During the fifties, a youth with an ordinary personality started his career in Hindi movies and during the sixties, he went on become one of the most popular heroes of Bollywood with several jubilee hits to his credit. The commercial success of his movies reached such a point that he was fondly being called as Jubilee Kumar in the Indian cine-circles. His name was Rajendra Kumar (or Rajinder Kumar).
When Rajendra Kumar was climbing the stairs of stardom, one more youth who had to drive trucks to make a living, got a break in Bollywood. He was so handsome that any girl could fall for his charms. The late sixties and the seventies saw his popularity graph going high and high only. His masculine persona brought him the tag of He-Man. His name was Dharmendra (or Dharminder).
Director Mohan Kumar had a habit of keeping the names of his movies starting with the English letter ‘A’. He made several movies with their names starting as such and cast Rajendra Kumar as hero in some of them (viz. Aas Ka Panchhi, Aman, Anjaana, Aap Aaye Bahaar Aai etc.) and Dharmendra in some other ones (viz. Anpadh, Aapki Parchhaiyaan etc.). However he made one such movie in which both these immensely popular Punjabi heroes were cast together and the most interesting thing about this movie is that Rajendra Kumar is the hero of this movie whereas Dharmendra is in a negative role. This unique movie is Aai Milan Ki Bela or Ayee Milan Ki Bela (1964).Aai Milan Ki Bela (the hour of union with the beloved has come) is the story of a poor but honest and committed youth Shyam (Rajendra Kumar) who gets a job in the estate of Mr. Chaudhary (Nazir Husain). He falls in love with the daughter of Mr. Chaudhary – Barkha (Saira Banu). Shyam’s joy knows no bounds once his childhood buddy Ranjeet (Dharmendra) returns from abroad and starts living there itself. These two close friends share everything because they do not see any difference between them. But !
But the love of opposite sex is not something that can be shared. And so the love of Barkha becomes the bone of contention between these two intimate friends who consider themselves as two bodies having a common soul. Since Barkha already loves Shyam, it’s Ranjeet who has to be the loser. And then the friendship no longer remains the friendship. The humiliation of losing Barkha’s love and a passion to get her, turns Ranjeet into a villain. He seeks the help of a baddy Madanlaal (Madan Puri) and traps Shyam under the false charge of making a woman named as Rupa (Shashikala) pregnant. Barkha starts misunderstanding Shyam and gets estranged from him. When Shyam comes to know that Ranjeet is the person behind his troubles, the spirit of friendship for Ranjeet in his heart also evaporates and thus the friends turn into sworn enemies. However all’s well that ends well. Finally Shyam’s mother’s telling him a secret sets the things right.A girl can become a bone of contention between male friends and friendship can turn into enmity in no time, is something that we have seen in many movies. Gunday (2014) is the latest example. However by seeing Aai Milan Ki Bela, we come to know that the stuff is old, indeed very old. If you seek my opinion, though I believe in the spirit of true love, I advise my male friends never to run after a bus or a girl. You miss one, you are sure to get the next one which must be on the way to you. Anyway.Aai Milan Ki Bela is very interesting with little boredom in the narrative. The movie has been made long by the comedy track of Munshi Sridhar (Sunder) which is completely superfluous for the movie. However it generates quite a few laughs and it’s in sync with the style of filmmaking as prevailing in Bollywood those days. The main track of tussle between Shyam and Ranjeet on account of Barkha is very interesting. The scene of the night when Ranjeet suddenly comes to know of the love blossoming between Shyam and Barkha and then its (adverse) impact on him has become very impressive with Dharmendra displaying a brilliant underplay of inner feelings of Ranjeet.All the three main protagonists have done exceedingly well. Romantic hero Rajendra Kumar and beauty queen Saira Banu always made a perfect on-screen pair. Very lovely, very lovely indeed. Dashing Dharmendra seems to be miscast in the negative role (the first one for him and the only one done by him in his stint as a young hero), nevertheless he has done very well. Putting it straight, he is not a villain in the pure and traditional sense in this movie. His role can be termed as one with gray shades. The supporting cast too has fitted the bill.This colour movie is a visual treat with beautiful locations used for the story set in a milieu studded with natural beauty (i.e., the estate where the principal characters of this story live). All the technical aspects of the movie are well in place.Shankar Jaikishan have composed very good music for the movie with the help of the mesmerizing voices of Lata and Rafi and the touching lyrics penned by Hasrat Jaipuri and Shailendra. The title track, Tumhen Aur Kya Doon Main Dil Ke Sivaay, Main Pyar Ka Deewana, O Sanam Tere Ho Gaye Hum etc. all the songs are a treat for the years of any music lover.Summing up, Aai Milan Ki Bela is a highly entertaining movie which I recommend wholeheartedly to not only the fans of Rajendra Kumar, Saira Banu and Dharmendra but to all the movie buffs in general. This movie does not disappoint anybody who watches it and that’s why it was a box office hit also.
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