Neend Hamari Khwab Tumhare (1966)

nhkt

This is an absolutely charming, quintessentially 1960s film with a cast of stalwarts and the ever-charming and delicious Shashi at his “aw-shucks” best. The story centers around two Muslim families, which makes for lovely fashions for Nirupa Roy and Manorama who play the matriarchs of each. Nanda is styling, too! The only (minor) disappointment for me was the music by Madan Mohan; it was nice enough—and picturized well—but didn’t make much of an impression. What makes the movie memorable though is the strong ensemble cast, who all contribute humor, believability and warmth to a plot which moves briskly along.

Om Prakash plays an ambitious village barber who wins a lottery and uses his new-found wealth to restyle himself as the Nawab Ajmutullah Khan and shift his family—son Anwar (Shashi Kapoor) and “Begum” (Manorama)—to a palatial mansion in Delhi. Since his ambitions have also prompted him to educate his son well, Anwar settles into their new lifestyle easily, but the poor Begum does not. To the Nawab’s chagrin, she insists on keeping company with “low-class” singers, and chews paan just as she always did—she sees no reason to pretend to be anyone other than who she is.

nhkt_begum

The Nawab’s next-door neighbors are an old and cultured Delhi family: Khan Bahadur (Balraj Sahni), his wife (Nirupa Roy) and their daughter Nishad (Nanda), who has just returned from studying in England. Khan Bahadur is very proud of his lineage and prestige, and prides himself on his modern ways; his more traditional Begum is not as pleased at how much freedom he allows Nishad.

nhkt_modern

One of my favorite things in this film is how the two very different ladies of each house both cling to their own traditions culturally, but embrace the notion that all people are the same regardless of class or caste. They have small quarrels with their family members, but it’s the men—clinging to pride and ideas of superiority—who cause the real problems for their children, despite their obvious love for them.

Anyway, the Nawab uses Anwar’s birthday as an excuse for a party in order to meet and mingle with his new neighbors. Khan Bahadur attends reluctantly at the urging of his wife. Another of Delhi’s Nawabs attends also: his name is Shaukat (Manmohan) and he is wooing Nishad. It’s also an excuse for some entertainment in the form of a Madhumati-Bela Bose dance:

nhkt_dance

Since the party is exclusively attended by men, Anwar doesn’t meet Nishad until later, when they almost crash into each other—literally.

nhkt_meeting

She and Shaukat are headed for their Sports Club—also Anwar’s destination. He runs into his friend Dr. Rana (Anwar Hussain), who introduces them, although it doesn’t go well.

nhkt_intro

She flounces away without speaking to him, although he just laughs. Oh, confident Shashi! At home, her mother is discussing Nishad’s relationship with Shaukat with Khan Bahadur: she instinctively doesn’t like Shaukat, and with good reason.

nhkt_shaukat

Beneath his veneer of sophistication and wealth, he is debauched and in debt up to his eyeballs—and those same eyeballs are fixed on Nishad as the answer to his money problems. He has engaged the same wizened little matchmaker, Mir (Lohan) as the Nawab has for Anwar’s marriage. Mir is a funny little character: unscrupulous and toothless, he plays one man against the others, and collects money from all of them. His beautiful embroidered chikan kurtas are stylish, too.

nhkt_mir

Begum Manorama is taking (and failing) English lessons from her tutor Miss Paul (Shashikala). Manorama is hilarious—it’s fun to see her doing comedy—and I am thrilled as always to see the lovely Shashikala.

nhkt_english

Meanwhile, Anwar and Nishad make up after he saves her from a fall, and they begin to spend a lot of time together. The Nawab is thrilled at the thought of a match between them, and Khan Bahadur (having decided that his neighbors are not so bad) is perfectly happy at the thought too. Nishad’s mother decides it’s time to meet Begum Amutullah Khan—a disaster clearly in the making.

nhkt_betelnut

The visit doesn’t go well—Begum Amutullah is rude to Begum Khan Bahadur (I just love to say Begum: Begum Begum Begum!). It doesn’t much matter though, because Nishad’s mother wants to marry her off to her nephew Shibbu, and Anwar’s mother has promised Anwar to her niece Lajoo (ah, inbreeding—a long and happy tradition).

And as Anwar falls more deeply in love with Nishad (their romance is heart-stoppingly sweet sometimes!):

nhkt_love

nhkt_song

he begins to feel bad about deceiving her and her family about his background.

nhkt_prestigious

It doesn’t help matters when Nishad’s cousin Shibbu (Rajendranath) arrives to press his suit (with the help of Mir, naturally), although Nishad does her best to discourage him.

nhkt_shibbu

Anwar’s tentative attempts to find out Nishad’s real feelings are too subtle for her to really take seriously.

nhkt_whodoyoulove

As the days pass, though, he becomes quieter and more withdrawn; and even under the weight of her tremendous beehive, she notices that something is wrong.

nhkt_beehive

When the two of them are elected to represent their Sports Club at the Simla Sports Festival, Anwar hesitates to go. He doesn’t want to spoil her reputation, and is beginning to feel that he can’t marry her after all. He tells his father that he wants to tell Khan Bahadur and Nishad the truth.

nhkt_guilt

Dad brings out the age-old manipulative guilt trip weapon, and has a mild heart attack to hammer it home.¬†Anwar finally confides in Dr. Rana, who has simple advice: don’t tell her. This is an interesting scene, because it feels like the good doctor is giving Anwar bad advice for all the right reasons; he points out that Anwar is educated and a good human being, and if that doesn’t make him worthy of Nishad then what will? Why rock the boat, after all?

