Childlike innocent and trusting (as well as trustworthy) simpletons may be losers in real life but since they are heart-conquerors, the stories told on the silver-screen portray them as winners in the worldly life too which is seldom true. Raj Kapoor has been the immortal simpleton of Bollywood cinema whose performance in simpleton-type roles left indelible imprint on the hearts of his admirers. Today I am reviewing a more than four decades old entertaining movie whose hero is a simpleton. However this role has not been played by Raj Kapoor but his son – Randhir Kapoor. This movie is Raampur Ka Lakshman (1972).
Based on the hackneyed ‘lost and found’ formula of Bollywood movies, the story of Raampur Ka Lakshman (Lakshman of Raampur) starts with the separation of the members of a family containing two brothers – Ram and Lakshman and their parents. The hero of this movie is the younger brother – Lakshman (Randhir Kapoor) who happens to be with his father who migrates from the city to a village – Raampur and starts working and living with his benevolent friend who has a son – Prakash (Ramesh Deo). Upon growing-up, Prakash moves to the city to earn a living whereas Lakshman continues to live with his father only, winning hearts of the people with his simpleton type personality and mannerisms as well as his benevolent approach. Lakshman misses his lost mother and elder brother – Ram very much being unaware of the fact that his brother was taken away by a criminal after his separation from the family.
When there is no letter from Prakash or any information about him for more than two months, the fathers of Lakshman and Prakash get worried about him. Lakshman consoles them and moves to the city, assuring them that he will locate Prakash in the city and bring him back to the village. In the city, on one hand, Lakshman happens to come across Rekha (Rekha), the daughter of the mayor of the city, as well as his mother (Sulochana) who works in her house; on the other, he is shocked to know that Prakash has been arrested by the police under the charge of a murder and now being tried in the court. Prakash tells Lakshman that he is innocent. Now Lakshman starts searching the real murderer to get Prakash released. A sophisticated criminal – Kumar (Shatrughan Sinha) seems to be associated with the murder. Lakshman crosses paths with Kumar on a number of times not just on account of his quest for the murderer but also the fact that Kumar is his rival for the love of Rekha. As you can guess, after several interesting incidents, Lakshman is able to get Prakash exonerated by exposing the real murderer. The broken family also gets reunited with Lakshman having both of his parents now but not his lost brother – Ram. Why ? The ending scene answers this question in a touching as well as philosophical manner.This screenplay of this story has been written quite skillfully and presented also very well on the screen by the director – Manmohan Desai who was a master in making masaala flicks. The movie is very entertaining. Lakshman’s innocent gestures, talks and activities prove to be heart-winning on one hand whereas the frequent twists and turns in the narrative keep the spectator hooked on the other. It is a complete Paisa Vasool (value for money) movie. The murder mystery is not great because it remains more or less known to the audience as to who is going to turn out as the real murderer. Still the narrative keeps the audience glued to the screen because the entertainment value of the movie is not on account of the murder mystery but on account of the character of Lakshman and his gimmicks. Optimal doses of parent-child affection, sentiments, romance, action and comedy are also there for the audience.
The highlight of Raampur Ka Lakshman is the performance of Randhir Kapoor in the title role. He has nowhere copied his legendary father and developed his own style. His dialog – Sab Raamji Ki Maaya Hai gets repeated throughout the movie (till the very end) but nowhere vexes. Such movies furnish a reason to understand why Randhir Kapoor was quite a popular hero of the seventies. The thing which is not understandable is his abrupt vanishing from the screen during the eighties. It’s his marvellous performance as Lakshman which has made this movie a winner all the way. He has delivered amazing performance on the title track – Raampur Ka Baasi Hoon Main Lakshman Mera Naam for which credit should be given to the choreographer also. Prior to Amitabh Bachchan, Rekha had made a popular pair with Randhir Kapoor only during the seventies with an admirable on-screen chemistry between them. Herself alongwith Shatrughan Sinha and all others has done satisfactorily.
Technically, this formula-studded movie is up to the mark with the length also being in order. Music by R.D. Burman contains hummable (and hence popular) compositions viz. the title track, Goom Hai Kisi Ke Pyaar Mein Dil Subah-o-Shaam, Pyaar Ka Samay Kam Hai Jahaan, Kaahe Apno Ke Kaam Nahin Aaye, Albela Re Ruk Jaana, Saanvla Rang Hai Mera etc. Among these Pyaar Ka Samay Kam Hai Jahaan, Ladte Hain Log Kaise Wahaan is a song which echoes my thoughts (when the time to love is insufficient, how are the people able to spare time for fighting ?). The meaningful lyrics of these songs have been written by Majrooh Sultanpuri.
Raampur Ka Lakshman was a commercial hit which gave a boost to the career of Randhir Kapoor whose birthday falls on today (15th February). It’s a treat for his admirers and bears good repeat value. If you want a wholesome entertainment, then please do watch this movie and sing with its simpleton hero – Raampur Ka Baasi Hoon Main Lakshman Mera Naam, Seedhi-Saadi Boli Meri Seedha-Saada Kaam …
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