Discussing the capital punishment in a mystery

Veteran actress Shashikala passed away on 4th April, 2021. This review is a tribute to her as she has played an important role in this movie.

Kanoon (1960) is a unique suspense thriller which is an all time classic from the black and white era of Hindi cinema. Can you imagine a Bollywood entertainer from the fifties and the sixties which is sans the regular ingredients of songs, romance and comedy ? No ? Please do see Kaanoon (law) which is devoid of songs, romance and comedy and yet it keeps you glued to the screen for two and a half hours. Its suspenseful drama is so gripping that the audience does not feel any need for any other Bollywood formulae in the narrative.

It discusses the relevance of the DEATH PENALTY or the CAPITAL PUNISHMENT too. The verdict of the moviemaker is that the death penalty should be done away with in toto. My own view is that let it be in the books of law, only to be awarded in the rarest of rare cases. It has its importance but considering the fact that once awarded, it cannot be reverted back even if it is known later that the verdict of the case was a faulty one; it should be awarded only selectively when the crime is quite heinous and there is little doubt in the accused’s being guilty. It should not be used as a weapon to seek revenge for the victim because it is not the job of the legal system to seek revenge.Kanoon-925008225-435994-2Judge Badri Prasad (Ashok Kumar) strongly opines that the capital punishment should be deleted from the book of Indian Penal Code because it is cruel and moreover it does not leave any scope to correct the faulty judgment in any case which is always likely because judgments are given on the basis of evidences and witnesses which might be misleading. The twist in the tale comes when a moneylender, Dhaniram (Om Prakash) who is after his borrower son, Vijay (Mehmood), is murdered. The interesting thing is that the judge’s would be son-in-law, Kailash (Rajendra Kumar) is the eye-witness to this murder and he is shocked to see that the murderer is the judge himself. Now when an innocent person, Kaalia (Nana Palsikar) is arrested and put under trial for this murder in the court of the same judge with Kailash being the defense lawyer, the mutual relations of the judge, Kailash and the judge’s daughter, Meena (Nanda) become tense and uneasy. In an unforgettable courtroom drama, Kailash accuses his would-be father-in-law to be the murderer and gets him arrested and put under trial for the murder. The truth is revealed in the end with the reiteration that death penalty should be considered redundant and deleted from the legal books.indexI had watched this movie in December 1989 on Doordarshan during my stay at Kolkata (then Calcutta) when the results of the generals elections of India were being announced. In those days, Hindi movies were telecast on Doordarshan in between the announcements of the election results to keep the audience glued to the screen. I watched it in the house of my friend Ajay Jain which was at 12, Lower Chitpur Road. Due to the piecemeal telecast in between the announcements of the results, the movie ended at about 3 a.m. However despite losing my sleep on that night, I had no regrets because of the entertainment that I had got from this movie.KanoonThis suspense thriller is so intriguing that it engrosses the viewer from the beginning to the end without any boredom. The viewer just forgets that there are no songs, no romance and no comedy served to him. He only keeps on watching, holding his breath and waiting for the suspense to be revealed. Legendary producer-director B.R. Chopra has directed this movie with such finesse that it is considered a twinkling diamond in the highly decorated crown worn by him.220px-Kanoon_film_posterThe performances are great. Ashok Kumar and Rajendra Kumar have delivered stunning performances in a neck-to-neck contest of excellence. Nanda, Jeevan, Mehmood, Manmohan Krishna, Shashikala, Nana Palsikar (won the award for the best supporting actor for this movie) and Om Prakash, all have done admirably.

As already said, there are no songs. However the background score is impressive and there is a beautiful ballet in the movie. Technically this black and white movie is perfect without any deficiencies. The characters are clad in stylish dresses, giving rise to new fashion trends.

On the flip side, the narrative loses its charm in the end after revelation of the suspense and the five minutes long lecture of Ashok Kumar on the irrelevance of the capital punishment bores. Anyway, this is not a big minus point because by then the movie is just about to end.

Around three and a half decades back, a session judge, Justice Saanwar Mal Agarwal had awarded capital punishment in a dowry-murder case and became quite famous due to this verdict. I had read his interview given to the popular Hindi magazine – Sarita in which he had referred to this movie (seen by him in his youth when he was studying law) and asserted that the difference between reel courts and real courts is even bigger than the difference in the reel life and the real life. He’s right. The high voltage drama shown in the court in this movie is impossible to be witnessed in real courts. We can ignore this unreal portrayal of courts by considering it as the liberty taken by the narrator for the sake of entertaining the audience, i.e., us.index1Summing up, Kaanoon is an edge-of-the-seat classic suspense thriller as well as a gripping courtroom drama. No movie buff should miss it.

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A great scientist turning into prisoner no. 100

Four years have passed since famous Hindi novelist Ved Prakash Sharma left for his heavenly abode on 17th February, 2017. While remembering him, I am presenting my review of a very popular novel of himself whose title is Qaidi No. 100.

Qaidi No. 100 (prisoner no. 100) is the 100th novel of Ved Prakash Sharma which was first published in 1983 when the author was only 28 years of age. It’s a grand story written on an extra-ordinarily large canvas and has been spread over two volumes. Qaidi No. 100 is the second and the final volume but the story is carried over in that from its previous part which is the 99th novel of the author named as Hatya Ek Suhaagin Ki (murder of a married woman).vpsThe tagline of the novel as mentioned on its cover page is –The story of a bride turned into prisoner no. 100 by time (or destiny). However more than being a (runaway) bride, the protagonist of this story is a great scientist unfortunately born in a good-for-nothing family where there is no care or concern for her talent. Her strong willpower to become a great scientist coupled with the inspiration of a real guru in the form of a lecturer in her college, enables her to leave India and pursue higher studies abroad. This novel tells the epic tale of this girl with several twists in her life, turning her into prisoner no. 100 first in jail and then in asylum.

This highly talented girl is Sangeeta born in such a defective family that is not only financially weak but also contains mentally distorted and poorly thinking people in the form of her father and her brother. Her brother Teetu has become a small time criminal with a friend of his named as Baagesh. Despite being Teetu’s friend, Baagesh is more sensible and understands Sangeeta better. He considers Sangeeta as no less than his real sister but he is helpless when she suffers in her home in the hands of Teetu and their backward-thinking father Durgadaas. Her mother is also a sufferer like her.

In such darkness of her life, Sangeeta finds a ray of hope to sharpen her talent and make it big in the world of science especially medicine. Professor Divakar, a lecturer in her college, identifies her talent and then considering the adverse situation in her home, manages to send her abroad for higher studies with a new name Neelam. Professor Divakar helps Sangeeta when she is being forcibly married by her family (to be straight, by her father and brother) and this runaway bride leaves the nation with his help only to return as the great scientist Neelam after a few years. The prime minister of India (indirect reference is there to Mrs. Indira Gandhi) welcomes Neelam and she seeks her help to get a well-equipped laboratory to search the treatment of cancer (which was considered an incurable lethal disease in those days). On the other hand, after ensuring Sangeeta’s safe exit from India and a warm reception abroad, Professor Divakar surrenders to the law and gets sentence of imprisonment under the charge of abducting Sangeeta.

