Jawan Mohabbat (1971)

jm_dvdWhenever a “new” old Shammi film finally appears (with subtitles) on DVD there is much joy and celebration in the Memsaab household, tail-wagging (Gemma) and jumping up and down (me) and so on. If Asha Parekh is his co-star along with Pran, the celebration is even more prolonged. Sadly, there is no Helen; and despite her looming presence on the DVD cover (and in the cast list) no Mumtaz either, but these are minor issues in the face of heretofore unseen Shammi. Shammi, Shammi, Shammi!

And happily, the first half of this film is quintessential early sixties Shammi-style frothy fun, as he bombards a reluctant and feisty Asha with his mischievous charm and romantic songs. But then everything turns suddenly dark, with death and blackmail looming large, and levels of gloom, self-pity and self-sacrifice rarely seen even by the most devoted Hindi cinema fan (me again). If you don’t mind a little movie multiple personality disorder, then you can probably tolerate it. If you prefer a logical narrative without completely over-the-top dramatics…then you probably aren’t reading this anyway.

Respected doctor Naresh Sareen (Balraj Sahni) lives in beautiful Kashmir with his lovely wife Sunita (Nirupa Roy), young daughter Rekha (Baby Sarika) and chhota bhai Rajesh (Shammi Kapoor).

Rajesh’s close friend Tommy (Rajendranath) comes to ask for Rajesh’s help. Tommy’s mother has fixed his marriage with a local girl, but Tommy is in love with another girl (who happens to be a doctor working at the same hospital as Naresh). Tommy wants Rajesh to get his affianced Komal (Asha Parekh) to fall in love with him, so that she’ll refuse to marry Tommy. Rajesh is somewhat appalled at the thought of playing with a girl’s emotions this way, but Tommy assures him that Komal is so lovely that he’ll fall in love with her too, and they can get married. (It’s just that his beloved is better even than Komal.)

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The screen cap above is notable for the fact that Rajendranath actually does say “Juliet” and not “Laila”! Anyway, Tommy’s¬†romance with the doctor (whose father is Dhumal, also a doctor) is of course the Comic Side Plot, and is pretty standard stuff—occasionally funny, with long stretches that are dragged on too long. Enough said!

Rajesh agrees to take a look at Komal, and sure enough he is smitten at first sight: she’s picnicking with a gaggle of friends, and singing a lovely song.

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I am not sure how long it took to make this film, but Asha looks beautiful, and Shammi looks younger (and thinner) than he does in his other 1971 films. I suspect it was in the making for a couple of years, anyway. But I digress.

Rajesh begins to woo Komal with disguises, pranks, and the usual mischief. She is unimpressed initially.

A man named Vinod (Pran) has also just arrived in Kashmir, fresh out of Central Jail where he served a couple of years for a crime in which a woman named Mala (Shashikala) was an accomplice. She has made off with his share of the booty, and he wants it. Knowing the nefarious Mala as he does, he has assumed that she has come here to Kashmir to renew her old acquaintance with Dr. Naresh—and take vengeance on him for dumping her. He is momentarily sidetracked at the sight of Komal, though.

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He arranges to have one of his men attack her, and then he pretends to jump in and save her. Although she is deeply suspicious of Rajesh and his motives, she has no such qualms about Vinod and takes him home to meet her father (Raj Mehra), who is the DIG of the Kashmir police. He is suitably grateful to Vinod for rescuing his daughter, and they embrace him in the way that Indians do, as one of their own. Komal takes particular notice of Vinod’s lighter, which plays music when flicked open.

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Meanwhile, Mala has arrived in Kashmir as Vinod knew she would, and she sends Dr. Naresh a note asking him to meet her.

He is surprised to see her, but flattered when she tells him that she’s been unable to forget him.

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He tells her that he’s happily married, and that she should forget him—but like Rajesh, she’s not going to give up so easily. She has a very creepy “maid” who looks remarkably like a man wearing a saree and not trying very hard to fool anybody (although everyone appears to be fooled anyway).

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Rajesh has made good progress with Komal. How could he not? He is so heart-stoppingly, meltingly handsome and romantic.

