Supergirl (1989)


Supergirl (1989)
: Anjuman, Sultan Rahi, Gauri, Qavi
Director: M. Aslam
Synopsis: Another slice of warped feminism with undertones of bondage and S&M


The film was tailor made for Anjuman the reigning queen of Lollywood back in 1989. She was cast in and as Supergirl alongside superstar Sultan Rahi in this epic production shot on lavish locations in Manila city centre which doubles conveniently for London when the occasion demands. The films starts as a thousands of Punjabi Lollywood films have done before it……..with sounds of a wedding inter-cut with shots of a horse galloping menacingly towards the festivities. Just when one thought it was the usual Daku scenario things turn out quite differently.

Sultan Rahi is the horse bound hero who arrives (with horse) into the house where his sister is getting dolled up for marriage. Rahi grunts his displeasure as his mother had sworn the sisters hand in marriage to his mate who happens to be languishing in jail at the present time. When Rahi starts to throw a petulant tantrum his mother retorts with a stinging reply that has him reeling. She informs him that he is also in fact married as such because his wedding was decided ages ago by both parents to a girl who he doesn’t even know about. This stuns poor Rahi who demands to know who his “wife” is and where she is, so that he can bring her home. Mom informs him that she is living the life of a free spirited modern girl in London. Rahi swears to bring her home and “make her drink the water of the local village well” and to “fix” her and rid her of her debauched western ways…but he has to find her first.

So Rahi decides to set off in pursuit of the woman who is supposed to be his wife. He checks in an attaché (attachy) case and his trademark gandaasa at the airport before heading off for London town to search out his “mung”.

But before he arrives, the audience is shown that his “mung” is a gorgeous bombshell, crime king pin known as Supergirl. She commands a menacing gang of two be-paunched goons but her own skills and genius in the crime department make her the king of the mob in London where Scotland Yard is forever running around in rings trying to apprehend her. Supergirl actually works for a shady unseen hand who operates his international crime syndicate from an unknown location. In a large scale criminal exercise, things get a little hairy and Supergirl heeds the advice of her goons to lie low in Manila for a bit while things cool down a bit in London. Apparently the Yard has got a lead and are about to close in on Supergirl so she decides to hike over to the Phillipines to check out the opportunities over there.

Poor Rahi arrives to find that Supergirl has already left for the east, so he takes the next flight over in hot pursuit armed with the village belle clothes he intends for her to wear. Sultan Rahi finds that Supergirl isn’t quite the pushover he reckoned she might be, but that isn’t all he has to contend with. He discovers that Supergirl works for a syndicate run by an evil goon who dresses nattily in black leather and goes by the name Black Cobra. One arm of Black Cobra’s network run by a dastardly man with a terrible haircut, PJ, involves tricking innocent babes with the promise of marriage over from Pakistan only to force them into the flesh trade once they are over in Manila.

One such unfortunate women is Gauri (Anjuman’s real life sister) who is tricked by PJ and though she resists, ultimately she is drugged and forced to submit. Will Rahi be able to win over Supergirl and take her back to the village and force her to drink from the hepatitis infected water of the local well, and moreover will he be able to make her understand that though she reckons she is the feminist icon of her era, she is in fact being tricked in working for a criminal organization that preys ruthlessly upon helpless women.

Supergirl is a rollicking costume drama which manages to keep one’s interest, but only if the fast forward button is actively engaged during the numerous hideously tedious comedy sequences. Black Cobra is kinky in his leather/rubber get up and Anjuman too is often decked out in some seriously fashionable bondage items…..leather, chains, cling-film and Storm trooper boots.

Unfortunately the songs are not up to scratch though the title song, in classic 80’s Lollywood Disco Style (think Bappi Lahiri on a bad acid trip) by Madame Noor Jehan is annoyingly catchy and hummable and really rather excellent. (Album available to download off iTunes, seriously. search for Jurat / Super Girl). Perhaps another important missing ingredient is a villain of the stature of Mustafa Qureshi because though PJ and Black Cobra are duly menacing, they can’t quite match the firepower of a Mustafa Qureshi and when the forces of evil are pitted against the likes of Sultan Rahi, then they need all the help they can possibly muster. Supergirl managed a reasonable theatrical run and kept investors happy by turning a reasonable profit.