Magroor (1950)

Sometimes after sitting through a spate of truly abysmal films (not worth writing about even) I feel a tinge of despair, thinking that *maybe* there are no more good ones to be seen out there. Then Shalini sends one like this and Raja subtitles it for me, and I am made to realize how much I love Hindi cinema (and my friends!) all over again.

In a nutshell, it’s a fabulously sweet film full of romance and humor. There are no thought-provoking messages, but they aren’t always necessary or even welcome, especially when the movie stars Rehman (oh! the floppy hair falling on that face!), Nigar Sultana (so feisty and funny!), Jairaj (so charming and handsome!) and Meena Kumari (angelically beautiful!). They are supported by two grande old dames of cinema history, Durga Khote and Jilloo, the able and funny Mirza Musharraf, and a poor little put-upon cat (it sadly seems a little tortured at times, but it’s also fun to see a feline anipal, especially one that isn’t stuffed and doesn’t have stripes and big sharp teeth at that).

We meet Chandni (Nigar Sultana), an independent and carefree girl (she’s rich too) who does things like take her cat Mini for drives in the country. On one such drive the cat jumps out while Chandni berates a cart driver blocking the road, and although the scene is missing (damaged?) we come to understand that in chasing her cat down Chandni meets—and quarrels with—a young farmer by the name of Manohar (Rehman). Once home again, it is apparent that Chandni has been equal parts irritated by and attracted to Manohar.

Chandni lives with her intimidating Chachi (Durga Khote), who wants her to settle down with her childhood friend Moti (P. Jairaj). Moti is happy to go along with Chachi’s wishes, but Chandni wants more out of marriage—she wants love, and not just the friendship kind. Moti agrees to make some excuse to Chachi (he’s far from heartbroken at Chandni’s refusal); but confronted by the old lady, he comes out with a stress-induced lie—and it is a whopper.

As you’d expect, this escalates out of control. Shocked and hurt, Chachi demands that he take her to meet his new wife; this forces Moti to tell her that his new bride has already left him because they couldn’t get along. A now even more upset Chachi wants to know who this upstart girl is: Moti casts around desperately for a name and comes up with “Meenu.”

Poor cornered Moti, desperate to escape, agrees that yes, it is Meenu Rai. He assures Chachi that he’s fine with it all, and not to worry—he’s forgotten all about it himself. Oh clueless man! Chandni knows better, and warns him that there will be trouble since he’s dragged actual real Meenu Rai into it.

But Moti brushes her off and hurries away.

In Pune, the real Meenu (Meena Kumari)—whose father has recently passed away—is working as a typist at “Modern India Agricultural Implements, Ltd.” Her manager Bholeram (Mirza Musharraf) is smitten by her although he is married with three children; Meenu brooks no nonsense from him though. (And please to note the porthole in the door with deco waves all around it. Love.)

When she receives a cryptic letter from Chachi admonishing her for not sharing her “news” with her, she is puzzled and decides to visit—playing right into Chachi’s hands. Chachi sends for Moti at the same time and when Meenu arrives she locks them in an upstairs room together so that they can sort out their problems. Moti apologizes for the “misunderstanding” profusely, but Meenu is understandably pretty angry (after all, it’s her reputation which gets ruined!). She finally escapes from the balcony after bashing him on the head when he tries to stop her.

A scornful Chachi bandages him up when she returns and frets about poor “unloved” and orphaned Meenu.

Chandni is hugely amused and no help at all, but Moti confides in her that he has fallen in love at first sight with the feisty Meenu.

Chandni understands his feelings all too well—she has begun meeting Manohar the farmer on her afternoons out, and sends messages to him via Mini the Manhandled Cat.

I do have to say that of all the cast members, the cat seems happiest with Rehman: he almost unconsciously plays with her, batting his hands against her paws, and he makes sure that she is fully supported when he holds her (instead of leaving her dangling unceremoniously over one arm, hind legs kicking uncomfortably). Yes, I know it’s the kind of detail nobody cares about but me—but it makes me love Rehman even more than I already did. I worry about animals in movies. They were probably even worse off than kids.

Khair. Manohar lives with his Ma (Jilloo) and farms their two pieces of land with pride. In fact, he and Chandni have a lot in common outside of their social backgrounds: both are proud, convinced of their own superiority, but loving and full of fun too. They spend a lot of time teasing each other.

Chandni finally takes him home to meet her imperious auntie:

who recognizes a kindred spirit when she sees one (see the cat going “Get me out of here!”).

