Posts tagged "Bollywood"

King Kong (1962 – Review)

King Kong

Written by Vishwanath Panday, Pandit Mathur, Mastji, and Majrooh Sultanpuri (lyrics)
Directed by Babubhai Mistry

Not that King Kong, there are no giant apes in this movie, though there are guys who sort of look like giant apes when you squint, or at least fat blogs. Nope, this is 1962s Indian epic King Kong, starring the great Dara Singh in his first starring role. You remember Dara Singh from Samson right? The Infernal Brains Podcast about Dara Singh? Well, if not, you now have a bunch of extra listening and reading to do! For the rest of us, this is an entry in the MOSS (Mysterious Order of the Skeleton Suit) Conspiracy Big Muscle Tussle, featuring dudes and chicks with muscles doing muscular things in muscular ways. Said muscular ways usually means punching many things. Click on the MOSS Page to see many more entries, as long as your roid rage is low enough you won’t Hulk Smash all our webpages. As for King Kong, let’s just say that there is a giant monster in the beginning of the film, but it’s all downhill from there!

Dara Singh was born in 1928 in the Punjab village of Dharmuchak. He wrestled in local tournaments while growing up, but went to Singapore to seek employment as a laborer. He ended up learning East Asian wrestling techniques – in addition to the Indian (and surrounding regions) technique called Pehlwani – and returned to India. With his brother Randhawa, the two became professional wrestlers and soared through the ranks. By the 1970s, Dara and his brother were the highest paid wrestlers in India, earning 30-40 times the going rate for bouts. Dara was also the “world champion” in the local circuits.
King Kong 1962
Prior to his lead role here, Dara Singh had been relegated to stunt work in films like Sangdil (1952), Pehli Jhalak (First Sight) (1955), and Jagga Daku (1959). In King Kong and many of his later films, Dara helped do the fight choreography, as he thought the usual Indian choreography didn’t look real enough. As Dara Singh comes from a lower caste, there was often trouble finding leading women who would appear with him. Besides Kum Kum from this film, his usual partner was Mumtaz (seen here in Samson) Dara’s lower caste status helped instill him as a hero of the common man, though his films usually had him suddenly discover his noble roots (as this one does.) After his movie career slowed down, Dara Singh gained a new generation of fans when he appeared in the 1980s tv series Ramayana playing Hanuman.

The movie’s title King Kong is even taken from wrestling. Though a reference to the giant ape, King Kong became a wrestling title, one which Dara Singh soon claimed, winning it off of stocky Hungarian wrestler Emile Czaja – who often went billed as King Kong (including his appearance in this film!) Dara winning the King Kong title gave him enough fame that director Babubhai Mistri decided he would be bankable as a leading man. The added fact that it was cheaper for people to buy movie tickets than to pay for wrestling tickets was just gravy. Due to distribution politics/drama, low-budget stunt films like King Kong were usually exhibited in rural areas, often with the director or star in attendance presenting the film.

Director Babubhai Mistri did effects work at Wadia Movietone, and directed many mythologicals in the 1950s (mythologicals being a genre of Indian cinema that does stories from the religious texts.) by by the 60s was unable to direct big picture films, thus he turned to the B movie circuit and making Dara Singh a star.

Like most surviving Dara Singh films, King Kong is available on badly encoded unsubtitled vcd with the craptastic video quality you expect. And the vcd has commercials on the middle of the film! Luckily, a few Dara films have started to migrate to DVD, so maybe, just maybe, we’ll get some of his awesome stunt films on DVD soon…

As this is the inaugural Dara Singh starring flick, they didn’t trust him to headline the picture by his lonesome, so they threw in another character, the handsome swashbuckler type Badal (played by Chandrashekhar) There is also a comic relief sidekick for Badal. Comic relief sidekicks were so in vogue at this time, the evil warrior character Evil Guy also has his own comic relief sidekick. As you have probably noticed by some of the names, I haven’t figured them all out yet.

Jingu (Dara Singh) – A local warrior who lives with his mom, who has nicknamed him King Kong. His father is the disposed king, and he has a missing brother.
Radhi (Kum Kum) – The Princess’s maid and Jengu’s love interest. She does almost all the singing. This is Kum Kum’s lone Dara Singh co-starrer that I know about, she starred in B films and used that to get starring roles in big budget pictures.
Badal (Chandrashekhar as Chandra Shekhar) – Badal is the local handsome guy who hangs out with a Goofy Guy and crushes on the princess. He’s also the secret lost brother of Jingu.
Princess Rajkumari (Parveen Choudhary) – The Princess who falls for Badal when he saves her from slavers.
King Kong (Emile Czaja as King Kong) – The prior King Kong who is tossed out of the roll when Jingu proves himself the better man. Seeks revenge for his failure.
King Hingoo (Uma Dutt) – The evil king who disposed the prior king and now does evil stuff which is totally evil. Of course, we don’t actually see him doing much evil stuff, he just has some jerks working for him. But the dialogue probably mentions evil things that we don’t see…
Smoke Monster (Men in suit!) – YES!! The Smoke Monster is awesome, we demand more Smoke Monster! Too bad he dies five minutes into the film and the rest is people running around not fighting monsters. BOOOO!!

