The unfathomable depth of childhood love

We have heard and read a lot about childhood love. And all of us were children only years back. Children do have crush on someone just like the adolescents and the youths. However what’s the depth of that love that had sprouted in childhood ? Does it survive and sustain itself when the kids are no longer the kids ? Difficult to answer, isn’t it ? I also had a crush on a girl when I was a kid and at least two girls were having a crush on me in that period (I know it as they had expressed it to me because children are more expressive than the grown-up ones). However can the childhood crushes and attachments be compared to love in adulthood ? I may be remembering my crush on that girl in the grown-up phase of my life but must those girls be remembering their crush on me later in their lives ? The likely answer is in the negative only and not in the affirmative.

However the fiction-writers and the filmmakers think differently. In romantic novels and Bollywood movies, we find that the childhood love which is pure and innocent remains intact even after years and decades when the kids in love have grown-up into a man and a woman. That love may succeed when it’s a two way traffic with complete awareness on both the sides. And it may end up as a tragedy when the things are either one-sided or the odds are not favourable to the lovers. One such tragic story of childhood love is Deedar (1951) starring Dilip Kumar, Nargis, Ashok Kumar and Nimmi in lead roles.Deedaar (sight) starts with the childhood love of Shyamu (Dilip Kumar) and Mala (Nargis). Mala is the daughter of a rich man whereas Shyamu is a poor boy whose widow mother works as a gardener for Mala’s father. Mala’s father does not take notice of the companionship and camaraderie of Shyamu and Mala and allows both the children to enjoy their time together until one day Mala gets injured during horse-riding. He then forces Shyamu’s mother to relocate and the loving kids are separated. Mala grows up into a beautiful lady who still has memories of her childhood buddy Shyamu who used to sing very well.

On the other hand, Shyamu’s misfortune appears to have no bounds when not only he loses his mother but also his vision. Thereafter a blind and orphan Shyamu is looked after by another destitute person and his little niece Champa. Gradually Champa (Nimmi) develops a love in her heart for Shyamu. Shyamu who grows up with Champa only knows her feelings but his heart still beats for his lost love Mala only. Since Champa and her uncle are also quite poor, Shyamu supports them by earning some amount through his singing ability and thus enables them (and himself too) to make both ends meet.

The twist in this love story of erstwhile kids and now adults, comes when a reputed doctor hears Shyamu’s singing and feels sorry for his blindness. He is Dr. Kishore (Ashok Kumar) who being benevolent by nature and admiring Shyamu’s singing ability very much decides to help this poor person in getting his sight back. He takes Shyamu to his place and starts preparations for the operation of his eyes. Now befriended to him, Shyamu tells him about his lost childhood love also. Dr. Kishore also tells him about his love for a girl whom he wants to marry. Needless to say that that girl is Mala only, the lost love of Shyamu.

Dr. Kishore is able to bring the sight of Shyamu back and asks him to stay with him till his marriage with Mala. However Shyamu has already recognized Mala who is in constant touch with Dr. Kishore and due to him, now with Shyamu also. Though Mala has not recognized him as her lost childhood buddy but Shyamu is extremely excited that after getting his eyes, he will get his lost love also. He does not know that Mala only is the fiancee of Dr. Kishore. On the other hand, Dr. Kishore also does not know that his fiancee only is the lost love of Shyamu. After Shyamu’s eyesight is back, the reality dawns on both these men like a lightning. A storm arrives in their lives paving the path for the final twist in the story which is not only tragic but something like a ‘believe it or not’ kind of also.I am not revealing the final twist (the climax) in the story here because it’s for the readers to find it themselves by watching this movie which is soaked in love and emotion. It’s unbelievably shocking and forces a sensitive person to ponder as to what can be the depth of love. Perhaps the depth of true love is unfathomable. And it’s very difficult to understand the thought-train and consequential actions of a true lover.In its later half, the movie presents the dilemma of a true lover who is burdened by the obligation of a person who is his rival for the lady’s love. Well, when the feelings of gratitude and love clash with each other, which one should overpower ? Personally I feel that a true lover can never be selfish and gratitude is a great virtue, a sublime trait getting rare and rare with the changing times. However the readers are free to frame their own opinion in this regard.In my review of Barfi (2012), I have highlighted this fact that you may not be able to reciprocate someone’s love for you because you may already be loving someone else. However if you can and in fact, you should acknowledge that true love. If you don’t, you are selfish and insensitive and in my opinion, unworthy to be called a sincere lover. And here lies the same issue for the hero Shyamu who still cherishes the childhood love of Mala but he is not able to acknowledge the true love of Champa for him until his heart gets broken forever and he has to take a very harsh decision for his life. Till then the sincere love of that poor girl for him, a blind person, had no meaning for him. That’s unbecoming of a person who considers himself a true lover.

