I was eager to watch this film for some time now. It had been described to me as a ‘great film’ by more than one person and it starred two handsome gentlemen I admired much as a young woman. The few songs I remembered from my childhood triggered a nice response too.
The two handsome men did not disappoint; I am in awe of their looks and presence. And the acting is not too bad either! The songs I remembered were pleasing enough though not outstanding. However, perhaps thanks to over-expectation, I was mildly disappointed in the film as a whole.
This is a theme which has been done more number of times than I can count. A village cowed by evil-doers, one or a few handful of men protecting and leading the village to self-sufficiency. Wasn’t the Seven Samurai just fantastic? For Bollywood fans, this film is particularly interesting because it was a precursor to the super-hit Sholay. In fact, I was shocked to see how much Salim-Javed have ‘lifted’ from the screenplay by G.R.Kamath.
The instigator of defence, Jayant with one hand missing
The instigator of defence, Sanjeev with two hands missing
One petty crook, Dharmendra, roped in to defend the village
Two petty crooks, Dharmendra & Amitabh, roped in to defend the village
Dacoit leader played by Vinod Khanna is called Jabbar Singh
Dacoit leader played by Amjad Khan is called Gabbar singh
Dharm falls for feisty village belle Asha
Dharm falls for feisty village belle Hema
Jabbar stands his people in a row, questioning them, while loading one bullet in his gun.
Gabbar does this and more in the memorable ‘Kitne Aadmi The’ scene.
Ajit (Dharm) is a petty crook invited by Major Jaswant Singh (Jayant) to help him farm and at the same time make a new life for himself. He doesn’t mention the dacoits who keep the village under their thumb. Ajit settles down after a few slips and enjoys a nice romance with village belle Anju (Asha). The dacoits under their leader Thakur Jabbar Singh (Vinod Khanna) make their presence felt. In this village where everyone is cowed and fearful, only Ajit is willing to stand up to them. Munnibhai (Laxmi Chhaya) is the dancing girl who is a spy for the dacoits but she falls for Ajit and becomes a double-agent. With the odds stacked so heavily against him, will Ajit manage to rid the village of their terror?
Dharmendra has done a decent job of his role; in any case, I was too charmed to be unbiased! Vinod Khanna is excellent, menacing with his red rimmed eyes which always stare elsewhere with manic intensity. What a handsome man he is to be sure!! Asha Parekh’s role doesn’t have much meat and she is not in good looks; her costumes are very very unflattering. I wish they had chosen another female lead. Laxmi Chhaya is competent and has two lovely song-and-dance sequences to impress us with. Supporting actors such as Jayant and Asit Sen are dependably good.
So why was I disappointed? It always comes down to bad screenplay. I cannot deal with with melodrama (a drunk Dharm sleeping it off in the lap of a mad Ma, a dying Jayant asking to be called Papa), depiction of the police as nincompoops, Dharm beating up Laxmi Chhaya, Asha walking into a dacoit-infested forest on her own (is she mad?!!) – the screenplay just annoys. And the moralistic lectures at the end grate.
There is some decent enough music by Laxmikant-Pyarelal with pedestrian lyrics by Anand Bakshi (spelt mysteriously as Baxi in the titles).
Sona Lai Ja Re – Lata Mangeshkar. A pleasant enough melody, but nothing extraordinary.
Aya Aya – Lata Mangeshkar. Boring. Laxmi Chhaya dances well enough on screen.
Kuch Kehta Hai Ye Sawan – Lata Mangeshkar, Mohammad Rafi. I remember this song well from my childhood; it still sounds as pleasing as it did then. Lyrics are so-so but Rafi and Lata sound very good.
Hai Sharmaoon – Lata Mangeshkar. Laxmi Chhaya gets to dance to this nice song made more memorable by the on-screen drama. The melody has a hint of sadness which I like.
Maar Diya Jai – Lata Mangeshkar. Why not Asha? I think she would have put even more verve into this song. Still, I remember and like it.
Clichés? No worries! The film provides Bollywood’s version of secular harmony, coincidences after coincidences with impossible odds, tight shirts in myriad colours, obviously staged fights in which opponents have time to make conversation, decorative ladies, disguises galore, miraculous cures and an evil villain who even has a good twin! How could anyone not like it?
The storyline itself is a huge Bollywood cliché. A family is separated by evil machinations, poverty and bad luck. Three brothers are brought up following three religions. The evil man continues in his evil ways and even the good father seems to have become part evil – but then he is Pran, so what do you expect? There are three pretty ladies who look decoratively helpless on demand. But it all resolves itself after many unbelievable plot ploys with more holes than Swiss cheese! The pace of the film is brisk and there is never a dull moment.
