Your Masala Medicine Cabinet Episode II: Surakksha (1979)

After 10+ years in the medical field, I can't help but approach life in terms of symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment. I also wonder if sometimes masala is THE best medicine.

 In this ongoing column, I will match movies to maladies, while reserving the right to be completely and utterly and joyously mistaken at all times. 

Feel free to contact my representation, Pran & Sheroo T.W.B., Attorneys-at-Law, with all questions and complaints.

Signs and Symptoms 

Check all those that apply:
___1. You find yourself expecting major details to go awry in minor situations
___2. The only habit you manage to keep is that of consistent worrying
___3. You keep feeling as if you have misplaced something very important, but can't remember what
___4. You are so concerned about the long-range effects of daily decisions that you can't enjoy the now
___5. Everywhere you go, you assume that people are assuming the worst of your actions or intentions
___6. You can't sleep because your dreams are full of insoluble ethical dilemmas

Probable Diagnosis: 

Your Masala Prescription: Surakksha (1979) 

What you need is a film (almost) devoid of weeping mothers, lost children, suffocating courtesans, stifling morals, and plot twists you feel obligated to follow if you possibly can. You need a film that doesn't care too much. You need a film that is refreshingly callous towards usual humanitarian concerns, and yet somehow still manages to land on the right side of the fence in the territory of all that's good and holy. You need someone else to wear the ultra-tight pants for a change. You need . . . Surakksha.

Therapeutic Regimen and Goals

1. Memorize the details of Aruna Irani this song. 

2. Always assume the worst has not yet happened. 

If I learned anything from this movie (and BTVS), corpses are not always what/who they seem, and buried doesn't always mean dead

3. Do not take seriously those who appear unimpressed by your sweet style. 

They probably will come around eventually (even if it's just to stalk you back).

4. Carry a pillow with you everywhere. 

Yes, it's nice to have something fluffy around when you need to relax. 
But also, assassin snakes are out there!

5. Practice sitting down as if you owned the place.

Don't sit on a chair (or a table for that matter) as if the real owner is about to kick you out.

6. When forced to perform against your will . . . 

Use the hostile environment to your own advantage. 

7. When in doubt, remember that whatever problem you want to get rid of may be a lot smaller than you think it is.

 In fact, it's probably a miniature.


Avoid tension. Just don't take it. Obviously.
  • Avoid masala prologues (even the tempting-to-compare and undeniably awesome Disco Dancer is not safe on this front). 
  • Avoid all tragedies. Even films/books/people sporting a tragic first half "only." That includes skipping breakfast (otherwise known as a tragic first half of the day).
  • Avoid spending too much time thinking about how you should be thinking about fixing something.
  • Avoid films where the words "bhool" "paap" "galtii or galat" are repeated in a self-flagellating fashion.
  • And VERY importantly, avoid any movie that includes the question: "Mera baccha kahaan hai?"

Yakeen, 1969. 

Explore other medicinal options:

If it contains a secret agent, a general disregard for prescribed sexual mores, crowds of gori fangirls, an enlightened understanding of what constitutes personal vs. public property (the more trespassing the better), and batsh*t crazy camera angles, it's probably a comparable therapeutic option. 

For more (actual) information on this prescription, see the following sources:

*Upcoming documentary special on the long, the short, and the legacy of the "Gunmaster G9" films. I can't wait for this one to release soon on a YouTube screen near me. See trailer here.

*Keith and Todd (i.e. the cool cinema professors you never had) talk at Teleport City and 4DK about Ravikant Nagaich, the eccentric genius behind Surakksha, The Train, Kaala Sona, Mere Jeevan Saathi, and other spy-ridden, experimental, and refreshingly callous 70's-ish fare.

Disclaimer: The Masala Medicine Cabinet reserves the right to apply a wildly personal definition of  "masala" to an infinite variety of "fake" and dubious sounding illnesses.


  1. B-b-but doctor, they say too much masala can ruin your digestion. Can you suggest a daily dose? Not that I suffer from 'chronic tension taking', but I'll try to get a healthy dose of masala, just in case... After all, prevention is better than cure.

    1. Unfortunately, Surakksha is still caught up in the clinical trials phase, and I cannot in good faith recommend a daily dose. However, as a firm believer in the prevention model myself, I agree that masala is indeed important to integrate into the average person's daily lifestyle.

      In order not to build up an intolerance to any one style, I suggest a healthy rotation of masala of varying vintage. Perhaps a switch up every three days or so, i.e. Shashi Masala for three days, then Dharmendra for three days, and a then a wild card for the final three days (to include the variant benefits of Amitabh, Shammi, Vinod, Mithun, etc.). Exception (based on my own experience): Masala containing high levels of Aruna Irani, Rakhee, Helen, and/or Hema Malini tends to both provide essential rare elements AND seems to be hypoallergenic (and thus can probably be consumed as liberally as the most ardent admirers would like).


Post a Comment

Popular Posts