Sinbad Alibaba and Aladdin
aka Sinbad Alibaba Aur Aladin
Scenario and dialogue by Tabish Sultanpuri
Directed by Prem Narayan Arora (as P. N. Arora)
All India Pictures brings us Sindbad Alibaba and Aladdin! It’s got big stars, it has big effects, it has big costumes, it has big musical numbers, and it has a big not-Godzilla! Okay, maybe a few of the stars were past their prime and the Bootleg Godzilla looks goofy and isn’t in the film nearly as much as it should be, but still, there is a lot to love.
(I’m going to spell “Sinbad” both ways in this article, so deal with it!)
Give whoever was in charge of the special effects a raise as they went right to the source, enlisting Keiji Kawakami and Seishiro Ishi from Tsuburaya special effects. That might be about as close as we’ll get to an actual Indian Godzilla film unless the long-lost Gogola is uncovered somewhere!
Sindbad Alibaba and Aladdin only seems available in unsubtitled vcds of what look like VHS rips with gigantic video company logos. Meemsab had Ultra Video Company, while my copy has Kamal Video plastered on the top left. Kamal Video also had a brief musical logo in the beginning featuring some soft jazz saxophone that would be at home in an early 90s softcore sex scene. They even forgot to cut out the logo of the VHS company that they got the VHS tapes they used to make this vcd from near the end of the film. Oops! Now we know why the watermarks keep getting bigger, they are covering other watermarks!
In Baghdad, the Sultan’s men proclaim an announcement, while the Sultan himself is entertained by two lady dancers. Meanwhile, our heroes Sinbad, Alibaba, and Aladdin all seem to have been imprisoned at the same time in separate cells by the Sultan, all unaware the others met the same fate and all three are good friends. Good on getting the introductions out of the way and jumping right into action! All three conspire to escape at the same time, tunneling three different ways into the same prison cell occupied by an old guy. Aladdin pops out of a brick wall, while Alibaba pops out of the ground under some hay and Sinbad emerges from a second tunnel in the wall. The three are overjoyed at running into each other again, reunited never felt so good. The three and the old guy come up with a plan to escape while the audience of the film gets another musical number, this time a song and dance by ladies at some fountains, led by the Sultan’s daughter, Princess Jameela.
The old guy calls guards over and says he’s conjuring up a spirit, which is the three guys dressed in a costume sewn together and pretending to be a huge ghost. The guards are the typical comedy coward guards, which allows easy escape for the heroes. Sinbad quickly runs to visit his beloved Jameela, something the Sultan is not too happy about. Guards swarm the room, but Sinbad beats many up and then rejoins his friends, the heroes escaping into town.
They hide in a club (as they are friends with the owner) while some girls give another dance number. Everyone seems to know Sinbad, Alibaba, and Aladdin, because they are very popular and personable heroes, don’t you know?
We see guy doing magic rope trick where the rope ascends up to the sky, then a young girl climbs it and he makes her disappear. Suddenly she’s in a jar! Magic! It’s totally real, you guys! This interlude gives the trio the idea to disguise themselves as a magic troupe and sneak into the palace to see Jameela, but we all know this is going to end in disaster!
Before things can get too out of hand, the Sultan instead sends them on a quest. Far away in a boat (that was probably the actual quest goal, whatever they are looking for was just the excuse to get them on a ship and far away!)
But something is flashing in the ocean, so Sinbad jumps into the sea to find out what’s what. He wanders around on the ocean floor making odd swimming motions with his hands while walking, I’m just going to ignore wondering how he can hold his breath for so long. He finds a the origin of the mysterious flashes — a huge clam! Sinbad swim-walks over and opens it up, to find there is a sword inside (that’s not connected to whatever is making the clam flash)
Look out! Stock footage of an octopus attacks, and we see Sinbad struggle with two huge tentacles (the rest of the monster is off screen now, because it only exists in stock footage form!) until he can reach for the sword and hack them off, and then swims for the surface, now the owner of a cool new sword.
