Suhana Safar is another Hindi version of It Happened One Night. The more, the merrier, say I. Screwball comedies are soooo satisfying when they're done well, and if you want to swap out Clark Gable and give me Shashi Kapoor and add in Sharmila Tagore in some fab 60s fashions, then I will not complain, not one little bit. The opening scene is Om Prakash orchestrating a marching band at an airport where daughter Sapna (Sharmila)'s flight arrives in flames as she clutches her favorite book of poetry,
and then the titles are set to flamenco.
Off to a good start, no?
Oh yeah, and this guy is in it too.
Would it kill you to keep your eyes on the road for once, Shashi? Geeze. In our numerous Shashi watch-alongs, Antarra's Ramblings has pointed out to me that the man is an accident waiting to happen. This movie's title song is a pariticularly good example.*
After her dad tries to commit her to a hospital because she's in love with a poet she's never met,
Sapna takes to the road, where she meets crabby/cute with Sunil,
and the two are thrown together on a road trip for the rest of the film. There are a few bad guys tossed in, I think just so the film can claim to have a few action sequences,
Speaking of: who wins your vote for dishoomiest Kapoor?
but most of the time it's cutey-patootey squabble-love. My T Series DVD doesn't have subtitles, so I can't tell you how witty the dialogue is, but there are few people I'd rather watch deliver screwball romance than Sharmila and Shashi, and I'm just going to assume it was sharp and charming.
As just over two hours long, the movie squeezes in five Lakmikant-Pyarelal songs that mostly stay on point.
Except for "Tim Tim Chamke Re Tara," which consists of "locals" celebrating a wedding and inspires love-sick Sunil to look on wisfully. Shashi does a lot of looking wistful in this movie.
Sunil wanders lonely as a cloud in his unrequited love in "Saari Khushiyaan Hain" while Sapna sleeps blissfully.
Hey Sunil, when a girl has this expression on her face while she's looking at people dancing, you are supposed to ask her to dance. Stop being such a mopey wall-wallah!
But instead of the characters actually giving in to their unbeknownst-to-each-other affections, in "Chudiyaan Bazar Se" Sapna and Sunil imagine themselves with a different set of villagers celebrating Holi.
I'm still working on my explanation of the sublime, but this last picture might do it.
And we viewers know we're invited too because some guy comes up and sprays us with purple paint!
Shashi actually has two solo songs (and Sharmila none!), and in "Hai Re Paisa Paisa" he again exhibits Shammi-ish style, wildly flinging his arms around, running, and leaping. He was moving around so fast I couldn't even get any good screen captures! I'd tell you you had to see it to believe it, but I can't find the video anywhere. Anyway, I'm adding it to my list of evidence that Shashi can, in fact, dance and move in organized, expressive, effective ways. (The list is called "Dekho, Dance Doubters!" And yes, there should be a post on this point someday.)
Even with this short run time, there is plenty of time for comedy, love, fisticuffs, drama, and resolution - and style to die for.
Please note how his hair moves in the wind as they drive but hers is totally inert. I don't know how Sapna found time do to these 'dos while on the run, but thank heavens she did.
The performances were adorable, full of smiles and flirting and I-don't-actually-hate-you spats. Sharmila makes a great dreamer, so lost in her vision of her beloved poet that she is oblivious to what else is going on. Shashi is cute as her co-conspirator and silence-suffering torch-carrier. He also hams it up as protector (see dishooms above) and fake-pretend villain.
Young Mac Mohan!
Observing the country folk in their quaint rituals and daily tasks from a safe, lofty distance!
A house that looks like an inside-out wedding cake!
Lots of fun extras!
Adorable Shashiliciousness and lots of it!
All in all, a lively, fun little film. Highly recommended.**
* Did any of the other North Americans have to watch "The Smith System of Driving" movies in driver's ed in high school? I want to film "The Kapoor System of Driving," which is far simpler and just involves gesturing with one hand, sometimes two, wheel be damned, and singing while looking at scenery and not at the road. And when Shammi substitute-teaches, you also get to do gymnastics in the car while it's moving.
** It should be noted that the other person I know who has seen this and speaks Hindi didn't seem to like it as much as I did. Though I totally agree with her that Sharmila and Shashi have excellent sparkle.