Neelam had got married to Suresh while being abroad and when she comes back to her motherland, Suresh also accompanies her. The trouble strikes because of the lecherous nature of Suresh who not only makes merry on the wealth and facilities available with his hard-working wife remaining hours and hours in the laboratory only busy with her research but also brings call-girls to their government allotted residence itself. The day Neelam is successful in inventing the treatment of cancer and approaches Suresh’s room to share her joy with him, she is shocked to find a call-girl there. In a hate-filled rage she kills that woman and then tries to kill Suresh also but he escapes. Neelam is arrested and tried for murder, becoming prisoner no. 100 in jail. During her trial, she shows signs of insanity and consequentially sent to asylum. Coincidentally, here also she gets her no. as 100 only.

Now the great scientist Neelam now known as ‘Prisoner No. 100’ is confined to an asylum where nobody visits her except her close friend Seema. The story of Seema is also tragic. She had lost her parents long back and has been fostered by her blind uncle Balwant, a retired sergeant of the Indian army who loves her very much. Her ill-fate has made her the wife of a greedy and criminal-minded man named as Gajraaj. He apparently runs a printing-press for his living, showing the world as well as Seema that he’s not after Seema’s inherited wealth. He plans to prepare currency notes by forming a team of six members including Teetu and Baagesh (who were associated with Neelam when she was known as Sangeeta). The currency notes are to be printed on the special paper used for government made currency. That special paper is imported and carried in a highly secured van from the airport. Gajraaj and his team capture this van but things take such a turn that the special paper (on which they were planning to print currency notes) goes out of their reach. Situation compels them to plan Seema’s murder. However Seema escapes and Gajraaj dies. Neelam, being in the asylum, is aware of all these facts through Seema only.

After Gajraaj’s death, the stories of the lives of Seema and Neelam get associated like flesh and blood. Now Neelam wants money for her research work which can be arranged by preparing the currency notes on the paper looted by Gajraaj and his gang. Seema is standing by her but firstly, they have to checkmate Gajraaj’s criminal associates and secondly, they have to escape the law also as an eminent and highly respected detective of India – Keshav Pandit is investigating the death of Gajraaj, suspecting Seema for that. Seema’s blind uncle Balwant is always standing by his loving niece. However to escape the law while helping Neelam is not that easy because of not only Keshav Pandit but also the RAW (Research & Analysis Wing) who is investigating the loot of the van containing the special paper to make the currency notes and has been keeping a close watch on first Gajraaj and after his death, Seema. A mysterious criminal known as Trikaaldarshi also comes into picture. How the story of the great scientist Neelam who was born as Sangeeta at Naasik, culminates is the climax.

This novel is highly interesting and contains a grand story with frequent twists and currents for the reader. The first part of the story embedded in Hatya Ek Suhaagin Ki contains the story of Seema, her blind uncle, her greedy husband and the activities of the criminals who want to prepare currency notes. It starts with the attempt on Seema’s life and then the reader comes to know of the van robbery and the incidents connected to that, through flashback. It’s a grand treat of suspense, thrill and sentiments as well. The character of the main protagonist of the story, i.e., Neelam does not get much footage in that. Neelam’s story is contained by the second part, i.e., Qaidi No. 100. The thread of the story of Seema alongwith the van robbery episode is brought from Hatya Ek Suhaagin Ki and joined to the story of Qaidi No. 100 in between when Neelam escapes from the asylum and meets Seema. Thereafter these two different stories amalgamate into one and that forms the remaining part of Qaidi No. 100. Perhaps the author had no other option for the layout of the story because two almost entirely different stories were coming through two different characters of Seema and Neelam. However this kind of storytelling has turned Qaidi No. 100 as a novel complete in itself. Therefore, if someone is not able to read Hatya Ek Suhaagin Ki, even then he / she can enjoy Qaidi No. 100 because the essence of the story of Hatya Ek Suhaagin Ki is given in brief while carrying it over to Qaidi No. 100. It’s just like the act of joining two rivers.

It’s a grand story which, to be enjoyed properly, should be read fully. The plot summary given by me supra does not tell everything about it and cannot substitute the reading of the entire novel. The canvas of the story is exceedingly large with several sparkling colours used to make the picture. It’s a fantastic novel, no doubt.

The novel has high inspirational value also. There may be several talented boys and girls unfortunately born in defective families suffocating not only their talent but also their lives as normal human-beings. But where there is a will, there is always a way. Hence the talented children should not lose heart and should keep the lamp of hope as ablaze in their hearts through sheer willpower. Every labyrinth has an exit. Every lock has a key. Every problem has a solution.

The novel very touchingly underscores the pious relationship between a sincere teacher and a sincere student. I also had such a relationship with my English teacher Late Shri Surendra Kumar Mishra. This novel portrays such a relationship between the teacher Professor Divakar and the student Sangeeta. Narrow-minded people (like the father and the brother of Sangeeta) could not see anything in that beyond sexual attraction because the teacher is a male and the student is a young girl. However when the thoughts and the intentions are pious, such relationships can do miracles the same way a miracle happens for Sangeeta in this novel enabling her to become what she deserved to become.

The author has very skilfully underscored through the characters of Sangeeta and Baagesh that sometimes the deemed relations are stronger and more understanding than the blood relations. He has portrayed that Sangeeta’s deemed brother Baagesh understands and loves her as well as sympathizes and empathizes with her much better than her real brother Teetu who always misunderstands her, curses her and oppresses her. Despite not being related to Sangeeta through blood, Baagesh always stands by her even years later when she has become Neelam.

The character of Keshav Pandit is the highlight of the complete novel. First introduced in the author’s highly popular novel ‘Bahu Maange Insaaf’, this character is shown as a great detective who works for the Life Insurance Corporation of India, investigating dubious policy claims. He is shown as not only a kind person with a great human side of his personality but also a very cunning and witty detective who is an expert in rattling the likely criminals or suspects through his intelligent interrogation and cross-questioning. His character adds a lot of spice to the already very interesting story.

The author has not only taken a lot of liberties in telling his story but also he has used the concept of planchette to call a dead man’s spirit. Ironically, the main protagonist of the story is a great scientist. Then such kind of a phenomena in the story appears to be contradictory and out of place. This does not allow the story to remain a realistic one. Otherwise also, many things appear to be out of place or completely unreal. However except the planchette issue, no such thing gets noticed by the reader because of his / her being engrossed in the thrilling story. However one more minus point caught by me is that some significant questions have been left as unanswered.

