January 8, 2009

Hare Rama Hare Krishna - Ohhh No Hippies Influenced my Sister!

You pesky meddlin hippies!
Sorry for being lazy, but school started and I guess I'll have to limit myself to one post every week. Hare Rama Hare Krishna is a ground-breaking movie, in the sense that it introduced India to the problems of hippies that were invading their land and Nepal! Dev Anand has NEVER been liked here in the Masala Pradesh, sure he was cute, had a puff in his hair, but somethin about him irks me. He has been a fairly competent director in the movies I've seen of him, though Vijay Anand and Chetan strike me as better directors! I'll call this HRHK to make it easier for myself and you! Perhaps this review won't make much sense as I like it because of the sheer funkability of it, but I HATE the over-preachyness of Dev's sermons!
So we start off with footage of Indian people in a mandir, going crazy sing HRHK with clashing flamencos and head movements, Dev attempts to show us that this is how Indian people sing "Hare Rama Hare Krishna" they respect the words and go in a trance because of the music and religion. Then he switches to the above shot of white Hare Krishnas who sing HRHK in a respectful yet hippyish way, I like the juxtaposition here as he prepares you for the rest of the movie which I'm sure he wanted to seem like "two different lifestyles(east/west) combine"
Then I got MAD! As Dev goes into sermon mode, he shows footage of my bharat(London) where there are protest marches, along with a parade of Hare Krishnas who sing HRHK. Then he starts his sermon on the dangers of the hippy! "Hippies are bad kids folks, they desecrate our culture, they smoke dope all day" is what he basically sermonizes about!
Look how cool he makes it look, while critisizing it too~

Hey man, my temple is that too!

He then finishes his preaching to relate it to his character Prashant who is pleading at his sister Jasmeet(Zeenat Aman). Then all of a sudden we switch to them two as kids, and WOAAAHHH they have a messed up family! They live in snowy Montreal shown with big white cardboard snowflakes falling from a plastic window, and I shouted hey its Canada!
Back to their messed up childhood, they have a maa(Achla Sachdev) who smacks Jasmeet around quite a bit, because she's wild and very unruly, and then they have a distant dad(Kishore Sahu) who obviously has been eyeing up his secretary. Then my sister's favorite song comes along "Phoolon Ka Taaron Ka" where Prashant cheers up a sad Jasmeet, and we hooted with laughter as Master Bitu sang with Lata's voice. Lol forgive me, as I watched this when i was 16, and very immature about old movies, sure I watched a ton when i was a kid but at 16 I had to laugh! Everything seems slightly okay in the "Dysfunctional Jaiswal family" till the parents come home from a party where Dad danced with his mistress in front of his wife, and Maa made a scene. Both are very angry with each other and have a really shocking fight where Dad throws whiskey at Maa, where Maa throws her shoes at Dad, and then when Dad announces a divorce and slaps around Maa - while the kids watch from behind the door!
Some fighting

Sadness ensues when Maa takes Prashant and Dad takes Jasmeet, I don't know how this works in the court system but anyway, for the sake of the movie Jasmeet's ayah says that Prashant has died! All i could say is what a bitch! No wonder Jasmeet is a hippy coz she represses soo many memories like Dad in bed with new wife(A really young Indrani Mukherjee) and new stepsisters and more.
We cut to Prashant as an already wrinkling Dev Anand with a Beatles haircut, hey man the Beatles finished before the movie and the piehead hair started in 1965ish and then they grew their hair out! Gawsh, his hair looked really quite terrible as he combed to the side almost to make an emo guy hair! Prashant is an air pilot(wonder if Yash Chopra suggested the pilot again?) and he wants to find his sister, so far so good he finds out by screaming down the phone to Dad that Jasmeet is in Nepal. So he flies off to there, he lands up in a hotel where he bumps into Jasmeet, and she looks gorgeous here and she wears the best sunglasses ever! Lol this must be one of the 3 movies where I bought all the sunglasses such as Yaadon Ki Baraat, Aadmi aur Insaan and this!
Jasmeet has changed her name to Janice and is proper junkie as Prashant finds out later, but first some masala element of "Find a funky villain to fight with" one of the two is Sudhir as an owner of the hippy hangout that Janice goes to and Prem Chopra.
He needs his matching partner Ranjeet though
He follows Janice around quite a bit, and then the creepy element comes in as he acts more suitor than a bhai, he could be less obvious by not flirting with her every time he sees her! Along his travels he runs into my favorite "Comic Sidekicks that need to be used in any movie" Rajendranath and Mehmood Jr, yaayyyyyyyyy I cried, some great guys to balance out the preachy messages that emitted from the screen and Dev's mouth!

Because I was distracted by these two Scene-stealer's, dEV
Then another masala element comes in "Token girl to fall in love with, who later becomes a mere set design" unfortunately the lady in question is my favorite: Mumtaz, she got to do a great dance which was good, but then she fell for Dev and it went downhill for her character who sporadically returned, just to be rescued from Prem Chopra by Dev, and to sing a song.

Don't I look good as a prop?
Back to the masala part of the story, Dev and Mumtaz fall in pyar and get married in a very unceremonial way, Prem doesn't like this and makes Sudhir frame Dev for stealing a statue from the mandir. Time to call up the Police Inspector saab, who could it be? Jagdish Raj or Iftikar?

