Summer Special : A Nostalgic Look at Chamatkar

A couple of days ago I had a chance to revisit this film on some TV channel, and I sat through it again, as I used to way way back (in a city far far away). I chuckled at the plot, which is riddled with more holes than James Caan's body in Godfather, but I loved the simplicity of it all. This was a movie with a targeted audience of mostly kids, and I for one used to ask my father to rent it every summer, so that my brother and I could have repeated views of it (especially the cricket match in the end...but I am getting ahead of myself).

You know it's a film for Kids when the Opening sequence is a delightfully horrible cartoom

That's an Eagle carrying Naseeruddin Shah, the movie was produced by 'Eagle Films', Deep.

And how do you know that he is Naseeruddin Shah

He got Top Billing for this movie, as he should for every movie of his

Then the artist does an exact impression of young SRK

And the animation continues to introduce the rest of the cast

You know he is the villain because of the Smokin' Gun

This was a movie released at a time when Shahrukh Khan was yet to find his facial expression/feet in Hindi films, and thus he took risks by not being called Rahul/Raj/Rahul Raj and instead was named 'Sunder Srivastava'

Also, he looked like this

He starred in this movie as a Sports coach, around a decade and half before Chak De India came, and in the movie he comes out as the most improbable sports coach in the history of films. The story goes that he is a young 'village fellow' (bollywood stock character of a UP waale bhaiya a.k.a. Simpleton) who gets duped for all his money by a clever friend, when he comes to Mumbai, and his trip results in a very unlike-kid-film song

Back then I did not realize the implication of the 'lady in frock's fear of a 'Bichhu' that will bite her. For me it was a fun song sung on a fun train.

Anyway, lost and alone in the city, (remember he gets duped and all his luggage gets stolen) he takes refuge in a Christian cemetery, cause what better place to spend the night than the most susceptible in the case of a Zombie Apocalypse. And there he meets a ghost (what else should he expect)

Marco - Winning The Best Dressed Ghost Award 20 Years in a Row
of a man called Amar Kumar a.k.a Marco (Amar Kumar - Mar Ku, get it?) who perhaps got his name from the film-makers because it gave him a true Mafia film. In a true Bankelal-esque twist, Marco escapes from his grave only because Sunder Srivastava can hear him, and thus Sunder becomes the only one who can see him too. Marco promptly beats up several goons who for some other god forsaken reason are hiding in the cemetery, and proves that he is a 'good ghost' by telling Sunder that he knows what he wants (opening a school in his village) and that he will help him towards his goal.

He proceeds to tell him about his life in crime, how he was one of the worst men possible, a true criminal etc, until he met a woman (named in a nice filmy fashion) Saavitri. The woman urges him to change his ways, which does not bode well with his minion 'Kunta' (Tinu Anand). Marco decides to go completely straight post his wedding night, with visions of turning his evil empire into something worthwhile until Kunta ices him.

But then he has had a talk with God,

Why God! Why!

arguing that why was he killed on the day he chose to go straight, and why not before when he was evil incarnate. He further challenges God that if he allows things like this to happen, then soon he will lose all relevance.

But God too has a sense of revenge (along with a sense of humour) so he makes certain convenient rules for Marco

1. He can only be seen and heard by one person
2. He cannot make his presence felt
3. He cannot kill Kunta
4. He can however, use his powers to help a Weak person

What follows is a Ghost-Superhero film, with a crude plot and crude special effects along with pure entertainment. Marco the ghost cannot touch Kunta, and Shammi Kapoor (his Father-in-law), but nothing prevents him from driving a car, firing guns, and beating up bad guys while accompanying Sunder Srivastava (whom he helps find a job as a Sports coach).

Along with a barely-there romance between Urmila Mantodkar (who is in fact Marco's daughter), plus the revenging upon Kunta done by Marco, and of course there is the classic cricket match at the end of it

Chamatkar was/is truly Naseer bhai's film, he has often said in interviews that he does not like to play roles which require him to Ham it out, but I suspect that he secretly enjoys playing such characters (that is why he played the villain in Krrish with glee).

Shahrukh Khan seems quite content (and perhaps in that period of his career to be in awe) to play second fiddle to Naseer bhai. He plays the naive, impressionable Sunder well, it was one of his two endearing roles in the beginning, and it feels good to watch him such, just to tell yourself that the Shahrukh Khan of today is a different man altogether.

This movie too is available on Youtube, and if like me you loved it as a kid, why not have a 'dekho' just to relive your childhood for a couple of hours again!

PS - Ashutosh Gowarikar, Guddi Maruti and Gavin Peckard played Sub-level villains in this film

On a sad note, Gavin Packard died recently in relative obscurity. RIP.


{ Pyaasa Sajal } at: May 31, 2012 at 9:40 PM said...

have seen this film over and over again...and have always loved it...the finishing moments when Naseer is leaving and he says: mujhe doosra mauk amil gaya, apako nahi milega....priceless :)

{ B. Kamna Will...... } at: June 12, 2012 at 11:23 AM said...

I have watched this movie n number of times and even then when I watch it today the zeal is no less ...:D .. reminds me of the time when I was a kid , they used to telecast it on doordarshan all the time ...

{ spectator } at: June 20, 2012 at 9:42 AM said...

I've a query. I think I saw Subrata Roy Sahara playing the role of Tinu Anand's sidekick. Can someone verify if it was him? IMDB lists one Ajit Mehra as 'Gunta's chamcha.'

{ Sushant Trivedi } at: November 17, 2012 at 8:50 AM said...

Chamatkar, along with Chachi420 and andaz apna apna, is a movie that I watch at least once every year.

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