Mere Sanam (1965)

meresanam_friends

If ever a film really really really (really) wanted to be a Shammi film, it’s this one. It has:

  • Feisty Asha Parekh as the reluctant heroine (eventually won over after being stalked relentlessly by the hero)
  • A gaggle of girlfriends around her (chief amongst them Laxmi Chhaya!)
  • Sidekick Rajendranath (complete with loony antics)
  • Pran in an orange wig
  • Lovely lovely songs by OP Nayyar (sung beautifully by Rafi and Asha B.)
  • Kashmir, gorgeous Kashmir (and quite a few plot elements lifted directly from Kashmir Ki Kali)

All it really lacks is Shammi himself. Instead, we are given…Biswajeet. Poor Biswajeet. However, he does his best to imitate Shammi and mostly it’s a fun-packed and stylish delectation; it does go a bit off the rails at the end into kidnapping and murder territory (oh, Pran. Pran, Pran, Pran). The DVD picture quality is pretty bad too: someone should restore this one for sure! A very young Mumtaz graces the screen with her presence briefly, and there is the usual assortment of character actors and rotund funnymen adding to the entertainment. And I simply LOVE the songs.

Kumar (Biswajeet) is the wealthy heir to businessman Mr. Mehra (Nasir Hussain). Mehra and Kumar’s father were best friends, and Mehra has treated Kumar as his own son since his father died. Mehra himself lost his own wife and daughter in the Partition riots, which took place while he was in Africa earning his fortune; when he returned he was told that they had died.

Kumar sets off for Kashmir, where he has business to conduct. On the way (he drives as recklessly as a Kapoor would too!) he literally runs into Neena (Asha Parekh) and her girlfriends who have ventured out on their bikes for a picnic (what else?).

meresanam_asha

It isn’t an auspicious beginning to a love story, and it’s further complicated when Kumar discovers that the girls are staying in his house. Mehra’s business manager in Kashmir, Shyam (Pran), has rented the usually empty house out as a hotel and hired Pyare (Rajendranath) and his father (Dhumal) to run things. Neena’s mother Savitri Devi (Achala Sachdev) is chaperoning the girls, and we quickly discover that she and Neena are Mehra’s long-lost wife and daughter—they think he abandoned them long ago.

When we meet him, Rajendranath is costumed in a candy-striped shorts and jacket outfit with a matching cap and red knee-high socks and I wonder briefly if he laughed at himself too, looking in the mirror sometimes. What a goofball! Here he is, with Ram Avtar and his formidable stomach:

meresanam_ramavtar

Anyway, the first half of the film follows the Kumar-Neena romance as it slowly (very slowly) blossoms. I especially miss Shammi’s presence during the songs, which are just beautiful; Biswajeet tries hard to emulate him, but it just isn’t the same.

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Neena, being Asha P., is a very feisty girl! There is a hilarious scene where Rajendranath describes her personality to a curious Kumar:

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The subtitles don’t do his little tirade justice though: I hear words like “bomb” and “goli” (bullet), and he finishes by saying (in English): “She should be sent to the front!” I fall over laughing.

While Kumar pursues the stubborn—and fiery—Neena, we also discover that Shyam has a little side business in opium going. His office door has a fabulous warning light that tells him when someone is coming, and numerous hidden doors behind which are hanging chains and other ominous items. Shyam is not a nice man, not nice at all.

meresanam_pran

Kumar wins Neena’s affections finally when he rescues her from the lecherous attentions of Pompadour Man, who tries to grope her on the dance floor in front of Ted Lyons & His Cubs. Not that Neena really needs “rescuing”—but it’s the thought that counts, I guess.

meresanam_badmashpomp

Meanwhile, Lalchand—who works for Shyam—recognizes Savitri Devi and tells Shyam that she is wealthy Mr. Mehra’s wife. Rupee signs flashing in his eyes, Shyam sets out to charm Savitri (who was earlier hospitalized after a fall):

meresanam_shyam

Although he’s paid her no attention at all before this, she instantly falls for his ploy and offers up Neena to be his wife (he doesn’t even have to ask!). Poor Neena! She is dismayed by Shyam’s advances, and like any girl calls in her peeps to help out. They are ever-obliging.

