Friday, 25 May 2012

Once Upon A Time in Lucknow

So I saw Chaudhvin Ka Chand.

This movie is part of a now dead genre, the Muslim Social. As such it is like watching something moth balled surfacing into the bright light, an anachronism but one so forgotten that it is not as dreadful as you thought. It also stars Fat Flashman who started as a joke but I have grown fond of him! Here his Book of Nawabi Tehzeeb serves him ill so we hope he is back in his red boudoir in his next outing:-) And away we go with our pictorial guide:

First let me say I love Censor Board certificates and totally think they should be on Tees and personalised and mine is going to be a certificate for Fat Flashman’s Lady in which I shall star as his Lady.  Dream, dream, sigh. Anyway coming back to the movie, Fat Flashman is a rich nabob called Nawab/Pyare Mian (Rehman) and he hangs out a fair bit with a bloke called Shazia (Johnny Walker) who is the kind of chap whose entire purpose in life is to loiter in the bazaars, chat up lines in hand, in search of comely ladies.  The ladies of Lucknow are all demure and shit though - unless they are old in which case they talk to strange men and don’t bother to shut the hatch. 

Jameela (Waheeda Rehman) here however has a propensity to remove her veil at all inopportune moments and here she is doing just that.  Nawab who until then has been reciting chapter and verse of Nawabi Tehzeeb to Shaiza the Sleaze suddenly forgets himself when he sees Jameela and is all happy and shit and thinking yay yay One True Pairing (OTP) and can't take his eyes of her and perhaps that smile is a bit creepy and Jameela thinks he is a perve and down goes the veil. Soon she is lost in the crowd and you are thinking fuck life was hard for the Truehearts of Lucknow. 

Nawab’s sister is around so its LADIES PARTY TIME! OTP Jameela rocks along to the party and just so you know that this is not an OTP, spies Nawab’s picture and calls him an ugly fool. And he spots her and hears this and is totes happy because everyone knows in lady talk ugly fool=Love Ya! OTP!  Meanwhile the ladies are all singing and eye rolling and Nawab is spying and hey has totally discarded that Tehzeeb Book.

What with spying and chasing Jameela, Nawab ends up with a piece of her dupatta.  And his lady maid is going to find out who the dupatta belongs to! Exciting! Only Jameela exchanges the dupatta with a friend. Everyone does this right, I myself have a stock of other ladies duppatas! So the lady maid gets it all wrong. Meanwhile Shaiza and Super Dost, Aslam (Guru Dutt) come along and Nawab is YAY boys now I want to fling fucking red hearts all around because I found my OTP!!  Also looks like Lucknowi Tehzeeb likes its lady servants unveiled.

This here is Nawab’s mother. All her dialogues consist of tumhari shaadi bas ho jaye, man it must be VERY TEDIOUS to be an old lady actor.  She’s found a match, the daughter of the maulvi but Nawab is no maulvi girls will stand between me and my OTP!! But nope the mom has promised the maulvi. So off he goes to meet Super Dost to convince him to marry The Maulvi’s Daughter. Turns out its Nawab who is the super dost who has helped Aslam a great deal.  I  am all mixed feelings here R, should I stay loyal to Fat Flashman or is that Aslam daku moustache a bit menacing or what? I feel the slightest degree of a swoon!

Nawab here has opened his book and figured out the correct gesture to be made per tehzeeb when trying to shut up a friend singing your praises and we can both agree he looks Stoopid. But let's abandon Aslam too since both are being all tehzeeby and deciding that Aslam gets to marry the Maulvi’s daughter. If you don’t know who the Maulvi’s daughter is, aap Hindi Cinema ki pariksha mein fail!

Soon Aslam is having a fancy schmancy wedding through which we have to Suffer the Shaiza and then he is in a non-red boudoir strictly meant for the ladies amongst us who like gauze, pink, moonlight, shairi – that is not us – and then its veil lifting time and this here is his bride.  You may please stop reading if you hadn’t like guessed the bride by now.

Meanwhile Nawab chasing the wrong dupatta thinks that this lady here is his OTP inamorta and manages to arrange a meeting. Except the lady gets all scared by the way too ardent admirer. Meanwhile Aslam is doing some boudoir seduction and while as 20 year olds we might have sat before TVs and been swoon swoon over Chaudhvin ka Chand Ho, now you are thinking does a song really need THAT many fucking similies?