The movie is quite entertaining despite its profound tone and scarcity of relief moments. The milieu is simple but the story flows very well and the curiosity factor remains active till the ending sequence.

The movie contains three love triangles. One is the main track of Shyamu, Dr. Kishore and Mala. The second love triangle can be considered as that of Shyamu, Mala and Champa. But the narrator has presented a third love triangle also which is of Shyamu, Champa and Chaudhary (Yakub). Chaudhary remains associated with Shyamu in his earning activity and loves Champa who is an inseparable part of blind Shyamu’s life but his love for her has not been given much weightage in the story.

Director Nitin Bose has handled the story very well. Plus the admirable performances have eased the director’s job. Dilip Kumar, Ashok Kumar, Nargis, Nimmi and Yakub have done complete justice to their respective characters. Child artists Master Parikshit (playing young Shyamu) and Baby Tabassum (playing young Mala) have also done very well.The movie has a great music appeal. The team of Naushad, the composer and Shakeel Badayuni, the lyricist, has prepared gems like Bachpan Ke Din Bhula DenaMeri Kahaani Bhoolne WaaleChaman Mein Reh Ke Veerana Mera Dil Hota Jaata Hai, Naseeb Dar Pe Tere Aazmane Aaya Hoon etc. and Mohammad Rafi, Lata Mangeshkar and Shamshad Begum have sung them beautifully.

I recommend this black and white movie to those who like old-fashioned sentimental dramas and love triangles. If you are fond of watching golden oldies containing melodious songs, then this black and white movie is just for you.

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A tribute to Yash Chopra, the King of Romance

Today is the birthday of Yash Chopra. The moviemaking maestro had left for his heavenly abode on 21.10.2012 without seeing the release of and the public response to his last directorial venture – Jab Tak Hai Jaan (2012). As my tribute to the great director who is better known as the King of Romance in the Indian cine-circles, I am reviewing a superhit movie directed by him. It’s Chandni (1989).

maxresdefaultChandni is the story of a jovial but down-to-earth girl who respects the elders and believes in the Indian social and family values. She is as the title is – Chaandni (Sridevi) who is a simple middle class girl living in Delhi and happens to come across a rich boy, Rohit (Rishi Kapoor). Love blossoms between them and despite his family members looking upon Chaandni in a derogatory way, Rohit decides to get united with her. However destiny has other plans. Rohit meets with an accident and thereafter life is not the same either for himself or for the love of his life, i.e., Chaandni. Adjusting with the completely negative attitude of Rohit’s family members on one hand and now handicapped Rohit’s depressive mindset on the other, one day Chaandni gets fed up and gets out of Rohit’s life as well as the city.screen-shot-2015-09-23-at-2-15-41-pmNow in a different city, Chaandni happens to get a job in a company whose head – Lalit (Vinod Khanna) is a widower. Lalit falls for Chaandni’s charms and his mother (Waheeda Rehman) is also too happy to see this simple, heart-conquering girl as her would-be daughter-in-law. The thing that they are not aware of is that Chaandni’s heart is not hers now. It’s Rohit’s. And a typical Indian girl cannot love again so easily and so soon. The memories of the first love are still fresh in her heart and she lives with them. However she gets ready to marry Lalit as a compromise with her life and not out of love for him. Here comes another twist in this love triangle.art-350Rohit’s friend-cum-relative Ramesh (Anupam Kher) elevates his spirits and propels him to come out of his depressive shell. Once Rohit starts seeing the status of the things in a different way, he gets ready for his proper medical treatment and after fully recovering, to search his lost love, i.e., Chaandni. While being abroad for different reasons, Lalit and Rohit cross paths and become good friends. Now both have a sweetheart individually but don’t know that it’s the same girl. Rohit comes to attend the engagement ceremony of Lalit and stunned to find that Lalit’s betrothed is Chaandni only. And Chaandni ? She is at a crossroad now. Whom to choose ? But destiny and heart work in tandem and allow the story to conclude in the desired way.movieposterYash Chopra possessed the rare knack of portraying male-female romance on the screen in the most realistic manner. We know that real life is quite different from reel life. However Yash Chopra was always able to make the audience believe that what’s on the reel was close to the real. While watching the movie, we love the lovers, we love their inner feelings and external romance and we love their union in the end. At the same time, we are also sympathetic towards the loser in love because the King of Romance has made us rely upon his sentiments and feel his grief and we wish that he gets another girl to apply the ointment of her true love on his wounds and heal them in due course of time.screen-shot-2015-09-23-at-2-15-34-pmAfter Silsila (1981), Yash Chopra made three entirely different movies under his banner – Mashaal (1984), Faasle (1985) and Vijay (1988) and all three could not do well on the box office. Hence Yash Ji moved back to his forte, i.e., romance and within a year of the failure of Vijay, came back with a bang through Chaandni. Despite all the cinematic liberties taken, Chaandni effortlessly wins the audience’s heart and no wonder, it was a huge commercial success. The story starts hilariously, tickles the viewer romantically and then moves deep within him while heading towards the finale. It’s a brilliant love triangle.

