The lost and found formula has been a very popular formula for the masala flicks made in India. Kismat (1943) starring Ashok Kumar in a double role, was the first Bollywood movie made on this formula which held the record of running for the maximum number of weeks in a theatre until Sholay (1975) broke its record. Thereafter dozens and dozens of Bollywood movies kept on coming whose plots were based on the this formula only, i.e., separation of beloveds (friends or siblings or parents and children or lovers) in childhood and their reunion in adulthood. Certain movies made on this formula were immensely successful on the box office, viz. Yaadon Ki Baarat (1973), Dharam-Veer (1977), Amar Akbar Anthony (1977), Muqaddar Ka Sikander (1978) etc. Crime has always been part of the scripts based on this formula. Today I am reviewing the movie which I consider as the best Bollywood movie ever made on this formula. It is a classic movie made by none other than B.R. Films and directed by none other than Yash Chopra. It is Waqt (1965). Waqt (time) starts with the inauguration of the new shop of a businessman – Lala Kedarnaath (Balraaj Saahni) who believes that human-being can do anything with his efforts and ability and accordingly pre-plans the future of his three sons. However on the night of the inauguration itself, an earthquake shatters his house, his shop and his dreams as well. The father – Kedarnaath, the mother – Laxmi (Achala Sachdev) and the two elder sons get separated in the wake of the natural calamity. Only the youngest son fortunately remains with the mother. The eldest son, Raju reaches an orphanage but due to the oppression of its warden (Jeevan) runs away from there. The warden later on gets inadvertently killed in the hands of Kedarnaath. Kedarnaath gets long sentence for that. The second son, Babloo is found by a rich but childless couple which fosters him like its own child.
Years pass and the children are grown-up now. The eldest son, Raju has now become Raja (Raaj Kumar), a criminal working for a bigger white-collared criminal Chinoy (Rehman). The second one, Babloo has now become Ravi (Sunil Dutt) who is a lawyer now. Fate turns these two brothers into the rivals for the love of a girl – Meena (Sadhana) who is the daughter of the police commissioner (Manmohan Krishna). The youngest brother, Munna has now become Vijay (Shashi Kapoor) who is in love with Renu (Sharmila Tagore), the sister of Ravi (born to his fostering parents later). Vijay has been fostered by his poor and ailing mother with a lot of difficulty. He gets the job of a chauffeur at Chinoy’s house. Now the old father – Kedarnaath has also completed his jail sentence and is searching for his lost family. Now he has to run a rickshaw to make a living.
Though Raja initially hates Ravi due to his being his rival for Meena’s love but once he accidentally comes to know that Ravi is, in fact, his lost younger brother; his hatred gets evaporated like anything. All of a sudden, Ravi comes to know that he is not the son of the parents who have fostered him. He leaves the house to search his true identity and his real parents. Raja supports him and throws a party to announce the engagement of Ravi and Meena. However in that party, a spat takes place between Raja and Balbir (Madan Puri) who is Chinoy’s man. Later on Balbir himself gets killed in the hands of Chinoy whose eye-witness is none other than Vijay, Raja’s younger brother and Chinoy’s chauffeur. Raja is arrested under the charge of Balbir’s murder and he appoints his younger brother – Ravi as his defense counsel. In the climax, not only Raja is acquitted but also the whole family is reunited. Kedarnaath restarts his business but now he has learnt a lesson that human-being is not the biggest power on the Earth. The biggest power is TIME (or DESTINY).This multi-starrer movie has been handled by young director Yash Chopra with such a proficiency that nobody might have expected from him in that period (except his elder brother – B.R. Chopra who had produced the movie). The movie is more than three hours long but there is not a single boring minute in it. There are no comedians or undue comedy scenes. The movie is studded with coincidences, romance, songs, thrill and witty dialogues. The hypnotizing court-room drama in the climax is the icing on the cake. There are too many characters but justice has been done to all of them (though some of them are high-profile whereas the others are low-profile in the story).Waqt is a textbook of cinema. Today’s directors can learn a lot of things from it. Right from the beginning scene (inauguration of shop) to the ending scene (again inauguration of shop), it’s a three hours and odd minutes long entertaining ride on the celluloid. The complete impact of the movie is nothing short of great and that’s why it has enormous repeat value. You watch it dozens of times and will never get bored, it’s the guarantee of Jitendra Mathur to you.
The hero of this movie is actually its mesmerizing script and the script-writers deserve a big hand. The dialogue-writers are at par with them as far as the quality of the work is concerned. Raaj Kumar’s famous dialogues in the movie – ‘Jinke Apne Ghar Sheeshe Ke Hon, Woh Doosron Par Patthar Nahin Phenka Karte‘ and (regarding the knife) ‘Yeh Bachchon Ke Khelne Ki Cheez Nahin, Haath Kat Jaaye To Khoon Nikal Aata Hai‘ are still remembered by the people and they played a major role taking his career to unprecedented heights. Sunil Dutt has also been given peculiar dialogues to suit his stylish persona presented in the movie. His saying – ‘Gul-e-Gulzaar‘, ‘Jaan-e-Bahaar‘ etc. while addressing Meena or Raja is heart-conquering.
The in-house cinematographer – Dharm R. Chopra has done a marvellous job. It’s a visual treat. The colours used were of such a high quality that their brightness never faded over the years in the prints of the movie. The thrills are also superb. Especially the car race of Raaj Kumar and Sunil Dutt is unforgettable. The production value of this movie is exceedingly high.Ravi has composed great music with the help of Saahir’s beautiful lyrics. All the songs are real gems. Hum Jab Simat Ke Aapki Baahon Mein Aa Gaye, Din Hain Bahaar Ke Tere Mere Iqraar Ke, Chehre Pe Khushi Chha Jaati Hai Aankhon Mein Suroor Aa Jaata Hai, Kaun Aaya Ki Nigaahon Mein Chamak Jaag Uthi, Aye Meri Johra Jabeen, Maine Ek Khwaab Sa Dekha Hai, Waqt Se Din Aur Raat and Aage Bhi Jaane Na Tu, which can be considered any less than the others ? The song – Maine Ek Khwaab Sa Dekha Hai which Sunil Dutt and Saadhna sing over phone to each other just like a romantic conversation evidences the height of romance in the movie. All the songs have been aptly placed in the movie and instead of blocking the flow of the narrative, they facilitate it. All the actors have delivered great performances and every principal character has been able to preserve his / her uniqueness among others. However the memorable performances have come from Sunil Dutt and Raaj Kumar. Besides, the performance of Balraaj Saahni and Achala Sachdev (blushing like a teenager girl while listening to the romantic song of her husband) in the song – Aye Meri Johra Jabeen is also something unforgettable.
Waqt was a blockbuster and I bet, it will again prove to be a blockbuster, if re-released. I had seen it in the Moonlight Cinema at Kolkata in 1991 (in the night show which had ended at around 1 a.m.) and thereafter many times on TV and DVD. I am ready to watch it umpteen number of times and any movie buff who watches it once, will find himself / herself falling into my category.
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Lovely Write up.
Hearty thanks Kalpana Ji.