In the background of the rise of the International Hare Krishna movement in the 1970s, is a Montreal-based family of the Jaiswals, consisting of mom, dad, son, Prashant, and daughter, ...
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In the background of the rise of the International Hare Krishna movement in the 1970s, is a Montreal-based family of the Jaiswals, consisting of mom, dad, son, Prashant, and daughter, Jasbir. Due to irreconciable differences between Mr and Mrs Jaiswal, they separate, leaving Jasbir with dad, and Prashant with his mom. Eventually Prashant and his mom travel to India, leaving father and daughter behind in Montreal. Mr. Jaiswal re-marries, and brings his new wife to live in his home. Years later, Prashant has grown up to be a pilot. He has received a letter from his dad that Jasbir, who had rebelled and left home, is now located in Kathmandu, Nepal, with a group of hippies. Prashant undertakes to find his sister and hopefully get her back to the family. When Prashant lands in Kathmandu he does not find Jasbir, but instead finds Janice, who is indeed his sister with a new name. Janice has no recollection of her childhood, and is always in the company of fellow-hippies. Prashant now needs ...Written by
This one grew on me. I love the R.D. Burman music and in spite of the cruder elements of the story I found much to be moved by as I kept re-watching the movie. The brother-sister plot line is powerful, I thought; there's also more probably obligatory stuff, like bar fights, a loony crime story, etc. that are just distracting. (Though not unfunny from a certain point of view.) Also the English translation is definitely by someone for whom it was a bit of a stretch, and as loony as it is I am grateful to him for doing it.
Like many of the Bollywood movies I've seen, this one is melodramatic and opera-like, including here notably a song sung first by a little boy to cheer up his abused and unhappy sister, and then the same song sung 12 or so years later by the man who has travelled to Kathmandu seeking to re-connect with this girl, grown up and troubled (she had been told her brother and mother were dead), numbing her pain with drugs.
A super thing about this 1971 movie is that it is about the hippie movement, which brought hordes of seekers to India, from an Indian point of view, that sees them as people driven to India by a spiritual hunger aroused by the failings of their own societies, but nonetheless, in India, living only for the pleasures of the moment. The hippie singing-dancing-drugging scenes are truly wonderful, and accurate in their tone (I'm old enough to remember), and I feel pretty sure that the masses of young white zoned-out kids are actual hippie extras, as I remember hearing about kids on the caravan to the East getting this kind of work in Bollywood.
(It is not about the actual Hare Krishna movement, though the movie hippies sing a Krishna/Rama chant, as do a group of actual Indian devotees, unrelated to the hippies, in the opening scene of the movie.)
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