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With technical superiority and high production value on one hand, the movie scores very high on the music front on the other. Yash Ji availed the services of music maestros – Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma, the eminent Santoor player and Pandit Hari Prasad Chaurasiya, the virtuoso flautist who made perhaps the best music album of their career as cine-music directors. The movie contains nine songs and all boast of superior quality. Chaandni O Meri Chaandni, Mere Haathon Mein Nau Nau Choodiyaan and Main Sasuraal Nahin Jaaungi became chartbusters overnight. However the relatively less talked about songs viz. Tere Mere Hothon Pe Meethe Meethe Geet Mitwa, Tere Kadmon Mein Saara Jahaan Rakh Doon and Parbat Se Kaali Ghata Takraai are also highly melodious and ear-soothing. Male songs viz. Sheheron Mein Ek Sheher Mila Bhai Sheher Mila Tha Dilly and Tu Mujhe Suna Main Tujhe Sunaoon Apni Prem Kahaani are quite hilarious. My most favourite song from this album is Lagi Aaj Saawan Ki Phir Woh Jhadi Hai which has been sung by Suresh Wadkar (with Anupama Deshpande). Whenever I listen to this song while being alone, my tears refuse to stay in my eyes. The beautiful lyrics of this album have been penned by ace lyricist Anand Bakshi.imagesRishi Kapoor was always at his best when he had to romance. None could beat him in romancing with lovely ladies on the screen. Even after 16 years from Bobby (1973), the romantic skills of Rishi Kapoor are the same as visible in Chandni. I regard Vinod Khanna as one of the best actors of his time and he has delivered a mature performance in his low-footage role. The supporting cast has also done well.

But Chandni is Sridevi’s movie by all means. Right from the title, the complete story belongs to her and her only and she is at the zenith of her career in this movie. Yash Ji brought the best out of this natural actress whose charms have always been able to knock out the males. She appears so gorgeous that it’s difficult for any young male not to fall in love with her.8126_135090415641_548265641_2611071_5136436_nChandni is a heart-conquering love story with immense repeat value. Watch it again and again and you will never feel tired of watching it. It’s an immortal romantic story presented by the King of Romance in Hindi cinema, Yash Chopra who had got the love of his life (Paamela Ji) at the mature age of 39 years.

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The true meaning of love and togetherness