The language (Hindi) used by the author is simple but the dialogues are very impressive. Having struggled in his own life (during his childhood and early adolescence), the author seems to have seen life from pretty close. And that’s the reason why he has presented a lively and touching portrayal of the plight of Sangeeta (and her mother too) in her home.

Qaidi No. 100 is a story well-told. Despite flaws and deficiencies, it’s a grand treat for the Hindi readers. Though Qaidi No. 100 is complete in itself, If the reader is able to read Hatya Ek Suhaagin Ki also prior to that, his / her entertainment will get something like the icing on the cake.

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Visiting Harihareshwar ? Be their guest.

Married in the year 1995, the year 2020 was the silver jubilee year of my wedding. And my children(one daughter and one son) were very excited to celebrate this occasion in a highly memorable manner, possibly abroad because we have never gone anywhere outside India. But !

But the pandemic and the resultant restriction on means of conveyance as well as the movement of people played a spoiler for us in this context.  Now what could we do? This occasion could arrive only once in the lifetime of myself and my family members. Finally we decided that if not abroad or a faraway place in India, we would celebrate this occasion in the best possible manner at some beautiful place near to Pune(where my family has been living for the past couple of years, myself is living alone at Visakhapatnam due to my job). My daughter finalized our tourist place as Harihareshwar which is around 170 kms from Pune and can be termed as a sea-town because of the beaches. This beautiful place is surrounded by hills and situated on the banks of the Arabian Sea.

We went by our car and hired a driver provided by an agency for the purpose. Covering the distance was not easy because of the lengthy bad patches on the road from Pune to Harihareshwaralongwith several turns, acclivities and declivities coming across. Enjoying the beautiful scenes on the way, finally, we reached our destination for stay – Royale Greens Resort in which a large family room had been booked in advance by my daughter.This resort is a not a costly one as the tariffs are not very high. It is situated near the entry gate of Harihareshwar with the Harihareshwar Temple, the Harihareshwar beach and the Ganesh Gully being at a walkable distance. We were given a warm welcome by the managing people. We found that the most of the attendants were newly recruited(may be because of the closure in the preceding lockdown period). Anyway, after freshening up, we started our brief tour and decided to enjoy the nearby places first. The swimming pool of the resort was there right in front of our eyes but(perhaps) swimming was not allowed due to govt. instructions applicable to the unusual times. Anyway, we were not going to use that swimming pool because we had other plans.

We went to the Harihareshwar beach and decided to swim in the sea itself. In my family, my wife can’t swim. Rest all three are swimmers. So with our swimming costumes on our bodies, we entered the water. My wife also enjoyed by standing in the water and I did not go very far from the beach but my daredevil children went quite far. They had to be called back forcibly as they were in no mood to come out of the water. Anyway, it was a highly enjoyable experience. But the real surprise was awaiting us in the Royale Greens Resort which made our trip a great touring experience to cherish for a life time.

My daughter had told the resort management that we had come there to celebrate the silver jubilee of the wedding of her parents. And in the evening, we found that the resort management had specially arranged a beautiful and very very tasty chocolate cake for us (they had got it prepared specially from some specific baker because there were no bakeries in the region).  Myself with my life-partner came down to the dining hall where the cake was put on a table at the centre of the hall with a candle on it. We lit the candle, put it off by a whiff and then cut the cake amidst the congratulatory voices of not only our children but the whole of the staff of the resort(there were not many guests there on that day). We were overwhelmed by their nice gesture and offered the pieces of that extremely tasty cake to one and all.

We enjoyed our room stay and room service also though the fans in that extra-large room were not affixed very prudently. Next morning again, we went off to the beach side and first had our Darshan in the Harihareshwar temple and then after enjoying for a while there, set off to another place by our car. That place was Bagmandala.

We enjoyed near the water-body of the Savitri river for some time and then climbed up a steamer which ferried us to the other shore in 15-20 minutes. We could ferry our car also alongwith ourselves in that steamer but we preferred not to do so as our driver was not familiar with the region. After reaching the other shore, we took a taxi and proceeded to Bankot Fort which administratively falls in Ratnagiri. We enjoyed there too but disappointed to see the complete neglect of the govt. for that heritage. A similar steamer ferried us back when our taxi brought us back to the shore.

My children are young and energetic but myself and my wife, being fifty-plus, could not take much strain. Falling for the good behaviour of the resort people and the memorable hospitability gesture demonstrated by them the previous evening, we preferred to have our principal meals(mainly dinner) in their restaurant itself. There was less variety in the dishes available but the cuisine was admirably very good.

Next morning, we again went to the Harihareshwar beach and this time, we went past the temple and entered the famous Ganesh Gully whose path starts just from the temple itself. First we had to climb up a lot and thereafter we had to climb down to reach the sea-bed. This small journey is a little bit dangerous and one should be very cautious. Once the plateau was reached, we came across swift sea waves coming and striking the rocks. Except my wife, all of us entered the water and then we realized that despite being skilled swimmers, it wasn’t an easy task to sustain ourselves in the swiftly flowing waters under which the spiky small rocks were aplenty. My children were quite away from me by the time I entered the water and instead of trying to swim(which only was the prudent thing). moved ahead on foot by picking the top of one rock after another. When I realized that I had come past all the rocks, then only allowed my complete body to lie in the water. Some bystanders warned me that at only a small distance from the shore, the water was too deep. Soon I reunited with my children. We enjoyed a lot there and were in no mood to return but every good thing, after all, has to come to an end.

Myself, my better-half and our children celebrated the special occasion through that very small outing of three days and two nights at Harihareshwar and felt that there was a lot more to explore in Harihareshwar. For that we will have to make another trip.

During intermittent periods of morning and afternoon, we played the games available in the resort. On one hand, myself and my wife played Badminton outside the resort building, on the other, myself and my son played Table Tennis inside. My children and I played several rounds of Chess also. We enjoyed the sunshine in the beautiful children’s park also which is a part of the resort itself. Walking in the area was also a pleasure. And watching the sunset while on the beach was something going beyond words.

Our stay experience in the resort was undoubtedly very good.  Our driver was also accommodated there only and he also lived comfortably during that period. The only irksome thing was that the lift was linked to the room keys(so that the room guests only could use the lift to go up to the floors above the ground floor). No such requirement was there to use the lift to come down. Well, in the absence of a liftman, it was troublesome because many times all four of us were not coming down or going up together. So the person(s) seeking to go to the room from the ground floor need to seek help from the reception.

However the overall experience in that neat ‘n’ clean and well-managed resort was so good that while checking out on the third day, I thanked the resort people for everything done by them to make the occasion and the trip as pleasurably unforgettable for us. Our return journey to Pune was also quite pleasant. We will cherish those three days forever.