Hey Rum, need to play a policeman in the Masala Pradesh Movie?
Rum: Sure Iftikar-been-in-any-movie-ever-made!

The inspector's son is a friend of Janice's who hates Dev for following her around all the time! This movie sometimes becomes over-clogged with the Masala instead of the Hippyness! Back to Janice who is smoking dope and having fun, Dev visits her a dew times but she refuses to recognize him.
In a moment of pure preachyness, when the brilliant RD Burman track "Dum Maro Dum" finishes, Dev appears from nowhere to sing "Ram Ka Badnam Na Karo" (Don't Give Ram a Bad Name") the gist of the song goes "Look all you crazy kids, don't do this dope, don't use Ram's name to fuel your bad ways, get to know Krishna before singing an empty HRHK, read the Gita, understand the religion" Lol that was basically word for word paraphrasing of what the song meant! VAH VAH VAH!
Why can't I be a funky hippy, brother?
Dev visits her for the millionth time in a stalkerish way and the famous image of Zeenat passing the pipe to him with him in the silly straw hat!
Amazingly beautiful iconic shot!
We hippies just wanna dance!

During this meeting, the great song "I Love You" sung by Asha and Usha Iyer plays while the hippies have their fun and dance in their mirth, while cutting away to Dev's dismayed face! Grow up will you, have fun! But Dev puts a dampener on the mood by adding some unnecessary masala elements concerning his "False Accusations" stroryline!
With a lot of convolution, Maa and Dad come back to see Jasmeet and I'll just say its a good reasonable ending but it does throw you off a bit~
What I liked about this movie as I did when i was 16 and now 18, was the funkability of the movie, it reminded me of "No Smoking" as it made the hippie lifestyle seem soo appealing and so cool! Though the overall message that "Hippies are kids that have lost their way" seems to be true enough as Jasmeet seems to go towards because of her family problems and missing her brother. But the way Dev presents his message is very un-subtle to start a movie off with a massive speech about how the Western world has misused HRHK motto, and mixed it up with drugs was silly, we coulda figured it out that you don't like hippies stealing your culture Dev! His direction seems very misguided, one minute it's about Janice and her hippy lifestyle which had meat to it, then to quickly add a huge chunk of masala to his story. Though I definitely respect Dev for trying something new, introducing a sexy unconventional Zeenat who redefined what a Bollywood heroine was, it all comes down to his muddled message
Does he point out the failure of the hippies to understand Indian culture or does he make a statement that all hippies are bad and are raping out pure culture! He knows his material but the message is all over the place! Maybe the fact that he released it at the height of the hippy invasion of India makes it so haphazard?
I would definitely recommend HRHK, because it makes your eyes pop at the funkyness while also making you think(or maybe i went too deep?!) about his message on hippie culture affecting India and the youth!


Banno said...

Zeenat looks really, really glamorous in this, but also somehow, very sad. It's completely her movie, she overshadows Dev and Mumtaz, because she's so fresh, and her character so vulnerable. For all its idiotic cliches about good woman/bad woman, etc, the milieu, Nepal, the house in which the hippies live, all of that somehow takes the film to another level, and makes you go along with it. And of course, the great songs, still such big hits.

Shweta Mehrotra Gahlawat said...

Its crazy that I remember Mumtaz' green pant suit the most from this movie- she was so cute! and Sudhir and Zeenat grooving. I like Dev in his 50s-60s roles, but by this movie he had turned into his "dirty old man" avtar, and way too narcissistic to adore- ah well.

Keith said...

I've been wanting to write about this one, but I always get sidetracked by movies featuring people in rubber masks trying to scare each other. But "Dev Anand Versus the Hippies" has always been an idea that fascinates me and deserves to be evaluated alongside all those old American "Hippies and Bikers are destroying America" exploitation movies.

Dev's right, though -- hippies destroy everything they touch, and leave nothing but a scorched earth and whiff of patchouli behind them wherever they go.

The word verification I had to type in for this comment: hotheave. I think there is a lot of that going on in this movie.

Nida said...

I've got to see this!

Just saw Dev Anand in "Jewel Theif"...it was the first Dev movie I'd seen. And gosh, something about him irked me, too. I can't put my finger on it.

Rum said...

Banno - nice to have you visit the masala pradesh! zeenat was gorgeous here, and i bought the vinyl on ebay and her clothes that she wore! it was funky but had a muddled message!

shweta - lol that's one of those iconic images now, along with zeenat and dev in straw hat. dev was waaay too dirty especially after reading his sex-filled autobiography.

keith - dev vs the hippies, should have been explored a lot more. you should definitely review this at teleport city!

nida - jewel thief was waaaay better than this rubbish, and Dev irks me because i read his awful ribald autobiography and couldn't take him seriously after!

Filmi Girl said...

I think my favorite "Hippie" movie is Purab aur Pachhim, where Manoj Kumar is surprisingly kind towards the Hippie subculture.

I've been too scared to see this Dev movie! I think I made the right choice!

Rum said...

Filmi girl - Bharat was very sympathetic to Hippies, he didn't do a psycho-analyze them and root their problems to their family problems! Dev was to prissy to understand that it was the 70's and hippies were in!

Todd said...

The best way to advance any position is to have creepy, 70s era Dev Anand take the opposite side. Pass the doobie!