Blast From Govinda’s Past

05 Apr

“What on earth is that?” I asked, my eyes as round as saucers. “Is that a videotape of Hum?”

I was at the home of an old friend and I might as well have found the Holy Grail. Technically, Hum isn’t the best of anything – not even Amitabh Bachchan’s flameout era, the short period that preceded his equally short retirement after which he came out to unleash horrors like Suryavansham and that weirdo flick with Manisha Koirala (?) on his unsuspecting public before finding his feet in the Noughties.

Co-starring Govinda in his pre-buffoon days and Rajnikanth in one of his last Hindi roles, Hum is like an orphan child. It’s not cool like the 70s flicks, it’s not hilarious like the 80s flicks, it’s not gut wrenchingly awful like the 90s flicks, nor is it interesting like the 00s flicks. It’s just one of those also-rans famous mainly for that song in which Kimi Katkar refused to kiss AB. I mean, there you go: it starred Kimi Katkar. Doesn’t that tell you everything you need to know?

And yet! Here was a zany masala movie that featured prominently in my childhood thanks to my cablewallah – a man, I’ve come to realize, who has affected my taste in cinema more than any other person in the world.

There was Danny Denzongpa as the tortured, once-vicious shipping tycoon who watched his wife and babies roast to death; Anupam Kher as a rather scary villain who Uriah Heeps his way into power; Kader Khan chewing everything in sight per usual; a very thin Shilpa Shirodkar; Deepa Sahi as Rajnikanth’s wife; Kimi Katkar and her fabulously plastic wardrobe; Govinda as romantic hero; and Rajnikanth playing straight man. And of course, AB as Tiger the Dockyard Toughie, who leaves his ladylove behind to give his baby half-brothers a better life.

Hum is one of those movies that you remember as being Story A until you watch it and remember, “Oh yeah! There was also Story B. And C. Damn, I totally forgot about D… What the hell? Where did E come from?”

And as far as I’m concerned, this is the overlooked classic from that movie. Observe:

The Love Revolution: Look! It’s a song in which young love literally snaps its fingers in the face of authority! Her father is even in an army uniform in case you missed the point.

The Glitz, the Glamor: Hey, remember when Hindi films recruited their party extras off the street or the local colleges or whatever? Look at those dumpy, frumpy chicks in their sad I-Can’t-Afford-the-90s outfits. And that’s after they rip their salwar kameezes off. Look at the boys in their Creepy-Ice-Cream-Seller-Will-Molest-You outfits. So fly!

Birds of a Feather: What did the baby ostrich say to Shilpa Shirodkar? “Mommy, you’re home!” Seriously, that is one 80s-fabulous dress – it has net, a feathers motif, gilt, a pouf, detachable bits…and her frilly hat isn’t one of them! She even accessorizes with a giant tika on her forehead. Somebody was cleaning out her closet in preparation for the 90s and I strongly suspect it was Shilpa’s designer.

Manly Men: In the age of Real Men, before Shahrukh Khan turned into a wedding planner for his unibrowed ladylove and bitched about missing his meals for karva chauth, lovers did things like put out fire with their bare hands and use lamps in highly symbolic ways. He might be wearing a pink jacket, but he’s all man. Yeah, baby!

Dance like You Mean it: Give the partygoers something to interpret by simulating sex right there on the dance floor. Once upon a time, Bollywood knew how to work it. Before all those fancy foreigners ruined their innocence.

Candle Light: Wherefore did thou go, candle wavers? I bet “Thama Thama Loge” used up all the candles in Bollytown, thus putting a small army of candle wavers out of business. Greedy pigs. How cruel.

Prior to that happy day when I discovered my old friend’s secret shame in his dusty stack of outdated media, I’d hardly ever given this movie a thought. I don’t even know if this thing is available on DVD but if it is, it’s a perfect bit of rented nostalgia.


Posted by on April 5, 2010 in Entertainment, Movies, Music, Video


20 responses to “Blast From Govinda’s Past

  1. pitu

    April 5, 2010 at 2:53 pm

    OOH! I lurve Hum! I even own the dvd! Admittedly the uncle at the dvd store on Devon gave me a perplexed look but whatever, it’s got ChiChi Bhaiyya AND Rajni Saar in one movie, playing BROTHERS!!!!!!!! WOMYGAWD the awesomeness. And I like this song but my fave is the title song. A tear always rolls down my eye in a really photogenic way every time Bhaiyya and Saar hold hands and sing “Ek doosre se karte hain pyar hum.. HUM! Ek doosre ke liye beqarar hum.. HUM HUM!” TEEHEE! :mrgreen:

    • DewdropDream

      April 8, 2010 at 5:28 am

      And those are my exact reasons for being in louve with this fillum too 😀

  2. Ness

    April 5, 2010 at 3:05 pm

    IT’S TOTALLY AVAILABLE ON DVD! oh my god – I just ordered the dvd of Hum the other day, and promptly forgot exactly why until I read this awesome writeup. (I ordered it based on the awesome promise of Chi Chi and Rajni AS BROTHERS in the same movie as sucky period Big B – everything you have written exceeds my wildest hopes for this film. I cannot WAIT for the dvd to arrive).