Rishi and Neetu make a handsome young couple and they play their parts with ease. Vinod and Shabana make a rather mismatched couple. Vinod is good as a police officer but Shabana…I prefer her in her serious roles. Amitabh has great comic timing and for his fans, there is even a dialogue with God! Parveen I am not a fan off but she looks quite beautiful and they make a good pair. Jeevan and Pran have undemanding and clichéd roles. Amitabh has the most screen time amongst the leads and he does a good job.
Watch this film with suspended judgement and a healthy sense of humour and you’ll have great fun!
The music by Laxmikant-Pyarelal has some numbers which made the charts at the time of release. It doesn’t really stand the test of time but provides good nostalgia value. Lyrics by Anand Bakshi are adequate.
Khoon Khoon Hota Hai – Mohammad Rafi. Pedestrian.
Pardah Hai Pardah – Mohammad Rafi. This very well-known Qawwali deserves its success. Rishi and Neetu glow with youth and Rafi is very good even though he is past his best phase.
My Name is Anthony – Kishore Kumar. This fun song became very famous with Kishore’s voice suiting Amitabh’s comic timing and long-limbed prancing. A song to make you smile.
Hum Ko Tum Se – Kishore Kumar, Lata Mangeshkar, Mohammad, Mukesh. A melodious song which is still very enjoyable. I like that it has three of the great male voices of that era singing the same song.
Taiyabali Pyar Ka Dushman – Mohammad Rafi. Don’t remember this song and won’t in the future.
Shirdi Wale Sai Baba – Mohammad Rafi. A song which used to be run often in the radio, it seems ordinary now. I am normally much attracted to Qawwalis but not this one.
Amar Akbar Anthony – Kishore Kumar, Mahendra Kapoor, Shailendra Singh. Familiarity made me listen to the song with pleasure rather than it’s musicality.
I let my husband pick a movie from my nice little stack of unwatched DVDs and he zoomed straight in on this film. No surprise there, he is a fan of both Rajesh Khanna and Mumtaz! This is the second movie of the very successful pair I was seeing within one month and I sat down to watch it with great expectations. They have such good on-screen chemistry, its a pleasure to see! The story based on a novel by Chandrakant Kakodkar had also won an award.
My first comment would be that it should be called a Balraj Sahni film, not a Rajesh Khanna one. Yes, Rajesh is the young fellow who gets the girl but he is not the protagonist by a long shot. The story is oft seen in the hallowed corridors of Bollywood studios – self-sacrificing older members of the family, one ‘good’ and one ‘bad’ younger member of family and the ensuing drama. An example is Baghban, where the oldies are the parents. Here it is an older step-brother. Prem Chopra with his scheming wife Bindu is the bad one, Rajesh Khanna is the good one.
I must say that I have much objection to stories of this kind. Why is it right to risk the well-being of all for the success of one? Here the house is mortgaged to send a boy to London to study. Not that it doesn’t happen in India. It does. My question is, is it as saintly as they make it out to be? If its like an investment – we’ll put in the money and expect good returns at a later date – its not out of familial affection, but a business. In that case, a contract should be drawn out, surely? There is no place for emotion in business yet these stories are all about emotion.
I object to self-sacrifice in principle. To say that one’s own self is not worth the same as everyone else shows some deep psychological defect, not an entry to sainthood!
That said, the movie is not bad for its genre, only poor editing lets it down. Things are all too drawn out. The ending had me drop my jaw in amazement. HOW could they magically solve all problems in the space of 5 mins? Flawed people don’t become angels at the drop of a hat! It was a very weak ending.
All the actors do a good job, Balraj Sahni in particular. Mumtaz’s role is minor really but she does a good job of providing oomph. For those interested, there is a better review here.
The music, which is my primary focus, is wonderful. Laxmikant-Pyarelal have given us some lovely solos as well as duets and the lyrics penned by Anand Bakshi are very good indeed.
Yeh Reshmi Zulfen – Mohammad Rafi. Beautiful song, truly lovely. I am caressed by Rafi’s voice and his pronunciation of some Urdu words feel ooooh so sensuous!