Then it’s Manohar’s turn to take Chandni home, where his Ma lets her cook parathas when she offers, even though Chandni has no more idea how to make them than I do.

Ma is a little worried that Chandni won’t adapt well to country life and the rigors of regular housework, but she likes her (and her cat) and gives them her blessing too.

But alas! After a very cute song (“Tera Mujhko Sataana Mera Jiya Ko Jalaana”):

our loving pair gets embroiled in a quarrel over where and how they will live after marriage.

Chandni wants Manohar to go into business and live with her in the city; he refuses to leave his farm and wants her to live in his village. Their stubborn natures lead them to an impasse.

They part bitterly. Poor angsty Rehman!

Moti, now recovered from his head wound, decides to visit a company which he owns in Pune—Modern India Agricultural Implements, Ltd! He is surprised to see Meenu there; she is not very happy to see HIM.

She kicks him out, not realizing that he is the “big boss” and outside he bumps (literally) into an old friend: Manohar, who is there to buy more seeds. He seizes the opportunity to enact a charade (with Manohar’s help) in hopes of getting closer to Meenu.

Manohar agrees and for his part uses his new “position” to extract some benefits for the proletariat in the office, to Moti’s dismay. He gives everyone a pay raise, and contributes 10,000 Rs from the company to a charity show which Meenu is putting on. The charity show gives us another lovely song, “Tik Tik Tik Bole O Bole” (I really like the songs in this film: Sajjad Hussain wrote a couple of them, with the majority by Bulo C Rani).

Moti goes backstage after the show and confesses his love to Meenu, telling her that he wants to marry her (at some point—scene is either missing or supposed to be implied—he also confesses his masquerade). His sincerity wins her over.

Meanwhile, Chandni has told Chachi about her troubles with Manohar, and Chachi is indignant on her behalf. She decides to shanghai Moti into helping her niece get over the obviously ungrateful Manohar and tracks him down at the theater, where he’s having a smoke before he meets his beloved Meenu (when he sees Chachi coming he tries to dispel the smoke wreathed about his head with his hands, which is typical of the small humorous touches this movie is filled with). She is a regular tsunami of a human being and cannot be denied!

Manohar goes to meet Meenu and Moti backstage, where Meenu tells him that Moti hasn’t shown up; he offers to drive her to Moti’s house. But when they get there they see Moti trying to comfort his old friend Chandni and completely misinterpret the scene.

They commiserate with each other and soon discover that Manohar knew and respected Meenu’s father: the doctor had died while treating the people of Manohar’s village for the plague. Manohar convinces the heartbroken Meenu (who no longer wants to work for Moti of course) to come home with him and open a clinic (I am not clear on how being the daughter of a doctor qualifies her to be one herself, but never mind). She moves in with him and his mother.

Of course when Moti and Chandni discover that Meenu and Manohar are now living together, it’s their turn to misconstrue the situation!

Will love win out over stubbornness and pride? Can the feisty old ladies who love them all put some sense into them?

The path to happiness is strewn with rocks and misunderstandings (and more head wounds) and it is good fun to watch. Manohar sees his thwarted love story as a war between the rich and the poor, although the only person concerned with his “lowly” status is basically…him! But a descent into melodrama is prevented by the charisma of the actors involved and the humor infusing the proceedings, which thwarts any attempt to take it all too seriously.

Updated to add: I have uploaded it and links are in the comment thread below! I highly recommend it, and I thank Shalini and Raja again from the bottom of my heart.

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88 Comments to “Magroor (1950)”

  1. This sounds to be so biggg fuuunnn!
    And I LOVE Durga KHOTE more now than ever!
    And it happens to me as well, I also invariably look at the actors how they handle animals. Grown up with cats and dogs (partly the humans also behaving as such ;-) somehow my glance does drift in this direction.

    Meena Kumari in such a light role must be a treat!

  2. Magroor when I saw that name I thought of shatru and vidya starerr movie from mid 70s which I am waiting for,but this movie looks from noah´s ark.all stars look so young thanks memsaab for picking another rare movie for your readers.

  3. Love, love, love this film. It was a pleasure subtitling it (though I see a typo in one of your screenshots above. Should have been “whatever you need to say, say IT on the way”. :-)

    Nice review too, Greta. I had not noticed that porthole in the door with the deco waves around it. Trust you to notice it! :-)

  4. I admit to a soft spot for the hopelessly romantic Manager, Bholeram and his hopeless love for Miss “tip tip tip.”:-)

    Magroor really and truly is a “feel good” movie and I, for one, was feeling mighty good by the end of it.

