Thursday, February 25, 2010

70s Week Recap: The Train

I've tried and tried to like Rajesh Khanna but he's just such... A JERK IN ALL HIS MOVIES!

I loved so much about
The Train that I couldn't help but wish it had been tweaked by O.P. Ralhan to fit my moral views better. At the very least, I wish a more charismatic actor had played the lead - like Shashi in full SPARKLE mode or perhaps a smarmy Vinod Khanna with his rugged masculinity.

As it is,
The Train is the story of the world's dullest policeman - Shyam (Rajesh Khanna). Shyam has been dating a woman, Neeta (Nanda - not one of my favorite actresses), for some time, at least as demonstrated in the opening number "Gulabi Aanke Jo Teri Dekhi". Neeta and Shyam romp like a couple of Young People who have known one another a while. Meanwhile, in another part of town, a robbery goes down and the criminals use Shyam's license plate numbers on the get-away gaari! Sneaky! or is it....!?!

This particular band of criminals consists of Madan Puri and Helen, who is the brains behind the operation. The whole operation has one purpose: to allow Helen to canoodle with Rajesh Khanna. Otherwise, why on earth would the gang want to tease Shyam with the license plate ruse? Why not just get some sucker to take the fall? It's not like the police care if the accused is innocent or guilty as long as they are arresting somebody. RIGHT, RAJESH KHANNA?

Once his cunning "art student" disguise had fallen through, Shyam revealed his true job to Neeta. And for her part, Neeta was rightly concerned that one Sri Shyam "Regressive Social Values" Kumar could never love a woman who ...
had a father in jail!

And, to make things even better, on the night that Shyam is going to come over to Neeta's house for dinner for the first time, Neeta's father appears! He ran away from jail
because he is innocent. Understandably, Neeta's Pop was tired of being kicked around by the justice system. I'm sure that Shyam will be understanding, right? Of course he wants to work for the side of justice? Right?

Alas, in a scene so tragically funny that I may have had to watch it twice, Shyam hides outside the window long enough to eavesdrop that Neeta's father is a) in jail for a crime he didn't commit and b) home. Shyam then
calls the police on his wanna-be future father-in-law. Yes. No wonder Neeta's father zung Shyam hard-core with his line: "Your law is blind and merciless." Preach it, brother! And Shyam never learns his lesson.

So, after this, Neeta never wants to see Shyam again. Shyam then takes up with the lovely Miss Lily (Helen), who is the brains behind this whole operation.

(She also looks great in a faux-Arabian outfit.)

(And out of it!)

Shyam, in his second major jerk move, totally plays along with Miss Lily's seduction game. The direction totally hints that they, you know, do...
it, which is really sleazy on his part and naive on hers. Oh, poor Miss Lily! I know you're not bad - you're just drawn that way.

Meanwhile, Neeta gets a job at the same hotel where Miss Lily's gang of criminals works!!

And she mysteriously appears on A TRAIN and is then involved in MURDER all while doing her best HELEN impression!!

This leads to two things - the first is an awesome item song featuring Aruna Irani and a band of gypsy girls.

The second is a tedious subplot starring Rajendra Nath. (He's like a tedious Prem Nath!) Oh, how I wished for something - anything - to happen during Rajesh Khanna and Rajendra Nath's scenes together. Acres of boredom broken by -

Oh, look! It's TUN TUN! Save me, Tun Tun!

Things perk up a bit when Miss Lily returns wearing the best dancing gown in the entire world. (I'm not exaggerating.)


Still a massive jerk!

Neeta thinks so, too. And I'm going to need this image on a t-shirt or something.

Okay - so, as a final crazy caper Shyam and Rajendra's sidekick character get decked out in fancy disguises and try to bait Miss Lily's Gang into "robbing" them.

Neeta-acting-like-Helen shows up! And fails to recognize Shyam in his genius disguise as "Carnaby Street Fashion Plate." OR DOES SHE?!

I won't give away the final ending, but I will say that Shyam remains a jerk up and until the end. Here he has his beloved cradled in his arms. She's dying and all he can say is, "Well, a criminal's daughter is sure to be a criminal, too."

Le sigh.

In short, Rajesh Khanna refuses to believe what O.P. Ralhan always tells us - criminals are made by society; not born. Miss Lily turns to crime because she had no money and no way to support herself and pay her family's debts. Neeta's father is sent to jail for a crime he didn't commit and yet the taint remains on her. Who would blame her for taking a job in Miss Lily's hotel when nobody else will hire her?

If you can stomach Rajesh Khanna is full-on bland mode, then
The Train is really worth your time for the soundtrack (KILLER), the direction (TRIPPY), and the always lovely Helen in a starring role.

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Note from Filmi Girl:

I love Bollywood - and all the ridiculous things that happen in Bollywood - but it doesn't mean that I can't occasionally make fun of various celebrities and films.

If you don't like my sense of humor, please just move on by - Trolls are not appreciated and nasty comments will be deleted.

xoxo Filmi Girl
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