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Kaka-Nanda starrer romantic thriller

The Train (1970) is a thriller movie based on the activities of a gang of robbers. The title of the movie is as such because the incidents of robbery and thereafter the murder of the robbed passenger take place in a particular train which runs between Mumbai (then Bombay) and Kolkata (then Calcutta). It’s been directed by Raveekant Nagaich who used to make crime-thrillers during the seventies and eighties. It stars Bollywood’s superstar of that period, Rajesh Khanna and the popular heroine of the sixties, Nanda in lead roles.images (1)Regular criminal incidents take place in a particular train at a particular time when the train is about to arrive at the Igatpuri station during the journey. The victims are all jewellers who are travelling with precious jewels in their possession. The modus operandi of the robbers is that the jeweller who is travelling in the first class coupe meant for two passengers only is selected for the loot. Then first his fellow passenger is either separated from him or intoxicated. Thereafter a member of the gang (Shetty) murders the jeweller and jumps with the booty into a river when the train is crossing over it. The other member of the gang called as No. 1 (Madan Puri) is ready at the shore with a car whom the killer reaches by swimming through the river and then they flee away with the booty. The time when the train crosses over the river is of around midnight and hence the robbery and murder is known only the next morning when some attendant of the train reaches the coupe or the fellow passenger comes to know of it.220px-TheTrain_1970The police has to take these incidents quite seriously because they have become quite frequent. When an incident of thuggery take place with a jeweller in his showroom itself in broad day-light (by the members of the same gang), then the top brass of the police force (Iftekhar) deputes a CID inspector, Shyam (Rajesh Khanna) to investigate the case and catch this gang which has become a big headache for the law-enforcing agencies. Shyam is in love with a girl, Neeta (Nanda) who is living a poverty-stricken life with her mother since her father got sentenced to imprisonment under a false murder-charge. Lily (Helen) who is a cabaret dancer in a hotel is also fond of Shyam and she keeps on trying to induce him. However since she is a member of the robbers’ gang also, it is difficult to say as to how much her fondness for Shyam is real and how much is a part of her duties assigned by the gang.trainThe twist in the tale comes when Neeta’s father runs away from the prison and reaches his family, i.e., Neeta and her mother but Shyam also reaches there and being a dutiful cop, gets him rearrested. This incident distances Neeta from Shyam. Soon thereafter, No. 1 visits Neeta’s house and arranges the job of the receptionist for her in the same hotel in which Lily performs cabaret. Then one more incident of robbery takes place in the train which the fellow passenger of the looted and killed jeweller is Pyarelaal (Rajendra Nath) who was travelling in the same small coupe but who was separated from the jeweller by one charming girl who induced him by her charms and took him out of the train when it was stationed and did not allow him to board it again till it departed, thus making the path clear for the loot and murder of the jeweller, now alone in the coupe. Pyarelaal is approached by Shyam who keeps him in his company in his bid to catch the criminals. But Shyam is startled like anything when Pyarelaal identifies Neeta as the girl who had taken him out of the train and facilitated the loot and the killing that was committed later. What happens thereafter leads to the finale of the story.downloadI won’t categorize The Train as a great thriller. It has many flaws. The biggest one, in my opinion, is the incident of thuggery in the jewellery showroom because when a gang is successfully functioning with a set modus operandi of robberies in the train, then there’s no need to go for a sophisticated thuggery. Anyway, it’s a nice timepass. Since Rajesh Khanna had established himself as a romantic hero, this thriller also has a good dose of romance and sentiments with a couple of chartbuster songs. Overall, the movie does not bore at any place and the curiosity of the viewer is maintained till the climax. But after watching the full movie, the thought that comes to mind is that it’s just an above average thriller with nothing extra-ordinary in it.The-Train-1970-free-mp3-songs-download-download-mp3-songs-of-The-Train-1970-download-old-hindi-mp3-songs-rajesh-khannaTechnically the movie is good. All the action, chase and thrill sequences have been executed proficiently. Art director, cinematographer and sound recordist have done their jobs well. The length of the movie is not much but by excluding the superfluous thuggery episode, the moviemaker could have trimmed it further.75329Rajesh Khanna was undergoing the purple patch of his career then and was considered the superstar of Bollywood. Despite the movie being a thriller, he has shown his romantic mannerisms whenever given the opportunity for that by the director. His dashing looks and romantic glances are sufficient to knock any young girl (of that period) out. Nanda appears (and actually also was) elder to him but the twosome has shown good on-screen chemistry and appears quite a charming pair. All others including Helen as the vamp and Rajendra Naath as the comedian (in a relatively meaty role), have done justice to the assigned roles.THE TRAINR.D. Burman has prepared good music with help of Anand Bakshi’s lyrics. The movie boasts of Mohammed Rafi’s chartbuster romantic song – Gulaabi Aankhen Jo Teri Dekheen, Sharaabi Ye Dil Ho Gaya. Nee Soniye (Rafi-Lata) and Kisliye Maine Pyar Kiya (Lata) are also quite good and popular songs. For Helen’s dances, Asha has sung in her enchanting voice, songs like. Maine Dil Abhi Diya Naheen, O Meri Jaan Maine Kaha and Saiyan Re Saiyan.

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All in all, The Train is a decent one time watch. I recommend this popular and commercially successful movie of its time to not only the fans of Rajesh Khanna but the movie buffs in general also. However there is a word of caution from my side. I had seen the full movie when it was telecast on Doordarshan but upon watching it on internet recently, I found that many important scenes are missing in the uploaded version including the revelation of suspense in the climax. Hence please don’t watch it on internet and instead, catch a VCD / DVD of some reputed company for watching it.

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The fake love letter that changed many lives

Prem Patra (1962)  is a movie produced and directed by the legendary film director Bimal Roy. This beautiful movie is an emotional drama containing many twists and keeps the viewer engrossed for more than two and a half hours. It’s one of the lesser known movie of Bimal Da but renders a heart-soothing experience to the viewers.1108394.CINE.ssbPrem Patra  (love letter) starts with the life in a medical college where Arun  (Shashi Kapoor) is undergoing his MBBS course. A very talented youth Arun is all set to get a scholarship to pursue higher studies abroad when a fake love letter written by someone in his name to Kavita  (Sadhana) shatters his dream to become a big doctor. Circumstances force him to accept an offer made to him to marry an illiterate girl Tara  (Seema) who comes from a rich family and get the sponsorship for his studies in return. Arun goes abroad where he keeps on getting letters from his betrothed Tara. These letters are actually not written by Tara but by Kavita, Tara’s friend and the girl who was at the nucleus of the love letter controversy that changed Arun’s life forever. However these love-soaked letters make Arun falling madly in love with his would-be wife.

