#100days100scenes :Mr.India

Mr. India , Mr. Indiaaaa , Mr. Indiyaaaaa . Mogambo Khush Hua.

If you have not heard this dialogue as a kid growing up in the 80s , then there is something wrong.

Mr.India was the last Salim Javed script that was struggling to find a director who could convert that vision into a reality. Enter the maverick director Shekhar Kapur who had shown his mettle with the heart tugging childrens movie Masoom. Shekhar Kapur with an average technical crew could make a movie that in some parts is a science fiction/ super hero ( man with powers to be invisible) , in parts a patriotic movie with the titular character also having the duty to save India from a super tough  villain called Mogambo (masterfully played by Amrish Puri) who was plotting India's destruction by remote controlled missiles , in parts a chidrens movie about the hopes and hardships of abandoned children ( Jindagi ki yehi reet hai, haar ke baad hi jeet hai - success follows defeat , such is life) and supremely entertaining comedy ( imagine the movie without Sridevi and Annu Kapoor).  It had everything that a Disney production would be proud of. And this was 1987 in India, fairly low in technical competence and you still had to put a rain song by Sridevi to attract the front benchers to the movie ( the only part I feel could have been avoided since its still a childrens movie at heart).

One of the best parts of Mr.India is that although a heavy duty subject , it has a mischievous lightness throughout almost not taking the task at hand very non seriously. Its that breezy execution that is the hallmark of this movie. Even the villains side kicks are comic ( the amazing Teja and Deja series or the Bob Christo mouthing Jai Bajrang Bali). And the invisible man Mr. India provides ample room for comedy since he cant be seen and can create multiple sequences of surprise and suspended disbelief.  And Sridevi with her impeccable comic timing steals the show , even pulling off a Chaplin sequence with aplomb.

This is probably the best comic scene from the movie showing how comedy can strengthen the impact of the titular character.. Annu Kapoor plays the newspaper editor Mr. Gaitonde ( imagine a comic Jameson from the Spiderman series) where Sridevi  (Seema)who is romantically involved with Mr. India works as a reporter. She wants to write a piece of Mr.India and the good deeds he is doing ( going after black marketers ). This interlude where the editor meets Mr.India for the first time and hence technically cant meet him since he is invisible is just hilarious. Again amazing background music by RD Burman,(when Mr.India is gulping the soft drink).