Hanste Zakhm (1973)

I am very happy that this was not the first Chetan Anand film I saw, because it then may well have been my last, robbing me of films I really love (notably Aakhri Khat and Taxi Driver, but also HaqeeqatAandhiyan and Kudrat). I have only ever seen Priya Rajvansh in Kudrat and Haqeeqat, and although I liked her fine in both of those I gathered from comments that her reputation as an actress is…well. Let’s just say I understand those comments perfectly now. She pretty much single-handedly destroys this film with her nails-on-a-chalkboard performance. I have never been so irritated by someone’s voice and demeanor in my whole life.

Having said that, I will also add that even without her I would have found Hanste Zakhm disappointing. The story had potential to be path-breaking—I loved the beginning, and it could have developed into something truly thoughtful and interesting; but instead it took the safe (ie ultra-conservative) road and fell flat on its face.

There are some bright spots (literally—sometimes everything appears to have been dipped in some sort of LSD bath and the colors are lurid, to say the least) (and hooray for Paro and Achala Sachdev partying it up in a hotel nightclub).

I actually liked Navin Nischol’s character mostly too, and he and his band of merry taxi-driver pals are a breath of fresh air. The clothing and sets are full of Seventies flair; Balraj Sahni, Sapru and Nadira are great; Madan Mohan’s music is lovely; and I was thrilled to see Kamal Kapoor and KN Singh in cameo roles as wealthy sleazebags patronizing the prostitute heroine.

As for the prostitute heroine!

*SPOILERS AND RANT*

How refreshing and truly revolutionary this character could have been if a) she weren’t played by Priya and b) she weren’t killed off at the end. I know that love is blind, but seriously what was Chetan Anand thinking, making Priya his muse? From her first line to her last, in a stilted little girl voice, she makes Baywatch’s Pamela Anderson look like Oscar material. In the right hands (Mumtaz? Sharmila?), Chanda could have been a great character: wounded, cynical, rebellious. For instance, Chanda has beautifully written dialogues when Mahendru goes to plead with her to give up Somesh, but Priya’s delivery destroys any impact they might have had. A good actress may have even redeemed the abysmal ending somewhat. Maybe.

Let me also say right now that anyone who wants to jump in and defend the unnecessary death of Chanda (please!) save your breath. The message sent in movie after movie by killing off “unchaste” female characters who must pay for their sins just infuriates me. Even if the point is that Mahendru is punished for judging her (ie a fundamentally decent man deprived by his own prejudices of his longed-for daughter when he at last meets her again), it isn’t a point supported well enough earlier to make it meaningful at the end. How much better a message it would have been had she been allowed to find happiness and survive the bad things which happened to her through no fault of her own. Arghhh.

*END SPOILERS AND RANT*

As I said, I was sucked in at the start. Police Superintendent Dinanath Mahendru (Balraj Sahni) dotes on his little girl Meena, who has befriended another little girl named Rekha at school. At Meena’s insistence, Mahendru asks Rekha’s mother (Achala Sachdev) if Rekha can come with them on a short school break, and she agrees.

Rekha’s mother is a prostitute called Heera Bai, forced into the business by her “mother” and uncle Kundan (a gleefully evil Jeevan).

When Kundan attempts to sell Rekha into an early (very early!) start in the racket too, Heera Bai tries to kill him but accidentally kills her mother instead and is arrested. In jail, she begs a surprised and horrified Mahendru to take care of her little girl. Kundan, meanwhile, sends men to kidnap Rekha, but they mistakenly make off with Meena instead.

Kundan calls Mahendru and tells him the he will exchange Meena for either Rekha or 50,000 Rs cash. To his credit (I guess, if you give credit to people doing something they should do anyway), Mahendru chooses to keep Rekha safe and borrow the cash from his close friend, bank manager Banwari (DK Sapru).

Banwari gives him the money with no questions asked. As Mahendru is paying off Kundan, an unwitting but enterprising Meena makes her escape—and Mahendru is left with no cash and no daughter. Poor Meena is caught by Kundan’s men again soon after, and this time he sells her off into prostitution.

