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♫ Yahan wahan dhuaan dhuaan, chhupa kahan, haan gupt hai woh 
6th-Mar-2011 09:56 am
Aa-ya-ya-ya-ya-aa! Gupt...gupt... Gupt aa re... Gupt...gupt... Woh kya hai? (sing it with me folks) Gupt...gupt... Oh right, I should probably move on to the write up now.

Title: Gupt
Year: 1997
Director: Rajiv Rai
Screenplay: Rajiv Rai, Shabbir Boxwala
Cinematographer: Ashok Mehta
Actors: Bobby Deol, Kajol, Manisha Koirala
Music: Viju Shah

Directed by Rajiv Rai, who delivered super hits Tridev and Mohra prior to this film, Gupt is a whodunnit starring Bobby Deol, Kajol and Manisha Koirala. The music and promos of Gupt were well received by the public at the time and the industry was expecting another hit given Rajiv Rai's previous successes. Gupt lived up to its hype after release as the film's combination of murder mystery and romance struck a chord with the public, thus giving Bobby Deol his very first hit. Incidentally the same year his brother Sunny's films Border and Ziddi were hits as well. Clearly a good year for the Deol parivaar then, the only daag on the celebrations being Bobby's other film, Aur Pyar Ho Gaya, flopping.

In Gupt, Bobby plays Sahil, a lonely young man with no real friends, who feels alienated from his family and over the years has come to resent his step-father. He spends his nights at clubs singing catchy songs about being a lonely heart searching for a friend,

...and spends his late nights glaring so fiercely at his step-dad, who tries to gently chide him for his irresponsible ways, that the dad's dialogue just dies on his lips.

The step father Jaisingh (Raj Babbar) is actually a nice guy and loves Sahil despite his rude behaviour. He is a politician, a Governor to be exact, and appears to be stuck in a political debate with a whole bunch of 90s villains.

(Sharat Saxena, Dalip Tahil, Prem Chopra)

He also has a group of 90s character actors as close friends.

(Kulbushan Kharbanda, Paresh Rawal, Raza Murad)

Anyway, the universe listens to Sahil's wishes when his childhood friend Isha (Kajol), having completed her boarding school, returns to town and enrols in the same college as him. Sahil is also befriended by a girl called Sheetal (Manisha) at college on the same day. Isha, by the way is the daughter of Jaisingh's secretary Ishwar (Paresh) while Sheetal is the daughter of Meghnath (Dalip), who is one of the people Jaisingh has been discussing politics with.

I think we all see where this is going... love triangle!

So while Sahil's marriage is arranged to Sheetal by both Sahil and Sheetal's parents (who believe them to be in love), Isha and Sahil are busy romancing each other.

♫ tu ho koi phool tou chura loon, apni zulfon mein lagaa loon (if you were a flower I would steal you and put you in my hair)
♫ tu ho koi jaam tou udaa loon, apni pyaas main bhujaa loon (if you were a drink I'd drink you and quench my thirst)

On Sahil's birthday, when Sahil was planning on telling everyone that he was going to marry Isha, Jaisingh announces Sahil's engagement to Sheetal. Sahil is livid at his stepfather and when he goes a step too far in insulting Jaisingh he gets a kadak slap. In return Sahil picks up a knife and threatens to kill his stepfather but ofcourse his mother steps in and so Sahil leaves fuming.

At night when Governor Jai Singh is in his study alone a drunk Sahil comes back to exchange more barbed words but instead finds his stepfather dead. Sahil is caught in a compromising position and everyone thinks he is the murderer. A court case follows where everyone testifies against him, including his mother, and so Sahil is sent to jail.

this be my *sadface*

Isha is distraught and laments about what has happened. Sheetal confidently tells Sahil that she does not think he is guilty. You can tell who I like more. Good thing Sahil has enough presence of mind to trust Sheetal's level headedness and so he sneakily hands her the locket that he found on his father's dead body. The locket that will be the clue to the murderer.

