Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Zimbo Comes to Town (India, 1960)

Okay, let's start off by getting this out of the way...






This moment of moral instruction brought to you by SHEMAROO!

Back in the days before movie sequels had catchy titles like Zimbo II: Moose on the Loose or whatever, they were instead just given titles that described what happened in them, like, for instance, Zimbo Comes to Town. There is indeed a town, and Zimbo does, in fact, come to it. But, ah, the convolutions that must first take place before said visitation can occur -- that, my friends, is where Zimbo Comes to Town's fascination truly lies. For this is less a simple follow-up to the earlier Zimbo than it is a retelling of that story with elements of King Kong unaccountably mashed into it for extra seasoning.

Somehow since we last saw him, Zimbo, the fair-of-face but thick-of-wit lord of the jungle, has been transformed into a fugly and savage beast-man. When he's encountered by a trapping expedition lead by lady lion tamer Sarang, the unscrupulous Sarang decides to capture him and make him an attraction in her circus. This is easier said than done, however, because Zimbo is a wild and untamed thing, and can only be soothed into submission by the song of the circus's star trapeze artist, Manasi (Chitra, returning from Zimbo, though as a different character, albeit one who is strikingly similar to her character in Zimbo).

Happily, the circus doctor has a medicine that can cure beast face. Once the treatment is completed successfully, Zimbo's old irresistible sexual magnetism kicks in, and the ladies are all like, "Thank you, doctor saab!" To tell the truth, though, Azad looks to have put on a good bit of flab since last playing Zimbo a couple years earlier, which makes me a little scared to watch the next Zimbo movie, which was shot a full six years after this one. In any case, handsome or not, if he's planning to rule the big top, Zimbo's gonna have his work cut out for him, because the circus's star attraction is none other than...

...Pedro! Pedro-watchers will be happy to know that Pedro, who is this time billed as "Pedro, the Ape Bomb", plays an even greater part in the action this time around than he did in Zimbo. In fact, this whole show pretty much belongs to Pedro, as he seems to get more screen time than Zimbo himself. This means that, over the course of Zimbo Comes to Town, we will see repeated demonstrations of how Pedro loves to do all of those things that we humans love to do...



Like wave guns around...



Sullenly down highballs...



Drive jeeps (preferably after downing those highballs)...



Subject others to second hand smoke....



Compose moving photo essays about the lives of inner-city schoolchildren...



Rock the maracas...



And lick microphones...



In addition to other, more traditional activities that I think we can safely call "monkeyshines".

Anyway, because Manasi is the only one who can control Zimbo, he is put in her care, and soon, thanks to her civilizing influence, has stopped eating her make-up and throwing his poop at people. (Okay, he never really did that last thing.) In no time, he has turned into a proper gentleman and has become Manasi's partner in her trapeze act. Love blossoms, much to the chagrin of Sarang, who, as any woman with a pulse obviously would, wants all of Zimbo's sweet Zimbo love for herself. Zimbo feels differently, of course, which prompts Sarang to go all homicidal and make with the kidnappings and the bull whipping and the crony-assisted beatings. Fortunately, there's a monkey on hand who's not only an accomplished stunt driver but also none-too-shy about putting a cap in people, so we know things are ultimately going to turn out in Zimbo and Manasi's favor.

God, the Zimbo movies are awesome. Even if Azad ends up looking like Nash Bridges-era Don Johnson in the next one, I'm going to check it out, because there's always enough else going on to make the experience well worthwhile. By which I mean...


Aw, yeah.

6 comments:

Michael Barnum said...

I wouldn't want to live in a world without a Pedro the Ape Bomb in it.

Todd, I am glad to see you have enjoyed the Zimbo movies as much as I have! They rock!

Rum said...

ZIMBOOOOO!! i thought he was a one-hit wonder! awww this looks great, and i think zimbo almost gave feroz a run for his money! they way he swills the drinks down and i think he coulda been in janbaaz then i woulda loved it! Anil, Feroz, and ZIMBO!!!

memsaabstory said...

Michael has told me about this one and it remains to be ordered....must.see.

I can see this year is going to fly by too.

Keith said...

Between his gun waving and his liquor drinking, I have to wonder when we're going to get our chimp in a Bollywood Chandler adaptation. Zimbo's Long Goodbye.

Make it happen, people, even if it requires a time machine.

houseinrlyeh said...

A film about a gun-wielding, alcoholic chimp - brought to us by the same people who decided that a comic with a gorilla on the cover will necessarily sell more copies.
Those were unsung giants, I tell you!

Beth said...

Bollywood: bringing the world both the H Bomb and the Ape Bomb!

If Pedro would pass me one of those highballs, I'd definitely give this a whirl.