Ramesh Sippy Week: Andaz! His First Movie, Shammi is Charming, Hema is Gorgeous, 70s Parties Are Weird

Oh well, better late than never. I got caught up in FilmFare yesterday and missed this post. But I am making up for it now!

Well, this is a fun movie! Not a brilliant perfect movie, but super fun. I put in that disclaimer because this is the start of Ramesh Sippy week, and eventually he WOULD make brilliant perfect movies. Just not this one.

But this is such a great movie! And it’s one of those movies where you are surprised at how delightfully progressive and not-serious it is. Stuff happens that, in a modern movie, would be all angsty and impossible and DRAMA. But in a movie from 1971, it’s just one song and we move on. Life’s fun, nothing bad lasts long, and the clothes are FABULOUS.

Image result for andaz 1971 poster

It’s also a movie with a nice balance of Masala versus focused. This is a love story, and it’s a very small simple focused love story. And then there is a tiny subplot of Bad People doing Bad Things, but it hardly matters. So we get fun fight scenes and Bad People costuming, but it doesn’t really interrupt the main storyline. It’s a more focused script than a lot of the 100 minute movies we get today!

Not that surprising, it’s a Salim-Javed movie! One of the first ones. Still a bit shakey, a little awkward how they insert the Bad People into the plot, but the story is really good. Maybe it’s also partly the cast that is throwing them? Shammi is always and forever going to play Shammi, he’s not a guy for a big poetic speech, he’s the guy for the cheerful song and playing with kids. Hema’s there too, but it’s kind of early in her career so she is gorgeous and lovely and all that but not really doing the big fun speeches like she did in Sholay. So it doesn’t have that epic meaningful words feel of later Salim-Javed. Which is also part of the “life’s fun”! lesson.

Really, watch this next time you feel a little down, it’s guaranteed to make you smile and get over whatever is worrying you.

SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS

There’s one important lesson to learn from this movie. If you have sex with your boyfriend, the next day you will be pregnant and he will be dead. Every time. Guaranteed. Just don’t do it.

That’s the Moral of the Story, but it takes us a while to get there. First, we meet Shammi Kapoor as a single father to his adorable daughter, who lives in the family estate with his mother and works hard managing the property and so on. While playing with his daughter, he meets her new teacher, pretty Hema Malini. Later he takes his daughter over to Hema’s house and sees Hema with her adorable small son and learns she is a widow. The two kids are friends and go off playing together and get lost. Hema and Shammi look for them together and, in this emotional moment, Hema tells him how she had sex with her boyfriend Rajesh Khanna, and then he died, and she was pregnant (Sex of Death! And LIFE!). His family rejected her, but a priest took her in, and eventually helped her get the teaching job at the Catholic school where she now works. Hema and Shammi keep hanging out together and eventually, after a lot of thinking and internal angst, decide to forget their respective lost loves and get married. Everyone is happy, but then Shammi’s Evil Brother Roopesh Kumar shows up and poisons Shammi’s mother against Hema since she is a Fallen Woman. Shammi confronts his mother after she scared Hema off and makes her admit that HE IS ILLIGITIMATE HIMSELF!!!! Not “adopted” like everyone says. And then the villagers show up to confront Shammi because Roopesh raped a village woman who killed herself, Shammi beats up and throws out Roopesh, and then rushes to the train station to stop Hema who is about to leave with Rajesh’s father who has finally come around. Happy Ending.

I joked a bit about the “moral of the story”. The real moral is to not judge “fallen women”, because their lives can turn out fine. There’s Hema and her whole sad story, but then the late in the game twist that Shammi’s mother was in the same position as Hema and her husband accepted and adopted her illegitimate son. And finally the sad story of the village woman who killed herself after being raped. She didn’t have to do that! Her life could have continued, she could have found a way to go on. So I guess a double moral, to the other people around them not to judge fallen women, and to the women themselves not to give up hope because things get better.

The other moral is that Shammi is the BEST! In a way that is related to that whole “fallen women” thing. Since Shammi’s character is adopted/illegitimate, he is already seen as not quite part of society, a little bit damaged, which makes him already sympathetic with other people society looks down on. He has no judgement for Hema’s story, just sympathy. And his slow growing love for her and cautious decision to marry her is not affected by her past, he looks at her as someone has loved and lost just as he has.

