I finally had the requisite 3 spare hours it takes to get through a Hindi movie Monday evening, and it was time SO well spent! I love Vijay Anand’s movies, especially his captivatingly convoluted crime capers (including Teesri Manzil and Jewel Thief). And my undying devotion to Shammi notwithstanding, Dev Anand is particularly suited for the genre. This entertaining story about two brothers separated in childhood after the murder of their father features an absolutely stellar cast. One brother, Sohan (Dev Anand), grows up to become an undercover policeman, while the other, Mohan (Pran), becomes a criminal working unknowingly for the very man (Premnath) who ordered the murder of his father. As our story begins, Sohan is starting an undercover job working as a small-time thief and smuggler named Johny. He infiltrates the gang headed by Mohan (now called Moti) with the help of a beauty named Rekha (Hema Malini), who has her own motives for being part of the gang.
What follows is an engrossing tale with twists and turns, double-crosses, and multiple nefarious activities set against the breathtaking backdrop of Nepal. I can never resist Pran. He is in disguise heaven here, even for him:
Luminously beautiful young Dream-Girl-to-be Hema and suavely debonair young-looking (although he must have been in his late 40’s by then) Dev fall in love while singing several wonderful songs (“O Meri Raja” and “Nafrat Karne Walon Ke” are my favorites):
Kalyanji-Anandji’s music also includes a seriously sensuous number danced by gorgeous Padma Khanna—she is trying to save her lover’s life by seducing Premnath (at his gleefully bad—and bejewelled—best):
She out-Mumtazes Mumtaz!
Sadly, the songs are not subtitled, at least on my DVD. I really really hate that. I know that I missed a lot of subtext because of it in this movie, particularly during a song that Rekha sings while her father listens from the room where he has been imprisoned.
But Vijay Anand keeps the action and suspense going, with a very satisfying reunion when the two brothers realize finally who the other one is. This is just a great scene which intercuts the movie’s opening sequence of the young brothers in a boxing match at school with the grown brothers fighting (Moti has discovered that Johny is a police officer). As the fight grows more intense, the brothers both begin flashing back to that match and the scene culminates with them yelling at each other just as they did in childhood.
The moment where each stops and realizes that he has found his long-lost brother is classic Hindi cinema. I cried, of course.
The climax of the film when they confront Premnath also has to be seen to be believed. The stories fly back and forth, with Premnath not knowing whom to believe as he is caught in the middle between the two brothers and other members of his gang who are accusing them of being traitors.
It’s dizzying! I have left out many of the great details in this film, including identical triplet brothers (Pehleram, Doojaram and Teejaram), some wrestling moves that would be at home in the WWF, an assortment of radios, and Iftekhar as—what else?—the Police Commissioner.
Vijay Anand’s work as a director includes a lot of my favorite movies: Nau Do Gyarah, Tere Ghar Ke Samne, Kala Bazaar, Guide, Black Mail, Ram Balram and Rajput…they are all too much fun. Run—don’t walk!—to your nearest DVD store. I’ll be right behind you trying to fill in the Vijay Anand gaps in my collection.