Moving out the film reviews to old blog.
So I saw Dhool ka Phool.
And this is how it goes.
First Mahesh (Rajendra Kumar) and Meena (Mala Sinha) crash into each other in college – luckily they are on cycles and not motorbikes or whatever one may be on these days. Mahesh has lipstick on, this and other things make Meena furious but scene ends with her making cow eyes at all that rouge. Never underestimate the power of Revlon.
Then they have one of those sawaal-jawaab numbers that sadly exist no more. Meena’s attire looks retro, pre-partition but I am digging it. She is rather fond of the coy glance, I note. Oh and Mehmood popped by for a second.
Before one can think aww so romantic, we are told Mahesh is an irresponsible, wealthy sort. And Meena has evil guardians-we know they are evil because they have a ready arsenal of obvious taunts. But its soon time for a duet in the parks and lakes and in the rains. Rains and lonely cottages=illicit, delicious sex. Then it is morning and Mahesh and Meena are not like thank you/don't bother to call, that was amazing/bad sex but we have SINNED AND YOU IN THE AUDIENCE SHOULD NEVER DO THIS.
Soon Meena, the promising student, has passed her exams with flying colours but is also like looking at photograph of Murphy Baby and thinking Good Lord, I am preggers and soon to be a MAA. Then she runs off to Mahesh, who is running off to meet his dad, and then they are all we totes love each other and we will be in this together. But Mahesh goes home and meets Malti (Nanda) who is well connected and all and forgets that “main ek bacche ka baap banne wala hoon”. Meanwhile Meena is waiting for letters of love and when none arrive goes off to meet Mahesh. And shock horror - encounters a bloke in a sehra and on a horse who could have been any random dude but who she (rightly) identifies as Mahesh. Then she is all heartbroken and goes home and confides - loudly - to her maid and then of course evil guardians hear this and soon she is thrown out of the house and living with the maid. Meanwhile Mahesh and Malti (what’s with all the M names) are cooing and being quite sweet.
Then Meena has a baby and looks all aghast and cross and sad. And Mahesh is alluding to his past with new wife but is also totes happy because he is having another – this time legit – baby. Naturalment both babies are boys. And Meena is all what the fuck why am I raising this mewling thing on my own and rushes off to meet Mahesh and get him to like acknowledge paternity and seek visiting hours. But he is what the fuck this may not even be my baby, go away. Meena is then thinking hey fuck you Mahesh I can be cruel too and place a stone on my motherly heart and hey how about this jungle, perfect place to leave an infant. It is indeed perfect for soon a king cobra, no less, is offering protection to said infant and then a kindly Abdul Chacha (Manmohan Krishna) half-heartedly shouts a bit – koi hai sort of thing - and carts off the baby. Meena’s motherly heart meanwhile is rebooted and she goes back but alas THE BABY IS GONE.
The baby, named Roshan, is now with Abdul Chacha who is “so sweet that it will turn a person diabetic”. But fear not for the bitterness of the people who surround him is a surefire remedy. Abdul Chacha disillusioned by these mandir and masjid cruel folk, goes off elsewhere with baby and sings him an anti-religion song but inexplicably asks child to get all anarchist and slaughter the unrighteous in the end. Meena meanwhile finds work as an efficient typist for a nice man who is a lawyer (Ashok Kumar) and soon he is saying I don’t care about the past, let’s get married and then let’s fall in love and have sex for this is the CORRECT ORDER OF EVENTS AUDIENCE. So she is all happy but sad (about that baby you know) and soon ensconced in a nice bungalow. Then she is told the lawyer's swimmers aren't being put to good use as she has just ONE BABY IN HER NASEEB. Mahesh meanwhile has become a judge and has a son who looks so much like a cute girl that it is not funny (Daisy Irani) and the family is all adorable though the audience knows Mahesh must get his COMEUPPANCE. Soon the children are in a school which is a remarkably anti-classist single classroom school for the judge’s son and Abdul Chacha’s ward both get to study here and the class age is like 3-12. Naturalment, the two boys are like we super adore each other and we do not know we are half-brothers. But the rest of the boys are despicably cruel about Roshan being illegitimate and Roshan is all motherfuckers I will show you what I am made of and skips school and does some half-arsed badassery and is quite enjoying the soft crim life with a few scamps. Only the painful and moral girl like half-brother wants to keep him on the straight and narrow and is so intent on doing so that he finds himself under a car and quite dead. So that puts an end to the crim life and leaves one child to be shared by all, suddenly Roshan is totally hot property.
At some point Roshan also runs into mommy Meena, and they are totally sobbing in each other’s arms to make us the audience realise that their SOULS ALREADY KNOW EACH OTHER. And Meena twigs on to the fact that Roshan is her son.
Anyhow then there is a court scene where the judge is none other than Mahesh and Roshan is being defended by Meena’s lawyer husband. Mahesh is all like this child is sprung of bad seed and must be punished - you know apne hi pair pe kulhadi maarna type of thing. Then Meena gets up and makes a speech and Mahesh thinks fuck I am the father of this dastardly child. Then the court scene kind of collapses and everyone rushes off to Abdul Chacha’s house to decide who gets to keep Roshan. And Mahesh is all fuck fuck I don’t stand a chance here and I really can’t see too well with the thick glasses that they have given me to make me look OLD so I will pass. Meena and “true dad” lawyer husband get the spoils because you know she actually went back for the baby in the jungle. But not before Abdul Chacha looks all sad and delivers a massively guilt inducing speech (I shall die old and neglected cos mere ankhon ka roshan is being taken away from me) that makes one glad to see his back heading off to Mecca or whatevers. And then mum and son return home and its THE END and the audience departs in the certainty that PREMARITAL SEX IS WRONG but if you do indulge it helps to keep a condom handy.
I jest, Dhool Ka Phool is not a half bad movie if didactic and often given to Hindi movie cliches. Like most movies of the time, it has some fairly nice songs. It is decidedly pro-woman in that 50s fashion and makes a few hard hitting points about religion and takes pains to make the point that illegitimacy does not mark a child, only the society which condemns it. Plus Meena is actually quite a spunky lady. And I have a serious woman crush on Mala Sinha who is really good here.