Posts Tagged ‘Lata Mangeshkar’

Chaar Dil Chaar Raahein (1959)

April 2, 2011

The idea of seeing the Kapoor brothers share the same screen space was what first prompted me to buy this movie. But inspite of it having my Shammi darling, I somehow kept postponing watching it for a long time. The picture on the cd cover always managed to demotivate me from watching it – the trio of Meena Kumari, Raj Kapoor and Nimmi give such a depressing look, that every time I took the cd, I just ended up keeping it aside, till now.

As always, it was a song that finally made me watch the movie. I had heard Stella o stella from Return of  Mr. Superman, and I sort of liked it for the humour in it. One fine day, somebody had posted this song on facebook and one of my friends had commented on it saying that this song was first picturized on Shammi Kapoor and Kumkum in Char Dil Char Rahen in 1959 and then was used again in Return of Mr. Superman in 1960!

The movie opens very beautifully, with Raj Kapoor making quite  an entry into the village and a conversation that leaves one wondering….

Chavli (Meena Kumari) recognizes Govinda (Raj Kapoor), and though he finds her familiar he can’t exactly place her. So he heads home. Govinda is Chaudhary’s son. And he had been sent to the town to study when he was a little boy. Now he has finished his schooling and has come back home.

When he inquires about the girl he had met on his way, he finds out that she’s Chavli –  who is an achhoot and a bal-vidhwa (an untouchable and a child widow).

As soon as he finds out who she is, he goes to meet her. He finds her sitting beside a stream.

Govinda : Pehchana mujhe? (Did you recognize me?)

Chavli : Hmmm

Govinda : Pata hai kitne baras ke baad mile hai? (Do you have an idea after how long we have met today?)

Chavli : Hazaron baras (Thousands of years)

Govinda : Bas? (Just thousands of years?)

Chavli : Isse aaghe ki ginti mohe naa aave (I can’t count beyond that) – I love the way she says this…it’s just so cute!

Next, we are taken to a flashback where two little kids are playing. And the entire village gossiping about an Ahir guy playing with a Chamar girl which is not acceptable in the society.  (The Ahir are a caste of cowherds, milkers, and cattle breeders. Chamar (“tanner”; from the Sanskrit Charmakara) is a prominent occupational caste in India, Pakistan and Nepal. Chamar is a Dalit sub-caste. Traditionally, their social status was low in the Indian caste system because of the association with tanning and thus were considered as untouchables, but in modern days they are one of the progressive castes in India – Courtesy wikipedia). It happens that little Chavli (Baby Naaz) has been expelled from the local school. When Govinda comes to know of this he voluntarily drops off saying that he wont go to a school that doesn’t let his Chavli study. So they spend their day playing and running around the village together.

When Choudhary comes to know about it, he sends his son to the town to study, as a punishment. And now, he has finally returned after so many years. He tells Chavli that he will stay back now, he wont go back to the town.

Chavli : Yahan rehke kya karega? Sheher jaayega toh baabu banega,  coat patloon pehnega, bungla mein rahega, motor gaadi mein pon-pon karta phirega. (But what will you do here? If you go to the town, you’ll become a gentleman – wear coat and pant, live in a bunglow, roam around in a car)

Govinda : I will look after my father’s cattles and will teach in the school here. But I am not going back.

He goes back home and tells his father of his decision to stay back. Choudhary is very happy to hear that and says his mother will be happier than him. He reveals that his wife has gone to Choudhary Malkan Singh to ask his daughter, Lajjo’s hands for Govinda.

Govind :  Baat meri karne gaye hai aur mujhse poocha tak nahih. (She’s gone with a proposal and she didn’t even ask me about it?)

Choudhary : Arey bhala..Ladka-ladki se poochkar koi unka biha kare hai?  Aur phir ladki ka baap koi mamooli aadmi nahin…60-70 bhains hai unke paas. (Does anybody ask the guy and the girl and get them married? And Choudhary Malkan Singh is not an ordinary man…he has 60-70 buffaloes.)

Govind : Uski beti bhi toh koi bhains se kum nahin hai baba! (His daughter is not less than a buffalo herself!)

Chodhary : Beta, shareef ladke aisi baat nahin karte (That’s not how a gentleman talks, son)


Govinda tells his father that he won’t marry Lajjo but will marry Chavli instead. He doesn’t believe in caste and religion. And he cares a damn about what the others would think of his decision.

He takes Chavli and goes to the temple and asks the Pujari (Nana Plasikar) to get them married.

But the Pujari suggests that if he’s rebelling against everybody and getting married to an achhoot, then why do it quietly in the temple without any witness. He should go to Chavli’s house dressed as a proper groom with proper band and baaja, marry her and bring her home. Govinda sees sense in this and goes to all his friends in the village inviting them for his wedding. But all of them refuse to be a part of such a disgraceful alliance except for one. So the two of them set out for Chavli’s place.

This causes agitation among the Ahirs and Chamars in the village. But as both groups are against the marriage, they unite and decide to stop the wedding. Choudhary goes to meet Chavli and offers everything he has to her –

Choudhary : Mere paas 14 bigha zameen, 14-15 bhains, 100-200 nagad hai…maang, kya chahye? (I have land, buffaloes, cash…what do you want. You name it and you’ll have it)

Chavli : Aapka aashirwaad (I only need your blessings)

When Govinda arrives, he sees that Chavli’s hut is on fire. He runs to save her, but all he can find there is an anklet of hers. He sees all the Ahirs and Chamars there and reaches a conclusion that they have burned his Chavli to death.

He announces – Aaj se mera koi baap nahin, ghar nahin, gaon nahin, jaat-biradari nahin, koi dharam nahin…yeh sab is aag mein jal gayi. Aaj se main akela hoon.  And he sets off. He walks for days together mourning and finally reaches a crossroad. He finds an anklet there, which is exactly the same as the one he had found at Chavli’s house. The thought that Chavli might be alive brightens him up but he doesn’t know which way to go from there. He sees a car coming and he asks the driver, Dilawar Khan (Ajit) if he has seen a girl passing by. When Dilawar says no, he decides to sit right there and wait for Chavli.

Dilawar is Nawaab Saab’s (Anwar Hussain) driver. His Munshi (Rashid Khan) tells Nawaab about Pyaari (Nimmi), a new tawaif in town who sings very well. Nawaab sends for Pyaari and she sings for him. He’s very pleased with her and is ready to bestow her with all his wealth but she refuses.

Dilawar hates her because he thinks she’s of the kind who would rob his master of all his wealth. But when he learns that she refused to take any of it, he develops a soft corner for her. And before long Pyari and Dilawar are in love. One fine day Nawaab loses all his power and riches and decides to go to Bombay to start a new life. He offers to take Pyari and her mother with him and promises to look after them lifelong. But Pyari chooses Dilawar over  Nawaab.

Dilawar and Pyari soon have a misunderstanding between them because Dilawar, though is in love with Pyari and wants to marry her, he doesn’t want the extra responsibility of looking after her mother. And Pyari refuses to leave her mother alone. She says, other women have  families, so the daughters can leave them when they get married, but a prostitute doesn’t have a family, all that she has is her daughter. And now that she has found love, she cannot be so selfish and leave her mother all alone. At the same crossroads, they part ways and go in different directions.

Johnny (Shammi Kapoor) makes an entry next (finally).  Rastogis – Mr. and Mrs. Rastogi, their little kid along with their aaya, Stella (Kumkum) are on their way to  Hotel Parbat on a vacation when their car breaks down right at the crossroads. Johnny offers to fix their car and in return they give him a lift till Hotel Parbat.

Johnny is in search of a job. So he goes to meet Mr. Ferreira (David), the Manager. He doesn’t have to work too hard to impress Mr. Ferreira and he soon gets the job of a waiter cum dishwasher at the Hotel.

Johnny being Johnny, is smitten by Stella at first sight and he doesn’t waste much time in getting his feelings across to her. And with all his cute ways of trying to impress her, Stella cant resist his charm for long either. Before long, the two are madly in love with each other.

One day Johnny asks Stella –

Johnny : Tumhara bachcha kaisa hai? (not to be confused…she’s an aaya after all)

Stella : Na toh eat-ta hai, drinkta hai saara din weepta weepta hai. Usko daant aa rahe hai.

Stella gets a letter from her mother one day saying that her father has been diagnosed with tuberculosis and will have to be sent to the sanitarium immediately, which would cost them Rs. 500. Johnny takes up the responsibility of earning that amount required for his would-be father-in-laws treatment.
There’s this sweet sequence where Johnny and Stella talk about their dreams, their future.

Johnny goes and asks Ferreira for extra work. He confides in him that Stella’s father is not well and he needs to earn extra money for his treatment.

In our films no love story can go smooth, unless it’s a Rajshri film, without a third person forming a traingle and plotting cunning ways to create misunderstandings between the two lovebirds. And this one’s no different. Ferreira, who also has an eye for Stella sees this as an opportunity and comes up with a plan to land Johnny in trouble.  He gives Johnny the charge of supplying the guests at the hotel with alcohol, which is legally prohibited in the premises of Hotel Parbat. Johnny blind in love doesn’t see the danger this task imposes, he sees it as an opportunity to make quick money and promises to himself that he’ll quit the job once he earns 500 bucks.

Stella is quite disappointed when she learns what Johnny is upto. She catches him red-handed when he goes to deliver Rastogi’s order of  Whiskey. He somehow manages to convince her that he’ll avoid trouble and he won’t do it for long. Just when he manages to manaofy her and all’s well between them, Ferreira gets Jhonny arrested!

He gets released after three months and unaware that Ferriera was behind all this, he first goes to Ferreira to collect his money. He asks him if he knows where Stella is. That’s when Ferriera introduces Stella as Mrs. Ferriera. Poor Johnny is heart broken. Angry and murderous, he tries to kill Ferriera.

He wanders around for sometime and then starts up a garage at the same crossroads to keep himself occupied. At one point of time, Johnny sings one line of the sad version of my song, Stella o stella o stella, tera johnny ab tak hai akela…


At this point, Nirmal (P Jairaj) makes an appearance. He is a well-educated man and reaches just in time to help all the protagonists of the story. He himself being a socialist, spreads awareness among people on what socialism can do. He makes speeches on exploitation of the poor by rich, lower castes by higher castes in the society etc…these are things that ordinary people can relate to. Thus, he manages to attract lots of people with his socialist theory. He comes up with a proposal of  building a proper road that would connect all the 4 destinations that the crossroads leads to.

There are lots of Contractors fighting for that contract, including Nawaab saab and Ferriera. But it’s Nirmal and his battalion of ordinary people who win it and start building the road.

Will they be successful in achieving their goal and proving the the so-called-rakhwales of the society that given a chance nothing’s impossible for them? With people like Nawwab and Ferriera in the opposition what are the challenges they will face? How is this mission connected to the earlier love stories? Will any of those 3 stories have a happy ending? Are any of these stories interconnected?

Frankly speaking, I don’t know how to rate this movie. It ended so abruptly, in fact the ending itself was missing from the cd. I could kill eagle videos for this! As though deleting the song, and lots of other parts of the movie was not enough, they had to compromise with the ending as well 😦
It was as if I was watching the movie on tv and kept having frequent power cuts. There were so many missing links that I had to use my own imagination to put all the pieces of the story together.