Chchup Gaye Tare – Lata Mangeshkar, Mohammad Rafi. A lovely duet, full of fun and romance. I know it’s Kishore’s voice that works best with Rajesh but this is an example how Rafi’s voice does a great job too! Lata sounds magnificent. Mumu does her jhatka dance very nicely and looks luscious. The lyrics are not bad.. इक वोह दिन था मिलाती ना थी तू अखियाँ | इक यह दिन है तू जागे सारी सारी रतियाँ || बन गयी गोरी चकोरी यह क्या बात हो गयी | जिस का डर था बेदर्दी वही बात हो गयी || Not exactly earth shattering poetry but cute, no? And when Rajesh does his crinkly smile, I can’t help but smile back at him!
Bindiya Chamkegi – Lata Mangeshkar. Mumu makes a great little temptress in this song of seduction. A playful song which Lata manages with elan.
Do Rang Duniya Ke – Mukesh. So this was the title song of the film! I had never heard it before, and won’t again.
Khizan Ke Phool – Kishore Kumar. Lovely sad song by Kishore, he sure knows how to pull at one’s heart strings! Listen to his voice at the lower registers, there is this little kharrash which I just adore! The lyrics are well written and suitable for a depressive.. Take this for example (unpoetic bad translation by me, the original sounds lovely) : खिज़ां के फूल पे आती बहार नहीं | मेरे नसीब में ऐ दोस्त तेरा प्यार नहीं || (Spring never comes to autumn flowers, your love is not in my destiny) Or this किसी को अपने मुक़द्दर पे इख़्तियार नहीं (No one has control over their destiny) or this किसी ख़ुशी का मेरे दिल को इंतज़ार नहीं (my heart has no hope for any happiness). Sad. Lovely.
Apni Apni Biwi – Usha Mangeshkar. Never knew of this song before! A similar theme has been sung by Amitabh Bachchan which is much better known.
Click here to listen to the whole album. I have to choose Chup Gaye Tare for its happy mood – and also because I love rain songs!
The memory of this song has haunted me for 38 years now. Every now and then my brain will trawl through its old and ill-used cells and savour the pleasure of Rafi’s voice with the beauty of Dharmendra’s presence. Yet, I have never seen this film. My memories are fuelled merely by viewings of the song clip on television during the seventies.
So today, when I sat to watch the film, it was rather exciting! Seeing movies from the seventies is rather distracting though. I kept trying to assimilate the interesting wardrobe choices of the leads : Pants with large brown checks! Grey shiny suit with extra large black lapels! Tiny red skirt with tinier hot pants! Black long dress with a weird overcoaty thing! If I am not distracted by wardrobe, its by Dharm’s disarming English accent : sa-late->slate, un-cull->uncle and the like. Must say though that Dharmendra looks heart stoppingly handsome and Mumtaz quite luscious to match!
On the whole its a good time-pass. If one doesn’t look for meaning or anything deep, it’s enjoyable enough.
The music is by Laxmikant-Pyarelal and the lyrics by Anand Bakshi, both worthy of respect.
Kahan hai woh diwana – Asha Bhonsle. Padma Khanna gyrates well but I don’t see this rather plaintive song for a cabaret number.
Motiyon ki lari who main – Asha Bhonsle. This time it is Mumu who gyrates in a short red skirt. I remembered this song well though, so a smile for the sake of nostalgia.
Aaj Mausam Bada Beiman Hai – Mohammed Rafi. Unbelievably good. Impossibly good. Wonderfully good. I just melt when Rafi croons
ऐ मेरे यार ऐ हुस्न वाले | दिल किया मैंने तेरे हवाले || तेरे मर्जी पे अब बात ठैरी | जीने दे चाहे तू मार डाले || तेरे हाथों में अब मेरी जान है ||
Rafi is the absolute king of this type of singing and can never be replaced, absolutely never!
Teri Ishq Mein – Lata Mangeshkar. A beautiful song and Lata is in great voice. Mumu looks good too!
Duniya mein tera hai bada naam – Mahendra Kapoor. Very proficiently sung but not to my taste.
Koi Shehri Babu – Asha Bhonsle. Mumtaz is in her element with songs like this. A good dancer indeed! The song is lovely too and Asha does justice to it. Nowadays marriage songs are almost always group dances with intricate steps. This feels so different!
You can listen to the whole album here. But for today, my choice is a no-choice.
I was in grade 8 then. It was art class. As usual, most of the class was not serious about my very favourite subject but I was paying attention to my work and enjoying myself nonetheless. Then I overheard the boys in the next table discussing Bobby, talking about Dimple in her bikini scene, considered bold at that time. Their comments got more and more salacious. Like a ‘good girl’ I behaved as if I heard nothing; that’s how I had been taught to behave. But inside I was upset and bewildered. I must say that I was very protected at home and quite young for my years. I didn’t know the term ‘objectification of women’ then. Even if I had known it, I would not have had the guts to turn and confront the boys.