He also offers this keen insight into the Nawab’s mind (how I adore Hindi film psychology’s ability to state the obvious):

nhkt_inferiority

He convinces Anwar to keep chhup for the time being, and with their fathers’ blessings (although Nishad’s mother disapproves) Anwar and Nishad go off to Simla (with Rana as their benign chaperone) and frolic happily in the snow wearing pretty sweaters and pom-pommed hats. At home, Khan Bahadur and the Nawab agree on their marriage—but scheming Mir overhears the Begum talking about her brother and her niece, Anwar’s “fiancee.” He tells Shaukat to find the Begum’s brother and bring him to Delhi.

In Simla, Anwar receives a telegram telling him of his now official engagement to Nishad, and his feelings of guilt return. Nishad senses his withdrawal again and finally breaks down. You go, girl! Don’t suffer in silence!

nhkt_lacking

Can Anwar tell Nishad the truth? Will she still feel the same? What about Shaukat’s machinations with the Begum’s brother, and what about Shibbu? Can Nishad’s proud father accept a son-in-law whose father was a barber?

Watch to find out, and also because it’s sweet, funny, romantic and filled with characters who are interesting and real.

Also watch for the sumptuously opulent dresses and dupattas on lovely Nirupa! She looks stunning in this film.

nhkt_nirupa

And finally, if you haven’t already done it, head over to Beth’s madlib post about this movie, featuring lots more screencaps!

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30 Comments to “Neend Hamari Khwab Tumhare (1966)”

  1. Long time since I saw this film, but I remember liking it – much more than two of the other popular Shashi Kapoor-Nanda films, Jab Jab Phool Khile and Raja Saab. And seeing the heroine of a Muslim social in something other than shararas and salwar-kurtas was a change!

  2. This is such a sweet movie. I liked it a a lot and it was my introduction to women actually wearing warm clothes when running around in the snow. I did, however, wonder how Anwar’s parents ended up with a son this good looking, though my puzzlement has eased somewhat since I saw a movie with a much younger Manorama.

    • Sometimes two wrongs DO make a right (re: Om Prakash + Manorama = Shashi) :-D

      • On the other hand you have Prem Nath + Bina Rai = Prem Krishan.

        Genes aren’t dependable. ;-)

        • Hi to dustedoff,
          I think Prem Kishen and Rishi Kapoor(cousins) look better than Sanjay Dutt. All the parents were handsome/beautiful in their youth,weren’t they?
          Anyway,please do not take offense-this is a friendly discussion. I like your blog as well as bollyviewer. Old films are my pleasure,I am a senior:)-I hope that’s correct for smile.

    • Which movie with a younger Manorama? Please, I’d like to watch that too.

  3. I have not seen this movie.
    I got a chance to see it a couple of years ago when I was in India and it was on TV but skipped it.
    Maybe I will see it now after reading this review.

    This movie has one pretty famous song “Kabhi tera daaman na chhodenge hum”.
    It used to play on All India Radio all the time – that is where I first picked up the name of this movie.
    And the song “yunh rootho na haseena” , although not that well-known, has its fans.

    Shashi and Nanda acted in many movies together. I remember an interview where Shashi said he was grateful that Nanda agreed to act opposite him in so many movies.
    Some movies that they have acted in, other than NHKT :
    – Jab Jab Phool Khiley*
    – Juari*
    – Raja Saab*
    – Mehndi Lagi Mere Haath*
    – Rootha Na Karo*
    – Mohabbat Isko Kehte Hain
    – Char Diwari.

    Have marked the ones I have seen with an asterisk.
    I think some of these movies may just suffer from a somewhat weak storyline, nothing wrong with the acting of either Shashi or Nanda.
    JJPK, Raja Saab and RNK did well, I think, JJPK being the stand-out superhit.

    • JJPK was kind of a FAIL to me from a feminism standpoint :) Raja Saab slightly less so…

      Juari I have seen but didn’t understand—need to see it again to try and make more sense of it. The others I don’t think I’ve seen though.

      The songs in this just didn’t grab me, although it was fun to watch Shashi trying to imitate Shammi, and then giving up and just hopping about and skipping instead :-D

  4. I did not like JJPH much myself.
    It is probably the biggest solo hit of Shashi’s career (other big hits being Sharmilee and Aa Gale Lag Ja).
    But that could be to do with the songs – they were huge hits, with “pardesiyon se na akhiyan milaana” being an all-time legendary song of Indian cinema.

