Aadhi Raat Ke Baad (1965)

For once, I didn’t buy a movie because I liked the songs. When I picked this up, it was the title that kind of attracted me. When Atul had posted a song from this movie in his blog he had said the movie was called “Aadhi raak ke baad” (1965) which apparently was a B grade suspense movie, going by the title of the movie. Going by the title, it does sound fishy, but with Ashok Kumar in it, I doubted if it would be a B-grade movie. Guess, I have only seen good movies of his. And I love and respect him so much, that if I  ever come up with a filmy family, he would definitely be my father!

These days, I’ve been contradicting my own statements and here I go again. Having said “For once, I didn’t buy a movie because I liked the songs”, if only I had known Bahut haseen hai tumhari aankhen, Mukhde pe tere bijli si chamak, Gori tori baanki were from this movie, I would have seen it long ago!

Coming to the plot, movie begins with Seth Ramlal’s death. He suspiciously falls off a moving car and meets his end. Police rush to the scene but fail to unravel the mystery behind his death. All newspapers are flashed with the news of Ramlal’s death the following morning.

Seth Jamunadas (Murad), Ramlal’s partner,  comes to Bombay all the way from Nairobi (their business was based in Rangoon, but no idea what Jamunadas was doing in Nairobi) on hearing the news of Ramlal’s demise and halts at the Airlines Hotel.

His lawyer comes to meet him with a new will according to which all his property would go to his daughter Nemo. If Nemo decides to give/share the property with someone, it’s at her will but if something happens to her, then his neice, Ragini would inherit the property.

Next, the scene shifts to a lab where we have an invisible man performing some experiments – only the gloved hands holding testtubes are visible. His phone rings and again the hands answer the phone.

It’s from Seth Jamunadas and the invisible man is none other than Ashok Kumar (Ashok Kumar).  He asks Ashok to come to his hotel and meet him. He wants to talk to Ashok about his wedding with Nemo. Just as he hangs up and becomes shirtless-ly visible, Nemo (Naina) comes to meet him.

He asks his friend, Murali (Aagha) to take Nemo back to her hotel as he’s leaving for some urgent work saying he has a surprise in store for Nemo. (One things is very vague here, don’t know if it was deleted from the VCD, Nemo has no clue that her father is in town. Seth had asked Ashok to write to her and call her to Bombay…why didn’t he do it himself? And why didn’t he inform her of his arrival himself?)

He is on his way to meet Seth Jamunadas. Jamunadas is waiting for Ashok, when his brother walks in drunk, demanding for his share of property. They have a quarrel and suddenly there’s a gunshot, next thing we know is Jamunadas collapses down on the floor dead.

Just then Singh, Jamunadas’s secretary walks in to take his taperecorder that he had put in the room to record Jamunadas’s conversation with his lawyer in order to learn about the will. Now that the quarrel with his brother and the gunshot is also recorded, Singh blackmails Jamunadas’s brother to do as he says.

When Ashok arrives, the receptionist calls the Seth to inform Ashok’s arrival, but it’s his brother who answers. As soon as they learn that Ashok’s at the hotel, they both leave the room immediately. However, Ashok sees them getting out of the lift on his way. He reaches in to find the Seth dead. He flees from there but the guard happens to see him running away.

He first goes to meet Nemo to tell her of her father’s death, but Nemo’s taking a shower and makes him wait. With police on his trail, he has no other option than to leave the place.

Nemo is surprised to find him gone when she comes out, but suddenly realizes there’s someone in her room…an invisible man, who renders her unconscious and kidnaps her.

D’Souza, a drunkard loitering around the hotel, sees a girl being carried in space, put in a car and then the car being driven away without a driver! He rushes to the police station to report it, but who will listen to a drunkard?

The Police Inspector just waves him away, but Ramesh (Sailesh Kumar), a self-claimed detective, feels that they should check it out anyways and off they go. They reach Nemo’s hotel to find the room vacant with the light on and the door open. They surf through her belongings and find out her identity. They also find a letter from Ashok in her purse, along with a pic of his.

They recognize him as Mr. X, the invisible man and reach a conclusion that it was he who killed Seth Jamunadas and then kidnapped his daughter. And they get on to their mission of finding Ashok a.k.a Mr. X.