But having said that, I did enjoy watching this movie. To start with, it had been so long since I saw one that it was nice to see such a power packed performance. Everybody was fabulous! K Abbas has done a good job as a director. There were so many social issues addressed in the movie – caste system, religions (the 3 couples in the movie belonged to 3 different religions), power, money, corruption etc.  And the best part was, none of the stories were dragged for too long. Though there was a little bit of  rona-dhona, it was just for sometime and the story quickly moved to the next couple. Except for Nirmal’s speeches, which were a little preachy at times, must say it was quite fast-paced. I guess, I must give a little bit of credit to Eagle videos as well for wiping away so many scenes 😛

I don’t know how many songs were there originally in the movie, the only ones that I got to see were few Lata Numbers that Pyaari sings for Nawaab saab (Koi maane na maane, Intezaar aur abhi , Jab main kehti hoon), one Meena Kapoor (Anil Biswas’s wife)  song picturized on Chavli (Kachchi hai umariya) and the last song, which the entire crew sings as they build the road (Saathi re bhai re). I won’t say I loved the music of this movie, I found it pretty average. Anil Biswas was the Composer and Sahir Ludhyanvi the lyricist. Except for Saathi re bhai re, I dont even remember having heard the rest of the songs. And I was too disappointed that there were no songs picturized on Raj Kapoor and Shammi Kapoor to be able to appreciate the rest 😦

Budtameez (1966)

September 18, 2010

It was Sadhana’s birthday on 2nd September. She’s one of my favourite actresses and I keep raving so much about her. But look at the irony I couldn’t do a post on her birthday.

I was feeling bad about it but I made up for it last Sunday – saw two of her movies back-to-back. Arzoo and Budtameez.

Favourite actor, favourite actress and lots of fabulous songs – I was dying to watch this movie and it had been lying in my must-watch pile for quite sometime. And now I have finally done it! I had first seen this movie more than a decade ago. I had almost forgotten the story but some of the songs, esp the title track always remained afresh in my memory.

Shyam Kumar Saxena (Shammi Kapoor) hails from Allahbaad and lives with his younger sister Beena (Purnima) whom he lovingly call Binny and step-mother (Manorama). We are not taken to a flashback but through a series of conversation it’s revealed that Binny had met with an accident because of Shyam and she’s wheel-chair bound now. Movie begins with Shyam coming home at midnight and Binny keeping awake to wish him for his birthday. Though she’s his step-sister, she loves him dearly and the feeling is mutual.

But Manorama is not very fond of Shyam and keeps nagging him for not getting a job. So he leaves for Bombay the following day in search of a job.

A beggar asks him for some money on the streets of Bombay and when he takes out some money from his pocket a 100 rupees note falls from his pockets and goes flying into a car. He goes running behind and gets into the car in search of it. Just then the car-owner, Shanta (Sadhana) comes along with a bunch of friends and screams at him. She threatens him to get out of his car and drives away.

 Quite lost in the city, he’s just strolling around when he finds a wallet fallen on the ground and hurries behind a man to return it. Raja Bahadur (Brahm Bhardwaj) is highly impressed with Shyam’s honesty and when Shyam breaks a vase worth Rs. 100 in the store, he pays for it. Shyam is hesitant about Raja Bahadur paying for it but he tells him to return the money when he has it and gives his card before leaving.

Shyam comes across Shanta and her friends again at a swimming pool and demands for his money. They play the fool with him and sing Surat haseen lagta hai deewana. At the end of it he somehow manages to get his money back and goes to Raja Bahadur’s house to return the money.

As they converse, it turns out that Raja Bahadur was friends with Shyam’s grandfather in Allahbad. And he invites Shyam to stay with them. Shanta, Raja Bahadur’s granddaughter, is literally shocked to find him in her house. She tries her best to get him out of the house.

Raja Bahadur loves Shanta dearly and oversees her faults. Now this has made her such a spolit brat. He realizes that his affection has made her so headstrong and rude. So he has hired Rita (Laxmi Chhaya) to help him out in bringing Shanta back on track but all their efforts have been going in vain.

They sit down for breakfast the following morning. Shanta throws away the juice that her butler serves her because she doesn’t like it and half of it falls on Shyam. He argues with her saying she’s not the only one at the table and she should at least have some basic table etiquettes. They have a row over this. At the end of it, Shyam gets up, fetches a jug of water, pours it on Shanta  and walks out. Raja Bahadur and Rita look at the entire episode in awe. Shyam, guilty of his actions, goes to his room and starts packing. He wants to leave the house before Raja Bahadur throws him out for insulting his darling granddaughter.

But what follows next is quite the opposite. Raja Bahadur is highly impressed with Shyam and is convinced now that if someone can put some sense into Shanta’s head, it’s Shyam. So he hires Shyam as the Manager of the house! But before handing over the charge, he explains few things to him as to why Shanta is so aloof to everybody and why she hates men so much – Shanta’s father was a drunkard. The sight of her father getting drunk everyday and beating his wife has etched an indelible impression in her memory. One day when it gets too much to bear, her mother commits suicide. And this has turned her into a man-hater. She doesn’t believe in love and she feels all men are the same. According to her every love story/marriage would end either giving lots of pain or in a suicide. She is also the president of a Ladies Club, a club where she preaches how bad men are and all the members of the club are prohibited from falling in love.

Raja Bahadur also blames his son for all this and says he personally despises people who drink.

But now that Shyam has come into their lives, he is assured that Shanta will learn to love her life and people around her. He also reveals to Shyam his wish of getting Shanta married to him. According to him, he could never find a better guy for Shanta.

Now, there’s Devdas (Kamal Mehra) who has always dreamt of marrying Shanta. He happens to be a family friend’s son and is a little crazy. His sense of dressing is wierder than himself- one day he comes dressed as Robinhood to meet Shanta and the other day as a donkey. He’s such a joker. 

One day Shanta comes down to the hall from her room and is surprised to find the house empty except for Shyam. Shyam tells her that Raja Bahadur has gone to Khandala for some Business deal and Rita has gone with him. As she hates the sight of Shyam, she doesn’t like the idea of being home alone with him. So she decides to go to Khandala as well. She asks the driver to get the car ready.

And yes, you all guessed it right. Her chauffeur is none other than Shyam himself, in disguise of an old man. They leave for Khandala. He drives so slowly and keeps preaching so much to irritate her that after a while she takes over the wheel. 

She’s furious when she discovers that Shyam cheated on her and followed her. Like it happens in all Hindi films, their car breaks half way through. She shows attitude and starts walking. And to this attitude he sings Haseen ho tum khuda toh nahin.

Too add to Shanta’s plight, it’s already dusk, getting darker with every passing minute and it starts pouring heavily. Shyam suggests they go and look for some shelter but Shanta says she would spend the night in the car rather than go anywhere with him. So he leaves her in the car, goes behind a tree and hides. From there he starts roaring like a tiger to scare her. In less than a minute, he has Shanta running out of the car calling out for him, scared to death. They finally find the remains of an old abandoned house in the middle of the jungle and they go there to take shelter from the rain. And this is such a beautiful scene. It’s as though only the entrance of the house is intact – there’s only a space wide enough for one to stand there. Shyam, being a perfect gentleman, lets Shanta take refuge there but Shanta’s conscience doesn’t let her leave Shyam getting drenched in the rain all night. So she calls him and they try to adjust in that little available space. Shyam stands with his breath held in so that his tummy goes in and makes some space for Shanta to fit in as well. It’s so hilarious!!! And then Shanta spots a snake hanging nearby and faints in shyam’s arms. Just then, there’s a gunshot and Colonel Jung bahadur (Jagdish Raj) comes marching. He first thinks they must be lovers who have run away from their house and come and almost shoots them. But Shyam manages to convince him that they are already married and were on their way to Khandala but got stuck due to bad weather. Colonel takes pity on them and takes them to his bunglow.

What follows is a laughter riot. Shanta comes back to her sense, she gets murderous when she discovers that she’s put in the same room as Shyam. Now Shyam has to do all he can to make sure that she doesn’t come to know what he has told the colonel – that they are a married couple! He scares Shanta saying Colonel is mad. He has spent 6 months in a mental asylum and shoots anything and everything at the first opportunity he gets. He tells the same story to colonel about Shanta. He goes around the house singing Budtameez kaho ya kaho jaanwar.

When Shanta gets back home the next morning, she realizes that Raja Bahadur had never gone to Khandala. It was all his plan to get Shyam and Shanta together. She goes mad with anger. She goes to Devdas with her friends and tells him she would marry him if he helps her get Shyam out of her way. Devdas is more than eager to please her.  Remember, Raja Bahadur hates people who drink. So they make a plan to get Shyam drunk at a party and strike his name out of Raja Bahadur’s good books for good.

Devdas throws a party and everybody is invited. Shanta and Devdas give Shyam laddu’s filled with bhaang.

(Doesn’t she look like Kareena here? )

He gets drunk and sings  Apni baahon se koi kaam toh lo. The lines he recites before the song is  just awesome : Nashaa pilaa ke giraanaa toh sab ko aataa hai, Arre mazaa toh jab hai ke girton ko thaam le saaqi. Thanks Nasir, I had completely forgotten about this song until I saw saw it on your blog.  And now hardly a day passes without me listening to it.

Raja Bahadur makes his entry at the end of the song and is shocked to see Shyam stuporing. And Shanta adds to it saying he even tried misbehaving with her. But is it so easy to trap Shyam? The truth is that he already knew about Shanta’s plan and he never had the laddu in the first place! He was just acting drunk. When he tells the truth to Raja Bahadur, Shanta hits him on his head with a bottle rendering him uncounscious.

Raja Bahadur takes him home and summons a doctor. Doctor, after dressing his wounds and giving him an injection, tells Raja Bahadur that there’s a chance of Shyam getting blind. When Shyam recovers and gets up Rita enquires if he’s able to see. She then confides in him about the doctor’s fear of him losing his sight. This gives him an idea and he hides the fact that he can see. He acts blind in front of Shanta. And this makes Shanta feel guilty. He sings Dil ko na mere tadpao. But it doesn’t take her long to figure out his act. Slowly she starts falling for him. Being headstrong as she is, she’s reluctant to accept it even to herself.

And when she finally does followed by Pehla pehla pyaar hai yeh pehla pehla pyaar, a Baba comes to give news of Shyam’s death.

She almost has a nervous breakdown and goes running to the place where Shyam had dived into the river and drowned himself. Baba follows her and says Shyam had left a note behind for a girl named Shanta. When she tells him that she’s Shanta, he gives the note to her. She reads it and finds out how much Shyam loved her. She feels miserable that he died because of her. So she decides to end her life as well and jumps into the river. Baba catches her just in time and reveals his real identity. They sing Sirf tum hi toh ho jispe marte hai hum pledging their love for each other. This is where the dialogue in my earlier post comes into picture.

Raja Bahadur is delighted that Shanta has fallen in love with Shyam. He meets up with a Panditji and fixes a date for their wedding.

In the mean time, back in Allahbad, Manorama is looking for a guy for Binny. One Panditji tells Manorama that there is one eligible guy who belongs to a respectable family. But they will get their son married to Binny only if Shyam is ready to marry their widowed daughter! She knows that if she talks to Shyam about it, he wouldn’t even listen to her. So she tells Binny, without revealing the actual truth that she has found a guy for her and he has a lovely sister who would make a great match for Shyam. Happy and excited Binny immediately writes to Shyam about it and asks him to reply back to her letter immediately  if he’s ok with the proposal so that they can commit to them and begin with the preparations.