Mahendru is stripped of his position as Bombay’s Superintendent (for dealing with Kundan without bringing the police in) and sent to Pune to start his career over at a desk job. Bereft of his own daughter, he adopts Rekha.

Years pass, and when Heera Bai is finally released from prison she comes looking for her daughter. Mahendru convinces her that it’s best for Rekha (Suman Sikand—any relation to Pran?) to remain his daughter.

He has worked his way back up through the ranks of the police, and is thrilled when an insurance policy conveniently matures, enabling him to repay Banwari the 50,000 Rs he had borrowed, and get Rekha married off.

Meanwhile Meena is now called Chanda (Priya Rajvansh). She has been raised by Madame (an as-gleefully-evil-as-Jeevan Nadira) and groomed as a reluctant prostitute who commands a high price from wealthy and influential men. Chanda longs to escape her life, and wants nothing more than to be respectable and to get a good ordinary job. Madame keeps Chanda’s rebellion (unintentionally hilariously) in check with the aid of this hulking man, whom Chanda fears like some people fear heights or snakes.

All he has to do is loom in front of her, and Priya descends into fits of shrieking and over-acting (and I giggle).

Madame drags Chanda to the races to meet a debauched Prince (Kamal Kapoor).

There, Chanda catches the eye of wealthy and dashing young Somesh (Navin Nischol) too. I might add here too another complaint (why not, while I’m on a roll?): Navin’s voice. It sounds like he was dubbed at about twice the speed of normal, making him sound like Alvin the Chipmunk. Very annoying. Oh, and this guy I am trying to identify appears in a walk-on cameo typical of him in hundreds of movies. I need to know who he is!

Moving on. Chanda leaves with Madame and the Prince, but Somesh is smitten. He is the only son of Banwari, who dislikes his gambling habits and refusal to settle into a job at the bank although his Ma (Paro) dotes on him. Both parents think he just needs to get married; when Mahendru—newly transferred to Bombay as the reinstated Superintendent—pays them a visit to repay his debt and introduces Rekha to them, all agree that a match between Rekha and Somesh is a great idea.

Well, all agree except Somesh who is not consulted; to celebrate everyone goes to spend an evening at this crazy nightclub.

The “action” includes Chanda grooving with the Prince, and Somesh (who dances like a chicken, arms flapping awkwardly like wings) is thrilled to see her. It is also too much fun to see Kamal Kapoor giving the dance floor his all:

When the Prince dies later that evening of a heart attack nobody should be surprised. In a panic, Chanda runs to the hotel lobby for help just as Somesh and his party are leaving.

At the police station, Chanda is defiantly truthful about her profession. Waiting outside, Somesh gives her a lift back to Madame’s and professes his love to her but she rejects him again. This doesn’t stop him from telling Banwari at home that he will not marry Rekha, and I am pleased that he has the decency to tell Rekha the news himself too.

She is hurt because, you know: the mere mention of a possible marriage with Somesh is enough to inspire her lifelong devotion and fidelity to him despite the fact that she’s spent all of five minutes with him, and for most of those he was ogling another girl.

I know it’s 1973 India, but still: my grandmother in the 1920s would not have been that much of a sheep, and I suspect (given what I’ve seen of Hindi cinema’s earliest decades) that Rekha’s grandmother might not have been either.

Banwari throws Somesh out of the house, and we get some relief from all the trauma-drama-o-rama when he settles in with a bunch of taxiwallahs, led by Brahmswaroop (V Gopal) and his useful, mountainous stomach.

Now that is what I call making the best of a bad situation!

Someone (maybe me) ought to do a study of the ginormous bellies (Ram Avtar, Asit Sen, Moolchand, etc.) and fat ladies (Tun Tun, Indira Bansal, etc.) of Hindi cinema and how they are used to carry forth the narrative as comic relief.

Heh. I mean, that doesn’t even look REAL.