They go to raid his house but find Murali in the lab, disguised with a mask. Ashok, now gets desperate to get to the bottom of this conspiracy and he has a gut feeling that he’ll find all his questions anwsered in Rangoon….reason??? – he had seen Singh and Seth’s brother exiting Seth’s hotel and feels they were behind Seth’s death. Now as they have gone back to Rangoon, he decides to follow them and takes Murali’s financial (who’s a very rich shot’s son) help.

The detective in Ramesh is highly intrigued by all the happenings, feels he should go to Rangoon and investigate the case further. He’s also a rich man’s son, who has lots of wealth and doesn’t have to bother about working hard to earn his living. So, he just whiles away his time solving cases, more as a  hobby. His friends circle includes the Inspector, who is very concerned about his sudden decision to go to Rangoon. But after getting in touch with their Chief CID friend, Kundan in Rangoon, he rests assured. Ramesh, Murali and the invisible Ashok go to Rangoon by the same flight.

On the day of their arrival, they see Ragini dancing in the hotel to Badi rangeen hai rangoon ki yeh shaam.

Ramesh is adamant about meeting Ragini and finding out if she suspects anybody. But Kundan warns him that it might be an impossible task as Ragini isn’t very friendly or social – she doesn’t like meeting or talking to people.

Ashok also wants to meet her but realizes that she holds him responsible for her Uncle’s death and cousin’s disappearance. However, he goes to her house disguised as a Baba (Saint) but she is not of much help.

Ramesh poses as a journalist come all the way from India to take her interview and goes to meet her, but she gives a damn to him.

Murali is introduced as a Prince from India at the hotel, but Singh suspects that he’s covering up for Ashok somehow doing all this and appoints his Personal Secretary, Helen, to keep an eye on Murali/Prince.

Ramesh is bent on making friends with Ragini and follows her everywhere, tries to woo her singing Mukhde pe tere bijli si chamak.

Murali is having a gala time with so much of attention from Helen and other girls at the hotel. He entertains and impresses them with his magic tricks (all thanks to his invisible friend), a part of this also includes Gori tori baanki.

Finally, Ramesh succeeds in impressing Ragini and they both happily sing Bahut haseen hai tumhari aankhen. Then she tells him about Nemo and who she suspects behind all this.

Ragini confides in him that she has heard someone screaming for help from the basement of the hotel but could never summon up courage to go and check. So, Ramesh volunteers to go with her but as they both find Singh’s behaviour quite suspicious, they have to somehow ensure that he remains out of their way. They first perform to Kaafir nazar takrayi to entertain everybody at the hotel and then find their way to the basement. But they only find Singh’s insane cousin locked up down there.

Finally, it’s revelaed that Nemo is alive…and she was kidnapped by Ramlal.

She’s shocked to see a deadman alive! He fills her ears against Ashok and says he has held her captive to save her from Ashok who’s behind her wealth.

Since inherited wealth has endangered her life, he tries to talk her into believing that the best solution would be to get rid of her wealth. He says he’s even ready to take that risk for her and tells her to sign the papers and write the entire wealth into his name but she refuses to do so. And he orders to get her killed.

Singh gets Ashok caught and Kundan arrests him for the crime he never committed (or did he?).

Ramlal’s men kill Nemo by drowning her.

When her body is found, it creates headlines in the newspapers.

Ragini is in a state of shock but now being the lone survivor, inherits the entire property. The lawyer calls her and asks her to be careful – now that she’s wealthy, she might be the next target. She gets into her car and starts it only to realize that the brakes have failed.

She somehow survives the accident and goes to meet Ramesh and again there, she overhears Ramesh telling Kundan that he’s not serious about her…he has just been flirting around to get her co-operation in solving the case, but  now that she’s a rich lady, he might as well try his luck!

Poor Ragini, she feels so hurt and lonely!!! Singh comes to her rescue and tells her that he has always been in love with her and expresses his desire to marry her. They get engaged, but Ragini hasn’t got over her heart-break yet and she sings Mera dil baharon ka woh phool hai.

What is Singh’s intention behind marrying Ragini? Is he actually in love with Ragini or is it just the money? Who was/were behind the murders? Will Ashok be proved innocent? Or was he really behind all these conspiracies? Will Ragini survive the attacks? Finally what happens to the wealth that caused so many deaths? Will it have an hier to it?

Apart form the Travancore Sisters, I found a striking resemblance between this and Singapore – the plot was very similar, but handled much better here. The suspense is kept intact till the end (it wasn’t a difficult guess, but at least they don’t reveal it mid-way through and spoil the fun) and that’s what I liked the most about it.

