Namak Halaal (1982)
Name: Namak Halaal (Faithful/ Loyal Servant)
Director: Prakash Mehra
Did I watch this recently? Yes
Arjun Singh (Amitabh Bachchan) has been raised by his grandfather (Om Prakash). His grandfather gets worried when his Arjun doesn’t dream about girls, but about his love for his grandfather! So his grandfather feels Arjun is too simple and naive so he sends him to work in Mumbai to experience life for himself and ‘stand on his own two feet’. Arjun soon finds work in a 5 star hotel working for Raja (Shashi Kapoor). Someone is trying to kill Raja and Raja fears its his own mother Savitri (Waheeda Rehman). But the story takes a twist when it becomes apparent (to everyone but the chatacters) that Savitri is also Arjun’s mother. Arjun doesn’t believe Savitri would kill her own son so he pledges his loyalty to finding the person trying to kill Raja. More plot lines and eccentric bad guys to follow.
Namak Halaal is your typical masala film – full of action, romance, drama, intrigue, comedy and oh yeah the story rarely makes alot of sense. But just cause the story is everywhere doesn’t mean its not totally enjoyable to watch!
If i was to summarise and make a synopsis on all the plot lines and characters in this movie i would be writing for a while! There is so much happening all at once, its hard to seamlessly tie everything nicely together. One could describe Namak Halaal as ‘wacky’ and utterly nonsensical but despite the fact the viewer might be very confused at times, you can almost guarantee they will be at least entertained.
The movie can get a bit full on at times with all the melodrama and eccentric mad men, but the saving grace is the comedy brought by Amitabh Bachchan as ‘Arjun Singh’, the faithful and simplistic village boy in the big city. If anyone has seen any of Abhishek Bachchan’s comedic roles (Jhoom Barabar Jhoom & Bunty aur Babli in particular) they can see exactly where Abhishek gets his comedy style from. Seeing Amitabh in this hilarious role is such a welcome break from seeing his angry man persona in his classic films. I wish he did more comedy because from the ones i’ve seen (Chupke Chupke & Namak Halaal) he has such a great comedy style.
There are several classic comedy scenes in the movie. Amitabh’s classic long winded ‘I know english’ speech to his prospective employer, Amitabh loosing his shoe in the hotel’s water feature, where Amitabh gets everyone in the boardroom to repeat everything Shashi says and so many more.
As for supporting cast Parveen Babi plays the woman sent to kill Shashi Kapoor’s character but ends of falling in love with him (as you do), Smita Patil plays the hotel secretary who cannot resist the good natured Amitabh Bachchan and Om Prakash plays Arjun Singh’s lovable yet tough love approach grandfather. As a major Waheeda Rehman fan i always love seeing her in movies, but her character is the same old sacrificing loving mother, but as i said i would never complain about having her in a movie.
Songs are good in this film too. My personal favourites are the rain song with Amitabh and Smita Patil – Aaj Rapat Jaye To. Pagh Ghungroo Bagh a disco qawwali styled song and the fake drunk scene he does for his grandfather that i couldn’t find on youtube unfortunately. All the Parveen Babi and Shashi Kapoor songs were disco ‘groovy’ but i prefer the Amitabh ones.
A little bit of Trivia provided by Darshana of Bollywhat, Waheda Rehman, born in 1936, plays mother of Shashi Kapoor, born in 1938, and Amitabh Bachchn, born in 1942. Funny nah?
Overall Score: 3/5 Hairy Anil Kapoors – Despite the fact the story doesn’t really make sense and is the same old stuff you’ve seen before, you watch this movie for the comedy value and the entertainment value of seeing Amitabh Bachchan in one of his funniest comedic roles.
I went Screencap crazy with Namak Halaal, here are some more: