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Chaahat Ek Nasha

(2005)

Dir: Jai Prakash, Surya Prakash

Cast: Aryan Vaid, Manisha Koirala, Pretti Jhangiana, Sharad S. Kapoor, Sayaji Sinde, Snehal Dabi.

Rashmi (Preeti Jhangiani) loves to sing and dance. Her best friends all insist that she could become the next superstar.

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However, her father, Dr. Sanjeev, will have none of that as he wishes to send his daughter off to medical school in the states. How boring. Eventually, (and quite easily, I might add) he gives in to Laxmi’s request to try her luck in show business, but with the condition that she has to have become successful as an entertainer within 1 year, or off to university she goes.

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Rashmi’s first stop on her way to becoming the idol of billions is the swank office of R. K. Music producer Rahul (Aryan Vaid), where she is immediately blown off. You see Rahul is already very busy trying to keep the organization’s main pop sensation Mallika (Manisha Koirala) on the top of the charts.

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And he color coordinates very nicely, too.

Mallika, besides being the Hindustani Madonna….

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….she is also Rahul’s girlfriend. Poor, handsome-hottie Rahul is wanting to make her his wife, if she will have him, but alas, Mallika has no interest in marriage, wrongly (or not) believing that marriage ruins everything.

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… and when he proposes to her she tells him that she would prefer to just stay friends, with “benefits.” She obviously believes in the old adage of “why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free.”

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But I digress

Because Mallika is such a famous star she has a bodyguard, named Jaidev (Sharad S. Kapoor), a big, brooding sort who is secretly in love with her, has a very bad temper, and has even beaten to a pulp a couple of guys who got fresh with Ms. M.

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In his case, decidedly so.

Back to Rashmi, she finally manages to get a cd of her work slipped into Rahul’s hands and, fade to next scene…his agency has decided to produce her first album. Take that Dr. Dad!

Just in time too, as Mallika’s star has begun to fade (almost overnight, it would seem, since she was like # 1 on the charts at the start of the movie), and the agency is really in need of someone new and fresh.

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Incidentally Rashmi is a huge fan(atic) of Mallika and over the years has spent a considerable sum not only buying all of  her records and cassettes but sending her fave adoring notes and flowers.

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So sweet!

Before you start thinking this will turn into a Hindi All About Eve, let me just dash those hopes by mentioning that this plot point is barely played upon, and has no purpose other then to show that Rashmi respects the elder that she is unknowingly about to shove out of the spotlight. No, this movie decides not to go there (too bad), although I am certain there must be several Bollywood films that already have remade the Bette Davis classic.

With her first album a smash, Rashmi is the shining light of R. K Music. Rahul, still feeling the sting of a broken heart over Mallika’s refusal to marry him, suddenly takes notice of Rashmi, and realizes that she might make a darn good life partner. There is a musical number to prove it.

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He and Rashmi do indeed make a love connection and Mallika is sent off to the “we can still be best friends, can’t we?” camp. Not that Mallika minds all that much at first, after all it was her idea not to get serious, but when Rahul delivers the news personally that he and Rashmi are to wed, she doesn’t take it well, what with both her career and now her love life in the dumpster. Next thing you know Mallika is boozing it up and smoking like a chimney, neither of which are helping her out of the deep depression she has fallen into.

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After the love birds’ engagement party, in which Mallka was a special guest, there is some speculation by the press about Rahul and Mallika’s current “friendship.” When Mallika is later misquoted by a journalist, it spreads the seed of illegitimate relations all over the tabloids, and Rashmi’s dad informs his daughter that this marriage will not take place.

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In a fury, Rashmi, believing the rumors, confronts Rahul and throws her engagement ring at him. Rahul, in turn, confronts Mallika and insults her in public.

Now, more depressed and drunk then ever, Mallika suggests to Jaidev, who of course has been doing his slimy best to comfort her during this ordeal, that Rahul does not deserve to live and she instructs the all too willing servant to make it so.

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Soon Jaidev is on a search and destroy mission heading into town to find his target. The next day Mallika realizes her bibulous mistake, phones Jaidev and tells him to please ignore her inebriated rants from the previous evening. Jaidev refuses to hear her plea, and besides he has already abducted Rashmi in order to lure Rahul to his death.

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Will Rahul and Rashmi survive and enjoy wedded bliss together?

Will Mallika make a comeback and find love again?

Will Jaidev learn to just chill?

See CHAAHAT EK NASHA to find out!