The songs are lovely! And Sailesh Kumar looks so very handsome (he reminds me so much of Sunil Dutt).

I hadn’t seen any of Ragini’s movies earlier – she’s an amazing dancer…I would definitely rate her a better dancer than an actor (I liked her  heart-shaped hair clip in the pic below)

Ashok Kumar and Naina don’t have much screen time (not even a single song is picturised on them 😦 ) but  they still are very much an integral part of the story throughout – the entire story revolves around them. Aagha’s always around to lighten up a moment by flaunting his silliness.

While I could feast my eyes on Shammi in Singapore and it had the added advantage of Helen’s presence in Rasa sayung re rasa sayung sayung re (just couldn’t take my eyes off them), Aadhi Raat Ke Baad had better execution of the story to keep one hooked and guessing the culprit till the end.

Enjoyable watch on the whole – has invisible men, action, comedy, romance and murder mystery all clubbed together into a single package. It’s rather a light-hearted film – not much of rona-dhona.  Though Ashok is supposed to be depressed under the circumstances, he’s in a pretty good humour most of the time (not that he’s not concerned about Nemo though).

I liked Kundan-Ramesh chemistry – It was so casual and natural, like just how we play the fool with friends  in real life. But couldn’t somehow establish a connection with the rest of the characters – didn’t feel/care much for any of them but who cares all that as long as I enjoy watching the movie. I was rolling with laughter most of the time, even when there was something serious going on….very silly and filmy.

And looks like I’m on retro-actors-going-shirtless discovery spree!

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26 Responses to “Aadhi Raat Ke Baad (1965)”

  1. bollywoodeewana Says:

    Please what’s Rona drona i like the way you insert a bit of hindi into your reviews

  2. Nasir Says:

    Hmmm, sounds interesting!
    It’s a pity that Shailesh Kumar didn’t click big time. Probably his first movie was Begana (1963) where he had a meaty role and a terrific song: Phir voh bhooli si yaad aayee hai.
    Is that Chand Usmani as Nemo? I wonder why a masculine name was given to a beautiful Chand Usmani.
    Ashok Kumar is always a pleasure to watch for many reasons. Here, he lends respectability to the movie as he did in many other B Grade movies. My only grievance against him is, why did he appear in so many B Grade movies, too.
    All in all, I’ll buy this DVD, insha Allah, at least to see Ragini floating through the air. Thanks for the review.

    • sunheriyaadein Says:

      Yup, sad Shailesh Kumar didn’t make it big. I haven’t seen many movies of his….the only one that I remember is Kaajal.
      That’s Naina playing Nemo…she had played Dharmendra’s sister in Anupama and she was there in Khamoshi as well.
      Ashok Kumar has been my all-time favourite actor, no matter what role he is into…and true he lends respectability to a movie.
      Ragini was a danseuse…she really floats in the air! I would like to see more movies of her myself

  3. Richard S. Says:

    Well, that’s a pretty good summary… Curiously, you seemed to like this movie more than I did, although I was already a Ragini fan when I bought it (being a big Travancore Sisters fan in general) and I bought it because of Ragini (as well as the very low price I found it for :). Regardless of my mixed opinion of the movie overall, I did very much enjoy Ragini’s dances, as I had expected I would.

    I also noticed a lot of similarities to Singapore, and also some to Howrah Bridge. (The three movies make a nice trilogy – though Howrah Bridge was the best by far, I think.) But if Shammi provided some opportunity for you to feast your eyes in Singapore, Padmini did that plenty for me, and though Ragini often is just as good a dancer, when you consider screen presence and eye candy quotient, I think Padmini definitely gets the edge, especially between those two movies. (Plus, Padmini was a better actress.)

    I also think maybe I wasn’t in a great mood when I watched Aadhi Raat Ke Baad (I was a bit tired and I actually fell asleep for a small part of it), so maybe I should give it another try. I didn’t think of doing so before, but your writeup might have changed my mind about that.

    • sunheriyaadein Says:

      Thanks 🙂
      Yes, I liked this movie and really enjoyed watching it. May be it’s also due to the theory of relativity – the kind of movies I have been watching of late, this one was definitely better. But even otherwise, I like the way the story was presented and handled here. To start with, it had Ashok Kumar and Murad (I love his dialogue delivery), Shailesh as an eye candy, ragini for dance, Aagha for fun and a decent performance from everybody.
      I had watched Howrah Bridge as a kid, don’t remember much of it….need to watch it again. Let me see if I can make a trilogy here as well here. Two down, one more to go.

