Naseeb (Kirti Kumar, 1998)
Things you need to know:
- I decided to watch Naseeb because it's “Movember” and a few of us in the Bolly-blogosphere are celebrating this, the GREATEST of months, by watching and writing about films featuring mustaches. GOVINDA SPORTS A MUSTACHE IN NASEEB – and Govinda very RARELY has facial hair in any films.You can see why. THIS IS AN OUTRAGE.
- I actually was going to kickstart my Movember posts with a completely different film, an epic featuring no less than 5 mustachioed actors in lead roles (and it's not even a Southie film!) until I had a dream about Govinda. Naseeb it is – a film that SIGNIFICANTLY is DEVOID of subtitles.
Here's the thing. When a film has no subs, sometimes it's really easy to tell what is going on. Sometimes, it's as simple as “That's the bad guy, that's the good guy, they're fighting it out in an action sequence, oooh yay uplifting ending” and everyone is happy.
But when the film is not a simple good versus evil action film (why can't all unsubbed movies be that simple?) things get muddy. You need to rely on every little clue you can glean from the onscreen happenings in order to make sense of the narrative when you can only understand every fifth word.
So what we have with Naseeb is twofold: an example of a mustache changing someone's face INEXPLICABLY and UNINTENTIONALLY (I think) towards the sinister and creepy end of the spectrum, and a case where the lack of subtitles meant I really had NO CLUE what was going on.
My impressions of Naseeb (guaranteed to be an incredibly inaccurate and subjective representation of the film) – a real-time-ish blog:
Kader Khan stops a really drunk but obviously rich Govinda from hanging himself – maybe by first trying to reason with him and use logic, and when that fails, calling him “Dost”. This appeals to drunk, moochy faced Chichi, and he drags his new friend back to his opulent mansion, where things get rapidly creepy.
Drunk Moochy Faced Chi Chi insists on feeding Kader Khan – like, force feeding him, in between a lot of touching and kissing. Like, okay, I KNOW that in Hindi films men are more affectionate with each other. But seriously, he was like – feed him a bite of chicken, kiss his face. Feed him some noodles, kiss his face. Feed him some roti, hold him close and kiss him again.
You can see there's something...predatory going on.
DRUNK MOOCHY FACED CHI CHI STOP MOLESTING KADER KHAN ALREADY IT'S REALLY CREEPING ME OUT.
So then, creepy awkward dinner finished, Drunk Moochy Faced Chichi is all like “Meri Kareeb Dost (My CLOSE FRIEND) (belated edit way after the fact: this is NOT in fact what he says - see the comments! Yay for helpful commenters!) YOU CAN STAY IN MY ROOM TONIGHT!!” And literally drags (LITERALLY DRAGS) Kader Khan to his bedroom to put him to bed. At this point, I begin to seriously wonder about what The Moustache is supposed to imply. It turns out that Drunk Mooch Faced Chichi is really just an overly affectionate alcoholic and Kader Khan is some kind of...homeless person? Who in preventing DMFCC's suicide earned his eternal love and gratitude and friendship? It's just that the moustache and the lack of subtitles makes it seem...a little seedier than it perhaps is.
Of course – THE NEXT MORNING, sober Chichi has forgotten the night before (wow, he really was drunk) and has the poor homeless Kader Khan, who he had lauded as his close friend the night before, booted out of the mansion by his servants.
The next night though, there's Drunk Mooch Faced Chichi, in his Mercedes, pulling up beside Homeless Kader Khan proclaiming “Meri Kareeb Dost! Meri Bhai!” as if the brutal “get out of my house, tramp” had never happened.
So, Kader Khan being a clever tramp, realises pretty quickly which side his bread is buttered on. There's clearly only one solution: MAKE SURE THAT CHICHI IS DRUNK ALL THE TIME.
So...with Chichi drunk 24/7, it seems that Kader Khan gets to move in permanently, borrow a bunch of flashy suits and be employed in the mysterious company Chichi manages to continue to run DESPITE BEING DRUNK ALL THE TIME AND HAVING A HOMELESS GUY AS HIS SECOND IN COMMAND. An example of Drunk Moochy Face Chichi's questionable business values: interviewing a new recruit for the company (Rahul Roy) pretty much his first, most pressing question is “Do you drink?”
