Teesri Manzil (1966)

This is one of my favorite films: I love it unconditionally and without reservation and, needless to say, without a shred of objectivity. I will never forget the joy with which I first watched it, a joy that has never diminished, and the love it gave me for Shammi (also undiminished). Shammi Shammi Shammi! I had seen him in a few other films and liked him okay; but this—this sent me tumbling head over heels, never to recover. His charm and chemistry with Asha Parekh stunned me (and so did she). This is also the first Vijay Anand film I saw, and of course I’ve gone on to love a lot more of his work, too. And can I say any more at this point about my Helen worship? I think not.

So what do I say about this film, that many have already pontificated on (in some cases, hilariously)? Where do I even begin? For one thing, I am not sure I can really pin down what captivates me so. I watched this again with Beth last evening, and we agreed that there is almost nothing we would change (there is ONE thing I would change, and I’ll get to it). Even silliness which might irritate me elsewhere I find enchanting here.

There is just an intensity about the whole movie that I love, and it is palpable from the very beginning.

I don’t think I need to cover the plot, other than to say that Rocky (Shammi) is a drummer at a hotel in Mussoorie when a visiting girl named Rupa (Sabina) falls from the third floor to her death.

There is speculation that she committed suicide when Rocky did not reciprocate her feelings, and her sister Sunita (Asha) decides to track him down and Make Him Pay. Of course she meets Rocky on her way, and though she doesn’t know who he is, his obnoxious antics don’t endear him to her. The first half of the film takes us through their battles and blossoming romance. Rocky soon knows everything, but he keeps his identity from her. The story is punctuated by glimpses of Iftekhar lurking, wreathed in cigarette smoke, to keep the mystery alive; but it’s not until Sunita and Rocky are in love that it is brought to the fore.

Still, Rocky and Sunita’s relationship has plenty of excitement and intrigue to keep us going until then. And the songs! Everyone knows that RD Burman’s songs are incredible, and the way they are picturized breathtaking. And of course, there’s Helen.

Which brings me to the ONE thing I would change: Laxmi Chhaya has a reasonably good role as Sunita’s best friend Bela—BUT. She doesn’t have a dance. “Aaja Aaja” is a song made for her trademark style, too! It’s not that I don’t love Shammi and Asha in it, they are spectacular and cracktastic—BUT.

Wouldn’t Laxmi look PERFECT right in there next to Asha?! I *die* at the very idea.

Instead she hangs with the hockey team (Sunita’s friends), as awesome as they are, on the sidelines:

It is a Criminal Waste of Laxmi.

If I had to pick an all-time favorite Shammi song from any of his films, it would probably be “Tumne Mujhe Dekha.” He performs it so beautifully, and Rafi sings it with such feeling, that I usually dissolve into tears. I have read that Shammi returned to the sets to shoot this song after his wife Geeta Bali died, which has no actual bearing on anything but adds to the poignancy of this already heartfelt song.

Gulp.

When we do finally get to the mystery, it’s suspenseful AND mysterious! I was totally surprised by the ending the first time I saw it. Plus we are treated to Iftekhar as the Inspector, Premnath as Rocky’s champion-in-love, Prem Chopra lurking, a jealous Ruby (Helen) and the man in whom my obsession for character actors was born: Rashid Khan.

Seeing him in this, a light bulb in my head went off. I knew I had seen him before, and I had to know his name. Had to, and I stayed up way past my bedtime figuring it out! So you can thank him and Teesri Manzil for the Artist Gallery on here!

Since that first watch, I’ve learned that Rocky’s friend and co-conspirator is played by Salman Khan’s father, half of Salim-Javed, and Helen’s now-husband, Salim Khan:

I see a little of Arbaaz in there, but not much Salman or Sohail.

So we have an intense fast-paced story, great music (songs and background score both), spectacular sets and scenery, lots of trivia, and a fabulous cast. What else could I possibly want? Oh—superb cinematography! I love the way shots are framed and lit.

Wah! to NV Srinivas for his camera work, and to Vijay Anand for his editing and direction.

Actually: wahs! all the way around, to everyone involved. Nasir Husain produced this, great entertainer that he was, and he spared no expense on the details. Many elements are borrowed from Alfred Hitchcock and it’s such a treat for me to see an old favorite blended so perfectly with my “new” love. I will never get tired of watching it, and most especially Shammi in it: he is charm and grace and wit personified. I am a fan of Dev Sahab too, but I’m glad he walked away from this one. It is a classic and memorable Shammi vehicle, not to be missed at any cost.