*insert jail sequences here*

Sheetal uses her connections to visit Sahil in jail and he asks her if she is willing to help him escape. Ofcourse she is! I'm pretty sure it is obvious to Sahil that Sheetal is in love with him but Bobby never makes it seem like he is taking unfair advantage of her emotions, which I appreciated.

*insert escape sequences here*

The rude and authority-defying but highly capable Uddham Singh (Om Puri) is called in by the police to help find and arrest the escaped convict Sahil.

(Om Puri, Harish Patel, Anjan Srivastav, Ashok Saraf)

Meanwhile Sheetal takes Sahil back to her house for the night. Sahil feels lost and worried about whether he will be able to find the real killer or not but Sheetal consoles him and tells him not to worry. I love that Sheetal is so handy and calm in a crisis and is someone that Sahil can rely on to be a good friend to him. It is probably time to confess that I have a thing for the third wheels in a romantic triangle... Be it Min Hyuk in Full House or Vanraj in Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam my sympathies often lie with that person who knows that they are not loved back and have to decide how to channel their inner angst.  So while all the reviews I have read so far seem to be very lukewarm towards Manisha and her character and preferred Kajol instead I found her fantastic!

I think it is great how Sheetal is a modern woman who is confident about her place in the world. She isn't afraid to get her hands dirty, be it gleefully hiring gundas, fearlessly challenging policewaalahs or flirting with politicians. Sheetal is quick thinking and on more than one occasion saves our hero-in-distress. It is great to see the film treating her as a competent character without passing judgement on her overt sexuality. Yeah there really is no other way to see this song, where she finds Sahil asleep on her bed and goes off into a dream sequence that leaves little to the imagination about what she is thinking of:

♫ Naadaniyaan, beimaaniyaan (Innocence, deceit),
Hairaaniyaan, manmaaniyaan (Astonishment, doing what you please),
Kurbaaniyaan, diljaaniyaan (Sacrifice, knowing the other's heart),
Pashemaaniyaan pareshaaniyaan (Repentance, anxiety)
Mushkil bada ye pyaar hai... (This love is difficult...)

I was wondering if it was just me who still found the song appealing despite the questionable dance moves but apparently not hehe. Good to know! Because yeah I adore it :P Especially Bobby in that ridiculous plaid jacket that you'll see a screenshot of later.

The rest of the film revolves around chasing down suspects that might lead to the real murderer. It kind of gets a bit tedious but since Isha spends this entire time distracting Sahil with some really melodious romantic interludes we do get a break now and again. Also ofcourse since Bobby is busy looking so deliciously handsome and Sheetal is often being angsty but awesome one can't really complain.

♫ Jhuki hui hai raat yeh, ruki hui hai baat yeh,
(this night has taken a bow, these talks have halted)
Yeh chaandani raat aage chale, hoooo kuch pyar ki baat aage chale...
(let this moonlit night move further along, let this talk of love continue forward)

Kab kaun jaane kahaan chala jaaye, mausam yahaan se vahaan chala jaaye,
(Who knows when one might go away, the weather may move from here to there)
Aisa na ho yeh jahaan chala jaaye...
(Maybe this world could go away)

I'm sorry, where was I? It is so hard to remember how to be coherent when Bobby is looking smoking hot in black, and somehow that bandage on the hand makes him look even hotter. *swoons* Love his random smiles too.

But it is as though all TPTB decided suddenly that they were jealous of how much fangirling Bobby was engendering so for the pre-climax song where Sahil, Sheetal and Isha are doing a dance performance to lure out one of the last suspects, so they can kidnap and question him, the costume designer made Bobby wear the ugliest, baggiest clothes ever and Bobby's hairstyle isn't looking too flash either. URRRRRGGGGHHHHH. Such a pity really because this is one dance number that is totally on crack and would have been enjoyable if the hero's costume was cracktastic instead of fugly. Example of aforementioned crack includes Sahil dancing on stage the entire time even though really all he needed was for Sheetal to do the dance so he could nab the suspect he wanted, but noooo he is on stage doing his moves even as the police is entering the hall to arrest him! Did I mention the completely gratuitous use of traditional desi dances?  Because yeah, that just takes the crack to a whole other level. Also this song is essentially Sheetal and Isha having a passive-aggressive fight through song lyrics and certain lines are quite significant for the rest of the film. I'm always so amazed and pleased when song lyrics turn out to be meaningful in the context of the film. And this movie did that twice, the first time being in the Yeh Pyaasi Mohabbat song.

♫ Jaadu hai yeh kya pataa, kab kis pe yeh chal gaya
(Who knows if [love] is magic, and when it may enchant someone)
Shola hai yeh kya khabar kab kiska dil jal gaya
(Who knows if [love] is a flame, and when someone's heart might get burnt)

Sab ke liye pyaar ka yeh phool khilta nahin
(The flower of love does not blossom for everyone)
Sab ko magar pyaar ka yeh gham bhi milta nahin
(Not everyone receives this sorrow of love )

Kuch log to haar ke kya kuch nahin kar gaye
(Some people on facing defeat have done all sorts of things [for love])
Unka bhi tou naam lo chupke se jo mar gaye
(Talk about those too who have died quietly [in love])

Eventually after a couple of unexpected twists (though they weren't so for me at this point because I vividly remembered who the kaatil was from when I saw the film in the 90s) the murderer is found but I won't go into details on that one because it would be really sucky if, like plazmah, you get spoiled too. LOL I still can't believe Kyun! Ho Gaya Na has a scene where they spoil the ending for Gupt. That just makes me want to watch that film all the more.

I will mention though that the ending of Gupt left me in severe need of fanfiction craving. And I don't even read fanfiction.

haha yeah I had a great time reminiscing with rubidium11   and wasabi_girl1  that day about Gupt...

Aside from enjoying watching Bobby & Manisha (yeah, yeah everyone's always yay Kajol so I'm channelling my love for the other two underrated but equally awesome stars of this film instead) and loving the songs I also thought the set designs in this film were pretty rad. Sample these:

And I know the costumes in this film got a bad rep but come on! How can you beat all that 90s vintage:

And don't even ask me how much I lust after this jacket of Bobby's:


For Bobby fans Gupt is worth a dekho simply because of how good he looks in it, especially some scenes *fans self* For the non-Bobby fans Gupt may be worth checking out simply to see one of the very few whodunnits in Bollywood that was actually successful. It has a killer twist ending which is probably what helped propel it to hit status, along with the popularity of its music. I know I've focussed in this write-up mainly on the jodis and songs but that's just me. I was the same for Soldier as well (as you shall discover) and that had heaps of twists too. In some ways I kinda wish I hadn't remembered Gupt's ending from the 90s because it would have been fun going WTF now but that's ok I got that with Soldier because I really didn't recall anything from that movie except the songs.

Having a dozen well known villain and character actors to complete the milieu of suspects and obstacles for the hero to overcome was quite a great strategy for Gupt and worked well in its favour, I thought. You rarely get to see ALL these guys in the same movie, let alone the same hospital room, y'know? So it is kinda cool Bobby got to work with all of them :D Also some of those guys were hilarious, especially Raza Murad as a poetic lawyer with a humorous sher (couplet) ready for every occasion. The inspector (Om Puri) trying to catch Sahil was funny in his own way, especially memorable is this one line in the film where he tells Sheetal he wants to see her bathroom so he can find out "tumhaari khoobsoorati ka raaz kya hai?" (what is the secret of your beauty?). For those who didn't grow up in India it probably was a random sleazy line but in fact it was a clever reference to the Lux advertisement slogan and I suspect Manisha might have at one point endorsed the product.

With Gupt Bobby took on the mantle of action hero that his father and brother were famous for. Sure in Barsaat he did some maad dhaad as well but this was the first of his, many (and I mean MANY), revenge films and perhaps the seeds for that can be traced back here. Had this film flopped, who knows what kind of 'image' he would have built? He already had Kareeb, Soldier and Dillagi lined up during Gupt though, all very diverse roles, so perhaps his career would have been much the same. Especially since Soldier was his next big hit and that was in a sort of similar genre where suspense was married with a revenge plot.

Bonus Fun Facts:

[+] Raveena was going to play Manisha's character but the dates clashed so in the end she opted out. She has however dubbed all of Manisha's lines in the film. Not sure why?
[+] The reason Bobby didn't have a film release till 1997, a whole year after his début in 1995, was because he was busy wooing his wife to be, Tanya Ahuja, and making plans to get married hehe (I find that adorable!)
[+] Gupt's release was also delayed because Bobby had ended up fracturing his leg which meant the shooting was stalled.
stock | astronomy
6th-Mar-2011 05:59 am (UTC)
I really was singing the Gupt song in my head, as I read your post! Hehe.
6th-Mar-2011 06:52 am (UTC)
Bwahahaha hard not to!
6th-Mar-2011 11:31 pm (UTC)
I remember watching the film and I didn't like Kajol either, but I don't think I really liked Manisha in it either.

But it was definitely a film I liked :D

Great review!
7th-Mar-2011 07:11 am (UTC)
Yeah I just...hmmm not sure what I didn't like about Kajol. It wasn't anything to do with her though, just her character I suppose.

I like how you pointedly don't mention Bobby at all XD


8th-Mar-2011 12:24 pm (UTC)
Lol, I did want to until I realised I couldn't remember anything specific about him in the film at all! :P
9th-Mar-2011 05:39 am (UTC)
Bobby, not memorable enough. Say it ain't so XD

The ironic thing is that I think people often use Gupt (or Soldier) as Bobby recommendations or in general Bobby movies they actually remember :P
9th-Mar-2011 08:58 pm (UTC)
Haha, I think I remember more of his early-2000-ish films (all of the really campy, hilariously bad ones :P) Badal, Bichoo, Hum To Mohabbat Karega, Ajnabee.
10th-Mar-2011 05:51 am (UTC)
Bichoo really was bad (urgh Rani's character) but I must protest about Badal. Except for all the JL bits tacked into it MEH.

HTMK - I want to watch it but can't find it dang it. I remember I loved some of the songs, especially the title one heaps when in India.

Ajnabee I don't know much about!
9th-Mar-2011 08:53 am (UTC)
I just went ahead and listened to all the songs. Hmm sigh

The first time I saw this movie, I remember loving the twists and of course the reveal about Kajol at the end. Gupt will always be special to me cos of Kajol being the first actress winning the now defunct Filmfare Best Actor in a Negative Role. And of course Bobby.

Speaking of Tanya, I read in Filmfare years ago that she was very upset when Bobby cut his longish hair. According to her, it was as if he had let go of his luck. And it's somewhat true. I was thinking about that last night. I used to be crazy about Bobby. Barsaat, Gupt, Aur Pyar Ho Gaya, Soldier, I cannot say the number of times I've seen these movies, how I'd dance on his songs, how I loved his..lips.. Uh never mind eh. :P After that..he did films like Badal, Bichhoo, Hum To Mohabbat Karega...and that happiness I used to have in watching his films disappeared. I miss awesome 95-99 Bobby.

I had no idea Raveena dubbed Manisha's lines. When I revist Gupt, I'll try to see if I can spot the difference in the voice.

Whoops sorry for my rambling. :/
9th-Mar-2011 10:39 am (UTC)
I know right? Honestly Bobby films have some pretty good songs! And I don't just mean the old ones that we grew up with. Ek for instance has this lovely one. And how about Kiss of Love and other songs from Jhoom Barabar Jhoom. It isn't ofcourse that Bobby had anything to do with the music but it always is handy when actors end up with likeable song picturisations. The weekend I wrote this entry up I was listening to the Gupt soundtrack on a loop pretty much. So addicting. Then again Tridev's music was like that too, as someone on Twitter pointed out.

Sadly I don't remember how I felt when I first saw it. I wanna know if I liked Kajol's character then before I knew or not. Going in this time around ofcourse all I could think was -yeah right! Isha's such a faker!- I do think it is pretty cool that she was the first (and only?) actress to win the Negative Role award though. When did it get cancelled BTW? Makes sense given Bollywood has changed radically and makes different sorts of movies now but I'm curious when the change was put into effect.