  4. dustedoff Says:

    Thank you for that review! I seem to recall having heard of this film, but for some inexplicable reason, always thought it was a horror film – the ghosts come out aadhi raat ke baad?! If it’s an improved and better plotted Singapore, I wouldn’t mind seeing it at all (despite the absence of the inimitable Shammi Kapoor)!

    Wasn’t Ashok Kumar also the star in a film called Mr X? And Kishore Kumar acted the part of a young man who acquires a formula (or was it a gadget?) that enabled him to become invisible, in Mr X in Bombay.

    • sunheriyaadein Says:

      The name is misleading, isn’t it? Yes, Ashok Kumar was in Mr. X , but I haven’t seen it yet. When Ramesh and Inspector discover his letters and a photo in Nemo’s purse they recognize him as Mr. X and refer to his past deeds. Also mention that it’s only he who has the formula to become invisible and that’s why they hold him responsible for Seth’s death and Nemo’s disappearance. I want to see Mr. X so badly now. Storywise, it doesn’t seem like it’s sequel except for this part.
      I remember watching a part of Mr X in Bombay , but don’t remember much of it.

  5. bollyviewer Says:

    They get Ashok Kumar shirtless, and then make him invisible? I am trying to decide whether thats a point in favor of the film, or against it! 😉

    I’ve never heard of this film, but the title does sound like it caters to the graveyard thriller audience. Good to know that its a whole lot more entertaining than that. I’ll add this to the gazillion of films I need to look out for.

  6. sunheriyaadein Says:

    It’s the other way round actually – they make him invisible and then get him shirtless. Everytime he switches to visible mode, he’s without his shirt.
    I had heard all the songs but surprisingly never paid much attention to the name of the movie.

    • Nasir Says:

      Shirtless? Perhaps to indicate that a shirt would have been visible. What about the trousers?

      Reference to Mr. X, and presence of Ashok Kumar, surely are the hangover of the past successful movie: Mr.X (1955) released at the Royal Opera House, Bombay. Can’t forget Johny Walker’s Lal Lal Gaal (copy of Rock Rock Rock, Rock Everybody).

      Your mention of the song Rasa Saa yaang Re…(Singapore)got me nostalgic.

      • sunheriyaadein Says:

        Yes…it was basically to indicate that shirt would have been visible. Trousers weren’t stressed much….he was only shown wearing a shirt after he became visible.
        I have to get hold of Mr. X and watch it now.
        I simply love Rasa sayung re ….love everything about it.

  7. harvey Says:

    Well, well, it sounds like as if the movie is full of newspaper clippings and big loopholes.
    Trust Ashok Kumar to rescue a film.
    Maybe he was building a house or something and to finance that he started acting in B-grade movies.
    But since in the 60s he was getting more of character roles in the A-grade movies, he was more than happy to play the central character in B-grade films.

    • sunheriyaadein Says:

      It is…but it’s lot of fun as well. At least they reveal the motive behind all the murders, in a pretty convincing manner. It’s not very aptly justified but atleast they haven’t spoilt the fun.
      May be he was building a house!!! LOL…..that’s so funny.

  8. Nasir Says:

    Harvey, I don’t think finance has ever been a problem for Ashok Kumar, especially on looking to the scores of movies flooding the cinema-halls at one time. For that reason, we may probably never know all the names of the movies he did. Additionally, he was never extravagant that would have taken him to the brink of a financial mess.

    Regarding the character roles the kinds of which there are so many, I loved him in Mere Mehboob, Bahu Begum, Kanoon, Victoria No.203, Meherban, Meri Surat Teri Aankhen, Ashirwad, among others.

  9. harvey Says:

    I agree with you Nasir, on Ashok Kumar being quite economical with his money. So most probably it must have been the wish to play the lead.
    I loved him in Aashirwad and in films like Victoria no. 203 he could showcase his perfect sense for comedy!