Updated: I was fortunate to be able to see the half hour of scenes which are missing from the dvd; I detail them here.

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99 Comments to “Teesri Manzil (1966)”

  1. Easily one of my favourite golden oldies.
    I love everything about this movie.
    One of the first songs I remember hearing in my life was “O mere sona re, sona re, sona re”. What an endearing song it is ! But then so are all the others. When I was a kid, I heard “aaja aaja” a lot but had no clue which movie it was from. Only much later I realised it was from this one. I even love that least-known song of the movie “dekhiye, sahibon”. So much life in the fast songs, so much emotion and depth in the slow ones.

    If you want to watch a golden oldie for timepass, Teesri Manzil is right up there. The other movie that I often consider at the same level for timepass is Caravan. I just LOOOOVE that movie too.

  2. This film is one of a small handful of bollywood classics that I can use to generate looks of stunned disbelief on the faces of my desi friends. Like Sholay and a few others, the look of bewildered incomprehension on their faces when I respond to their eager “you MUST see this” or ” Have you seen this?” with “yeah, it was OK”, or if they are young enough “yeah, it was ‘meh'” Although I own it, I’ve only watche it once. I did not dislike it, but it did not connect with me at all. Even the songs I found to be unremarkably good. Still, it IS fun shocking desi friends by telling them I love oldies but not the oldies I’m supposed to love, one of which is ALWAYS Teesri Manzil. :)

    • To each his own, I always say, although NOT loving TM is incomprehensible to me :)))

      • Yep, chacun a son gout (kind of apt given Shammi’s portliness). I love Shammi’s movies in general, (no one can shut me up if if get half a chance to mention Brahmachari) but I find the personal back story to his making of TM much more moving and interesting than the film itself. Whenever I’m discussing Teesri Manzil, I have to consciously stop myself writing Teesri Kasam – a film I absolutley ADORE. At least TM is not one of those ‘must love’ filmi oldies that I actively and vigorously DISLIKE, like Mother ‘shoot me now’ India.

        • Teesri Kasam was a masterpiece. Teesri Manzil is entertaining – good fun. Big difference there! Alas, Teesri Kasam was also a tragic, colossal failure at the box office…. very sad.

  3. Lucky you memsaab, having a chance to re-watch. I haven’t even seen this movie even once yet although I have heard the songs on Radio countless times. I shall revisit to read ur review after I see the movie!

    • Do you live in a cave? You don’t seem to have access to anything, you poor woman. Do what you can to get this one, you won’t regret it :) If it’s the ONLY film you have then you’re still pretty well off :)

      • I will try to get this one and scores of other Garam Dharam 60s movies on my next visit to India in Feb 08. “Mission find olides”. If your or any of your readers can tell me where I can find old hindi movie DVDs in Hyderabad, I would very much appreciate it. Last time I only found relatively new ones in shops like World of Music etc.

        U cud say I am in a cave as I live in so far away “Down Under” where the local desi stores think that oldies means only 70s AB movies – understandable in a way coz most of the sales guys are young uni lads who grew up on SRK!

        BTW, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! For once instead of the usual hot summer chirstmas we are having a wet christmas day today and floods in some parts of our state (NSW) coz of Cyclone Laurence on the northern part of Western Australia

        • The Crossword bookstore chain often has older films from the 50s/60s. And if you ask store owners displaying only new ones if they have older ones that works too sometimes…

          Merry Christmas to you too, and Happy New Year! We have a very very cold but beautifully clear and crisp day today!

  4. Forgot to add, Rafi’s song “Tumne Mujhey Dekha ho kar meherban… is my fav song

  5. “I have read that Shammi returned to the sets to shoot this song after his wife Geeta Bali died, which has no actual bearing on anything but adds to the poignancy of this already heartfelt song.” .. I love the movie in all its madness, but my most favorite scene was the one just before the song. Asha & Shammi talk (wasn’t Asha trying to distract Shammi from something?), and Shammi delivers his lines with such a –for a lack of a better phrase — “sweet sadness”. I thought it worked well in the context of the scene, because by that time Shammi’s character was already in love with Asha’s character, but was also weighed down by her constant suspicions — and i thought his dialogue delivery was wonderfully poignant in that context. it was only later that i found out about him reporting to the shooting after his wife had passed away.. I don’t know if that particular scene was filmed before or later, but on hindsight it feels like his personal emotions had some bearing on that particular performance.

