Sindoor was, for the PPCC, a movie of strong feelings. Half of the time, we were yelling like The Dark Knight's Two Face when his face is doused in gasoline: "No! No! NO!!" The other half of the time, we were exclaiming, "Ooh, keeeee-UTE!" Often, both at the same time. And always - always - because of our beloved Shashi Kapoor.
We beloved Shashi Kapoor. We love him so much we printed out his IMDb filmography and have been crossing out the movies we've seen. Our goal: to enter the Guinness Book of World Records as having been the only person to have seen every single Shashi Kapoor film ever made (we reckon even the man himself hasn't seen all of them). We still have, like, 120 to go. Yay!
So anyway, we're devotional. We'll watch anything with him it. Like Memsaab to Shammi Kapoor, like Filmi Geek to Shabana Azmi, the PPCC is to Shashi Kapoor. Hence Sindoor, that late 80s aging romance fest, was something that was coming up fast on our radar.
Why the Two Face-esque NO! NO! NO!? Well, because Shashi is fat.
Please don't look at us like that, Shashi love.
Okay, okay, we're superficial and cruel. But hey, it was a shock. In five years, the man went from the (relatively) slim father in Vijeta to someone much heavier. Naturally, it changed not only his looks but his way of moving, his physical rhythm.
And why the squealish keee-UTE? Well, because Shashi is Shashi.
Awwwww, kee-UTE! And we think he looks so fly with the gray sideburns.
And the more his temples grayed and his waistline expanded, the more he went from funky masala stud to comforting teddy bear. Plus, he started to resemble one of our favorite high school teachers. The fact that he's playing a high school English teacher just made the resemblence even more freaky. What's that, Mr. Kapoor? Homework on Friday? Whatever you say, your adorableness!
The plot: Well, we gotta say, up front, that we fell in love with Sindoor. Most Hindi movies get really ingrown, incestuous, other in-words: everyone's related, no one realizes it, and the same things keep happening again and again to the same people. So it was refreshing to see something as expansive as Sindoor, where apparently no one is related - even the people you thought were, like the initial mother-daughter pair - and subplots follow random characters into tangential lands of interestingness. Here is a movie where you end up sympathizing and commiserating with the main characters' former work colleagues. It's that generous! Everyone gets a chance to say their bit!
This is Jeetendra, kickin' you in the face.
Who was manning the camera here? WHO?! A lover of wooden cabinets?!
Which makes it a bit hard to summarize neatly. But we'll try. Mom (Jaya Pradha) and Daughter (Neelam) love each other. Daughter meets Boy (Govinda), who is a total a-hole but then gets a bit nicer. They fall in love. Daughter and Boy adore their English Professor (Shashi Kapoor). Boy's Crazy Uncle (Kader Khan) makes Boy promise to graduate from high school before Boy and Daughter can get married. They invite Prof to the house, and Prof and Mom have a whole break-down, Stereotypically Shashi-esque shock of recognition moment. Cue flashback #1: Mom used to be Mrs. Prof, until Prof was all like, "I don't like you hanging out with that Rishi Kapoor person." Understandable. Mom walked out, and, cue flashback #2, saved a little girl (Daughter) from getting hit by a truck. Daughter's dad, recently widowered Dad (Jeetendra!), was all like, "OMG thanks for saving my daughter... would you mind pretending to be her mom too?" Mom was like, "WTF?" and Dad was like, "Don't worry, she can't tell the difference." Which she can't.
Anyway, Mom's like, "Sigh, fine." Dad gets knifed by this random goonda, and Dad dies, making Mom swear to look after Daughter. (Nota bene that Mom and Dad are not related.) Mom and Daughter grow up together. But now that Mom's met Prof again and cleared everything up, they're all in a bind: how can pretend-widow Mom snuggle with Prof, if the kids - Daughter and Boy - don't realize that they are actually still married? How can they possibly untangle this knot of human relationships?! To wear the sindoor, or not to wear the sindoor? And sindoor to whom!?! Argh, my BRAIN!
Much confusion ensues, but all is well in the end.
Govinda and Neelam, kickin' it, Switzerland style.
Jeetendra again, in his glorious fight scene. Eight-year-old daughter in one arm, goonda in a choke hold in the other.
Overall, we greatly enjoyed Sindoor. We loved the episodic nature of the plot - hopping from flashback to flashback, melodrama to melodrama. We loved the cuddling cuteness parallels between Govinda-Neelam and Shashi-Jaya in that one song. We loved the unexpected cameos - Rishi! Jeetu! - even when they felt like hangovers from the 70s - Kader?! Asrani?! PREM CHOPRA?! The music was generally OK, but forgettable, while the choreography had some very fun moments - Govinda and Neelam, especially, were delightfully youthful. But hey, any movie where middle-aged romance features (especially with 1980s Shashi) gets a big plus in our book, especially when he's gone all Muppetified and spends most of the movie cuddling people like Mr. Snuffleupagus.