Monday, July 14, 2008

Kasam Paida Karne Wale Ki (India, 1984)

I don't have kids, but if I did -- and I was completely out of my fucking mind -- I might rely on a film like Kasam Paida Karne Wale Ki for tips on how to raise them. For starters, there's Amrish Puri as the uncle who -- in an attempt to gain the inheritance due his nephew -- raises the lad to be a gibbering idiot by making him repeat the phrase "I am mad" hundreds of times every day. Then there is the maid who serves as the closest thing to a mother figure in that lad's life, who tells the naive boy (at this point played by Mithun Chakraborty) that, on his wedding night, when his bride says no, she really means yes. Finally there is that unfortunate bride (Smita Patil), who -- once her husband has been murdered outright by the treacherous uncle -- vows to pump her unborn son full of hatred so that he will become a remorseless engine of vengeance, and who, once that son is grown (and played, again, by Mithun Chakraborty) provides a model of love at its most utterly conditional by telling him that the day he loses a fight will be the day she turns her back on him. Furthermore, when, at the film's climax, Mithun's wild-eyed mother orders him to kill the target of her vengeance -- who at this point is lying prone at his feet -- it doesn't provide an opportunity for any kind of moral quandary on the part of Mithun's character -- or even an epiphany about what a manipulative psycho his mom is -- but rather, once the deed is done, just a neat and tidy path to what the film presents as a happy and just resolution for all surviving. Not that this is a surprise, given that the film's dedication salutes those mothers everywhere who want to raise strong sons (presumably in the patented, mouth foaming, thousand-mile-staring Kasam Paida Karne Wale Ki way).

Given his upbringing, it's not surprising that little Mithun II grows up to be good at little other than pummeling people with his fists. But what struck me is how, when it comes time to earn his keep -- and despite him not having any apparent musical ability -- he easily gets a job as a drummer in a disco band. I want to mock this particular development, but, hey, I've been in my share of bands, and it's totally true: Even the most mallet-fisted thug, no matter how un-musical, is only a pair of drumsticks away from filling that position. It's a drummer joke!

As those in the know have probably already guessed, Kasam Paida Karne Wale Ki is yet another collaboration between actor Chakraborty, producer/director Babbar Subhash, and composer Bappi Lahiri, with all of the ugliness and stupidity that that implies. If you need further proof, check out this clip:





Oh no! Looks like somewun's gunna git blowed up!

14 comments:

houseinrlyeh said...

I really should start to get into Mithun's movies I think. This looks like as good a place to start as any. I don't think I am ready for "Disco Dancer" already.

Todd said...

There's really no way to ease yourself into Mithun's films -- though, if you think having some cheesy ninjas on hand might cushion the blow, Commando might also be a good starting point. And it has a flying car in it.

houseinrlyeh said...

A flying car? Now that does sound promising.

Todd said...

Oh yeah. That said, I really admire Disco Dancer for its simplicity. It's relatively short for a Bollywood film, and the machinations of its plot are fairly straight forward. Plus, it's called Disco Dancer, it's about a guy who's a disco dancer, and that guy has a theme song that involves him singing the line "I am a disco dancer" like five hundred times. So it really delivers on its promise.

houseinrlyeh said...

You (and the ebay availability) have convinced me - "Disco Dancer" it is. It even has German subtitles, so I can share the experience with non-English reading friends.

Beth said...

I didn't really enjoy Commando much, partly because I didn't realize who Shashi Kapoor was at the time. Disco Dancer is WAY more fun, in my book.

Okay, so, I started the clip. I cannot believe it. (I say that a lot around here, don't I?) You do NOT punch Amrish Puri IN THE FACE. But then there was the music, and the woman putting her hand a little too near Mithun's crotch for my delicate sensibilities, and then I saw the guy who plays Sam from Disco Dancer, the most wonderfully debauched dancing bad guy ever, in the background, and now I just don't know what to do.

Todd said...

I think it's impossible for anyone with even the smallest shred of humanity left in them to watch Kasam Paida Karne Wale Ki without feeling that they must do something. But then, of course, one realizes that it's simply too late.

Beth said...

Look. We've agreed you're my safety buddy. You need to come up with a plan.

Todd said...

Well, as guardian of your delicate sensibilities, I would have to advise you to steer clear. It's pretty stank. Especially if you were unable to find any joy in Commando.

On the other hand, I would strongly urge you to go to YouTube and seek out the two Michael Jackson-themed musical numbers from the movie, especially the "Thriller" one that's complete with dancing zombies.

Beth said...

That's the kind of advice you can take to the bank. I'm on it.

For the record, I feel really bad about not liking Commando more - I think I took a tumble in Keith's estimation, too.

Todd said...

You shouldn't feel bad, Beth. You have to understand that Keith and I have watched so many movies of Commando's caliber that, as a result, a piece of our soul has died. That part of the human spirit that reaches out toward truth and beauty in us has been replaced by a base impulse that would probably leave us content to look at a flip-book of Amrish Puri being punched in the face by a novelty boxing glove on a spring for the rest of our sad and perverse little lives.

Now, if you felt a little guilty about having survived such a fate, that might be appropriate.

Beth said...

I want to make that flip-book. I think I'd find lots of takers. You know, while I count down the minutes until Ajooba arrives.

memsaabstory said...

Oh my. You are a brave, brave man. Or a stupid, stupid one! :-) I will watch just about anything but for some reason (DD aside) I can't bring myself to insert a DVD starring Mithun.

Todd said...

"You are a brave, brave man. Or a stupid, stupid one!"

Ha. I'd say it's a little from column A... and more than a little from column B.

"I can't bring myself to insert a DVD starring Mithun."

Something your DVD player is no doubt thankful for. Ever since I watched Kasam Paida Karne Wale Ki, mine has been visibly cringing whenever I walk within arms length of it. (Yes, pieces of home electronics do so cringe.)