    LOVE this movie, LOVE everyone in it — thanks for the review! and, oh,, a special thanks to Rashid Khan! ;)

    • I have a soft spot for Rashid, I do. There is a lot of undercurrent in this film, I tried to talk about it in the post—it’s very intense. Even with the comedy and cracktastic goodness of everything, it is a serious film, and very moving. I feel happy that Shammi was working on this one when he went through Geeta’s death actually, because if I were in his shoes I think it would have helped.

      • humm.. turns out i wasn’t thinking of Tumne Mujhe.. but rather, Deewana Mujhsa Nahin, and this piece of dialogue before it:

        • He does have a sweet sad quality in the second half of the film, which is appropriate for his character’s situation, although I have no idea how much was still left to film after Geeta’s death…

  6. I adore this film for Shammi and the fashions that Asha and Helen wear which are absolutely fabulous! More than that the murder mystery is engaging and keeps you guessing, love the songs of course especially the “AAAJA AAJA” which I’ve attempted every time and get a neck ache to as well!

  7. Ahh, ’twas my first post!

  8. This is one of my favourite Hindi film of all time. You’re right memsaab. It’s one film one can watch anytime, anywhere and is easily one of the best thrillers in Indian cinema and the closest along with Don where we have coem to a Hitchcockian thriller. It was one of the earliest films I reviewed on Upperstall – http://www.upperstall.com/films/1966/teesri-manzil

    • It is suspenseful and surprising, but even after you know how it all turns out it’s worth watching over and over. There are so many great details in it :) *Off to read your review!*

  9. Finally got a copy of this for my birthday, I’d watched O Haseena Zulfonwali many many times on a song comp, but it was great to see the whole movie (I couldn’t believe how frenetic Aaja Aaja gets!) At the end even the fat guy who Asha brutally beat with her brolly is having a good time. Great stuff. (Eros could have done some work on their print though, some of the darker scenes look like they’re projected on muddy water.)

    • Aaja Aaja is awesome, even without Laxmi Chhaya (although it would be even BETTER if she were part of it :) Did I say that already?) The DVD quality is bad, but that’s business as usual for Indian dvd manufacturers!

      • So true, I might not have even realized that was Laxmi Chhaya in that role when watching. But then, Helen already gets extra screen time, so maybe giving both of them roles and dances would upset the cosmic balance of awesomeness. Asha’s brown wig in Aaja aaja makes her look more like an item girl, but nobody can shake a head like Laxmi Chhaya.

  10. Great Movie, fabulous songs, the magic and mood of this movie is never going to fade away…….

    An actress by the name of Chndrakala passed away less than a month back, Asha Parekh in her tribute to her has mentioned that she had worked with Chandrakala in ‘Tessi Manzil’. Anyone nows who she is?

  11. I must be the only one among the posters here who has not seen the movie. Of course I agree that this movie had wonderful songs (and I have seen these songs). Apart from the many thinngs that have been brought out, one thing that was left unsiad was that Shammi Kapoor was not amused to find an upstart R D Burman being signed up as music director instead of the usual Shankar Jaikishan. But when Shammi Kapoor was made to listn to R D Burman’s tunes, he reluctantly agreed to have R D Burman as the music director. And it is with this movie that R D Burman arrived as a music director.

  12. Actually, even I have not seen this movie in its entirety, but of course the songs and their picturisations are another matter.

    Love the music and the songs all the way. Definitely one in my top 10 lists.

    And BTW, Seasons greetings and Happy Holidays to you and yours. And of course, to all my fellow readers. :)

  13. Tumne Mujhe Dekha is a favourite.
    Enjoyed reading about a film that got me hooked in a little known Armed Forces theatre without the dolby system.
    Cheers.

  14. Good movie and its RD Burman’s first score and it was really it had good music.

  15. It was not R D Burman’s first movie as a music director. His first movie was “Chhote Nawab” (1963) and after that he did not get another assiggment for some time. Then he got to work in “Bhoot Bangla” and “Teesri Manzil”.

  16. Not only an awesome soundtrack, but a very smartly directed thriller of that era. I have seen it many times and it still doesn’t fail to impress me. Maybe I’ll make it my Christmas eve movie :)

    And I guess Memsaab, you n me can be movie buds..my fav one of the whole soundtrack is – also Tumne Mujhe..Dekha..

    Thanks a lot for that really sad trivia. The picturisation of that song is tricky..Shammi in real life must have been so sad inside, and on-screen he is protraying someone really happy to be in love…

  17. I still haven’t watched this ‘properly’. I have it and tried to watch it once but I had a friend over that talked so much throughout the film that I really couldn’t follow the story. Definitely need to try again soon.

