Saturday, February 14, 2009

Masala death trap! Main Balwaan

A few days back, during a discussion with Beth and Memsaab (and House, I think you were there, too -- or was it all just a wonderful dream?) of a mysterious film that turned out to be Azaad, I mentioned my hazy, booze-addled memories of seeing a film starring Dharmendra and Mithun that featured an elaborate, Mouse Trap game-style death trap. It turns out that film was 1986's Main Balwaan. And so, ladies and gentlemen, I give you the first installment of Masala Death Trap!

This installment's death trap is demonstrated to fine effect during Main Balwaan's opening credit sequence, during which a hapless trio of policemen are caught trying to infiltrate the hideout of bad guys Dhapat and Jacky Jackal.

First, the stairway gives out underneath our victims' feet, depositing them in the proper starting position.

At which point a giant spiked ball rolls down a ramp toward them, squishing all who are unfortunate enough not to be able to scurry out of the way.

Just to be thorough, the ball then ascends to the top of an opposite ramp, ready to make a return trip in the event that any stragglers are left behind.

For those who were able to evade the ball, there are two giant gears that descend from the ceiling to squish them. Everyone must be squished!

After which they are deposited onto a bed of spikes.

As if this torture wasn't in itself sufficiently brutal, what we next see is this:


To tidy things up, we then have a bunch of wall-mounted, flame-throwing sculpted panther heads to reduce the victim's body to ash.

Now, for those lucky enough to escape all of the foregoing, what awaits them is a devilish hall of mirrors.

Which the villain has stocked with mannequin versions of himself...

...all equipped with knives sticking out of the back to stab any overly affectionate soul who might try to hug them.

Of course, at Main Balwaan's conclusion, the combined power of Mithun and Dharmendra is enough to punch the death trap into submission...

...though not before it has taken many innocent lives, not to mention caused us at home to laugh more than we thought we ever could at the spectacle of bodies being ground to a pulp by giant busy box gears.

And thus concludes this installment. Please note that Masala Death Trap! is not a copyrighted feature of 4DK, which means that any of you bloggers out there who want to contribute your own entries should feel free, and are encouraged, to do so. Just please don't forget to include the exclamation point. That shit is essential.


Anonymous said...

OMG!!!!! So fabulously evil! Who WERE the geniuses behind these villainous death traps? Who? Do you think it was mostly one or two guys at work, or does India have lots of evil geniuses? I wish I knew.

Now I must cogitate on which death trap I will pick.

houseinrlyeh aka Denis said...

Just fabulous!

I think I read somewhere there's something called the "Guild of Death Trap" builders, hiring their members out to Evil Genii in need of a good trap or two.

Todd said...

Though I love House's artisanal model, I'd also suggest that perhaps there was some kind of death trap arms race going on between Bollywood villains at the time -- sort of a "keeping up with the Joneses" effect -- with a great many of them competing to top one another, which would explain why, by 1986, things had gotten to such an insane level.

Beth Loves Bollywood said...

First, how could you resist hte joke MOUSEala Death Trap?

Second, LOVE!

Third, was dancing involved in beating the death trap into submission, or was it heavier on the Dharmendra-pummeling sort of technique?

(Can Dharmendra be said to dishoom, or is he too beefy?)

Fourth, I will take up the charge with detailed documentation of Azaad, partly becuase that was my favorite thing in the movie and partly because I don't have any other watched-but-not-written-up lairs in my backlog.

houseinrlyeh aka Denis said...

I can see the base for a wonderful film here, the tale of two families of death trap builders, trumping and hating each other in death trap designs for generations until two of their children fall in love.

Todd said...

Beth: Wait. Are there weight classes in dishoom? I thought that all one needed was a fist and an enthusiastic sound effects editor. Shows what I know. As for the variety on display here, it is indeed the usual Dharmendra-style meaty-fisted pummeling, combined with Mithun's typically chuckle-inducing kung faux moves, that brings the death trap to its knees.

House: I like where you're going with this. Sample dialog: "He calls that a death trap? I wouldn't put my worst enemy in that thing." Also, instead of poisoning themselves at the end, the two lovers can run on a giant, spike-covered hamster wheel or something.

Beth Loves Bollywood said...

I have no idea. As I was reading your post, it occurred to me that I associate dishoom so much with Amitabh that it also, for me, connotes some lankiness or otherwise "unlikely to be super strong" physicality. Which is why it seems right that Shashi and Shammi dishoom, as neither looks very strong. Or Mithun. But Dharmenda looks like he could actually fight somebody.

PS My verification word is "rembo." SO CLOSE.

But I'm not going to take that up as an actual point. It was just something rattling around in my head.

Though I do love idea of rounds of dishoom matches among opponents matched up by various classes - height, dancing skill, whatever.

Anonymous said...

LOL @ House's artisanal model. I love you guys.

TheDoug said...

Does this mean that we can look forward to witnessing a VEAL MASALA DEATHTRAP?