Sunday, February 1, 2009

Yaarana (1981)

Kishan/Krishna/Krishen (Amitabh Bachchan) and Bishan/Bhutan/Bishen (Amjad Khan) have been special friends since they were wee little ones (badly) played by child actors. While Bishan is the son of a rich family, Kishan is the embodiment of the poor uneducated and stupid on the borderline of retarded but upright peasant. Some long-term money-stealing plans of Bishan's uncle (Jeevan) and the uncle's son Jaggu (Ranjeet) lead to Bishan being carted off (and I quote here) "aboard". At first I thought the slightly problematic subtitles here just had trouble discerning between "abroad" and "aboard" - later parts of the movie suggest to me that they actually put Bishan on a ship to get his higher education in a kind of swimming school of doom. Bishan, being as terribly in love with Kishan as he is, wants to take his friend with him, but proud Kishan thinks the son of a peasant should stay the son of a peasant and not get any education. Also, he promised his father something about the family farm that's neither explained nor makes sense in context.

Years later, when the two have grown into Amitabh and Amjad, Bishan finally succeeds to talk his friend into coming to the Big City with him. Bishan's plan is to use his money to make Kishan the biggest singing sensation of them all. After loads of the sort of wacky hijinx that wouldn't be out of place in a film with (please insert comedy actor even worse than Will Ferrell at your discretion), Kishan first annoying then totally charming the pants off his star teacher Komal (Neetu Singh), and other stuff too dire to mention, Bishan finally learns that he isn't all that rich anymore thanks to his uncle and co. making off with the family money. Of course, this is supposed to be an ode to friendship (on the borderline to slash), so Bishan takes out a mortgage on his house and his ship to finance Kishan's education, royally pissing off his wife who seems to think that he should try to take care of his son and her first (silly woman!).

As I may have mentioned before, Kishan is a complete idiot and only learns of his friend's own idiocy after his first big show in a gigantic stadium (that to me looked like a rather small gym like most schools should have), but makes up for that with more stupid melodrama than should be allowed, leading into even more melodrama, Mental Asylums, child kidnappings, amnesia, minor cries of "Nahiiiiiin!", fiendish plans that make neither sense nor are fun until the film finally, finally ends.

Don't let the decent IMDb rating fool you: this might very well be one of the worst Bollywood films you'll ever get to see. It's not that, say, the typical Ramsay Brothers film is so much higher in worthiness or technical accomplishment than Yaarana (although, really, it is), the problem is that those films are working hard at being fun, while Yaarana looks as if it was made during the shooting breaks of other, better films, for no discernible reason other than to trap the innocent viewer with the promise of Amitabh! Neetu! Amitabh ass-shaking like an idiot in a light-up suit! Dishoom Dishoom! Random appearances of other Bolly-favorites! etc while crushing her/his spirit under a bootheel of evil.

But it is a trap. The movie may contain these promising elements (yes, I find being crushed by a bootheel of evil promising; sue me), it might even be made by Rakesh Kumar who (as my co-watcher/co-torturee Beth assured me) has made much better films, but it slaughters all our hopes of any form of entertainment with a painful mixture of total randomness (in costume, choreography, music etc), unfunny humor that made me remember Dance of the Dead wistfully and a quite transcendent and quite surprising lack of any kind of charm.

I couldn't even begin to imagine what went wrong here during the production, I can only warn each and every potential viewer who might be drawn to Amitabh's light-up suit off: this is one of the least interesting, most annoying and dire pieces of crap I have ever seen.

And no, friends of the Z-movie, that's honestly not a recommendation this time.



Beth Loves Bollywood said...

It's all true, every word. I have no idea how this movie went so, so painfully wrong. Somebody has some explainin' to do BIG TIME.

And we must cleanse our palettes pronto.

houseinrlyeh aka Denis said...

I'm in fact planning on watching Shaitani Dracula soon, so...

Beth Loves Bollywood said...

If that can't blast memories out of your head, then....