  18. The first time I watched this I… didn’t pay full attention and didn’t think so much of it. I rewatched it just back in September, and MAN, I LOVE IT.

    I’m a huge fan of suspense thrillers like Psycho, Rear Window, To Catch a Thief – so this was right up my alley.

    Unfortunately, the only other film that I can find (so far) to match in the suspense thriller department with Bollywood is The Jewel Thief.

  19. This is one of my favorite films: I love it unconditionally and without reservation and, needless to say, without a shred of objectivity.”

    TThat about sums it up for me too.

    I don’t mean to rub it in [actually, I do :-D], but have I told you that I’ve seen this movie in a theater in India – twice? Yup, fell in love with a man – Shammi, for the first time in my life, at age five!:-D

    • You ARE my Shammi guru already! :) (Psst did I tell you that I’ve MET Shammi, and he hugged me? Heh.)

    • This is one of my favorite films: I love it unconditionally and without reservation and, needless to say, without a shred of objectivity.”

      That about sums it up for me too (three in fact). I love everything about this movie – the man (he happens to be my first love too n Greta, I envy u! I know that u’ve met him and he hugged u. Saw the pics but was really too jealous to comment there ;-) Girl, u r very lucky!), the women, the story, the suspense and the music!!! Be it Tumne mujhe dekha, Deewana mujhsa nahin, O mere sona re or O Haseena zulfon wali I can listen to them non-stop for days together. And I’ve almost broken my neck and tripped over so many times trying to dance to Aajja aajaa as a kid.
      Thank u so much for this post. You made my day!
      And wish you and all your readers a Merry Christmas! :-)

  20. This and Gumnaam are two of my top favorite 60s Bollywoods! I pop each DVD in quite often just to watch the song picturizations! Pure heaven!

    Memsaab, have you seen this poster of Teesri Manzil? It is so beautiful and I covet it, but can’t afford it just now.

    http://imgs.inkfrog.com/pix/Mustafa/Inkfrog_5332.jpg

  21. “O Haseena Zulfonwaali Jaan-e-jahaan” – oh, how many sleepless nights did I spend as a teenager, dreaming about wooing some (yet unknown) girl with this song!

    (Sigh.)

  22. Wasn’t able to keep up with the reviews recently – much stress and work load, I guess. Quite serendipitously though last couple of days I was delving into TM as well. Brilliant music.
    Well, now was here merely to say Merry Christmas!

    PS: Someone is mislabelled as ‘Fearless Nadia’ on page 4 of the 50s gallery?

  23. Yeh ! Finally you review this and HOW. Everything is near perfect.

    Some time back when there was a huge trend of remixing old numbers, I noticed no one ever ‘remixed’ Teesri Manzil ones. That is because they are already so pacy, so perfect that they cant be remixed.

    I just adore Aasha in Aaja Aaja number. She is so perfectly dressed, her hairdo is so perfect .. ok my words fail. She is perfect.

    Thanks for this. I am going to bookmark it and read it several times over.

  24. This is such an entertaining package! The first time I saw it, the end was a BIG surprise, but now, even though the mystery isnt quite as mysterious, its still such fun to watch.

    And the songs… FAB. Its really hard for me to sit still when I hearO haseena zulfon waali playing! :-)

  25. I forgot to say this earlier.
    The first time I saw this was in Delhi in 1981 in a C-grade theater as a matinee show.
    When “O Haseena Zulfonwaali” started, the crowd in “first-class” seats went crazy.
    Whistling and all that. I could hardly hear the song.
    Same with “aaja aaja”.
    It was a fantastic experience, just watching the movie with that crowd. :-)

  26. This is one of my most favorite films ever because all the part of this film is entertaining, there is not even one boring part. The songs made by R.D.Burman is just mind blowing esp. O Haseena Zulfon Wali is just superb. Helen is as usual looking fantastic. Asha Parekh was looking very gorgeous in the film esp. her hairstyle in the song Aaja Aaja. I just loved it. Every single part of this film was out standing.

    But again an little disappointment with Laxmi Chhaya. Her dancing talents are wasted in the film. She should get a dance song in the film. It would be great if there would be a crazy R.D.Burman Laxmi Chhaya song. It would make the film more good. The song Aaja Aaja should be given to Laxmi Chhaya because the song really suited to Laxmi Chhaya style. But still we cant forget Asha Parekh.

    But in total its an superb and fantastic film.

    • It is a fabulous film, the addition of a Laxmi dance would be my only change! Well, it would be nice if someone would put out the FULL version of the film too so that the fair scene/song made sense, but that isn’t the movie’s fault.

