stalking, shooting, style, sheer shirts, and silliness: Ek Shriman Ek Shrimati

"'No' means 'no,'" unless, of course, you're watching one of these unfortunate movies in which "'No' means 'please chase after me day after day and grope me in the woods even after I tell you repeatedly to stop and that I have a boyfriend.'"

Pritam (Shashi) is as cute a 60s hero as you could dream up, but he really, really needs to stop stalking Dipali (Babita).

It doesn't help that her uncle (Om Prakash) is taken by Pritam and aids in the Pritam's shenanigans to win Dipali over. One such scheme involves pretending to have had a heart attack so that Dipali will run back home and ditch her boyfriend Ajit (Prem Chopra), who is secretly a total creep (of course he is - he's Prem Chopra) with a wife, Sherry (Helen). And just when that hurdle is cleared, another one - and a quite surprising one, I'll give the movie that! - pops up and provides opportunity for dramatic (rather than wacky) misunderstandings, Maa-drama ("draMaa"?), apparent friend-betraying, and some dishoom at the end. Except for this second major hurdle to the principal romance, the plot is average; the cute parts are cute, but the non-cute parts are unremarkable. The movie also seems to forget various of its threads here and there; Dipali first comes on screen at a Lakmé Cosmetics beauty pageant, but no subsequent mention of this pursuit is made, enforcing the impression that this aspect of her character was included only for corporate sponsorship; three characters disappear completely towards the end with no explanation or wind-up, including Helen, which is especially disappointing since it's always so nice to see Helen with an actual speaking part; and one character from the beginning reappears after such a lull that I couldn't even remember if he'd already been introduced. In other words, I don't think this movie was made with the greatest possible care.

If the NRA had an official Hindi film, this would probably be it.*
Look at all the guns!** Freak!

But whoa nelly, the late 60s-ness of this is wonderful!
Babita's outfits (and wigs) alone would have sold me on this film, even if I didn't know Shashi or Laxmi Chayya were in it

Om just needs a feather in his Bavarian-ish get-up; poor Laxmi is in a totally superfluous "tribal" side plot.
or that it had fun Shashi-shimmying Kalyanji-Anandji songs.

Shashi has some good outfits too.

Mint scooter and white shoes! Va va voom!

For reasons that I cannot discern - symbolic? aesthetic? - the wardrobe department of this film seemed obsessed with sheer sleeves and shirts. I find the development of sheer shirts pretty interesting; though I associate them mostly with SRK and Hrithik, clearly they have a long and glorious past, including Shashi in Fakira (though not here - he mainly has snazzy jackets, if perhaps a bit reminiscent of upholstery). This movie provided the earliest examples I've seen yet.

Viewing partner Antarra's Ramblings poitned out that Helen's item outfit actually balanced out its one sheer black sleeve with one similarly colored leg in her nylons!

And there were some assorted silly bits that don't matter much but are fun.
There's a funny exchange in which Dipali demands Pritam bring her snacks, and Babita did some good hamming while she chewed. I like when heroines aren't afraid to stop looking glamorous.

I forget whose house this is, but this wallpaper was stomach-turning unless the camera held perfectly still.

Om Prakash's bedroom had black and white patterned wallpaper and bedding with the same pattern but in cream. It's no Shankar Dada, but combined with the clothes, it can make for some confusion in finding a safe place to look.

I don't know why I found this so funny, but in her song ("Hello Hello"), Helen goes from table to table of the cabaret singing to various people. At one point the camera goes past this toothpaste-commercial-looking Euro couple

and Helen waggles her finger at them through the window as she dances by.

It's a very short sequence but it made me giggle. A lot. (You can see it at 1:15 in the link above.)

Ajit plots throughout this whole movie - toooootally evil - and this one face really summed up his character.

For all you emo sadists, nahiiiiin wounded Shashi!

He gets to do some fine emoting in this movie, and by "fine" I mean "of epic meltdown proporitons" and many, many facial expressions.

And for everyone who preferes their Shashi bouncy and gleeful and a little bit mod (like I do), "Pyaar Tho Ek Din Hona Tha" is a thing of wonder.

Hot pink glitter eyeshadow!

Verdict: cute moments; great accessories; fun music; forgettable side plots; surprising number of firearms; way too much "stalking=love."
If you need a dose of 60s Shashi in a role that seems like Shammi might have done it just as well (stalking, jiving dance moves), this is a solid choice.

* Or maybe that great qawwali from Parvarish.
** But these cute elephants make it out without a scratch!


Rum said…
I kinda love the Shashi stalking style, its not creepy like a Manoj Kumar but it sure is cute like a Shammi stalk! And i think this must be worth the watch with Babita's fabulous outfits n the baby elephant.
bollyviewer said…
Totally agreed about stalking. Its soooo wrong, even when its Shashi doing it (and looking sooo cute), even when he is doing it only to save her from creepy boyfriend number one!

PS: You are one efficient multitasker! You watched the movie with subtitles, screen capped it, AND chatted - all in one go!
gebruss said…
I second the talented multi-tasker bit. I am somehow not so bothered by the stalkerish behaviour, it it is a) as cute as here and b) everybody else behaved pretty randomly as well (as here).

It's not a particularily substantial movie, but I find it entertaining to watch and it doesn't drag.
memsaab said…
Very silly film with lots of fun stuff, although I was mildly nauseated that Helen was prepared to forgive Prem Chopra even after he pushed her off a cliff (in a game of shag/marry/POAC, I would never be able to imagine that Helen would be selected for POAC by anyone, anywhere!

:-) And Babita (for all her faults) is one stylish woman. She always ups the glam quotient!

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