  5. Love the review, thanks memsaab.
    It seems to be a film I’ll love. The year is perfect, the actors and actresses even more so, and I want to see Rehman holding the cat. :-)
    Also Meena Kumari as tip tip tip.

    Did I hear your kind offer of uploading the film? :-)

  6. I have not seen this film–actually have not even heard the songs. After reading your very entertaining review (and esp. your comments on the cat from 1950), I know I have to watch this.

  7. Okay, working on the upload now :D Will post the links when they are there! It is oodles and oodles of fun.

  8. You can download the film in four parts (avi file plus subtitle file—save them to the same folder and play with most any media player and the subs will show; if you don’t want the subs you can discard the subtitle files :) Enjoy!

    Part 1: http://www.megaupload.com/?d=BKAOZFF2
    Part 2: http://www.megaupload.com/?d=ONQLM6X5
    Part 3: http://www.megaupload.com/?d=X0NJVEPS
    Part 4: http://www.megaupload.com/?d=3WCH44E0

  9. Lovely lovely! Just the kind of a movie I love watching on a Sunday afternoon.

  10. There was an actress named Amjali Jathar who starred opposite SRK in Trimurti (1995). Nigar Sultana in the first screen cap looks exactly like her. Is this a case of birth/re-birth? :-)

  11. There was an actress named Anjali Jathar who starred opposite SRK in Trimurti (1995). Nigar Sultana in the first screen cap looks exactly like her. Is this a case of birth/re-birth? :-)

  12. Ohhhh I need to watch this.

    And Meena Kumari needs her upperlip waxed in the worst way!

  13. Nigar Sultana, Meena Kumari and Rehman. Just too much. I have to get hold of this soon :)

  14. I’ve just finished watching the film. ‘How sweet’! Loved it. Thank you, Greta. Thank you, Shalini. This was so much fun. :-)

  15. Dear Memsaab,

    I have been a constant reader of your blog and enjoy immensely. I have a question: how/from where can I get the DVD of movies that you review and write about?

    KP

    • Well, this one is not available commercially but you can use the links I provide above.

      I generally buy films online from sites like nehaflix.com and induna.com (both very reliable).

  16. OOh rahman so handsome! eeps. am smiling like a fool.

  17. Really look forward to watching the film. Thank you!

  18. Thanks again! Its a very nice film. Here,s some bits of information regarding the stars in the film. Meena Kumari was around 18 years in this film and just 10 years prior to this movie, she had starred as Baby Meena and as the daughter of Jairaj in a film called “Ek hi Bhool” She had always mentioned it in her interview that it was such irony to act as his sweetheart in “Magroor” 10 years later. Mirza Musharraf was a very popular comedian of that era and he was mainly known for cracking his dialogues with a punch of English here and there. I still recall his interview in DD way back in 1974 when he spoke with a pang of sorrow of his colorful past and how he had become penniless! Terrible!! And yes, the singer in only 1 song was Mrs. Vishnilal and that particular lovely song (bari bhool huwi tujhe pyar kiya) was composed by Bulo C Rani who also was the MD of Mitti ke Khilone ) whereas all the others were by Sajjad. For that matter, Sajjad was supposed to be a very moody and eccentric MD who had more foes than friends in the industry. Pity really coz he had a great sense of composing lilting music. His tiffs with MD Naushad led him to keep a dog whom he called “Naushad” !!!!

    • Sajjad wrote beautiful soundtracks for sure, but I thought he only composed two of the songs for this and Bulo C Rani the rest (according to earthmusic.net, which is not necessarily reliable although it is better than most).

      Thanks for the info on Meena—she looks very very young indeed and so pretty. Loved her with Jairaj (he aged well—by this time he’d been acting as a “hero” for a very long time) in it too. Dying penniless seemed to be a not-uncommon fate for so many stars of that era :(

    • That dog bit I believe is a figment of imagination of someone’s imagination. Heard another one such saying he had two dogs Shankar and Jaikishan. People loved making up Sajjad stuff much of which wasn’t the way its presented.
      An RMIMer Singh ji I know had met Sajjad when he came to Bangalore for a Mandolin Concert many years back and asked about it. Sajjad replied, “Kutte Hi Nahin The, Naam Kaise Rakhta” (I never had any dogs, How could I keep these names for them).

      • All I know about Sajjad is that I love his compositions and wish there were a lot more of them :) Anyway if someone named his dog after ME I would be honored, ha ha!

