January 25, 2008

"Din mahine saal," Avtaar (1983)

Today's Shabana-gaana is not pretty.

When I saw Avtaar, I hadn't yet seen many of Shabana Azmi's mainstream films - I hadn't seen Fakira, or Parvarish, and the idea of Shabana ji prancing around trees in full-on masala mode just blew my tiny little mind to the point where I didn't really appreciate just how horrible the picturization of this song is.

Today, with some perspective, I can only conclude that she was made to look ungraceful on purpose. Shabana ji was not a great dancer in her mainstream heroine days - but she really wasn't this bad. Look for the moment at about 1:35 where she tumbles ass-over-teakettle off the berm - as I said, not pretty.

It gets a little better after that - Shabana ji looks much better in the blue sari she wears in the second segment of the song than in the hideously unflattering dress of the first segment - but it's still not good. After a few more snuggly scenes, a sinister character with a pistol shows up to interrupt the amorous frolickling - that's Shabana ji's character's father, who doesn't like the thought of his daughter canoodling with the mechanic.

I didn't much like Avtaar at the time I saw it, and having recently confessed my true feelings about Rajesh Khanna, it's only getting worse in my memory with time and distance. And the twinge of embarrassment I feel watching this song is not doing it any favors, either. I'm sharing the song with you because for me part of loving Shabana ji is exploring her weaknesses as well as her strengths, taking a little time for the places she went wrong even while reveling in all of the many things she does right. Watching her founder in a stinker like "Din mahino saal" makes gems like "Tum itna jo muskura rahe ho" and "Do naina aur ek kahani" that much more lovely.


Anonymous said...

I think the choreography is at fault as well, its hard to look attractive whilst falling on the ground.

I don't really like Rajesh Khanna either, he was nominated for best actor for Avtaar?!

Filmi Geek said...

Zippy - you're right, it's just a terribly crafted picturization all around. What's scariest is that it's not even the film's worst! (Blissfully Shabana ji is not in the worst song on the film.)

Anonymous said...

I find nothing wrong with the song whatsoever. It's supposed to depict two completely unselfconscious adults being themselves romping around together. I like the song actually. And I know for a fact taht it's an evergreen favorite among the masses, even though Lataji is too shrill in the high notes in this song.

Anonymous said...

My comment didn't appear first time around.

I don't find the first dress unflattering at all. In fact, it's a slim and sexy number filled bgy a sensuous beauty in her prime. Purrfect! I'd give my right arm for a date with her in that dress.

Filmi Geek said...

"I'd give my right arm for a date with her in that dress."

As would I. But I still don't think it's flattering. :)

I'm glad you enjoyed the song Maajhi - certainly you are not alone, or the song would have been scrapped and reshot before the film ever saw the light of day - but I can't agree with you. To my eye it's stupidly choreographed (a stretch of the word choreogrpahed really) and awkwardly performed - especially Shabanaji, who just looks dangerously ungraceful and uncoordinated throughout - and even compared to other films of its time and genre I find it painful to watch.

Just to be completely clear, my beef is with the picturization, not the song itself, which is unobjectionable.