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You’ve convinced MEEEEE! After he “rescues” her from Tommy wearing a moth-eaten bear suit (I wonder if there is just the one bear suit, used over and over again for decades) Komal admits that she loves him too. He and Tommy go to see Komal’s father; Tommy is let off the marital hook and Rajesh is put on it instead. All’s well that ends…

But wait. At the Sareen home, Naresh has suddenly stopped coming home in the evenings. He even misses his own birthday party (Baby Sarika, who grew up to be 80s actress Just Plain Sarika, is really a cute kid).

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Vinod has tracked Mala down and is blackmailing her with some letters.

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Desperate now for money (as well as vengeance), Mala has doubled her efforts to ensnare Dr. Naresh and she has succeeded. When Sunita confronts him, he tells her he wants a divorce and storms out of the house. Little Rekha, upset by the tension, gets up late at night and goes to find her father. She is hit by a drunk driver; passing pedestrians try to flag the next car down to take her to the hospital. It’s Dr. Naresh and Mala, of course, on their way to a party at Mala’s house, and Mala convinces him to keep going.

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Rekha’s injuries are so serious that when she does make it to the hospital, her distraught mother and uncle are told that the only surgeon who can save her is—Dr. Naresh!

The humanity! Will anyone be able to find him before it’s too late? Will he abandon loyal and faithful Sunita for the characterless Mala? Is Vinod going to let go of Komal without a fight, or will Rajesh find himself in deep trouble?

As I said earlier, the first half of this film is a typical Shammi joyride and lots of fun if you are a Shammi fan. The comedy bits get somewhat tiresome, but everything moves along and Shankar-Jaikishan’s songs are lovely. When Naresh gets caught in Mala’s web, though, the movie goes off the rails. It becomes melodramatic (really, really melodramatic) and hysterical, and a lot of what happens doesn’t really make any sense in the context of the characters we’ve gotten to know (especially that of Naresh). Much weeping and various offerings of self to God ensue, and although it’s supposed to be tragic it really just descends into farce. So: a mixed bag, but if you love Shammi don’t miss it.

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25 Comments to “Jawan Mohabbat (1971)”

  1. Shammi Kapoor (in those days) was always fun to watch! I’m not too sure about this film though, atleast considering its cheesy title! ;) What’s your fav Shammi film?

  2. Memsaab

    Balraj Sahani – u have sold the movie to me! I would love to see this movie just for him!

    Glad you are continuing your Shammi joy ride.

  3. Bhargav: IMO he is always fun to watch, even now :) I think my favorite is probably Teesri Manzil, although there are a few that run very close behind it (Janwar, Professor, Junglee…)

    Anonymous: Balraj Sahni was the only actor who tried to maintain some sort of semblance to reality at the end (sadly, he could not do it alone)…but see it for Shammi AND him :)

  4. I think I did see this film. I remember the Mala episode. But with Shammi around, things are fun fun fun.

  5. This sounds really interesting.
    A little bit like Love marriage in the fact, thatt the old flame of the brother comes back. Does Mala try to get Rajesh instead of Naresh?
    It must have been a hard job for the director, to make an interesting story like this melodramatic and …. boring (?)
    When they were as it is being so melodramatics, why didn’t they let Rekha be hit my Naresh’s car?
    The songs are fabulous.my fav is na rutho na rutho!
    thanks fro the review.

    • No, Mala is not in the least interested in Rajesh…I’ve seen Love Marriage and I didn’t make an connection between these, but it was a while ago…

      And the songs are really lovely :)

  6. As Harvey points out, this sounds pretty similar to the Dev Anand starrer Love Marriage. I’ve seen this looooong ago and have rather fond memories of it – but then in those days all the movies on TV would get painful after the interval. So this one was probably not unusual in that aspect!

  7. Yes, the Curse of the Second Half strikes again. There seems to be about a 70% probability that it will happen.

  8. this looks great, especially the fashions beehives and eyeliner! Must copy it now!

  9. I saw this a very very long time ago… but I remember enjoying the songs, especially the very Shammi-esque Na rootho rootho na rootho na rootho meri jaan. Must find it and see it all over again – with Shammi Kapoor, Asha Parekh, Balraj Sahni and Pran and all those fabulous songs, I think I can live with the Curse of the Second Half!

