36 Ghante (36 Hours, 1974)

This movie is a remake of an English movie, that of The Desperate Hours (1955, the one starring Humprey Bogart), and it seems to be a desperate attempt to use a classic Hollywood movie to make some money. The debate of western movies being “adapted” into an Indian milieu has been done to death, and I am not going to speak about that here. What I’ll speak about is the movie as a standalone.

Plot: Three dangerous convicts escape from prison and take refuge in the house of a newspaper editor. They have to hold out there until they are contacted by a female friend who has their loot. The editor’s family is unwillingly sucked into the ordeal.

Director: Raj Tilak

Language: Hindi

Cast: Raj Kumar, Sunil Dutt, Mala Sinha, Ranjeet, Danny Denzongpa, Parveen Babi, Vijay Arora

#10Things I Liked and Disliked about 36 Ghante

What I Liked

  1. The concept. While it was quite riveting, the credit goes to Desperate Hours.
  2. The editing. The movie fit nicely into the groove of a thriller. There was always something happening which kept up the tempo. It was also under 2 hours, which is a good thing.
  3. Made sense. There were no major plot holes or logic leaps (except one, see below). Though copying without acknowledgement is criminal, I must say that the adaptation of the movie (Indianization) was done nicely.
  4. Parveen Babi. For whatever few scenes she was in, she lit up the screen. Not because of her acting, but just because, well, Parveen Babi is Parveen Babi!

What I Disliked

  1. The stereotyping. Why does every happy family in those times had to be introduced with a religious song sung by the man in pristine white clothes and the woman in a traditional saree? Why are clothes used to establish character for women — bikini for the bad woman and the longest saree for the good woman?
  2. The hackneyed laugh given to Danny Denzongpa’s character. Singularly, this was his worst ever role, but I haven’t seen them all. It becomes grating ten minutes into the movie.
  3. The most precocious child ever. The kind who is almost as tall as his father but will bring the house down because his toy is broken.
  4. The songs. Had to fast-forward through all of them after sampling them for the first ten seconds.
  5. The biggest logic leap ever. If a gang of criminals are using your home as a hideout and holding you captive, why would they allow you to roam scot-free all over town, especially when one of you is a newspaper editor who has good relations with the police?
  6. The dialogs. Since we have Raj Kumar and Sunil Dutt, brace yourself for the most chest-thumping lines ever, many of them cringe-worthy.

In conclusion: Yet, it was good as a one-time watch. No classic, that’s for sure.

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