Not only is there sex, there’s abortion! Shammi’s dead wife, in flashback, is revealed to have known that pregnancy would kill her. Her doctor gave her reasonable medical advice to end the pregnancy, and she chose not to, and not to tell her husband. Shammi’s reaction, once he learned the truth, was horror that she had not ended the pregnancy in some failed attempt to please him. It is her sacrifice that scarred him, not her death. This movie is all about female options! Women can have sex and have babies outside of marriage, and shouldn’t be judged. Women can have abortions for medical reasons inside of marriage and their husbands will support their decisions. Shammi just wants the women around him to be happy and alive and free.

And then there’s Evil Roopesh Kumar. He is the wild and Bad 70s city boy. He wears bright pastel clothing and has wild parties with white women. BAD! And again, MORAL! Roopesh is the legitimate son, the one who has had everything handed to him, and no one ever judges him. Therefore, he grew up to be a terrible person. While poor Hema is being judged and shamed for her “sin” of sleeping with her boyfriend, Roopesh can do whatever he wants and society looks the other way.

Along the same lines, there is the way the rape of poor Aruna Irani is positioned as SHAMMI’s fault, not hers or her rapists. Evil City People lead by Roopesh attack her, and Aruna sees Shammi in the distance and calls for help, but he thinks she is playing a game and ignores her. The film puts us fully in Aruna’s position in this moment, the same sequence could easily be shot from Shammi’s side as him happily driving a car and ignoring the silly village woman. It would be more dramatically rich that way, have this small moment and then it comes back to haunt us all (Shammi and the audience) later when we learn the truth. But instead, we are from Aruna’s side, furious at Shammi for not taking her seriously. The women are not at fault for the things that happen to them, it is society/men around them and their reactions that are the moment of choice between good and bad.

Let’s see, what else to say? I have never been in a situation where, because my clothes got wet, I felt there was no other option but to get a hotel room for the night and have sex. What is this strange fear of just going all the way home in wet clothes???? Shammi Kapoor playing the loving single father widower is super poignant since in real life he WAS the loving single father widower at this moment. This is a great movie for admiring Hema’s “Indian Beauty”, her body and face look amazing in simple saris and heavy eyeliner. And the train scene is a fun little variation on the end of Sholay, with Hema not getting on the train and staying with her lover, instead of being waiting on the train to get the heck out of the village with her lover.

24 thoughts on “Ramesh Sippy Week: Andaz! His First Movie, Shammi is Charming, Hema is Gorgeous, 70s Parties Are Weird

  1. I love this movie – saw it years ago as a kid but never forgot it. It’s remarkable how the movie dealt with so many controversial subjects with a light but deft touch. Shammi’s character is so woke! Decades before the word even existed in it’s present form. He’s just adorable. Even Hema(never my fav) is so awesome and just damned likable here as. I loved how their romance developed organically. But poor Aruna Irani.

    But seriously, Rajesh Khanna needed to stop having sex in movies and then dying on his girlfriends.

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    • Yes! And can we have a moment to be shallow and think about how Twinkle was born 8 months after the wedding? Rajesh just in general needs to stop getting girls pregnant!

      On Wed, Feb 19, 2020 at 3:29 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • I do like Twinkle tho. Her husband not so much but her, I do like.
        I’ve never found Rajash Khanna hot. My mom used to be a big fan of his, being a child of the 70s and 80s but she never managed to convince me.

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        • I like Twinkle too! And to drag it back to this film, I think maybe part of the reason she seems to have such an awesome attitude is the same as Shammi’s character here. As the daughter of movie stars, whose dramatic family background is a matter of public record, she has always been a little carefree and open minded and generous.

          On Wed, Feb 19, 2020 at 10:32 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  2. Thank you so much for reviewing this. I love this movie so much for all the reasons Priyanka mentioned above.

    But also, I love the background behind this movie, which you might already know. It had so many avante-grade/risky decisions! During the filming of Brahmachari in 1968, G.P. Sippy (Ramesh’s father) who was a producer had a massive falling out with Bhappi Sonie the director. G.P. contemplated moving to London and working with his oldest son Ajit, who lived there and ran G.P.’s hotels. Side note: Maybe it’s a good thing that G.P. did not choose this path because Ajit bankrupted the hotels and moved back to India a few years later.

    Instead, G.P. ended up asking Ramesh to quit his master’s degree at the London School of Economics and return to India so he could be his in-house director. Ramesh obliged and moved back to India. So, now all the risks with this movie:

    1. Risky subject: Ramesh decided he wanted to direct a commercial movie that dealt with taboo-esq issues but he adamently did not want to direct an issue-based film.

