Monday, January 12, 2009

Kaun Sachha Kaun Jhoota (India, 1972)

Kaun Sachha Kaun Jhoota was my first Telegu action film, and I stumbled into it quite by accident. What attracted me to it initially was the fact that it gave top billing to both Helen and Laxmi Chayya, although neither turned out to have much screen time. (To be honest, I couldn't even place Laxmi Chayya among the cast, and Helen only popped up for one item number during the final hour.) I was not disappointed by this, however, because what Kaun Sachha Kaun Jhoota is really all about is being a showcase for Telegu action heroine Vijaya Lalitha.

The best way I can think of to describe Vijaya Lalitha is as a cross between the aforementioned Ms. Chayya and Dara Singh. In one scene she goes from go-go dancing with hip-swinging abandon to one of the film's twangy guitar and Farfisa organ-drenched musical numbers to being in a wild bar fight in which she's doing all kinds of acrobatic wrestling moves and crazy backflips. The many, many fights in this movie are totally insane -- more the kind of thing I would expect from the Turkish cinema of this period -- and Vijaya both doles out and receives more punishment than you would ever see a traditional Bollywood heroine do -- and all without mussing her helmet of flaming red hair or any of her many brightly colored Annie Oakley jumpsuits.

The plot of the movie is fairly easy to follow, despite the lack of subtitles; basically a revenged-themed Western with Vijaya gunning for the gang of cattle rustlers who killed her dad and raped her sister. On the other hand, the fact that virtually all of the male actors in the movie sport greasy pompadours and mustaches did make sorting their characters out a bit confusing. The style of acting is OTT to the point of making Saira Banu look like a master of nuance by comparison, and, just in case all the agonized mugging doesn't get the point across, the filmmakers use gimmicks like shining a red spot on Vijaya's face to tell you when she's really, really angry. This is a straight up comic strip movie, pure and simple, as colorful and two dimensional as anything you'd find on the inside of a Bazooka Joe wrapper -- which, if you know me, is a compliment. To top it off, Satyam's song score, which is marked by a couple of super catchy, garage combo style tunes, is a real kicker.

Kaun Sachha Kaun Jhoota is one of those films where just writing about it makes me want to run back and watch it again. It's a crazy good time, and you can bet I'll be seeking out more of Ms. Lalitha's efforts from this point on. She totally kills.

13 comments:

duriandave said...

Awesome! I'm dying to know more about Miss Vijaya Lalitha, especially after finding this cool YouTube clip.

Todd said...

Thanks for that, Dave! Awesome clip. I just found that Vijaya Lalitha is the star of a film that's been on the top of my want list for a while now, Rani Mera Naam, another revenge film from 1972. (Um, if anyone has that one, call me, 'kay?)

I was just reading about the strong influence that Hong Kong films had on Telegu action cinema. After watching that clip, I'm like, "Yeah, ya think?"

houseinrlyeh said...

Holy crap! That sounds and looks more than awesome. I'm lacking the appropriate superlative here.

memsaabstory said...

Saira Banu a master of nuance! Say it ain't so, Todd!!!!!

Rum said...

memsaab, saira rocks!and this looks brilliant, i love regional cinema of india, and the heroine looks kick-ass but very butch though! i think i can live with a butch heroine kicking some moustachioed men's butts!

indiequill said...

Oh wow, I was going to recommend Vijaya Shanti aka the Vijaya Lalitha of the 80s if you liked this - The Lady Superstar y'all, coz she does "tough lady roles" - and I discovered that she's actually Vijay Lalitha's niece! That's right, it's generational!

Todd said...

It appears that the internet offers more information in English about the niece than about Vijaya Lalitha herself. Amrita, have you seen any of Vijaya Shanti's movies -- and, if so, are there any particular ones you would recommend?

Beth said...

Amrita, I must know more about these, and I anoint you my trusty guide!

Youtube link hopping is proving fruitful this morning. Look what I got off of Dave's (which, by the way, reminded me of a 60s PE instructional video, I think due to the crisp shorts and skimpy white Keds)! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7e_YVVl4kk0, which then led me to this http://ironladies6.blogspot.com/.

Todd said...

Ha ha ha!

"That's right mama, bring it right over here."

"Say, I wonder what she's going to do with that sock full of coins."

"Well, she's certainly not going to hit us with it. After all, she's just a gir -- Hey! Ow! Ow! Ow!'

houseinrlyeh said...

WANT!

Todd said...

House, are you saying that you want to see that movie, or that you want to be clobbered on the head with a sock full of quarters by a woman in skimpy shorts? Because, if it's the latter, it seems like you're far from alone in that predilection (see Beth's second link).

houseinrlyeh said...

I'm not sure there's an actual difference between the two things.

Buy Viagra said...

Actually this movie sucks it's terrible, they should use other actors because this ones ruin the movie in all ways possible...