He hires New Guy, promising him some extravagant salary Not Homeless Anymore Kader Khan promptly contradicts, before sealing the deal with a handshake a drunken embrace. That's how Drunk Moochy Face Chichi rolls, at home, in the office, and YOU WILL LISTEN TO HIS RAMBLING, INCOHERENT BOOZE SOAKED STORIES IF YOU WANT TO GET PAID YOUNG FELLOW.
OH CHICHI. I can see now why you forsake facial hair. IT MAKES YOU GO ALL WRONG.
Sign of the Chichi-pocalypse #2: cut to another office in Drunk Guy and Homeless Dude Inc. and we meet a junior partner, Greasy SleazeBucket. Also known as SHAKTI KAPOOR. Mercifully, sans mooch, because if he was sporting face fuzz I would switch off this film RIGHT NOW in favour of washing my eyes with bleach (though really, I could have done that earlier, when I was treated to the Kader Khan shower scene).
Someone out there finds this titillating. You're welcome. *shudder*
He seems concerned with women and large quantities of money. I also do not know why he is in the film at all given he will not appear again for AGES.
CUT TO: Somewhere in a basement, where DMFCC has a long slurry, impassioned monologue, delivered crouched on a chair while waving a glass around while his employees (?) watch and occasionally exclaim “Oh baap re baap!” I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT IT IS ABOUT but I just imagined every drunk conversation I have EVER had but with more melodrama. So like: “You know....you guuuuuuys...YOU DON'T EVEN KNOW ME DON'T TELL ME NOT TO STAND ON THE CHAIR MY DAD IS....(dramatic drunken whisper) GABBAR SINGH andhe'llcutyourarmsoff IF YOU DON'T GIVE ME MORE TEQUILA”.
Note the crazy eyes. And the confused expressions.
You know. Nonsense.
IT GOES ON FOR AGES and yet not once do I get the feeling I am missing a shred of vital plot information, possibly because for some reason, weird jaunty swing music starts playing as DMFCC starts speaking.
So ANYWAY. After about half an hour of all this drunken nonsense and incoherent shenanigans the film finally gets going, when Drunk Mooch Faced Chi Chi, in a rare burst of sobriety, offers a lift home to his new hire New Guy Rahul Roy. New Guy invites him in for a cup of tea but unless it's Johnny Walker, it won't pass that pencil mooch, so DMFCC declines. But as New Guy walks up to his door, DMFCC witnesses a beautiful woman come out to greet him.
A WOMAN THAT SENDS A LOOK OF RECOGNITION AND PAIN RIPPLING ACROSS DMFCC'S MUSTACHIOED FACE. Could she be the reason he is now a functioning alcoholic (who miraculously hasn't YET managed to piss away all his riches or break any of his beautiful teeth falling down in the street)?
FLASHBACK SONG WITH MOOCHLESS CHICHI SAYS YES!
He's happy, because his face is SMOOTH. As it SHOULD BE. I do realise this is the exact opposite of the ideology that we should be embracing during #MouchoPrema but SOME PEOPLE SHOULD JUST NOT CARRY THE MOOCH.
Such a relief! HIS FACE IS RIGHT AGAIN.
Can I just say: having context for the mooch is AWESOME. A) It reinforces that Govinda really never should have facial hair because OH THE RELIEF to see him moochless; but B) seing him mooch-faced when the song is over highlights the TRAGEDY that has befallen his character now. He's less creepy and weird and more heartbreaking and sad.
I was right: Drunk Mooch faced Chi Chi is drunk and mooch faced because of the Mystery Girl (Mamta Kulkarni) who is married to(?) his New Guy employee. He says all this stuff to his Kareeb Dost Kader Khan about not being able to forget her and getting rid of all her pictures and I guess the drinking was to ease the pain. Not sure how the mooch fits in but YOU KNOW WHAT CHICHI? GET RID OF IT AND SHE'LL PROBS LOVE YOU AGAIN.
Next ten minutes is about how Drunk Mooch Faced Chichi used to be Sober Hot Mechanic Chichi and how he loved and lost this girl.
Chesty Chichi = sex symbol. Don't argue, I'm right.
FLASHBACK: he wasn't rich enough or educated enough to impress her father when he went to discuss marriage. Her father who has a mustache eerily reminiscent of the one Drunk Mooch Faced Chi Chi will soon sport. I think Sober Chichi actually pissed off the dad somehow by refusing his money?, instead deciding to go away and make something of himself so he could return and be a man worthy to marry the woman he loves.
