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!

It opens with some lovely lady guards warning Samson, who then gets in a six minute long wrestling match with some fat goon who was just hanging around. Samson finally kills him and smashes his way into a palace. Then he beats up some dudes dressed as tribespeople who are going to kill an elephant or something. Samson loves elephants.

Song time as one of Princess Shera’s ladies in waiting (Laila, her chief maidservant) sing song number 1. It is like the film Coming to America as all the servants dress and do everything for Shera, and she even gets the rose petals at her feet. Eddie Murphy, why are you stealing from 1960’s Bollywood?

Samson feeds some elephants and has an annoying helper boy, like many of the peplum movies. Meanwhile, Shera goes for a ride on her chariot and the horses get spooks and run off wildly. Samson saves her, but as Shera is a spoiled brat, she just steals Samson’s horse and rides off. Shera sends her guard of all female troops to go arrest Samson because he didn’t grovel before her. He goes with them to the palace, but then bursts out of his chains to insult her more. Ah, Samson, putting women in their place since 867 BC.

Samson kicks it up a notch to awesome as a Wizard Dude has three midgets in a cages. One is normal color, one is painted navy blue, and one is bright green. The normal midget can breath fire that is just sparklers behind his head (and might be named Ahbash). The Blue Midget blows smoke and heavy wind out of his mouth. Green Midget doesn’t get a chance to shine, though. The Wizard Dude has lots of guards dressed in orange and yellow klan robes with orange buglar masks. King Rashid comes in and is saluted by everyone, so he is in charge of Wizard Dude, just so you know.

Another music time, Laila sings to Salook, who is hanging around the castle for the length of the song. Later, Princess Shera is hallucinating Samson visiting her – she is crushin’ on Big S, but he is rude to her even in her dreams. Samson – not a friend of Gloria Steinam. Shera goes to kill Samson with a bow and arrow (because he was rude to her in her dreams? What?? Anyone reading this ever get in trouble with your wife or girlfriend because of something you did to her in her dream?) Shera’s plan ends in failure a she is attacked by a tiger. Samson then fights and kills the tiger. BOOOO!!! Tigers rule, guys who kill tigers drool. Actor Dara Singh is actually messing with a real tiger in some scenes!

It stars to rain so Samson takes the unconscious Princess (she fainted) to his place. By the next morning she is all nice and he starts to take her home, which is by boat now for some reason. Love music plays during all of this because of love and love stuff. When he drops her off, they hear Laila and Salook singing, so they watch those two sing together for a while.

Laila is captured by the king’s troops, while Salook escapes and the field is burned. I guess the King doesn’t like singing! He must be like that town in Footloose. King Rashid is ticked, he yells at Laila and also Princess Shera in front of giant statue of god thing that they pray to later. Laila taken away and she is going to be executed! And you thought Simon Cowell was a harsh singing judge.

It’s time to kill Laila…until Salook shows up! Laila is let go. WTF? A two second shot of a dinosaur screaming??? Awesome!!! But now Laila is running in the woods. Boooo.

Bring back the dinosaur!

The films does, because Salook is fed to it while Laila goes to get Samson. The dinosaur is gooftastic! Strings visible, smoke everywhere, body immobile, screams horrific, the ultimate monstrosity!

Samson bursts in and fights the Dinosaur. It bites him but he stabs it in the side with a spear and it dies. NOOOOO! Poor Dinosaur. He had so much to live for. So many people to eat. King Rashid is upset, and talks with Wizard Dude. Wizard Dude shows him a genie guy in a bottle. You got to rub him the right way. They send the Genie to fight Samson, and the Genie grows to huge size. But then he’s not that huge when fighting Samson. More like a normal sized genie. You should have stayed big, Genie! They wrestle, because that’s what Samson does, because that’s what Dara Singh does. Samson wins eventually, because he’s Samson and the movie is named after him and we have like an hour to go.

We get another musical number with Laila and Salook. Wizard Dude plots, but then another musical number! This time it’s a song in the palace as two girls dance who may be twins (in the same sense the Cantonese pop duo the Twins are twins, that is, not at all except for marketing purposes. And none of these women were ever naked with Edison Chen, as far as we know.) It’s brave singing in the castle what with what happened last time.