    2. Risky hero: Shammi was always Ramesh’s first choice for Andaz. However, given the seriousness of the role and the subtle acting it required, Shammi asked Ramesh if he was sure he wanted to cast him because Shammi was not sure the audiance would accept him in this role. Also, Shammi was old and had gained a lot of weight. (For context, Shammi’s next role after the filming this and two other movies in 1971 was the old hotel owner in Manoranjam, which was just a couple years later and he looked NOTHING like the Shammi Kapoor in this movie).

    3. Risky heroine: Hema was not his first or second choice for the movie. Initially he wanted to cast Nutan because he thought the role required an older woman. But given that Shammi was already old, his father talked him out of casting an older heroine. However, the younger heroines weren’t too keen on playing a widow who dressed in white sarees. For example, Ramesh approached Babita first for the role, but Babita’s father refused because the role was not glamorous enough and it went against Babita’s image. Finally, the role went to Hema.

    4. Risky first-time writers: He approached a relatively unknown young writers Salim-Javed and asked them to write the script, which was a HUGE risk. From my knowledge this was the first script they wrote together along with Adhikar. But G.P. was still nervous and asked Sachin Bhowmick who wrote Brahmachari for him and Gulzar to assist/look over the writing.

    5. Convincing Rajesh Khanna to do a cameo: Rajesh Khanna was in the midst of his 15 consecutive hits and at the peak of his career. And as you noted, he was not keen on playing second fiddle to anyone, especially an ageing Shammi Kapoor. So, he literally convinced Rajesh by allowing him to be the lead on the poster and crediting him for it’s success. If you notice that the original poster of Andaz doesn’t even have Shammi Kapoor on it. It is just a large head of Rajesh Khanna and a small picture of Hema.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I didn’t know ANY of that!!!!!!! And it is all fascinating and wonderful. I mean, I knew Ramesh was GP’s son, and Rajesh did a cameo, but not the rest of it.

      And can we have a moment for “Rajesh Khanna is, and forever shall be, the worst”? I think the reason I had no memory of this movie when you all were telling me about it is because I’d seen the poster, I think I even have it on a novelty coaster, but I thought of it as a Rajesh Khanna movie, not a Shammi movie.

      On Wed, Feb 19, 2020 at 9:26 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • Ha. Yes, Rajesh Khanna’s personality is very very cringe-worthy. Andaz was Hema’s first movie with Rajesh Khanna and in her biography, she talks about how even though he only had a 15-min cameo in it, shooting with him was the worst! She was so angry and uncomfortable because Rajesh would reach the sets super super late and always behave unprofessionally. It got so bad that directors and producers were scared to cast them together again. Obviously they worked it out but RK was definitely the worst.

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        • filmikudhi, thank you for the all the background info. So fascinating and I just loved it. Poor Shammi for thinking he’s not good enough to play the role when in reality, he turned out to be perfect. I just loved him in this movie. Good on Sippy for taking a risk on him and the story itself.

          And ugh for Rajesh Khanna. He was the worst. What did people ever see in him?

          I also just found out that Ramesh and Shammi became related later when Kunal married Ramesh’s daughter, Sheena. So Shashi and Ramesh are both grandfathers of Zahan and Shammi is his great-uncle.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Aw, that’s sweet! That they are related like that. And kind of funny, since the alternative casting for this film would have been Babita, a couples years before she became another one of Shammi’s nieces by marriage.

            On Wed, Feb 19, 2020 at 10:42 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • I’m not particularly fond of him myself, but I think you’re being a wee bit unfair to Rajesh Khanna. Given the phenomenal, unprecedented success he was enjoying at the time, I think it was pretty generous of RK to agree to do a cameo in a first-time director’s film, that too one with a risky, unconventional plot line such as Andaz’s. And I think it was even more generous of him to allow the Sippys to use his name and face to promote the film, thus putting the responsibility of its box-office fate on his shoulders rather than where it rightfully belonged – on leading man Shammi Kapoor’s.

        RK didn’t need the Sippys, they needed him. He was their insurance policy for Andaz. Rajesh Khanna received the credit for Andaz’s success because he deserved it – people went to see the movie because of him. He literally made it a hit.

        I also note that Salim-Javed credit Rajesh Khanna with getting them their first big break as a script-writing team. Even though he only spent a few days on the Andaz sets he was observant enough to recognize their talent and impressed enough to offer them his next film – Haathi Mere Saathi.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Rajesh is also the reason “Yash Raj” is “Yash Raj”, he agreed to be in Daag with allowed Yash Chopra to start his own studio, and in gratitude he added the “Raj” to the name.

          What jumps out at me is that Rajesh did these things for people, but I don’t remember hearing stories of anyone actually liking him. At the most they were grateful to him, but they wouldn’t choose to spend time with him.