  19. Bulo C Rani ? That should be Bulos Irani, I think.

  20. Hey memsaab, would shalini mind if u shared this movie with us? If they are avi files then they can be easily emailed in instalments.

  21. This sounds like a fab film. Can’t wait for the download to happen and to watch it. I love films with feisty heroines. Meena Kumari looks so, so pretty, and is always a treat to watch in her non-tragic roles.

  22. I finally managed to download it and I have watched the first portion. It looks like a wonderful movie. I was waiting for the sub titles to appear, which never appeared, but from the sub titled screen caps that I have seen in this writeup , I can say that the sub titling by Raja is outstanding.

    I appears that some postion of the movie are missing. The cat runs away from Nigar Sultana’s cluches, and next we see, the cat is back in her arms and she is asking the cat her opinion about Rehman. It means some nice juicy bit of action is missing from the movie. I am only into the first portion of the movie at present, but I am loving it. :D

    • It depends on the software you use to watch it whether you need to also open the subtitle file or not…but since you don’t need them I won’t worry about it :) Yes, Raja’s work is outstanding though.

      I mention that that scene is missing. But it’s a minor glitch compared to some things I’ve endured! And I am so excited that you are actually watching a whole film! Will you be adding some of the songs to the blog? :)

  23. Memsaab, what fun I had watching ‘Magroor’. Thanks so much for uploading it. For the first time, I was actually able to download the AVI files quite quickly and watch them peacefully. I’m afraid Tom’s uploads still don’t work for me for some reason. :(

    Rehman was such a stylish farmer, in his pants and trousers, cap and sunglasses. Just loved the look. And the scene where his mother wants him to wear a colourful sherwani and he wants to wear what he wants to wear, what fun it was, so simple, and so identifiable, the trauma of getting any man dressed up the way you think he ought to be.

    You were right, there were such small little touches in the dialogue which made the film so funny, and real. Like when he puts a flower in Nigar’s head, and says, “What is this way you comb your hair?”

    And Meena Kumari with her upper lip fuzz. :)

    But Durga Khote took the cake. She was so lively, and fabulous. She made her role entirely believable, haughty and loving in turns. Love, love, love.

    • Agree with Banno about the stylish farmer part. He’s in jumpsuit getting down from the Tractor (and Tractor too!).
      This is a really fun movie Memsaab! Millions of thanks for the review and the upload. I loved every bit of it (except when Rehman so misguidedly pressures Meenu a little bit, just a teensy weensy bit).
      The music is so divine. The characters are so kooky. I mean, Rehman wears sunglasses on a regular basis.

      Also, as Banno says, I loved when he said “Is this the way to ‘make’ your hair?”. A little thing to show how they are coming from different worlds. (OTOH, Meenu always braids her hair when not on job/show…). I loved those flowery design blouses with puffy sleeves on Meenu. Meena Kumari really pulled off that Strong+Vulnerable girl thing.

      Durga Khote was so modern (says to Meenu, “I am all for girls working but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take care of your home”). I really loved the whole concept and story and the cast was just icing on the cake. How sweet…How sweet..(Now my family will be subjected to another round of random dialogues :D)

      Btw, the credits for the actors followed all other credits. Is this special for this movie or common around that time? I always saw movies with credits for actors right after the movie title and directors/producers at the last.

    • “For the first time, I was actually able to download the AVI files quite quickly and watch them peacefully. I’m afraid Tom’s uploads still don’t work for me for some reason. :(”
      @ banno: Agree with you on both the terms. Unfortunately I also can’t access tom’s uploads. Started with Helen, and only things i get are some sort of undecipherable announcements.
      And the magroor uploads were so easy and fast to download!

      @ memsaab: thanx for the film. Just watched the first part. Nigar reminds me so much of our dear Geeta Bali! Rehman looks damn handsome.And love the way meena defends herself against her boss!

      • Well Tom’s uploads/downloads are much bigger in scope than these avi files—once you get his files put all together you have a high-quality dvd, which I personally prefer anyway to watching something on a computer. They have worked for many people…and I am sure he’d be happy to help out if he knew exactly what the problems you face are.

        Glad you are liking this one—Rehman *is* so handsome :)

        • Thanks for the advice,mem!
          better to do that than crib! :-)
          The parents are all as if from a Hrishikesh Mukherjee film! Love Durga Khote more than ever now, if that is possible. I want an aunt like her.
          Love Jilloo’s grin!

  24. So halfway through your post I was all ready to ask you to upload it and then I saw you’d already done it and so I now say to you: THANK YOU! I loved it!

