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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Mr. Romeo (1974) – a trippy masala trip!

MEN, BEWARE! If you accidentally soil your new suit at a party, do NOT go into the nearest bathroom for emergency repairs. That way lies seduction, alcoholism, drug addiction, etc. - in fact all the makings of a ruined life! This can happen to the saintliest of men, as you can see in Mr. Romeo. So do take care!

It all began when hardworking businessman Mr. Saxena (Utpal Dutt) asserted his principles. But it did NOT end with his son entering the bathroom of doom! One fine day, Saxena comes across Joginder Pal shooting a policeman. Joginder’s father, Pal (Rajan Haksar), is Saxena’s good friend. Pal pleads with Saxena to save his son from the murder rap. Saxena, however, chooses to go with the truth on the witness stand, and Joginder is hanged for murder. Pal blames Saxena for his son’s death, and with his son Prem (Narendra Nath), vows revenge. So, he plays the ‘your testimony killed my son so you are my best friend’ game with Saxena, while plotting a convoluted vendetta.
Coming to the fun part – SHASHI KAPOOR! YAY!!!! What? Oh yeah, we were talking about the movie, before I got distracted by Shashi. The upright Mr. Saxena’s elder son is Ramesh Saxena (Shashi Kapoor), a playboy given to abusing banned substances (nobody could be this perky and cheerful ALL the time, without abusing something!) and women drivers.
After running circles round three beauties in a trippy 60s-sounding RD Burman number, he gets home for a spot of rest around 5:00am. He isnt back early enough, though, because the household is up. His saintly younger brother Suresh (Kiran Kumar) has passed his exams with distinction, and their generous father has gifted him Rs. 500.
Suresh wants to put his monetary gift in a savings account, but his less than saintly elder bro persuades him to use it for a celebration instead. And thats where the bathroom of doom comes into the picture. But wait! I have missed the romance. Between Shashi, err… I meant “RRAMESH SSAAXENA” (the guy likes to roll his Rrrs and drawl his Ssss), and the bathroom of doom, I keep getting sidetracked!
Ramesh’s friend (Viju Khote) wonders why he isnt as popular with the girls as Ramesh is. Ramesh explains that the secret lies in his family wealth. Anxious to score, Viju ‘borrows’ Ramesh’s name and tries to dally with a random beauty. The offended lady screams RAPE and her friend Sheetal (Rinku Jaiswal) vows to teach “Ramesh Saxena” a lesson. Sadly for Ramesh, its he who gets ‘educated’, not his temporary namesake. Sheetal proceeds to head-butt his car (with her jeep, not her head!) and then chases him around the city till his car overturns. A visibly unhurt Ramesh plots a decidedly filmi revenge.
Sheetal is given a message that Ramesh is about to die of his car-related injuries and would like to meet her once. She also finds that it was actually Ramesh’s friend whom she should have car-butted. A regretful Sheetal abjectly apologises to a heavily bandaged and ketchup-ed Ramesh. Of course, Ramesh’s injuries cannot be sustained for long. On her next visit, Sheetal discovers the truth, and runs away after telling Ramesh off for tricking her.
Once home, Sheetal cant get Ramesh out of her mind (join the line, girl!). When she tries to explain to a prospective groom what she wants her fiance to be like, Ramesh’s face keeps popping into her head. Ramesh is a bit quicker on the uptake, and realises that he’s met his Waterloo in Sheetal. Funnily enough, the screen blushes when Ramesh realises he is in love! The two lovers take off for Kashmir where they frolick for a week (looks more like a a few months to me - the weather goes from spring to full blown winter during their trip!).
While he was busy extracting his revenge on Sheetal, Ramesh did not neglect his duty toward his younger brother. He threw a party for Suresh at a club, and himself got busy dancing. Suresh, left alone to sit out the dances, met Prem Pal aka Villain Jr. As part of the Pals’ deep dark conspiracy to ruin Saxena, Prem spilt wine on Suresh’s new suit. When Suresh went to the bathroom to clean up, he met the angel of his doom – Shallu (Sarita) – rising like Venus out of the bath tub. Suresh was so disturbed by this sight that he got drunk in his agitation, and alcoholism wasnt far behind.
Shallu seduces Suresh and introduces him to alcohol and drugs. Suresh proves himself to be a very quick learner. In the one week that it takes brother Ramesh to return from Kashmir, Suresh manages to become a full-blown heroin-addict and needs to be escorted home from a drug den by his enraged Dad. Daddy Saxena blames poor Ramesh for his younger brother’s descent into drug-induced ruin (hah! He KNEW Ramesh was abusing some banned substances!!!) and throws him out.
Now its Ramesh’s turn to get drunk. He passes out on a footpath where Raja Dada (Ranjeet) collects rent from the street-dwellers. Ramesh ends up scuffling with Raja but in his trashed state, comes off worse. Thankfully for him, Sheetal rescues him with a tight slap to Raja. The next day she asks Ramesh to relax whilst she looks for work to support them. Ramesh’s macho pride is roused and he decides to use his neglected engineering degree to earn a living. His method of job-hunting is decidedly un-orthodox, but it seems to work! He’s soon gainfully employed and firing unsatisfactory workers in a factory as well as dishooming Raja (who actually turns out to be a good guy!).
With Ramesh out of the Saxena home and Suresh successfully being controlled by their accomplice Shallu, what is the next step in the Pals’ revenge? To murder Shallu and convince Suresh that Ramesh killed her! This is supposed to get the two brothers to fight each other, and the plan succeeds admirably. What happens then? Will the two brothers ever play dress-up together, again? Will Ramesh and Sheetal stop “living together” and get married, finally? Will Ranjeet, I mean Raja, stop lusting after Ramesh? (He DOES – see the proof below!)
Not one of the best or the most intelligent of movies, its a fun time pass, nonetheless. It’s WTH (What The Heck?!!) quotient is fairly high and the unintended humor will keep you grinning throughout. 70s masala and 70s masala logic, plus RD Burman’s music – what can be more fun than that?


