Sindbad Alibaba and Aladin (1965)

Article 3118 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 12-10-2009
Posting Date: 2-16-2010
Directed by Prem Narayan Arora
Featuring Pradeep Kumar, Agha, Baghwan
Country: India/Japan
What it is: Bollywood Arabian Nights flick

Sindbad, Alibaba and Aladin join forces to do battle with an evil ruler.

This marks my first review of a full-fledged Bollywood movie, though I’ve seen a couple prior to this. Please take the above plot description with a grain of salt; my copy is in unsubtitled Hindi, and I found the actual plot line rather difficult to follow. Basically, it seems our three heroes go on adventures to get magical items to help them defeat the evil ruler; a magic sword, lamp and carpet are all used. Based on the general tone of the movie, I’m guessing it’s a comedy; in fact, I found it frantic and shrill on quite a number of occasions. Of course, it’s also a musical, and from the few movies I’ve seen, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s the musical numbers that add the real flavor to the Bollywood movie-watching experience; they seem both familiar and alien, with dance moves that seem to be unique to the culture. There’s a lot of talk, an underwater sequence (including giant squids and clams), a reenactment of Aladin’s discovery of the lamp, and a battle with a dragon that looks like an extremely cheap version of Godzilla; in fact, if my eyes aren’t deceiving me, I’m pretty sure I saw Toho special effects wizard Eija Tsuburaya listed in the credits. I don’t know when I’ll be venturing into this territory of filmdom again, but I hope to eventually have more of a feel for Bollywood movies.


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