Raja Bahadur is busy with wedding preparations as well. When Devdas finds out that he’s getting Shanta married to Shyam, he tries to fight with him for Shanta. But Raja Bahadur doesn’t give a damn to him. Just then Devdas notices a letter addressed to Shyam on the table in the hall.

 He, along with his friend read the letter and reply to it. The letter never reaches Shyam! Now thinking Shyam is happy with the proposal, Manorama and Binny also start preparing for the weddings. Before you start wondering how they managed to copy Shyam’s hand-writing…they don’t write the reply back, they send a telegram instead, ruling out the possibility of getting caught! Smart guys 😛

Shyam leaves for Allahbad, with due permission from Raja Bahadur, to return with his family for the wedding. He’s in a shock to discover things at home. He has always held himself responsibile for Binny’s accident. She’s become handicapped because of him. Now there’s a good proposal come in and if he tells about Shanta and his wedding in Bombay, his sister may never get married. Who else would marry a handicapped girl, who can’t even walk??? So he quietly sacrifices his love and gets himself involved in the wedding preparations.

Shyam’s wedding card reaches Raja Bahadur in Bombay and he’s shocked to see it. He can’t believe that he made such a big mistake – He always thought of Shyam as someone who’s very reliable and responsibile. The guy who had left with a promise to marry Shanta is now getting married to somebody else!  Shanta, still unaware of Shyam’s wedding, is happily selecting jewelleries for her own wedding.

Shanta is heart-broken when she learns the truth and she becomes her old self again. Raja Bahadur is all set to cancel the invitaitons but Shanta insists that she will get married as planned but to a different guy,  Devdas. If Shyam can forget her and get married to somebody else, she argues so can she!

Will Binny get to know that Shyam had already  committed himself to Shyam before it’s too late? Will she be able to change their fate even qif she does find it out? Will Shyam ever discover that it was all Devdas’s doing? Watch Budtameez to find out.

It’s a lot like Ziddi (1964). Both are about  taming a stubborn girl but I liked this one much better. Not just because it has Shammi Kapoor in it (though that’s one of the reasons) but because the story is handled and executed better here. Sadhana is gorgeous!!! Shankar Jaikishan’s music is awesome and the songs penned by Shailendra and Hasrat Jaipuri are simply superb. Love each one of them!

The script was written for Shammi Kapoor…everything about the movie is extremely Shammi-sque. I can’t imagine anybody else doing this role. He is stylish, suave, romantic, flirty, smart, caring, funny….as always. Sadhana is amazing –  arrogant, stubborn, witty and very very beautiful. Sadhana’s Shanta was a perfect match for Shammi Kapoor’s Shyam! And they shared a great chemistry!  Apart from the lead pair, I liked all the others as well. Every character had a well-defined role.

I particularly liked Brahm Bhardwarj and Jagdish Raj!

Jagdish Kanwal’s dialogues were crisp and just perfect. I love him for that filmy dialogue alone! After an overdose of Manmohan Desais movies from the 70’s and 80’s with all lost-and-found themes (not that I don’t like them, I have seen most of them, not just once but so many times) I had almost forgotten that he had directed some great movies like this. This film just restored my faith in him.

All in all, a very entertaining film. I see myself watching it quite often – it has made its place in my favourite Shammi Kapoor films (others being : Dil Deke Dekho, Professor, Teesri Manzil, Raj Kumar…..). I thoroughly enjoyed watching the film. A great stress-buster! 🙂

I somehow missed Rajendranath in this movie. Kamal Mehra was great as Devdas but would have loved to see Rajendranath do that role.

You can watch if online if you can’t get a dvd.

Kathputli (1957)

August 24, 2010

It was Vyjayanthimala’s birthday on 13th August. So I thought I would watch and review a movie of hers. Of late I have been doing too many posts on songs and have actually been missing reviewing movies. So I sat down to search for a Vyjayanthimala movie in my collection and this was the only one I had.

The name sounded pretty interesting, and with a starcast of Vyjayantimala, Balraj Sahani I was so excited about watching it. But alas, the excitement ended after the first half an hour. I thought Guru Dutt movies had self-deprecating heroes. But his movies are well made, thought provoking and have lots of substance in them. The story and characters linger in your thoughts and disturb you long after the movie has ended. This was a self-deprecating movie with niether any justification nor any substance. It has amazing songs, but again unfortunately they don’t contribute towards the story.

Ok, let me start with the story without discouraging you any further 😛

 The movie begins with a puppet-show in a village, which I thought was a very relevant beginning.

Among the audience, is Pushpa (Vyjayanthimala), an innocent village belle. She is apparently mesmerized to see the puppets dancing. In between she peeps up and manages to catch a glimpse of the puppeteer.

She goes back home and dances in puppet style to the title track, a happy Bol ree  kathputli dori.  Shivraj (Jawahar Kaul), the puppeteer sees her dancing and is of the opinion that her dance was superb : it looked like someone had put life into his puppets. They start a conversation and she tells him that his show was very good.


Pushpa : Kahan rehte ho? (Where do you live?)
Shivraj : Sadkon par. (On the streets.)
Pushpa : Sadkon par? Ghar nahin hai? (On the streets? Don’t you have a home?)
Shivraj : Kabhi ghar ki zaroorat hi nahin padhi (No, never felt the necessity to have one.)

She feels sad for him and decides to help him. She takes him to a huge bunglow and tells Manohar (Aagha) about her idea – that they need a job. Shivraj would make the puppets dance and paralelly there would be few girls doing exactly the same steps as the puppets on the other side of the stage. They even do a live demo of it. But Manohar is not impressed. He is showing them the way out when Loknath (Balraj Sahni) comes and stops them. He offers Pushpa a job but she refuses and walks out saying people who work on stage/theaters are not considered good and she had come there to help Shivraj find a job, not for herself.

Pushpa goes back home and finds out that her sister Chandni is scared to go to school because she hasn’t paid her fees for three months and she may not be allowed to enter her class. She somehow manages some money but Chandni refuses to go to school. According to her, her education is taking up all Pushpa’s hard-earned money. But Pushpa is adamant about educating her and sends her to school.

Shivraj comes to their house later and says that Loknath has offered them a job at a salary of Rs. 200 each. But she sends him away saying she deosn’t need Loknath’s job. Chandni feels that was insulting. Shivraj had come to help them and Pushpa was so rude to him. So Pushpa goes to him to apologize. Just as they make up and admit their fondness for each other and promise to work together, Shivraj gets hit by a car and gets crippled. The hands that made the puppets dance and jump, skid and fight are no longer capable of doing the same again.

It’s then that Pushpa decides to work and earn, help Shivraj recover and also work towards fulfilling their dreams. She goes to Loknath’s house asking for a job. She meets Manohar and asks him for a job.
Manohar : Khana banana jaanti ho? (Can you cook?)
Pushpa : Haan (Yes)
Manohar : Bawarchi hai.(There are cooks)
Bartan dhona jaanti ho? (Do you know how to wash dishes?)
Pushpa : Haan
Manohar : Naukar hai (There are enough servants to do that)
Kapde dhona jaanti ho? (Can you wash clothes?)
Pushpa : Haan
Manohar : Dhobi hai (There are laundry men)
Boot polish karna jaanti ho? (Do you know how to polish boots?)
Pushpa : Nods her head
Manohar : Woh mera kaam hai (That’s my job)
Do me one favour, I’ll give you Rs. 50 per month, food and accomodation for free but never come here asking for a job again.

When Loknath finds out that Pushpa had come in search of a job, he calls her and immediately starts training her. She’s already a good dancer, he helps her polish her skills.

He sings Manzil wohi hai pyaar ki (Subhir Sen) and she dances to it. This song, undoubtedly a lovely number, but has nothing to do with the story. Loknath launches her on stage. Her first dance on the stage is Itne bade jahan mein ae dil . She becomes a superstar overnight.

She’s offered a plush flat in an apartment and she moves in with Shivraj (I guess Chandni was included by default, though they don’t show her). 

Pushpa does a lot of stage shows. Her next performance is Mini mini chi chi, a lovely duet by Lata and Mukesh picturised on Pushpa and Manohar.

When she doesn’t find Loknath around after the show she enquires after him. Manohar tells her that his little son, Bhola is a sickly child and his condition has gone from bad to worse. That’s why he had to rush home.

She goes after him. Bhola is very happy to see her. She feels sorry for him and promises to come and see him everyday.  She even sings a lori Soja re soja mere raj dulare and puts him to sleep.

 Pushpa and Shivraj get married. Shivraj, however, doesn’t like Pushpa bonding so much with Bhola. And the fact that he’s incapable of earning and that she’s the bread-winner hurts his ego all the more.

Her next performance is Bakad bum bum baje dumaroo. It’s a fun number with a peacock dance.

At the end of it, she faints and Loknath summons a doctor. When Shivraj finds out that Pushpa fainted he comes and accuses Loknath of trying to kill her. According to him Loknath was always in love with her. When he couldn’t win her with his love, he  used his son to attain Pushpa. But even that didn’t work because Pushpa got married to Shivraj. So out of jealousy Loknath wants to kill her! Now that was a very ridiculous logic! After delivering all this nonsense, he slaps Loknath. Just then doctor comes and announces that Pushpa is pregnant.

Pushpa gets engaged in her family life and she takes a break from stage. She delivers a baby and it’s only in the hospital that Chandni is shown again (wonder where she was all this while).

In the meanwhile Loknath retires from the stage giving Manohar and Co. all the responsibilities of running the shows. They are not happy with his decision but he’s adamant about it. Shivraj’s slap and accusations hit him too hard.

Now that Pushpa has stopped working, they find it hard to meet ends. Shivraj makes some toys and takes them to a local dealer. But he says nobody buys handmade dolls but lightens Shivraj’s disapppointment saying he knows a man in Patna who deals in such toys and gives him the man’s address. Shivraj, with a hope of finding employment sets out for Patna immediately.

That’s when Pushpa finds time to visit Loknath. She doesn’t have any money left even to pay the house rent and she’s almost finished selling all her jewels. She’s desparately in need of a job. So she goes to his mansion seeking a job but is shocked to see him.  He’s still recovering from the misery of Shivraj’s accusations when Bhola passes away leaving him all alone. She feels the best way to bring him out of his loneliness and despair would be to get him back to work. Left alone there are high chances of him going insane. So she tells Manohar about getting him back on stage. It’s then that Manohar reveals the truth about the incident with Shivraj. She’s devastated to learn how rude her husband was to the person who did so much for her and her family.

She takes it as a responsibility to bring Loknath back to normal. She leaves her baby, Munna with Chandni and helps Manohar find a good dancer. Their plan is  to get a very good dancer and present her to Loknath. He would spot the talent and focus on training and presenting her on stage. They find one such girl, Kamla Lakshman. She dances to Haye tu hi gaya mohe bhool re, and Loknath is thoroughly impressed. Her dance was awesome. I found it better than Pushpa’s. He takes her under his wing and works towards doing a show with her. But her greedy uncle demands more money just before the show and threatens to stall the show if he doesn’t give in to his demands.