  3. sachita

    April 5, 2010 at 7:52 pm

    whatchya talking about? it taught me a new word and then the toffee with the same name came about and we went giggling to the store asking for the choclate:) see the deep impact of the movie? Dont remember A,B,C or E as much but remember it had a huge hungama when it was released.

    I think it was pre-retirment, coz post retirement was khuda-gawah!

  4. Gradwolf

    April 5, 2010 at 9:56 pm

    Hmm the weirdo flick with Manisha Koirala would be Lal Baadshah. With a weirdo song called Dhanni ki aankh or something where Big B went all Telugu movie star types!

    And to echo Sachita, but for different reasons, whatchya talking about?! It gave Rajini his greatest role and one of his best movies in the last 20 yrs in Tamil! Have you seen Baasha? It was loosely based on Hum and I remember Ramsu wrote an article contrasting Hum and Baasha. Get the DVD of Baasha NOW!

    • pitu

      April 6, 2010 at 12:45 pm

      Oh yes the horrid ‘Dhanno ki aankh sharaabi re humka laage’ with Amitabh doing his lame dance moves.

    • DewdropDream

      April 8, 2010 at 5:29 am

      Laal Badshah had Shilpa Shetty no?

      • Amrita

        April 8, 2010 at 3:26 pm

        I think it had both of them. At least I think it had another heroine in addition to Manisha. It may have been a Telugu heroine a la Suryavansham. How weird is it that Rekha used to dub for all of them?

  5. Gradwolf

    April 5, 2010 at 9:57 pm


  6. Lee Win Lost Vegas

    April 5, 2010 at 10:27 pm

    Hum Hum yum yum! The lousy little leprechaun was right after all — here it is! That pot of gold at the end of the (rotten) rainbow that was the last seven days (and don’t ask why my week runs Tuesday to Tuesday). This, and these five dusty signet classics I picked up from the “Take home for free” cardboard box that a good Samaritan’s been periodically leaving in the library garage, since last month (everybody but me is busy spring cleaning, it seems):

    Slaughterhouse Five, Animal Farm, The Myth of Sisyphus and other essays (by Camus), Dostoevsky’s Notes From The Underground, Rollo May’s The Courage To Create.

    I was stupid. Should I have grabbed the whole box yesterday, I’d have added at least 10 more to my “will never read” classics collection. But why didn’t I? Well, I wanted to share in the spirit of the season and spring-clean, for a change, my soul. So I set out to shear it of all its impulsiveness (ewe = Brrrrr now, I know).

    But I must add, I was rather lucky earlier, last month. Take a look at these beauties I brought home (there’s possibly five or six more, but those are barely worth a mention, you’ll see why): Thomas Wolfe’s Look Homeward, Angel (first edition, paperback), Golding’s Lord of the Flies and (you may hold your breath for this one, if the band was your poison, but unfortunately for me, I never got around to paying them much attention until very recently) the Uncorrected Bound Manuscript Not For Sale version of Here, There and Everywhere! Boy, even the thought of getting the *insider* scoop on the most iconic band there is, is giving me goosebumps — Of course I haven’t dared to open the book yet.

    As for the rotten week up until now, I’m so glad it’s passing. And to think it all started with my favorite Buffalo jeans catching a (really sharp) snag in the (newly dented) car door, and just ripping, last Tuesday. Dominoes effect ensues, with the said car breaking down right in the middle of Lawrence Expressway, Wednesday evening, and me, stranded on the shoulder, minus jacket, for three hours, waiting for the tow truck… and the rest, as they say my dear, is Hisstory!

  7. Empowerment Engineeress

    April 5, 2010 at 11:20 pm

    Oh bless my short memory, don’t recall anything except KK dancing in a white low cut dress with much older AB in Jumma Chumma

  8. dipali

    April 6, 2010 at 11:49 am

    It was such classic masala! I loved it:)

  9. Shalini

    April 6, 2010 at 9:13 pm

    Ah, Hum! I have fond memories of this movie – no idea why though.:-)

    While “kaagaz kalam” is trippy fun, I’ve always preferred “sanam mere sanam.” Airplanes AND Boats!! 😀

  10. Amrita

    April 7, 2010 at 12:12 pm

    Pitu – fine, you’ve won me over with your tales of tenderhearted viewing and so I will confess that I have been known to sing that song on occasion. In my bathroom where no one else can hear and laugh at me.

