Tuesday, September 17, 2013

RAD/FAB Song of the Week: Aaiyie Shauq Se Kahiye (Parvarish, 1977)

Desai's Parvarish (1977) certainly doesn't skimp on the rad/fab; either in the sets, the plot, the costumes, or the nautch-gaana. Although I am immensely fond of Suhaag (1979), I have to admit that Man Mohan-ji could never have presented the world with a better all around masala offering than Parvarish.

Last night, I roped my brother* into watching this film, and this Amitabh/Neetu number was unanimously deemed the most shocking number by far. It's simultaneously creepy and hilarious, as a disguised Amitabh puts the moves on his endearingly-klepto girlfriend Neetu (who doesn't recognize him) in a garish and shaggy 70's hotel room (which deserves all the connotations of "shag," unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on your POV.)

This song picturization in particular really shows Desai's genius. He created a scene where we viewers get to indulge in a naughty fantasy** along with our hero and heroine--partially because we have more information than they (especially Neetu) do and we can read it humorously--and because it manages to appease the morality police by ostensibly being about the two characters' ulterior motives rather than an "immoral liaison." Still, I'm a little amazed that the sketchy end of the scene manages to be more humorous than rape-y (Hint: It takes place on the delightfully hideous round bed, and let's just say that not everyone seems to WANT to be there). Also, for some reason, Neetu is dressed like an Alpine farm girl, and Amitabh is orange. Very orange, from his wig to his skin. Why, we don't know! But it's RAD/FAB. Every single minute of it.

*Note #1 My brother, knowing my weakness for the 70's aesthetic, wisely forbid me from taking any decorating cues from this room. Sigh, I guess it's for the best.

**Note #2 Desai is very good at giving the audience these sort of indulgences--that walk a fine line between upholding moral codes and pushing the moral envelope itself. Like Parveen Babi's first two scenes in Suhaag . . . or in Sachaa Jhutha, the way Rajesh Khanna gets to have fun transgressing as the ultra-smooth, playboy thief--while ultimately maintaining traditional morals in the role of the thief's country bumpkin double. I'm sure it wouldn't take much thought to come up with a lot more examples of this particular kind of Desai brilliance.

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