          On Wed, Feb 19, 2020 at 11:39 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • Oh and to Shalini’s and your point of giving credit where it’s due (and bringing in the recent topic of FilmFare and toxic fandom), one of the things Andaz is best known for is the song Zindagi Ek Safar Hai Suhana. Rajesh Khanna specifically requested Kishore Kumar for that song during a time with Kishore Kumar probably fell in the “toxic fandom” catagory. Madhubala had just died, Kishore was really unreliable and unbearable, yet he just about always sung for Rajesh Khanna and therefore, RK requested him for the song. All the other songs were sung by Mohammad Rafi, and Zindagi got Kishore his first FilmFare nomination.

            Can you tell, I am overly excited about Ramesh Sippy week?!

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          • Thank goodness someone is excited for Ramesh Sippy week! This will shock you, but I got far more traffic on posts about Sex than I do on posts about a classic director of the 1970s.

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          • HA! I loved the sex posts as much as the next person but I also love nerding out over classic directors/movies. Also, now you just motivated me to post on your Aradhana review.

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          • I don’t think Kishore Kumar ever fell into the “toxic fandom” category but certainly not in 1971! He sang “zindagi ek safar hai suhana” because post Aradhana he was by far the most popular male playback singer in India and every hero wanted him. He was also established as the “voice” of Rajesh Khanna after Aradhana just as Rafi was associated with Shammi Kapoor. Which is why all the other songs in Andaz were sung by Rafi – they were filmed on Shammi.

            “Zindagi ek safar” wasn’t the first Filmfare nomination for Kishore either. I’m not sure what the first song was (probably something in the 50s or 60s). Kishore WON his first Filmfare award in 1970 for “Roop Tera Mastana” from Aradhana (1969).

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          • Just jumping in to say that I love it that there is a passionate comments discussion about the specifics of 1970s film happenings. I know none of this, and also I was sure no one would even read this review, let alone care about it.

            On Wed, Feb 19, 2020 at 2:31 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • Shalini – you are absolutely right on the Roop Tera Mastana. He won that the year before. I got my years mixed up. My apologies. Zindagi was I think his second nomination maybe along with Yeh Jo Mohabbat Hai.

            However, disagree on Kishore’s toxic fandom. It was around 1968-1971 that directors stopped working with Kishore the actor because he would pull all the same tactics Rajesh did. He would just not show up or behave very very irratically when he did. For Aradhana, R.D. Burman initially wanted Rafi to sing because Kishore had become impossible to work with but Shakti Da insisted on Kishore singing. And aroudn this time with the acting work drying up, Kishore started focusing mainly on singing with a few acting roles intersperced. Also, wasn’t this around the time Kishore bit HS Rawal?

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          • Also, just to clarify, I know Rafi sang some of the songs in Aradhana but initially R.D. wanted them all to be sung by him.

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          • Kishore was such a pill! I don’t even know the details, but I know he was hard to work with. On the other hand, I think he also was the kind of pill who benefited other people. Like, the way he insisted on being given respect, and actual payment, for his singing benefited other playback singers to this day.

            On Wed, Feb 19, 2020 at 3:01 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • A few things and then I promise to shut up. 🙂

            1. S.D. Burman was the music director for Aradhana, not R.D. Burman. Though RDB did assist his Dad on the film.
            2. You’re right that Rafi was the initial choice for the male playback singer for all the Aradhana songs (except for the title song sung by SDB himself). At that period in time, Rafi was the default male playback singer choice for virtually all Hindi Film actors.
            3. The Aradhana team was forced to look elsewhere when Rafi did not return as expected from his annual month-long family vacation in London.
            4. SDB who anyways preferred Kishore to Rafi leapt at the chance of bringing his favorite protege into the film.
            5. Despite the fact that by 1969, his acting career was on life support and his singing career was close to non-existent, Kishore had to be persuaded to lend his voice to the “new boy.” Kishore interviewed Rajesh K before deciding that RK was worthy enough for Kishore to sing for him (God, I loved Kishore!).
            6. I’m sorry, but there is simply no evidence to support the assertion that 1968 – 1971 was a “toxic” phase for Kishore. All the facts point to the contrary with 1969 being the inflexion point in his singing career. From 1969 till his death, he was the highest paid and most popular male singer in Hindi Films.
            7. Kishore was difficult or ‘temperamental’ if you prefer, throughout his career but i don’t think that’s the reason his acting career petered out after the early 60s. His films started doing poorly at the box office and filmmakers responded accordingly. It is show “business” after all.
            8. The biting H.S. Rawail incident occurred in 1959 during the making of “Shararat” which Rawail produced.

