Dil Ne Phir Yaad Kiya (1966)

This movie is so dreadful that I normally would throw it in the “I’ll never watch this one again on purpose” bin and not give it another thought. But it’s interesting in that it has three actors I really like generally (Dharmendra, Rehman and Nutan) and I’m sort of amazed that they would DO this film. And, it’s a perfect example of what I find hard to tolerate sometimes on my journey to watch every Hindi movie ever made (at least the ones on DVD). People often ask me what I don’t like about Hindi movies; here’s your answer.

This should have been my first clue that I would hate it, except I didn’t realize yet that by “Man” they really meant “men” and had forgotten to add “women don’t count” at the end.

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The story is about two friends, Ashok (Dharmendra) and Amjad (Rehman). Ashok is a poor orphan with only an evil stepbrother Bhagat (Jeevan) as family. He loves Ashu (Nutan), but Bhagat wants to marry her for her brother’s property, and has threatened to kill Ashu if Ashok comes near their village. Amjad is from a wealthy family, but has left home and moved in with Ashok because his mother refuses to give her approval for his marriage to his beloved, Shabnam.

At least they have each other.

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Back in the village, we meet Ashu, who is harassed constantly by Ashok’s stepbrother Bhagat and his servant Lote. She can’t stand them, with good reason.

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After this interlude, we go back to the city where Ashok and Amjad lose their jobs as salesmen at Modern Tie Shop. Incidentally, recently-deceased Manorama has a brief scene here. Update: bluelotus in comments below has identified this actress as Indira Bansal, who looks a lot like Manorama to me but isn’t (I’ve since seen them in the same film together too).

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As they discuss how they are going to pay their rent, a telegram arrives for Amjad. His mother has relented! She misses him so much that she has arranged his marriage with Shabnam, and asks him to come home as soon as possible. Amjad is overjoyed and convinces Ashok to go and get Ashu from his village, and then the two of them can come and live with him and Shabnam because

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Off Ashok goes to get Ashu. Now we find out that her brother is dead, murdered by Bhagat, and Bhagat has imprisoned her in a fortress. He is planning to force her to marry him.

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The movie is still okay at this point because a) Bhagat and his servant are so repulsive that it’s funny; b) it’s fun trying to identify the various character actors (and they are plentiful); c) Dharmendra is hot; and d) Ashok and Amjad are a little gooey together, but I do like that Indian men are comfortable being demonstrative with their friends.

Anyway. Bhagat is undeterred by Ashu’s hatred.

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He is a little surprised when Ashok shows up. They act buddy-buddy until Bhagat tries to poison Ashok. The unfortunate family dog gets it instead and all bets are off. Luckily Ashok hears Ashu singing “Aaja Re” and tracks her down in her prison. After a lot of dishum-dishum he rescues her from Bhagat’s men. Aren’t Nutan and Dharmendra beautiful together?

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Escaping is not that easy though. An hour-long cat and mouse chase ensues. Nutan does shine as a comedienne in one scene, when—posing as an old Muslim woman—she convinces Bhagat to help them escape.

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But by the time they reach the train which will take them to Amjad, I am bored. There are only so many “Bachao! bachao!” scenes, comic sequences, and strange coincidences (one of the bad guys looks exactly like Ashok) I can take. My boredom turns to horror as the train Ashok and Ashu are on crashes, and Ashu dies. I realize that from now on, the film will be unbearably stupid and sentimental (even for me, and my standards are not that high).

It is. Amjad naturally comes to get Ashok—who is in a coma with a brain injury—and takes him home. The doctor doesn’t hold out much hope:

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What a quack! (And note the photograph of Ashok hanging on the wall behind them—it falls off abruptly as the doctor leaves. Oh portent of doom!) Of course Amjad pleads with God to take his life instead, blah blah blah. Ashok comes out of his coma when he hears Ashu’s voice singing “Aaja Re” again. Amjad finds him and Ashok shows him a photo of Ashu (which somehow was in the pocket of his pajamas). Amjad is shocked by the photo. Uh-oh.

We haven’t met Shabnam yet, but when we do it comes as no surprise that she is identical to Ashu.

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He “convinces” her to pose as Ashu so that Ashok can recover.

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How does that make any sense? Anyway, she very sensibly resists and he tells her that if she doesn’t do it and Ashok dies, then he will also leave her. So she agrees, and of course it’s a bad, bad idea.

Ashok doesn’t understand why Ashu doesn’t respond to his advances any more; the quack doctor keeps telling everyone that he’ll die without her; Amjad continues to force her to pose as Ashu; and of course eventually Bhagat and his servant show up again. It all ends in tears.

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Let me sum up by saying that the film contained every single element that I dislike in Hindi movies (I can tolerate them alone, or even in pairs, but not ALL in the same film):

  • Repetitive harping on one subject in case we don’t get it the first 100 times: “You mean more to me than my life”; “I will never love my wife as I love you”; “I would die for you” and so on.
  • The interminable dragging-out of a plot element that would have been fine had it taken a tenth of the time.
  • Not a single female character who is more than a chess piece to be manipulated by the men around her.
  • Ludicrous medical diagnoses that don’t even pretend not to be laughable.
  • Lame attempts to explain away some incredible coincidences but not others (at the end we learn that Shabnam did have a twin named Ashu, but their parents somehow lost her?—there’s no explanation given for that; or for Ashok’s identical twin who was a bad guy earlier in the movie).
  • Copious amounts of blackmail through guilt.

I’m sure there are others, but I’m tired of it. Into the bin it goes!

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33 Comments to “Dil Ne Phir Yaad Kiya (1966)”

  1. “Let me sum up by saying that the film contained every single element that I dislike in Hindi movies (I can tolerate them alone, or even in pairs, but not ALL in the same film)” — very well put. I think if one has the ability to appreciate Hindi films it just comes naturally to forgive some of these peccadilloes – I used to call it “surrendering to the aesthetic”. But there is only so much surrendering one can be expected to do. As a non-Indian I don’t always trust my judgment about Hindi films, but some films are just bad and there’s not much of a way around that.

  2. “Surrendering to the aesthetic” is brilliant! And by and large I am more than able and willing to do that. But this was truly abysmal.

  3. Omg i still recovering from tears induced by laughter!

    “I love u more than ashu,” “may worms get u,” “my love is a debt u owe”- wth????

    but i have to say nutan is beyond beautifulllll- and i have a weird love/insanity for rehman :)

  4. I love Rehman too. He was so handsome! and just has a great air about him. I find him very…soothing or something.

    I knew the movie was no good when even the hilarious subtitles failed to make me laugh.

  5. If you don’t understand Hindi, you shouldn’t slam the dialogues – the lines sound a lot more corny in English than in Hindi (it’s the same with many non-English spoken films). Though the meaning is more or less the same, the English translations doesn’t always “read” well nor give the same effect as it does in Hindi.

  6. I think we were slamming the subtitles, not the dialogues.

    I actually do understand more Hindi than I speak, enough to know that sometimes the subtitles aren’t even close to what was just said.

  7. I haven’t seen this one. Though, all 3 actors are my favourites too. Rehman is not only handsome but has impeccable diction, pleasure to hear him.

    Talking of bad films, I spent the last few days gulping down bad films one after the other. Notably “Yaadein” and “Hum Saath Saath Hain”. At “Maine Pyar Kyun Kiya” I gave up.

  8. Yikes! Out of those three probably “Maine Pyar Kyun Kiya” is the least bad :-) You are a brave woman, Banno.

    • Sad thing is Maine Pyar Kyun Kiya only didn’t suck as much because it is a shameless ripoff of the 1969 romantic comedy “Cactus Flower” with Goldie Hawn, Walter Matteau, and Ingrid Bergman.

      The original, of course, is great, especially wonderful to see Ingrid Bergman in a comedy. Highly recommend it. =)

  9. Amazingly, there’s another TERRIBLE movie with the very same name out there – have you come across it? I’ve had the grave misfortune of doing so, and in a fit of what must have been temporary madness, actually watched it right to the end. It stars the award-winning jodi of Tabu and Govinda (?) (and some other guy I had never seen before), and is just. truly. AWFUL.

  10. I have spared myself that one, mostly because I try to spare myself from Govinda at every opportunity :-) But thanks for the extra warning!

  11. The amazing songs more than make up for the story..The second part of the story is quite decent.

  12. Came over looking for a plot summary of this film. I’d just been listening to the trio of Rafi, Lata and Mukesh singing the title song and was curious to know the story behind it. As often with old Hindi film songs, the full story can be disappointing!

    I’m happy listening and occasionally watching the songs only.

    Yaadein (the older one with Sunil Dutt and various voices) I thought was an interesting experiment.

  13. The movie is dreadful, but its songs are just awesome. Each one of the dozen or so songs i it. Sonik Omi ( the uncle nephew duo) composed some amazing music in this movie.

  14. Ha! I think I left a comment on your blog that this would go on a list of movies that did not deserve the songs they had in them.

  15. Oh my! Thanks—you know, I saw another film with someone who looked like Manorama but didn’t quite seem to be her, maybe it was Indira Billi there as well. She looks very like Manorama! Have corrected my post, thanks for the info.

  16. Hi,

    The actress in the comic role is not Manorama but its a different Comedianne- Indira Billi. Indira Billi too is no more. Thanks.

  17. Hi,

    Sunny, I think the commedianne is Indira Bansal (she was in Asha Parekh’s hockey team in Teesri Manzil!).

    Indira Billi acted mostly in Punjabi movies. She had light eyes hence the name ‘Billi’ – ‘Cat’ in Hindi.

  18. bluelotus, you are right—it is Indira Bansal. I’ve seen her in other stuff since I posted this. I don’t think I’ve seen Indira Billi though…I’ve updated the post to reflect the correct info.

  19. Another very good review.
    I have not seen this movie – though I do like the title song very much.
    Reading the story, I cannot help feeling it must have been very typical of the times. If this was 1966, it must have been soon after that mother of all “must-sacrifice-love-for-friend” movies, Sangam. That turned out to be a super-duper hit, so the formula just HAD to be immediately copied. :-)

    Which is why I always liked movies of BR Chopra. He dared to be non-conformist, going against the flow. Like his “Sadhna”.

    Anyway, back to this movie, the character artist in that third screenshot (with Jeevan) looks like Randhir. He used to act in a fair number of movies, in this type of “scheming henchman” role (as opposed to the “muscleman henchman” role). :-)

  20. Ah, thank you Raja! There are so many actors who I see over and over again, but never know their names. Thanks for adding another name to a face for me :)

    This is a perfect example of what I call a “Red Mist” movie. I cannot stand the way women are portrayed and the way they are treated in these films.

  21. But the songs are pretty decent. The picturization of the title song also makes a good video.

  22. I need to listen to the songs again…I think the movie was so awful that I didn’t pay close enough attention to them :) I am a big fan of Sonik Omi though!

  23. 100% agree. B-grade (just because C-grade doesn’t mean anything). I sampled the movie and it’s possible that the second half was better. Two or three of the songs were quite good and I have them in one of my many Dharmendra playlists.
    Sadly, I suspect, this is not Dharmendra’s worst movie.

    • It may not be, but it’s one of the worst I’ve seen for sure (and I’ve seen a lot of Dharmendra movies)…

      ps the second half was NOT better :D It continued to go downhill until it ended, blessedly.

  24. The reason why this movie might have made a mark was because it was released in 1966 – the same year as Dharmendra’s other hits like ‘Phool Aur Paththar, ‘Anupama’, ‘Mamta’, ‘Aaye Din Bahar Ke’ were released.

  25. Dosto :

    The SONGS were just superb…watch the movie to enjoy them. That`s all, made my day.

  26. Insert dvd and click songs menu that’s it.All songs are gems even jeevan´s song“yuh chal´´.They should keep dvds title HIts of Rafi saab.Same thing happen with another movie name Dulhan ek raat ki.Same star cast all superhit songs and total bakwas movie.

  27. I was checking for additional Nutan films to get and watch, and had already located this one of ebay, but I had a second thought and half remembered you had spoken about it! Well, what can I say? THANKS! How *can* Dharmendra and Nutan have done such a movie… ??

  28. I think that role played by Rakhee in sharmilee was similar to that played by Nutan in this movie.Both acted well. Lote was spelt by Jeevan like Sambha by Gabbar singh of Sholey.Dharmendra was okey with his image both as He-man and sober role. Why blame the movie ? Overall it was a typical hindi movie.

  29. Your comments about the movie had me laughing so hard!!! Thank you that was brilliant. I do want to add that the theme song ‘dil ne phir yaad keya’ has a haunting melody and is quite beautiful and makes up for the incredibly ‘unrealistic’ movie

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