Dharmatma – A Godawful Indian Godfather

Remind us never to be sober while watching a Bollywood film.

One needs to be sufficiently fortified with Bacchus to be able to endure the ordeal of a Hindi film.

Old or new movie, it matters little.

The other day we watched Dharmatma (1975), the first of several instances of Bollywood purloining the Godfather for the benefit of the Indian schmucks.

And the Verdict

What can we say?

Hideously awful would be an understatement to describe this Bollywood perversion.

Surely, it must be an act of divine providence that we survived this intensely painful ordeal.

The principal sadist behind Dharmatma was the late Feroz Khan (of Qurbani fame), who besides aborting this malformed, ill-begotten fetus, as producer and director, also starred in it.

Filmed mainly in Afghanistan when the benighted land still had some semblance of a government, Dharmatma has yesteryear star Prem Nath donning the role of the crime lord, Feroz Khan as his honorable, and natΓΌrlich, estranged son and Hema Malini as the colorfully-costumed Afghan gypsy girl.

Imtiaz Khan, Jeevan, Ranjeet, Sudhir, Rekha, Madan Puri and Farida Jalal round out the rest of the cast.

Both Hema Malini and Rekha play Feroz’s love interests in this asinine copy of the Godfather.

Almost everything about the movie screams amateur – the Indianized story, the acting, costumes, the dances, stunts et al.

Horrible Feroz, Awful Rekha

With a puffed-up face, Feroz Khan (who was just 36-years old then) looked, to put it charitably, weird.

In close-up shots, the man looked like a human-in-the-making.

No kidding. Hell, the bloke was not old when the film was made, just 36.

To be fair, Feroz’ acting was not all that bad.

As for Rekha, the woman looks hideous, worse than she normally does.

Gosh, the plump woman gave us the heebie jeebies, particularly in that yellow costume in the Tumne Kisi Se Kabhi Pyar Kiya Hai song.

Prem Nath was almost decent as the Dharmatma but then he had a small role to make too much of an impact.

Coming to the villains played by Imtiaz Khan, Jeevan, Ranjeet, Sudhir and Satyendra Kapoor, it’s hard to figure who inflicted the most damage on our souls.

Each of them looked and acted more like a clown than a villain.

To watch the original Godfather (Marlon Brando, Al Pacino) and then to see Dharmatma is nothing short of committing harakiri.

In a movie full of lows, the nadir was the cabaret dance featuring Helen and the snake. Sick.

Two Saving Graces – Hema and Music

But for the sight of the well-endowed Hema Malini in gypsy attire, we’d have given up the ghost by now and all ye schmucks would have been beating your chests and bewailing your orphan-hood. πŸ˜‰

Also, thank heavens for fine songs like Kya Khoob Lagti Ho, Tere Chehre Mein Woh Jaadu and to a lesser extent Tumne Kisi Se Kabhi Pyar Kiya Hai without which we’d have had no straws to hold on to.

The locales of Afghanistan filmed here (said to be the Band-e Amir region) look pleasing to the eye.

Remember, those were the pre-landmines, pre-Taliban, pre-9/11 days, an almost halcyon era in comparison to the violence ravaging the country these days.

How Depressing

It’s mighty depressing to learn that Dharmatma with all its flaws was a big hit at the box office in its day.

We guess that’s a reflection of, first, the film’s progenitors, and second an audience that laps up such shit.

8 Responses to "Dharmatma – A Godawful Indian Godfather"

  1. logu   July 20, 2010 at 9:29 am

    Dharmatma Review – A Godawful Indian Godfather

    LMAO… hahahaha..

    Given the trash you witnessed all the years in bollywood.. is it necessary to see this sh*t of a movie, Francis ford coppola could have killed himself if he had ever seen this garbage…

    I saw this garbage a couple of years back in Zee… These bollywood baddies can take lessons on how to massacre a classic…

    BTW, one of my favourite Feroz khan number


    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    Lovely song.

  2. guruprasad.s   July 20, 2010 at 9:48 am

    Well, Dharmatma was no great shakes anyway.
    Was it sheer nostalgia that made you watch this movie, songs notwithstanding ?
    For a smouldering performance from Feroz Khan, watch Safar.

    If nostalgia is the case, then why not order a DVD of Luck by chance, and enjoy
    some fine performances from Rishi Kapoor and Dimple Kapadia, along with
    Konkana Sen and Farhaan Akhtar ? In a world with few guarantees, I can assure you
    that this is a delightful movie.