 Pushpa comes to his rescue and does the show  herself dancing to Bol ree  kathputli dori. Now, as expected, Shivraj comes back. His journey to Patna goes in vain and returns home disappointed. Finding only Chandni and Munna at home he asks for Pushpa’s whereabouts. When he learns that she’s gone back to Loknath and stage, he takes Munna and goes away.

Pushpa is heartbroken and the grief of losing her child is too much for her to bear. Loknath again comes to her rescue and helps her find Shivraj. She falls down at his feet and pleads with him but he refuses to give the child back.

What happens next? Will she ever get her child and husband back? Why does Loknath go out of his way to help Pushpa?

The movie started on a very good note but went haywire after the first half an hour. So I googled for found out – This was supposed to be produced and directed by Amiya Chakrabarty, who had made classics like Daag, Patita, Badshah and Seema  but unfortunately Amiya could not complete Kathputli as he passed away while making the movie and Ajit Chakrabarty and Nitin Bose completed the film. Wonder if that’s why the movie is so vague.

Shankar-Jaikishan’s music is fabulous. Shailendra and Hasrat Jaipuri (Soja re soja mere raj dulare, Bakad bum bum baje dumaroo by HJ, all the others were by Shailendra) had penned the lyrics. Songs are good but except for few, the others look like they’ve just been put in to fill the gaps.

Story is very predictable. I’m extremely fond of Balraj Sahni but found him every theatrical most of the time here. Except for the scenes with is son, he was just ok rest of the times. When Pushpa goes to meet Bhola the first time, he says,
Bhola : Papa kehte hai aap bahut achhi hain. (Dad says you are very nice)

That moment of uneasiness is portrayed extremely well by Balraj Sahni.

There was no chemistry between Vyjayanthimala and Jawahar Kaul. And even when Vyjayanthi was in distress, I just couldn’t feel sad or feel at all for her. The soul…the essence was missing in the story and in the performances was well. None of the actors looked convinced of what they were doing or even interested in it except for Agha. If I could sit through this movie it was just  for Balraj Sahni and Agha. I know it was a wrong choice for the lady’s birthday. But that was the only movie of hers I had. So couldn’t help it.

P.S : For a change I’m giving the credit to Doordarshan this time. I was watching Rangoli on 8th morning and the entire episode was dedicated to Vyjayanthimala. But inspite of learning about her birthday so much in advance, I couldn’t watch the movie until 15th and complete this post till now.

Couldn’t find the videos of Mini mini chi chi, and Soja re soja mere raj dulare. Am uploading them on youtube. Will put share the link once done.

Ten of my Favourite Manoj Kumar songs

July 24, 2010

As this veteran actor celebrates his 73rd birthday today, here’s wishing him a very very Happy birthday!

He started his career as a romantic hero. Manoj Kumar’s image as the patriotic hero started with the 1965 film Shaheed, based on the life of Bhagat Singh. After the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965, Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri asked him to create a film based on the popular slogan Jai Jawan Jai Kissan. The result was Kumar’s magnum opus and his directorial debut, Upkaar (1967). Upkaar was a hit and won Kumar his first Filmfare Best Director Award.  He then went on to direct and act in lots of other movies which earned him the name of  Mr. Bharat.

Harikishan Giri Goswami, better known as Manoj Kumar, was a big admirer of  Dilip Kumar,  so much that he decided to name himself Manoj Kumar after Dilip’s character in Shabnam (1949).

He was blessed with good looks and an ability to act and direct well. I have been very fond of him but have always liked him more in his pre-patriotic era. That doesn’t mean I have anything against his patriotic movies. They were all very good but I’m making it a point not to include many songs from those movies, and even if I do, I will leave out the patriotic ones for now. Will do a separate post on patriotism some other time, may be around Independence day. For now, I’m concentrating only on romantic songs of his that I like the most with one single exception – the first song below.

1. Mera rang de basanti chola (Shaheed, 1965) :  When you were born, you cried and the world rejoiced.  Live your life in such a manner that when you die the world cries and you rejoice –  this song just illustrates the saying. Manoj Kumar as Bhagat Singh has etched such an indelible impression in my memory that I just can’t find anybody else as good as him in the role. May be it’s because it’s one of the first movies of Manoj Kumar that I saw and the very first one of Bhagat Singh, during the good old Doordarshan days when they used to telecast patriotic movies on Independance Day and Republic Day. Everything about this song gives me goose flesh…esp the part where Manoj Kumar says : Hum gale milna chahate hai, ab ke bichde na jaane kab mile. And the way they embrace each other is so touching. Having said earlier that I like him better in romantic roles, I would have loved to list down Jogi hum toh lut gaye tere pyaar mein which I totally love, but I didn’t for 2 reasons – 1. I couldn’t help myself from not including Mera rang de basanti, 2. It doesn’t have enough of Manoj Kumar to classify it as his song. Each song of this movie, be it Sarfaroshi ki tamanna, Aye watan, Pagdi sambhal is absolutely brilliant and very emotional as well.

2. Gore gore chand se mukh par (Anita, 1967) : How could I not like Manoj Kumar sitting on a branch of a tree singing this paean to one of my favourite actresses, Sadhana. Though I don’t like her make-up much in this particular song, I love the room she is in! A beautiful song. Mukesh has sung some very nice and very romantic songs for Manoj Kumar. I could actually have done a combined post for Mukesh and Manoj Kumar but for all these years I have ignored him and failed to recognise his genius, Mukesh deserves a separate post just to himself, which is coming up soon.

3. Chodkar tere pyaar ka daaman (Woh Kaun Thi, 964) : This movie had some amazing songs, majority of  them rendered by Lata. But when we come to Manoj Kumar, where even he gets to lip-synch some of the song, this song tops my list. He was a very good-looking man. And this song is such a delicious treat to the eyes – Manoj Kumar and Helen both looking their best!  Manoj Kumar in black-n-white movies, I just can’t get enough of him. Lag ja gale is and will always remain my favourite from this movie and as I already had it in one of my recent posts, I am skipping it for the moment. And Naina barse is something I am saving up for some other occasion.

4. Door reh kar na karo baatein (Amanat, 1971) : One of the main reasons behind me doing this post. Ok…that’s not entirely true, I didn’t actually need an excuse to do this post. The fact that I actually like Manoj Kumar was more than enough  in itself and to add to it  that he featured in some of my favourite songs. This is a very passionate song,  one’s of my all-time favourites – simple lyrics, soft music, flawless voice and picturised on two very good looking people whom I am very fond of.

5. Chaand si mehbooba hogi (Himalaya Ki Godh Mein, 1965) : I will never forget Mala Sinha’s name in this movie – Phulwa! Thanks to the flower Manoj makes and writes “wa” beside it on the stone in the beginning of this song. It’s a lovely song – beautifully written, rendered and very well composed.  I am not very fond of the movie itself as such, inspite of Mala Sinha and Manoj Kumar but I love this song – probably the best thing in the movie. Manoj Kumar finds his dream girl in Mala Sinha, the innocent (though loud) village belle. And he  looked very cute in it, not just in this song but in the entire movie…a doctor educated abroad who lands up in a village and is in complete awe of the rural superstitions initially but eventually decides to stay back there and help healing the villagers instead of going back to in the city and setting up a clinic.

6. Main na bhoolunga (Roti Kapada aur Makaan, 1974) – An unforgettable melody…..
Samay ki dhara mein umar beh jaani hai
jo ghadi jee lenge, wahi reh jaani hai
main ban jaau saans aakhri tu jeewan ban jaaye
Jeewan se saanso ka rishta main na bhoolungi….

Maang se sindoor ka rishta…Mandir se pooja ka rishta….
Mesmerising lyrics…very touching. Beautifully and emotionally sung by Mukesh and Lata Mangeshkar and amazingly portrayed by Zeenat and Manoj and Shashi. And it fits so well into the story, it more or less sums up a part of the story. This movie won Manoj Kumar his second Filmfare Best Director Award.

7. Bol mere taqdeer mein (Hariyali Aur Raasta, 1962) : I watched this film when I was 15 and I don’t know what I liked so much about it…I somehow could never forget this story of Shankar, Shobhna and Rita. Waise toh all the songs are good – Yeh hariyali aur yeh raasta, Teri yaad dil se bhulane chala hoon, Ibteda ishq mein hum, Lakh taare aasman mein but Bol meri taqdeer mein kya hai has always remained my favourite. One of the most romantic songs ever…and that too with quite a philosophical note to it – jeevan ke do pehlo hai hariyali aur raasta. After Shaheed, this was the second movie of his that I saw, followed by Dus Numberi. No wonder I ended up liking him so much!

8. Paththar ke sanam (Paththar Ke Sanam, 1967) : A hunk with two lovely ladies and a couple of great songs….I had to see this film. Though I didn’t like the film much, I totally love the songs – Mehboob mere, Tauba yeh matwali chaal, Ki nahin hai, Bata doon kya laana or the title track – all of them are amazing! I don’t think Rafi has sung many songs for Manoj Kumar but the few that he has are superb! Be it this or Door rehkar na karo baat.

9. Ke duniya ek numbari to main dus numbari (Dus Numbari, 1976) : It’s such an entertaining film. Though it’s been a quite some time since I saw this film, I remember liking it when I saw it. This used to be Sony entertainment Televisions favourite movie a decade ago, they used to air it almost every fortnight.  And for once I saw Manoj Kumar so stylish (love his shades and his outfits in it) and it was so refreshing to see him do a role like this for a change.

10. Zindagi ki na toote ladi (Kranti, 1981) : I grew up listening to this song and watching it almost every week on Rangoli and Chitrahaar. This song itself was intriguing enough and the curiosity of seeing both Diliip kumar and Manoj Kumar together was too much to resist. So when this movie was finally aired on Doordarshan I just couldn’t afford to miss it. Though sad at times, from what I remember it was an entertaining package – action, drama, emoshun, good music, suspense, brothers separated in childhood, princess being kidnapped and what not. Un aankhon ka hansna bhi kya jin aakhon mein paani na ho, woh jawani jawani nahin jiski koi kahani na ho….lakh gehra ho saagar toh kya pyaar se kuch bhi gehra nahin, dil ki deewane har mauj par ho aasmano pehra nahin….amazing lyrics. Apart from Raj Kapoor Mukesh sang quite a lot of songs for Manoj Kumar. It’s interesting to see his son, Nitin Mukesh singing for Manoj Kumar here with Lata Mangeshkar.

There are so many other songs of his that I like from Upkaar, Do Badan, Shor, Aadmi, Neel Kamal, Purab Aur Paschim, Saawan Ki Ghata, Phoolon Ki Sej, Banarasi Thug etc….hopefully I’ll get to include all these songs in some list or the other over a period of time.

Thinking of his movies, I just can’t get Clerk out of my mind – few scenes in particular…For those of you who haven’t seen the movie, check this out –

One of the most ridiculous movies and one of those few movies which I couldn’t sit through the whole way. But there were quite a few scenes like this in it. Such scenes are entertaining and good to laugh at, esp when you can just see them instead of having to put up with the entire film! 😉

Here’s wishing Manoj Kumar health and long life on this day and always!!!