Saath Saath (1982) is one of those outstanding movies of Bollywood which did not get their due. I feel sorry for this movie and the people associated with it when I read accolades for average but overhyped movies. Saath Saath had got average box office success, neither a flop, nor a big hit. It had received admiration too but not the way, any 3 Idiots or My Name is Khan receives. The fact is, Saath Saath is simply an outstanding movie with several pluses to its credit – story, treatment, crispness of narration, performances and music. It provides entertainment, romance, laughs, thoughts to ponder and inspiration; all rolled into one. A gem of a movie by the director Raman Kumar. Saath-Saath-1982-500x500Saath Saath got released in 1982 with the charming next door pair of Farooq Sheikh and Deepti Naval and the timeless ghazals and nazms penned by Javed Akhtar, composed by Kuldeep Singh and sung by Jagjit Singh and Chitra Singh. Despite its average commercial success, it proved to be a heart-conqueror for the common Indianfolk and acquired the tag of a classic with the passage of time.images (1)The story of Saath Saath portrays how the might of money and hardships of life get the better of the ideals of an idealistic person. However a girl loving not just him but his ideals is not ready to compromise on this count for the sake of love, family or anything. When she is about to leave him, then he realises how he had digressed from his right path, his ideals. And he stops his wrong steps getting the Saath or the state of togetherness with his sweetheart in return. The punchline of the movie comes in the end – Love does not mean looking at each other, it means looking together in the same direction. This punchline sums up the plot of the story and the intention of the storyteller.81nlDIYukyL._SL1500_The story starts with the college life love of Farooq and Deepti in which there are teasing and light moments provided by their buddies. After their love marriage, starts their hard life in which they hardly get any time to see each other, leave aside talking. All this has been portrayed in a highly emotional, natural and lovable manner. Family responsibilities and circumstances lead Farooq to work in association with Satish Shah, a corrupt publisher whose thoughts centre around enhancement of cash inflow, by whatever means possible. Deepti who had married Farooq for the sake of his ideals only because his idealism was the foundation stone of her love towards him, is dumbfound to see the undesirable change in her husband and lover, courtesy the job and the company of Satish Shah. Farooq is getting more and more transformed from an idealist to a money-minded person, looking a pale shadow of his college days, resulting into the anguish and frustration of Deepti for whom the value of the ideals is still undiluted. Finally Farooq’s decision to get involved in publication of pornography proves the proverbial last straw on the camel’s back for Deepti. She decides to leave him and his home and then only the curtain fallen on the eyes of Farooq gets lifted and he is able to see how he has gone astray from his real and original path.saathsaath1The story and its narration both are heart-touching. The transformation of Farooq from a man of principles and ideals to a selfish and money-minded person has been shown quite realistically. It has reminded me of a legendary Hindi novel – Jhootha-Sach written by Yashpal which shows similar transformation of a patriotic and idealist freedom-fighter in the wake of the changed scenario post independence. Farooq who says a SHER in the beginning – ‘MAANA KI MAIN MAJBOOR HOON, LAACHAAR NAHIN HOON; INSAAN HOON, BIKNE KO MAIN TAIYAAR NAHIN HOON’ (I am hard-pressed, yet not compelled to follow the wrong path, I am a human-being who is not ready to be sold for money), becomes more and more money-minded later on, giving hollow justifications to Deepti for his wrongdoings, looks utterly real. In the ending scene when Farooq conveys Deepti his decision to leave the wrong path and join his role model, A.K. Hangal’s newspaper, Deepti asks him whether he is doing it just for her sake; Farooq’s reply simply touches the heart of the viewer – ‘NAHIN, APNE LIYE BHI AUR UN SACHCHAIYON KE LIYE BHI JINHEN HAM DONO NE MILKAR PYAR KIYA THA’ (not just for your sake, for own sake also and also for the sake of those truths we had loved together).indexThe greatness of the music of this movie is timeless with gems like Tumko Dekha To Ye Khayaal Aaya, Ye Tera Ghar Ye Mera Ghar, Kyun Zindagi Ki Raah Mein Majboor Ho Gaye and Pyar Mujhse Jo Kiya Tumne To Kya Paaogi. The lead pair of Farooq and Deepti have delivered marvellous performances with amazing on-screen chemistry between them and they have been ably supported by the complete supporting cast. Art direction and background score are perfect and good editing has kept the movie crisp and engrossing. A perfect movie by all standards with everything just falling in line.index1Saath Saath reminds you that when you love somebody, it is not just physical love or the love for the outer persona, the true love happens for the character, thoughts and inner nature of that person. That love remains intact only when both the lovers continue to look together in the same direction. Ultimately that togetherness only matters in their relationship and not the physical togetherness. I strongly recommend Saath Saath to all those who are fond of watching good, meaningful and inspiring movies and have not watched this masterpiece yet.

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A teacher transforms the life of a courtesan

In my review of Mohabbatein (2000), I had criticized that movie for maligning the image of an educational institution and a teacher also because I consider teaching an extremely noble profession whose dignity is beyond any measure. Today I am reviewing a black and white Hindi movie in which a teacher changes the life of a dancer who is in the tainted profession of a Tawaif (courtesan).Nartakee (dancer) was released in 1963. The title role belongs to Nanda who wants to read and become literate but is forced by her mother to live the life of a courtesan, dancing for the entertainment of the people and spend a life sans any dignity or social honour. Sunil Dutt arrives in her city as a teacher in an educational institution whose owner and chief trustee is a high-handed man, Om Prakash. Om Prakash’s daughter, Preeti Bala who is also a student there, falls for Sunil Dutt. High-handed and arrogant Om Prakash soon gets annoyed with the straight-forward, honest and sincere Sunil Dutt who does not flatter him just to secure his job. One day Nanda, fascinated by the charm of education, enters the institution and comes across Sunil Dutt. Sunil Dutt saves her from the blushes being thrust upon her by that gate-crashing entry and being impressed by her desire to study, decides to teach her privately. When it is known to Om Prakash and Sunil Dutt’s detractors that he teaches a courtesan, the stage is set for his termination from service. On the other hand, Nanda’s mother is also after her and strictly against her education as well as her interactions with Sunil Dutt. Seeing all the circumstances, Sunil Dutt proposes Nanda for marrying her and giving her a dignified life. This is even more difficult for him (as well as Nanda). However with his courage and conviction, Sunil Dutt is not only able to tie the sacred knot with Nanda but also able to save his job and honour.downloadNartakee is a very good and interesting watch which, unlike Mohabbatein, underscores the importance of education and the noble profession of teaching. It establishes that an ideal teacher is always able to earn the respect of not only his students but also the society in general. The screenplay has been written with suitable patches of comedy (by Agha) and touching sequences. The scene of the birthday party of Preeti Bala and the scene of the first encounter of Sunil Dutt and Nanda are very impressive. Despite predictability, the flow of the story is able to keep the audience tied with it.0825976.CINE.lbpSunil Dutt has been given the get-up and the attires of a traditional Indian male in which he looks quite handsome. Nanda shares excellent on-screen chemistry with him. Both these actors have performed quite naturally. Preeti Bala as Om Prakash’s daughter who falls in love with her teacher, Sunil Dutt; is also impressive. Bollywood’s seasoned comedian during the fifties and the sixties, Agha has generated enough laughters for the audience. Om Prakash is over the top whereas Chandrima Bhaduri as Nanda’s evil mother leaves her mark.download (1)I personally like this movie because one of its songs – Zindagi Ke Safar Mein Akele The Hum, Mil Gaye Tum To Dil Ko Sahaara Mila – is very close to my heart. It has been sung by Rafi. Aaj Duniya Badi Suhaani Hai (Asha) is also quite good. Comedy song – Poochho Koi Sawaal Bachchon Poochho Koi Sawaal (Rafi) which has been picturized on Agha and child artists is able to make the listeners (and the viewers) laugh. The lyrics have been penned by Shakeel Badayuni and composed by Ravi.

