Spy in Rome (1968)

I had never heard of this movie. I saw it in the DVD store and found the name quite fascinating. So I picked it up. The guy at DVD store was very excitedly introducing Dev Kumar to me, but then some other customers came and he had to go to attend them.
I don’t remember watching any Dev Kumar movies before. I really wanted to ask him more about this guy, but couldn’t. Perharps, next time I go I will.   

I had no clue as to what this movie was about. The only people I could recognize on the CD cover were K.N. Singh, Rajendranath, Madhumati and Brahm Bhardwaj. And I didnt even bother to check out the review before watching it. I simply sat down to watch it with no expectations at all.   

Movie begins with Dr. Sharma (Brahm Bhardwaj) inventing a formula that transforms an old couple from their eighties to twenties.    

Mere paas formula hai

 

 With the success of this experiment, he becomes an international super-doctor (star becomes superstar….doctor becomes super-doctor?) overnight. And no wonder he does…   

 

And then we have Dr. Chang (K.N. Singh), the evil and ambitious genius, based in Rome. He lives in grand den and is assisted by scientists(?)referred to by numbers and clad in funny suits. He wants to rule the world by creating a race of superhumans. And now he feels Dr. Sharma’s formula would help him in achieving this dream of his. But our goody good Dr. Sharma refuses to co-operate.

 

Number 65, one of Dr. Chang’s aides in India is assigned the task of abducting Dr. Sharma. He’s thus kidnapped and shipped to Rome. Dr. Sharma’s disappearance causes a big sensation. 

 

Here enters our hero, super agent XX7, Rajesh (Dev Kumar). A girl (Lata Sinha?) comes looking for him at the beach and says : “I had heard it right, if you can’t find Rajesh anywhere else, look for him in a group of girls and you’ll definitely find him!” He gets a call and leaves right away, leaving the girls behind 😉 

He is summoned by the Indian Secret Service, his employer and is assigned with Dr. Sharma’s case. He is breifed about Dr. Sharma’s disappearance and is provided with lots of gadgets that would help him defend himself and also in finding the missing doctor. 

 

And the Gadget Hamper goes to....

....goes to...Roam 😉

Our super agent tracks down Number 65 and discovers that Dr. Sharma is in Rome and that their next target is Dr. Sharma’s beautiful daughter, Kamini (Jaimala). But she’s also kidnapped and taken to Rome before he can do anything. So off he goes to Rome.   

First, he finds Kamini and rescues her from Dr. Chang’s claws. What follows next is more like watching a spoof of Tom and Jerry!   

Not to forget the romance brewing up between Rajesh and Kamini. They go sight-seeing singing Rome Rome Rome roaming in Rome   

Kamini feels an attracted towards Rajesh, but with his casanova image, she’s scared…so much so that at one point she tells him – “it’s not that I don’t trust you. I don’t trust myself when I am with you!” But little bit of cajoling from Rajesh’s side convinces her that the feeling is mutual.And they go happily singing Chalo chaman mein jaye.   

   

Coming back to the main plot…Dr. Chang sends an army of men to eliminate Rajesh. But all his attempts prove futile. Unlike the usual trend in Hindi movies, where it’s always the bad guys who win the battle throughout except at the end, where the hero walks away with victory, our hero here anticipates attacks and strikes back.   

There are lots of interesting fancy gadgets that come handy during these “catch me if you can” attempts – a floral gun (can’t think of a better word to describe it), bombs disguised and stitched as Coat Buttons, a Magnetic rod that pulls away enemies guns when they fire at him, a tiny blade conveniently stuck in his shoe-sole that cuts vehicles apart, a torchlight that emits scorching heat, a spray that makes one lose his/her voice, an amphibious car, huge rings with transmitters fitted in them, cigar which when turned around becomes a binocular and many more including a magical hat that goes flying from one’s head to the other!!!   

That's the gun!

Bombs in disguise

Subject : Physics, Chapter : Magnetism

Depth of Magnetism??

   

   

   

   

   

In between, Agent 005 Bulbul (Rajendranath) is sent to assist Rajesh. This movie didn’t actually need a CSP, it’s already so hilarious. But Bulbul’s presence adds more charm to it. Half the time he is busy trying to impress girls. With the help of few gadgets he even manages to win a car race and woo a boxer’s girlfriend!   

   

But it’s not only Indian Secret Service who’s the proud owner of such “items”. The dushman party is no less – one of Dr. Chang’s men adorns an electrical collar, which makes him indestructible, another has a statue with one glowing eye that serves to hypnotize people. But they are at a disadvantage of not being as witty as the Super Agent XX7.   

   

No doubt Rajesh is witty and quick but he’s “brutal” and “violent” to the core. At one point he slits an enemy’s back open with his super sharp blade and rubs salt on the wound just to extract information about Dr. Chang. At another point, he holds a girl (Lata Sinha, if that’s her name) upside down and threatens to throw her off the balcony if she doesn’t reveal where Dr. Sharma is. One more, where he sets a live man on fire and another where he sprays some liquid on a girl’s neck that makes her go mute (she loses her voice), though not a very violent move, this at least works better than the other techniques of his – he gets the address of Dr. Chang’s hideout.   

 

 There’s one more track in between Chhalka chhalka   

Dr. Chang finally gets hold of Kamini and blackmails Dr. Sharma into giving away his formula. But with the formula in his hand, will Chang spare any of them? Rajesh gets into Dr. Chang’s adda and is trapped. Will he ever be able to come out?   

