it starred Shashi Kapoor and came out in the same year as Prem Patra, a Shashi movie I had recently watched and enjoyed. I bought it hoping for some Shasiliciouness, and I wasn't disappointed.

Deepak (Shashi Kapoor), a young doctor, meets Rajni (Nanda) at his sister's wedding. It's clear that their attraction is mutual, although Rajni plays coy.

Naturally, Deepak adds some embellishments when he tells his friends about their meeting.

There's a mix-up with their luggage, which I thought was going to be the means of bringing them together but which ended up being resolved off-screen. I think a few minutes of the film might be missing here -- there's an abrupt transition, and then the characters refer to a conversation we didn't see them have.

At any rate, Deepak and Rajni are brought together soon enough when Rajni is hit by a car in front of the hospital. Not to worry though -- Deepak soon nurses Rajni back to health, and they begin a very sweet courtship, taking walks on the beach,

teasing one another,

and generally being cute and happy.


Obviously, something bad is about to happen. When Rajni goes to the village to tell her mother about Deepak, she overhears a startling conversation between her mother and some villagers.

Although her mother has an explanation,

she doesn't believe her and is worried that Deepak's life will be ruined if he marries an illegitimate child. So, in true Movie Martyr fashion, she decides that the best thing to do is convince Deepak that she doesn't love him, then sit around looking pensive and making enigmatic statements so that everyone knows what a martyr she's being. This kind of behavior always annoys me, but I'm willing to cut her a little bit of slack because I think there might be some cultural things going on here that I don't really understand.

To my great relief, Deepak does not become angry or act like Devdas, as film heroes too often do in this type of situation. He's just sad and bewildered, and I want to give him a hug and tell him that everything will be okay.

His distraction causes some problems at work,

although I'd still rather have him as my doctor than this guy, who says that he's dissected as many hearts as he could and reached the conclusion that

Will anything worse happen? Will everything turn out okay in the end? Well, you'll have to watch the movie to find out. Although it's not my favorite movie ever, there are some good songs, the romance in the first half is cute, and with the second half I'm willing to accept that there's a cultural gap between me and the intended audience. And, of course, there's Shashi.


Beth said...

Those screen captures about "what a smile" and imagining someone so handsome are so much meta fun!

bollyviewer said...

Hi Cindy, just followed you over from your comment on my blog. Your have-watched includes several of my favorites. Cant wait to read your reviews!

This movie certainly had its full quota of Shashilicousness, and then some. The second half left a lot to be desired though. Rajni's condemnation of her Mom (I think it was OTT even for 60s uberconservative Bollywood) and then stalking the poor hero completely alienated my sympathy for the film. But I loved the doctor-going-off-to-die-in-plague thing - so deliciously reminiscent of old romances where heroes would go off to wars on being cast off by their sweethearts!

Cindy said...

Beth, aren't those great? It was the "so handsome" remark that convinced me that I needed to figure out how to take screencaps. It's a nice moment in the film too -- his delivery of the line is quite funny.

Bollyviewer, thanks for stopping by! I've been reading your blog for a while now, and in fact I picked up Prem Patra based on your recommendation. (As I mentioned on my other blog, I saw my first Hindi film less than 10 months ago, and I've been basing a lot of my movie-watching decisions on recommendations from various people in the blogosphere.)

In the second half of the movie I was torn between wanting to hug Deepak and wanting to slap Rajni. I thought she could have at least given her mom the benefit of the doubt, and if you're going to break a boy's heart because you think it's in his best interests, you should at least leave him alone afterwards. But I was very glad that even when Deepak became slightly self-destructive, he did so in a societally useful way. If he'd gone the Devdas route, I think the movie would have become intolerable for me.

bollyviewer said...

For someone who started watching only 10 months ago you've certainly seen a lot of movies! And I am so glad you liked Prem Patra - its one of my favorite Shashi films.

rosie said...

He's pretty cute in those pictures.

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Desultoryreij said...

I agree with you that this is an enjoyable movie, however there seemed to be a lot of abrupt cuts in the movie (which gave me a headache).

It could be 3 things:
-Something wrong with the DVD
-Lost footage
-Crappy editing

Please let me know what you think.

Cindy said...

Hi Desultoryreij, and thanks for commenting. I haven't watched the movie for a while, so I don't remember the abrupt cuts. I tend to assume that it's the DVD manufacturer's fault when I watch old Hindi films, since they aren't usually very careful about things like that. I don't know in this case, though.