The photography and technical aspects of the movie are up-to the mark. The picturization of Zindagi Ke Safar Mein in a boat is quite beautiful to watch in which the emotions of the song seem to be intermingling with the waves of the river and the gusts of the wind.s-l300.jpgAll in all, writer Dhruva Chatterjee and director Nitin Bose have made a touching as well as entertaining movie. I have seen the full movie twice on TV (first time on Doordarshan and second time on Zee TV). But when I bought its VCD, I found to my despair that 20-25% part of the movie had been cut in that. However this movie must still be telecast from time to time on some classic movie channel in its full version. I recommend this beautiful black and white movie to the viewers who like neat and clean musical entertainers with some exemplary message embedded in them.

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Jeet Hee Lenge Baazi Hum Tum . . . A tribute to Khayyam Saheb

Khayyam is no more. This review is a tribute to the great music director.

I have heard that everyone loves a lover. Well, it may not be true. But it’s true that every lover loves a lover. A person who has been in love himself / herself is supposed to understand the love of others. Moreover, a broken-heart or a loser in love should definitely be able to understand the pain of someone whose heart is broken or who’s been separated from his / her sweetheart. Today I am reviewing a very old Bollywood movie which follows this theme only. This black and white classic movie is Shola Aur Shabnam (1961).Shola Aur Shabnam (flame and dew) is a triangular love story. Just think if you get separated from your love in your childhood and when grown-up, come across him / her only to know that he / she is the would-be spouse of your best friend whose obligations are also being carried by you, then what will you pass through ? This is exactly what happens with the hero of Shola Aur Shabnam – Ravi (Dharmendra) who gets separated from his childhood love – Sandhya (Tarla) and suddenly finds her as the betrothed of his friend-cum-obliger – Prakash (M. Rajan). Ravi tries to hide the fact from Sandhya that he is her childhood love but Sandhya, being very intelligent and smart (and gutsy as well) ascertains the truth and now she is not all ready to marry Prakash because her love for the childhood buddy is still intact in her adulthood. Ravi, on the other hand, burdened by the obligations of Prakash, is not ready to cog his friend and snatch his love-interest (Prakash has also been in love with Sandhya since the day he had seen her photograph before meeting her face-to-face). Ravi is an employee in the timber estate of Prakash’s father and his job exists because of Prakash only. He has to take care of his aged mother (Leela Mishra) and therefore, his childhood love is not his top priority in this practical world. But wait, there is another, very interesting convolution in the tale.