Ten of my Favourite Rajendra Kumar Songs

July 12, 2010

I know I was supposed to do a post on Neetu Singh but was busy yesterday the whole day. And though none of the teams I was supporting reached the World Cup finals, I ended up watching the finals as an obligation. So didn’t have time. And today, being Rajendra Kumar’s death anniversary, I wanted to dedicate this post to him.

He neither had the good-looks, nor a great physique….he’s not the typical hero material from any angle, but there’s something very charming about him that I adore.

Wikipedia states : The 1960s saw Rajendra Kumar rise like no other star had risen, and the voice of Mohammad Rafi played biggest role in it. That doesn’t take away the fact that he was a very good actor. But the songs of his film in Mohammed Rafi`s voice used to become mega hits giving movies a fine opening, and there was a time when every film starring him was a silver jubilee hit. There were times when he had six or seven films running in their silver jubilee weeks at the same time. It was a success that was unbelievable and Rajendra Kumar was soon known as “Jubilee Kumar”. He was considered a golden boy for the movie producers in the sense that he was the actor who could recover the producers’ money in a matter of few weeks.

When Rafi and Rajendra Kumar combination had such beautiful meoldies, how could I resist from not doing this post. So here are my ten favourite Rajendra Kumar songs, all from the movies that I have seen and in no particular order –

1. Aye nargise mastaana (Arzoo, 1965) : I like this song more for Sadhna than for Rajendra Kumar. But when it’s Rafi singing, it doesn’t really matter who’s on screen. What a way to flirt!!! Love his “shikayats” and Rajendra Kumar looks cute reciting them. It’s a very beautifully shot song with great lyrics by Hasrat Jaipuri and music by Shankar-Jaikishen.  All the songs of this movie were very popular and very romantic, be it,  Chhalke teri aankhon se sharaab aur jyada, Ae phoolon ki raani, Aji rooth kar ab kahan jaiyega. These songs give a different meaning to love all together, hai na? And compare them to the songs of today… truly Love – Aaj Kal.

2. Tumse izhaar-e-haal kar baithe (Mere Mehboob, 1963) : This was another movie with such amazing songs. I know Mere mehboob tujhe meri mohabbat ki kasam is more popular but I somehow like this and Ae husn zara jaag tujhe ishq jagaye better. Sadhna looks drop-dead gorgeous…no wonder he keeps singing one lovely song after another for her! All these songs are so full of emotions which one can feel as well as see. The onscreen pair – truly lajawaab and the voice very intoxicating. It’s so subtle and sweet. Love Rajendra Kumar in it. Though I mentioned above that he wasn’t blessed with good looks, but I do find him pretty handsome at times, like in this song.

3. Bura maan gaye (Aayee Milan Ki Bela, 1964) : I love each and every song in this movie…each one is a gem – be it Tum kamseen ho, Main pyaar ka deewana, O Sanam tere ho gaye hum, Tumko hamari umar lag jaye or the title track itself. And to choose one song from this one album is extremely difficult.  There’s something very innocent (and romantic of course!) about all the songs in this movie. And this song has the playful factor to it as well. Listen to his complaints – they are so sweet…plight of an aashiq!

4. Teri pyaari pyaari surat ko (Sasural, 1961) : What an amazing song!!! And the way he sings Chashme Baddoor is simply awesome! This song never fails to brighten up my mood – it has such lovely lyrics that you can’t help but smile, beautiful music that compliments the feel of the song, the rendition is priceless and it’s picturised so beautifully. But in addition to this there’s a funny incident associated with this song. My friends had given me a CD of Rafi’s songs for my birthday during my college days. One Sunday afternoon, I was sitting in my room in hostel and  listening to it. One of my Telugu speaking friends came to my room (she couldn’t understand Hindi) and asked me : You are in a different world altogether when you listen to these songs…What’s so special about them? I started raving about the lyrics, music,rendition, picturisation, situation in which the song is sung in the movie, blah blah….I went on non-stop for a while, I was kind of marketing the song. After listening to me for so long, even she wanted to listen to it. And she wanted me to translate the lyrics for her. This song was playing then. Yun na akeli phira karo…., dekha na karo tum aaina….., nikla na karo tum raho par…At the end of it she got up and said : “He’s forbidding her from doing everything…what the hell does he want her to do???!!!” and walked out.

I didn’t know how to react to it for a while and then I was literally rolling down with laughter. But I didn’t have an answer to her question even after I recovered.  So everytime I hear this song, I think of that afternoon.

5. Yeh mera prem patra padh kar (Sangam, 1964) : This is one of Rajendra Kumar’s signature songs. It’s still a rage to this day, I can only imagine how popular this must have been back then. I somehow didn’t like the movie much – had seen it long ago, don’t know if I will feel differently about it if I watch it now. But I like this song. It was a part of my Dad’s collection and have literally grown up listening to it. So it has that nostalgic feel to it.

6. Chehre pe giri zulfen (Suraj, 1966) : Again, Baaharon phool barsaao is more popular. Not that I don’t like it but I like this better esp the way Gustakhi maaf is sung. Dad had a cassette that had Suraj songs on Side A and Sasural on Side B ( I think it was a T-series). He had lots of them but these were among his top favourites and used to play them more often. So these songs somehow manage to take me back in time. Rajendra Kumar does live upto these songs in his own way. He has a funny way of dancing but it kind of suits him.

7. Madhuban khushboo deta hai (Saajan Bina Suhagan, 1978) : I haven’t been able to figure out what exactly it is that I like about it song. But somehow, I feel good listening to this song – must be the inspirational lyrics! And oh yes, I do like Yesudas’s voice as well.

8. Dheere dheere bol koi sunna le (Gora aur Kala, 1972 ) : After battling a lot over Ek na ek din yeh kahani banegi and Dheere dheere bol, I finally chose the latter to add more vareity to the post. I have been concentrating mostly on songs sung by Rafi so far. I think I should give a chance to other singers as well. So it’s Mukesh this time singing for Rajendra Kumar. Both Hema and Rajendra look so good and so royal in this song. And they share a great chemistry as well. All in all a very romantic duet.

9.  Palkon ke peeche se jo tumne (Talash, 1969) : A very pretty song filmed against a beautiful backdrop. I had first heard this song on Vividh Bharati. It was much later that I actually saw the video. There’s this innocence and sharmila-pan about it which I adore – something that one could sense just listening to the song without even having to see the video.

10. Kaun hai jo sapno mein aaya (Jhuk Gaya Aasmaan, 1967) : Kaun hai jo sapno mein aaya, Kahan chaldiye idhar toh aao, Sachcha hai gar pyaar, unse mili nazar, Meri aankhon ki nindiya, Mere tumhare beech mein…..once again, all the songs are superb. Though I like Elvis Presley – the man himself and his songs, I find the Hindi version of this song more lively than the original Marguerita. Thanks to Rafi’s singing and Rajendra Kumar’s onscreen presence! This was the first Rajendra Kumar movie that I saw. And I had really enjoyed it as a kid.

RIP Jubilee Kumar!

Ziddi (1964)

May 29, 2010

Ashok (Joy Mukherjee), is the youngest son in the family of Judge Sachin Shankar (Ulhas) and Mumtaz Begum.

He has two brothers and a younger sister (Lata Sinha). Both his brothers  are married and one of his sisters-in-law is Bela Bose. She hardly makes an appearance for 2 mins, what a waste of character!

Sachin is a pretty strict parent who wants everybody at breakfast table by 8 AM and expects all his sons to go to work and earn their living. The other two are great sons as per him who are professionally and financially settled in life and his only complain is about Ashok, who’s still in bed when everybody else has already gathered for breakfast. And he’s also not happy about Ashok wanting to become a writer.

Ashok goes to meet a publisher (Murad), who also doesn’t approve of his choice of profession because he thinks Ashok doesn’t look like a writer!!! (Now what’s that supposed to mean?)

Mr. Chaterjee (Asit Sen) makes an entry here and the publisher tells him that he has been summoned to Ooty by Thakur Mahendra Singh (Raj Mehra) as the Manager of his Tea Estate. And apart from looking after the Tea Estate his job would also include keeping an eye on Asha (Asha Parekh), Thakur’s daughter. He gives Mr. Chaterjee Asha’s photo, where she’s posing beside an elephant with a gun and gives him a brief introduction saying – “Yeh Thakur saab ki beti hai, Asha. Aur uski teen hi shauk hai zindagi mein – Sheron ki shikar, haati aur ghodon ki sawari and aadmi ke kapde pehena aur unko neecha dikhana” (This is Thakur’s daughter, Asha and she lives just for three things – to kill tigers, to ride horses and elephants and to wear men’s outfit and to make them feel inferior).

Ashok also sees Asha’s pic and is totally smitten. He has a feeling that if he gets to meet her he can come up with a story that would establish him as an Author. He takes her pic and goes on the road singing Teri surat se nahin milti kisi ki surat . Judge spots him singing by the swimming pool and takes him back home. Finding Ashok’s behaviour weird, he feels Ashok must be suffering from some illness and calls a Doctor. Doctor says he’s fine, it’s just that he’s suffering from loneliness –  which he finds all the more weird – lonely in a house full of peaople?! Doctor then goes on to explain that they should get Ashok married. At this, the entire family literally runs out of the house in search of a girl, leaving bewildered Ashok behind.

Ashok runs away from his house and goes to Ooty.

Judge is furious to find Ashok gone and is all the more angry when he discovers Ashok’s note that says :  “Zindagi bhar gadha na reh jaun, isi liye romance aur adventure ki talaash mein jaa raha hoon” (I don’t want to remain a fool all my life, that’s why I am off in search of Adventure and Romance).

He’s almost robbed off his belongings in the train by Mohan Choti while he’s asleep – And this scene is hilarious…Ashok’s dreaming about Asha and is blabbering in his sleep. That’s when Mohan Choti enters his compartment and what follows is very funny – extremely situational monologue from Ashok and Mohan’s expressions just perfect to blend with the scene. This is once of my favourite scenes in the film.

When Ashok finally wakes up and realizes that his suitcase is nowhere around, he follows Mohan and jumps out of the train behind him. Just then they hear a gunshot and Mohan drops Ashok’s suitcase and runs away. Ashok then spots Asha with a gun and she screams at him for scaring her prey away – according to her, the tiger she was about to shoot ran away because of Ashok 😛

She takes her jeep and drives away. Ashok retrieves his belongings and starts walking towards some civilization from the jungle he is in. Back at Thakur’s (Raj Mehra) house, everybody’s searching for the jeep. The new Manager was arriving and Mahesh (Mehmood), their driver was supposed to go to the station to receive him but both the Jeep and the driver are missing.

Seema (Nazima), Asha’s sister is sure that Asha must have taken the Jeep and Thakur is very angry about the whole affair and promises to scold Asha when she gets back. Lakshmi (Sulochna), Thakur’s wife, is hurt that Seema isn’t very fond of her sister and keeps complaining about her. And both Thakur and Lakshmi are busy blaming each other for spoiling Asha. In between this, Asha drives in complaining that somebody scared her prey away. And on being asked about Mahesh, she tells her pet, Majnu (an elephant) to bring him back. Poor soul was put in a drum and kept under Majnu’s invigilation.

Both her parents are extremely fond of her and they easily forgive her for all the pranks she’s upto and overlook them. As a result, Asha is such a spoilt brat, stubborn to the core and quite irritating as well.

