Speaking of the late, great Ray Harryhausem, everyone remembers the time that he did the jaw-dropping animation of the four-armed (and four-breasted!) elephant-headed Rakshasi, Bulusu Sunita Kal, in the classic Bollywood fantasy flick Prince Rajinder’s Adventures II, right? No? Well, that makes since, given that it never happened and there was never such a movie. But since we already play pretend all the time, let’s do a little meta-pretending and act like there was such a movie and we all remember it, ok?
So… the climactic showdown scene, which happens after brave, handsome Rajinder has done a little song & dance routine about how he will live forever in the love of the beautiful Princess Kathindra (even if he dies while rescuing her from the wicked sorcerer Bontu Bhavsar) while fighting off a dozen or so thuggee cultists armed with aruval swords and throwing chakrams, features the prince fighting a desperate battle against the aforementioned Bulusu Sunita Kal and her four massive tulwars, which she wields both offensively and defensively.
Just before he enters this battle, Rajinder manages to shatter the iron bonds that hold Kathindra helplessly to the evil magician’s altar by throwing one of the cultists’ chakrams (using multiple ricochets and delivering huge sprays of sparks, of course). This frees her to face Bontu Bhavsar and keep him from interfering with Rajinder’s desperate struggle against the demon.
And who can forget the absolutely amazing comedy relief portions of this scene, which are delivered by Rajinder’s loyal friend, the Monkey Prince Candraprabhava, and his acrobatic antics displayed while keeping the rest of the Thuggee foot soldiers occupied?
After the battle is won (and of course you knew it would be), there are, like, four more song & dance numbers, most of which aren’t worth remembering. Except the one where Candraprabhava interrupts his comedic romancing (chasing, really) of the princess’ sisters, attendants, and every other female on screen other than Kathindra, to urinate on the head of Bontu Bhavsar, who for some reason is being held in a dungeon cell directly beneath the main room of the palace (thus being tortured by hearing the celebration song – along with suffering the “monkey shower” – through the iron grate that is just above his head and out of his reach). One can only imagine the trouble he would have caused if only they had made a third installment.
Prince Rajinder / Lifeblood 11 / Hero Points 6
Attributes: Strength 1 Agility 2 Mind 0 Appeal 2
Combat Abilities: Brawl 0 Melee 2 Ranged 2 Defense 1
Careers: Noble 2 Warrior 1 Bard 1 Thief 1
Boons: Attractive, Marked by the Gods
Equipment: Magic Scimitar “Gururatna” (d6+1), +1 to hit; Bow (d6); Very Light Armor (d3-1)
Princess Kathindra / Lifeblood 9 / Hero Points 5 / Arcane Power 12
Attributes: Strength -1 Agility 2 Mind 1 Appeal 3
Combat Abilities: Brawl 0 Melee 1 Ranged 1 Defense 3
Careers: Noble 2 Sorcerer 1 Bard 1 Dancer 1
Boons: Attractive, Power of the Void
Flaws: City Dweller
Equipment: Bichawa Dagger (d3)
Candraprabhava / Lifeblood 12 / Hero Points 5
Attributes: Strength 2 Agility 3 Mind 0 Appeal 0
Combat Abilities: Brawl 2 Melee 1 Ranged 0 Defense 2
Careers: Noble 1 Thief 1 Tumbler 3 Scholar 0
Boons: Keen Eyesight, Keen Hearing, Keen Scent
Flaws: Lecherous, Country Bumpkin
Equipment: Gada Mace (d6); Fist (d2); Kick (d3); Very Light Armor (d3-1)
Bontu Bhavsar / Lifeblood 11 / Villain Points 5 / Arcane Power 13
Attributes: Strength 1 Agility 2 Mind 4 Appeal -1
Combat Abilities: Brawl 0 Melee 1 Ranged 2 Defense 3
Careers: Sorcerer 3 Assassin 1 Scholar 1 Torturer 1
Boons: Magic of the Sorcerer Kings, Magic Resistance
Flaws: Poor Eyesight, Untrustworthy
Equipment: Madu Dagger (d3) X2
Thuggee Cultists (Rabble) / Lifeblood 3 / Hero Points 0
Attributes: Strength 1 Agility 1 Mind -1 Appeal -1
Combat Abilities: Brawl -1 Melee 1 Ranged 1 Defense -1
Careers: Assassin 0
Equipment: Aruval Sword (d6-1); Chakram (d3); Light Armor (d6-2)
Bulusu Sunita Kal / Lifeblood 20
Attributes: Strength 3 Agility 3 Mind 0
Combat Abilities: Defense 2 Protection d3 (+1 for each sword not used to attack)
Attack with one Tulwar, +2; d6
Attack with two Tulwars, +0; d6 each
Attack with three Tulwars, -2; d6 each
Attack with four Tulwars, -4; d6 each
Good stuff. Although not related to India, I’ve been meaning to read Desert of Souls by Howard Jones to get a feeling (i.e. steal ideas) for Arabic/Persian S&S to expand my repertoire. I’ve read it is a good book for such a thing. I can be very Euro-centric in my thinking about adventures, peoples and mores and want to change that a bit.
Thanks, Narmer. I’m glad you liked it.
I’m not familiar with Desert of Souls or Jones, but now I’m intrigued. I’ve done some Arabic/Persian stuff in the past, but it was all very Hollywood and probably not very authentic. So that definitely sounds like a book to check out. Let me know how it turns out. Or better yet, blog like a mofo about it when you get done reading it 🙂
After reading this, I’m jonesing for a big bowl of Aloo Matar and some Pilau rice . . .
I love the level of visual detail you invested in this ‘ movie.’ I can almost remember seeing it. Mechanically, I like how the extra arms on the Rakshashi can add to its protection value in lieu of offense–a much simpler system to run in actual play, vs. allowing a certain # of parries and attacks (which is how I would try to do it, and then throw my hands up in frustration when running the encounter).
Don’t forget a nice mango lassi to wash it down, amigo!
Glad you dug it, G-Man. And I’m extra pleased it delivered the “I can almost remember seeing this…” thing for you, since I had that feeling after writing it.
I’m happy with my approach to the multiple swords thing, too. It flies in the face of the official BoL rules for parries a bit, but I think it works well here. My recent looks back at Melee/TFT kind of informed that approach. My ultimate goal was simplicity combined with making the creature hard, but not impossible, to damage. And, of course, picturing a cool Harryhausen animation of it fighting 🙂
When I hit the local Indian buffet I always forego lassi for an ice-cold Kingfisher. Or a Taj.
Your post reminds me: I need to get a Garuda for my study. You know where I can score one of those at a reasonable price, let me know.
Related question: Netflix had this incredible animated Indian action/adventure/fantasy a while back. Can’t recall the title–I think it was a name, and based on some ancient epic. Did you see it? One scene had the hero sparring with a god (maybe Shiva?) atop a mountain. Great stuff.
Mmmm, Kingfisher. On this we can definitely agree.
I don’t think I have a source for Garudas at the moment, but I’ll definitely let you know if I uncover anything.
I’m not familiar with the cartoon you describe, but dang it sounds quite enjoyable. Unless it was the old (1992) Ramayana: The Legend of Prince Rama cartoon. But I’m guessing it wasn’t.