Prakash’s elder brother Aakash (Abhi Bhattacharya) has been a loser in love because the father of Prakash and Aakash (Mubarak) did not allow his marriage with his sweetheart (Vijaylaxmi) because of status difference and she had to commit suicide. That tragedy led Aakash not only to remain a bachelor for life but also to become a perennial alcoholic and an eccentric at times. When he comes to know that Ravi and Sandhya are childhood lovers, he first tries to separate them because of his sheer love for his younger brother, i.e., Prakash. But soon he realizes his mistake and thereafter leaves no stone unturned in uniting them and finally sacrifices his life for this purpose, making his father realize his mistake of separating the lovers.Shola Aur Shabnam is a well written and well directed film by Ramesh Saigal who has not only maintained the interest of the spectators from the beginning to the very end but also been able to move them deep within through the character of Aakash, his tragedy and the passionate love of Sandhya for Ravi. Several scenes are highly impressive and leave indelible imprint on the heart of the viewer. The movie seldom bores and amidst the profound love story, it has relief moments also. The track of the parents of Ravi (shown in the childhood of the lead pair) tickles the funny bone of the viewer like anything and the scenes during and after the lead pair ‘s knowing the truth (that they are childhood lovers) are highly romantic and carry immense repeat value for watching and feeling. There is not even an ounce of boredom in the movie. Since the major part of the story takes places in a jungle (timber estate), the scenes involving the elephants are not only impressive but also touching because of the linking of the human sentiments to those of the animals.

This lovely movie entertains and makes the eyes of the spectators humid at the same time. The helplessness of the hero (because of the responsibility of his widow and aged mother and the obligation of his benevolent friend) and the passionate love of the heroine (who teases the hero like anything after knowing the truth) are damn impressive. Despite the black and white version and the poor quality of the VCD / DVD, this movie can be seen any number of times. It’s not unduly long and there is nothing superfluous in it. The narrative moves towards the desired finale sans any digression in between.Shola-Aur-Shabnam-925024140-435994-1Technically the movie is perfect. In addition to the moviemaker, the performers too have done their job well. All the supporting characters are perfectly in their place. This is the debut movie of the heroine – Tarla and the screen reads while showing the credits – Introducing a new pair – Dharmendra and Tarla. May be Dharmendra had signed this movie first because his first released movie as a hero was Dil Bhi Tera Hum Bhi Tere (1960) and his first screen appearance was Railway Platform (1955). M. Rajan and Mubarak have done well. Dashing Dharmendra with his boyish looks is able to loot the hearts of several young females. This first ever renowned he-man of Bollywood has bared his chest too and I am not able to praise both his personality and his performance sufficiently in words. He has been a natural performer since the very outset of his career and wins hearts effortlessly through his restrained performance (and his looks as well). Tarla is the heart and soul of the movie and she has made the audience laugh as well as weep through her performance. However the best performer is Abhi Bhattacharya in the author-backed role of Aakash, the loser in love who has nothing more to lose now and who is hell-bent upon doing anything worthwhile to unite any pair of lovers through the remaining life of his.Khayyam’s music is a very big plus point of this movie with the beautiful lyrics being written by Azeem Shaayar Kaifi Aazmi Saheb. This admirable music album contains two timeless classic songs – 1. Jeet Hee Lenge Baazi Hum Tum, Khel Adhura Chhoote Na which is a duet of Rafi and Lata, 2. Jaane Kya Dhoondhti Rehti Hain Ye Aankhen Mujhmein, Raakh Ke Dher Mein Shola Hai Na Chingaari Hai which, in my opinion, is one of the best solos of Rafi. The touching and meaningful lyrics coming from the pen of Kaifi Saheb have converted these two songs into immortal ones. The other songs are also a pleasure for the listeners’ ears.

After watching, I consider Shola Aur Shabnam as one of the most underrated love stories ever made in Bollywood. I have liked it immensely, may be because I am a highly emotional person, may be because I am able to identify with the character of Aakash of the story but I bet, any spectator who has ever been in love at any point of time in his / her life, will be won over by this movie whose watching will definitely prove to be an unforgettable experience for him / her. It may not be a masterpiece. It’s a heart-conqueror all the same. Only a loser in love can feel the pain of losing one’s love and therefore, empathize with other such ones. Aakash of Shola Aur Shabnam is one such sensitive person only.

Me too.

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When a fatal accident is followed by a murder

Maut Ki Aahat (footstep of death) is a murder mystery written in Hindi by well-known Hindi mystery writer Surendra Mohan Pathak which was first published in 1979. This novel is the 75th (diamond jubilee) venture of his press reporter hero – Sunil Kumar Chakravarty who is a committed journalist with a sensitive heart and who works full time for a national daily – Blast which is published from the fictitious metropolitan city of Rajnagar.maut-ki-aahat-surendra-mohan-pathak-925703465-435994-1The story of Maut Ki Aahat starts from a reference to a fatal accident of two cars which collided head-on in such a way that the driver of one car – Jagdish Sethi died on the spot whereas the driver of the other one – Sonia Khanna suffered severe injuries and she died in the hospital after oscillating between life and death for many hours. In the opening scene of the novel, it is known that Sonia who was struggling to survive, has finally passed away and now her husband – Naarayan Kumar Khanna has been overpowered by the grief of losing his wife who was pregnant, to such an extent that he has drunk a lot of liquor and is about to interrupt the cremation of Jagdish Sethi who was actually guilty for the accident that took place and led to the death of himself as well as Sonia.

