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Dirtscapes

Read. Suffer. Try to Enjoy.

The Commando Movie Review

There is something irresistibly appealing about the idea of serving in a nation's armed forces. The sheer rigours of military life, the iron discipline, the relentless, undying love for one's country, the whole ‘brothers until we die’ thing. Not to forget cavorting with the boss' daughter, showing off your mean martial arts and disco dancing skills, fighting a ninja called (of all things) 'Ninja', curing a demented mother, busting an international gang of arms runners based out of 'No Man's Land', and avenging your father's murder. In case you haven't guessed it already, Prabhuji shows how you do it ALL. In a couple of days’ work.

We start off with Prabhuji's childhood exercise routine, which his cop father makes him go through every morning. This includes some truly bitch-ass moves like doing back flips off 'Serve the nation - Join Indian army' advertisement boards and really mean, septum flattening boxing with dad to alleviate the usual do-weird-pushups-and-run-like-cokehead boredom. On one of these rounds, father and son bump into a colleague cop and his daughter (cryptically) named Zoom Zoom (Yes. Poor, poor thing). To his credit, Prabhuji does the proper WTF thing on hearing that name, to be told by the angel, that that's the exact sound she makes while running. Prabhuji buys it, for the moment. (Hold on to that name...)


These guys then are in charge of security at a PM's (Mrs Indira Gandhi) address. This is one of the movie’s (and Bollywood's) rarest 'real' moments, with an actual person being shown. (When contrasted with all those 'padosi mulk' waala swipes).


Time for our villains to make their entry - Mirza (Thatthee Thapooll), Senor Marceloni (Amrish Puri) and (yes) Ninja (Danny D), at their debonair, shamelessly undisguised best. You'd think that they would take a little more effort to conceal their true identities, considering that they were going to attempt to pop the PM, but hell, evil makes men do stranger things (as you will soon see...). Prabhuji's and Zoom Zoom's guv'nors perish in the usual save-the-VIP-kill-my-ass-instead process, the evil trio escape to their own green room, change clothes peacefully, and scoot as if they had just stopped to take a leak by the roadside.


Thus leaving Prabhuji's mom off her rocker, and one confused-as-hell Prabhuji. Cut to running feet, and yep, it's Him in training on an Aarey Milk Colony street. He wends his way to his usual tea joint, and saves a child waiter from a gang of thugs by declaring "Main gareeb ke chiraag ka jinn hoon" to the mandatory "Kaun hai be tu?". Here, he comes to know that he has got a job at an ordnance factory, as a… Commando.


Meanwhile, the three villains fan out thus. Ninja (the only "complete Ninja outside Japan". That explains it all) starts his own ninja training camp, with free form, one-with-Nature, precusor-of-Taibo regimens to whip his forces into killing machine shape. Marceloni with a suitably spaghetti soused accent to go with the name, safely ensconces himself in No-Man's-Land to plot the nation's downfall by instigating communal riots, by tying up with Ninja and Mirza for Operational and Ammo support respectively. Mirza works his way up to Chief of Ammo factory, lest you forget.


On reporting for work, Prabhuji runs into the binary loving (Why binary? Cos he only likes his answers in "Yes Sir" or "No Sir") Mirza and his man-at-arms, Diler Singh (played by the mercurial Hemant Birje) who calls Mirza "Chip". (No male bonding there, that's "Chief". Easing your pain, right there. This will soon be over).

Without any kind of induction/training, Prabhuji is thrown into the thick of things (the more I think, the more I see that Bollywood and our IT industries are a bit too closely aligned for comfort, wot?).

The thickest of things are as below:

--> Unknowingly thwarting an arms shipment destined for the Senor, by fighting off Ninja and assorted ninjas as they attempt to get their greedy paws on 'arms belonging to the nation', with the contents of his truck tool box (standard military issue). Now this is not as ridiculous as it seems considering that the best Ninja moves are semi-graceful cheerleader routines (sans pom-poms) off tarpaulin truck tops.

--> Saving the heroine from lusty goons, and falling in love in the process. Here's how.
(After slitting skirt with knife to help her run faster from goons)
Asha: "You idiot!!! I am going to kill you!!!!"
Prabhuji (ever the pragmatist): Going to na?!!! Let's go!!!!
(Her toes curled at this point. I blushed too.)