  27. Thank you for reviewing this! I love Teesri Manzil – such a fabulously entertaining film, in so many ways. The only grouse I have is against DVD/VCD manufacturers who’ve produced copies of this: I haven’t come across a single one that has the film in its entirety. All of them (or all that I’ve seen) cut out the scene where Shammi Kapoor fools Asha Parekh and gang into thinking Prem Nath’s his uncle, and takes them to his mansion – there’s a scene with apples etc, and Prem Nath arriving suddenly.

    Still, despite that, a film I can watch over and over again, even though I now remember most of the scenes, some of the dialogues and even some of the expressions!

    • Does that scene introduce the song at the fair, on the ferris wheel? Because that is totally random, although I am sure it’s not Vijay Anand’s fault since the rest of it is so well put together.

      • Yes, the bit before the song on the ferris wheel is also one missing from all versions I’ve seen on DVD or VCD. As far as I remember from the (complete) version I’d seen on TV years ago, Asha Parekh and Shammi Kapoor arrange to meet on a hill, but she decides to make him wait and doesn’t turn up. Meanwhile, he turns up, sees a girl there – only her back – and goes and gives her an exuberant hug, only to discover she isn’t Asha. The girl’s very miffed and chases him with her slipper in hand to hit him – and he ends up at the fair, where he sees Asha on the ferris wheel.

        It’s criminal to cut off bits off such a gorgeous film. :-(

  28. dustedoff, I remember that scene too..why on earth would they cut it off?

  29. God knows! And it’s really just a couple of minutes long, but helps provide a context for the song. Without that scene, the song doesn’t really make much sense.

    I think the way DVD manufacturers edit films is way too arbitrary; all they’re trying to do is fit it into their 750 mb or whatever, without paying much attention to what will affect the plot. In the case of Teesri Manzil, if something had to be trimmed, I’d think part of the prolonged fighting at the end of the film could have been reduced. Or the car driving sequences through the night.

  30. Well thank goodness at least people like you have seen the whole thing and fill in the missing bits for those of us who will probably never have the opportunity.

    God, I hate Indian DVD manufacturers. So indifferent and incompetent. Grrrrr >:(

  31. Last year I visited the mansion in Mussoorie which was shown as Premnath’s house in ‘Teesri Manzil’. No one lives there any more and the path leading up to the mansion is now closed and no one is allowed to enter. One can still see where Asha Parekh’s gang plays hockey for a scene in the movie. I think that scene has also been chopped off. It follows the scene that Dustedoff has mentioned ( Shammi Kapoor tells the girls that Premnath is his uncle and takes them to the mansion).

  32. I can never forget the first time they showed “Oh Haseena..” on “Chaya Geet” Door Darshan… everyone was doing a “spoon in the glass” dance routine the next day at school…

  33. This is an incredible film. The magic of Shammi Kapoor/Asha Parekh pairing is just unique. Back in the sixties, I remember I saw this film twice in a day with a very large group of Shammi Kapoor fanatics, who were waving flags and posters of their hero.

    It is pleasing to know that after nearly half a century the Shammi Kapoor effect that not faded away. He still influences and inspires many young actors and artists today. May Shammi live for ever.

  34. As long as fans like us are around—and his films properly taken care of—he will be immortal for sure! :) Shammi zindabad is my motto!

  35. Teesri Manzil released in 1966 and it had a big impact on the audience. The suspense was so gripping that it even surpassed some of the best Hollywood suspense films of its time. And this, only Vijay Anand could do. Considering the film was made by Nasir Hussain who was one of the finest fimmaker/director, he still thought that Vijay Anand was more fit to direct Teesri Manzil. Forty four years after its release Teesri Manzil still continues to be a fascinating movie for the current third generation. Hats off to Nasir Saab, Shammi, Asha, Premnath, Pancham Da, and not the least Goldie Saab the genius director.

  36. Ramesh,
    I like your comments about Teesri Manzil. The combination of Vijay Anand/Shammi Kapoor/Nasir Hussain worked like magic. This is why the movie is still great after all those years. We must not forget the innovative rock beat of R.D.Burman, it was uinque and refreshing at the time.

