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!