While doing some experiment while pursuing his medical course abroad, Arun happens to meet an accident and loses his eyesight. Now blind Arun comes to the house of his would be in-laws (he is actually an orphan) and starts waiting for the operation of his eyes as planned by the doctors. Meantime is adequately taken care of by a girl who considers serving him as her biggest duty. He is under an impression that this girl is his betrothed Tara. However it’s not Tara who has already fallen in love with another guy Subhaash (Sudhir). It’s Kavita who considers herself as responsible for spoiling the career of Arun. Blind Arun is never able to forgive Kavita who had complained against him to the college administration for that  ‘love letter’  without trying to ascertain the truth. And now he is being served like a devoted nurse (and also a devoted sweetheart or wife) as Kavita’s penitence for that. The movie ends on a happy note.title-8x6[4]This sentimental story of Prem Patra written by Nitin Bhattacharya is very good and emotionally appeals to the audience when comes on the screen but the lengthy side tracks (including a comedy track) unnecessarily inserted block the flow of the main story. This digression irritates because the main track itself is very interesting and engaging for the viewer. The side stories have added avoidable extra footage to the movie which could have been shorter, crispier and taut without them. The movie is entertaining and impressive all the same. The spectator finds himself as flowing with the story and effortlessly falls in love with the lead pair.download (1)There are two very big plus points of this charming black and white movie. The first one is performances. Both Shashi Kapoor and Saadhana were in the initial years of their careers at the time of this movie and they have delivered lovely performances. They are not style icons here as they became in later years. They are simple, sober and straight out of real life instead. All others including Seema (now better known as Seema Deo) playing Arun’s betrothed and Parveen Chaudhary playing Ratna who is the daughter of Arun’s guardian and is in love with him; are also perfect in their respective places.Prem-Patra-Hindi-1962-500x500The second one is music. Salil Chowdhury has come up with one of his best musical scores with the help of the lyrics of Rajinder Krishan. Lata Mangeshkar and Talat Mahmood have sung two very beautiful, delicate and touching duets – 1. Ye Mere Andhere Ujaale Na Hote Agar Tum Na Aate Meri Zindagi Mein. 2. Saawan Ki Raaton Mein Aisa Bhi Hota Hai. Other songs – Ab Aur Na Kuchh Bhi Yaad Raha, Khush Ho Rahe The Pehle Thukra Ke Zindagi Ko, Do Ankhiyaan Jhuki Jhuki Si etc. are also admirable.prem-patraTechnically this black and white movie is good. However the editor could have done it a favour by shortening its length. It’s not a lavish movie. It has a very simple milieu with the post-interval session mostly taking place in a rural setting.Prem-Patra-19621-206x300Prem Patra is not among the best of Bimal Da’s works. This simple movie is lovable nevertheless and nobody will regret after watching it. I wholeheartedly recommend it mainly to those who are fond of watching golden oldies.

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An emotion-soaked saga covering two generations

Today is the birthday of both Dharmendra and Sharmila Tagore. And I dedicate this review to both these great artistes of Indian silver screen.

Women have several virtues which men can only envy for. However jealousy and hatred towards a woman who is supposed to be own rival for a man’s love is a vice whose dominance is found more in womenfolk only. When a woman finds that her man is a prisoner of the arms of some other woman, her womanly jealousy and possessiveness can play havoc. Such a woman can be the man’s wife or the sweetheart but the status hardly affects the destructive feeling hidden within. Thus her hatred for the second woman becomes the other side of her love for the man. Sunny (1984) tells such a story only in which one woman’s wrath is directed towards another woman who has snatched her man from her.

The story covers two generations and it starts with the first, senior, generation containing Inder (Dharmendra), his wife – Gaayatri (Waheeda Rehman) and his sweetheart – Sitaara (Sharmila Tagore). Gaayatri has not been able to conceive in her conjugal life and perhaps this fact created a distance between herself and husband, i.e., Inder. Inder develops an affair with Sitaara (Sharmila Tagore) and she gets pregnant through him. Suddenly Inder dies in the crash of his private plane. And post his death only, his wife – Gaayatri comes to know of his affair with Sitaara. She also comes to know that Sitaara is carrying the child fathered by Inder in her womb.

The real story takes off from here. Burning in womanly jealousy on one hand and being concerned with the business empire and wealth of Inder with no one to inherit it on the other, Gaayatri conspires against Sitaara. She deceives her by arranging her confinement in her supervision and charge at some faraway place and then tells her that she has given birth to a dead child, carrying that child to her home and declaring it as her own. That child grows up as Sunny (Sunny Deol). Sunny has inherited not only his father’s wealth but also his father’s habits, hobbies (flying plane and listening to music) and nature. He starts the story pertaining to the second generation by falling in love with Amrita (Amrita Singh) who is a singer. Since she has been fostered by Sitaara, Sunny comes into contact with Sitaara and since the very first meeting of theirs, a motherly affection emerges between the two with the reality being unknown to both that they are actually the mother and the son.

However when the proceedings for matrimonial alliance of Sunny and Amrita start, the two ladies who had a common man in their life, come into the contact again after a long time span. Sitaara comes to know that Sunny is her son only and she begs before Gaayatri to return her son to her but Gaayatri who is still not able to forgive Sitaara for snatching away her husband, becomes even more stern and stony (without realizing the gravity of her own sin of separating a mother from her child) and creates blocks between Sitaara and Sunny. Sunny feels that her mother is not happy with his decision to marry Amrita but the truth is not limited to this fact only and there’s something more that is hidden from his knowledge. And he compels his mother, i.e., Gaayatri to reveal the truth. He gets his biological mother in the end but loses his fostering mother simultaneously.Sunny has a wafer thin storyline and in the hands of an inexperienced director, the movie would have become a mess. However, fortunately, it has been directed by Raj Khosla who has poured all his experience and expertise of filmmaking into this movie and ensured that it turns out to be an impressive emotional drama. In the post interval-session, the movie gradually gets heavy with sentiments and its pace becomes very slow. Still Raj Khosla manages to pull it off and keeps the audience glued to the screen. He is helped by the musical score in the first half and the performances in the second half. Overall, the movie is an impressive one though it compels the audience to look at the watches while heading towards its finale.

R.D. Burman’s musical score is a very big plus point of this movie. It contains gems like Aur Kya Ahd-e-Wafa Hote Hain (Asha Bhosle) and Jaane Kya Baat Hai Neend Nahin Aati (Lata Mangeshkar). I also like a very romantic song of this movie very much – Hum Aashiq Hain Mit Jaayenge Par Ishq Se Baaz Na Aayenge which has been sung by Anand Kumar.

As said earlier, the brilliant performances of the artists have helped the director in pulling the flat and not-so-strong script off as a decent movie. Seasoned actresses Waheeda Rehman and Sharmila Tagore have infused life into the sentimental story with their great performances. Waheeda especially is outstanding in her seemingly negative role. This is only the second movie of both Sunny Deol and Amrita Singh after Betaab (1983) but both have given their best shot throughout the movie. Sunny especially impresses with the different shades of his performance and proves that he’s the horse of a long race. Dharmendra is master-class in his cameo. The supporting cast is okay.Technically the movie is up to the mark. The cinematography, the art direction, the action; everything is in order. The movie has been edited well. Considering the sentimental drama being the essence of the movie, the editor could not do any better.