    • It is really amusing to know that Teesri manzil was actually R. D. Burman’s first big assignment with big stars and Big Banner ( they called it Production House these days). Had had so far done films for Mehmood, struggling Feroz Khan Etc. Shammi/Asha/Goldie was a huge combo and R.D.’s music give it a massive boost. Though R.D. Burman was given his first film to compose for by Mehmood Bhaijaan, who had to do it because R.D.’s Father S.D. was not available, It was Nasir Hussain who gave him a bigger compliment by giving him a chance to compose for THE Yahoo Shammi Kapoor, whose earlier songs were composed mostly by Shanker Jaikishen and O.P Nayyar. Shammi later chose R.D. for his only directorial production MANORANJAN. R.D. ruled for a very long time till ill health put him on the back seat. He died young and with less work but not before he left us with the mind blowing compositions of 1942 – A Love Story which even catapulted the career of an non singer like Kumar Sanu – the first Nasal singer.

  37. Hi, I’d like to put some good Herman Benjamin choreographed numbers up on YouTube. I just uploaded Aaja Aaja Mein Hoon Pyar Tera under the username hermanbenjamin. It’s the best quality version of that song on YouTube now. I spent about 40 hours on that video working with the color, contrast, and audio to restore it. It still isn’t perfect because I don’t have the expensive equipment to really do restoration. But at least it isn’t blurry with flat sound like the other vids.

    I actually took the audio from an mp3 of the song and grafted it onto the video. I think it sounds better than what is on the DVDs. It’s still far from perfect. I’m sure that the only surviving copies of the original audio are on film prints now anyway (oh, and albums). It was always mono wasn’t it? Oh to find a pristine stereo copy!

    Could you suggest any outstanding Herman Benjamin numbers other than Jaan Pehechaan Ho and that “Indian Beatles” one from Jaanwar? And if you look at my video could you folks please correct my description if you see any errors? Thank you so much!

    Memsaab, your website has been an extremely valuable source of information for me. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate all that you are doing.

    • Well, here is another piece of trivia about Aaja Aaja: in the song at about 2:48 (your version) the girl (dancer) third in line whom Shammi sings to is Herman’s wife Shoba (or Sheba) :) It looks and sounds very nice and I’m glad to have someone else with OCD and skills on board the “making it better since they won’t bother” bandwagon! Shabash! I have seen Herman in as an extra in a few things, and he was a dancer for a while before he started choreographing. He did a lot of choreography in the mid to late sixties, but died too young of a heart attack :(

      • Ah, so that is Shoba! Wow! I was highly impressed by that line of dancers because they are older and aren’t skinny as Twiggys. I think that’s a rarity for dancers in cinema, even in the 60s, and even in India (correct me if I’m wrong on that).

        So he died of a heart attack. Aww, so very sad… I’m so glad you know this info and have shared it with me. Thank you. I feel kind of awkward using his name on YouTube like I am, but if I didn’t snatch up his name some slimebag would. I own the dot com names of some of my heroes and am just sitting on them so commercial interests can’t get them. Herman Benjamin’s choreography amazes me. I’d like to try to understand it. It’s cooler than cool. It’s sub-sub-zero baby!

  38. Dear Memsaab,
    I have seen this movie and DIL DEKE DEKHO nearly at the same time, and find it difficult to decide which is better. The B/W movie was more romantic, Asha looking more cute and the chemistry superb; this movie on the other hand, had a more gripping storyline and add to it the presence of Helen(of Troy) as I call her. The songs in both movies were beautiful and “AAJA AAJA” is my all-time favorite. The beginning of both the films had a common fact: Shammi was the drummer of a troupe and a playboy whom Asha wanted to bash up because of a woman-related “offense”.
    This is my first Laxmi Chhaya movie and I absolutely agree with you that she is “hot” enough to be given a lead role in a movie. (Is she still alive?) I think this is where current Bollywood scores over the Oldies:typecasting has decreased and talent is more recognized. At least Helen was offered a meaty role.
    Judging your infatuation over the lead couple, I am a little surprised that you have not added “AAYE DIN BAHAR KE” and “RAJKUMAR” to your list. Never seen Asha look more pretty in any other movie as in the former, while in the latter movie, Shammi was magical alongside my most favorite actress- the mesmerizing, super-glamorous, darling SADHANA. Would like to read your comments about these 2 movies.

  39. Laxmi Chhaya started as the B-grade films substitute for Helen but later graduated to dancing and doing significant roles in A-grade films, Teesri Manzil being one of them. Helen did bag lead roles in B & C-grade (Read Low Budget ) films with Dara Singh, Chandrashekar and played a vamp alongside Pran & Prem Chopra. But none of her heroine roles got her merit. She stuck around as a top class dancing star. Laxmi Chhaya remained more of a dancer and her small roles in films like Teesri Manzil brought her no major recognition. Well, she was given significance in “Duniya” – a Dev Anand, Vijayantimala starrer where she had a Mohd. Rafi song sung by Johny Walker which goes – ” Tu hi meri Laxmi, Tu hi meri Chhaya, Duniya men ayaa, To teri Khatir ayyaa, O Laxmi Chhaya”

    In a way it was good that these heroines were type cast. At least we still remember them for their contributions. The present day, propped up, artificially inflated heroines fizzle out as fast as they are put up on the pedestel. How many people remember Ayesha Jhulka, Mamta Kulkarni, Anjali Jhattar, Neelam Etc. They have all acted opposite some of the Major Stars..