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Shyam, realizing that he needs to get Kumar out of his way, enlists the help of a club dancer named Kamini (Mumtaz).

meresanam_mumtaz

Will she succeed in luring Kumar away from Neena? Will Neena give in to her Ma’s wishes and marry Shyam? Will the Mehras ever be reunited? Our story takes a gruesome turn—and Biswajeet acts his heart out:

meresanam_overacting

Sadly, he can’t really come close to “being” Shammi, even with the proper styling (nobody can, of course):

meresanam_hats

And our pal Laxmi Chhaya’s dancing skills are sadly wasted, although Asha’s are not! She gets quite a few lovely numbers, and really the songs (choreographed by the ever-FAB Herman) are my favorite thing about this film.

meresanam_masks

meresanam_blackface1

If you’re in the mood for a frothy and light 1960s entertainer and a real Shammi film isn’t available, this is not a bad alternative!

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32 Comments to “Mere Sanam (1965)”

  1. I saw this movie sometimes in the late 80s, but it was only half so entertaining than your review.
    Aftere reading every review of yours, I feel as if I want to see that film, evven it has got bad critics from you!
    Poor Biswajeet! His screem caps are very flattering!
    Poor Biswajeet!
    :-)

  2. LOLOLOL i love pulling faces, and when i was uriah heep’s mother in my school play of david copperfield i must have acted my heart/face out just like Biswajeet! This movie definitely needed a Shammi or a Shashi to shimmy about and look plausible when “rescuing” Asha from a great dancer!

  3. Like Harvey, I watched this long ago, too, and all I remember is the great songs. And poor Biswajit – wish he could have a little more err… something to make him interesting! lol Still…. for a frothy entertainer with such super songs, I can put up with Biswajit and Pran’s orange wig!

    Just checked the print on the youtube songs of the film posted by Eros. That seems pretty good quality. Which one was yours?

    • I have a Music India Collections (aka Samrat) version. It’s horrible. I will look for an Eros version and think about replacing this one. It is very bad, no effort at all made to fix color, bad spots, etc.

  4. The songs in this movie too were great,just like in most of the other 60’s movies!

  5. The songs are quite simply AWESOME. I love them :)

  6. Oh Sigh ! This is one film I really needed reminding. Such lovely lovely songs. You can even forget Biswajeet. Oh the very very young Mumtaz singing – Yeh hai reshmi zulfon ka andhera na ghabraiye. I am going to look up the songs on youtube right away !

    I could watch this film over and over !

  7. And if you want to see Pran looking superhot, watch Asha (starring Kishore Kumar, Vyjayantimala and the first short appearence of Asha Parekh as a dancer. Above all Pran looking so broadshouldered and goodlooking.

  8. Mere Sanam, by the way, borrows a bit from the Rock Hudson-Gina Lollobrigida starrer Come September – in that too the caretaker of the hero’s villa converts it into a hotel and rents it out to make some money while the hero’s out of town.

    I think this is one of O P Nayyar’s best scores; absolutely sublime music. The hero and some of the costumes leave a lot to be desired, though (I seem to recall a song with both Asha Parekh and Biswajit – otherwise dressed fairly normally, in summer clothes – but wearing silly knitted caps). If only Shammi Kapoor had been the hero, I’d have even lived with that…

    • Kashmir Ki Kali borrowed that too :) Yes, I love love love the music. The silly knitted caps didn’t really bother me, although naturally it would have all been better if Shammi had been the hero! Biswajeet was okay here (as you know, he can really annoy me sometimes) but for sure he is no Shammi…

  9. So you basically spent the entire movie thinking…

    “Now, if SHAMMI were dancing or defending her from the pompadour man…”

  10. This movie was clearly a “me too” movie, made to take advantage of the popularity of Shammi Kapoor. There were quite a few actors apeing Shammi Kapoor those days. Joy Mukherji and Vishwajeet were the two who were the most successful. In one movie, even Sujit Kumar aped Shammi Kapoor.

