Amitabh Bachchan and Jeetendra have been two big heroes of the Indian screen. On one hand, Amitabh Bachchan has reserved his place in the history books and is called as the star of the (bygone) millennium now; on the other, Jeetendra has also been a highly successful hero who maintained his on-screen magic and commercial success for around two and a half decades. Amitabh Bachchan is definitely a legend and he is still active at the age of around 75 years. However Jeetendra has retired from acting now.
Jeetendra entered the tinsel town prior to Amitabh and became famous as the Jumping Jack during the sixties because of his typical dancing style when romancing with the heroines on the screen. He tasted success early in his career and his Jumping Jack avtar continued till the eighties courtesy the movies made in Madras (now Chennai). On the other hand, Amitabh Bachchan came late in the industry and took his time in becoming something too big to be ignored. These two stalwarts have done only one movie together. It’s Gehri Chaal (1973) which is a crime-thriller made in the filmmaking style prevailing in Bollywood during the seventies.Gehri Chaal (subtle move) is a typical crime-thriller in which Jeetendra is in romantic lead whereas Amitabh Bachchan’s role contains gray shades. It’s a unique movie in which Hema Malini has played the role of Amitabh Bachchan’s sister. It’s by no means a great or memorable movie but this formula-studded flick is definitely able to entertain the viewer for two and a half hours.
The movie starts with the suicide of the father of Amitabh and Hema who was heading a bank. Amitabh conceals the suicide note which says that the reason behind his father’s suicide was embezzlement of the bank’s money. However someone blackmails him on this ground and forces him to participate in a bank robbery. Now his friend – Jeetendra comes into picture who presents himself as a diamond dealer (or smuggler) but actually is an intelligence officer in quest of some hardcore criminals hidden from the public eye. He lives with Amitabh and Hema as their guest and soon himself and Hema fall in love with each other. On one hand, he becomes suspicious in the eyes of the brother-sister duo (they doubt him to be a smuggler); on the other, he himself suspects Amitabh to be in collusion with the criminals. After many interesting twists in the narrative, the criminals get caught and Amitabh also tells the truth to Jeetendra and Hema.Gehri Chaal starts quite interestingly and thereafter it contains sufficient twists and turns in the storyline to keep the viewer’s interest alive. The rom-com track of Jeetendra and Hema adds to the entertainment value. The suspense and thrill, though not extra-ordinary, are sufficient to entertain the typical spectator of Bollywood movies. Overall, the movie keeps the viewer tied to the screen for most of its duration.
Technically, the movie is ok. Despite modest production value, all the relevant aspects have been taken care of well. The duration is also not that much because except for the routine climax, there is no dragging anywhere.Laxmikant Pyarelal have delivered average music for the movie. One song – Jaipur Ki Choli Mangwa De Re Saiyyan (sung by Asha Bhonsle) impresses though.
Amitabh Bachchan had not become Big B by the time of this movie’s release and it remains one of the two movies done by him in the early years of his film career in which he played roles with gray shades (the other one was Parwana). However his role is stronger than that of the hero – Jeetendra and he has ably showcased his acting talent. Jeetendra and Hema Malini could not rise above the ordinary. Prem Chopra is also routine as the baddy. Bindu shines in the meaty role of the villain’s accomplice.
Gehri Chaal was a flop because it was just like the run-of-the-mill crime-thrillers that used to come frequently in that period. However, now after around four decades of its release, this movie can be watched to get a nice timepass in a lazy afternoon and enjoy Big B and Jumping Jack sharing the screen which can be considered its USP.
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