    Laxmi Chhaya came a small middle class family from the far away suburb of Kalyan and made it, to the extent that people still talk about her and notice her good work when they see her in these films. Whispers abound in plenty when people see Helen taking a walk at Joggers Park and shopping in Bandra. She still draws major attention.

  40. Asha Parekh was launched by Nasir Hussain as a heroine in his Dil Deke Dekho and he made her the heroine in all his films till she stopped looking like a naughty teenager. Asha was one of the large treasure of talented heroines that the Hindi Film Industry ( Not Yet Bollywood ) had the pleasure of boasting.
    Aye Din Bahar Ke was the first film that J. Om Prakash (Hritik’s grandfather) made with her followed by Aya Sawan Jhoom Ke and Aan Milo Sajna. All three films were fabulous and Asha excelled in all of them. They all had dance numbers that would pale the talents of the PT/Exercise numbers of today. There was hardly any film that Asha’s acting did not do justice to. Even in her character roles she was noticed. Zakhmee, Kalia, Main Tulsi Tere Aangan Ki Etc. Her chemistry with all the Heroes made us repeat her films. She will be remembered for a long long time.

  41. Dear Mr. Bhagwaan,
    It is kind of you to respond to my comment, but actually I was expecting the artistic, witty remark of Memsaab herself. As for your defense of typecasting, I can only say that the artists you have named were (in)directly related to the “couch-potatoes” of Bollywood who evolved in the late 80s, and never showed real talent on-screen. Laxmi Chhaya on the other hand, I think had both charisma to be cast as a lead actress, and talent she displayed as a dancer and even sizzled in a vampish role in MERA GAON MERA DESH.
    As for your “Johnny Walker song” bit, I would like to see the film. I am a big fan of Dev Anand and rarely miss any of his films, B/W or color.

  42. Laxmi died in 2002 or so of breast cancer :( But if nothing else she is famous worldwide for her dancing in “Jaan Pehchaan Ho” from Gumnaam which was used in the film Ghost World, bringing her to non-BW fans’ attention too.

  43. Sadhona Sani made her debut as a supporting actress in a Sindhi Film “ABANA” in the late 1950’s which was directed by Arjun Hingorani who has launched Dharmender and later became famous with films like “Kab Kyon Kahan” and Kahani Kismat Ki. Sadhona Sani was noticed by none other than S. Mukherjee who launched her in the hindi film industry, along with his son Joy Mukherjee, in the super hit “Love In Simla” and Sadhona Sani ( short for Shivdasani) became Sadhana. It was not the numerology of the spelling change that brought her fame and success. Sadhana was an actress per excellance and all her films of the 50’s & 60’s whether hits or flops showcased her superlative talent.

    She was forced to retire because of the ailment that started to distort her fabulous looks. But not before she had given us some of the memorable jewels like Hum Dono – Asli Naqli (Dev Anand), Dulha Dulhan (Raj Kapoor), Prem Patra (Shashi Kapoor), Arzoo – Mere Mehboob (Rajendra Kumar & Feroz Khan), Mera Saaya (Sunil Dutt), Manmauji (Kishore Kumar), Raj Kumar – Budtameez (Shammi Kapoor), Ishq Par Zor Nahin (Dharmender & Biswajit), Intaquam (Sanjay & Ashok Kumar), Woh Kaun This – Anita (Manoj Kumar).

    Sadhana was one of the prettiest heroines of her time. The smitten males, including me, would repeat her films like Arzoo, Mere Mehboob, Raj Kumar Etc just to gorge on her beautiful looks. And these looks were not without the immense talent, which got her a Filmfare Award for “Mera Saaya”.

    Sadhana quit prematurely because of her ailment and has since been leading a life of obscurity. It took Karan Johar to bring her in front of the public, a few years back, when IIFA was asked to give her a Lifetime Achievement Award which should have first come from a senior organisation like Filmfare. Years back they gave her one Best Actress Award and conveniently forgot about her. But for her die-ard fans, Sadhana will remain forever.