Raj Khosla could have arranged a regular Bollywood style climax for this movie and gone for a convenient happy ending but he has not done so and ensured that the story ends on a tragic but more convincing and more impressive note. The movie does not prove to be very entertaining but it ends by leaving a throbbing in the heart of a sentimental viewer.

Sunny was a commercial failure. However I recommend this relationship-based romantic as well as emotional drama to those who like neat and clean sentimental movies. Sunny Deol now commands a huge fan-following. I also recommend this movie to his admirers who might not have seen him much in such intense roles. It’s a showcase of his versatile talent, no doubt.

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The great Indian family, rendering great messages

Tara Rum Pum was released on 27.04.2007 and I went to watch it with my family in the Om Cineplex of Kota on 29.04.2007 simply because of an animated bear family shown in the promos containing one mom-bear, one dad-bear and two bear-kids. That animated bear family appeared so lovely to me, my wife and above all, my kids that we could not stop watching this movie. However the experience of watching this movie went beyond my expectations. Though I found some flaws in it, nevertheless, as a whole, it turned out to be not only a complete family entertainer but also a movie rendering some invaluable lessons of life to the audience. When I came out of the cinema hall, I was not the same person who had entered it. This movie had inspired me, energised me and provoked certain thoughts in me (in addition to entertaining me). Now more than thirteen years have passed when I look back and recall what this movie was all about. My life has undergone drastic changes during this period and the original instigation for the change had come from this movie only.Tara Rum Pum tells the story of a US based Indian cab driver turned car racer – Rajveer Singh aka RV whose fate provided him the right channel to showcase his talent of fast driving through Hariprasad aka Harry (Javed Jaffrey). He went on to win 50 high profile races and made enormous money, married the love of his life – Raadhika nicknamed as Shona (Rani Mukherjee) and got two lovely kids when the ill-fate struck him and his rival in profession masterminded his accident during a race. The real story of this movie starts with the aftermath of that accident. RV survives but loses something as precious as life – his self-confidence. The haunting moments of that mishap have taken on his nerves, not allowing him to reach his peak in any race. The speed of his driving breaks down the moment the bygone painful moments start haunting him. Now he is scared of picking up the required speed during any race. And the result is obvious. He fails. After winning 50 races prior to his accident, he goes on to lose 10 in a row post his accident.

The world does not belong to the losers. A loser is bound to lose money, resources, recognition, support, opportunities, almost everything. RV also heads for the same destiny because he is no longer a winner. He has to digest the harsh reality of being a loser. But one thing he has not lost – the faith of his wife in him and his abilities. She has loved him in his riches. She loves him in his poverty too. She had married her against the wishes of her rich father and now in the difficult times, she is not ready to accept any parental help and hurt the self-respect of her man. But the problem which is staring right into the face of both RV and Shona is even bigger than their poverty. Hitherto they have fostered their children luxuriously but now their offspring has to learn to live in the conditions polar different from what they are used to. How to convey it to the tender hearts ? The parents, i.e., RV and Shona devise a plan to make their little son and little daughter accept the changed situation. They tell them that they are going to participate in a reality show whose requirement is to live in poverty and if they successfully spend their time in impoverished conditions, they will win the show.

RV, Shona and the little ones shift from a palace like mansion to a small shack and start living under severe monetary constraints with RV becoming a cab driver again and Shona playing piano in the hotels and parties. The only thing that they strive hard to ensure that their children do not lose, is good education. The parents work hard and arrange enough money to ensure that their kids are able to continue in their erstwhile school. Hardships do continue in terms of food, clothes, shelter and medical treatment. The zenith of their trouble comes when their little son needs a costly operation to survive. How to arrange the hefty sum ? RV’s adversaries are happy about it, mocking his helplessness and misfortune. The moment has come for RV to overpower the painful flashback and re-enter the skin of the winner. Harry comes up with an opportunity which RV can encash to repulse the inching death of his son and the ill-fate of the whole family. Can he do it ?In my blog post – Main Der Karta Nahin, Der Ho Jaati Hai … I have asserted that it’s the fear in a man (or a woman) which leads to his (or her) doom; hence get rid of fear and sooner or later, you will get rid of failure too. Late Dhirubhai Ambani used to say – ‘Seek an opportunity in every adversity you face’. RV learns it in the movie when a horrifying adversity is looming over his family. I got the inspiration from this movie only that if you don’t take any risk, you are taking the biggest risk. Besides, fear precedes failure and you have to overcome the fear (real or imaginary) first in order to escape the failure. This movie motivated me to take a risk in my career when an injustice was imposed on me in my then employment which was in the public sector. I left the job and grabbed an opportunity in the private sector. Other than the job security issue, there were several other practical difficulties too. However seeking motivation from Tara Rum Pum, I changed my job as well as place and shifted to Delhi in June 2007. Destiny has landed me in the southern part of the country now. Can’t say whether the decision proved to be right or wrong in due course of time, however it was to be taken to protect my self-respect and Tara Rum Pum gave me the courage to take that risk.

The movie underscores Indian family values and highlights the significance of saving alongwith earning. The lesson that RV learns the hard way is if you spend every penny you earn without any saving for the unforeseen difficult times, those times will hit you harder than normal. The movie underscores the significance of wife’s love and support for the husband when he is not the winner in the worldly life and her standing by him in the tough times. Shona’s protecting her husband’s self-respect when the days are no longer sunny for him, is exemplary. Such wife only is able to pave the way for the return of happy times for the family later. After watching this movie, I told my wife that I would gift a DVD of this movie to my daughter in her marriage so that by watching it, she is able to understand what an ideal wife is all about.

The plot of the movie has been inspired by certain Hollywood movies. Cinematic liberties have been taken aplenty and the movie is melodramatic in some parts. The filmmaker conveniently forgot that impoverished people can’t wear designer clothes. Anyway, the positives of the movie outnumber its negatives. It is interesting from beginning to end and several scenes leave a deep emotional impact on the viewer.Shot lavishly in the USA, this movie is technically superb. Vishal-Shekhar’s music is ear-soothing. I like its title track the most in which the animated characters appear with the human characters.

Saif Ali Khan and Rani Mukerjee make an ideal on-screen pair. Both have complimented each other very well and lit up the screen with their marvellous performances. The child artists alongwith Javed Jaffrey and others have also done their parts perfectly.

So here comes the great Indian family which sticks together and renders some great messages for life. I don’t know why this decent family entertainer did not score on the box office. For me, at least, it has a repeat value.

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Main Der Karta Nahin, Der Ho Jaati Hai . . .

