Wehshee Aurat (1995) (The Wild Woman)
Cast: Saima, Sultan Rahi, Bahar, Chakori, Shahida Mini, Asif Khan
Director: Ali Raza
Nutshell: Vengeance, Rape, Murder, lesbian catfights……the usual mayhem!
The movie opens with Saima riding merrily on her tonga with her mates – they’re having the time of their lives judging by the collective giggling and tittering going on. The girl-power posse is hurtling down the dirt tracks of the local “pind” when all of a sudden their route is rudely blocked by a swank Pajero bearing an assortment of typically bellied, mustachioed, wigged-out Chaudhry types. There is a heated exchange between Baali (Saima) who tells the Chaudhrys exactly where to get off and plants a stinging slap on the leading buffoon’s fat face.
The screen freezes in shock for a moment or two before we watch the procession of Chaudhrys return home to their estate. They park in the garden as is the norm and proceed to sit on sofa’s laid out for them at the top of the garden, so that they can hold court in front of the lowly minions who must sit on the floor. Another norm is that all the Chaudhrys and their goons are armed with AK-47’s at all times, but unfortunately for them, their bullets can always be dodged by the virtuous.
The Junior Chaudhry hangs his head in shame at having been slapped in the face by a lowly woman and his fire-breathing father the senior Chaudhry and brothers swear to wreak havoc unless the girl is slaughtered in an instant. However the junior Chaudhry tells them that he wants the hot headed Saima as his wife and so the senior Chaudhry sets out to seek the girl’s hand for the buffoon.
Baali’s father turns out to be the estranged brother of the senior Chaudhry who had walked out on the family when he was swindled out of his land. He rejects his brother’s request for Baali’s rishta and thus the scene is set for all sorts of family rivalry, bloodletting and mayhem. The humiliated Senior Chaudhry, his sons and the goons swear revenge and plan to kidnap Saima and get her married forcibly to the bumptious buffoon. Saima’s father is bludgeoned to death and one of her brothers massacred by the Chaudhrys as they attempt to kidnap her in broad daylight.
The Wehshee Aurat in her is suddenly aroused and Saima guns down two of the Chaudhrys men but is caught by the police and dragged away to a unisex prison where she comes across Majo (Sultan Rahi). Majo reads about Saima’s murders in the papers and is duly impressed but when he actually sees her in the flesh, he is totally smitten by her stunning beauty and more than ample attributes. Majo himself is in prison because he trampled a would-be rapist to death using his horse as a weapon!
The film follows the path of one comic book confrontation following another with bullets flying all over the place and loads of red paint being chucked here and there. There is the odd Madame Noor Jehan saucy number thrown in to try to break up the redundant nature of the plot – a tactic that doesn’t work. The film is memorable however for a couple of reasons. Firstly it is yet another blueprint of the typical Punjabi film plot involving warring evil Chaudhrys perpetrating all sorts of horrors on the poor local populace including rape at every opportunity.
Saima’s performance is considered to be the turning point in her early career as she demonstrated the ability to carry off a film on her own shoulders. She has come up with a performance of sustained demented machismo and shown that she can do a perfectly adequate impersonation of the Rahi himself. She scowls, growls and struts around like a charged up psychopath throughout the movie, yet is quite compelling to watch especially in those clothes designed to accentuate her ample bosom. Her dances are also suitable saucy and raunchy – the prerequisites of earthy Punjabi cinema.
The most memorable part of the movie however is a scintillating guest appearance by 70’s/80’s seductress Chakori as Daro Nathni (remember Maula Jat?), a murderous dyke She-bitch queen-of-the-cell. Chakori makes a move on the new fish Saima and we are treated to a delicious catfight. Chakori may have aged a bit and gained a few extra kilos but still looks sublimely gorgeous even in dowdy prison garb. There is another memorable scene at the climax of the film when Sultan Rahi is staggering to the ground bleeding to death having been felled by some vicious axe blows. His mother Bahar exclaims that unless he destroys all his enemies before falling down dead he will have hell to look forward to! Naturally, Rahi rises to the challenge and reduces all opposition to a steaming pulp and life goes on as normal.
The film is run-of-the-mill Lollywood revenge mayhem given a dose of botched feminism. The production values are nil, the editing a shocker and continuity shot to pieces, yet somehow the show rolls on and more bizarre for having Boney M’s Nightflight to Venus as the background theme. Night Flight to Venus incidentally is among Lollywood’s most worshipped western Pop music along with such classics such as Laura Branigan’s Self-Control and The Eye of the Tiger theme from one of the Rocky’s.