Kab? Kyoon? Aur Kahan?

I bought this 1970s Dharmendra-as-CID film based solely on the title, and I was delighted with the outcome. While it is true that that title is not as applicable to the actual content of the story as it could be—a better title would be something like "Will Dharmendra Ever Figure Out Why Babita Is So Crazy?"—

it evokes the mystery and "what exactly is going on here?" sense that plays out among Asha (Babita), Anand (Dharmendra), her uncle Daljit (Pran), her friend Lata (Ashoo?), and Daljit's associates (chiefly Helen). I'd like to say that this film is a really successful thriller, and for me it was, but you all know that I am so easily confused and fooled that I am a poor judge of that trait. I found it perfectly suspenseful and intriguing...and again, given the source, that might not be saying very much. I was also completely enthralled by the fashions, sets, and other bits and bobs that pepper the movie throughout. Their combined effect will almost certainly make Kab? Kyoon? Aur Kahan? an extremely enjoyable ride even if you guess exactly how it ends. So as not to spoil the plot, I propose to keep the text of this writeup very short indeed and just take you on a tour of some of the many, many stylish and fun details.

In addition to Anand solving the murder that occurs in the film's opening frames, the other principal plot is, of course, a romance between Asha and Anand that unspools after they meet cute on a passenger ship, a ship overbooked so significantly that they have to share her glamorous room under the watchful eye of her dog Tiger.

I include this photo just to show the funny typo—which should be a plain old "steward"—and to remark upon Babita's orange sari emblazoned with daisies that is eye-scarringly re-imagined a few decades in the future on her daughter Karisma in Jigar (pictures here).

Asha and Anand must have snitched these blankets as souvenirs of their trip because the same ones show up in their bedrooms at home later in the film.

Tiger is a truly noble anipal, protecting his mistress from stuffed toys.

One of the mysteries of this film is its magical power of appearance alteration. Seasoned viewers are used to this kind of science in songs, here demonstrated in the changing size of Babita's eyebrows in "Pyar Se Dil Bhar De"

and by Dharmendra's trousers in "Ho Gaye Tere Ho Gaye," in which he rolls in the sand yet is miraculously smudge-free seconds later.

However, this film is so full of intrigue that Babita's wigs even change size and shape within a regular scene, wholly unaided by music!

Speaking of, Babita has a real smorgasbord of fabulous looks including, but not limited to, a mod Emma Peel-ish ensemble with a large belt slung at the very widest part of her hips, many shades of baby pink lipstick, and spare hair bigger than her actual head.

And this pedal pusher-length swimsuit that must be seen full size.

It wouldn't be a police film without disguises.

...or not....

The Asha-Anand romance is instantaneous on his side; she needs a bit of persuading, which Anand manages by getting in a really fun bar brawl with Shetty that has spilled over from an arm-wrestling match that reads just as well as a face-straining match.

Smoking goris!

Pillow Talk-style split screen of lovey-dovey-ness!

Period periodicals (and poison)!

A most unlikely police file. Take a look at the text on this page of the investigation into Murad's death.

The text reads something like "sudden...legs upto knees...Silky appears barking and.... She stands up and follows the dog." There is no dog named Silky in this film and Tiger is not in the scene of Murad's death. So many mysteries!

Anand has a pink princess phone and a collection of stuffed mongooses.

Perhaps to go along with Asha's pink outfit and gooses geese?

Choreographer Oscar and others grooving in a nightclub as Pran descends into drink.

Want. White. Zip-up. Go-go boots.

Baaaad Pran!

Crazy guy who sneaks into Asha and Lata's car and raves on about wanting to go to Bombay (with echo effect applied!) and has nothing whatsoever to do with the plot!

And maybe should be Mehmood but isn't?


"Yeh Aakhen Jhuki-Jhuki Si" isn't the best possible use of Helen, but its lyrics are hilarious and its harmony of design in costumes and set...well, questionable, let's say.

And to close, a few more of the person at the center of my personal Deol Dhamaka.

It's a bizarre miracle that a mere undersized trilby and unfortunate facial expression can make him look like this

when we all know perfectly well that he looks like this.

< fans self >
Even before this fantastic month celebrating him and his family, Dharmendra was among the top of my list of people I wanted to learn more about, and a friend in India had sent me a big handful of random films, so expect to see more soon.

But not too soon, for the rest of April holds a top-sikrit project. Details early next week! Mwahahahaha!


Ava said…
I love Babita. She just wanted to do glamourous roles, no pretensions about wanting to be a Great Actress. Yay!
memsaab said…
I love the white background with orange and pink (so Indian!) text highlights :D Lovely.

This is a fun film and I am so happy you are going to focus on Dharamji for a while. Also, I believe that might even be Babita's own hairline and hair in some of your screenshots, which is a rare sighting indeed.
Avdi - That's a hoot! While I wish she would have aimed higher, this film at least indicates that she met her self-defined mark :)

memsaab - Thank you! I'm pretty happy with it, at least for now :) Yes yes, much Dharam to come, I'm sure. I agree re: Babita's hair - the shot of her at the steering wheel with the bob in particular seems very real to me, though maybe that's just the contrast to the gianormous version a few seconds later.
Banno said…
This is one of my favourite films. I really like Babita and her style, and I'm sure she designed her clothes, and then Karisma's. :) Very, very cute.

And Dharmendra, what's not to love?

Want to know the sikrit now.
Banno - I can see why! I could watch hours and hours more of this.

Sikrit to be announced soon, I promise.
movie was awesome..thanks for sharing.
Salim said…
Hi. Saw this film ages ago. Not much as a whodunit but fun past time. That police report text was hilarious! I did not notice that.

Those odd characters popping up in Hindi whodunits were standard (lame) attempts at red herrings and trying to evoke a (hopefully) eerie moody atmosphere.

Changing hairdos and eyebrows abound so much in old films we just gave up on them.
Salim - I'm embarrassed to admit I had to think for a good ten seconds at least to recall who had dunnit in this one even though I saw it barely a month ago! :) I am very easily fooled by stories in any form so I am probably the perfect audience for this one, especially given my love of the hairdos :)
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