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Jaal Saaz (1969)

M. H. Films

Dir: Mohd. Hussain

Cast: Dara Singh, Bambi, Madan Puri, Shetty, Randhir, Ulhas, Paro, Agha, Samson, Sunder, Damuanna, Kamini.

As the film opens, Secret Agent 004 is being tortured to death by India’s enemies. They are attempting to learn from him, and his lovely co-secret agent…

…where the microfilm is hidden.

Despite the electrocutions, 004 won’t turn against his country, leaving the bad guys no choice but to off him.

Now, it is the girl’s turn to talk.

When asked where the micro-film is she gives some silly answers….

…but this lady secret agent is not the dim bulb she pretends to be, as she tosses an inkwell into the goons face, grabs a machine gun and shoots and karate chops her way out of danger…

..or so it seems, until one enemy agent also grabs a gun and shoots her down.

The End?

Not on your life, this just the beginning…and it all turns out to have been a crazy dream from the fertile mind of the detective-novel-loving Meena (Bambi)!

Meena’s mom is completely at her wits end with her espionage obsessed daughter.

Of course, having a flighty daughter is really the least of the widow’s worries. There is also son Bunty to be concerned with. The youngster needs a medical procedure that will cost 25,000 rupees! With only Meena’s meager office clerk salary supporting the family, it is difficult enough just making ends meet. In fact, they are already seven months delinquent on the rent, as their landlord (Sunder) is ever ready to remind Meena of.

Gosh, even the snackwala wants money from her!

At the office, Meena’s coworkers, who refer to her as ‘Lady James Bond,’ are entertained by accounts of her most recent dream.

Unfortunately, the boss man, Seth, is not a fan and when he once again finds Meena keeping his staff away from their work, he fires her.

To top this off, Bunty is sent home from school because his fees are four months in arrears.

How could things get any worse for poor Meena and her family?

A rich man named Ranbir Singh had been witness to Meena’s firing, and he offers her a job. He wants Meena to help him find his brother who has become missing in Bombay after hooking up with some fiendish businessmen from Hong Kong.

All she has to do is impersonate his brother’s daughter, Sonia, who he says she resembles, and seek out information on his whereabouts. Meena is weary of taking such a job, but when Ranbir offers to pay for Bunty’s doctor bills, plus all of her family’s household expenses, she agrees.

Randbir sends Meena to meet up with reformed underworld don, Ashok, better known as Black Shirt (Dara Singh), who now is the proprietor of The Golden Heart Club.

This of course means a lively nightclub number is in store for the viewers, which Madhumati supplies!

Meena, disguised as Sonia, arrives at the club looking just delightful dressed in Hong Kong style.

She asks club manager Abdullah (Agha) if she can meet Mr. Black Shirt…

….but Black Shirt refuses to see anyone.

So what’s a girl to do? Meena sets in motion a commotion by tripping a waiter, who spills food all over a customer, causing a fight which becomes a riot, which in turn forces Black Shirt down from his office.

As Black Shirt works to calm things down, Meena sneeks up to his office. Now able to meet the man she came to see, she convinces him to hire her as a singer at the club.

Later, Meena also explains to Ashok/Black Shirt that she has come all the way from Hong Kong to search for her (or rather, Sonia’s) father who has evidently been kidnapped. What with Black Shirt being a former don she figures that he would know all the criminals in Bombay, and she hopes that he might help her.

But now that he is on the right side of the law, Black Shirt informs that he no longer knows any of the local hoods. He is charmed, however, and is willing to assist her as best he can.

The two get the ball rolling by calling on dacoit Jaggu (Habib), informing him of who they are searching for.

Jaggu in turn reports to Madanlal (Madan Puri), a top underworld figure.

Back at the club, and after a lovely musical number by Meena and a club dancer, she meets with Mr. John who claims to know the whereabouts of the man she is looking for.

Just as he is about to spill the information a shot rings out and Mr. John breathes his last.

Later, the beautiful Rosy, Madanlal’s secretary,  telephones Meena, pretending to be Mrs. John.

The ruse results in Meena being kidnapped!

Uh, oh!

Will Black Shirt be able to find the kidnapped Meena?

Or will Meena have to come to the rescue of Black Shirt?

And will Ranbir’s missing brother ever be found?

To know this, and much more, see JAAL SAAZ!

JAAL SAAZ is bound to please any stunt film/Dara Singh fan (it most certainly pleased me!), and our favorite Punjabi is in fine form as the handsome reformed criminal, Ashok, a.k.a Black Shirt….

…but truly, this is  Bambi’s movie all the way! In fact I would not be at all surprised if this feature had been planned as a showcase for the new actress, who showed great potential in a short lived career; a darn shame given her excellent comedy skills and versatility.

So, I ask, whatever became of Bambi?

This is a question I’d love to answer, but I cannot. In fact I haven’t a clue as to why she left films or where she is now…and if anyone can fill me in, please don’t hesitate to do so.

Finding any kind of  information on this actress has been virtually impossible. However, I did find that I am not the first to appreciate her thespian skills. Writer Girija Rajendran, in the May 25, 1971 issue of Star & Style magazine had this to say about Bambi’s starring role in the 1971 drama PHIR BHI:

Both the roles of the mother and the daughter were equally important and were treated as such. With the scripter giving legitimate footage to both the characters, the heroine Bambi and Urmila Bhatt as her mother, came up each with a compelling performance.

Still, like the role of Richard Burton in “Becket”, I thought the more complex one was Bambi’s. For it was she who had to portray the intricate and highly involved feelings of an abnormal girl who, for all appearances, is normal. This is an introvert personality in the film, so much so that not even a glimmer of a smile is allowed to play freely upon the face of the heroine.

Bambi–and those who saw her maiden film, MAIKHANA, will bear me out– is well equipped to put any extraordinary character across with telling effect.

From what little I can find out, Bambi was discovered by Kidar Sharma and she made her debut in his social film MAIKHANA (1967). And because of her delicate looks and elfish charm some referred to her as the Indian Audrey Hepburn. There was also some criticism in fan magazines that she was far too thin, and needed to put on a few kilos if she intended to become a leading actress.

MAIKHANA, though critically liked, was a loser at the box office, and that surely did not help the girl’s career any. Her role in the film is described as bubbly and full of comedy, quite the opposite of her role in the more serious PHIR BHI.

Also in 1971, Bambi appeared opposite Kishore Kumar in the dramatic DOOR KA RAAHI which also featured Ashok Kumar, Tanuja, Abhi Bhattacharya, and  Amit Kumar. In this film she portrays Karuna, the love interest of Prashant (Kishore Kumar), who chooses to travel life’s road rather then commit to marriage.

According to director Hrishikesh Mukherjee, who was duly impressed by Bambi’s performances, after a handful of Hindi pictures she left Bombay to settle in Ahmedabad, thus, apparently, ending her film career.

Of course, Bambi and hero Dara Singh are not the only great thing about JAAL SAAZ.

Comedienne Agah plays a good role as Ashok’s assistant. He manages to get in a few pretty good lines…

…and Master Shetty has a meaty role as an evil smuggler out to do away with anyone who gets in the way of his devilish dealings….

And as if that weren’t enough, there is Bela Bose…

…and Bhagwan…

…both making friendly appearances.

So, if you need a fun time filler and also want to see a new face, pick up a copy of JAAL SAAZ. You won’t be sorry! And if nothing else, you can watch this musical number over and over, like I do……Hai Ram, how I just love Bambi’s bullet hair-do in this picturization (and am wondering who the dancer is…anyone know?)

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