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CHAAHAT EK NASHA is a B movie, plain and simple. The stars are all of secondary status (but all quite capable)  and the plot is very old-school, albeit with a dash of modern skin show. In fact the script gives lead actor Aryan Vaid ample opportunity to reveal his muscly torso ( but then, gratuitous male beefcake-ness is generally a part of any Aryan Vaid movie… which is not a bad thing!).

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The songs are nothing to write home about, but they are pleasant enough and nicely picturized.  I particularly liked Yeh Chehra Yeh Aankhen.

 

Actor Aryan Vaid is a veteran of this type of celluloid time-pass. Although he has a supporting role in the big budget film  APNE (2007), his major work on the silver screen has been starring in low-budget skin shows like MARKET, MEN NOT ALLOWED, MR 100%: THE REAL PLAYER and FUN: CAN BE DANGEROUS SOMETIMES, horror films such as GUTAN and NAAM GUM JAAYEGA and potboilers like DANAV and FILM STAR. Vaid is a very handsome (see above) and a seemingly competent actor, and he has quickly become a Pedro favorite. It is a mystery to me why he hasn’t made the big time. Perhaps his experiences with the male casting couch, or rather lack thereof, has been detrimental to his career. Here is an interesting interview he recently gave regarding the subject: http://www.theindianstar.com/index.php?udn=2008-01-21&uan=1622

Manisha Koirala did have a decent career in the early 90s, but in more recent years has slipped into making second tier films. She is very effective as the entertainer who is on the top of the world one day, and practically forgotten the next, and I kind of like her. I might have to dig around for more of her films, particularly 1942: A LOVE STORY, which I have heard many good things about, and the soundtrack of which is one of my favorites.

Despite the film’s lack of prestige  it manages to be a fairly good entertainer (at least it was for me, but then I am easy to please), especially if all you are looking for is simple, mindless fun on a rainy day (which is often the case for me).

And of course there is a lot of prettiness to look at!

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Papi Gudia (The Sinful Doll) 1996

Dir: Lawrence D’Souza

Cast: Avinash Wadhavan, Karisma Kapoor, Shakti Kapoor, Master Amar, Tinnu Anand, Mohan Joshi, Subhiraj, and friendly appearance by Poonam Das Gupta.

Papi Gudia

For months children have been vanishing from town without a trace and the policewala have not a clue as to the reason why. The perp turns out to be the dread-lock headed, black cloak wearing Charandas (Shakti Kapoor) who is sacrificing little kiddies in order to complete his black magic ritual.

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Charandas and his similarly attired assistant snatch a boy from a park but are confronted by an old beggar woman who witnesses the crime in progress.

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The two kidnappers get away with their victim, but when Charandas’ co-conspirator gets panicky, Charandas offs him with a knife to the gut

Beggar woman informs the local constabulary of the incident and quick as you can say “donut hole” Inspector Yadav (Tinnu Anand) is on the case.

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Meanwhile, Charandas scouts potential new victims at the local school talent show. No doubt the audience is wishing he’d swipe them all.

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The madman chooses Raju (Master Amar), nabs the youngster and takes off. Yadav spots Charandas, who drops the child and flees. Yadav gives chase, cornering our bad guy in the toy section of Green Card Department Store. The officer takes aim at Charandas who, badly wounded, tumbles into a display of “Angel Dolls.” Before expiring he grabs this Hindustani version of Chatty Cathy and causes his evil soul to posses the gudia.

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Charandas then dies and the store explodes!!??

Little Raju is reunited with older sister Karisma (Karisma Kapoor) who works as an entertainer at the local disco. Of course she lets it be known to everyone that she only dances for a living because she and her brother are orphans and she is their sole support and don’t anyone get the idea that she isn’t chaste and innocent! Whew!Fortunately for the viewers, this “unsuitable” employment allows for some boss disco numbers.

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Just as things are settling down Karisma’s agent informs her of an opportunity for an evening performance out of town which will earn her mucho paisa. She gets her friend Mona to agree to watch her baby brother, but Raju, for reasons unknown, is not crazy about the idea and has a minor fit.

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In order to get the little brat to agree to let Mona sit with him, Karisma bribes Raju with a shopping trip. The siblings come across an outdoor vendor selling toys and Raju, having nixed the guns and other macho novelties that the seller has shown them, sets his eyes on an Angel Doll.

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Karisma is the progressive type however, and despite Raju being a ten year old boy she allows the purchase, though not without a few jabs at the kid’s self esteem.

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Ok sis, give it a rest! Do you want to be paying for that kid’s counseling for the rest of you life?

That night, while executing her babysitting duties, sweet friend Mona quickly turns into a harpy.