So the wrong OTP inamorata doesn’t turn up and Nawab gets beaten up and the friends turn up to rally his spirits, keep your chin up lad, Mystery Lady shall soon be yours! Then they are all in a market place and Shaiza is in disguise all the better to trap the ladies.  Ladies, never trust a beard. 

Is Jameela a tease? She is forever unveiling herself in bazaars. And exchanging stuff, this time the burqa with this girl here. Shaiza who knows she is Nawab’s OTP but not Aslam’s wife, clicks a picture. And here’s the thing, THERE IS NO FUCKING FURTHER MENTION OF THIS PICTURE. I must now add that to IMDB bloopers. 

That burqa exchange means Aslam now thinks Mystery Lady is his relative and arranges a match between her and Nawab.  Meanwhile Shaiza seems to be sweet on a dancing lady who is – relief – unveiled. Though I have no idea why he gets around in this disguise like ALL THE TIME. 

Here’s Jameela again, a woman who clearly doesn’t know how to use her veil appropriately because she has rocked up to the front door of her house WITHOUT WEARING ONE! Nawab comes in and thinks she is the relative he is getting married to and is all refined Nawabi glee and this is getting on my nerves and I need to calm myself with a dose of Fucking Fat Flashman (though not perhaps the way I put it here as he is quite dead) but I will soon be back. 

But Aslam knows otherwise and is yay I am the Tragedy King and can now be sunk in gloom and look tortured because I know my best mate has his mitts on my wife and would like nothing more than to fuck her. Jameela - who STILL doesn't know that Nawab wants her badly - is all fuck my veil-less opening of doors has served me ill and there is nothing left to do but weep and mope. 

Is there something creepy in going to look at an erotic dance by your best mate’s girl in order to get your wife to want to divorce you so she can marry your super dost? Looks like Lucknowi Nawabi Tehzeeeb says no. But the friends are deeply concerned by the ruinous ways of Aslam. And that’s not another Shaiza disguise, he’s got himself a police job all the better to fancy the ladies.

Aslam's kotha hopping results in Jameela’s tough brothers rocking up and Aslam is all I will divorce your sister only you MUST re-marry her to Nawab. Jameela is not like Fuck why Nawab but I will never ever leave you. So that’s the end of Bad Aslam In Search of A Divorce for the sake of His Best Friend. But Aslam Super Dost has to do something so that Nawab gets his girl and that there is how you look when you are planning your own death.

Meanwhile Nawab is all set to marry the wrong girl but rushes off to pick up Aslam because he hasn’t bothered to turn up for the wedding party because well he is planning to die remember.  And inexplicably Aslam is not wife, disrobe at once, but wife dress up in wedding finery one last time.  I am beginning to have doubts about this Tehzeeb book. Though of course its helpful Jameela didn’t disrobe because like Nawab comes over and realises that his OTP IS ASLAM'S WIFE! 

Poor Nawab is all shattered when he thinks of all the lust filled days that came to naught and what could have been if he had said yes to the Maulvi’s daughter. I am afraid I was distracted by the velvet and embroidered hearts, don’t you fancy a man who is not scared of sequins?!

The Tehzeeb Book apparently said Shame on You for Lusting After Another's Wife! So poor Nawab  chooses Death by Diamonds and looking at that picture you know greater love has no man etc. and we have finally finally arrived at the correct OTP! Yay! And Aslam is all Jameela, enough of this unveiling shit, put that thing down RIGHT NOW! And Jameela STILL doesn't know what the fuck happened. 

And now that it is over Fat Flashman, you may please go back to The Sadist's Handbook and drinking games.

I expected to have lots of eyeroll moments given the theme of Chaudhvin Ka Chand but given everything it wasn't half bad.  I say this often but the way dialogue is written and delivered makes a difference and here it lends a natural flow to the film.  The film is also slightly ambiguous, ostensibly an ode to the culture of Lucknow its neither very flamboyant nor does it particularly milk its dramatic moments. Something else seems to flow beneath its surface though its not a critique of the culture either. If it is an ode, it comes across as a faintly subversive ode to Lucknow. As it stands, it seems intended to be a homage to male friendship, both on screen and off given the three actors worked together in a number of films. 

No comments:

Post a Comment