In such a situation, Sonia’s aged mother makes a phone call to Sunil informing him about Sonia’s death and Naarayan Kumar’s reaction to it and then seeks his help to stop Naarayan Kumar from doing anything unreasonable and undesirable. Sunil rushes to the cremation ground amidst heavy rainfall by a car of Blast but cannot reach there because the car which was ahead of his car in the traffic suddenly moves in back gear and hits his. Before Sunil could do anything about it, he finds that a high-collar raincoat and hat wearing man comes out of the car (with his back towards Sunil and others) and moves away giving the excuse of getting medical help for the driver of his car who is injured. But then it is found that the driver of that car who was a lady, has been killed. Apparently the man who had come out of the car only has murdered the lady.

Quite naturally our crime reporter hero starts his quest for the murderer. His quest also covers this issue as to how could Jagdish Sethi do that accident when he was a skilled driver and not much drunk also at that moment. The victim lady is a nurse named Padmini who was employed in the clinic of Dr. Kailash Naath Khurana. Sunil meets several people in this regard including Dr. Kailash Naath, Padmini’s employer; Maadhav Rao, Padmini’s boyfriend; Zarina, Jagdish’s ex-wife; Sarla, Jagdish’s elder sister, Rajendra Naath, Jagdish’s brother-in-law; Sumitra, Jagdish’s step-grandmother (the grandfather of Jagdish and Sarla had married very young Sumitra in his advanced years); Deepak, Jagdish’s very close friend and a theatre artist; Roohi Paranjpye, the lady director of the play in which Deepak is going to act; Gulzaari Laal, a financier who had entered into a business deal with Jagdish regarding his inherited wealth and life insurance etc. The needle of Sunil’s suspicion moves from suspect to suspect and finally, he is able to unearth the mystery behind Padmini’s murder and unmask the murderer. Amidst his investigating endeavours, Sunil also admonishes Naarayan Kumar after mortifying him for his immature reaction to his wife’s demise and shows him the right path to move on in life.indexThe novel is damn good but the plot of this four decades old murder mystery seems dated as it is based on an insurance fraud. Now-a-days, it is not that easy to commit insurance fraud of the kind as shown in this novel. Hence the plot appears to be out of sync with the contemporary scenario.

The novel has many pluses. It covers the black money issue also and underscores the significance of being an honest tax-payer. The novel also signifies that a modestly earning person need not be greedy and his integrity and honesty should not be suspected just because he is not well-off or high-earning.

This novel also pinpoints this fact that the price of every life is the same. Considering one life as more precious than the other (as we often see in real life) is incorrect. This fact is spelled out by Sunil when the issue of Sonia’s death is discussed with Sarla and Rajendra Naath in the office of a renowned advocate – Mr. Chatterjee who has filed a damage suit on the estate of Jagdish on behalf of Naarayan Kumar.

Another emphatic plus point of this novel is highlighting this fact that consuming liquor to forget one’s grief is futile. Sunil’s assertion to Naarayan Kumar is the highlight of this novel –‘Liquor consumption may make a happy person happier but it can by no means mitigate the grief of an aggrieved person. On the contrary, the feeling of grief intensifies in the intoxicated condition. The people who advocate drinking under the pretext of forgetting (or getting relief from) their grief actually deceive themselves, that’s the point of the author and his brain-child, i.e., Sunil. And mine too.

Like many other novels of this series, the author has highlighted this fact that Sunil is a committed journalist as well as a sensible and sensitive human-being. To reach the cremation ground in time, he snatches the brand new car of Blast from its driver and has to furnish an explanation to the owner and chief editor of Blast for that act of his. But the author has also highlighted this fact that an idealistic and committed journalist finally gets the affection and backing of his employer only. The owner and chief editor of Blast – Mr. B.K. Malik does not remain unhappy with Sunil once he comes to know the reason behind his act of snatching the car from its driver.

The story flows very well. The accident leading to the death of both Jagdish and Sonia has only been referred to in the novel and the story actually starts after that only. Once the murder of Padmini takes place, the story moves very fast alongwith the investigation of the hero and the climax arrives at the opportune point. In the end, everything gets logically connected to everything else and the novel ends on a satisfactory note.

The dialogues between different characters are impressive though the language used is simple Hindi only. Some humour has also been inserted through the interaction of Sunil with Roohi, the director of the play and also his conversation with his perennial love-hate buddy and the investigating officer of the case – Inspector Prabhu Dayaal.