  25. @Banno: Yes, agree of course with everything you say! I loved Jilloo too as Rehman’s mom—had only otherwise seen her as Sohrab Modi’s cranky (with good reason) wife in Pukar! And thank god for subtitles because there were so many lovely dialogues and I am so glad I could understand them (Raja has offered to sub Prithvi Vallabh for me, which is a perfect example of a film where the lack of them makes a huge difference! as you well know, since you filled me in on the goings-on there).

    Love Rehman’s “glares”—LOVE!

    @Violet: Glad you liked it, and I didn’t even mind Rehman pressuring Meena since I could understand that it was his hurt pride and heartbreak at work…not nice of him, but at least logical! :) Sweet indeed (loved Mirza’s “So sweet”)…

    Amrita: you are welcome! Glad you liked it. How does it make any sense that it’s been ignored?! :D

  26. there is so much to love in this film

    just some random thoughts
    the scene where Rehman gives eerybody the raise and donates Rs. 10,000 to charity and reveals that the seed company has been profiting from the black market. Could be a criticism of the present stateof the seed companies like Monsanto.

    Find it funny that meena agrees to marry Moti so readily!

    Sahib Bibi aur Ghulam would have been the result if meenu and Manohar had got married

    How wonderful to see such even-headed elders. The way they conduct ‘business’ is hilarious. reminds me so much of Hrishikesh Mukherjee!

    Thaaanks for the film.
    Can only agree with Bholeram: How Sweet!

    If only they could have treated the cat with love, the poor thing is always twirling its tail in anger!

  27. An absolute find and delight! Thanks Memsaab! Never heard of it including songs, so much fun that these throwback strays from 40s found like film Patanga hit with Gope and Nigar singing ‘telephoon from rangoon’ that I shall focus on on the City Cat or kitten!

    Perhaps, a rare film where Cat is integral part of the story and songs, central to love and social action around the tree and the bed, er at least kitchen!

    At 1:11 of the song clip with delightful pair running around the tree, Miss Moonlight hints ”Tera woh majedar khana – Meri billi ko khilana – Mujhe door se satana- Mujhe yaad hai” translated “Your tasty food – That you fed to my cat – and you harrasing me from afar – I do remember” oh so lovingly!

    May I be a suitor for your affection only for song subtitles to other Raja?

    PS. Please delete earlier CI post as I was typing tip-tip in the dark, lying in my bed and iPhone correcting my desi spelling like a villian from Bolly!

  28. A really good fun song is missing from this print.

    • Oh why God why! :( *memsaab cries*

      I just can’t bear the mutilation. What a cute song, thanks for sharing! I know just where it’s missing from in the story too. SIGH.

    • Indeed, what a delightful song. Cute lyrics too.
      This must be part of the charity programme for which they had collected money in the office. Am pissed off that they cut this part.

    • Well done, Aditya! Thanks for unearthing this cute number. Wonder if there are other songs missing from the B4U version.:-(

    • Another song is missing- “tumhe baagon mein saawan mein nazaare yaad karte hai” sung by Shamshad Begam and composed by Sajjad Hussain in the B4U download. I have not been able to locate it in youtube either.

    • Its one of my most favourite G.M. Durrani-Shamshad duets. i always loved the way Shamshad sings it changing her voice to suit both the heroines. One of the rare songs where a singer sings for two characters!

  29. Great discovery,Aditya. What a great song it is ! What a pity that this song is so unknown among music lovers.

  30. Looks like an interesting film to watch, I enjoyed the songs and have a playlist on my YouTube channel. Could you help me regarding this: how to upload an mp3 in wordpress? I saw the pleasing Uma Devi song from Chandni Raat whcih you uploaded. (Thanks!)

  31. thanks for the great review and the upload. looking forward to watch it.

  32. hi memsaab, could you please re-post part 2? thank so much
    regards,
    carlito

  33. oops – ok, link is working again… sorry! and thank you for sharing this! i am excited to watch this classic

  34. Looks like I am a late comer. But is there any possible way to download the movie MAGROOR any more ? Tried your upload site, but a Notice from the FDI prevents any download.

    • Yes, that site was shut down and I expect the FBI to come knocking any day now :D Unfortunately it was the only site that I could upload a file that big without paying a fee :( If I think of an alternative I will let you know!

  35. Toot gaya haye toot gaya my fev song

    Tik tik bole mere dil ki ghadi

    • Is there any way to get this movie: on-line or in the form of VCD or DVD or whatever ? Please reply if there is any.

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