We jump from the wet of the ocean to the dry heat of a desert, Aladdin and Alibaba have just finished eating, are drunk, and don’t have the money to pay. But a random guy pays for their meal so he can talk to Alibaba in private, and they leave behind the passed out Aladdin in what will turn out to be a bad decision…
Sinbad and Jameela didn’t go get sloshed, instead taking a nap in the desert that gets interrupted by bandits, who capture them and take them to a bandit camp. A bandit assaults Jameela and Sindbad comes to her rescue, fighting him in front of a crowd and using his magic sea sword to chop the bandit’s sword into bits. Sinbad refuses to kill him, but the Bandit Chief orders the death of the defeated bandit. That will learn him!
Sinbad later spies a cute girl in the camp, Zarina (Minoo Mumtaz) they make eyes and then she gets a musical number. In the meantime, a rough guy who enjoys holding knifes in intimidating ways (played by Shyam Kumar!) is putting the sleaze moves on Jameela, despite her protests. Her scream is enough to finally drag Sinbad away from chasing strange and is now fighting with the villain, which starts a fire due to a knocked over lamp. The camp burns and the heroes escape in the chaos.
Alibaba, Sinbad, and Jameela overhear some guys plotting, the plotting having to do with Aladdin being sold into slavery! Aladdin is up for auction right now (and is continually bonked on the head in some Indian physical humor that is actually humorous) The heroes are outbid to buy their friend’s freedom by an angry guy with lots of money, despite Aladdin’s smart remarks (that cause more head bonking) to try to spoil the deal. Angry guy works for Another Sultan, who is also a Magician, which is important in a few scenes.
Sinbad and Alibaba present Jameela to Another Sultan as an eligible princess in order to get close to try a rescue, it helps that she’s actually a princess, but despite Another Sultan being taken with her, she’s not so taken with him.
Another Sultan takes Aladdin with him on a mission to a spooky cave with a lot of fog machines. Aladdin is held captive by a rope around his neck and would rather be anywhere else. Another Sultan blasts a hidden hole in the cave, revealing a cavern below it. It will be Aladdin’s job to explore the cave, which is filled with skeletons and big snakes, as well as a spooky voice calling his name. In a room full of treasure there is a smoking lamp which appears to be the source of the voice.
Aladdin refuses to come out from the cave, so Another Sultan blasts the cavern entrance shut and leaves. Aladdin throws around the lamp a bit in anger, and out pops a tiny Helen(!) acting cute. Helen convinces Aladdin to rub the lamp, which he does, she then vanishes, then animates out of the lamp with cartoon effects and transforms into the full sized Helen the Genie, who immediately starts a dance and singing number about being a genie.
Aladdin wishes to be back with Alibaba, and that’s the first wish she grants, teleporting him right next to Alibaba, who is riding a donkey in town. Aladdin is upset they let him get sold into slavery and they yell at each other a bit, then they teleport over to where Sinbad is with Jameela. Aladdin introduces everyone to the Genie, who winks at Sinbad complete with “ding” sound. He’s taken aback. Uh oh!
Genie makes them all invisible so they can leave town without being noticed, which allows for a bunch of voiceover jokes even though they could just be teleported away. Why would you teleport when you can do cheap filler? They also beat up some guards while invisible, which is shown by the guards reacting to nothing
Aladdin lets Alibaba use the lamp to get a wish from the Genie, then Aladdin gets into a fight with the Genie she only has one boss at a time, and now it is Alibaba, so she turns Aladdin into a donkey! That talks! And wears his clothes! Holy Nick Bottom, Batman! Genie makes Alibaba a big palace and he has a bunch of harem women who all want to jump his bones. Genie Helen then sings as musical number where she is backed up by even more brand new women. When Alibaba gets up to dance with the ladies, the Donkey Aladdin ganks the lamp and rubs it with his hoof, becoming the master again and wishing himself back to human form, and wishing away Alibaba’s palace and girls, so he is now just dancing with monkeys in ruins.
Aladdin confesses his love for Genie, but despite the fact it looks like it’s going to happen as he gets to hold her hand, she then transforms into a snake and Aladdin looks like a loon when his friends walk by and see him holding a snake. Looks like Aladdin got Genied again!
Genie then tells the group something and transports them to a forest, where they look around with apprehension.
Then they hear the roars.
It’s …… Bootleg Godzilla!!!!