Summing up, Maut Ki Aahat may not be a great novel, yet it is an engrossing murder mystery with some very useful lessons for life. No Hindi reader will repent after reading this diamond jubilee venture of the idealist hero known as Sunil Kumar Chakravarty.

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A comedy by the fathers of Ranbir and Hrithik

Ranbir Kapoor and Hrithik Roshan are today’s superstars. However their fathers (Rishi Kapoor and Rakesh Roshan) have not only been good friends in real life but also given some entertaining movies by their joint performances in reel life more than three decades back. Though Rishi Kapoor was a superstar of the seventies and the eighties whereas Rakesh Roshan was considered a B grade hero only, their on screen chemistry was amazing. Perhaps their real life friendship helped them in creating magic on the screen. Today I am reviewing a movie which is a mindless romantic comedy starring these two heroes which can be enjoyed by keeping your mind under lock and key only. It’s Aap Ke Deewane (1980) whose presenter is none other than Rakesh Roshan himself.Aap Ke Deewaane (crazy for you) is the story of two friends – Ram (Rishi Kapoor) and Raheem (Rakesh Roshan) who are apparently orphans and live together while studying in a college. They are the filmi ideals of communal harmony because Ram scores 92% marks in Urdu whereas Raheem scores similarly in Hindi. They bring about the first twist in their friendship tale by adopting O Henry’s classic story – The Gift of the Magi by selling own favourite items to buy gifts for each other. Well, we are moved by their filmy friendship.

Now the next twist in the tale comes through the villain who is the college bully – Kundan (Ranjeet) who frames them in a false molestation charge and gets them rusticated from the college. However they injure him in the ensuing fight and run away from the city. Now their (filmy) destiny lands them in Kashmir where they face the problem of making a living. Their problem gets resolved through the job of tutoring a young girl – Sameera (Tina Munim) who is the foster-daughter of two aged bachelors – Thakur Vikramjit Singh (Pran) and Inshallah Khan (Ashok Kumar). Since both these guardians are against keeping young men as her tutors, our heroes have to masquerade themselves. Ram opts for the disguise of an old man whereas Raheem disguises himself as a middle-aged woman. Ram, in his real self, pretends to be the son of the lady-teacher (i.e., Raheem in disguise) and Raheem, on the other hand, pretends to be the son of the old male tutor (i.e., Ram in disguise). Sameera finds both Ram and Raheem as worthy of becoming her husband but her dilemma is – whom to choose out of these two. Her guardians, quite naturally, choose both these heroes as her beaus according to their own personal choices.

The mindless comedy alongwith this love triangle moves on till the villain is back to inflict his revenge upon the heroes. His attack on the heroine resolves the love triangle too. Finally, in the wedding party, Ram and Raheem shake hands and the screen reads – FRIENDSHIP NEVER ENDS (instead of THE END). I believe in this dictum. Hope, my readers also do.This nonsense movie works mainly because of the amazing on screen chemistry between the two heroes. Rishi and Rakesh compliment each other perfectly and the screen is lit up by their admirable performances. Their another real life friend Jeetendra is also there in a guest role with an item number being picturized on him (with the two heroes joining him in the dance). Tina Munim seems to know only smiling in the name of acting. Ashok Kumar and Pran try to repeat their Victoria No. 203 (1972) act with partial success only. Ranjeet as the villain is routine. Young and beautiful Shoma Anand too is there in a cameo.Music composed by Rakesh Roshan’s brother (and Hrithik Roshan’s uncle) – Rajesh Roshan is according to the mood of the movie. The title track alongwith the Rafi-Kishore duet – Tumko Khush Dekhar Main Bahut Khush Hua stands out. One more song – Ram Kare Allah Kare (containing western effect through – APININANA BENTO) which has been sung by Rafi and Amit Kumar (Kishore Kumar’s son) is also impressive and entertaining.Cinematography spreading the beauty of Kashmir on the screen is extremely eye-soothing. Technically the movie is up to the mark. However editing should have been better. The movie irritates at places but if you watch it without trying to spot logic in it, you will enjoy it thoroughly.

I recommend this movie to the fans of Rishi Kapoor and Rakesh Roshan who will find this mindless comedy certainly better than the contemporary comedy capers presented by the likes of David Dhawan, Anees Bazmee and Rohit Shetty. Finally, I end my review with a SHER of Janaab Khwaaja Meer Dard Saheb :

Mera Jee Hai Jab Tak, Teri Justujoo Hai
Jubaan Jab Talak Hai, Yahi Guftagoo Hai
Kiya Sair Humne Gulzaar-e-Duniya
Gul-e-Dosti Mein Ajab Rang-o-Boo Hai

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