Sunday, February 22, 2009

Shash-buckler: Amar Shakti

Since this will be at least the third blog post on Amar Shakti in as many months (first Antarra, then Memsaab), I really don't have much to add to the conversation, even in screencaps. These two intrepid gals have comparative cast discussions, plot summary, and actual analysis covered - but even with all of those things accomplished elsewhere, how can a person not write about this film, at least a little bit?

Amar Shakti
may be "Dharam Veer Light," but because "light" only has meaning relative to each original product's nutritional information, not against some fixed standard of measured intake, it's still a feast of R(ecommended) M(asala) A(llowance) ingredients, and watching it leaves you feeling like a happily dazed glutton, blissed out on Shashi and swordfighting. Alternately, you might call Amar Shakti a poor woman's Dharam Veer, but it's "poor" only in the sense that Wall Street execs are poor with their new TARP $500,000 salary cap.

For starters, it has the sweet, delicious, fattening, life-sustaining chocolate curls of one Shashi Kapoor (Amar), with his powers at full blast,

and the swaggering, saucy goodness of Shatrughan Sinha (Shakti),

first as royal guard/rebellious gypsy enemies, then as "Bhai?" "BHAI?" "BHAI?!?" "BHAI?!?!?!?!?!?" "MAAAA!!!!" (Indrani Mukherjee)

It also has a few of those moments that catch even semi-seasoned masala fans like myself by surprise. Wannabe leader Hameera (Ranjeet) and Shakti agree to fight over "The Well of Fire," a lair-type structure that is somehow a physically established component of their gypsy-ish "caravan" lifestyle.

I love that they actually have a proper name for it and such a wondrous structure does not go unremarked upon. The caravan has fantabulous textiles on their magnificent tents and covered wagons!

An evil character repents and learns his lesson - and survives to act on it! Symbolic juxtaposition of good and evil, true and false, through portraiture!

Maa gives Amar a slap both physical and metaphorical as he saunters home drunk in his Napoleonic ice capades outfit. (It was less the slapping and more the outfit that surprised me, of course.)

That's the sting of truth, my son!
A bubbling well in an underground dungeon leads to a princess's bathing pool!

I know it isn't fair to blame Sulakshana Pandit for not being Neetu Singh, but I never get over my disappointment that she isn't.
Magically morphing hairdos!

You say continuity error, I say pretty pretty princess powers!
Best bedroom ever!

Almost everyone wears fringe and/or looks like an elf, and Amar introduces the world to the shirt-coordinated wrist scarf.

And, one of best things I have ever seen on film, a papier-maché fire-breathing Trojan elephant is introduced in song by Shakti and the gypsies to a packed arena awaiting an execution!


Let Amar Shakti remind us all to beware of our Desai & Co.-fueled hubris in thinking "Well now I've seen everything." We haven't - and, Helen be praised, we probably never will. Masala zindabad!

Now, how about an extra sprinkling of chocolate curls before you go?


Yummy.

13 comments:

memsaab said...

It is impossible to write TOO much about all the goodness in this film. And Shashi was beautiful, but Ranjeet...Ranjeet is HOT.

Masala Zindabad!!!!!!!

bollywooddeewana said...

This looks so much like dharamveer, might give it a go sometime. The sets look amazing though

bollyviewer said...

sweet, delicious... life-sustaining, chocolate - I get, but why fattening? And no matter how many of them blogland produces, I never get tired of A-S reviews.

bollyviewer said...

PS: loooooove the title of your post. Shash-buckler is sooooo descriptive! ;-)

Crazy on Bollywood said...

Not seen the movie yet but willing to see it.

Beth said...

memsaab - Agreed! As it started, I thought "Oh, this is going to be a Dharam Veer ripoff and poor Shashi is stuck in a second-rate movie," but then I realized it was fantastic all on its own - and as you wisely put it, if one is good, two are better!

Masala Zindabad!!!!!!

bollywooddeewana - Definitely! I don't think you'll be disappointed.

bollyviewer - Fattening because 1) surely something that amazing to consume cannot be good for you and 2) the Powers of the Shashi (especially The Voice) have inspired me to sit on the sofa even more than I already did.

I hope you'll try this one too - I bet you'll love it.

And thank you! That one came to me in the first scene Shashi has, where he's doing his sword training. He's so inspiring! :)

Crazy on Bollywood - It's really fun!

Beth said...

OMG. If we take as true the idea that Shashi-watching is inherently fattening, or even just masala-Shashi-watching is fattening, then that would explain a lot about his last twenty years, wouldn't it! Whoa.

memsaab said...

You mean as in just BEING Shashi is fattening? :-) I like it!

bollyviewer said...

So thats why my weight has been going up steadily the last few years?! :-( Help!!! Is there a support group that will help me get off my addiction?

And I have seen A-S - several times, and I LOVE it! All these reviews are tempting me to write it up too - but then between memsaab, Antarra and you - you've covered everything, including the screencaps!

gebruss said...

I have to say, I have no desire to be healed from my addiction. But the weight gain theory sounds interesting.

BB said...

This looks like the most beautifully cracktastic movie EVER.

Beth said...

memsaab - Precisely! I will develop this idea further at a later point, but I think I'm on to something.

bollyviewer - Sadly no, there is no known cure, but as gebruss says, who would want one?

Who's the opposite of Shashi? Mithun?

I should have known you'd seen it! :)

BB - It is! :) Let me know what you think :)

bollyviewer said...

The opposite of Shashi has to be Govinda for me. Just as I can watch any crap for Shashi, I cant watch even a good movie with Govinda in it (he did have some nice ones back in the day)!