    None of the movies was particularly appealing to me – I found them all just about average.
    Like I said, pretty weak storylines.
    Rootha Na Karo is like a short TV series, MLMH is just very predictable, Juari also is typical.

    Even Shammi’s movies were usually typical but his personality and style could carry just about any story. Shashi, though I like him a lot, could not quite have the same impact.
    Having said that, I must say my older sisters were pretty crazy about Shashi in those days. :-)

  5. Awww I love the songs in this one – especially the Asha solos Bheegi hui is raat and Koi shikwa bhi nahin. But thats probably due to childhood indoctrination (the songs were on TV and radio a lot in the 80s)!

    The nice part of the film (apart from the fact that Westernisation of women isnt demonised) is that all the “side” characters are as important as the hero and heroine. Manorama doesnt get this much screen-time often!

    • I did like Bheegi Hui Is Raat…I didn’t dislike any of the songs, they just didn’t make that much of an impression :-)

      And that’s exactly what I liked about it—Shashi and Nanda were cute and all, but the rest of the cast had lots of screen time too, and really MADE the film.

  6. It’s been ages since I saw this film, but I remember being more than a little confused and bored by it. It may be one of those films that sounds great on paper(or in your write-ups), but is less than magic on-screen.

    • I think that’s mostly how Beth felt about it; I expected to myself, but was really charmed…

      I guess a lot of reacting to a film depends on when you watch it and who you watch it with, and what your mood is :-) That seems to be the case for me, anyway.

  7. Your post is making me want to go watch it again immediately! What a great point about the shared traits of the two sets of moms and dads – and how the female characters especially are so different yet really view and navigate the world similarly. Very insightful!

    Also, the pictures of Shashi are niiiiiiice. He’s looking especially good in those profiles you chose. [Wiping up drool now.]

    • Shashi was heart-meltingly romantic in places here. No wonder Nanda was willing to co-star with him despite his (bewildering) lack of success at this point.

      And I really really loved the extended cast here, as I’ve sad already…especially that Manorama got more screen time—and as a much more likable character—than usual, and how she and Nirupa Roy were so sensible and similar in their basic beliefs, even though their one meeting didn’t go so well.

      I can picture Manorama teaching Nirupa how to cut a betel leaf, as she did with Shashikala, after their kids got married! :-D

  8. I have never been a fan of Shashi Kapoor. I have no idea why. The only movie where I liked Shashi Kapoor was “Swayamwar” and that was because I liked the movie so much that I liked everyone associated in that movie, even Shashi Kapoor and Mausami Chatterji.

    • Maybe you are not as enamored of his tousled curls and snaggle-toothed smile as some of us are ;-) That’s okay!

      I liked Swayamvar a lot too. Think I reviewed it here a while ago…

  9. As a newly inducted Shashi fan I will have to watch this, and Nanda looks so pretty with that beehive hairdo!

    Manorama is a character actress who I have come to adore, and I love the fact that she has such a nice role in this one.

    • He is Shashilicious :-) and you will enjoy Manorama, although I greedily could have had even more of her! She was particularly hilarious towards the end after Om Prakash finally made her swear on her son’s head that she would not talk. Even unable to speak, she communicated volumes!

    • Sorry to be so late in the game, but: YAY another Shashizen!

  10. Talking of not talking, have you seen this movie “Mem Didi” (1961) ?
    Nice, heart-warming movie with a lot of witty dialogues (am not sure whether the sub-titling would have the same impact though).

  11. I just got Mem Didi! Have not watched it yet, but love the cast. Fingers crossed for decent subtitles! :)

  12. “..even under the weight of her tremendous beehive”.. haha, memsaab, you crack me up! i love the Nirupa Roy screencaps in the end, she always seems to be in a white saree.. this was a welcome change. she looks gorgeous! .. the movie itself looks gorgeous, in spite of the beehives!! ;D

  13. There is lots of gorgeousness, including the beehives!!!! Hooray for Spare Hair!

  14. posted a comment just now but it vanished. has it gone into your spam box?

    • It might have…but I get hundreds of spam comments every day and can’t mine through them all for the ones that aren’t spam. Try again—this one came through! :)

  15. oh dear – how sad. I will try to recollect my original thoughts now – enjoyed this movie for all the character actors like Om Prakash, Manorama, Balraj Sahani et all. Songs were enjoyable although not upto the madan mohan class as you rightly point out in your post. Maorama was a scream in all the scenes both when she is actually mouthing dialogues as well as in her “silent act”. I cracked up on the scene when Manorama tells Om Prakash ” Nai hai ya kasai, hai tho mera bhai” – whethere he is a barber or a butcher, he i still my brother. In Hindi, nai, kasai and bhai rhyme. It was good to see Sashikala too. Nirupa Roy indeed looked gracefuly in those shararas.

    Sashi seems to have put on weight in the movie. I felt he was copying a lof of shammi’s mannerisms which perhaps was his way of trying to get a hit movie considering the movie was made in 1966 at the height of Shammi’s success. It took quite some time for Sashi’s career to really take off and he largely succeeded in the 70s. Hope this comment comes thruogh!

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