Shaan ★★★

there's so much that's immediately pleasurable on screen in ramesh sippy and salim-javed's sholay follow-up that it seems almost perverse to complain. but masala as extravagant surface seems somewhat below their talents; without an emotional core of trauma and catharsis, or any hint of real world grounding (as desai could do even in the similarly outlandish parvarish, or salim-javed with their script for don), this never really rises above a sequence of wonderful effects.

this is still a handful of legendary movie stars at peak of their appeal, with a great rd burman soundtrack (the synth heavy background music is especially good), the great art-house star kulbhushan kharbanda having the time of his life as the bald (think blofeld) smuggler king shaakal, some of the best action directing in a hindi film of the era, and one of the great villain lairs in all of movies.

telling that none of the amitabh auteurists i read seem to have written much if anything on this one. and sad that sippy's next two wonderful films (shakti and saagar) don't get nearly the attention they deserve.