The Rajiv Rai Trilogy

Recently I’ve come across many trilogies by great directors, like the Color trilogy, death trilogy, some zombie trilogy, some vampire trilogy and there are many more which I’m unaware of. When we look for trilogies coming from India, the first one that comes to mind is the Apu trilogy. I am sure Shyam Benegal also has a trilogy, but to be honest I’ve seen very few of his 70-80’s era movies.

But I grew up with the Rajiv Rai trilogy. Hahaha. Sounds like a big joke, right? Believe me, it isn’t. I very strongly believe Rajiv Rai completed a trilogy with Mohra. Please don’t laugh. I confess. I am a tru-blu fan of Mr. Rajiv Rai.

So after that pretentious start to the blog, lets get started, really started.
So as you must have guessed by now the Rajiv Rai trilogy consists of TRIDEV, VISHWATMA and MOHRA.

Tridev

3 angry men in happier times

The tagline reads ‘A volcanic saga of Three Angry Men’. Haha.Lol.

Tridev PosterTridev provides the perfect so-bad-its-good experience. It is ridiculous, hilarious, exciting (Thanks to Viju Shah) and a perfect example of the late 80s early 90s blockbuster movie. And as the masala potboiler cliché goes “It has action, comedy and romance in the right doses”. It had a superb hyperlinked plot connecting the 3 angry men with each other through the villain. And the villain is Bhujang. Oops! “Kal ka Bhairav singh aur aaj ka Bhujang”

The movie kick starts with a volcanic explosion with Naseer saab’s voice over in background

“Paap se dharti fati..ati..ti
Adharm se aasmaan..smaan…maan..aan
Atyachaar se kaanpi Insaaniyat, Raaj kar rahe haivaan..aivaan..vaan
Jinki hogi taakat apporav, jinka hoga nishaana abhed..bhed..hed
Jo karenge unka sarvanaash, woh Kehlaayenge Tridev…Tridev.. TRIDEV”

Techno music kicks in.
CUT TO
EXT. DOCK
Mr. Don is unloading some maal, maybe sone ke biscut

PRICELESS!!!

I’m laughing my ass off while writing this. Tridev is hilarious from the word go. There are hilarious elements throughout. Jackie’s scarf, the hanging body of the judge, the 2 sons of Bhujang eyeing Sonam with infinite tharak, the bank robbery, the interval scene (a special mention follows), Bhujang’s den with a giant clock, the jail break sequence, sad version of Tirchi topiwaale and the explosive climax at the den. Tridev is a non-stop so-bad-its-awesome entertainer.

Special mention for the interval scene.

Sunny Deol rises (literally) from the burnt debris and stands in rapt attention (the armywala attention) and delivers

“Ab desh ke dushman, mere jyaati dushman bangaye hai”

to whom? The audience. And the screen splits in 3 parts to showcase the 3 angry men. PRICELESS again.
As I think now about the whole movie, I realize it was a perfect comic book movie. Fast and furious, snappy dialogues throughout, action packed and a super comic-bookish villain Bhujang. It was indeed a comic book laid bare on screen. Maybe the best comic book adaption of all time, if there was a TRIDEV comic book ever ;P

Lets move on.

Vishwatma

VishwatmaThis one was probably the weakest of the trilogy, which by no way means it isn’t a great movie. It is a more slicker and sophisticated version of Tridev. In Tridev characters rarely stepped out of the sets. But here it is all outdoor. It is all Kenya. Jaambo.

The villain here is Ajgar Jurrat, who has a son named Naagdans. Lol. They make a deal for procuring an INR printing die with Neelu brothers. Lol, The die is cleverly stolen by Prabhat and Akaash and leave Ajgar Jurrat yelling in frustration “Muje Die chahiye..DIE.ie.e”. Lol.

And this is just a subplot. It makes you want more. Right?

Tapasvi Gunjal, Ajgar’s saala, is genuinely funny. The scene where the disguised Prabhat and Aakash teach him to count is genuinely hilarious. Then there is ‘Saat samundar par’ and ‘dil le gayi teri bindiya’ along with the love angles of the 3 heroes. And still there is so much more. The special mention scene here will be the die-breaking one.

Prabhat and Aakash audaciously walk into Ajgar’s den to negotiate the die. But the heroes know, that the die is priceless and is too dangerous for the country. So what do they do?

Prabhat throws it high in the air towards Ajgar “Ye lo”. Rajiv Rai captures the moment with reaction close-ups of every single character watching the die go up in the air. Prabhat takes out his gun and shoots the die to chithdaas infuriating Ajgar to infinite levels. Superb editing and BG score elevate this moment to roof-breaking heights.

The culmination

Mohra

MohraI am the biggest fan of Mohra on the earth. It is a superbly written taut screenplay, spiced with badass characters and dialogue pe dialogue.

