A visual feast of a movie—another Vijay Anand fun-filled frolic, with beautiful scenery, fabulous fashions and an engaging plot that moves along at a good clip. It has Hema Malini at her gorgeous best, Dev Anand as smooth as ever, and—best of all—Vijay himself in a role he clearly relished. Bad guys Ajit, Prem Chopra and Premnath are as baaaad as only they can be. It’s obvious that a good time was had by all in the making of this film.
It was filmed in Himachal Pradesh, and the landscapes are breathtaking:
A great deal of the action takes place in the snow as well, affording the costume designer (who sadly is not named in the credits—I looked!) ample opportunity for finding the finest fake fur and outdoor wear you have ever seen.
There are a lot of screen shots in this post: I’m not kidding when I say this film is a visual feast.
Anyway, our tale begins with Professor Harbanslal (AK Hangal) lost in a snowstorm, radioing his son that he’s found the famous lost golden civilization in the Nangla Valley but doesn’t think he will live through the storm. We are tantalized by a glimpse of a beautiful golden temple. Our professor then spots a tent—salvation! But wait…the tent is occupied by Vikram Singh (Ajit) and his smarmy son Bahadur (Prem Chopra). When Professor Harbanslal reaches them, they recognize him instantly because they too are looking for the gold in the Nangla Valley.
They are also holding multi-millionaire Rajendra Jain’s wife and son hostage in order to force him to marry his daughter Ritu (Hema Malini) to Bahadur, thus gaining control over his wealth—which includes ownership of the Nangla Valley! Rajendra and Ritu cave when Vikram sends them a little token that he’s taken from Mrs. Jain:
Cut to Ritu and Bahadur’s wedding scene. Ritu looks a little like the bride of Mr. Spock in her wedding finery:
Natwarlal (Dev Anand) and friends are performing; it’s the first of many outstanding songs by SD Burman (“Hum Chhupa Rustam Hai”) (translated on my DVD as “I’m a cool cat”).
The song ends with Natwar abducting Ritu from the wedding. On the way to his hideout, his car breaks down and they hitch a ride with Jimmy Fernandes (Vijay Anand):
Of course, Jimmy is not what he appears to be (a lost character from Speed Racer?) … and he shows up at the hideout later to kidnap Ritu as well:
Who are Natwar and Jimmy really? Does Ritu escape Bahadur? Does anyone find the lost golden temple, and are Ritu’s mother and brother ever rescued? The answers to these questions form the rest of this elaborate story.
Ritu and Natwar fall in love:
They are really adorable together. Hema looks breathtaking in this film too.
Jimmy charms the boots off of Bindu, Bahadur’s long-suffering girlfriend:
Such sartorial splendor!
I can’t leave out Premnath—he is so wonderfully evil, and there is another great song where Ritu tries to elude his lecherous grasp by pretending to get drunk:
But all’s well that ends well, and a very very good time it is too!