Jeene Ki Raah (1969)

I have always loved this film’s music. Laxmikant-Pyarelal had won Best Music Director filmfare award and Lata, the Best Playback Singer  for Aap mujhe achhe lagne lage. I had only two Jeetendra movies – this and Palkon Ki Chhaon Mein, so I decided to watch this first on the occasion of his birthday.

After completing his post graduation (M.Sc) in first class, Mohan (Jeetendra) returns back to his village.

He boards a bullock-cart at the station to go home, but then sees an old lady looking for a conveyance to go to some other village with little kids, so he leaves the cart for them and walks home singing Aane se uski aaye bahaar on the way.

His sister Sudha (Meena T) spots him first and runs to the house to give the news of his arrival to Shobha bhabhi (Anjali Kadam).

Mohan is married to Shobha and has a daughter, Guddi (Baby Gayatri).

Apart from Sudha, he has three little sibblings – Raju, Birju and Bindu. When he doesn’t see them around he enquires about them and his mother, Janki (Durga Khote) and soon learns that they have been toiling to sustain the family – mother in a rice mill and his siblings in a tobacco factory.

He also finds that the ancestral house is heavily mortgaged and his greedy cousin Durga (Bela Bose ) holds Janki responsible for all the problems. Durga, her husband, Ram Das (Roopesh Kumar) and their son, Munna (Master Ripple) also live with them.

He feels ashamed of himself – with a jawaan and educated beta at home, his old widowed mother is working and so are his tiny brothers and sister. He feels it’s his responsibility to support his extended family and decides to go to Bombay in search of a job. But is very frustrated when nobody takes him, inspite of his first class degree in M.Sc – they need recommendations, not degrees.

Exhausted and full of despair, he wanders aimlessly along the street and is almost run over by an ambulance. Out comes Dr. Manohar (Sanjeev Kumar) and scolds him for being so careless, only to recognize the person as Mohan, his friend. He takes him home and gets him introduced to his brother, Naren (Sudhir Kumar…isn’t this guy Naren the guy who played Mohan, the blind guy in Dosti? imdb lists him as Karan Dewan who I feel played Dr. Shekhar and not Naren), a sculptor, who’s deaf and dumb by birth.

He grooms a village boy Mohan to a suited-booted Mohan. Manohar himself decides to go abroad to do a research on a cardiac problem but before that he gets Mohan introduced to his circle of friends in the city during his farewell party.

Mr. Rai (Manmohan Krishna), one of Manohar’s guests is impressed with Mohan and invites him to his house one evening. Mr. Rai is looking for a Personal Secretary but given the nature of work (which according to him is going to be 24X7)needs someone who’s single. Desparate as he is to get a job, Mohan lies to him that he’s single and gets employed.

He soon proves to be an ideal employee and a personal favourite of Mr. Rai as well, much to the dismay of his business partner, Sunder (Jagdeep) and his associate, Ranjan (Ram Mohan).

Dr. Shekhar informs Mr. Rai that his daughter, Radha (Tanuja) is coming from Switzerland.

Mr. Rai is worried that her coming back to India may not be a great idea. He loves his daughter but is worried for her….she’s still in a state of shock, ever since her  mother’s death an year ago – has a heart problem and is bound to wheel chair. At the mention of her mother, she gets an attack and turns blue. But Dr. Shekhar assures him that she’ll be fine provided she’s kept happy.

It’s her birthday the following day. One of the guests mentions her mother in front of Radha and she gets an attack. Mohan sings Aane se uske aaye bahaar to cheer her up. And by the end of the song she even makes an attempt to leave her wheelchair behind and stand on her own feet (literally).

Mohan sends money home but Durga keeps it for herself and doesn’t give it to the family. When the rest of the family learn this, they decide to leave Ram Nagar and go to Bombay to Mohan. They don’t even have his address, they just set out – this was so foolish of them! And yes, as expected, they end up on the streets searching for Mohan.

Dr. Shekhar and Mr. Rai are glad with the progress in Radha’s condition. Dr. Shekhar suggests that Radha be taken to some hill-station for a few days – the change in atmosphere will do her good.

She’s also happy about it and says she’ll complete her painting there. Her friends also come along. They go sight-seeing during the day, where Radha also makes her painting. Her friends tease her and she goes running behind them. Mohan tries to stop her from running – she is just recovering and has started walking, he’s scared running too much might take a toll on her health but she doesn’t listen and after a while, exhausted she almost falls and he goes to give her a support – her friends click a pic of Radha in Mohan’s arms.