Samson and Salook were invited to the castle for apologies. And poison. Gee, only Salook and Samson are served a drink, that’s not suspicious at all… Samson drinks and the camera goes all green. He is strong enough to recover, but he and Salook storm out.

Princess Shera is ticked that her dad did that. It is sooooo embarrassing. It totally ruined her Super Sweet 16 Party!

Oh, the town is on fire, by the way. The miniature of the town bursts into flames, and someone also set part of the set on fire. The people panic and King Rashid is all “Let’s pray to our idol guy!” They are saved because the Green Midget can shoot water out of his mouth like a fire hose.

Everyone praises the king. Huzzah!

Everyone except Princess Shera and Laila. They know why the town really got set on fire. King Rashid starts to go nuts obsessing over Salook, and goes to visit Samson for some reason. Salook and his 80 year old dad have to fight like 30 of the Wizard Dude’s shock troops. Salook is captured and his house burned down. The King and Wizard Dude are jerks!

Samson is surrounded by hundreds of Wizard Dude’s Klan Troopers, including some guys on camels. That rules. You can never get enough camel troopers. And camels spit, so that’s like added weapons. Samson falls down a pit, I guess he suddenly became Gerald Ford?

King Rashid tries to force-feed Salook poison, while Princess Shera and Laila have snuck in and replace the poison with not poison. Salook fakes his death. Samson calls for help and his annoying boy helper and a bunch of elephants come to the rescue. They get him out of the pit. I had almost forgotten about the annoying boy helper, but I never forgot about the elephants.

King Rashid captures the two girls and Salook, but Samson is there! Samson falls down another pit – a trap door. Samson just likes to fall, I guess. Samson starts pushing over columns – that’s why he’s Samson! I bet they never saw that battle tactic happening. There is a fight upstairs with Salook and lots of guards.

Outside, the elephant troops attack the castle in the name of freedom. Elephant freedom. Finally, after tossing over more troops and columns, Samson fights the midgets! Se don’t really see much besides some water dousing sparks, then the midgets are dead under crushed ceiling. Boo! I wanted graphic midget murder. That’s the only way…

Samson fights more large bunches of troops, he even drops the giant idol statue on a bunch of them. That will teach you to worship a false god! Some troops turn out to be evil wrestler dudes that were featured in the opening credits, so they must be pretty famous: King Kong, Tiger Joginder, Swaran Singh, K.C. Panda, and Killer Dara Singh. King Kong is a Hungarian wrestler who had parts in several Indian films, including King Kong, Faulad, and Tarzan & King Kong. K.C. Panda sounds like a character from Chuck E. Cheese.

They fight Samson all at once. But Samson wins because Samson always wins. He’s Sebulba. The confusing battle rages on. King Rashid tries to escape by chariot, and Samson chases after him on a horse. They fight on the chariot and King Rashid is tossed over the side of the chariot and off of a long long long cliff that suddenly appeared out of nowhere.

Salook and Laila now in charge, as Samson and Princess Shera leave to go live at Samson’s house. Samson is such a man’s man that Shera gives up ruling the country to go hang with elephants. This country is in good hands. Until Samson dies, then it will get overrun within an hour. Sleep well, people living wherever the heck that place is, and hope Samson learns to lower his cholesterol!

Rated 6/10 (Tiger time, evil wizard, puking midget!, the grand symbol, Indian Idol, fashionable fashion)

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6 thoughts on “Samson (Review)

  1. Dear sir,
    To take one new dvd or cd of Dara singh`s film Samson in original print to see by dvd player on the television. What will be coast of this? Just for information.

    Thaning you.

  2. really good piece of information, I had come to know about your site from my friend shubodh, kolkatta,i have read atleast nine posts of yours by now, and let me tell you, your site gives the best and the most interesting information. This is just the kind of information that i had been looking for, i’m already your rss reader now and i would regularly watch out for the new posts, once again hats off to you!

  3. Vous pouvez parler d’un péplum tamoul intitulé ADHIMAI PENN (ADIMAIPPEN), sorti en 1969, le 1er mai, avec MGR…

  4. Vous pouvez parler d’un péplum tamoul intitulé ADHIMAI PENN (ADIMAIPPEN/அடிமைப்பெண்), sorti en 1969, le 1er mai, avec MGR…

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