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Posted by Tars Tarkas - February 18, 2012 at 7:27 pm

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Bollywood Kill Bill

India is coming out with a Kill Bill remake! Starring Vidya Balan as Uma Thurman’s role. Sujoy Ghosh will be directing. This will be very interesting, because it will either be really good or really hilarious. Unless it’s really boring. It will be really something, you can be assured of that!


I came to chew bubblegum and kill Bill. And I'm all out of Bills...

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Posted by Tars Tarkas - September 15, 2010 at 10:17 pm

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Samson (Review)


Directed by Nanabhai Bhatt

It’s time for some Bollywood Peplum with Dara Singh! Wait, you ask, Bollywood made Peplum and who is Dara Singh? Where the crap have you been, reader? Bollywood pumped out a few Peplum films because Bollywood does that stuff. And Dara Singh is only the greatest Indian wrestler who ever lived. He did tons of awesome films where he wrestles dudes. And he fights dinosaurs! What more do you want?

So Samson is a Bollywood feature disguised to look very much the part of a 1960s Italian Peplum movie. If they didn’t break into song every twenty minutes or so you might be fooled into thinking this was just another crazy Peplum film. It has all the same tropes as the genre it is copying, including funky awesome costumes, giant army battles, evil kings, genies, magic midgets, and fake-looking monsters. It’s available on unsubtitled vcd, but at TarsTarkas.NET, we don’t need no stinkin’ subtitles! What we also don’t need are stupid watermarks on the vcd, but practically every Indian vcd has them (and also Bangladeshi, Nepalese, Pakistani, and several other countries vcds as well.)

Samson (Dara Singh) – Samson is the local strong guy who just hangs around and chills with elephants. This annoys the king, because the king is all about anti-elephant propaganda or something. So Samson eventually starts a revolution getting the kill killed dead, then marries his daughter who seems cool with Samson getting her dad killed. Dara Singh was a professional wrestler during the 40s and 50s who moved on to making a string of B movies during the 1960s in India in seemingly every cult genre imaginable. Spaceships, gladiator, dinosaur fighting, secret agent, masked hero, he did it all. Todd at Die, Danger, Die, Die, Kill! compares him to El Santo. He later was in the widely viewed TV program Ramayan, was nominated to Rajya Sabha, and is the benchmark of manliness in Hindi pop culture.
Princess Shera (Mumtaz Banoo) – Princess Shera is the typical spoiled princess who cannot believe that insolent Samson and his not doing whatever she wants, and also saving her. Eventually she falls in love with him, because that’s how it happens in these Bollywood flicks. Here name is very close to She-ra, which is awesome. Mumtaz Banoo is better known as Mumtaz. Mumtaz married millionaire Mayur Madhvani and had two daughters. Elder daughter Natasha married actor Fardeen Khan, son of Feroz Khan, who played Salook in this film. Younger daughter Mallika married to Randhawa the younger brother of famous wrestler Dara Singh. If you think about it, that is kind of weird. Mumtaz is considered one of the most beautiful actresses in Indian cinema of all time.
Laila (Ameeta) – The chief maiden of Princess Shera and lover of Salook. She’s got me on my knees, I’m beggin’ darling please. Ameeta was an actress of the 50s and 60s who never quite made it into a successful leading actress career, partly due to bad career choices and partly due to being trapped in B-grade fair like this very film. Her daughter Sabeeha also tried a movie career, but her path was even shorter and more disappointing than her mother’s.
Salook (Feroz Khan) – Salook is the hero-type who has no real personality besides being a good guy who isn’t a giant superman and thus doesn’t have the film named after him. But he gets a girl, too, so everyone wins! Feroz Khan is a legend in the Bollywood industry as an actor, director, and producer. Fellow actor Sanjay Khan was his brother and sometimes co-star, and Khan’s son Fardeen Khan also entered the entertainment business. Feroz Khan managed to get blacklisted in Pakistan, because cool people get banned from entire countries. Feroz Khan died in 2009.
King Rashid (B.M. Vyas) – The evil king who is evil because the script needed an evil dude. B.M. Vyas doesn’t rate a Wikipedia page, so I had to do actual research, which was complicated by some guy in the milk industry also named B.M. Vyas. Who knew the milk industry was so wide-reaching on the internet? I couldn’t really find anything non-milk except photos and clips, so B.M.Vyas had a long long career in Indian cinema starting in the 1940s. It looks like he won a lot of awards later in life but a Google trail of broken links and terribly designed websites leave few clues.
Dinosaur (An Unnamed Puppeteer) – Fred put Dino out one day and he got dino-knapped and woke up in ancient India where he is forced to eat prisoners for food. Poor Dino. But now that sabre-toothed tiger has the run of the Flintstone’s house!