  10. And where is Mumtaz? Doesn’t she even make a teeny-weeny appearance? I had exactly the same thought about this bear suit, I saw it the other day in a Sanjeev Kumar film, he apparently metamorphed into a bear every full moon night and ate up young brides to avenge the death of his sister! God!

  11. Mumtaz is nowhere to be found. She’s not in the actual film’s credits either, although imdb has her listed in it too (but they often mess up)…maybe the DVD cover designer bases his designs on imdb’s information! Not a good plan!

    And do tell me the name of that Sanjeev Kumar film! I’m pretty sure that Todd over at D4K will want to track it down too!!! How hilarious! :) It does look like the exact same bear suit in every Hindi film with a bear in it. And it dates from about 1925 I think :-))))

  12. That bear was probably shot in 1925 in the Kumaon Hills by a Memsaab wearing a sola topee, while riding on an elephant!

    Oh can we have a recap and review of this Sanjeev Kumar film. That promises to be beary howlarious!

  13. Ha ha ha!!!! I actually have a pith helmet/sola topee! although I don’t think I could possibly shoot an animal of any sort…especially a sad-looking bear. And surely if Banno can tell me the name of the film I will watch it and review it here!

  14. Wow that look of Shammi at Asha. You sold me. If you don’t want him Asha there are a lot of us here waiting with baited breath and drool running out of our mouths…in case you don’t want him, darn.

    I also love the song Jab Mohabbat Jawan Hoti Hai….by our great Mohd Rafi…I play that over and over too.

  15. I’ve always been an avid Shammi Kapoor fan after I saw PROFESSOR in 1961 at the Alankar Cinema, Bombay. So to set the record straight, JAWAN MOHABBAT was among his least successful movies. It was in the can for many years, and finally saw the light of the day in early Seventies. The songs, as is usual in Shammi Kapoor movies , are a delight especially when they are sung by the Legendary Rafi Sahaab.
    Though not important, this movie reminds me of personal incident. I had gone to see this movie at the Palace Cinema, Mumbai along with my two friends. But when I reached the theatre, the movie had already started and to make the matter worse, I had lost all the three tickets. It was with great efforts that we had to pursuade the Manager to let us in. Thus I remember JAWAN MOHABBAT. ..LOL….
    Nasir

  16. I think I said somewhere in here that it didn’t look like it was made in 1971 so thanks for verifying that! Great story too—it’s amazing how such things imprint themselves and everything connected in one’s brain :-)

  17. is it just me or is the music in this film exceptional? i’ve had to lock this movie away because when i put it on – i have to sit by the tv & listen to each song for hours – there should be WAY more song’s in this film!

    • I don’t recall thinking they were exceptional, although I did like them. Seemed sort of typically SJ and Shammi to me…which is not a bad thing of course :) I wonder if Mumtaz had a song (a guest appearance, as it were—if it took a few years to make some of it would have been shot while she and Shammi were an item) which has been cut from the DVD. I would put money on it since she is in the credits (the cover is less reliable of course) :)

  18. Sanjeev Kumar in a chimp horror suit seen in Jaani Dushman. I used to be scared listening to the radio programme, finally watched most of it in 2004 and laughed my head off, when Bridezilla appeared.

  19. I especially loved how our hero is there for his bhabhi to count upon when bade bhaiyya is misbehaving. The movie deeply upset me when I watched it on Bombay DD years ago because of all the domestic distress it portrayed and I’d forgotten about Balraj Sahni playing nasty husband in Lajwanti before (you don’t expect him to ever stray from the straight and the narrow).
    Na rootho rootho na – where Ashaben callously wastes at least half a day’s Vit. C as she’s being flighty – I love the conciliatory note on which the song ends – chalo acchha hua uljhan dilon ki rungg le aayi/ khushi aankhon mein chamki hai hansi hothon pe lehraayi…Only Shammi/Rafi could please like that.
    And I loved Asha Parekh’s dancing in `Nazar mein rungg aur mastibhara toofan leke…’ and hugely enjoyed Shammi Kapoor lurking in the bushes along with Rajendranath for a change.
    Baby Sarika too, I remember.

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