That day left a mark in me. It was a growing up of sorts and not in a good way. Was this how all boys viewed girls? I was repulsed and became very wary of boys in general, never viewing them as friends but as some kind of danger. It got reinforced many times after that, the worst being when I went to university and had to put up with the treatment men gave young girls in crowded Delhi buses. It would be called molestation anywhere else in the world, in India it went by the misnomer ‘eve-teasing’ as if it were something to smile about. How did we come out of it without being psychologically crippled, I don’t know. Or maybe I am psychologically crippled, who knows!
Perhaps it was that memory which made me encourage my artistic teenaged son to join drawing classes with nude models. In answer to those teenaged boys all those years ago in one drawing class, my boy learnt to look at the female form with respect and with an artist’s eye in another drawing class.
But I digress. Bobby was just the same-ol’-same-ol’ love story – two youngsters in love against parental opposition. Shakespeare succeeded with Romeo & Juliet on that plot, so have many many other authors. Bobby was not a tragedy; the kids get their way. And we youngsters loved it. Especially because very unusually for Indian cinema of that time, the lead characters were actually teenagers. Rishi Kapoor & Dimple Kapadia were both natural actors and did justice to their debut film. We could actually identify with them. The movie succeeded also on the strength of its excellent music. Laxmikant-Pyarelal’s music was young, fresh and very catchy. You can listen to the album here.
Hum tum ek kamare mein bandh ho – Lata Mangeshkar, Shailendra Singh. The catchiest of them all, it was hummed by every self-respecting roadside romeo!
Main Shair to Nahin – Shailendra Singh. The singer did an excellent job in this, his debut album. A lovely song with very meaningful lyrics.
Mujhe Kuch Kehna Hai – Lata Mangeshkar, Shailendra Singh. Good duet.
Beshak Masjid Mandir Todo – Narendra Chanchal. As I love ethnic sounds, this is very pleasing to my ears. Wonderful lyrics by the legendary Bulleh Shah (1680-1757) : ‘break temples and mosques if you wish, don’t break a heart filled with love for in it resides the beloved’ says he. The tune has the pathos needed to match the words.
Na Mango Sona Chandi – Shailendra Singh, Manna Dey. Good song.
Jhoot Bolo Kauva Kate – Lata Mangeshkar, Shailendra Singh. Playful song with an energetic dance.
Akhiyon ko rehne do – Lata Mangeshkar, Very beautifully sung song, it used to be my favourite track when the movie was released. I still like it but perhaps not my favourite.
E Phasa – Lata Mangeshkar. A dance song to match Aruna Irani’s gyrations, it has a good beat and is well sung. Memorable because it was important to the story.
I was going to pick Jhoot Bole for the nice dance but my heart wasn’t in it – Bulleh Shah’s words pull my heartstrings as does Chanchal’s singing, so here is Beshak Masjid Mandir Todo.
This is a charming film based on a slender storyline – the difficulties of communal living in a Mumbai chawl (tenement) for a newly married young couple. Written and directed by the talented Basu Chatterjee, this movie managed to keep me interested in the fate of these two likeable leads and the equally likeable supporting cast. That I think is the charm of the film; they are all likeable! However difficult their situation, they have a certain something in that household which one longs to have.
I remember the songs well from the old days, I even remember the words to a couple of them! It was the memory of those songs which drew me re-watching this film on youtube today. I am glad I did, its a gentle little story and it suited my tired mental & physical state. And the music by Laxmikant-Pyarelal is very pleasing, gently so. The lyrics by Anand Bakshi are adequate.
Yeh Zulf Kaisi Hai – Mohammed Rafi, Lata Mangeshkar. Rafi’s voice is gentle and soothing in this very beautiful song.
Piya Ka Ghar Hai Yeh – Lata Mangeshkar. Lata emotes well in this song, giving voice to a young woman’s dream of her own home.
Yeh Jivan Hai – Kishore Kumar. A rather sad song, it is about acceptance and Kishore does a wonderful job. This is song I remembered best.
Bambai shahar ki – Kishore Kumar. I was surprised by this song as I don’t remember ever having heard it before! Didn’t make any impression on me.
Instead of offering my favourite song, which is rather sad and contemplative, I present instead the rather charming duet by Rafi and Lata. Yeh Zulf Kaisi Hai indeed – Jaya’s long and beautiful tresses made me quite envious!
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