Anyway, Mystery Girl (I think her name is Pooja)'s dad is EVIL (you can tell from his skinny mooch)
and when Sober Chi Chi leaves to make his fortune or whatever, Evil Dad burns all ChiChi's letters to Pooja and does the whole 2-faced concerned parent that is actually the root cause of the pain thing.
END FLASHBACK: Now DMFCC wants to win Pooja back...only she is with someone else. His new employee, New Guy Rahul Roy. DUN DUN DUUUUUUUN. End of VCD 1!
ADVENTURES AFTER INTERVAL:
So I took a break of a couple of days and it turns out that was a pretty bad idea because...I HAVE NO IDEA what is going on.
Either this film is on crack (possible), or the story is truly light years ahead of its time in terms of experimental film narrative...or maybe my comprehension problems have caught up with me. Whatever the case IT APPEARS THAT:
- Govinda's character – who I have finally cottoned on is named Krishna – is so drunk he is hallucinating the ghost of his former love seemingly berating him about something in his opulent mansion. Probably for abandoning her (from her perspective) because Evil Daddy drove a wedge between them by burning all Chichi/Krishna's letters.
- Whatever the hallucination says to Krishna pisses him right off because then he slaps her in the face really hard. I hate that slapping happens anyway, I hate when it's Govinda doing the slapping especially much. Another indication that MUSTACHE + GOVINDA = PURE WRONGNESS SANDWICH
- The ghost/hallucination is crying though, so maybe she's real. OH THIS FILM IS SO CONFUSING. Anyway. Krishna is all like THIS IS MY FATE and he's miserable and starts yelling and I'm guessing he's talking about not being able to be with the woman he loves, the one he just smacked in the face. THIS MOVIE SUCKS.
- Then Chichi goes to his bedroom and takes down the 400 pictures of Pooja that he had wallpapered his walls with, because I guess he's finally gonna let it go now she's married to someone else. Maybe he'll go for a full beard and step up the drinking (not actually possible). He doesn't take down the GIANT picture of Pooja he has in his lounge which causes problems when Shakti Kapoor pops up again, seemingly with the sole purpose to tell Rahul Roy that “Hey did you know Chichi has a giant picture of your wife in his lounge?” Obviously then Rahul Roy has to break in to verify this intel.
- Then Rahul Roy (Deepak! Finally figured out his character name!) KICKS POOJA OUT OF THE HOUSE because he thinks she has sullied his honour or been dallying with Krishna or whatever. He won't listen to her side of the story and is a dick about it. Dude, I have a picture of Govinda in my lounge, DOESN'T MEAN ANYTHING.
- Pooja in her distress nearly gets hit by a truck – Homeless Kader Khan saves her. They have a big heart to heart and HKK must find out some vital info because then he goes to confront Evil Daddy...and Evil Daddy cries, so it's an effective meeting.
And then I got really bored. There are so many CONVERSATIONS that are so boring when they are largely incomprehensible, but basically, it seems like....it's all set up for Krishna and Pooja to get married despite her marriage to Deepak (there's so many conversations between Pooja's dad and someone's grandad and Chichi and Kader Khan but that was the impression I got, that the Krishna/Pooja rishta was all go) but then....
SHOCKING TWIST. ALSO SPOILER ALERT but omg this film is so boring so seriously this is the best part:
Krishna and Pooja arrive at the temple and I think you're supposed to think it's for their wedding, but OH NO there's Deepak sitting on the steps, and he is understandably pissed off when he sees them. But then: Krishna (who I think quit the drink as soon as he got Pooja back) is all like “Calm DOWN bro, I want you two to be together!”
At least, that's what I thought was happening. UNTIL CHICHI PULLED OUT A GUN and started ranting and raving, seriously, FOR AGES, all sweaty faced like a lunatic, and then SHOT HIMSELF IN THE HEART AND DIED.
And that's the end of the movie.
Are you freaking kidding me?!
I KNOW – WHAT THE EFF RIGHT? It's almost worth it just for the wtf awesomeness of the ending except:
IT'S NOT WORTH IT AT ALL YOU GUYS, THIS IS A TERRIBLE FILM.
I need to watch a movie with a good mooch to balance out all the weird bad mooch energy in this one, which will forever be known to me as “The OTHER Naseeb, or When Good Mooches Go Bad”.