  10. Nasir Says:

    You know what Harvey? I think he was the richest film-star of his time too, just like Suraiya was the richest female star during fag-end of the Nineteen Forties and early ‘Fifties. But surprisngly, never heard of any income-tax raid on these stars. Yes, there was a huge income-tax raid on Kishore Kumar affecting him so much that much later on, in a comedy song he did mention this by singing Peechhe Pad Gayaa Income Taxam….in comedy song Jai Govindam Jai Gopalam.

    You hear anything on this sunheriyaadein?

    • sunheriyaadein Says:

      I also feel that it must have been the wish to play the lead more than anything else. He was great in some of the movies you mentioned above in character roles, esp Aashirwad.
      I have never heard of him indulging himself in anything that would lead him to a financial crisis and the number of movies he has done, he must have made lots of money. May be he invested wisely.
      Had heard and read about the income-tax raid on Kishore Kumar, but never heard anything of this kind about Ashok Kumar.

      Jai Govindam Jai Gopalam is really hilarious….hats off to the lyricist for coming up with something this creative and funny.

      • Nasir Says:

        Jai Govindam is hilarous no doubt. I like this song especially since it mentions the three “Inders of Prithvi Lok:” Rajendra, Dharmendra and Jeetendra, whereas we have only one Inder in Swarg Lok. Even in the earlier song in Pehli Taareekh, the names of the then film-stars are mentioned.

  11. bawa Says:

    Nasir: Always heard that the 3 stars who invested their money really wisely, and had a strong financial sense were Suraiya, Ashok Kumar and Asha Parekh. So that would coincide. The Kappors had a whole clan, so I guess they dodn’t need to worry that much. I remember reading something about Kishore Kumar’s tax troubles as kid, although I have forgotten the details.

    • Nasir Says:

      Bawa, clan or no clan no one could save Raj Kapoor when his film, Mera Naam Joker, proved to be a disaster at the box-office. Did you come across pictures of Haji Mastan (topmost smuggler of that time but who turned politician after the Emergency) in the august company of Dilip Kumar and Raj Kapoor. Well, that picture will tell you a lot without my revealing anything in this regard. RK recouped himself only after Bobby (1973). Raid on another very famous Kapoor also took place but this has not seen the print and so not many know about it. Thanks to the faithful driver.

      Kishore Kumar’s trouble with income tax is a classic case because much has been made out of it. It is said that he began doing stage shows to earn money for paying his taxes. I read somewhere that CHALTI KA NAAM GAADI was produced precisely to make it a flop so as to derive the benefit of loss in income-tax. But all of us know, the contrary took place and the movie has gone on to become a sort of classic comedy.

      There are lots of em, troubled by the hawk eyes of income taxi. But this is no place to mention them.

      Speaking of wise investment by the film-stars, I think the bulk of the older stars were a simple lot who lived life to the full, without a worry of tomorrow. Money was not much then. Thus we have the cases of Rehman, Bharat Bhushan and others who fell on lean days. I salute those people from the heart for the simple reason that they believed in the “Today”. Ah! This opens the chapter on philosophy and we don’t want to get bored do we? I don’t see any wisdom in creating properties and leaving them to the Government (Suraiya’s case).

    • sunheriyaadein Says:

      @ Bawa : Thanks for dropping by!
      @ Nasir : Thanks for the info….I never knew that was the main intention behind producing Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi !!!!

      • Nasir Says:

        Surprising isn’t it?

        Same was the case of Kahin Aur Chal. Since the songs were good I wanted to see this movie which was to be released at the Apsara movie-hall. But it only remained a wish. I didn’t really know whether it was at all released. Only a couple of years later I learnt that its producers were actually working against the release in order to show a huge loss to Income-Tax authorities. Most of the cast and crew were not paid, including Goldie Anand its director!

  12. Anirban Says:

    This seems like a watchable movie. Thanks for your extensive comments.

    As an aside, am I the only one who finds that there seemed to be a lot of Seth Jamnadases in Bollywood movies from the 50s and 60s?


    • sunheriyaadein Says:

      Thanks for dropping by 🙂
      It’s silly but fun and entertaining. And this movie has led me into buying Mr. X in Bombay and Mr. X.
      And yes, Jamnadas seemed to be a very common name among the seths in 50’s and 60’s.

  13. Ten of my Favourite Manna Dey Songs « Bhooli Bisri Sunheri Yaadein Says:

    […] Gori tori baanki (Aadhi Raat Ke Baad, 1965) : Manna Dey had a very strong classical base and was usually roped in to sing semi-classical […]

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