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  Adventures of Tarzan Lord Of The Bungle
Year: 1985
Director: Babbar Subhash
Stars: Hemant Birje, Kimi Katkar, Om Shivpuri, Dalip Tahil, Narendra Nath, Raja Duggal
Genre: Musical, Romance, AdventureBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: About twenty years ago an explorer ventured into the jungle with his wife and infant son, seeking a lost tribe, but after eight months searching the quest had been fruitless. That was until the explorer got a quiver of arrows fired into his chest by the locals who had been spying on them, and his wife was taken away and ravaged - which left the son, whatever happened to him? The rumour has it that he is still alive, fully grown and living as a wildman in the jungle, which is why a circus promoter has hired Shetty (Om Shivpuri) to track down this so-called "Tarzan" (Hermant Birje)...

And every Tarzan needs a Jane, right? Or in this case, a Ruby, played by model Kimi Katkar in her breakthrough role, which was chiefly down to her playing it far more sexual than in your average Bollywood movie. That's what this was, the Bollywood Tarzan, not patterned after the Johnny Weissmuller favourites but something of a more recent vintage: oh dear, the Bo Derek travesty of a few years before. Though it had to be said there was a strong element of King Kong in there as well, the main attraction was not the Apeman, who apparently hadn't spent any time being brought up by apes at all, for all you see of those animals was a brief clip of a monkey's face.

Nope, the main attraction was Miss Katkar, and that was down to her following in Bo's footsteps and getting very revealing in her attire, not to mention resembling an Indian Mrs Derek (with maybe a touch of Ava Gardner). First Ruby has to reach her father Shetty, which she does by shooting two sailors dead (huh?) and using their boat to go upriver, whereupon she gives dad a piece of her mind, in keeping with her late mother's wishes. Then, seeing as how she's there, she joins him in a song and dance number about, well, song and dance, and accompanies him on his sojourn to... er, it's none too clear where they're going, for although it takes place in an Indian jungle, you often see lions and the native bearers are a bunch of African guys.

But if you've got that far into the movie, then you may as well stick with it, and not simply because of Kimi's ample charms. Once she is kidnapped by a smitten Tarzan, she is reluctant to appreciate him, though since she's jumped into the river and been saved from a rubber alligator by our hero, she comes around to his way of thinking, and he to hers even more considering you can see right through her dress. Ladies' nipples in a Bollywood movie?! Whatever next?! She doesn't actually take it all off, but that image of her in the wet clothing leaving little to the imagination was seared into the memories of many impressionable moviegoers wherever this was released. For lovers of camp, on the other hand, there was much to like as well.

Take a look at Ruby's musical numbers, which range from a cover version of Middle of the Road's seventies earworm Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep with different lyrics (and animals joining in with roars and grunts) to a dream sequence where she envisages domesticating Tarzan with a suit and cummerbund, marrying him, and persuading him to father septuplets with her, all to the tune of Do Ray Me from The Sound of Music. Naturally, for a work of this length there's a lot of time to fill up, so the evil tribe causes havoc led by their towering brute of a leader who Tarzan has to battle, all-in wrestling style, and the final act where equally villainous D.K. (Dalip Tahil) who was part of the expedition captures Tarzan for the circus where in the grand finale he is whipped and caged, then forced to do humiliating performances under the big top - the Apollo Circus is thanked in the credits, but also the establishment which is abusing poor old Tarz in the movie! Needless to say, this is far from Edgar Rice Burroughs, absolutely ridiculous, and for bad movie buffs it's a fine time. Music by Bapi Lahiri.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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