In my life, almost everything came my way somewhat late. I learnt to cycle at the age of 15 years, learnt to drive a scooter (I can’t drive a motorbike even today) at the age of 26 years and I learnt to drive a car at the age of 38 years. The popular song of Henna (1991), sung by Suresh Wadkar (with Lata Mangeshkar) seems to be meant for me – Main Der Karta Nahin, Der Ho Jaati Hai (I am not deliberately late for anything, the delay just happens). downloadThe same thing applies to swimming. I learnt swimming at the age of 32-33 years in the swimming pool in the township of NPCIL (Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd.), Rawatbhata (Rajasthan). Thereafter I taught swimming to my daughter there itself and I have been successful in teaching it to my son also after shifting to Hyderabad (in the swimming pool in the BHEL township). Now my son has become an expert swimmer and diver by practising and trying new things on his own. A few years back, when I was swimming in the swimming pool there in the evening hours, some thoughts flashed in my mind all of a sudden which I am sharing through this blog. 

Due to regular swimming at Rawatbhata (I used to swim almost everyday and sometimes twice in a day), it has become quite normal for me to remain floating in the water without doing anything with my body. Without any movement from my side, I am able to stand upright in the deep water or lie on its surface treating it like a bed. I remember, those days my fellow-swimmers used to express surprise over this skill (if any) of myself, asking me – ‘How are you able to stand in the water without any movement of your hands or legs or the likewise ?’

Well, the answer appears to be – now my body has become friendly with the water. It has become habituated to float even when I am not trying to swim or doing anything at all (except breathing). But then the question emerges when the body is the same as it was when I could not swim, then what’s the difference between the time when I did not know how to swim and now ? Why could I not swim then and felt like drowning whenever I entered the water-body ?

These questions were churning my mind like anything when I was swimming (in fact, relaxing without doing anything) in the pool that evening. And just like the lightning in the clouded sky, my mind got illuminated with the answer. The perfect answer ! Those days, I used to remain under the fear of drowning, for my subconscious constantly reminded me – ‘You don’t know swimming. You may drown.’ And it’s the fear which made me feel like drowning. Else the body was the same, the water was the same (similar), the conditions were the same (similar). But the wall of fear is no longer there, blocking my urge to enter the water-body and now feeling within my subconscious that I cannot drown, I fearlessly lie down on the surface of the water-body or stand upright in it. In Goa, I swam in the deep sea too (faraway from the shore, my body was loosely tied by a rope though whose other end was in the hands of the boatman). The thing which I suddenly learnt today (like the illumination of some GYAAN in one’s heart), it’s the fear in a man (or a woman) which leads to his (or her) doom. Get rid of fear and sooner or later, you will get rid of failure too.

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A logical thriller

While reviewing Sunny Deol starrer Right Yaaa Wrong (2010), I had mentioned this movie which had been released in 1980. The plot of Right Yaaa Wrong seems to have taken a leaf out of Be-Reham. at least in the portrayal of the relationship between the two male protagonists of the movie. Be-Reham (1980) is a good socio-crime thriller which works because the director has given utmost logical treatment to the plot and its characterization aspect which won’t appeal to the people who are fond of (or have got habitual of) watching over the top movies. However, I liked it when I saw it on TV because the logical characterization and realistic narrative appealed to me. Besides, the message pertaining to the image of a dutiful cop also seemed exemplary to me because our country has been facing the image-crisis of most of the public figures and barring exceptions, none is kept in high esteem by the common people.

It’s a crime-action-thriller with a social connotation. A lot of crime-based plots used to come in the movies of 60s, 70s, 80s and even 90s with most of them making a mockery of crime and criminals with unusual get-up given to the gang-leader, well-decorated dens containing some gadget systems as well, dancers performing before the villains, larger than life hero shattering the den and bashing the baddies alone with the police arriving to perform only the last formalities of arrest. This is a movie which stands out and presents a systematic and logically knitted web of crime, cops, relationships and moral dilemma. Please keep your brains with you while watching it because then only you will be able to appreciate its pros.

The plot of Be-Reham (merciless) revolves around Sanjeev Kumar, the police commissioner and Shatrughan Sinha, his subordinate inspector who is his devotee and always keeps him in high esteem. The dead-honest and dutiful cop Sanjeev opines that policemen are no ordinary civilians and to do their duty perfectly, they should be careful with their public image. He gives this lesson to Shatrughan when he finds him enjoying wine, dine and dance with his lady-love Reena Roy and others. However Sanjeev himself has to face the dilemma of following the law of the land or maintaining his image (which he feels, represents the image of the whole police department) when accidentally a bad character is killed by him at the house of his ex-flame, Mala Sinha who had been led by circumstances to become a prostitute. Mala stops him to call the police and asks him to leave in order to stay away from any type of scandal that may tarnish his image. However after getting herself arrested post his departure, Mala feels that she may not be able to sustain the police interrogation and there remains the possibility of herself revealing the name of Sanjeev. To avoid any such likelihood, she commits suicide in the police lock-up. Investigating officer, Shatrughan finds certain clues hinting that a big gun of his own department may be involved in this murder case. However he respects Sanjeev so much that he suspects everybody except him. Another parallel track in the movie is of Sanjeev’s college buddy, Kader Khan who is now a big smuggler and involved in other illegal activities also. He tries to bribe Sanjeev but his this act itself brings him into the suspicion of Sanjeev. After getting information about his real activities, Sanjeev goes after him. In the action-packed climax related to the kidnapping of a big Indian scientist by Kader Khan, Sanjeev gets killed but not before submitting his letter for confession of the murder at Mala’s residence to Shatrughan.

This crime-action-thriller is good to watch because of the logically flowing narrative and logical layout. Nowhere it is over the top and the all the scenes related to the police department have been convincingly executed (which, in my opinion, was very very exceptional in those times). There is nobody larger than life and the villain with his activities and mannerisms is thoroughly reliable and convincing. Yes, we can imagine by seeing Kader Khan and his movements how the real life smugglers and traitors might be looking like. Very few cinematic liberties have been taken in the movie. Other than the song and dance of the romantic pair of Shatru and Reena, the sequence of the performance of a lady Qawwaal (Moushumi Chatterjee) arranged in order to bring out the eye-witness (Keshto Mukherjee) from his hiding, is the only big cinematic liberty taken to push the story forward. Else everything is realistic. Shatrughan’s inquiring his seniors regarding their whereabouts on the murder night, is an example of realistic presentation of the things. If you start enjoying the realistic way of telling the story of crime investigation and police action, this movie will prove thoroughly engrossing for you. Just pay attention to the scene of Kader Khan visiting his client, Helen in foreign and you will realize how the people of the crime world talk and behave. No gimmicks, no useless dialogues, nothing overboard; everything natural as expected of flesh and blood individuals. Summing up, it is a no-nonsense movie.As was the tradition in that time, the director (Raghunath Jhalani) has kept the character of Sindhi inspector Malpani (I.S. Johar) who provides laughs. However the director is cautious enough not to reduce him to just a laughter-generating character. He does serious things as a part of his duty assigned by his seniors and is sacrificed in the hands of the smugglers while on duty. Thus the reality aspect has not been compromised even in his case.

