Classic theme, souped-up package. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder; what is seen is changed by the feelings of the viewer. You may look, but do you see? Do I love you because you're beautiful, or are you beautiful because I love you? Etc. Like with yesterday's Chak De India, there's nothing particularly novel about what's going on here, but the movie certainly presents its ideas in engaging (and sometimes really weird) ways. Like Kaddele, I'm not quite sure what to say about this movie. It's both very familiar and completely strange. The visuals are strong, often really helpful to the story or message and always interesting.
If you don't know the movie, there are probably two things that you've heard about it. One, Zeenat Aman wears little clothing, and what she does wear is either almost transparent or very tight. Totally true. I'm not quite sure what to make of this - on the one hand, sexing up the already uber-babe Zeenat seems redundant and cheap when the message is "beauty is internal," but on the other, not looking like the rest of the village girls suits her because she's always been overlooked and mistreated, perhaps left to wear extra-thin fabrics or to play in the fields dressed however she likes.
Two, there is a totally trippy picturization. Also true. If you want to see a slide show from said song, "Chanchal Sheetal Nirmal Komal," skip to the bottom of the page.
[spoilers ahead - but you can still watch the slide show of the fun song by going all the way to the bottom]
Utter arse and very often wet Ranjeev (Shashi Kapoor) has some kind of pathological fear of ugliness.
Rupa (Zeenat) is an unlucky (so everyone tells her) village girl with a sweet voice and quick wit but a burned face.
They fall for each other fast, him without seeing her scar, and get married despite her protestations that he hasn't seen her entirely yet. When the veil comes off, Ranjeev has a freakout unlike anything I've seen,
locking his wife up at home and mentally dissociating her from his darling - and completely imaginary - perfect Rupa. While Ranjeev veers further and further away from reality, even with the advice and pleas of his wife and friends, Rupa sneaks out of the house and continues to meet with him for waterfall frolicking - he thinks she's the original Rupa, the girl he thought she was before he saw her entire face, and she plays along while figuring out how to put her life back together. In between the romps and snogs
more tragedies occur. Rupa bides her time and chooses her words carefully, and with some good timing/intervention by god/nature, everything comes out in the wash. I don't want to give anything more away, so let's just say that there's plenty of opportunity to yell "You go girl!" in the last twenty minutes of the movie (yay Zeenat!).
The major weakness of the movie is that we never get any explanation for what exactly his problem is - there's no mention of childhood trauma involving seeing a rotting corpse or anything like that. Yet when he looks at Rupa's burn scars, he sees this.
He does tell us that he lives alone and as such he is free to exist in a dream world that is much more pleasant than the real world. You know, 'cause all of us single folks are off our rockers with a tenuous concept of reality. Anyhoo. Despite being an engineer, it seems he has very little grasp of emotional and interpersonal structures. (Oh wait, that's the stereotype, isn't it?) We're left to just think he's the Jerky J. Jerkamo of the century. He tells Rupa of his sad plight, at which point Filmi Geek, my watching companion, commented " His plight is he's stupid."His change of heart at the end of the film isn't really explained either, but that's okay, because 1) I was expecting it and 2) it signified a return to the good and just order of things. And I will say this: when he finally redeems himself, it sounds wholehearted and pure, with clean, simple words (yay writers!) and clean, simple delivery (yay Shashi!).
Okay, now for the good stuff. I can't describe it. Just watch. You might want a drink first.