    Another rather scene-to-scene copy of Godfather was a movie called Atank Hi Atank,
    with Amir Khan essaying the role played by Al Pacino, and Sunny Corleone’s character was played by, guess who,………….????????????????? Scroll down for the answer.

    Yes, Rajnikanth.

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    1. You write: Was it sheer nostalgia that made you watch this movie, songs notwithstanding ?

    Too much alcohol is known to cloud the thinking process. πŸ˜‰

    Dream Girl Hema was luscious.

    2. Rajnikanth as Sunny?

    Wonder why he played second fiddle.

    3. Safar? Netflix has it. We just might watch it one of these days.

  3. guruprasad.s   July 20, 2010 at 11:04 am

    Safar has Rajesh Khanna, Sharmila Tagore and Feroz Khan, and some fine songs, although there is a bit of ‘saffering’, I mean, suffering, in the story.

    Rajni as Sonny Corleone ? Yes, very much.

    Well, in 1988-1990, Rajni had not touched the stratospheric levels of popularity that
    he enjoys today.
    Moreover, he was trying to get some foothold in Bollywood then, doing movies like
    Giraftaar, Andha Kanoon, Hum, Uttar Dakshin, Tyagi, Chaalbaaz, and Atank Hi Atank.
    Of these Giraftaar, Andha Kanoon and Hum had Amitabh Bachchan also, and Giraftaar had Kamal Hassan as well.
    So, Rajni had to share screen space with other stars.
    Hum was his most successful Hindi movie, which had Bachchan and Govinda as well.
    The three of these play brothers πŸ˜‰

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    One of these days we’re gonna watch Rajnikanth’s Hollywood film Bloodstone (co-produced by Ashok Amritraj) and review it. πŸ˜‰

    • STG   July 20, 2010 at 1:46 pm

      @guruprasad: Well, in 1988-1990, Rajni had not touched the stratospheric levels of popularity that he enjoys today.

      That’s total bull-shit.

      Rajni had reached the star status in the early 1980’s with a string of successful movies like Jhonny, Murattukalai, Naan mahan alla, Adutha varisu, etc.

      Initially he used to share the screen space with Kamal which they both decided to stop before 1980 and parted to find their own fortune. After that, its rare to find Rajni to share the screen with other prominent heroes of his time in Tamil movies.

      In hindi, its very common to see two or more big stars to be cast in a single movie till early 2000 (even Kabhi kushi Kabhi gum had Amithabh/Sharukh and Hrithick). So Rajni would have to abide by that rule and even more have no choice left if he wanted to act in Hindi movies.

      SearchIndia.com Responds:

      Valid points.

  4. guruprasad.s   July 20, 2010 at 11:20 am

    Bloodstone seems like a curry western.
    I actually feel that Rajni might have done a decent job in this movie, since he plays
    a regular in some trouble rather than a superhero.
    But why-o-why a Greek director, and some non-known Brit actors ?
    Budget, perhaps.

    Whichever way, reading your review of Bloodstone is likely to yield vicarious pleasure.

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    Watch this space. πŸ˜‰

  5. logu   July 21, 2010 at 12:08 am

    Regarding that rajni-aamir movie, it was dubbed into tamil as Aandavan some years back.

    I guess it was after the success of chandramukhi.. As always, lot of posters and cut outs were erected trying to cash in after the success of chandramukhi
    some of the Dumb folks here believed that that was a straight tamil movie and were thronging the theatres only to realize that the movie was dubbed from Hindi…
    No wonder the movie flopped…

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    Not all of Rajni’s films have fared well lately.

    His last movie Kuselan met a ho-hum reception at the box-office.

    • shadowfax_arbit   July 21, 2010 at 4:51 am

      Kuselan was a huge flop. But you cannot call it Rajni movie. He only had side-kick role in it. Still our beloved superstar paid back some amount to distributors to cover the losses.
      But 7 crores is what? May be half his salary for one film?

      SearchIndia.com Responds:

      Yes, Rs 7 crore is chicken shit for Rajni.

      The sky-high remuneration of the stars is one of the reasons the Indian film industry is not in good shape. The structure has become so lop-sided that except for a few people at the top, the others down the movie food-chain (theater-owners, smaller stunts-men, extras et al) find it very difficult to survive.

  6. sganeshkumar1989   July 22, 2010 at 10:23 pm

    Why don’t you watch Aliens at-least now? πŸ™

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    We will but we’ve got things on the agenda right now. πŸ˜‰

    Watch this space tomorrow.

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