Shyamu (Amitabh Bachchan) is a chor. He's been brought up in the house burgling profession, and he's pretty good at it.
But when his mentor in crime is injured, and Shyamu is mistaken for a respected playwright during a getaway attempt, he gets a brief taste of the sharif-aadmi life.
And he likes it. He also really likes the stage dancer he is expected to work with, the luminous Mala (Mumtaz).
|I don't think that was the idiom you were looking for|
With the death of the elder thief, the police investigation spurs Shyamu to leave town. He discovers that the real playwright, Deepak (Amitabh Bachchan) is deathly ill AND a doppleganger.
After a crisis of conscience (how cool would it be to have this guy's life?), he dresses Deepak in his own shifty clothes and calls a doctor. But it's too late. Before he knows it, crafty Shyamu becomes the clever Deepak, sort of by default.
This means a cushy job at the theatre and a chance to "collaborate" with a very willing Mala.
Still, Shyamu has left more loose ends than he realizes ... and a dedicated and superfly police sleuth (Ajit) is on his trail.
I promised lots of style, and I don't think you'll be disappointed on that end. A release date of '73 means less manic action, but it doesn't mean LESS less.
Note: What I want to know is why the heck older Hindi films are fine with bra appearances but my copy of Queen (2014) actually blurred out an unworn brassiere in one scene. Actually the n*pple hat and exposed cleavage were all left uncensored in in Queen, so now I have zero idea what goes through these censor's heads. Since when did underwear become more scandalous than the body parts it covers?
|Ranjeet is also superfly in Bandhe Haath, but that was expected, I think|
It's an appropriate atmosphere for a film about a cat burglar, I suppose, but it's also right pleasant on the eyes. (One of my least favorite aspects of the 70s is the films that seem to take place in a never ending noon, to the point where your eyes ache for a badly lit night sequence.)
|In one of these dances, Amitabh appears in an Indian kilt. You heard that right.|
But "Nahiin!" Mumtaz is not my favorite Mumtaz. She's so fun in films with spytastic intrigue (like Sachha Jhutha & Roop Tera Mastana) where she has more information than the hero (and thus more power), that I hate to see her exist to be pushed around by her feller's lies and shady past.
In general, I don't exactly appreciate the way the female characters crap-out (agency-wise) in the second half, but for once, some of the guys get their shit together, so, I guess it's not all bad.
|Also decent father alert|
The most surprising aspect of this film wasn't the occasional divestment of formula, but rather, the action. Shyamu's two fights with Ranjeet's gang come out of nowhere and run long, but they're 100% worth the screen time. The stunts feel anchored in space, the camera moves dynamically, and the set is used sort of like you would see in a good fencing scene; with choreography born of of furniture and prop placement, not just fancy footwork. Honestly, I couldn't stop smiling throughout. I don't usually think of Amitabh at this age as an action star, but clearly, all he needed was the right team behind him.
Across the board, Amitabh turns in an interesting performance in Bandhe Haath. [Fortunate for us, since he's the only story here, barring comic subplots.] It's not trademark anything (angry, humorous, or pompous), which is why this is the perfect film for anyone feeling Bachchaned out.
Chi, chi, chi. When you're tired of Bachchan, you're tired of life. Don't let it happen to you.