Dharam-Veer (Manmohan Desai, 1977)
Does my Apocalyptic Leather S&M get-up make me look fat?
Seriously! What I want to know, above and beyond ANYTHING else, is HOW THE HELL somebody in their right mind comes up with a film as completely, utterly, gloriously out-of-control batshit insane as Dharam-Veer. If you cannot find something to love with lunatic passion in this movie, you have no joy in your life and you are henceforth dead to me. That’s my new motto.
So, in true Manmohan Desai masala fashion, the extremely convoluted plot is focused around twin brothers who are separated at birth and raised in vastly different circumstances. Dharmendra plays Dharam, the son who is raised in poverty; Jeetendra plays Veer, the son who raised as part of the royal family of OMG GET THIS: a mythical medieval kingdom.
"Um, dude, hate to break it to you, the future called, and YOU KILLED FASHION."
In this nameless medieval kingdom, it’s TOTALLY NORMAL for princes to frolic with poor villagers and become best friends forever. Back in the 70s, the “we’re best friends” song between two male heroes of a film was totally acceptable and not even weird. Dharmendra and Jeetendra rock it with a song claiming their friendship is the eighth wonder of the world. It’s like the Dharam-Veer version of “Yeh Dosti”. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for Bobby “Junior Dharmendra” Deol and Akshay Kumar, who just make “the male friendship song” really really creepy many years later in Dosti: Friends Forever. But that movie is a whole different post.
The fashion of the day is apparently “We just used every fricking costume that was in the Costume Warehouse” and thus the look of the film is more “cracked out school play” than “coherent period design”.
Leather automatically equals butch, right? Even if it's technically a dress?
NOT Colin Firth in Pride and Prejudice.
NOT an alien robot from the future. That would be Bipasha Basu. BOOM.
In his spare time, the Rajkumar can be found performing at the local amateur LATIN DREAMS karaoke night at Club Copacabana.But it’s in the smaller details that things start to get OMG RIDICULOUSAWESOME.
Pran plays a hunter who WRESTLES TIGERS and also trains the heroes in the art of the SAMURAI (omfg!)
"ONE two three ONE two three...LET ME LEAD DAMMIT!"He also has a magical pet falcon called Sheroo that can UNDERSTAND ENGLISH and STEAL BABIES.
"Pran is NOTHING without me".He also has a wicked-cool mustache and ponytail (!) and wears A PONCHO. Maybe I am the only person that finds that super awesome, BUT I DOUBT IT. If you don’t love Pran, you HAVE NO SOUL.
Love me, love me, love me, your mama says you love me, your papa says you love me.
In addition to Pran the master Samurai, Dharam-Veer prominently features:
A CRAZY SADOMASOCHISTIC PRINCESS
That is blood on her forehead. The blood of Bobby Deol's papa.
Dharmendra, while engaged in some weird sadomasochistic foreplay with the aforementioned Crazy Princess:
(seriously, first, she locks him up in a cage and lets midgets poke him; then she chains him up and whips him; then he catches her and ties her up with a rope and drags her around for a while…and THEN THEY FALL IN LOVE?!) exhibits some 70s evidence of….you know it…smooth pits. Suits him too. But! Armpit Hair Mystery #1 goes back further than I originally thought! (Also: Dharmendra fulfils this film's man candy quotient. Is that wrong?)
You know what those are? Dharmendra's armpits. His DHARMPITS.BOBBY DEOL! Oh SCHO SCHWEEEET! He’s really really cute.
...though dressing a kid like that HAS to inflict some kind of mental trauma.
The full insanity of this film actually cannot be truly conveyed in words or screencaps – you really have to experience it in its full glory. I don’t want to recount the convoluted plot for you because not knowing where the lunatic plot is going to go next is part of the fun. Also, I got kinda distracted by the fashion at several points and may have got a little confused so…it’s entirely likely I would summarise it completely wrong anyway. YOU NEED TO WATCH THIS MOVIE THOUGH. YOU WILL BE BETTER FOR IT.
And we all observed Pran's Poncho. And we saw that it was good.
Dharam-Veer is my new acid test for whether I can get along with someone or not. You don’t get D-V? Get out of my life.