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Mona sends Raju and his little plastic pal (who we have found out is named Channi) off to bed. Later, while in the kitchen alone, Mona hears tiny little footsteps sneaking up behind her and the next thing you know she is taking a header out the window of Karisma’s high rise apartment.

Karisma returns home from work only find her abode invaded by the authorities, as led by the dashing Inspector Vijay Saxena (Avinash Wadhavan).

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She learns that Raju is safe, but that Mona is splattered all over the sidewalk below. Innocent faced Raju then explains very matter-of-factly why Mona had to die….

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The police leave the crime scene with a minimum of evidence, but that is Ok since Inspector Vijay seems to be much more interested in Karisma then in fighting crime, and he later fantasizes about the two of them dancing around trees and flowers and shrubs.

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Then, he dreams of inviting her over to meet his pop who, in true filmi fashion, snubs the girl because she dances for a living. As it turns out much later in the film, this episode was not just a dream, but a back story. I have to admit that as a viewer I had no clue that this was the case. At the time, I just presumed it to be Vijay thinking about what his father would likely do upon meeting a potential daughter-in-law who dances for pay. I had no idea that this was an actual incident from earlier in the lives of these characters. Maybe it was bad editing, or maybe we just weren’t supposed to know at this point that the two had once been lovers, but the delay in letting the audience in on this bit of information seemed to serve no purpose. When you do evantually find out that Vijay and Karisma had previously shared a relationship it is only because this fact is mentioned very nonchalantly during the movie’s second half, and then never again.

Anyway, while Vijay is reflecting on his lost love, and Karisma is out earning a day’s dishonorable pay, our Raju is becoming increasingly obsessed with his scary toy.

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He begins to take Channi doll everywhere, even to school. Soon the two are bunking class and taking a bus to another side of town where Channi disappears while Raju is relieving himself behind a truck. The devil doll makes a quick trip down the street to the home of Inspector Yadav (who, by the way, had made it safely out of the earlier exploding store), and soon another victim has been dispatched to heaven.

Before long there is another grisly murder, this time it’s the old beggar woman who is crushed by Karisma’s stolen car (yes, the doll drives). Everyone (except Raju) begins to wonder just what the heck is going on.

While Raju is being held for observation, Karisma discovers that Channi’s batteries are still in the box the doll had been packaged in and had never been installed into the talking toy at all. She confronts Channi and is promptly attacked by him. Karisma flees to the police station and relays the story to a disbelieving Vijay. Not able to convince her ex that the doll is alive she heads to the local slums to find the vendor who sold it to her, hoping that he can shed some light. Vijay follows and arrives just in time to rescue Karisma from a bunch of gundas by using some unusually impressive fight choreography. Karisma’s chastity remains intact and the seller is found and informs that the doll was from the stock of the destroyed Green Card store, the same store where Raju’s would-be killer had died. Karisma believes that somehow the murders are connected to this doll and to the dead child killer, and when the inspector himself is attacked by Channi (we now learn that this is short for Chandaras), he comes to the same conclusion.

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The two former love birds seek out the lair of guru Raghavan (Mohan Joshi) who had years ago taught Charandas the ways of Black Magic, but Channi doll gets there first….

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….and discovers from his old teacher that he (Charandas) can leave the doll’s body only if his soul takes possession of moppet Raju. Vijay arrives at the cave and discovers the guru badly wounded (the doll didn’t like him, either).

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Raghavan dies, but not before informing Vijay that the doll actually has a human heart and can indeed be killed, but that it must be destroyed before Raju becomes possessed

Will Vijay be able to save the day and foil Charanda’s wicked plan?

Will Karisma stop her sparkly spandex wearing ways and settle down with a legitimate 9 to 5?

Will Raju start to play with boy’s toys and avoid becoming a girly-man?

See PAPI GUDIA to find out..     vlcsnap-2009-10-26-10h21m29s188

If you haven’t figured it out by now, PAPI GUDIA is almost a scene for scene duplicate of the very successful 1988 American horror film CHILD’S PLAY (And PAPI GUDIA was not alone, nor was it the first, there is at least one other Bollywood version of the Chucky movie, titled KHILONA BANA KHALNAYAK made in 1995). 

PAPI GUDIA is not as technically smooth as CHILD’S PLAY, and certainly not as frightening, but it does have musical numbers, and with a bowl of popcorn in your lap and your favorite pet by your side, it is a good time pass.

Channi sort of reminds me more of THE TWILIGHT ZONE’s “Talking Tina” then of the creepy looking Chucky doll, and if India ever decides to remake Papi Gudia I think my childhood clown doll would be a much better fit fIMG_0533or the lead role. He is certainly scary and and I am pretty sure that he could kick “Angel Doll”‘ butt!

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