Golden Girl (1995)
Cast: Anjuman, Sultan Rahi, Izhar Qazi, Shahida Mini, Afzal Ahmed
Nutshell: Ostensibly just another masala movie but this one has intriguing political undercurrents and Anjuman in a double role is a force to be reckoned with!
Sultan languishes in jail suffering nightmares of his impending death sentence by hanging. When the day for his verdict arrives he sees his mortal enemy in the court and in a uncontrollable wave of rage, lunges for his adversary causing a terrible scene in the court which doesn’t impress the judge too much either. A death sentence is handed down as expected and once again Sultan returns to his dingy cell awaiting his call by the executioner. Out of the blue arrives shapely female lawyer Anjuman who snaps him out of his melancholy state with a stirring lecture before getting him to sign his case over to her for fighting his apparently lost cause of a case. Sultan tells her that once he was a simple, hardworking soul with the responsibility of getting his beloved younger sister married off but fate intervened and he was seduced by the life of politics and led horribly astray.
We see in a flashback that while the poor younger sister is walking all over town on her bare feet looking for her brother, he is enjoying himself at a sleazy mujra. Much worse follows as she is raped by one of his new sleazy politician friends and dies in his arms upon returning home. Sultan is devastated and goes into a murderous rage. The cops arrive to intervene and that explains why he languishes on death row at the present time.
Meanwhile Sultan’s trial kicks off with Shabana Malik (Anjuman) featuring as his fiery lawyer who uses such legally sound arguments to vouch for Sultan’s innocence as claiming she has “seen old women and young girls crying for his release’. The judge listens impassively as Anjuman runs rings around her opponent with her stirring arguments. Soon we learn that there is another side to his mysterious lawyer and that she doubles as a glamour puss by night bolstering her claims as a top flight lawyer by playing her opponents at their sleazy games and winning. Finally a stunning twist to the tale as we learn that Shabana Malik, Advocate High Court Lahore has a twin sister Farzana who resides in Islamabad and when the two decide to come together you just know there are going to be Two Tons of Fun quite literally as Anjuman has attained quite a bulk by the time this movie was released and though she looks alluring, she also has a couple of chins dangling where there used not to be anything and her waistline is positively bulbous and her thighs extend all the way down the her ankles.
Clearly the judge is not the only one impressed and bewitched by Shabana Malik’s compelling beauty and assets and soon she has the prosecuting lawyer vying for her attention as well. The case goes brilliantly and Sultan is freed but an enquiry is ordered against his adversary and the man is out for Sultan’s blood. Meanwhile Sultan too is out to avenge the rape and murder of his sister but standing in the way is a very wily Sufi priest who soon has both Sultan and his adversary (humayun qureshi) eating out of his hands. So, it appears the Sufi priest also has his eyes on a piece of the power and has the perfect plan to play his shifty political games. Indeed he assumes the role of a King Maker; could it possibly be that Syed Noor was writing as a reflection of the political scenario in Pakistan in the early 90s. The plot continues to thicken as Farzana is also pressurized into playing her part in the evil Padre’s scheme. He has diligently maneuvered himself into a position where he has some dirt or some hold on everyone; and is now ready to use these people as pawns in his bid to achieve ultimate control.
In a complete turn up for the books and destroying all expectations, Golden Girl despite its surreal title sequence turns out to be a rather fascinating concoction. It has quite a bit going for it; two Anjuman’s are always better than one, there is Sultan Rahi albeit playing second fiddle to the great lady, there is Afzal Ahmed playing an intriguing character that reflects a warped political system not unlike our own. There is violence, mayhem, Anjuman in some jaw dropping ensemble outfits, Shahid Mini shaking her rump, courtroom dramatics and enough twists and turns in the plot to set it apart from the pedestrian run of the mill formula movies. There are a couple of songs by Madam Noor Jehan that serve as a reminder of just how sorely she is missed. Yes, Golden Girl is a commercial masala movie but it is relatively taut and the action doesn’t flag horribly as it does in so many Lollywood movies once the premise has been established.
Anjuman is outstanding in the double role of Shabana and Farzana Malik and its only when tragedy strikes forcing a sensational revenge mode that it is revealed whom and what is the “Golden Girl”; a dynamic and unstoppable force against evil in a shimmering and dazzling golden outfit with matching hat. She is a breathtaking sight – The Punjabi Wonder Woman – as she takes to the warehouses of The Evil Padre Burhan Shah, torching them one by one to ashes and dust. Meanwhile Sultan Rahi is on auto pilot while Afzal Ahmed as the evil Padre is quite excellent.
Golden Girl is far from being a great movie but for a movie released in the mid 90’s, an era notorious for atrocious cinema and those awful “double language versions” of which this was one, it manages to surprise with its plot and the cast, especially a rather well rounded Anjuman truly sink their teeth into some entertaining material. Grudgingly one has to give some credit to Syed Noor who has conjured up a script that is pretty entertaining for a typical desi masala movie.
True expectations were very low which always helps but Golden Girl managed to hold together far better than most Lollywood films and is indeed solid masala entertainment.