As promised: per Todd's suggestion in lunchtime poll #7's responses, it's high time we discussed in finer detail one of the key ingredients in any good masala...the villain lair! Or gangster hideout. Or criminal-infested dive bar.
Somehow I am missing suitable pictures of such notable dens of iniquity as the dungeon in Ajooba (though I do have one of the tiger attacking Amitabh there)
the underwater spinning control room from Shaan, Sam's debauched bed-on-a-platform from Disco Dancer*, and Raghavan's dank, dark, drippy basement in Main Hoon Na.
In no particular order, here are some of my favorites.
In Sharmilee, the villains' hideout has a nightclub attached, and in said nightclub, the performers enact the temptations of evil (note the giant prop booze bottle)!
It's a musical meta lair!
Original Don's vault is pleasingly 70s-looking and amuses me with its frilly pink lampshades,
and new Don's vault is a real doozy.
As a side point, it might be argued that neither a little red book nor a teeny-tiny disk are particularly effective as key artifacts of wrongdoing - they're not menacing in form or size or basic concept - but it doesn't really matter. There's too much other set ishtyle in both of these movies to fret over something like that. Besides, if the book weren't so small, they couldn't chuck it around so easily in the graveyard scene at the end, and we wouldn't want to lose out on that.
Roti Kapada aur Makhan has reflective zigzag wallpaper (or strings of beads over mirrors - either way, awesome).
Aruna Irani dares you to keep your ethics straight when confronted with such blinding distractions!
Fakira's lair is drive-in,
enables its occupants to look like Charlie's Angels (or is it the other way around? which came first?),
and, if I remember correctly, has clap-on clap-off lights used to great effect in fights and lovey-doving. Apparently it also contains a wardrobe full of super fly 70s shirts for Shashi, including the non-shirt, a.k.a. "sheer," variety.
Such quality provisions must not go unnoticed.
Mogambo has a lot to be khush about in Mr. India.
It coordinates to his outfit, continuing the fake military theme and winged skull motifs. Does it remind anyone else of Medieval Times (in a good way, of course)?
Ranjeet's hangout in Chor Sipahee has two stellar technological marvels: first, the plastic tube people mover,
which I've never seen anywhere else and am really pleased to know somebody bothered to make, because I've been curious about the efficacy of said idea ever since I was four years old and went with my parents to the drive-up window at the bank, and two, a giant slide.
I've heard there are other films with giant slides; I'm particularly fond of this one's tight spiral and how it appears to empty out to the back of the room, if this camera angle is to be trusted, making it pretty useless for grand entrances. So it's just...practical, then? Hmmm. Surely not. Pragmatism is only one of the guiding design principles for villain lairs. The Sheikh's den is also guarded by guys in funny outfits complete with coordinating hats. Henchmen are good; comically matching henchmen are better.
Once again, Parvarish winds up in my top spot. I really don't know what else you could want in a villain lair. As this aerial shot demonstrates, it is spacious, avoids nasty feng shui pitfalls of troublesome corners, offers ample plant life for fresh oxygen - and everybody's going green these days; why bother taking over the world if there's no planet left to enjoy? - and has coordinating seating whose forms echo the curves of the walls.
The quicksand pit features retractable platforms on one diameter and those handy moving spiked walls on the perpendicular. The perimeter of the pit is protected by a subtly shaded handrail - safety first! Parking and access by car are no problem, and there are sleeping quarters in calming baby blue en suite to the main room described above.
While the different functional areas are demarcated with color, furnishings, etc., the whole space is unified by stalagtites.
As you do. (Also note the weapon storage built right in to the structure, to the left of Vinod in the photo above.) The lair also comes complete with 'round-the-clock entertainment in the shapely forms of silhouetted dancing girls who neither require music to perform nor distract you from work by singing or speaking.
Parvarish's hangout also offers easy access to the street-level legitimate front for the smuggling operation, a school for the blind. Let no one cast aspersions on that! Additional features include the affiliated location in the submarine and the services of Tom Alter.
What are your favorites?
* I loaned my museum's director my copy of Disco Dancer over a year ago (in exchange for his copy of Teenagers from Outer Space, which is from 1959 and every bit as bad as you'd guess) and he has not finished watching it yet. What recourse do I have?