Saturday, January 23, 2010

Diya Aur Toofan (India, 1995)

Some of my Bollywood blogging friends often make reference to a phenomenon they call "the curse of the second half", by which they mean the tendency of many Indian films to expend a lot of razzle-dazzle on their first halves, only to fall flat and wheezing like a distance runner who has failed to pace himself during their final stretch. While this notion certainly applies to a good number of Indian films, what it fails to take into account are the near equal number of Bollywood movies that, while being somewhat run-of-the-mill or even outright dull during their first hour, end up being shit awesome for the remainder. (One shining example that immediately comes to mind is Kalabaaz.) In some ways this is an even more irksome phenomenon, because it has been the inspiration for me sticking with many, many films that turned out to be crappy throughout not only their beginning, but their middle and end, as well. In any case, what I'm getting at is that the subject of this review, the Mithun Chakraborty vehicle Diya Aur Toofan, is a pretty good example of one of those films that is the antithesis of the aforementioned curse. And now, lot's of pictures:

Handsome engineer Amar (Mithun!) shows up for his first day on the construction site sporting some neckwear that I'm fairly certain isn't up to snuff with safety standards.

Amar's predecessor was mysteriously killed as a result of being murdered by Amar's new bosses, a pair of crooked contractors played by Shakti Kapoor and Prem Chopra.

It seems that Shakti and Prem objected to said predecessor's plan to blow the whistle on their black marketeering activities. Amar knows nothing of this, of course. But it's not long before he begins to sense that something fishy is going on, at which point Shakti tries to buy him off.

This does not meet with the desired results.

In the course of going Full Mithun on Shakti, Amar demonstrates what will come to be his signature move, and also shows us the true purpose of that festive scarf he's been modeling.

Using the scarf, he ties his two fists together, in effect combining them into one giant fist, a super-fist of sorts.

Later, Amar meets his neighbor Asha in an embarrassing NSFW accident.

Okayyyy, not really. Suffice it to say that things get off to a bad start.

Asha is played by Madhoo, one of whose main duties here, given that this is a Bollywood movie from the 1990s, is to wear a succession of outfits that look as if they were purchased at the outlet mall in Hell.

Of course, Amar and Asha soon decide that they are madly in love with each other, which does not play well with Joginder (Mohnish Behl), the son of the evil contractor played by Prem Chopra, who sets his goons upon Amar.

Fools! Do they not know about the super-fist?

Finally Prem, Shakti and Joginder get fed up with Amar's righteous antics and murder him in earnest.

Soon after, his body is discovered by Dr. Vijay Mehra, who is not only Amar's best friend but also a pioneering neurosurgeon with some radical ideas about brain transplantation.

Did I mention that it was Amar and Asha's wedding day? When she hears the news, Asha goes nutzoid, and in the course of her berzerkery accidentally kills her own mom!

At which point Asha goes permanently nutzoid.

Meanwhile, pioneering neurosurgeon Dr. Vijay Mehra has decided what he must do.

And so Mithun's startlingly tiny brain (look, I'm just sayin') is removed...

...put on a dinner plate and placed in the Deep Freeze.

Fortunately, it is not long before crazy Asha is doing an angry dance to Krishna...

...which she concludes by dashing her already addled brains upon the steps of the temple.

Pioneering neurosurgeon Dr. Vijay Mehra knows what he must do.

And so Asha's defective brain is scooped out and, I assume, tossed into a nearby medical waste receptacle, to be replaced by Amar's undamaged, albeit very tiny, brain.

Later, Amar wakes in fine spirits, and with an appropriately mannish haircut.

Only to be greeted by some shocking news.

(This film didn't have English subtitles, so I can't tell you if Dr. Mehra broke it to him with the old, "I have some good news, and some bad news" gambit, but that's what I would have done.)

Anyway, once the news has sunk in, Amar quickly returns to his old self.

Which is bad news for Shakti Kapoor, who is busy praying to a pile of money.

...only to be interrupted by Amar, who proceeds to beat him to death in a surreally phony looking stable set.