  44. Wow,excellent Mr. Bhagwaan! This is quite a biography of MY Sadhana. I not only consider the most glamorous Indian actress of all times, but also consider myself to be her biggest fan. Since my childhood, I felt a strange attraction towards her, and now in my youth, it has blossomed into mad love. How I resent not being born 50 years earlier!
    Everything about Sadhana appeals to me: her Audrey Hepburn haircut, the magnificently arched eyelashes, her glowing eyes, her sweet-as-honey smile, her graceful gait and her cotton-soft voice. I am Endymion and she is my Moon.
    In my eyes, she would always remain beautiful, but Fate has indeed played a cruel joke on her; after creating a paragon of beauty, he has scorched her in the furnace of Time. Everyday I pray to God to find me someone just like her-in beauty, grace and spirit.

  45. `I love it unconditionally and without reservation and, needless to say, without a shred of objectivity. I will never forget the joy with which I first watched it, a joy that has never diminished, and the love it gave me for Shammi (also undiminished). ‘
    Ditto, my feelings about this movie. Watched it for the first time 20 years after its release and watched it again, the very next day and then continued watching it every chance I got.
    Vividh Bharati snipped off O mere sona re after just playing two stanzas. So the first audio cassette I had taped featured all the songs in their entirety, with the added bonus of the preceding dialogues.
    Tumne mujhe dekha is also my best song in this movie while my daughter maintains that `O hasina’ is the coolest.
    They tried to copy the O mere sona style in another Nasir Hussain film, Zabardast – `Bhool ho gayi jaane de’ with Rajiv Kapoor and Rati. All that song did for me was to painfully remind me of Rafi’s being gone (much as I’m crazy about KK’s voice.)
    Some columnist called Shammi Kapoor the hillstation hedonist portrayer or something. Grrrr….
    In Betaab, in the song `Teri Tasveer Mil Gayi’ Sunny points to Shammi Kapoor in a pic and goes `Tasveer mein magar yeh kaun hai bataa/ usko zaraa uthaa, mujhko wahaan bithaa…’ Grrr Grrr to that.
    Thanks for your wonderful post on this supercalifragilisticexpialidocious movie.

  46. shammi kapoor passeway,, oh god ?

  47. Good people also have to go. And they go to a better world.

    Shammi Kapoor has definately entered a Paradise which is better than Heaven, where most of us long to go.

    He was no ordinary person to be given an entry into just Heaven.

    And all his kind of special persons who have found their place in this Paradise beyond Heaven – they will be excited at Shammiji joining them.

    Because for them, it is just the begining of a new world of entertainment.

    They will get to enjoy – Shammi Kapoor Live.

  48. At one point of time, character actress Shammi who is supposed to have had mystical powers had diagnosed that Sadhna was the victim of black magic. Incidentally, Shammi (who married producer director Sultan Ahmed) only to be ditched by him later on is a close friend of Asha Parekh.The time between 1960-70 belonged to Asha, Sharmila, Sadhana and Vyjayanthimala. Sadly, Sadhana married R K Nayyar against her parents’ wishes. She had a still born baby in the early 70’S and though there were rumours of a rift with her husband, they stayed together till he died.

    Memsab, do you know Dev Anand was slated to play the lead role in “teesri manzil” but there was an ego issue with Nasir Hussain and so Shammi Kapoor stepped in. 7 years after her debut with Shammi Kapoor, Asha Parekh looked as magical as she was in 1959. That was because it was widely believed that Asha had a fantastic rapport with Shammi Kapoor. Asha was introduced to movies by efforts of Premnath who happens to be Krishna Raj Kapoor’s brother.

    The songs “O Mere Sona” and “Tum Ne Mujhe” are perennial favorites. Can someone tell where the song – “O Mere Sona” was picturised ? It looks like Pune !

    I simply can’t imagine Dev Anand in “Teesri Manzil”. Can you visualize Dev Anand dancing to “O haseena Zulfonwali” ?

  49. I bought the DVD.. really bad print. Finally got the Nasir Hussain special from EROS… Still equally bad print.. Memsaheb, any suggestion on who has the best copy?
    Thanks,

  50. Memsaab, is there any way that you could upload the missing scenes of Teesri Manzil on Youtube or somewhere? I have got fed up of trying to find some place where the complete version is available. Thanx

  51. this was the only movie with Shammi Kapoor as hero and R.D.B as music director and what music it has. Strange that even after this movie clicked and the songs were a rage, no other director thought of bringing the two together again. generally there is a trend to repeat things which click but this is not the case everytime.

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