Anyway, driving his taxi, Somesh continues to woo Chanda and although he strikes me mostly as stalker-ish:

she is charmed and succumbs to his proposal of marriage. She leaves Madame and moves in with him (!) at the taxiwallah colony, where she is welcomed. I am charmed when she takes over the taxi driving and Somesh stays home and cooks.

Meanwhile, Kundan is still around, and he and his gang of smugglers have gotten into the drug business. I love this visual (quintessential Jeevan, na?). The cinematography and art direction in this film are its best points, really.

On a side note, it’s too bad that whoever was feeding V Gopal didn’t share some of it with Macmohan (who plays Kundan’s henchman Braganza):

Another of his henchmen leaves a suitcase full of valuable charas cigars in the back of one of the taxis, putting Kundan on the wrong side of an “international” client named Michael who has already paid him for them. When the taxi drivers smoke the funny cigars and get publicly wasted, it also leads Mahendru to Somesh’s new home, and he facilitates a reunion between Somesh and his parents.

But will they be able to accept Chanda as their daughter-in-law? (No.) Will she discover her real father’s identity, and he that she is his long-lost Meena? (Eventually.) Will Kundan discover it too, and use it to his advantage? (Of course.) Will the crescendo of screeching and wailing as it all comes together get on my last good nerve? (Yes.)

Well. At least I can say I’ve seen this now, although I can’t say I much liked it. Considering he had already made some very innovative movies by this time, I am disappointed at whatever (or whoever) made Chetan Anand come up with this—the censor board? public opinion? his adoration of Priya? He may have had good intentions, I don’t know; and therein lies the problem. I just don’t know what he meant to say, but the end product is insufferable. Khair. Nobody is perfect, and I am still glad the man made the other films that I have seen. Just watch one of them instead of this one, truly.

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84 Comments to “Hanste Zakhm (1973)”

  1. I totally agree with you on the movie but the song “Tum jo mil gaye ho” is fabulous. Rafi’s best. Maybe u liked Priya in Kudrat coz she didnt have much to do in that movie. Watching Heer Ranjha was torture too.

    • Yes that is a nice song, I liked most of the songs in this actually. I guess another example of Madan Mohan wasting his talents ;-)

      I haven’t been able to brave Heer Ranjha yet. Perhaps I never will. She didn’t have a lot to do in Kudrat, or really in Haqeeqat either, except look pretty. But this film really depended on her unfortunately and she just couldn’t do it.

      • She actually had quite a bit to do in Kudrat which I saw recently – simply for the songs and Raaj Kumar whom I adore. Funny that she was his heroine in Heer Ranjha and then his daughter in Kudrat. She was awful in Kudrat as well though she was a bit bearable in the court-room scene though she seemed to talk in a monotone even in those scenes. Priya is somewhat synonymous with Vimmi in terms of woodenness. Both died tragic deaths too.

    • Can you believe it, this movie was actually remade as ‘Mitti Aur Sona’ (1989)? It starred Chunky Pandey, Sonam and Neelam. Sonam played Priya’s role.

  2. You are totally back, Greta. What a fantastic review!!! :-)

    I think it is not just rantworthy but rant-rich movies like this that have you banging away on your keyboard in indignation (Well, indignation for you, glee for us!). :-)

    I’ve not seen this movie – it is one of those movies that I’ve always approached with a sense of extreme uncertainty.

    The good things first. The songs are to die for. The lyrics of Kaifi Azmi and music by Madan Mohan are yet again (after Haqeeqat and Heer Ranjha, also under Chetan Anand) absolutely outstanding. Have seen them on youtube a zillion times. And although, I was quite disappointed at the picturisation of “aaj socha to aansoo bhar aaye”, “ye maana meri jaan” and “tum jo mil gaye ho” are good fun.

    And that’s where it stops for me.

    Against this musical bonanza, I need to weigh the Rajvansh. And everytime I’ve wanted to see this movie, her face has come in front of my eyes.

    That wooden expression that I saw for 10 min in Heer Ranjha and switched off the TV because I could take it no more.

