Indian Cinema and Cars

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This thread is just aimed to discuss the good and bad ways cars have been used in Indian cinema.

 To start with.......  A commedienne unplugs the brakes in a car which soemone is going to drive. He goes under the car with a spanner and comes out in few seconds to have accomplished in removing the brakes. Next scene will be the someone will be driving the car unable to stop the car but the car never slows down till they show the car run over people, shops, platform, market and all over. This scene gets thousands of people laughing out to glory in the theatre. Even today this comedy is being a regular in India Cinema and still people enjoy this!!!

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I think one of the best contributions of cars to Indian cinema (or the other aay round) would be related to the Omni. Even today, it is referred to as the 'kidnap car' when one is spotted on the road. No other car has earned a more dubious distinction (arguably).

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Automobiles are used extensively in cinema to emphasise the character of an actor or symbolise a period.  The 70's bollywood movies used American imports like the Chevy Impala for their colourful song sequences.  Incidentally cabriolets are found more in the movies than in real life in India!


A car really defines the personality of the person driving it, and the movie makers have used this phenomenon to good use.  An entry in a black luxury sedan means that the person is hugely succesful and doesn't take no for an answer.  A sportscar makes the actor look cool, fun loving and chic.  A ride in an open jeep would say that he is rough and tough, and ready to "dishum-dishum" any bad gangster that would come his way. 


I wonder who got the idea from whom, but the Omni has become synonymous with the underworld both in reel life and real life.  I guess the massive sliding doors and the hatchback make it a "quick" getaway vehicle in a crowded city.


Movies have been an exhibition platform for customised vehicles like the DC designed Gypsy of Shah Rukh Khan in Pardes and the "Tarzan".  In hollywood movies, cars sometimes have personalities of their own, like the Knight Rider and the Herbie. 


Some scenes in our Hindi movies reminds us of switching off our brains before going to watch them.  There was a car chase scene in a David Dhavan's flick where the actor is in a yellow Alto (Zen) in Mauritius.  The scene continues and the actor is suddenly shown in our very own Indian Alto.  The excuse was that they were both yellow in colour! 


There was a car chase in a Rajnikant movie where he is in a white Contessa, giving the bad guys a tough chase.  Suddenly the Contessa is shown as being blown up sky high.  Then we get the sudden fear that we might burn down along with the theatre as the public's favourite star was just blown up! And suddenly out of nowhere the star is back in front of the chase in another white Contessa, with a wry smile on his face.  The "magic" of the movies, for sure! smiley1.gif




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Yes harryccc Also sometimes the innocent and beautiful heroine gets seated on the driver's seat and the car's brakes fail. Oh then suspense, drama, action. The car moves recklessly and on and on. the audience keep pressing their right foot down thinking that they can apply the brakes and save the damsel in great distress. But that doesnt help. Zoom comes the hero and stops the car with his muscle or brain power.

Jitesh  what you say is factual. Also in the movies and  TV serials  just for the thrill, they annihilate and destroy cars that are cheap to get in the second hand market. So you'll find Contessas, Premier 118NE's, Cielo's, Peugeot 309's, Standard 2000's, Esteems and other cars being burnt or hit by trucks and so on. The films of the 1970's show numerous American classic cars of the 1940's and 1950's being destroyed in car chase scenes or being simply burnt. Most of the villains  drove those cars that  get  destroyed.

The other day I was watching Qurbani an old Feroz Khan film, that was made in 1980. You'll find a brand new Mercedes Benz's doors being dashed against pillars and all the four doors fall off the bodyshell during four rash impacts.

Feroz Khan directed films can be seen  for the gorgeous sets, cars and the choicest locales.

Being a vintage and classic car lover, I like the older B&W films where many cars are featured. These films are the only archives where we can view these beauties alive and well and moving during their hey days. And believe it or not! The roads were full of the contemporary  beauties, that were also available in the developed markets. Imports were  liberally allowed till 1955. Thereafter custom duties were hiked to protect the Indian car makers and that was the end of the glorious era. A new era of restrictions was ushered in,  in 1955, whence the country's automobile industry stagnated and it was only in 1984  that Maruti came along. Come 1996 the scenario has again changed.

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That was quite an interesting post, Sir anjan. I love the way automobiles are picturised in movies, especially the period dramas.  They manage to get very good examples from vintage car clubs and the like.  When I'm away from India, I actually watch Hindi movies to see what the new chic vehicles on the market are! Now its better as movies are a favourite platform for brand endorsements and even launches, like the BMW launches in James Bond flicks. 



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Source Shammi Kapoor's personal website

I started driving my father's car, an "Opel" when I used to go to school.
Before that there was a period when a few of us friends at College road, where I
stayed, used to help one Mr. Mani in pushing his small Austin car to start it.
Then one day unknown to him we started to push it around with one of us at the
steering to keep in practice, and ultimately when I jumped into the driver's
seat, I fixed some ignition wires got it started. The rest jumped in and we took
a short drive. We got away with this routine a couple of times till we were
apprehended one day by Mani and got the firing of our lives.

Once while going to school I started my brother's car, a Ford, and before my
servant, Dwarka, could get in and close the door, I took off. The result was
disasterous. The open door crashed against the lamp post and got wrenched off.
The noise brought my brother and parents to the balcony and before anything
could be said I was out of hearing range, heading for the nearest bus stop.

After signing my first film "Jeewan Jyoti", I went around like a sire for
hire. Also, I wanted to buy a car. I got advice from various sources, including
my producer Mr. A.R. Kardar who had a number of cars including a Cadillac. He
strongly advised me to: Always buy a brand new car; not a second hand one; and
buy a Chevy or a Pontiac, both beauties, which he could arrange for me on Hire
purchase. I took no notice of his advise on either points.

I had seen the beauty I wanted:

" It was a skyblue colored, convertible; Buick Super; second hand. It
belonged to then film actress Nigar Sultana, who wanted to sell it and it was on
display at the Car Mart, at Hughes road. My friend and first producer, Aspi
Irani, who I was signed with but had no picture on the floor, knew the owner of
Car Mart, Mr. Chunnawala and so off we went to meet and negotiate for the car.
He agreed to a pricetag of Rs. 16,500/-, to be paid on a monthly basis Hire
purchase for 24 months. The down payment of Rs. 5000/- was to be paid by Aspi.
For the next 2 years I paid Rs. 650/- every month almost regularly. It was on
the 12th of June, 1952 that I got my Buick. It's registration number was BMY

Subsequently in my life span as a Film Star, I had a number of different
cars; a Desoto followed by a Chevy Belair, a Chevy Impala, a Chevy
Intercontinental convertible, a Ford Thunderbird, a Sunbeam Alpine, a Triumph, a
Malibu some foreign and Indian Fiats and a number of Jeeps for my Shikar. But to
this day the one and only beauty which has always remained dear to me in both my
memory and my heart is, the BUICK BMY 3009.

text by Shammi Kapoor

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Thanks harry and welcome back- was about to list you in the missing members thread.
Yes I liked what Shammi Kapoor wrote- a class apart! And I thought I must share it here.


thank you Anjan! forum has become a fav passtime of mine since its quite informative, hence i did miss and think abt the forum when i was not able to login! anyways its like you ought to miss good things for a while!!!

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