--> Walking all the way to China, and walking back, with some
help from a hamming guardian angel called ‘Ram Chong’.

--> Romancing the heroine right under the ample nose of the
Manager – Prabhuji's immediate boss (Dalip Tahil) who loves the lady too.

--> Facing professional clusterf*** after personal clusterf***, thanks to points 1 and 4 above. For instance, the Manager insists that he call the heroine as "Asha-ji". Always. Such humiliation.

--> In one such c.f., He is assigned jeep cleaning duty for his supposed sedition. Here he is taunted by Diler Singh, and a provoked Prabhuji whoops his ass proper, with the highlight being when out of the blue, He suddenly wears a bucket on his head, and fights Diler 'blind'. Diler Singh and the others (Note regarding 'others' - it is heartening to see mostly pot-bellied, unshaved, longish haired fellow 'commandos' here. A refreshing change from the impossible to live up to breakfast-with-glass-flakes, gargling-with-battery-acid stereotype.) know whom they are dealing with and they wisely shut the **** up and align forces with him. Especially when He tells Diler that he 'learnt this (bucket) martial art off the streets'.

A couple of scintillating songs in the snow later, Asha(ji) is kidnapped by Marceloni, and held captive in 'No-Man's Land'. The CBI chief bluntly tells the brave duo, with candour very uncharacteristic of Bollywood.

"Asha ko bachaane ki poori koshish karni hogi hamein. Hamein matlab (obviously) tumhein... (har dee har har)"

He also helpfully tells them that an Indian agent called Zoom Zoom (There. Let go of that name now.) has infiltrated the Marceloni camp, and she dances titillatingly there for his garrison. Prabhuji instantly formulates an RSA/Quantum Cryptography hybrid and declares

"Uska code word hoga Zoom Zoom, aur haamaara code-bhaard hoga Dhoom Dhoom"

Prabhuji and Diler are air-dropped into No Man's Land, and they claw their way through ominous papier-mache mountains and surreal cotton candy like snow, to crash the BDSM-flavoured Zoom Zoom show. In an effortless and seamless infiltration of the enemy camp, He sings out his part of the encryption key and dances for all of Marceloni's soldiers, who don't even realize that they'd never seen Prabhuji before, ever. All that Commando training…

Decryption duly completed, Zoom Zoom lets them into the HQ, Prabhuji disrupts Marceloni's grand share-holder AGM by introducing himself and Diler thus
"Main hoon Senor Mukka-lini aur yeh mera dost, Dhobi-pacha-lini"
They then fry the baddies with lead and Prabhuji kicks the evil Senor out of a cable car on his way back over a 2 feet deep water body.

But before knocking on them pearly gates, Marceloni had ordered Ninja to plug a religious leader, thereby paving the way for communal riots which would ensure that he had countrywide domination.

Will he succeed in his diabolical plan? Will the world be the same again? Will the religious leader like a ballet troupe in pink leotards with a live drummer? Will we finally know who is actually happy in the IT industry?

Cut to breathtaking finale for all the answers (almost all). The religious leader arrives at his function, to be treated to said ballet show, which would have made Nureyev wish (very badly) that he had settled in India while he still had the chance.

Now evidently Ninja had learnt his lessons, and so he arrives suitably disguised for this particular hit. Sure as hell, taxes, and death Prabhuji carpes the diem (sic!), shakes it proper and saves it too. His mother, thoughtfully smuggled in by her shrink who thought the ballet would be grotesque shock treatment enough (the clever, clever SOB), recovers her marbles on hearing gun shots and Prabhuji grins goofily at the camera (I have a feeling that he was amazed too).

The Star Wars theme is used brilliantly throughout the movie, to highlight the particularly space-tastic moments (which is the whole movie actually). Also of special note is the distinctive Prabhuji war cry, which is featured here in practically every move that the man makes. Sample here (and no prizes for guessing whose voice it is... *simper, simper*). Also, the movie has a mysterious way of making sense suddenly, when you are high...

To sum it all up, a line from the PM's speech is very very apt indeed.
"Agar unke paas Atum Bumm hai, to hamaare paas Gautam Buddh hai."
Add "Hamare paas Commando bhi hai." Do you dare argue?