    That wooden expression that I saw in Haqeeqat but which got thankfully camouflaged by the poignancy of the rest of the movie.

    That wooden expression that I saw in Kudrat but managed to concentrate on all the other good things in the movie, like Rajesh, Hema, Vinod and Raj Kumar.

    Hanste Zakhm would have too much of the Rajvansh for me to be able to handle, of that I’ve always been convinced. And the youtube video of “aaj socha” depresses me way too much to extinguish any last flicker of desire I may have to see this movie.

    Now that I’ve read the review here, I think my fears about the movie may have been so strongly vindicated that I may have actually gone full circle now. I may want to see this – just to force myself to squirm one more time watching the Rajvansh.

    (As an aside, the only other actress who comes close to the Rajvansh (ok, she may actually beat the Rajvansh) is Vimi (of Humraaz fame). If you want to enjoy a woodenness festival, you should watch Aabroo with Vimi and Deepak Kumar. The Rajvansh would feel very threatened.)

    It is conventional wisdom that one should never mix work and personal life together. Maybe nobody told Chetan Anand that. Or maybe he just did not listen to them. Love is indeed blind – and nothing illustrates the truth of this adage more than Chetan casting the Rajvansh time and time again. What was he thinking? Well, we all know he wasn’t.

    Phew! This is YOUR review and I end up with MY rant. :-) Guess that’s enough for now.

    Once more, lovely review. Was literally laughing out loud (LLOL?) through most of it.

    Snippets :
    ”…the mere mention of a possible marriage with Somesh is enough to inspire her lifelong devotion and fidelity to him despite the fact that she’s spent all of five minutes with him, and for most of those he was ogling another girl.”
    “…it’s too bad that whoever was feeding V Gopal didn’t share some of it with Macmohan”.

    Class!

    And you should SO do that piece on ginormous bellies. :-)

    • It wasn’t even her wooden expression (in her more hysterical moments I longed to see the wooden back) but her VOICE. My God. It was beyond beyond annoying. I don’t know if it was poorly dubbed, or what, but it was truly worse than nails on a chalkboard. I wanted to kill myself everytime she had a sentence longer than two words to get through. Quite honestly, I don’t understand why she herself didn’t have the good sense to quit the industry, at the very least she might have done it for Chetan’s sake. Oy.

      • No, no, not poor dubbing that’s just her voice and special way of talking.:-D I particularly “enjoyed” the way she recited poetry…

        Agree with everything in the review. This is one of the few movies where even Balraj Sahni failed to impress…although it’s probably less his fault and more what his character is asked to do.

        Loved all the songs, but “aaj socha to ansoo bhar aaye” could have been rendered better (ie. less shrieky).

  3. Hello Memsaab and all; read all the comments – well, thanks Memsaab for finally listening to my plea, I really wanted you to review this classic that doesn’t appear to be. Got a agree with the “wooden” expressions of Late beloved actress Priya R. It is the same story in every one of her films. I do admire her poetic ability but expressions there lack of, well I think the fans are in agreement;

    As of the Late Divine K. Azami and M. Mohan, what can be said. Tum Yo Mil gaye ho is a composition that is in class by itself. It has the American Blues effect, I do hear the psychedelic Doors here there; the music/songs is a strongest point of this film another agreement;

    And the whole film is indeed bathed in LSD!! You are totally right on Memsaab; I see GREEN!!! but to me this has it’s own charm…but another agreement!!!

    Lyricist Gulshan Bawra appears in the song Gali Gali me (his skinny self!); and Navin Nichol although can’t dance to save his life does look Hot in his psychedelic scarf.

    I love the disco/psychedelic interior; to identify this, I don’t think this is a set. It does appear to be in a Hotel of some sort. Could be The Blow Up Disco? at Taj Mahal Hotel Lobby? Slip Disc? I’ll look into this with some experts perhaps they can further I.D. the Disco location.