The natives invite them for a program in the night and they dance to Aa meri humjoli aa, where Radha imagines herself and Mohan in the act. By the end of the song, she’s dancing herself and Mr. Rai is delighted that his daughter is finally coming back to normal.

They come back to Bombay and Radha is head over heels in love with Mohan. He, being  a married man, tries to keep distance from her. One evening she comes to him and asks him to take her out but he refuses. She throws tantrums but he doesn’t give much attention.

Just then he hears some children sing Chanda ko dhoondne on the road (since that’s his family song – as in he used to sing it to his siblings, daughter and nephew), he rushes down to who’s singing it (he has no clue that they have come to the city) but Radha assumes that he has left his work and come to take her out. When this dawns on him, he just tells her that it’s such a beautiful song and goes back to work, tries looking down from his office window, but doesn’t see anybody.

Sudha falls ill and when Janki goes out in search of a vehicle in the night to take her to a hospital, Mohan spots her on the road. The family is finally reunited. He takes them to Manohar’s house. Durga and Ramdas, along with Munna are forced to leave the house in Ram Nagar and they end up in Bombay as well. They first land in Sundar’s house but later Ram Das plays a trick to make Durga realize her faults and also manages to convince her to work hard and earn a living. Mohan sees them working as labourers at a construction site and brings them home too.

There’s a party on the 25th Anniversary of Mr. Rai’s business. And Mohan is requested to sing a song –  Ek banjara gaye.

Shobha takes Guddi and goes shopping. At the store, Guddi asks Shobha to buy her a dress but the one that Guddi wants is too expensive for Shobha to afford and she explains it to her. After a while she settles down for something else. Radha, who witnesses all these feels bad for Guddi and offers to buy her few dresses. Though Shobha refuses, Radha buys lots of stuff for Guddi. They soon become friends and Shobha takes her home to meet her family.

Mohan sees Radha come to his house with Shobha just in time and manages to hide this time but is tired of leading a double life – hididng the truth about Radha to his family and vice versa.

Raghunandan (Vijay Khote) and his father Dubey ( C.S Dubey) come to ask for Sudha’s hand. Janki is more than happy at the thought of getting her young daughter married. Mohan tries to oppose this relation when they ask for dowry but Janki doesn’t listen to him and fixes the wedding.

Mohan’s well aware of Radha’s feelings for him but he can’t even reveal the truth to her for the fear that she might get back into a depression again. On the eve of her birthday she sings Aap mujhe achche lagne lage and Mr. Rai confides in him that he’s going to announce his engagement with Radha at her birthday party. He tries to tell the truth to Mr. Rai but he just doesn’t let Mohan speak. Mr. Rai even gives 2 Lakh rupees to Mohan to deposit in his account so that he doesnt have an excuse to refuse this relationship on the account of him being a poor man.

Mohan is in a dilemma…he doesn’t know what to do – if he accepts the money and agrees to get married to Radha, his family’s financial problems will be solved, but if he decides to tell Mr. Rai the truth he might not only lose his job but it might also drive Radha into a depression.

What will he choose? Will Janki ever see the scheme that cunning Dubey is plotting by getting Raghunandan married to Sudha? Will Sunder ever be able to convey his feelings for Radha? What happens to Manohar and Naren?

Music is definitely great but I found the movie on the whole just average.

Sanjeev Kumar with shayarana andaaz was dashing –

Tanuja, gorgeous as always, not at the beginning as she makes her entry though –

And Jeetu looked so cute and innocent –

Few parts were irritating and emotional toture but on the whole quite an entertaining movie – I would rate it 5/10.

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18 Responses to “Jeene Ki Raah (1969)”

  1. Nasir Says:

    When I saw this movie when first released at the Novelty Cinema, Mumbai, I liked it instantly. As a young man then, I knew very well the grind and torture that one goes through for landing a job. This character of Jeetendra I found it lifelike. There are many men who get married at a young age and who don’t look like they are married at all. There was a plausible plot here. Then this was a different Jeetendra who doesn’t dance and if at all he does, it’s only in fantasy. At least he does not don a disguise a la Professor (Shammi Kapoor) for the job. This is where I find this role of his more endearing than the later ones where he impersonated Gulzar.
    Then, the character of Tanuja too looks real. When one finds love, he or she can surmount many obstacles. So we have her feelings conveyed to us through Aap Mujhe Achche Lagne Lage.
    Again, the role of Jeetu’s wife too is sound. What can a conscientious wife do when her husband is about to get a rich wife and that reversal of fortune is going to change their status? Suicide is the only way out!
    Karan Deewan hardly looks like a doctor. I wish that Bela Bose had not done that vampish role. Only four years earlier than JKR she looked so beautiful in Poonam Ki Raat where she has two beautiful numbers to sing too.
    On the whole, personally I liked this movie which went on to celebrate the Silver Jubilee hit.
    Songs and music were good too with Aane Se Uske Aaye Bahaar being nominated for the Filmfare Award.