Bootleg Godzilla complete with animated fire breath! And a vaguely Godzilla theme soundtrack!
Huzzah! This is now the greatest movie ever! At least as long as Bootleg Godzilla is on screen.
They run and hide in a cave, which has convenient spears lined up on the walls inside. The heroes chuck a bunch of the spears at Bootleg Godzilla, who’s just chilling in the cave entrance spying on them and occasionally blasting in some breath. Sinbad hits Bootleg Big G right above the eye with a spear, causing a river of blood to start gushing down the monster, which is enough for him to retreat away. Poor Bootleg Godzilla, you just wanted some friends!
A voice outside the cave says something, and they send Alibaba to go investigate (as he lost the game of grabbing the sword to decide!) He sees a jungle girl running, and he chases her into a cave. A cave with a giant spider! Suddenly this movie is getting good again. The giant spider is about human size and it wiggles its ears at them. Yep. A good movie about an ear-wiggling giant spider. They hug each other in fright, the jungle girl then looks at Alibaba in disgust and tries to escape his grasp, but it’s no use as they struggle out of the cave. This movie suddenly getting rapeish. She gets away by biting his hand and he goes back to the cave, but his friends are gone and soon some random tribespeople are shoving spears at him…he’s captured!
The rest of the gang are prisoners of a laughing Shyam Kumar, the bandit who assaulted Jameela earlier. He wants Jameela as his bride, despite her and Sinbad’s declarations of love. Everyone it tied to posts while a musical number happens and the natives dance. But the jungle girl sneaks in and unties them. The escape is on!
The guards give chase through caves. At one point they fight in a room full of treasure chests and vases and a fake stuffed deer, because fake stuffed deer are the greatest treasure of all. Even more than love. This was in one of Aesop’s fables. The one about the deer who put stones into the glass pitcher, I’m pretty sure that was it!
Jungle girl has a secret cave with a secret door, and she then brings out a magic carpet. The carpet flies away with the heroes on board just as the soldiers storm in. Good thing the cave had a huge back door that was basically an open cliff face!
Aladdin goes to retrieve the magic sword and magic lamp, but a monkey now has the lamp. Disney stole everything from this movie! Yet they didn’t steal having a fake Godzilla, glad to know we were robbed of that happening. Aladdin chases the monkey a bit and then gets it back, right when the Bootleg Fauxzilla returns! Hooray!!!!
They fly home on the carpet. Home where Bootleg Godzilla isn’t at! Boo!!!
They arrive just in time for some political instability, so it’s time to just start fighting everyone in the film who was bad and all their goons! Sinbad’s magic sword electrocutes people and chops through multiple spears at a time. Jameela and Jungle Girl around on the carpet bopping people on the heads. Aladdin has the genie turn him into a ball of flame and then he runs into people. There is also lots and lots of sword fighting! It’s the perfect crazy wacky chaotic fighting ending befit of a film that was chock full of all sorts of ridiculous things happening.
When the lead villain is killed, he bursts into flames and fries into ash like he was a vampire or something. Hmmmm….
Sinbad is in charge, but prepares to get rid of all the magic stuff – sword, lamp, rug, have it fly away back to the treasure vault near Bootleg Godzilla. I’m not sure exactly why they do this, but probably because they are pretty dangerous to have lying around. Aladdin isn’t too happy to return the lamp, but when he rubs it to say goodbye, an new genie pops out, played by Tun Tun! She’s taken over from Helen, who is now free and can date Aladdin. If she wants, that’s what being free is for. But she probably does.
The magic stuff flies way and either had more magic happen to it or it exploded, THE END!
Sindbad Alibaba and Aladdin ruled, it was a ridiculous B movie spectacle that was easy to follow even without subtitles, and then threw in just enough crazy fantasy stuff to make it amazing. And there is a Bootleg Godzilla! Hopefully someone gets around to restoring this thing so I don’t have to watch a vcd with 1/4 the screen covered with a watermark!
Rated 8/10 (Suddenly it becomes Shrek!, movie logos!, rug power, rug design, rug flyaway, monkey master, fire is our friend, Bootleg Godzilla bids you goodbye!)
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