    Ness – NO! I must order it then! It is everything you’ve hoped for and more. Seriously.

    Sachita – WHAAAAAAAAAAAAT? There was a toffee and a chocolate inspired by this movie? I feel I’ve missed out on something. Tells me!
    And ah yes, the innocent old days when people got all upset over a guy asking a girl for a kiss. Le sigh.

    Aditya – AHAHAHHA!! I’d forgotten all about Baasha. My cousins very kindly dragged me to it and it was TEH AWESUMZ. I’m so glad I watched it in the theater. I must read Ramsu’s post again.
    Also, Lal Badshah is the one! You mean it wasn’t a remake of a Telugu movie? I thought they were the only ones who were interested in making movies with AB post retirement in the early years.

    LWLV – Hmm, I dont think I’ve read Rollo May’s Courage to Create. You can tell me all about it! And if my brother ever comes across you in a dark alley, he’s gonna make you give up the Emerick tome if you value your life 😀
    Oh noes@ your jeans. But it reminds me of a post I meant to write so its not a total loss? Ok, I’ll shut up before you send out a hit squad. Was the tear at least in a place that you could artistically path or rip open some more to make it look like you meant it? Hope you have a better week!

    EE – you’re probably better off that way. Fun fact: my dad was in Mauritius while she and AB were shooting there for Hum, and it was apparently wild.

    Dipali – me too 😳

    Shalini – omg, do I have to do a Govinda post? :mrgreen: Argh, I can feel it whispering to me!

    • LWLV

      April 7, 2010 at 2:17 pm

      Oh it’s a neat rip across the left knee that — along with the (Dali-esque?) “melting effects”, thanks to the blood dribbling down from the gash — looked kinda cool, but I’m more the tie-and-die kind as opposed to wear-and-tear, as far as fashion statements go, LOL!

      About that Rollo May book, oh sure. Will drop you a line. But lemme pick up the *courage* to read it first. For now, I’m resigned to keeping the El Libros at bay (until their tendency to stage a surreality sideshow sorta dies down).

      And for your “brother”, my dear AR, the Emerick tome is nothing, I’m happy to give up the ghost (we’re talking Salvador effing Dali, aren’t we? Just checking…**runs quickly to About page and runs right back here** oh yeah)!

    • sachita

      April 7, 2010 at 6:32 pm

      the chocolate was called Jumma/chumma

      • LWLV

        April 8, 2010 at 8:38 pm

        I likes the Sachita trivia! Talk of Nutrine chocolate (NOT toffee, mind you; we-who-grew-up-in-the-80s-India know all too well that to stop at the theru munai potti kadai with a 25-paisa asking for a “toffee” bought you nothing but an “I don’t have an effing clue what you’re talking about, kid” blank stare. But say the magic words “chawkilit kudunga” and off you trot home with a smile on your lips and a spring in your step, not to mention a Jumma/chumma tucked away in a tightly clenched fist) tends to inevitably conjure up memories of Britannia (Sea?)Biscuit (my *other* favorite potti kadai item). Was never a fan of the Nutrine family of confections, coz they did a really poor imitation of my favorite Eclair “chocolate” — Cadbury’s!

        And Amrita, “hope the rest of your week is better…” gee thanks! It already is bettor — what with Dark Horses (my reading material from two summers past) now back in the race. And speaking of book recommendations, any poetry anthology by the Pleaides reviewgang is to die for. (No, no not the Taurus constellation (though that too, teehee) but this one — simmering with such southern hospitality!

        Sample this review (excerpt) of Matthew Cooperman’s “A Sacrificial Zinc” (luuuv the part-Christian-part-Chemistry feel to the title): “Colloquial, cerebral, and deeply felt, the poems in A Sacrificial Zinc are an absolutely compelling mix of formal adventurousness, dazzling diction, and good story … Cooperman is a very funny poet who is chronically interested and interesting. When he risks straightforward sweetness, he can also break your heart.”

  11. Amrita

    April 8, 2010 at 3:28 pm

    LWLV – only when he’s feeling nasty and that’s rare since he discovered love 😀

    Sachita – HAHAHAHAHAH!!! Did you take it home to share?

  12. ramesh

    April 12, 2010 at 3:13 pm

    ah finally ‘Hum’ gets the coverage it deserved long back and that ‘sanam mere sanam’ song was hot hot hot

  13. pawan

    April 18, 2010 at 6:00 am

    One of the rare times when I disagree with your bollywood taste. HUM, imho, is not only the best film that Mukul Anand ever made, (the only one that justified his major reputation), it was also one of the few times when Bollywood got it’s action-emotion-romance formula pretty right.

%d bloggers like this: