Pointless plot provides framework for awesome songs and cute star cameos: that pretty much sums this film up. It is a Mehmood vehicle, and although Mehmood does his best—and provides some funny moments—the fabulously picturized Shankar Jaikishan songs, peppered by short appearances by stars like Waheeda Rehman and Rajendranath in a “behind-the-scenes” look at movie-making, are what made it worth sitting through. I got this film on the strength of one of its songs which Richard over at Dances On The Footpath had posted. I defy anyone to watch it and then NOT spend the rest of the day bursting forth with “Naach meri jaan—fa-taa-fat!”
It was not the only good song, though, by any means. We are introduced to our saucy heroine Radha (Leena Chandavarkar) through a lively song (“Tujhe Dil Ki Baat”) with her college mates at a temple. The choreography makes excellent use of the lovely setting!
Radha takes a liking to the simple, sweet rabbity-faced waiter who arrives with the food truck.
His name is Sunder, and his unfortunate buck-teeth have burdened him with a feeling that he is ugly. He mistakes Radha’s kindness for love despite their obvious differences in class and appearance.
Sunder lives with his beloved Ma (Sulochana) and works hard to scrape together a living as a waiter at the Hotel Rasraj, where his ability to make people laugh outshines his less stellar abilities as a waiter. His boss is Ramswarup (David)—and he is also Radha’s father, as Sunder discovers when she comes into the restaurant one day.
Ramswarup has just opened a new hotel and sends Sunder to work there. Time for a lavishly mounted Folies-Bergere style production number, complete with Can-Can music.
Sunder sees a childhood friend there with a big film producer, and scurries away when his friend spots him too. The friend, Amar (Biswajeet), calls him to his hotel room afterwards and they are reunited in one of those romantic bhai-bhai-dost-dost scenes that Hindi film men indulge in. Amar is hurt that Sunder avoided him in the restaurant.
Meanwhile, Radha’s father has shown Amar’s photo to Radha as a prospective groom—she is very pleased (she’s met him already once when he rescued her from some roadside romeos). Off she goes into a song fantasy (“Do Mastane Do Deewane“) which is quite simply F*A*B*U*L*O*U*S*…
Cupids! Cleopatra! Supernovas! Mermaids! A scary swan! Butterfly cherubs! It really doesn’t get any better than this (until we get to “Naach Meri Jaan”).
Sunder confides in Amar that he’s in love with a very pretty girl and is afraid he is too ugly for her.
It’s not long before Amar discovers that Sunder’s lady-love is none other than his own fiancee Radha. He decides to help Sunder by introducing him to some of his producer friends in the hopes that a film career will give Sundar a better life and he’ll forget about Radha. Of course first he does his best to be self-sacrificing.
What a moron! Thankfully Radha has the good sense to put the kibosh on that idea, although Amar does manage to convince her to keep quiet about their relationship so as not to undermine Sunder’s self-confidence.
Sunder’s audition with the film producers is pretty funny. He imitates Raj Kapoor, then Shammi, then Rafi, Pradeep and KC Dey in quick order. He is signed up and given a makeover at the dentist’s. In no time at all, he’s a big star. The fun of watching his progress is in the guest stars roped in to play filmi people. Rajendranath “directs” Sunder’s first film opposite Aruna Irani.
There’s a funny scene where Sunder does stunts on “horseback”:
and a rain-soaked scene with Waheeda Rehman (Nasir Hussain “directs” this one):
And then, the film’s raison d’etre: ”Naach Meri Jaan” featuring Jaikishan directing the orchestra, Kishore singing, and Jayshree T dancing up a storm with Mehmood. Just go and see it, now!
Despite his roaring success, though, Sunder does not forget his love for Radha—he remains determined to become worthy of her. But she and Amar are still carrying on their romance and are engaged to each other. What will happen when Sunder finally proposes to her?
Leena Chandavarkar is her usual feisty and pretty self, Biswajeet is his usual limp dishrag self (and he still looks like Peewee Herman, although this time with a pinch of Deven Verma), and Mehmood—who dominates the film—is often funny and occasionally irritating. There are several preachy messages thrown out randomly like second thoughts: study hard, be kind to orphans, don’t have more than two kids (a family-planning pamphlet is given some good air time). If you want to know why I called the story pointless and don’t mind finding out how it ends, read on.
Warning: Spoilers here! For most of the first hour the point driven home is that Sunder should feel worthwhile no matter what he looks like. But then he ends up getting dental surgery and a makeover in order to succeed. So…do looks matter or not? Sunder also stays true to himself and to his loved ones despite his success, which is clearly the right thing to do—but he ends up alone (no Radha, and Ma dies too, in a senseless accident). I was left with nothing except a sense of WTF?! Pointless! End spoilers.
The film is certainly worth watching for the song picturizations alone (they will be stuck in your head, though, so beware). I liked all of them, and the self-referential look behind the scenes of the film world is oodles of fun too.
Just don’t worry about the story, and if you can find a DVD made by someone other than T Series, get that one. The picture quality on my T Series DVD is awful.