  1. Despite not being the greatest fan of smarmy Shashi, I really liked this movie for its high entertainment value and the fun songs, especially the "Please, don't make me marry my father's carbon copy"-song and the "I would rather sleep than romance you"-song. Kiran Kumar is very young and handsome, too, and it makes a nice change to see Ranjeet reform.

  2. Ranjeet is a good guy?! Oh, someone put subtitles on this and put it on a DVD. PLEASE for the love of God!

  3. As always, love your captions. You crack me up every time! That being said, I think I may be the only person who hasn't seen a Sashi film, but I desparately want to. This looks fun fun fun!

  4. Wow, I've been searching for a synopsis of this film for so long!
    I never knew, that htis film existed before I discoevered the track some 5years ago on music india online.
    What great score! I just love all the songs!

    "a trippy 60s-sounding RD Burman number"

    Really, I would say it is regular early 70s Pancham score.
    Although I was gibbering about the picturisation of the songs of this movie. I like the one above. The 70s fashion in this song is a scream!

    Thanks for putting this up!
    And thanks again!

  5. OOOOOOO druggie masala! My favorite kind when the director has too much fun with filters and funky transitions! Shashi looks super fly and HAWT in this and i love any kind of bromance and that too with a good Ranjeet! Love the "taller than moser baer" cap, you can always tell when a filmi bachha has grown up when he overcomes the sign!

  6. gebruss, did you just call Shashi smarmy?! Thats IT - your punishment is to watch no more Shashi movies, ever! ;-)

    Kiran Kumar looked a whole lot better once he'd had time to grow up a bit (I remember some 90s TV series where he looked very distinguished and handsome!). Here I thought he looked like a slightly vacant version of his father (Jeevan).

    memsaab, yup Ranjeet was a good guy! Its too bad he didnt have a bigger role... The film is on DVD already but for some reason, its isnt subtitled (at least my version isnt).

    shell, you know what you should do if you want to see a Shashi film! Come to Calgary!!!

    harvey, I thought you'd already seen it! Its up for free viewing on Rajshri (here), if you want to check it out.

    You're right about it being regular early 70s Pancham score (very Yaadoon Ki Baraat) - but the movie has a very 60s feel to it and this song reminds me of Teesri Manzil songs, for some reason.

    Rum, Shashi always looked super fly! He didnt get to bromance either Ranjeet or Kiran Kumar much, though. But he did get to dance and romance which is all I really want from a film! Though for real druggie masala, I guess one needs Feroze Khan.

  7. When the snow goes away I'm coming in for an overnighter!

  8. I really enjoyed reading this and was about to pick the dvd up on ebay when i found out no subs on the dvd, looks like i'll just stick to your write up

  9. Shashi's t-shirt in front of the Coke stand is something else! Superfly as always.

    I think he and Ranjeet might be trading hair secrets - Ranjeet looks like he's on the Shashi path towards the end.

    And a blushing screen...only our Shashi has that kind of efficacy.

  10. I'm so glad you reviewed Mr. Romeo, bollyviewer! "Trippy fun" is the perfect description not just for the fab RDB songs, but the movie itself. I especially loved the Sheetal character - a good natured, feminist heroine! LOVE.

  11. shell, we'll have a fine Bolly time of it!! :-)

    bollywooddeewana, its too bad nobody subtitled it. The trippiness transcends the dialogue barrier - so you may actually get it all in the un-subtitled version, too.

    Beth, thats a good point. Ranjeet needs some of Shashi's powerful curlers to get the hair right. He may actually have got the secret recipe coz two years later, he had awesome curls of his own!

    Shalini, Sheetal is pretty feisty and fun. And the songs are FAB. I wonder why they werent more popular - I cant recall hearing them on radio or TV before.

  12. Thank you for reviewing this! After the mentions of it on my blog, I was wondering what it was about, but didn't have the time to go looking for reviews or synopses. Your review (and the as-usual-brilliant captions for the screen caps) will keep me going till I find the time to watch this!

    Ranjeet reforms?! That must be a record of sorts. Though, now that I think of it, I don't think he was an out-and-out villain in Aap ki Kasam, either. at least not in the murder-everybody-in-sight way.

  13. dustedoff, Ranjeet obviously started out small in the villainy stakes - so reform was still possible. It was only when he graduated to big stuff (rape and murder) that he was totally beyond recall!

    Do try to watch this - its way more fun than Subodh Mukherjee Productions intended. :-D

  14. I thoroughly enjoyed reading ur review. And the captions are hilarious! I simply loved them. I've already included in my must-watch-it-soon list.

  15. Archana, thanks! Hope you enjoy it as much as I did. :-)

  16. great work ur captions !!! watch movies online