Inspecter Amar Saxena vs Vishaal Agnihotri vs Jindaal. Boy!!! Explosive, thrilling and mind-blowing. Add Tyson, Jibraan, Kaashinaath Sahu, Kaamdev Kulkarni and Kraanti to it and you get one of the best ensemble movies in Bollywood.

Mohra is a multi-layered thriller. The characters are pitted against each other forming an intricate web of ego clashes, which is tore apart by the man Jindaal, who gives everyone else a common motive, VENGENCE, to fight against him. Jindaal is one of the most badass villains to come out of bollywood. He is infact the smartest and the fittest (check out him fighting Amar and Vishal singlehandedly with ease) of all the characters. It takes the combined power of Amar, Vishal and the police to finally nab him.

The twist, when Jindaal unmasks himself, will send any viewer for a spin. Superbly plotted and deftly executed. All the while the viewer thinks Tyson and Jibraan are the baddies, but wait. Aila! It’s the blind man Jindaal who shows a giant middle finger to all the characters when he removes the dark glasses. KICKASS.

The tharak here is oozed by Raveena Tandon. She seduces Amar with Tip Tip barsa Paani and Jindaal with Main cheez badi hoon mast mast.

“Maine in aankhon se tumhe piya hai Roma”

Jindaal sighs.
The funny guy here is an extremely hilarious Paresh Rawal. He delivers the one liners like only he can. Here are a few.

“Woh baar baar phone laga rahi hai aur Sir baar baar kaat rahe hai, Main toh saal wrong number bhi nahi chodta” (When Roma tries to flirt with Amar)

“Nassebwalaa hai, chaar pahiye pe arthi jaa rahi hai, aur saath mein kriya karam bhi ho gaya” (When one of Jibraan’s men is in a car which comes crashing and burning down the cliff)

“Yeh toh shortcut se neeche aaya” (When one of the Tyson’s men is thrown out the window of a high rise building).

When I watch Mohra today, I feel surpised. It is so fuckin layered man! Not emotionally, of course. (Everyone is on an adrenaline shot. Lol. ). I’m taliking about the dense plot. And everything comes together in such an unbelievably thrilling manner, that you are left dazed. Along with the usual so-bad-its-good experience, it also provide the oh-so-typical bollywood thrills with maximum impact. Talking of Rajiv Rai’s filmography, this is on par with Gupt, the best whodunit of bollywood.

So now, what makes them a TRILOGY?

If you still haven’t got it, lets go through the similar elements. Super villains, three main protagonists (Mohra turned this element on its head and made the 3rd protagonist a super villain. A masterstroke), THE item songs (Oye oye, saat samundar, tu cheez badi hai mast mast), naseerudin shah and the vengeance is written all over the 3 movies.

Rajiv Rai loves his villains. He gives them great dens. He gives them cool dialogues. They keep on showing the middle finger to the heroes, right till the end. He gives them songs to have fun with the heroines. The Amrish Puri jigs in Tridev and Vishwatma are for the keeps. Naseer DOES Raveena. He doesn’t rape her like other chavanni-chaap baddies, he injects her with some wild drug.

“Yeh injection Roma ke badan mein intni garmi paida karegi, ki woh apni sharm haya chodke saari hadein paar kar degi”

Boy! Thirkee villainy at his best.
Even the Jibrans and Tysons are slick and stylish in their own way. The green-eyed twins played their thirkee best in the songs of Tridev and Vishwatma.

All the main protagonists, in these 3 films have their separate origin stories. They aren’t best friends or blood brothers, they are initially pitted against each other before realizing their common goal. They kick each others ass before realizing that the villain is laughing at them and then team up to kick his ass.

Another common element which deserves a post of its own, is Viju Shah. He along with Rajiv Rai are responsible for changing the BG score in mainstream bollywood. Viju Shah has his sources of inspiration, but still, the score he comes up with is magnificent.

Whoa!! That was a long and deserved homage to the auteur Rajiv Rai. I love him and respect him. I went and watched Asambhav first day, just for him. I came out disappointed, but wasn’t sad for long. I came home and Set MAX was playing Mohra. And I saluted him once again.

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6 thoughts on “The Rajiv Rai Trilogy

  1. Rajiv Rai was excellent at the masala pot-boilers. He was able to mix revenge with action, emotion and romance, pretty effortlessly. That was his forte, backed by awesome techno music by Viju Shah.
    Wonder why he tried his hands at romantic movies? Probably because after DDLJ, the trend changed, and he succumbed to the pressure of trying to please the NRI audience. Nevertheless, he does deserve a salute for the trilogy.

  2. Tridev and Mohra were and are still hugely entertaining. Don’t know why Rajiv Rai and Subhash Ghai have stopped making the kind of movies they used to.

  3. Pingback: No Golden Age for Bollywood | mad about moviez

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