    I do have a photo of the apartment building in this link below where Priya R. is “Picked up”/”dropped off” , I am pretty sure this is it:

    “Mohn Place Arthur Bunder Road, Colab”a (this film is indeed shot in around Artur Bunder Road in Colaba, Bombay year of ’72 release ’73:

    Mohn Mansion - Bombay Art Deco

    Here is my quest – Led Zeppelin photographed at Slip Disc – in Colaba/Arthur Bunder Road 1972:(confirmed location)

    http://www.bigdooker.com/milestones.html

    …this is good one Memsaab, oh, Vimi of Hamraaz fame was another “I don’t know what smile is” actress…lady of Zero words

    Rest in Peace Beautiful Lady Priya.

    • Priya was beautiful, I will give you that. And few (certainly not her) deserve to die the way she did in real life. But…arghh. She did this film no favors at all!

    • Jas,
      so you already approach memsaab with your quest request :)

      I haven’t yet managed to find yet anything interesting. The club scenes in this movie look more like sets. March 72 issue of Filmfare doesn’t seem to have anything (checked at ebay). But I came across an interesting thing. The Slipped Disc in Bombay probably got its name from the club in movie Cactus Flower (1968).

    • Hey Vinayak :) Maybe we can encourage Jas to put together his own blog about Indian cinema nightclubs!!!!! I want to know where THIS place is, I see it everywhere—very distinctive, with the murals around the top, and the peacocks at the bottom, and there are statues everywhere. It’s in a bunch of fillums, including this fab Laxmi song (please also to note that this is my friend Tom’s video—subtitled and quality improved by him—which like many of his others has been appropriated by the uploader here without credit for his own YT channel which is a great pity):

  4. Memsaab, thanks for finally understanding why many of us are not impressed with Priya Rajvansh as an actress and find her wooden! The Rafi song “Tum jo mil gaye ho” – is a favourite and have heard it countless time. Haven’t seen this movie though.

  5. oh forgot to add, having seen Balraj Sahani in the credits and his picture, i am tempted to see this movie. Did he have a big role?

  6. A very good review. I have never really liked Priya Rajvansh even in memorable movies like Haqeeqat (1964). Possibly because it was her debut movie and she was still raw. But she hasn’t seemed to grow ieven in this movie that released a good 9 years later. The songs of the movie are its highlights.

    The unidentified guy also appears in Yakeen (1969) starring Dharmendra (double role), Sharmila Tagore, David, Kamini Kaushal, Asit Sen, Helen and Anwar among others. He can be spotted in the movie as the chief who sends a duplicate Dharmendra to do the obvious. Don’t know his name though.

    • Our mystery man is in EVERYTHING, seriously. Someone else commented that he might be D. Billimoria, who was a silent star and that rang a bell for me as being right but I don’t know for sure. I often see him referred to as the “gora” guy although to my gori eyes he looks as Indian as he does Anglo. Maybe the credits of Yakeen will yield a clue, I will have a look (I should watch that film again, I loved it so)…

      • Very possible Mr. X could be Billimoria. He played the guy who everyone addressed as boss in Yakeen, though his screen presence is very less. So his name might just make it to the credits.

        Dharmendra as the villain just seemed to ‘steal’ all the scenes from the rest of the crowd :-)

  7. I know Priya Rajvansh is unbearable as an actress, but somehow, as a child, I was fascinated by her, in the same way as I was by snails or earthworms, or spider’s webs, or snot or ….

  8. I couldn’t believe it when I discovered that Priya Rajvansh had studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts – supposedly the only Indian actress to have done so. The only film where I found her bearable was Haqeeqat, but that was possibly because her role wasn’t that big… Hanste Zakhm and Hindustan ki Kasam, she’s awful.

    • Ha ha ha haaaa!!!! Maybe that is her problem! What did you do to poor Priya, RADA?!

      I didn’t mind her in Haqeeqat at all, or in Kudrat, but…she was unbearable here, really.

