I do like historical / mythological films! I don’t see many of them; I am too squeamish to see the likes of Troy or the Gladiator. So when I get to see a historical without too much blood and gore, I am mighty pleased! Anyway, a nicely tied dhoti and lots of man-bling is nicer to look at than short skirts on men, don’t you agree?
The story is based on records from both Buddhist and Jain literature. The makers have used cinematic license and the story as presented differs from recorded versions. The film is about Ajatashatru, the king of Magadh around 500BC, who falls in love with Amrapali, the royal courtesan and dancer in Vaishali, an enemy state. Interestingly, its ending is anything but typical Bollywood. Perhaps that’s why the movie didn’t fare well?
Sunil Dutt as the blood-thirsty warmonger is reasonably good. Though he has the physique to pass off as a soldier, there is something intrinsically soft about his face which makes me question his suitability. Vyjayanthilamala, on the other hand, is perfect as the courtesan. Not just the beauty and the dancing skills, but something lush about her makes her look just the part. There are some supporting characters who too aren’t very convincing. On the whole, though, the movie is entertaining.
The music by Shankar-Jaikishen is memorable. There are only four songs, all sung by Lata but what lovely songs! Neele Gagan is penned by Hasrat Jaipuri, the rest by Shailendra.
Neele Gagan ke chaon mein – Lata Mangeshkar. A lovely song, Lata does it justice. I find it rather sombre as a dance number but Vyjayanthimala carries it off. She looks like a lovely temple sculpture in her period costume! Once Sunil Dutt enters the screen, the dance becomes fast and cheerful with many traditional Bharatnatyam steps executed very well by Vyjayathi. An auditory & visual treat.
Tumhe Yaad Karte Karte – Lata Mangeshkar– Another soulful number with a simple tune which Lata sings hauntingly. Haunting also are Vyjayanthi’s eyes.
Tadap Yeh Din Raat Ki – Lata Mangeshkar– Moonlit night, a lake, a boat and Lata singing. It should have been perfect but something in the tune doesn’t appeal to me.
Jao Re Jogi Tum Jao Re – Lata Mangeshkar – With what ease Lata sings this beautiful little song! I remember it vividly playing on the radio a lifetime ago. Unfortunately its not included in the edited version of the film on Youtube; I would have liked to see the picturisation.
To listen to the whole album, click here.
Neele Gagan has Vyjayanthi dancing so that’s my choice for the day :