And of course Bobby.
OF COURSE. Heee. Funny that prior to this Yamla Pagla Deewana if you had put me in Karan's rapid fire round and said "Bobby Deol" I would have only been able to say: Soldier. Gupt. Badal. Oh and maybe Slashy Dosti Song. That's pretty much all that ever stuck with me of his (had I seen Barsaat when young things might have been VERY different). I liked him well enough but wasn't enamoured. Now I am realising that I didn't pay him enough attention or ever give him enough credit :( Even in JBJ which I adore I was all about the hilarious Abhi before. I don't know why I am mad at myself lol, it isn't like me liking him was ever gonna change his career graph but dash it, the man is just so funny. His comic timing is often so spot on. Not to mention the million other reasons he's awesome.

Oh gosh. Look what a "And of course Bobby" remark ugalvaoes from me XD

I didn't know that she thought so about his hair. Fascinating! Even he mentioned in an interview that people always used to say we can't take him on, what's with all the hair, he's not gonna work etc but the fact is that his biggest hit, Soldier was with those ghanne ghungralle lambe baal in all their glory. Well ok he didn't describe his luscious locks, I added that part :P Creative liberties.

...and ofcourse I didn't read your entire comment before replying so this is gonna be an interesting comparison. I loooooooove that you liked him from the start ♥ Lips! A part of his anatomy that I admit escaped my attention so far. I must pay more attention on that next time... for research purposes you understand.

See that's where we differ. I personally am ambivalent about the hair. I think it is amazing that I can completely adore him in all those movies despite all that hair - in fact that hair kinda makes him adorkable which I guess might be what works in his favour? Especially in roles like Barsaat where he's meant to be endearing. I am trying to picture him with that hair now and somehow I don't see it working. Possibly because I also can't see him again in a role like Badal from Barsaat (as much as I would have loved that). I guess he's passed that age now...

I found him very good looking in Badal and Hum Tou Mohabbat Karega even back then. Badal stuck with me through the years because of how good he looked in that haircut in Yaar o yaara mere yaarum and same for the title track of HTMK. Not sure what it is called? Closely cropped hair or something. Oh god Bicchoo - I saw it recently and man Roubeena was it me or was Rani so damn irritating in it XD

I have to agree that 95-99 was pretty damn awesome in terms of Bobby. Some of his best work there and as it turns out most memorable.

Yeah I didn't until later and once I did I could definitely tell.

Ha we love long discussions over here!

Edited at 2011-03-09 10:42 am (UTC)
18th-Mar-2011 08:36 pm (UTC)
Whoops I somehow managed not to see that you had replied to my comment! Sorry!

Kajol was the first woman to win the Best Villain award, but Preity/Urmila/Shabana Azmi have all been nominated and Priyanka won it for Aitraaz. It's been discontinued since 2007. I guess it's cos the main roles that we have now, I mean main roles in films have shades of gray and there's no villain/vamp as such that it's become difficult to give such awards. Wikipedia article about Filmfare Best Villain - http://bit.ly/i0N3sR

I adore Rani since always but damn, she was a brat and so annoying in Bicchoo. Urgh!
19th-Mar-2011 04:04 am (UTC)
No worries, actually LJ is having trouble with comment notifications these days that's why.

Woah I had no idea about the other ladies who had been nominated. Although now that I've read the page you linked to I do remember Urmila was a bit crazy in Pyar Tune Kya Kiya.

Seriously. So much better in Badal than Bicchoo. All she did in the latter was shriek and husky voice or no, that is just plain annoying.
9th-Mar-2011 10:40 am (UTC)
...damn it, I ran out of characters again XD

cut/pasting the end:

I read something very curious the other day, someone said that Hrithik took up Bobby's demographic. That had it not been Hrithik who débuted at that time, the industry would have had to work with Bobby as one of the few actually young youth icons... I'm not sure I buy the theory completely but I can kinda see what they mean?
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