One more reason for me to like this movie is the assertion that image is very important. Yes, not only for the celebrities or the leaders of the nation, but also for the people at the helm of affairs in the public life, being image conscious is very important. I am not advocating the hiding of any crime accidentally taken place. However, public feelings are always associated with the image of the people in news (for good reasons of course) and therefore, cheapening oneself in the public-eye may not help the cause of performing profound duties for the department or the society or the nation. I endorse Sanjeev’s view underscored in this movie. He is not escaping the law to save his own skin. Being police commissioner, he is more concerned with the image of the whole police department. That makes this movie different from and superior to routine cat and mouse game movies.

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I have always been a Sanjeev Kumar fan. And Be-Reham is more or less a movie of Sanjeev Kumar only, one of the greatest actors Bollywood has ever presented. He was an acting legend. This movie also has more or less been carried by him on his lone shoulders. Kader Khan, I.S. Johar and Keshto Mukherjee alongwith Moushumi in her cameo, have done well. The disappointing ones are Shatrughan Sinha, Reena Roy and Mala Sinha.

Music is so-so. However the Qawwaali pictured on Moushumi is good. Technical aspects and the action scenes in the climax are good. The movie has not been unduly dragged, considering the norms of that period. Dialogues are also okay and perfectly fit in with the naturally advancing storyline.Be-RehamMany filmmakers of Bollywood advise their audience to leave their brains at their homes before leaving for the theatre, in order to enjoy their so-called entertaining movies. However this movie can be enjoyed by keeping your brains with you. All the lovers of crime-action-police movies as well as all the Sanjeev Kumar fans will surely like this logically told saga.

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A grand musical and visual romantic treat

In the late fifties, Nasir Hussain (Aamir Khan’s uncle) started the trend of masala Hindi movies in which the least attended aspect was the story. The screenplay was created on the basis of some set formulae – melodious music, some action, some comedy, some romance, the works. When colour movies became a routine since the sixties, one more thing which got added to this set-up was beautiful photography of beautiful locations. Nasir Hussain made the Bollywood movie viewers habitual of such movies in which two and half hours entertainment was guaranteed without any proper storyline.Such movies became box office success and the formulae of this type of mix-masala continued till the early seventies without a hitch.

One such movie is Phir Wohi Dil Laaya Hoon which was released in 1963, starring Joy Mukherjee and Asha Parekh. The title of the movie had been taken from an emotional song of another Joy Mukherjee starrer Ek Musafir Ek Hasina (1962). One song was composed for this movie too as the title track because fortunately like the hero, the music director was also the same for both these movies – O.P. Nayyar. While Ek Musafir Ek Hasina (directed by Raj Khosla) was a black and white movie, Phir Wohi Dil Laaya Hoon was made as a colour movie with negative and celluloid material of such a good quality that even today the print of the movie is a visual treat for the viewer with eye-soothing colour combination in the scenes of the beautiful locations of Kashmir.The story as I have already mentioned is just a formality to make a romantic movie with melodious songs to fit in alongwith a comedy track and a track for the baddies who need to be beaten by the hero in the climax before their arrest by the generous Indian police. Hero Joy Mukherjee is fostered by his mother because of rift between his father and mother. His father fosters his friend’s little daughter (Asha Parekh) like his own child. Destiny brings the hero and the heroine together and they find themselves in deep love. Villain (Pran) enters the scene to take advantage of the situation that the rich father of the hero does not recognize his son and presents himself as his son. After a good dose of comedy, romance and action to the viewers, the final outcome is – all’s well that ends well.Under the pretext of the romance between the lead pair, the director Nasir Hussain got ample opportunity to insert melodious songs sung by Mohammed Rafi and Asha Bhosle. And music is the biggest plus point of this movie for which you can watch it again and again without giving a damn for the story. Rafi’s classic songs – Banda Parvar Thaam Lo Jigar (which is the title song), Laakhon Hain Nigaah Mein Zindagi Ki Raah Mein, Aji Kibla Mohatarama Kabhi Shola Kabhi Naghma and my favourite Aanchal Mein Saja Lena Kaliyaan Zulfon Mein Sitaare Bhar Lena alongwith Asha Bhosle’s classic song Aankhon Se Jo Utri Hai Dil Mein as well as Dekho Bijli Dole Bin Baadal Ke make this movie a musical treat. Rafi-Asha duet – Humdum Mere Khel Na Jaano Chaahat Ke Ikaraar Ko is also no less. One excellent Rafi-Asha duet – Zulf Ki Chhaon Mein Chehre Ka Ujaala Lekar Teri Veeran Si Raaton Ko Sajaaya Humne is not found in the movie available on CD (perhaps the complete version of the movie has not been transferred on the CD) and can be listened to in the album only (now it can be seen on youtube). Summing up regarding the music of the movie (by O.P. Nayyar), it’s timeless. Majrooh Sultanpuri has written the lyrics with highly emotional and meaningful words which, being strung in the melodious compositions, touch the listeners deep into their hearts.

Cinematographer has exploited the opportunity of arresting the enchanting beauty of Kashmir in the colour movie (whose trend had just started those days) to the greatest extent possible for him. If anybody gets the opportunity to watch this movie on big screen, he/she must be highly fortunate to watch the enchanting beauty of ‘Heaven on Earth‘ in the most satisfying manner.

Direction of the movie is routine but the songs have been aptly placed. The scene (alongwith the relevant dialogues) picturized on Joy and Asha which consists of the song – Aanchal Mein Saja Lena Kaliyaan – is emotionally penetrating for tender-heart romantic people (like me) and definitely a memorable one.

Comedy tracks are two. The bigger one is of Rajendra Nath which is inter-twined with the main plot and another one is a watered down one in which Ram Avtar, as the hero’s friend, makes the audience laugh. However, being short of a full-length storyline, the comedy track of Rajendra Nath has been excessively prolonged. Tabassum and others, as the Sahelis (friends) of the heroine, also present amusing situations in the movie.Performances are okay whether they are of the charming lead pair (good on-screen chemistry between them) or of the supporting cast alongwith the villains and the comedians. Pran has not got a meaty role as the villain considering his reputation for the negative roles in that period but he has tried his best.

Technically the movie is perfect and it has a high production value.

Overall, the movie is successful in entertaining the audience and that’s why it was a hit. I watch it whenever I am willing to get the combined effect of the visuals and the songs upon me which is always mesmerizing. I recommend it to all the lovers of melodious music who are also desirous of light romantic entertainment.

I dedicate this review to the music legends – Asha Bhosle and Late Bhupen Hazarika whose birthday is today (8th September).

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