Cast: Sultan Rahi, Najma, Aalia, Jehangir Mughal, Ishrat Chaudhary, Seema, Parveen Bobby
Director: Javed Hassan
Nutshell: Tremendous amounts of shouting and violence, impressive wigs and some sizzling club moments but alas an incomprehensible mess.
Ghairat should be an epic by all accounts. It’s a 1976 pre Zia scuzzy, black and white slice of fleapit Lollywood Punjabi masala featuring all the right elements such as music by Tafo, dances set at the club, shady henchmen, wonderful weaves and bell-bottoms, Ishrat Chaudhary and Najma among the cast and Nahid Akhtar belting out a sizzler like “Koi Asli Chor” to the delight of uncouth. Cheap frontbenchers such as yours truly. This film has the elements that ought to elevate it to the classic status of films such as Nawabzada, Pindi Wal, Khatarnak and Aaj Da Badmash. Will it live up to its potential – that is the question?
Ghairat begins at a pretty frenetic pace. Some shady old friends are celebrating the success of their smuggling enterprise. There is a Jagirdar type, caught up with the rigid rules of his social status such as the horse he rides. If anybody else rides a horse, he feels immensely threatened, even attacked and lashes out to try to maintain his relevance as a Jagirdar of repute. His old friend and smuggling accomplice is taken to wearing outlandish yet very attractive head bands and straps and outfits that would appear quite perfect upon the shelves of Remy Ma’s new clothes chain; tres chic and just a bit Walmart.
While the Jagirdar is pacifying his smuggler friend, explaining to him that his rudeness is actually only because he is bound to fulfil the defined role of a Jagirdar and is nothing personal against him. The smuggler isn’t quite convinced but they move on to drinking and partying, so all is relatively hunky dory.
Meanwhile elsewhere on the outskirts of the city in the village, an earnest and upright Sawan receives news that his sister has been abducted by a group of goons and carried away in broad daylight. He pleads with the Jagirdar to allow him to use his horse to rescue his sister but he Jagirdar is once again locked into this rigid rules of status and refuses to dismount. The sister is killed and after an extended bout of violence, the ghairatmand Sawan avenges his sister’s death but is dragged away to jail where he is convicted as a killer. He instructs his wife Seema to make sure the kids grow up with vengeance in their eyes but before she can even begin her effort, she and the kids are abducted. She is gang raped and left to die and the little children are taken to the city where one is sold to a Madam and grows up to be Najma.
Najma luckily has an admirer in Aurangzeb who swears true love and promises to lay his life on the line in order to take her away from the miserable life she has as a club dancer and give her a life of “Izzat and Ghairat”. Noble promises indeed but the moral code of Lollywood films does not allow for “tainted” women to regain their honour once it has been compromised. The odds are indeed stacked against Najma and Aurangzeb.
Meanwhile, back in the village again, there is Aalia who has a blind mother to look after who worries that her ageing daughter is still unmarried. The feisty Aalia sells milk to support herself and her mother and knows how to dish it out if any hoodlum decides to get overly fresh with her or indeed refuse to pay for the milk they drink. Aalia is a girl who knows how to take care of herself but when she lashes out at horse cart wallah Sultan Rahi he lets rip and send her flying to the ground stunned. Then he drags her by the hair a few yards before questioning her if she has ever encountered a “real man” before? In being thrashed and having her hair pulled and dragged along the earth, a woman can only realize that this is what true manhood is and moments later she is starry eyed and weak at the knees in love ready to burst out into several saucy jigs; thrusting her bosoms and twitching her posterior in a delectable show of a typical Punjabi movie mating ritual.
Next it’s back to the city where the saucy Ishrat Chaudhary is displaying some serious Kung Fu and good old fashioned Chappaed skills to impress the local goon Shikra. And back at the club Aurangzeb clashes with Najma’s fake father who forces her into dancing endlessly at the club to sustain his own vices. Remember that Najma’s real father is rotting away in jail and shall return one day no doubt. Meanwhile she is forced into a life of misery but manages to get away to the park occasionally with Aurangzeb where you would think the last thing she would want to do is dance….but evidently a girls gotta do what a girls gotta do, and dance she must!
Then there is the usual mayhem and clan enmities with a hell of a lot of bellicose, loud mouthed man barking at each other about Ghairat and the usual vengeance filled nonsense. Sultan Rahi’s beloved brother is gunned down at his own wedding celebrations and the cops are soon looking for him for his retaliation against those who killed his brother. He still has time to listen to a song or two from his village girl Aalia as he plans his revenge.
Sultan Rahi infiltrates the Jagirdar’s home as a servant wearing an eyepatch and begins his gruesome cycle of revenge. The body count rises alarmingly as Rahi lets his dagger do the talking.
Unfortunately Ghairat has one or two strands too many and the different sub-plots have a tough time converging into something that resembles anything that resembles coherence. Other than the few saucy scenes at the club, the rest pretty much degenerates into an endless orgy of shouting and comic book violence.
Even two rather catchy dance club numbers towards the end of the film including the sizzling “Koi Asli Chor” manage to relieve the boredom and confusion but fail to elevate the film from the chaotic mess that it is. Unfortunately this time the input of the legendary “Fighters Union” doesn’t result in the spectacle that Zabata turned out to be. This one does contain some excellent choreography and enjoyable fights and superb music and sound effects in accompaniment but the plot is all over the place and the comic book violence and ridiculous posturing can’t save this film from the dreadful and shambolic mess that it sadly is. Alas, other than for a few moments, Ghairat is a disastrous fail.