The year is 1967 (most readers of the wonderful SI blog are not even born).
Shammi Kapoor has put on noticeable weight, the cheeks seem a little swollen and the gait is a tad less graceful (two years have passed since his beautiful wife Geeta Bali died of smallpox leaving behind two young children).
Yet, the liveliness, the sparkle, the hint of mischief in the eyes and the quaint, quick adorable shake of the head offer unmistakable proof that Shammi still retains the magic to delight the audience.
The effervescent, bubbling charm is there.
By any standards, An Evening in Paris (Shammi Kapoor, Sharmila Tagore, Pran) is unvarnished garbage.
A story that is beyond silly, a heroine (Sharmila Tagore) clueless about the rudiments of acting and photography that’s hopelessly pedestrian suggest that the 1960s was no different from the 2010s as far as Bollywood is concerned.
The more things change, it seems the more they remain the same.
Thank God for Shammi Kapoor.
It’s only his presence and the fine music, of course, that prevented us from collapsing in agony at the dreadful spectacle on our TV.
Like in Kashmir Ki Kali, a movie that featured the same lead pair, the story is hopelessly amateurish in this film too.
A rich businessman’s daughter Deepa (Sharmila Tagore) comes to Paris in search of love.
Apparently, there are no worthwhile men in her overpopulated country India. You see, the men there are all obsessed with money and, worse, are all liars and cheats.
At least, such is the bilge we’re fed early in this hopeless juvenilia.
Soon, the paths of Deepa and Sam (Shammi Kapoor) cross. Sam pretends to be a French man though he speaks fine Hindi, an unlikely feat attributed to a professor father who once taught in Lucknow.
Sam is instantly smitten with her but not the girl. Yes, Sam eventually inveigles his way into her affections through sheer persistence if nothing else.
What Sam does for a living in Paris or for that matter details of his background are all mysteries not shared with the audience. Bet even director Shakti Samanta wouldn’t know.
The movie drags on in all its countless amateurish frames, interrupted now and then by one of those memorable songs before ultimately falling back upon that disgusting ‘lost and found’ element of Indian movies.
Voila, Deepa now has a twin sister Roopa (Sharmila Tagore, bad as ever again), who disappeared twenty years earlier.
As usual, Pran is cast as the villain.
A Hindi movie in the 1960s and 70s would be incomplete without Pran as the villain.
Of course, it all ends well finally, not in Paris but in Niagara Falls (no kidding), but not before we’re subjected to a lengthy trial by fire.
One of the great mysteries of Indian movies is where Saif Ali Khan picked up his acting chops.
Certainly not from his worthless mother Sharmila Tagore, who once again, proves that if acting slapped her on the face the schmuck wouldn’t recognize it.
To consider that this hopeless creature acted with all the leading stars in some of the most successful movies of that era is extremely distressing.
As if her very presence was not bad enough, she quadrupled our rage by donning a one-piece blue bikini swimsuit in the Aasman Se Aaya Farishta song. She looked sick! 🙁
As with the other Shammi Kapoor-Sharmila Tagore film Kashmir Ki Kali, music is the strong point of An Evening in Paris.
Thanks to Mohammed Rafi, Asha Bhosle and Shankar Jaikishan, songs from An Evening in Paris possess a timeless appeal.
To this day, they’re sung at parties and popular on YouTube.
Who having heard of Akele Akele Kahan Ja Rahe Ho, Deewane Ka Naam Tho Poocho, Aasman Se Aaya Farishta or Raat Ki Hum Safar can fail to reach the giddy heights of pleasure.
We’ve listened to them countless times and yet never tire of them.
Say what you will about our addiction but our favorite Shammi Kapoor song is Deewane Ka Naam Tho Poocho.
Apple’s iTunes store has all the songs from An Evening in Paris in the unlikely event you cheap chutiyas are inclined to buy them.
Your favorite blog SearchIndia.com recommends An Evening in Paris for Shammi Kapoor and the pleasing music. No, we won’t hold it against you if you throw up upon seeing Sharmila.
The DVD is available at Netflix in the U.S.