The Bollywood film “TARZAN 303,” was released on March 12, 1971 by Bhanu Pictures. The Director was Chandrakant and the producer was Radhakant. Music was by Harish Dhavan and Kishore directed the action sequences.
The cast included Chandgi Ram, Shabnam, Azad, K.N. Singh, Tiwari, Shakila Banu Bhopali, Renu, Johnny Whiskey, Bhupendra, Lata Arora, Ravi Singh, Dilip Dutt, Rani Malini, Rajani, Uttam Kumar, V.K. Varma, Hameed, Khalid, Ramlal Pehlwan, Sato Pehlwan, Rambabu Pehlwan, and R. Chandra.
The credits of the film are currently available in Hindi online at several locations, including YouTube. I was unable to find a copy of the complete film.
A gang of smugglers flee with stolen gold in an airplane, but the police spot them and fire on the plane. The plane catches fire and it crashes in the Gunjan Valley. Gandotra, the leader of the smuggling gang, wasn’t on the plane and he makes a deal with Varma, another criminal, to find the stolen gold. Gandotra’s daughter, accompanies Varna to ensure that Varna keeps his word and doesn’t steal the already stolen gold.
Varna, who has every intention of stealing the gold for himself, schemes to get rid of Rama at the first opportunity. She escapes and runs into the jungle.
Tarzan appears in the jungle and saves Rama. He gives her food and shelter. Rama feels safe and secure in Tarzan’s strong arms.
Varma believes Rama has been killed and he finds another girl to pretend to be Rama. He continues with his plan to steal the stolen gold. Honor among thieves and all that. He buys the land where the airplane has crashed in order to give himself a claim to the gold, but he has to clear a path to the crash site. He hires a number of elephants to do the work, but the elephant trainer is opposed to clearing the jungle.
Hingora, the elephant trainer, argues with Varma and Varma has him killed. Gandotra, suspecting Varma’s treachery, poisons the rival criminal and takes over his plan to clear the jungle and retrieve the gold.
Tarzan intercedes and talks to the elephants, who help him catch Gandotra and turn him over to the police. Rama, who may or may not be an undercover police woman thanks Tarzan.
There is no explanation about Tarzan’s origin in this film. He’s just a jungle man who appears from the verdant forest to save the day.
There are four songs in the original cut of the movie. The song title translations are my own with the assistance of Google translations. Any error in the translations are my own.
“Hai Tera Javaab Kahaan Aisa Shawaab Kahaan” – “Is This Your Answer?”
“Jawaani Pe Bahaaren Hain Bahaaron Pe Jawaani” – “Young in the Srpringtime.”
“Kaam hai Apni Shakti Bhaiyya” – “Work is Power, My Brother.”
“Tum Bhi Chup Ho Ham Bhi Cjup Hain Kaun Kare Dil Ki Baat” – You Are So Silent, But I Am a Gengleman Who Would Talk About Love.”
This article won’t go into detail about every actor or actress that appeared in the film, but only three of them.
Azad Irani played Tarzan in several films.
Azad Irani belonged to that rare breed of Zoroastrian actors who dominated the early Indian Cinema – especially Silent Cinema – because of their good looks and build but with limited Hindi language and/or actin g skills. Azad started his career as a hero with the B-Grade jungle film Zimbo (1958) which was a Tarzan wannabe movie and a success at the box-office. Along with Dara Singh, he remained a popular stunt hero in many B-Grade ventures including Lady of the Lake (1960, Pedro (1960), Zimbo Comes to Town (1960), Tarzan Aur Gorilla (1963) and many more. Unfortunately, with the beginning of the '70s when the popularity of jungle and stunt films went the way of all flesh, Azad switched to cameo roles before he faded into oblivion by the beginning of the '80s.
Azad stared as Tarzan in eleven movies, Toofani Tarzan, Tarzan Aur Gorilla, Tarzan Aur Jadagar, Tarzan and Captain Kishore, Tarzan and Delilah, Tarzan and Japari, Tarzan and Circus, Tarzan Aur Jadui Chirag, Tarzan Ki Mehbooba, and Tarzan In Fairyland. It could be argued that Jungle Ki Hoor should be on this list. I don’t agree and haven’t included it here. Azad also played a jungle king named Zimbo in three films. But a Zimbo does not a Tarzan make. Azad made eleven Tarzan films that I can identify – one less than Johnny Weissmuller. He played the role more than anyone except Weissmuller. IMBD.com reports, “Azad entered the Guinness Book of World record for acting as Tarzan in the most Tarzan movies.” My records show that he acted in one less than Johnny Weissmuller, but I could be missing a film.
As of July 2020, Azad is living in Maryland. He was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2001. However, as a true Tarzan, he is still going strong and fighting Parkinson’s disease on a daily basis
Jharna Basak, better known by her stage name, Shabnam, is a Bangladeshi–Pakistani stage and film actress. Actor Waheed Murad introduced her to the Pakistani film industry by offering her a lead role in his film “Samundar” in 1968. Jharna remained active in Lollywood and Bollywood in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. She was nominated for Nigar awards several times, winning it 13 times (the most for an actress). Jharna worked in total 170 films, including 152 Urdu films, 14 Bengali and 4 Punjabi films. She was a leading actress in the Pakistani film industry for 28 years.
A number of wrestlers appeared in Bollywood Tarzan movies and Chandgi Ram Kaliramna was no exception. He was a champion Indian athlete who appeared in a handful of films. Besides “TARZAN 303” he was seen in “VEER GHATOTKACH” (1970) and “MAHA SHIVRATRI” (1972).
Chandgi Ram was a freestyle wrestler from India. He won a gold medal in the 1970 Asian Games and represented India in the 1972 Summer Olympics. Along with amateur wrestling, he was very active in traditional Indian wrestling, where he had won all major titles, including Hind Kesari, Bharat Kesari, Bharat Bhim, Rustom-e-Hind and Maha Bharat Kesari.
He is remembered for the work that he did for the introduction, acceptance and popularization of the women's wrestling in India. Some of his trainees went on to become prominent women's wrestling coaches of the country.
In 1969, the Government of India conferred the Arjuna Award on him for his achievements in the tradition wrestling. And two years later, he was conferred with the country's fourth highest civilian award – Padma Shri.
One other actor who appeared in this movie intrigued me. His screen name was Johnny Whiskey, born February 8, 1932 in Hyderabad, Hyderabad State, British India as Sheikh Zennul Abdee. Details about him will have to wait for another article.
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