All chained to be run over by a bulldozer

Rajesh is trapped here with no way to escape

    

 First things first, this is in no way one of the best spy thirllers I have seen, but I have to confess that I thoroughly enjoyed watching it! May be it’s because I had sat down to watch it with no expectations at all.   

It’s not at all a well made movie and in no way falls in the league of A-grade movies.  It looks very low-budget and probably is too. There’s nothing great about this film but it’s still a fun watch.   

It’s a such pathetic attempt at making a Bond-style movie. Well, the idea wasn’t all that bad, but the execution was very very amateurish. You just can’t help laughing.   

To start with, it had a weak starcast – frankly speaking, I have no idea as to  how popular Dev or Jaimala were. I’m not criticising them, and I can’t judge them based on a single movie,  but Dev just doesn’t fit in as the Super Agent! To me he looked more like he had just jumped out of a Mills and Boons cover (not as in tall, dark and handsome ;-). though there’s something attractive about him, at least, till he talks or walks. But seeing him lurch, oh I mean walk, the attraction just faded away. I tried googling but couldn’t find anything much on him, though I did  find this lovely Rafi track  Meri Padosan from Simla Road ). Except for K.N Singh and Rajendranath, even the dialogues seemed very fake and unconvincing.   

But as the saying goes, imperfections add to humour (in this case) and curiousity as well (on how silly and haywire things can go), I kind of liked this movie and wouldn’t mind watching it again! It needs suspension of everything – belief, moral, science but yes, it’s lots of fun!   

With this I’m off to Kodaikanal for an extended weekend (will be back on Tuesday). Wish you all a very Happy Republic Day! 🙂 

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13 Responses to “Spy in Rome (1968)”

  1. dustedoff Says:

    Hehe – I love your ‘Total bakwaas’ tag!! 😀

    This does sound like total bakwaas. I’ve heard of it, but since I have seen Dev Kumar in another film (don’t remember which one – I know I didn’t much care for him), I’ve never wanted to see it… even though I love Rome. All that gadgetry sounds hilarious, but I tend to grit my teeth at such craziness, rather than laugh at it – so will give this one a miss.

    Happy republic day and have a great time in Kodaikanal!

    • sunheriyaadein Says:

      🙂
      It was a total bakwaas, in every sense. And the craziness….I was shocked in the beginning, didn’t know how to react. But once the ‘reality’ sank in, I had fun watching it. It was height of silliness…and it was more fun trying to predict what would happen next 😉
      Thanks…I had a lovely time in Kodaikanal 🙂
      You still in Pondicherry?

  2. bollywooddeewana Says:

    Sounds, looks and feels like a full on Camp extravaganza, i imagine i would have fun watching it too, but its only on vcd right, i like the chalka chalka song and the set. Have a happy weekend

  3. bollyviewer Says:

    Dev Kumar was a “hero”? He was also young! I’ve only ever seen him as villain/villain’s sidekick (he was particularly scary looking as a stranger stalking Rishi-Neetu in Khel Khel Mein) and it would never occur to me to place him in a Mill&Boons novel! 😉

    Hee… this film sounds like Austin Powers on weed – much more fun to read about than to actually watch.

    Hope you had a good time in Kodaikanal!

    • sunheriyaadein Says:

      I love your reaction! 😀
      I don’t remember seeing him before. Guess I saw Khel Khel Mein too long ago to remember him. Only his height and boney-faced look reminded me of M&B, he wasn’t anywhere close to anyone whom I know or have read about when he moved or spoke 😉
      Yup, had a wonderful time!

  4. Nasir Says:

    Dev Kumar’s first film as a hero was Mere Lal, released sometimes mid-Sixties at the Imperial Theatre, Mumbai. It was a super-hit movie. The role of a dacoit suited him to the ‘T’. Remember the Lata song screened on Indrani Mukherjee? PAAYAL KI JHANKAAR RASTE RASTE….

    The Sixties, as you know, spawned many Hollywood and Bollywood spy thrillers, thanks to Dr. No of Sean Connery (released at the New Empire Cinema, Mumbai). The problem with Dev Kumar is that he could not refine his dialogue deliveries and too hefty an appearance. Now thereafter, he was reduced to side-roles and also playing a villain, with some intermittent role of a hero as in Spy in Rome. If he were to make a young debut in the Seventies, then perhaps he could have been a success for reasons that are too many to list them here.

    Any way, I liked your review especially for the reason that it was not an easy film to review. Having said that, the C-Grade movies of yore have a special nostalgic value at least for people like me. Therefore, such movies are surely a grist for the mills and worth going through now.

    I love the song: ROME KI WAADIYON SE DO DIL GUZAR RAHEN HAI…

    • sunheriyaadein Says:

      Never knew Paayal ki jhankaar raste raste was from Dev Kumar movie.
      If only he could have carried himself well (in every sense, he couldn’t even walk properly. He was staggering half the time), then may be he would have been more popular. Anyways, there’s a different fun in watching such silly movies.
      Since I had never heard of this movie and the lead stars too were unheard of, it was such a treat to hear Rafi’s voice in that song! I like that song too 🙂

  5. harvey Says:

    It is just shocking to say the least. I think memsaab will just love to have this.

  6. Raghavendra Says:

    I am searching for the cd of this picture since many years. If any one gives the clue to get it, i will be very greatful.

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