Next it's Joginder's turn, in a disturbing scene that sees Amar deciding to make effective use of some of his newly acquired assets.

Of course, once Amar has Joginder where he wants him, the mood turns very quickly.

Finally, in an attempt to determine just who is killing off his associates, Prem Chopra kidnaps pioneering neurosurgeon Dr. Vijay Mehra, taking him to his lair, where he is mercilessly tortured. This because, in Bollywood movies, even crooked contractors have lairs.

Of course, it is not long before Amar shows up on the scene to deliver some machine gun justice.

And when it comes time for the coup de grace...

Aw, yeah...


Many Hindi films have told us that love inspires miracles. But you know what inspires even more miracles than that? Wrath. So far we've seen the thirst for payback as the impetus for countless reincarnations, house pets becoming serial killers, and now a case of science-assisted, cross-gender body switching. What's next? A man avenged by his own breakfast? A favorite pair of socks, long thought lost in the wash, that returns to strangle those responsible for its owner's death? Whatever the case, I'm sure you'll be reading about it here at 4DK.

Anyway, thank you for joining me on my journey through Diya Aur Toofan today. And remember, don't try the super-fist at home. Mithun is a licensed professional.


Rum said...

My goodness, a brain swapping tale! Bollywood from the 90's just gets better and better, what happened to Mithun's body did he just die off? I'm not one to complain when a girl indulges in kick assery! But i was so shocked that Madhoo from Roja, the serious and non 90's bakwaas film! Nahiee!

houseinrlyeh aka Denis said...

I just...what!?
The only way they could have beaten this is by stitching Mithun's head on the poor woman's shoulder.

Movies are great.

Vinayak Razdan said...

'Madhu and Mithun' the deadly combo that killed 90s. You have got to watch Jallaad (1995). I think that year Mithun even won a national award for some other film.

sunil said...

Thanks for that link to Kalabaaz. Always wanted to know the name. When I finally saw temple of doom I was disappointed that the final rope bridge climax did not involve trapeze act stunts. Unless someone can discover from where Dev ripped this off, that was all kinds of awesome. :)

And Mithun's brain in Madhoo's body throws up all kind of kinky possibilities. Narcissus Part 2. :)

Have you or Keith tried out Mithunda's Karate? Disco Dancer discovers Hong Kong movies!

Vinayak Razdan said...

Here's the famous Karante song.
And here's a Mithun pin-up. (viewers discretion is advised)

sunil said...

Don't click the link! You will never see it in 70mm as it was meant to but atleast watch it in whatever sorry excuse for a TV you have. :)

@vinayak, it is @par with Amitabh's I-am-a-Chrismas-Tree complete with blinking lights act from Yaraana, no? :)

Todd said...

Rum: I forgot that Madhoo was in Roja, probably because I'd mostly forgotten Roja, as it's one of the only Mani Ratnam movies I didn't care for all that much. In any case, Madhoo deserves big props for her Mithun impression here.

Houseinrlyeh: I wouldn't count on their not being some kind of two-headed Mithun movie out there. Given what we've already seen in 80s and 90s B'wood movies it wouldn't be out of the question.

Sunil, Vinayak: I actually haven't seen Karate yet, but I'd be surprised if Keith hasn't. That song certainly is inspiring, though I couldn't quite catch the title.;)

And Vinayak, thanks to you I have previously had the pleasure of seeing that pin-up, and, after many months, was finally on the verge of un-seeing it. But you just had to drag me back in!

sunil said...

Let's just say that there are hundreds of twisty Doodh ka Karz, all alike. But AFAIK nothing outside the Gunmaster series as crackastic as Karate.

memsaab said...

I love that the Deep Freeze has a candle burning in it. Or near it. Or something.

On an only partially related note, I am getting Surakksha soon. Ordered it this weekend. I needed more Mithun in my life.

Beth Loves Bollywood said...

All I can say is: wow.

JOE PHILIP said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Tapas said...

Haha .. great review! :D

Anonymous said...

Hilarious Article... I want to see many from you..Please replace Krishna with Shiv. She was dancing in a Shiv temple. BTW Great work man.