Lakhtar Ni Ladi Ne Vilayat No Var (2006)

April 1, 2009 at 1:50 am Leave a comment

 Starring: Sharmili Raj, Ritu Kanodia, Naresh Kanodia 

 

Let’s start with the title…’Lakhtar Ni Ladi Ne Vilayat No Var’…quite a mouthful, isn’t it? I had to look up the name of this film because no matter how many times I may see it…I don’t think I’ll ever remember that tongue twister. See if you can say it 5 times fast (that is…if you can even say it once.) I discovered this through Netflix, and when I tried to search for more information about it…all I found were places to buy the VCD and little else. This film is in Gujarati, one of the many various and colorful Indian languages. While it certainly isn’t the best, it’s easy to watch. And if you just don’t like Gujarati films, there will probably be a Hindi version out there somewhere.

This movie was released in 2006. But like I said, I couldn’t find out much about it. So either it was made around 1980-90 something, or the budget is incredibly low. The camera quality is like something you would have seen churned out of India about 20 years ago. The men’s hairstyles are all fluffy and very 80’s…so I have my doubts whether or not it was actually MADE within the last few years, or the producers couldn’t afford to have it released until just recently.

We start with a village, Lakhtar. All of the men, young and old…married and single…crowd around the streets to watch Pushpa (Sharmili Raj) make her daily walk. Her entrance is something the viewer will immediately notice, as she has a very characterized walk…and she flips her braid at least 10 times within 2 minutes. Of course, the women of Lakhtar are unhappy that Pushpa gets so much attention from the men. They confront her about this, and she bursts into song about being unable to help it. It’s a cute song, not great…but cute. The melody is infectious enough to get you humming it 2 days later. The singer may be great, but the actress who plays Pushpa…well…frankly, her voice sounds like an angry cat. You’ll get used to her talking within 20 minutes, but get ready to cringe when she says her first word. Despite her voice, she is still semi-pretty and a good actress.

After her song, Pushpa is walking around an area where it seems there is an epidemic of…epic…proportions. (Epidemic of epic proportions? Right, okay…I’m not a poet, so sue me.) When she inquires of the other women in the village, she finds out that the evil Jaggu has been selling bad liquor to the men of the village and poisoned many. Pushpa incites the women to action, and they march onto Jaggu’s place, where they tear it apart. Pushpa forces Jaggu to drink his own beer, and then gets him arrested. And then…Jaggu makes the most dire of all threats…to return…and force her to marry him! That should teach her a lesson, right? Marriage? Okay, I don’t know how this guy’s logic operates…but we’ll just ignore that bit for now.

Pushpa’s father is upset at her, worrying that what she did would ruin the family’s reputation. He coughs a bit, foreshadowing his imminent death. They make plans to visit Pushpa’s uncle Arvind, who Pushpa‘s father had a big part in raising. Flash-forward to Arvind’s house, and we find out that they are celebrating his daughter Bindu’s birthday.

Bindu is dressed in an awful red get-up, complete with a matching boa. If this wasn’t enough to make me think this movie had been released two decades too late, I don’t know what could. Bindu excitedly gets a tape in the mail from her fiancée, Anand, and rushes to a private room so she can watch it. It is here that we find out that he couldn’t make it to the party, but he’ll be bamboozled if they don’t at least have a musical number anyway! Bindu steps into the tv, and what-do-you-know…a song. Now, this is what we would call ‘fantasy’, as the film is based totally in reality…and only an idiot would think she actually did jump into the television set. Throughout the song, they dance in various places (average Indian back-up settings: trees, theme parks, and docks.) Anand…does a few 80’s break-dance moves, and the song ends.

Arvind is waiting anxiously for his brother, when he finds out…that his poor brother died. With love in his heart, Arvind takes Pushpa into his home with hopes of finding her a husband (father’s dying wish and all.) His wife and daughter Bindu don’t see eye-to-eye with him on the matter, and Bindu especially does everything she can to make Pushpa’s stay there miserable.

Bindu is a ‘modern girl’ with ‘modern style’ and ‘modern ideas’. Pushpa is a silly village girl who is under the ridiculous notion that her husband would want her to cook and clean for him and see to his every will. After all, don’t husbands want wives who will spend all of their money on sequin gowns and feather boas? Eventually, Pushpa is pushed too far after her uncle’s billionth failure in finding a husband for her…(save for an over-weight priest who lives off the profits of selling used coconuts.) and Bindu says a few things she shouldn’t have. So Pushpa makes a bet that she can steal Bindu’s fiancée because she is a much better person, and then throw him away (why would a good person do this to a guy she doesn‘t even know?) Bindu takes the bet, and in comes Anand.

Luckily for Pushpa, even after Anand finds out about the bet and scoffs, there are some neighbors willing to help her out…because she reminds them of their dead daughter. How touching. So they dress her up as a modern girl (being sure to use extra eyebrow pencil over her already thick and very dark eyebrows, complete with lipstick smeared onto her face clown-style.) She has a musical sequence at a party where Bindu and her family are invited to meet her…using Pushpa’s assumed name ‘Prema’. Anand is immediately smitten, and even watches her silhouette in a window as she gets dressed (or should I say one of the neighbors pretends to be Pushpa, and takes off her gloves and hat in front of the window shade.)

Through a series of drugging and tricking, Pushpa manages to keep Bindu occupied while she goes on morning walks with Anand, of course still disguised as ‘Prema’. Eventually she even gets the chance to go on a car trip with him! Now the next bit is confusing, and goes by a bit quickly…needless to say, the car is pulled over, there’s a scuffle, and Anand realizes who she really is. He slaps her and goes into a melodramatic pout…then forgives her and realizes that he truly loves Pushpa. When Bindu finds out that Anand wants to marry her cousin instead, she begs Pushpa to give him back. After all, that was part of the bet, right?

Poor Pushpa finds that she’s fallen in love with Anand too! But…she reluctantly gives him up, telling him she was just winning her bet and didn’t want him anymore. Anand is re-engaged to Bindu, and Pushpa is miserable. Then they’re both kidnapped on a car ride by none other than Jaggu, and Pushpa is forced to call her uncle to threaten that Bindu will be killed if he doesn’t bring a specified amount of cash to her on a cliff in the middle of nowhere. But how does it end?! That’s up to you to find out…you know…by watching the movie. Anyway, despite the many…many…many many many flaws of this movie, it’s good. I liked it anyway. And due to the fun songs, it’s earned at least 6/10 bindis.

 
 

 

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Entry filed under: 5 and more Bindis, Film Reviews, Gujarati, Languages. Tags: , , , , .

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