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Posted by Tars Tarkas - May 11, 2010 at 11:16 pm

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Hisss – Indian Snake Lady movie

Hisss, from director Jennifer Lynch (Boxing Helena) is an upcoming big budget (by comparison) Indian lady snake flick that is making the rounds of buzzness on the internets. These snakelady films were pretty popular back in the day (sorry I can’t give better dates but all my reference books are packed up) both in India and outside the region (Thai, Cambodian, and Hong Kong cinema has plenty of snake lady films as well) Though there hasn’t been much movement on the snake lady front besides the microbudget Indian horror genre, this larger funded, Westerner directed effort might spawn a whole new mess of snake lady films slithering all the way to a theater near you (or more likely, a DVD store near you)

FX artist Robert Kurtzman is who to thank for the snakelady full body makeup effects.

Starring: Irrfan Khan, Mallika Sherawat, Jeff Douchette, Divya Dutta, Raman Trikha.
Mallika Sherawat is probably best known in the west for starring with Jackie Chan in The Myth, in India she is known for her great body, even people like me who only casually browse Indian film message boards looking for information on obscure junk know about her.


Link to the Official site, and the synopsis:

The Curse of the Cobra Goddess – anytime man desecrates or violates the cobra, they are doomed to suffer the petrifying curse of the snake woman, of death and infertility. Only respect and worship can keep the population safe and the women fertile.

Over 4000 years ago the inhabitants of the Indus Valley sculpted the image of the shape shifting snake. These half cobras, half human creatures were said to inhabit an awesome, mysterious temple, made of material unknown to mankind, deep within the jungles, far, far away in the legendary spice forests of the Malabar Coast. Children grew up hearing about the story recounted to their grandfathers, by their forefathers about an ancestor, who had journeyed to the edge of the world, and came back to recount a frightening story about the Snake Goddess and her mate…. and from here the legend travelled across India, and the far east along the silk route – passed on from generation to generation for thousands of years until this day.

It is the year 2008, an American man, named George, packing high tech gear, and evil intentions, makes the arduous journey into the heart of the forbidden forest. He captures a male cobra the size of a large python when he’s at his weakest, while mating. Little does he realize when they embark on testing this mysterious creature in their high-tech lab, what horror and destruction awaits him….


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Posted by Tars Tarkas - May 18, 2009 at 9:42 pm

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Bollywood Back to the Future

Bollywood steals everything, this time they are stealing the DeLorean and going back in time! No word on if they will visit an alternate 1985 where Biff is corrupt, or if there will be incest-type-dealies, or even a DeLorean, but we shall see! And who knew that Back to the Future was known as Action Replay in Indian? Not me.


Sources say that Vipul Shah who wanted to make a fantasy film this time zeroed in on the Hollywood hit ‘Action Replay’.

Michael J. Fox played the lead in the original version. The film centers on Marty McFly, a teenager who is unexpectedly sent back and forth in time of present-past-future and meets his parents at his high-school days. He’s sent back in time from 1985 to 1955 and also accidentally attracts his mother’s romantic interest. Marty must repair the damage to history by causing his parents to fall in love, while finding a way to return to 1985.

Akshay Kumar dons the lead role while Aishwarya Rai is the female lead opposite him.

Vipul Shah wanted Ranbir in the very important role of Akki-Ash’s son. But since Ranbir is so busy with his three projects and another one with Mani Rathnam, he had to turn him down.