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1:18 AM, August 07, 2007
Blogger raviraj said...

hey dude, excellent..makes me actually go n get a dvd to watch it..perfect cannon fodder with booze !    



3:15 PM, August 07, 2007
Blogger mandeepsg said...

This is an unforgettable movie for me...Reason below

I remember riding my cycle(guess I was 9 yrs old then) to rent a videotape of this movie in Delhi...but was bumped off by a Bajaj Super and landed on the concrete with some broken bones....before blacking out....no one saw the Scooter waala though....anyways the next thing I remember was sitting on a Sofa with a plastered wrist and elbow.....don't remember who but someone from my family went and got that movie on rent and I forgot all my pain for few hours....and made this movie a memorable odyssey....That was the magic of guruji....ek bhakt ko darshan de hi diye...AAaaaaaaaaaiiiiiiiiiiieeeeeeeeee (tht was the sound I must have made when I was hit by tht scooter)    



9:53 PM, August 07, 2007
Blogger GuNs said...

WTF!
Where the heck do you get these movies from?

-PeAcE
--WiTh
---GuNs    



10:56 AM, August 08, 2007
Blogger SEV said...

One can only think about possible comparisions with the 'Ahll be back'version of 'Commando'..

And brilliant voiceover too :P    



5:18 PM, August 10, 2007
Blogger Woodsmoke said...

If it weren't for the fact that it's nearly 5 am here right now and my roommate is sound asleep (naturally), my shrieks of laughter on reading the following would have resounded in our city.
"Uska code word hoga Zoom Zoom, aur haamaara code-bhaard hoga Dhoom Dhoom"

Thanks for yet another FAB read.    



5:14 AM, August 12, 2007
Blogger Woodsmoke said...

Btw, linked your blog to mine so you will see a lot more of me around. Keep writing the good stuff.    



8:15 PM, August 13, 2007
Blogger Keith said...

Nice. Always good to see the Commando love spreading (ewww). If you really want to entertain yourself, go rent the movie American Ninja. From the arrival at the base to the showdown at the jail, Commando is almost a shot-for-shot "remake." It's beautiful.

And now you should check out the Tarzan movie this whole crew (minus Mithun, unfortunately) made!    



9:04 AM, August 14, 2007
Blogger Tapan said...

'Roby',
Watch it ONLY when high.

Mandeep,
Man... that is some story... no, make that SOME story. :)
All I can say is that the lord has his ways... :)

Guns,
This movie is not that obscure, plenty of people have seen it. How did you miss out? :P

SEV,
Let's leave it at that.

Woodsmoke,
Thank you madam, I endeavour to give satisfaction.

Keith,
American Ninja eh? I'll do that.
And Tarzan is a cult classic here, for reasons too numerous to recount here, it is proper 'post material'. And yea, I agree with your Mithun-unfortunately-not-in-it sentiment.
Teleport city rocks, btw...    



3:30 PM, August 22, 2007
Blogger Jeeban Ram said...

Magane,
Thou art the Paul Bearer to Prabhuji's Undertaker. Reading this piece gave me a feeling of inner peace and tranquility. As if time had stopped and I was again a gawky 10 year old practising Mithun moves in front of the mirror.

In the words of the great man himself -
'Salaam seth, koi apne layak kaam seth. Aap to khayen murgh mussalam apni to bas rice plate'    



8:57 AM, August 23, 2007
Blogger shamanth said...

yyyaouyyy..!!!
i dont dare argue...humaare pass commando hai! and thts more than anythin we need.

gr8 review ther man...had a good laugh aftr a long time...    



6:48 AM, October 04, 2007
Anonymous Anonymous said...

saxx review
raja, charnon ki saugandh aur sheshnaag ka review kab likhoge

chhed milan ke geet re mitwa, chhed milan ke geet

lollll    



11:06 PM, November 12, 2007
Blogger Tapan said...

Jeeban,
That song was a childhood fave. Remember embarassing my parents by singing it at quite a few family get-togethers :D

Shamanth,
Thank you...

Anon,
chhed milannnnnn ke geeeeeeeet    



3:39 PM, November 14, 2007
Anonymous Anonymous said...

sahi hai bhai..    



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