    To be fair to Vishwajeet, he also worked in a different genre, that of sublime love stories . And that was one genre of movies shere he was the top star, and he did not have to ape anyone there. Such movies typically had wonderful songs and music by Hemant Kumar.

    • Even Feroz Khan imitated Shammi (Shammi told me that Feroz always freely admits it too :-)

      Biswajeet just doesn’t do anything for me as a romantic hero, but not everyone can I guess!

  11. Correction: Your review is twice as much entertaining than the film!

    Ava: Didn’t know that Asha Parekh had a brief role in Asha!

  12. If one didn’t know that Asha Parekh was the heroine of the movie, one would think form the first screen cap that Laxmi Chayya is. This lady had such a screen presence!
    Or is it my rooting for the underdog talking?

    • I am completely stumped as to why Laxmi wasn’t a big heroine. She really is so gorgeous, and so vibrant. She is easily as fun to watch as Mumtaz for instance…

      I guess luck and chance really do make a big difference!

  13. harvey: Yes, Asha Parekh does have a brief role in Asha though (as far as I remember) she’s uncredited. That film had good music too – Eena meena deeka is probably the best known of its songs.

  14. Superb songs in this movie.
    It has all the ingredients of a 1960s typical film.
    If you want to watch another non-Shammi lovely-songs 1960 movie, you could try “Phir Wohi Dil Laaya Hoon”.
    Asha Parekh with Joy Mukherjee this time.

  15. Yes, I have seen that one and the songs are lovely in it too :)))) I should rewatch it though…I don’t remember much about it.

  16. yes this movie is famous for its songs. I have heard the songs on radio/cd. haven’t seen the movie tho – Biswajeet puts me off.

    I wonder if any of you noticed, Rishi Kapoor in his earlier movies did copy Biswajeet too!

  17. There are other such Shammi style Non Shammi starrer movies as well. I think that “Love In Tokyo” is one movie that comes the closest to resembling an Shammi Kapoor movie. Its songs are indistinguishable from Shammi movies songs.

  18. You’re right of course Atul! Says a lot about Shammi that a particular (lovely) kind of song is so identifiable with him :-)

  19. I’d seen this movie long ago. But saw it again yesterday. Trying to see as manay Asha P. movies as I can lay my hands on. I’m quite obsessed with her recently. :-)

    Biswajeet is a pretty face though his acting is not that um…pretty. And he does the lower-lip biting act quite often in the movie. Seems to be his favorite facial gesture. Songs are definitely beautiful esp Pukarta chala hoon main, Yeh hai reshmi zulfon, and Tukde hain mere dil ke which’ve always been my favorites from this film. And yes, the role is definitely carved out for Shammi. Wonder why he didn’t do it/ or wasn’t given the role. Even the silly winter caps in summer clothes seems so reminiscent of Shammi. He could’ve pulled off beautifully.

    Gonna be watching 1961 Gharana with Asha P. this evening. Love the song Husn wale tera jawab nahin in it.

    • Let me know what you think of Gharana…I don’t think I’ve seen it :)

      • Rajendra Kumar, Raaj Kumar, and Asha Parekh film Gharana – a classic.
        Sasuraal is much better as Saroja Devi is greater actress than Asha Parekh herself.
        I love bith of them.

        Memsaab i saw a post in Miss Mary where you have written you would like to see telugu version.
        I suggest why dont you see Anbee Vaa 1966 in Tamil with subtitles..
        Its a classic movie.
        i doubt whether this film any one has attempted to remake in Hindi.

  20. Does anyone know why the song “humne to dil ko aap ke kadmo pe rakhe diya” was not included in the movie? It is however included in all the audio compilations, in cds, vinyl records, etc. An exquisite song such as this ought to have an equally exquisite visual portrayal of it on the big screen.

    • Might as well ask why the sky is blue, or the grass is green…Anyone trying to compile a list of all the awesome songs (and scenes) which have been deleted from DVDs of films would die from old age before getting halfway through it.

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