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          • It’s always good to have a discussion with someone who is as into this topic as I am. Whether I agree or not, I truly enjoyed reading your perspective and am happy to be corrected when I am wrong. I was writing most of this from memory, hence some of the mix-ups in dates, but in this comment, I will add citations, especially on points I might disagree on.

            1. I meant to say S.D. but wrote R.D.

            2. Thanks.

            3 and 4. Rafi might have been in London for a while but he did sing a couple of the songs in Aradhana. And while SD did prefer Kishore, there was a rift between Kishore and S.D. prior to Aradhana. Here is an interview with Shakti Da himself where he explicitly refers to it. According to Shakti Da, the rift started around the filming of Naughty Boy in 1962. https://learningandcreativity.com/silhouette/shakti-samanta-interview/

            5. Very cool. I did not know this, but it doesn’t surprise me. I did know that Kishore talk to Dev Anand and got his “blessing” before he sang for Rajesh since he generally sang for him. Also, just to be sure, I looked this up and found a citation: https://bolywoodfiles.blogspot.com/2018/12/the-meteoric-rise-of-rajesh-khanna.html

            6 and 7: You are right that Kishore’s films started to flop after 1965 but here are quotes about his toxic behavior.

            “After 1966, as an actor, Kishore Kumar built up a notoriety for coming late for the shootings or bunking them altogether” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kishore_Kumar

            “According to another reported incident, once Kumar was due to record a song for producer-director G. P. Sippy. As Sippy approached his bungalow, he saw Kumar going out in his car. Sippy asked Kumar to stop his car but Kumar increased his speed. Sippy chased him to Madh Island where Kumar finally stopped his car near the ruined Madh Fort. When Sippy questioned his strange behavior, Kumar refused to recognize or talk to him and threatened to call the police. The next morning, Kumar reported for the recording session. An angry Sippy questioned him about his behaviour the previous day but Kumar said that Sippy must have dreamt the incident and said that he was in Khandwa on the previous day.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kishore_Kumar

            “In the 1960s, a financier named Kalidas Batvabbal, who was disgusted with Kumar’s alleged lack of cooperation during the shooting of Half Ticket, reported to the income tax authorities, who raided his house. Later, Kumar invited Batvabbal to his home, asked him to enter a cupboard for a chat and locked him inside. He unlocked Batvabbal after two hours and told him, ‘Don’t ever come to my house again’”
            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kishore_Kumar

            Kishore Kumar was also noted for defying producers and directors. Once, a producer went to court to get a decree that Kishore Kumar must follow the director’s orders. As a consequence, Kishore Kumar obeyed the director to the letter. He refused to alight from his car until the director ordered him to do so. Once, after a car scene in Mumbai, he drove on till Khandala because the director forgot to say “Cut.” https://www.filmibeat.com/celebs/kishore-kumar/biography.html

            “It was, they say, a tough time for him – he was not a star any longer, slipping from top billing to comedy side roles (Padosan is the most famous film of this period). . . and had to be treated with caution: meaning kept as far away as possible. Doing playback for Dev Anand and S. D. Burman earlier, this was the time when he had to ‘do the rounds’ and declare himself available. This was also the time when tales of mysterious behaviour abounded, his unreliability asserted.”
            https://www.academia.edu/2300403/The_Sad_and_the_Glad_of_Kishore_Kumar

            All this followed by the facts that “Between 1953 and 1969 on an average he had 4-5 releases every year with as many as nine films being released in 1956 and seven films in 1957. After 1969 the number reduced to a total of four or five releases in the next twenty years. He was an actor-singer for about twenty years after which he concentrated only on his career as a playback singer from 1968-69 till his death.”

            Could directors have just stopped giving him work because his movies started flopping? Sure. As you said, it is a business after all. Maybe my timing may be a bit off and it might have been late 60s and not precisely 1968-71 but I feel pretty comfortable based on facts/quotes cited above, he was also becoming unbearable around this time.

            Additionally, the “evidence” is the facts but how we interpret them can be different. One could see Kishore’s behavior as stated above as “difficult” or “temperamental” but to me, biting someone, locking someone in a cupboard, threating to call the police on a producer after you behaved poorly, is toxic.

            8. You may be right that the biting H.S. Rawail incident occurred in 1959, but I could not find a definitive source that gives the timing on this one. Kishore did work with Rawail in Shararat and before that in Lehren, but he also sang “Mere Deewanepan Ki Bhi Dawa Nahin” for him in 1971.

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