If you want a thoroughly thought-out piece on Feroz Khan's indulgence-oozing-from-every-pore 1986 Janbaaz, I suggest you read Post-Punk Cinema Club's review that discusses it through a complex lens of modern Dionysian debauchery. Me, I hardly made it through the film. It's just so gross: blood, death, flame throwers, clunky innuendos,
threatened gang rape,
addiction, sense-scarring 80s club-rock numbers that fetishize both white and black people, complete sanctioning of "boys will be boys" to a murderous extent, and women who are killed off after having sex outside of marriage (men too, actually). Even the neglected good-brother police officer (Feroz Khan) seems to get a kick out of arresting his vile little brother (Anil Kapoor), maybe cloaking his vengeful thrill under the guise of "duty." Dimple Kapadia telling Anil he turns her into a woman and Rekha's Ferederick's of Hollywood number
(and it should be noted Feroz-bhai is nearly equal opportunity when it comes to display of flesh, so, um, thanks for that studded codpiece, FK) - complete with synthesizers, ululating, and a guy in a gorilla suit - are the least of my concerns.
"Ek To Kam Zindagani"
I'll put it this way: Janbaaz makes Yalgaar look good.
The red flags are many, so I'm going to pick one out as an example. After a literal roll in the hay (and an intercut scene of splashing drops of white liquid) (seriously), Dimple tells Anil she wants to get married. He hems and haws and then later flat-out refuses, denying any commitment. She starts off moping but quickly talks herself into a plan: "The same helpless Indian woman.... It's a woman's fate to put up with every atrocity of man. No...I'm going to change my destiny. I'm a woman of today! And I won't endure any atrocity of his! If Amar is toying with my heart, I can toy with his emotions. And better than him!" Modern Indian women don't simper - they manipulate other people in a game of jealousy! And when said game goes horribly wrong, thanks to Anil's violent temper and perma-drunking, both perpetrator and his corrupt father (Amrish Puri) blame her - because in addition to being female, she was an illegitimate child, dontcha know. "I knew her tainted blood would someday besmirch the fabric of our honor," wails the father who earlier patted his son on the back for playing Russian roulette, doing drugs, sleeping around, and getting arrested. And as big reconciliation looms, she herself even takes on the blame.
No, movie. No. The drunk spoiled boy who lives in a consequence-free world is responsible for his actions. She did stir up a situation (and entangle an innocent and sympathetic Dalip Tahil in the process), but its escalation is entirely his fault. Ugh. Like the world needs more of this.
Lurching among the disheartening lack of good ideas, consequence, and forethought are some distractingly sloppy bits. Generally speaking, this is the kind of film in which I welcome a break from the violence and assault on my sensitivities, but these were just bad. Witness: comic reliefs Jagdeep and Dinesh Hingoo, hilariousawful 80s fashions,
Arti Gupta, last seen on BLB in Purana Mandir!
the aforementioned gorilla suit, a horse made to drink tons of beer and wear a hat,
Please also note Anil's puff-shouldered jean jacket.
suuuuuubtle cheating at poker,
and a corpse who is killed when a rake impales his back parallel to his spine but curiously ends up with the rake perpendicular to his spine a scene later.
Not only can the rake kill, it can move! Look out!
It's such a mess. A violent, distasteful, punishing (to the viewer) mess. Avoid, yaar.
Sorry, FK. I'm beginning to think I should stay away from your films made after Qurbani, and sadly that only leaves me with Dharmatma left to see.
Aside 1: it's the neon orange square/mirrored disco background seen in Sawaal and Kalyug!
Aside 2: in this film, but not others, Puneet Issar reminded me so much of Greg "Mr. Willoughby" Wise!