Mahesh is then sent to the station to bring the Manager. On his way he sees Ashok walking with a suitcase and assumes him to be the new Manager. So he brings him home and introduces Ashok to everybody as the new Manager of Mahendra tea State.

Asha is furious to see him home and tries all the possible pranks to get him kicked out. She isn’t very successfull in doing so but she doesn’t give up.

 As a punishment for taking the Jeep in the morning, Thakur prohibits her from going to the Jalsa (a local fete) that night. And Ashok is instructed to keep an eye on her and make sure that she doesn’t even step out of the house.

Stubborn and bent on proving how inefficient Ashok is, she sneaks out of the house and in a hurry mounts an untamed horse and sets off. When Ashok realizes this, he goes behind on another horse, saves her and brings her back home, literally drops her on her bed and locks her room from outside. But she calls Majnu below her balcony, jumps on her back and goes to the Jalsa and dances to Raat ka samaa jhume chandrama.

Ramdas (Dhumal), is the Supervisor of the Tea Estates. He has a very pretty daughter Sheela (Shubha Khote) who’s madly in love with Mahesh. But Ramdas doesn’t approve of their romance and picks up a quarrel with Mahesh for the silliest of reasons.

Ashok takes up his job as the new Manager the following day. It’s almost 12:30 in the afternoon, he tells Ramdas to break for lunch at 1 and heads home for lunch himself.

Mahesh also takes a break saying he’s going to meet Sheela. On his way, Ashok sees Asha perched on a tree branch chewing Sugarcane, he flirts a little with her and she instructs Majnu to pick him up and throw him in the well, which Majnu obediently follows.

Mahesh sees Sheela getting lunch for her father and walking towards the Tea Estate. He asks her for some food and they climb the clock tower where she feeds him. He sets the time to 11insh hoping to spend some more time with her. Ramdas is hungry and keeps waiting for his daughter who doesn’t turn up. When he glances up to the clock tower to see the time, he is surprised  and figures out that something’s wrong.  So he sets out to investigate. When Mahesh sees him, he runs away at such a speed and without even looking around that he also ends up in the same well as Ashok. They somehow manage to get out.

 And now, Ashok feels it’s time to do something to tame Asha. But he has to get across Majnu before reaching Asha. So he prepares himself for the mission.

He manages to make friends with Majnu. And with his help, he sort of kidnaps Asha and sings Pyaar ki manzil mast safar. Now that Majnu is on Ashok’s side, Asha decides to sell the disloyal Elephant. She sits on Majnu and begins the auction. Ashok comes disguised as an Arabic and buys the Elephant for a huge amount. When she dismounts after the deal is done, he jokes with her saying, he had bought the entire package for that much, ie the elephant along with her on his back!

There’s a lot of drama in between. Ashok comes across a letter sent by Mr. Chatterjee, the original supposedly new Manager of the estate – who has written saying he fell ill and couldn’t come on time but now that he has recovered, he would be arriving soon. It’s just because Mahesh thought he was the Manager, he was brought to the house and given the job. He’s worried and thinks of going back home. When Mahesh learns the truth he decides to help Ashok. They both go to receive Mr. Chatterjee, who comes marching to the background score of “So he’s a jolly good fellow”. They take him to a fake graveyard haunted by Sheela clad in a black saree and they tell him that all the people killed by Asha are burried in this graveyard.

She hates Managers and there’s a slot especially reserved for Managers. At this Mr. Chatterjee runs away from there and is never heard of again.

Seema was out of town all this while and Ashok had never met her. One evening he’s sitting in his room typing his story and reciting some lines (he has quite a shayarana andaaz, the way he flirts around with Asha, the lines he uses –  they are very poetic and very very romantic), a dog happens to sneak in and Seema comes following the dog. He’s pleasantly surprised to discover another pretty lady in the house. And she’s a very sweet girl and they get along very well from the very beginning. When he notices Asha observing them, he makes fun of Asha and she walks away in a rage.

At the Jalsa, when Mahesh spots Ramdas sitting with Ashok, he drapes a dupatta over him and Sheela introduces him as Roopmati, her widowed friend to Ramdas. Ramdas falls madly in love with Roopmati. He continues pretending to be Roopmati at few more occassions.

 At one of them he flirts with Ramdas as Roopmati and then fools him and sneaks out of the house with Sheela singing Main tere pyaar mein kya kya na bana and at another Roopmati agrees to marry him provided that he gets Sheela married first. But some Astrologer had told Ramdas that he would die if Sheela gets married and has a child. When Mahesh discovers this, he confides in Ashok about it. And Ashok decides to help Mahesh,  disguised as a Sadhu baba, he  tells Ramdas to get his daughter married within seven days or else he’ll die. Ramdas’s in a dilemma now…one astroger told him that he’ll die if he gets Sheela married and now another is telling him that he would die if he doesn’t get her married.

Asha happens to cross by just then and Ashok, disguised as Sadhu baba, takes advantage of the situation, tells her few things about her at which she’s shocked (a Sadhu who knows so much about her) then tells her that she should dress properly…she’s a girl and should behave like one, mustn’t go around hunting tigers all the time…blah blah and at the end he says if she goes on this way, Ashok might choose Seema over her.

She goes back home and sits infront of the mirror, tries on a little make up and even wears a saree. The she goes down hoping Ashok would see her.

She gets mad at Ashok when she sees him sitting and talking so sweetly to Seema.

Seema is going for a picnic with her friends and invites Ashok to join them. He happily accepts the invitation and asks Asha if she would like to come along as well….

Asha : Jahannum mein jao! (Go to hell!)

Ashok : Akele jaane mein mazaa nahina ayega, aap bhi chaliye na (it won’t be fun going alone, why don’t u come along as well)

At the picnic, Ashok and Seema are busy with their sheron-shayari when her friends ask him to sing a song. He says : “If I knew how to sing, wouldn’t I have become an actor?” And then he hears Majnu and realizes that Asha is somewhere around. So he jumps around singing Janu kya mera dil ab kahan kho gaya.

By the end of the song, Asha ties some balloons to the basket in which Seema’s doggy is sitting and the basket flies away. Seema gets all hysteric seeing her doggy so helpless up in the air.

 Ashok scolds Asha and she replies saying : “Badla lena hai na, toh mere Majnu ko gubbare se bandhke suraj pe bhejde. Kutta bahut romantic ho raha tha isi liye maine usse chand pe bhej diya romance karne” ( Take revenge , do the same thing with my Majnu, tie balloons to him and send him to the sun. Your dog was getting very romantic, that’s why I sent him to the moon to romance).

Ramdas gives in and gets Sheela married to Mahesh.

Ashok continues flirting with Seema, even more when Asha is around, just to make her feel jealous. But Seema, unaware of Ashok’s intention, takes everything he says seriously and actually falls in love with him.  They go out one day and Asha sees Seema very happy with Ashok. At this sight, Asha loses her control and shoots Ashok. He falls down in the lake.

He doesn’t appear on the surface….it’s then that she realizes what she has done. Full of regret, she goes running back to the place where she had met Sadhu baba to seek his help. When she deosn’t find him there, she confesses her love for Ashok and starts talking to herself. Ashok, knowing she would come there, swims out and comes right there. For a while he converses with her from behind the bush as the Sadhu baba but after a while he comes out of his hiding and they declare their love for each other and sing Champakali dekho chhu ke jaadu kiya mere pyaar ne.

Ashok writes to his parents about Asha and asks them to come over. Thakur Mahendra Singh and his wife also find out that they are in love with each other and they readily accept Ashok into their family. Only Seema is heart-broken.

Just after Mahesh and Sheela get married, the first Astrologer comes and scolds Ramdas for not listening to him. He tells him the Sadhu who told him to get Sheela married was a fake. Ramdas gets very scared and doesn’t even let Mahesh touch Sheila. Mahesh is so sad –  Pyaar ki aag mein tan badan jal gaya.

Ashok’s family comes over to Ooty and all is well….

 …but how can we have such a simple and smooth climax, right?….So here comes the twist – Judge sees a photo hung on the wall of Thakur Mahendra Singh’s house and that triggers a lot of memories – he immediately refuses to get Ashok married to Asha as he knows of Asha’s parentage –  a father who is an escaped convict, in jail for murder, and a mother whose profession was: prostition. And then everybody is surprised to see Asha drunk – singing and dancing to Yeh meri zindagi ek pagal hawa at a party.

And in between all this, Moti (Madan Puri) makes an entry.

Who is Moti? What’s the secret behind Asha’s family? How will Seema react to all this? Will she take revenge? What happens to Mahesh and Sheela? Does Ramlal ever get to know the truth behind Roopmati?

Not a hard ending to guess at all 🙂

I really like Joy Mukherjee and it’s Rafi’s songs and Joy that made me watch this movie. If you are not very fond of Joy Mukherjee, be content listening to or watching the songs on Youtube for Rafi. Well, I am not scaring anybody away….but there’s nothing much in the movie to like. I did like few things like the scene between Ashok and Mohan Choti in the train, Ashok flirting with both the sisters but it wasn’t right of him to play with Seema’s emotions the way he did, Mahesh and Sheela’s romance which was very cute ( I really like this couple and it wasn’t irritatingly OTT), can’t say the same about Ashok and Asha though, it was too short. Ashok spent more than half the movie pursuing Asha, the rich, spoilt-brat. Everybody looked good, so that was one consolation but other than that, I didn’t find the movie all that great. It was average and one time watchable, but I don’t see myself watching this movie again.

I do adore Asha Parekh but in this movie she was very screechy and irritating. Missed the Love in Tokyo chemistry. But Nazima made up for that, she was very cute and sweet. Wonder how and why Joy didn’t fall for her. I hardly said anything good about the movie….it isn’t all that bad either and I don’t regret watching it. I would rate it 6 (only 5 for the story, extra point for all the other things I liked about the movie. Had Asha been better, it would definitely have scored 7 + for me).

Jeene Ki Raah (1969)

April 12, 2010

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.

Ten of my Favourite Meena Kumari Songs

March 31, 2010

31st March marks the death anniversary of  Mahjabeen Bano aka Meena Kumari aka the Tragedy Queen of Hindi Film Industry, who not only portrayed tragic roles in movies, but led a tragic life in real as well. With very fond memories, here is a list of songs through which she flirts, romances and cries—just, generally, keeps me glued to the screen admiring her but wondering about her fate at the same time.

1. Ajeeb daastaan hai yeh (Dil Apna Preet Parai, 1960) : This must be one of the most popular songs even till this day.  The picture of Meena Kumari singing this lovely number when she realizes that the man she loves is committed to someone else, is forever etched into my memory. And it has gorgeous Nadira in it too 🙂

2. Koi pyaar ki dekhe jaadugari  (Kohinoor, 1960) : A romantic duet filled with excitement, thrill and magic of being in love where she lip-syncs with her Knight in Shining armour after he rescues her from the clutch of wicked Jeevan.

3. O raat ke musafir (Miss Mary, 1957) :  I saw her in a light-hearted role for the first time ever in this movie. For a change she’s showing attitude and not crying her heart out…and I personally feel that she’s enchanting in this avataar. Wish she had done more roles like this.