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Posted by Tars Tarkas - January 14, 2009 at 4:57 pm

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Son of Dracula (Review)

Son of Dracula

Directed by Saleem Suma

Bollywood horror is filled with ups and downs. Mostly downs. Every once in a while, you run into something so ridiculously stupid, it is awesome. Unfortunately, that was Shaitani Dracula, and we are now watching Son of Dracula, which is absolutely terrible. All of the fun of random dudes strolling around in dime store costumes is gone, instead we have a disco guy seducing random women, one of which gives birth to Son of Dracula, a doll that is waved around like it is the spookiest thing ever, and a statue looking like bigfoot that spends the entire film yelling. The main crime is none of that is any fun. It should be fun. It sounds like fun. But, brother, it ain’t fun! I originally ordered this knowing nothing except what the vcd cover looked like, and it promised a vampire/Yoda thing. He is in here, but he isn’t as fun as he looks. The lesson for today is disappointment, a harsh lesson I am tired of learning over and over again with more and more films. Luckily, the good jewels make up for the duds.

I am guessing the film was edited by caffeinated squirrels with ADD, due to the hap-hazard cuts, random scenes, and nonsensical anything. Nothing in this film makes the slightest bit of sense. Even if there were subtitles, this thing would be a mess, and the subtitles would probably end up having been stolen from a Harry Potter film. Bollywood horror has a complicated history covered by multiple sources, and a quick summary here would not do it justice. So we will just skip it and dive right into the film, because it doesn’t take a detailed history of a country’s movie culture to recognize that this film sucks. And at TarsTarkas.NET, we don’t need no stinking subtitles, so we dive in unaided.

Thanks goodness!

What year this was made in is debatable, because it doesn’t seem to be listed anywhere. The other problem is the cast list, I cannot conclusively link most of the actors to parts, largely due to my lack of finding good pictures or even any information at all about most of the cast. The actors list is credited as follows: Joginder, Raza Murad, Alaudeen Ferozm, Poonm Das Gupta, Sapna, Arif, Mahendrea Tiwari. Joginder is probably Joginder Shelly, and he has been called “the Badshaah of 70s B-grade films” as he was a popular over-acting villain. I am sure you know what Badshaah means, so moving on. Raza Murad is another popular villain character actor. Poonm Das Gupta is Poonam Das Gupta, and is probably Mom of Son of Dracula. Imagine that, a misspelling in the name of an actor in a B-movie. Shocking. I got nothing on any of the others. So there. Drop us a line if you have a clue.

UPDATE: in the blog announcement Vinayak has disclosed that Takul is played by Joginder Shelly and the Inspector is played by Raza Murad: “he stated with “A grade movies” and slowly slipped to “C Grade”.” Thanks, Vinayak!

Takul (Joginder Shelly) – Disco Dracula, I guess. There is a constant cat yelping as he talks. He spends most of the film trying to seduce the random girls who sing songs while dancing in the rain or waterfalls that Bollywood films have taught me litter India like beer cans on the highway. He also seems to have a second good identity where he is a family man, I couldn’t tell if he was supposed to be twins (with one evil) or just a secret identity as the evil guy. Even worse, he lives at the end and seems to be accepted by the innocent family. So, yeah…
Inspector (Raza Murad) – This police chief makes Chief Wiggum look like Sherlock Holmes. Many of his men get killed by a doll, and he is defeated by his clothes vanishing. Riggs and Murtaugh wouldn’t put up with that crap, and just shoot Son of Dracula in the head, revoking his Puppet Immunity.
Witch Doctor Jesus (???) – Witch Doctor Jesus comes complete with trident, and fights the forces of Son of Dracula and Angry Bigfoot Statue. He uses retro effects, waving of hands, and being freaking weird as powers. He also has sit-down talks with bad guys, showing the forgiving spirit of Jesus. This is far more accurate of a portrayal of Our Lord than Passion of the Christ.
Mom of Son of Dracula (Poonam Das Gupta) – As the name implies, she is the Mom of the Son of Dracula. She loves striped socks, odd clothes, writhing around, and giving birth to freaky puppet doll monsters by video toaster effects. Basically, your average girl next door!
Son of Dracula (A doll) – A freaking doll with a rubber mask is waved around by an off-camera dude, and that is the Son of Dracula that terrorizes people in this film like crazy. Every once in a while, Son of Dracula is actually played by a real guy wearing the mask, probably a kid. These rare instances stand out like a hobo at a millionaire’s ball. Despite Son of Dracula’s immobile face and body, he is somehow able to kill around a dozen people thanks to his fangs and Son of Dracula magic.
Angry Bigfoot Statue (A statue) – This statue never shuts up. All he does is yell and yell, and occasionally impregnate someone with the Son of Dracula. So I guess he is Dracula, except Dracula is not a statue, so he is more of a monster that the movie uses Dracula as the name for to get investors to pony up more dollars than Son of Angry Bigfoot Statue.

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Posted by Tars Tarkas - December 29, 2008 at 10:25 am

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