    • sunheriyaadein Says:

      I agree…Jeetu looked real as Mohan and I liked the plot too of a young man who has passed out with flying colors, desparate to find a job but luck or should I say recommendations don’t favour him. In a situation like this he lies to get a job. And then Radha makes an entry, she finds love and then recovers. And all that follows was ok…
      I had no problem with the plot in general – Mohan lying to get a job, Radha falling in love with a married man (it’s a different thing that she didnt know he was already married) or Shobha going to end her life (though I don’t think that’s the only solution to this problem, but this is the only thing expected in a movie, so even that was ok) but what spoiled the story for me was the fact that Janki leaves the village and comes to Bombay with all those tiny little kids with not even a clue to Mohan’s whereabouts. I know I musnt think logically and all that but still I just can’t get over it 🙂

      • Nasir Says:

        I totally agree with that logic that how come the entire group of ladies and children come to the city without knowing the whereabouts of Mohan (Jeetu). There are two explanations:

        1. I think that it was merely to use the song Chanda Ko Dhoondhne which might have been recorded earlier. (Imay be wrong).
        2. Perhaps Mohan was playing safe in not letting his family know his city address – that sounds logical.
        3. (On the lighter side) Perhaps Mohan had whispered in Janki’s ears one night that he was employed in so and so city. (I don’t remember because it was in 1969 that I had watched this movie.)

        So what do you think?

      • sunheriyaadein Says:

        I think the first reason is more appropriate 🙂
        Hee hee….whispering in the ear part, I guess it was deleted from the DVD 😉
        But knowing how our films are : Janki ke dil ne kaha hoga ke Mohan wahin milega n we all know Maa ka dil kabhi galat nahin hota 😀

  2. bollywoodeewana Says:

    I liked this film, but as you’ve said its just average or a little bit above, the songs are what really elevate it, if not for the songs i doubt it’d be as memorable. I agree with Nasir on some points he’s made, i found Jeetendra’s character quite real in this, being poor and unemployed led him to lie, and i guess as the name of the film ‘The way of living’ implies when we’re in desperate situations we’ll do whatever to survive

  3. dustedoff Says:

    I guess my main reason for liking Jeene ki Raah was Tanuja – I just so love her! But yes, despite the good music and Tanuja (not to mention Sanjeev Kumar, another of my favourites), I’ll agree with the ‘average’ rating. There are better Jeetendra films out there.

  4. bollyviewer Says:

    So Jumping Jack started out early with is one-hero-and-two-heroines films? I thought that was an entirely 80s phenomena. 😉 I’ve seen only the end of this movie, and despite Tanuja’s presence, I was never inspired to watch the entire film. It does have some lovely songs, though. Love Sanjeev Kumar’s shaayarana andaaz, though! 🙂

    • Nasir Says:

      Not really bollyviewer. No two heroines here. The wife hardly comes into the picture. The only limelight she steps in is towards the end when she goes out to jump before a running train.

      • sunheriyaadein Says:

        Hee hee…yeah he does have two heroines but his role is not cheap. One’s his wife who, as Nasir mentions doesn’t have much role and steps in only towards the end and the other being Tanuja, his Boss’s daughter who’s fully fida on him but who he doesn’t fall for 🙂
        And Sanjeev Kumar shines in that few minutes of his time on the screen.

  5. bollywood lover Says:

    I haven’t seen this film yet. But your lovely review suggest me to watch it. Well can you please inform me that Bela Bose had any songs in this film or not?

  6. Nasir Says:

    True sunheriyaadein, Maa Ka Dil to Maa Ka Dil Hotaa Hai. Agar Beta kisi pari ke liye ise nikaal bhi le, toh bhi kahegaa: Betaa tujhe choT toh nahin lagi?

  7. harvey Says:

    I saw this movie years ago on DD, but had nearly forgotten everything about the plot.
    There are quite many films with similar lots, that one does get confused!
    You are right about the songs, they are all hummable!
    By the way I have a filmi-blog on my own now.
    would love to hear what you think of it:

  8. Shashi Says:

    Palkon ki chaaon mein stars Rajesh Khanna and Hema Malini. Its music is by RD Burman and lyrics written by Gulzar. Some of the hit songs from the movie are “Allah Megde” and “Daakiya Daak laaya”

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