4. Koi bata de dil hai jahan (Main Chup Rahungi, 1962) : This is such a sweet, innocent and romantic song. As the name of the movie suggests, it’s weepy Meena again, but it had some wonderful songs – Koi bata de, Chaand jaane kahan kho gaya, Ae dil kabhi toh koi aayega. Apart from the story, which gets highly melo-dramatic at one point of time – but thankfully doesn’t get boring because of the child, this movie had such a strikingly good looking couple, amazing performance and like I said before, very melodious songs.

5. Chalte chalte yunhi koi (Pakeezah, 1972) : Though I like Yeh mausam hai aashiquana better, this song finds its place in this list because this is one of Meena’s signature songs. And apart from the songs and Meena’s performance in this movie, there’s one more thing that became very popular with this movie- Aap ke paon dekhe, bahut haseen hai. Inhe zameen par mat utariyega maile ho jayenge

In 1952, on the sets of one of her films, Meena Kumari fell in love with and married film director, Kamal Amrohi. Soon after marriage, Kamal Amrohi and Meena Kumari produced a film called Daera (1953), which was based on their love story. They also planned another film, Pakeezah. However, it took sixteen years (1956 to 1972) before Pakeezah reached the silver screen. (The scenes in Pakeezah’s popular song, Inhi logon ne, were originally filmed in black and white, and were later reshot in color.)
Initially, after its release in February 1972, Pakeezah opened to a lukewarm response from the public; however, after Meena Kumari’s death less than two months later, people flocked to see it, making it a major box-office success.

6. Na jao saiyaan (Sahib Bibi aur Ghulam, 1962) : This is another signature song of hers. There’s actually a tie between this and Piya aiso jiya mein. The role of Chhoti Bahu, an alcoholic wife, is one of her best performances ever.

Upperstall wrote about her performance in Sahib Bibi aur Ghulam :

While each of the performances are spot on, if there is one person who is the heart and soul of the film, it is Meena Kumari. Her portrayal of Chhoti Bahu is perhaps the greatest performance ever seen on the Indian Screen. The sequence where Chhoti Bahu dresses for her husband singing Piya Aiso Jiya Main is a poignant exploration of a woman’s expectations and sexual desire. And later on when she has become a desperate alcoholic, you cannot help but cry with her in the sequence where she pleads with her husband to stay with her and then angrily turns on him to tell him how she has prostituted her basic values and morals to please him. However the common factors between the actress’s life and Chhoti Bahu are too dramatic to be merely coincidental – The estranged marital relationship, the taking of alcohol, turning towards younger male company, the craving to be understood and loved – all elements evident in Meena Kumari’s own life

7. Kabhi toh milegi (Aarti, 1962) : Its such a haunting melody! Lovely composition, inspiring lyrics, great voice and Meena’s screen presence – it has such a lingering effect, it just keeps playing in my mind over and over again long after I listen to it.

This song always reminds me of Rahe na rahe hum from Mamta and vice versa…saw somebody else’s comment on youtube stating the same. I’m feeling good to know that I have a company here.

8. O chaand jahan woh jaye (Sharada, 1957) : One of my favourite Lata-Aasha duets picturized on serious Meena and playful Shyama. Love their expressions…I find Shyama more dominating here, her lines and expressions are better. But since this also features Meena, I just needed an excuse to put this song here 🙂

9. Tu ganga ki mauj main jamna ka dhara (Baiju Bawra, 1952) : Though she had done few movies as a child artist followed by some mythological movies, it was this film that gained her fame and established her as an actor.  When I had first seen this song during my school days, I almost couldn’t recognize her, she looked so young!

10. Rang aur noor ki baaraat (Gazal, 1964) : I couldn’t possibly end this post with everything happy and romantic and sweet…I had to include a number that had the sorrow factor and this tops my list! Though the song is in a male voice, Meena remains the primary focus throughout…one look at her – those eyes brimming with tears, all my heart goes out to her.

When Meena Kumari was born her family was going through a financial crisis. She was forced to act in movies at the age of 7 to support the family due to which she lost out on her carefree childhood days. Later in life she fell in love and got married to Kamal Amrohi, but that didn’t last for long and they got divorced which led her into a depression. She craved for love and care all her life and this is very evident in her poetry. She found solace in heavy drinking. Her health began deteriorating and at the age of 40 she died of liver cirrhosis.

May her soul rest in peace!!!!

I just realized that I have 2 songs referring to Chaand (O raat ke musafir, O chaand jahan woh jaaye) in my list already….and the other two with Meena-Chaand combo that come to my mind are : Chaand jaane kahan kho gaya, Ruk jaa raat theher jaa re chanda….any other songs you can think of?

Love Marriage (1959)

March 15, 2010

No, it’s not the IPL fever, at least not yet. I was off today and took out few VCDs to watch. It was tough to decide which one to watch first – Dil Deke Dekho being my all time favourite and Anupama has been on the top of my must watch list for quite some time now.

I had a tough time just deciding between these two. I then made up my mind to get up early tomorrow and watch both the movies. 🙂 Among the other three, I randomly picked one and it turned out to be Fashionable Wife.  I was actually looking forward to seeing it (just to check out how silly it is), esp after Spy in Rome – it’s also made by the same person. 😛 But fortunately or unfortunately, there was some problem with the cd.

Rishte Naate – the title itself sounded so emotional and sentimental (most of the times I simply end up buying movies without even thinking if I’ll ever watch them). And I was in no mood of seeing something depressing today. That  left me with only one option – Love Marriage!

A Cricket match in progress and that too with such a good looking batsman, I was more than happy just looking at him hitting fours and sixes.

After winning the match, he celebrates his victory with his friends at Sporting Club of Jhansi.

Scared that he might get caught by his brother, he sneaks into the house, with his shoes in his hands only to find his Bhabhi, Uma (Pranoti Ghosh) and his nephew, Munna (Master Anwar) waiting for him to hear the result of the match.

Just then his brother, Anil Kumar (Abhi Bhattacharya) comes back home from work, and all of them get back to their duties – the entire household is scared of him, including their pet dog, who quietly gets back into his basket for the night the moment he senses Anil’s arrival, signalling the others too.

Few obvious things – Sunil Kumar (Dev Anand) or Sonu, as his Bhabhi calls him, is extremely fond of his Bhabhi and nephew. He adores his brother, but is scared of him as well. Anil, on the other hand, is tired of Sonu’s kiddish ways and feels it’s high time he starts taking his life seriously.

The next morning Anil receives a letter from Mr. Choglekar. He had spoken to Mr. Choglekar regarding a job for Sunil, who’s a first class BA graduate. And Mr. Choglekar mentions in his letter that there’s a vacancy in Bombay and that Sunil should apply for it ASAP.

Bhabhi is all worried about having to send her brother-in-law away. But Anil is adamant about sending Sonu to Bombay. When Bhabhi does his packing and makes other necessary arrangements, he goes to the Sporting Club to meet his friends.

He finds one of his friends missing. One asking he finds out that he’s been too busy visiting Neelam, a kothewali bai. And all are worried that he’ll ruin his life at this rate. So they all set out to rescue him.

Sonu literally drags his friend out of there. Now Neelam takes this as a personal insult and vows to destroy Sonu and his family.

Sonu leaves for Bombay and he goes directly to his Mamaji, Naren Babu’s house, only to find it locked. On asking his neighbours he finds out that Mamaji has left for Jhansi.

With no place to stay in Bombay, he’s pretty worried. When he sees an ad in newspaper announcing an availability of a room, he goes to see it.


He manages to drive away all the other people who’ve come with the same purpose and finally goes to meet the owner but Geeta (Mala Sinha) refuses to share her flat with a guy. She wants a female flat-mate!

He meets Mr. Shampi, Geeta’s neighbour, on his way out, who narrates Geeta’s history to him – that she’s an orphan and is looked after by her Chacha-Chachi. She was studying in Bombay but started working to support the family after her Chacha passed away. And now she wants to share her flat so that she doesn’t have to pay the entire rent.

Now, it happens that Mr. Shampi knows Anil. When he learns that Sonu, aka Sunil is Anil’s brother, he decides to help him and convinces Geeta to give the room to him.

Sunil then sets out to meet Mr. Choglekar, who’s very worried about the Cricket Match the following morning because his team doesn’t have a proper batsman.

Sunil offers to help him out and after hesitating for a while he lets Sunil bat for his team. Geeta is a huge Cricket fan – she even has pictures of lots of cricketers stuck on her wall. So it’s only obvious that she’s on her way to see the match the next morning. Sunil asks her for direction to the stadium and she’s rather surprised.

She doesn’t believe that he can play – the way he behaves she thinks he’s an illiterate and good for nothing. Anyways, she takes him to the stadium with her.

Sunil not only wins the match but manages win Geeta’s heart as well. Here’s a scene from the game followed by She ne khela he se aaj cricket match.

Next day’s newspapers are flooded with Sunil’s photos and tales on how Choglekar’s team won the match because of Sunil. Sunil goes to Geeta’s room to show her that he’s not all that bad and what he witnesses there leaves him rather surprised – he sees Geeta cutting his picture from the newspaper and talking to herself about him. Pleased he runs back to his room and after checking himself in the mirror continues to the terrace to sing Kahan jaa rahe the kahan aa gaye hum.

Geeta looks so lovely here listening to him singing.

Both fall in love but are unable to express their feelings to each other.

Choglekar throws a party to celebrate his team’s victory and Sunil invites Geeta to it. Celebration and party implies that there’s one more song here. But I found this song somehow out of place, it would be more apt in a Manoj Kumar movie. But I love the dance preceding the song, no matter what Sunil says about it – Tin kanastar peet peet .

Sunil finally gets the job he had come for and better still he gets posted to Jhansi! But he’s not very happy about it because he doesn’t want to leave Geeta and go. But is delighted to learn that Geeta has quit her job and is leaving for Deolali, which falls on the way to Jhansi, where her Chachi lives. They leave by the same train the following morning.

This time Sunil is determined to tell Geeta that he’s in love with her.  And he even partially succeeds in doing so 😛

A little after Geeta arrives home, Champa, Chachi’s house maid informs her that some Sunil Babu has come to meet Chachi. This Chachi-Sunil encounter is hilarious, followed by Hum jaan gaye sarkar tum lakh karo inkaar.

Chachi is not all that well and her last wish is to see Geeta married. When she has an attack, she makes Sunil promise that he’ll marry Geeta right away. He’s little hesitant about the idea of getting married without informing his Bhaiya and Bhabhi but seeing Chachi ji’s condition, he gives in and gets married to Geeta.

He feels that he should go home first and inform his family then send for Geeta, but Chachi remains adamant that a girl, after marriage,  should follow her husband whereever he goes. So they both leave for Jhansi.

He’s so tensed that he doesn’t even know how to face his family, esp his brother.

Scared, he jumps off the rickshaw and sends Geeta alone to handle his Bhaiya and Bhabhi – to break the news of their wedding to them.  She does manage to impress Bhabhi.

Anil and Uma are more than happy with the news and they both adore Geeta. They celebrate the occasion and my wait for Helen finally ended when she came to dance to Dil se dil takaraye (the title track) – beautiful and graceful as ever.

All’s well and everybody is happy but as expected that doesn’t last forever.

Remember, Neelam and her vow to ruin the family? When I had just started wondering what happened to her, she made an entry.

Sunil ends up visiting her regularly and takes to drinking – Kareeb aao na tadpao

When Geeta learns this, she demands for a divorce!!!!

What happens to Sunil and Geeta? What leads Sunil to Neelam in the first place? Will things ever be the same again?

It was a delightful watch. I thoroughly enjoyed watching it –  lovely starcast, great performances, wonderful songs and a good story. Inspite of the twist with Neelam, and little bit of emotional atyachar towards the end (luckily it wasn’t very long), it was good.

Both Dev and Mala were loud at times, but given the storyline, I didn’t mind much. With some one like them on screen, and not to forget those lovely songs, I hardly had the time to complain about anything.

Bara-Dari (1955)

March 1, 2010

Tasveer banata hoon marks my introduction to  Talat Mehmood and post dustedoff’s Talat Mehmood special, I made up my mind to review this film. All these years I had heard the song only on radio and had fallen in love with it. When I watched it on youtube how I wished that it was picturized on someone else.

On the whole it was a pretty entertaining film, nothing like what I had imagined. Though I end up watching most of the movies because of the songs, of late I have learnt not to set too high an expectation. And maybe it’s because of that that I actually enjoyed this one, inspite of it being pretty vague at times. Once the movie started, I also realized that this was my first Geeta Bali movie *so ashamed of myself*.

Ranvir Singh (Ramayan Tiwari), Thakur of Ajaygarh, is arrested for fighting against the land-tax (lagaan) being imposed everywhere.

He rebels against the rules laid by the King, Maharaja Rana (Murad).

His wife, Shakti Devi (Amir Banu), scared of losing her husband, pleads with him to reconcile with Maharaja.

But the typical Thakur ego (sar kata sakte hai lekin jhuka nahin sakte) and the fact that he’s representing a common man’s plight doesn’t let him do so and is stabbed in the King’s court by fellow Thakurs right infront of Maharaja. Maharaja is not totally against Ranvir because he believes that he’s a very brave man (there’s a little reference to their friendship as well, so guess, at some point of time, they were friends) but gets carried away a little by what the other Thakur’s say. And before he can think of punishing Ranvir, he is killed.

Soon afterward, the queen delivers a baby boy and when the entire kingdom is rejoicing, the royal astrologer predicts that some bad omen would befall. The only way to prevent it is to ensure that the prince is not fed his mother’s milk and is kept out of Maharaja’s sight till he’s 8 years old (strange way of preventing bad omen, but let the superstitions be….we wouldn’t have had this movie without it).
After lots of discussion, Maharaja and his Mahamantri (Minister) reach a conclusion that they should give the prince to Shakti Devi,who has also delivered a son (reason being – Kunwar kisi sherni ka doodh peeke bada hoga).

Initially she refuses to feed and look after the prince, as she thinks the King is responsible for Ranvir’s death. But when she hears the little boy crying of hunger, the mother in her wins over her hatred for the King and she takes the prince into her arms and feeds him.
She raises both the boys as her own children. Mahamantri comes and takes the Prince, Vijay back to the palace after 8 years (and no, she doesn’t even cheat, she returns the original prince).

In return, Maharaja sends her the papers relieving Ajaygarh of the land-tax (the very thing that Ranbir Singh had given his life for), duly signed. But she tears them into pieces infront of Mahamantri and lectures him on mother’s love – in a truly filmy ishtyle that she had looked after Vijay as her own son, and her love for him was not something she would sell in favour of those papers (meri mamta bikau nahin hai).

Ajit, Shakti Devi’s own son, is sad that Vijay is gone. And Gauri, his neighbour, tries to cheer him up.

They grow up to into dashing Ajit and bubbly Geeta Bali  singing  Bhoola nahin dena. Latu Singh (Gope) hides and listens to their song,and when caught admits that he himself is in love with Taani but doesn’t know how to express his feelings. So, he follows Ajit and Gauri and learns his part of the conversation from what he overhears of Ajit and Gauri’s conversation or songs.


When Ajit learns that sarkari khazana (government wealth) is being taken via Ajaygarh to Karan Singh (Pran), he attacks them and robs the entire thing. I didn’t understand who Karana Singh actually is and why he was supposed to get the sarkari khazana (he’s some Thakur himself, lives near Ajaygarh and I think he was smugling the wealth).

Karan Singh is in a mehfil listening to Jin ko ho jaan pyaari when he’s informed of the loot.

There’s some old enemity between Thakur Sangram, Latu Singh’s  father and Taani’s father who is ill. The former comes to visit the latter everyday to ensure that he’s alive – he even promises to sell his haveli for his treatment, so that he can kill him once he gets well (wierd logic, he wants to save a dying man to kill him – Thakur theory?).

As Gauri sings Chhayi re badariya, Karan Singh happens to pass by and at the end of the song when she throws a stone, it hits him. He chases her and she bumps into Ajit, who saves her from Karan Singh by defeating him in a sword-fight.

It’s Vijay’s (Chandra Shekhar) birthday and the King decides to give over the responsibility of ruling the kingdom to him.

Karan Singh, who’s also present there (he sounded like one of the royal advisors),  says it maynot be safe to handover such a risky responsibility to Vijay knowing that there are so many enemies around.  It’s pretty clear that he wants to create misunderstandings between Ajit and the royal family. When Karan Singh complains of  Ajit and his friends robbing his wealth in Ajaygarh to justify his point, Vijay doesn’t believe him. He decides to go there himself to find out what’s happening and who’s responsible for it.


Gauri’s mother (Mumtaz Begum) and Shakti Devi decide to get Gauri and Ajit married. Just then, someone comes and informs Ajit that the royal army has camped just outside Ajaygarh. As this he sets out to find the purpose behind their visit, Shakti Devi, after having lost her husband, is scared of losing her son too and wants to keep him away from getting into unnecessary mess. So she emotionally blackmails him and convinces him into going out of Ajaygarh for a few days. Gauri sees them leaving and when she asks him, he promises to come and meet her at Baradari every night.

Vijay, along with Hira Singh (appears to be a Senapati, though he doesn’t look like one) comes to Shakti Devi’s house, only to see the door locked. On asking a neighbour he finds out that they have gone out and nonone knows when they’ll be back.

On his way back, he sees Gauri and her friends filling water by the well, singing and swinging to Piya ho piya ho. The cd got stuck here and I was so worried thinking that I might miss the main reason for which I was watching the movie.

But luckily I didn’t. I guess, the rest of cd-1 had some Latu Sing-Taani scenes. Taani’s father tells Ajit (in the second cd, of course) that Thakur Sangram has asked for Rs. 10,000 from him as a price of getting his son married to his enemy’s daughter.

Ajit promises to get the amount and the wedding is in progress.

Girls (Cuckoo and Minoo Mumtaz) sing and dance to  Chhodo chhodi baiyyan mori . But before the ceremony gets over, Gauri is kidnapped by Karan Singh’s men. Ajit leaves immediately to rescue her, Thakur Sangram and Latu Singh also join him in the mission. After passing through some secret tunnels and rotating doors (courtesy – Thakur Sangram Singh who claims to be fully aware of the area), they directly land inside  Karan Singh’s haveli and rescue Gauri.

Karan Singh manages to convince Maharaja that Ajit is conspiring against them because he wants to take revenge for his father’s death and that’s the reason why he fled when Vijay went to see him (fleeing part sounded illogical to me but Maharaja sees some light in it) and sensing danger for Vijay, he summons him back to the palace. Vijay is smitten by Gauri – at first sight.

He’s gets into a total depression at being called back to the palace. He doesn’t talk to anybody, neither eats nor sleeps – just attempts making a portrait of Gauri and unable to do so he sings Tasveer banata hoon. The Queen is worried for him and begs Maharaja that she doesn’t want anything other than her son’s happiness – she wants her son to be wed to the girl who he has fallen for. Maharaja argues to it saying he can’t give in until he finds out who the girl is and what kind of a family she belongs to.

So he sends for Hira Singh and asks him about the girl. Now, Hira doesn’t know the name of the girl but says Ajit might be able to help as she’s also from Ajaygarh. So, Maharaja sends Hira Singh to Ajit with a message that Vijay is ill and wants to meet his brother.

Back in Ajaygarh, both Ajit and Gauri are putting mehendi on their hands and getting ready for their marriage which is to take place shortly but when Ajit hears of Vijay’s condition he immediately leaves for the palace.

After hearing Vijay’s story, Ajit promises him to get him married to the girl he likes.

So he takes Vijay and Hira along and goes back to Ajaygarh – three of them set out looking for the girl who has taken Vijay’s heart away. Ajit’s heart-broken when Vijay points out to Gauri but he still gives him a word that Gauri will be his.

He sends Vijay back to the palace to get the wedding preparations rolling and convinces Gauri to go and get married to Vijay (it’s actually more of blackmailing than convincing). She sings Kho diya maine paakar kisiko in anguish.

As Ajit hands Gauri over to Hira Singh  to be taken to the palace to get married to Vijay, Chali naseeb ki aandhiya plays in the background. When Maharaja learns that Gauri is also from a Thakur family, his happiness knows no boundaries. Maharaja, Maharani and Vijay all are delighted by Gauri’s arrival.

But Gauri herself is not happy and she sings Dard bhara dil. She even tries to kill herself.

What happens to Gauri? Will the royal family ever come to know the real story or will Ajit also meet the same fate as his father? What is Karan Singh actually upto and will he succeed in his plan?

There’s one more song – Kahaan hai chaand mera.

This film had all the components – action (quite a lot of it), comedy, conspiracy, emotion, family drama, murder, politics, romance, sacrifice,  sword-fights and tragedy. Not to forget the lovely soundtracks, chirpy Geeta Bali, handsome Ajit and the bad boy Pran! I really liked Murad’s performance. I didn’t find Chandrashekher all that impressive….his face was blank – expressionless most of the time. And I really felt it was unfair to cast him such a lovely song :-(. But that’s my personal opinion. I can see in imdb that he’s worked in more thant 140 movies, so I don’t think I should be judging his acting abilities. The only other movie of his as a main lead that I’ve seen and remember is Cha Cha Cha but I had seen it too long ago to remember his performance in it.

A typical masala film – It was a fun watch on the whole. Had it been made in the 70’s I’m sure Shakti Devi would have kept the real prince and given her son back to the king ;-).

Just that some characters were not introduced properly and some plots left incomplete – like there’s no mention of who Hira Singh actually is, same is the case with Karan Singh. The underlying enemity between Latu’s and Taani’s fathers and also Latu-Taani’s incomplete wedding – there’s no mention of it again after Latu leaves the wedding in between to join Ajit in rescuing Gauri. Also few things were more strange than usual (needed suspension of everything), esp – Gauri’s mother giving her a dagger to kill herself,  rather than getting married to someone else. Pran’s favourite dialogues in the movie are: “Auraton aur talwar Thakuron ki ardhangani hoti hai”; “Jawani mein sochna gunah hai” (this one was rather funny, wonder what would happen if everbody would second his thought).

Trivia : imdb lists that Bara-Dari’s Original Music is by Naushad as Nashad. But Naushad and Nashad are two different people (though most of us tend to think it’s a typo).

Nashad was born in India who later on migrated to Pakistan. He was a famous Music Composer out there. He’s composed music for few Hindi films as well (out of which Bara-Dari is one) sometimes as Nashad,  sometimes as Shaukat Ali and sometimes as Shaukat Dehelvi. Where as Naushad is the MD of Mughal-E-Azam, Mother India, Amar etc.