      • I actually feel she’s not as bad as made out to be on this string of comments.. Hanste Zakhm wasn’t her best performance, yes and no doubt her dialogue delivery did jar, but there is something very compelling about her. She handled strong dramatic, confrontational scenes very well. Her dialogue delivery & expressions improved by leaps and bounds in such scenes.

        Check her out in the entire second half of Kudrat, in the courtroom and climax scenes which she competely dominates ( & hema malini has hardly anything to do in the second half). Or in Heer Ranjha where she was her most expressive- her confrontation scene with the kaazi is superb. Its only when she has to act coy that her voice suddenly sounds very cloying for some reason. Her tone & pitch was uneven , it ranged from shrill to more throaty. Overall a mesmerising looker with a great command for poetry. I feel even in Hanste Zakhm she handled the discovering father’s identity scene very well – certainly not expressionless at all, the look in her eyes when she talks about her lonely life “aap samajh nahin sakte ki jab koi nahin hota, toh kya hota hai” is very effective. She was unconventional so i guess wasn’t to everyone’s taste.

  9. Memsaab, this one was a fairly straightforward ’70s film, with the prostitute dying in the end and LSD-inspired sets. Chetan Anand was smitten by his muse and made several films with her despite the fact that she did a good imitation of a door. Nischol showed promise and was propped up as a poor man’s Rajesh Khanna but in later years did some fine character roles (Khosla ka Ghosla et al).
    The portly gent who wanders into the frame is one of those A-class extras; some say he was a Parsi called Billimoria, others claim he was an Anglo-Indian

    • It’s not that straightforward, which is one of its plus points: the prostitute is also the HEROINE, which was very different for that time. It could have done so much with that premise, but then didn’t. A shame really.

      I have also heard that he is D. Billimoria, formerly a silent screen star. Will see if I can find out for sure :)

  10. Cool review! I also sometimes like watching a few minutes of Priya now or then. There is something compelling about her wooden delivery and heavily accented halting voice. It’s like watching a train wreck I guess? Does anyone know where she was originally from? RIP Priya – you are still one of the wonders of Indian cinema. Much like Sharda the ‘love her or hate her’ singer.

        • We might be the only two :)

          • I like Sharda too. I saw her in a live concert once – a Shankar Jaikishen night – sometime around 1977.

            If we don’t compare her with Lata/Asha and enjoy Sharada’s voice as being just different, we are more likely to enjoy her songs. I think the problem is that Shankar (of the S-J combo) used her as a Lata substitute, so she got compared with Lata.

            Also, I’ll admit I don’t rate her diction or her classical ability. But Sharda as just Sharda, is fun to listen to. She does have a lovely, non-traditional, somewhat mesmerizing voice.

  11. “Tum Jo mil Gaye Ho” is the only reason I love this movie, otherwise it just seemed to go on and on and on. It was a contrived ending-Suresh marrying the ‘pure as Bisleri’ Rekha after Priya dies. Not a very happy married life I suppose.

    Priya Rajvansh is fascinating when you see her for the first time, but the fascination wears off in 5 minutes and she becomes incredibly irritating.

  12. Your review brought back horrible memories of seeing the movie in the seventies some time. I would propose Priya in the top-5-actresses-who-can’t-act-to-save-their-lives list ! And you find her pretty? I found her (and find her) rather horsy I must say. I have not had the pleasure(!!!) of seeing the movie again but I recently was listening to the music and I still find it very beautiful. I think ‘Tum jo mil gaye ho’ is beautifully composed, well written and absolutely brilliantly sung by Mohammed Rafi.

    • I do find her pretty, except when she is busy “posing” and messing with her hair in an attempt to look artfully enticing. Then she is just irritating. Songs are all nice, really.

  13. I hated it when I saw it aeons ago.
    Doesn’t the movie Ahista Ahista with Kunal Kapoor and Padmini Kolhapure also have a similar plot and also the opera La Traviata has a similar plot, which itself was based on Dumas’ The Lady of the Camellias!

    • Not really. I think Padmini was playing a courtesan’s daughter in that movie, and there was a little less lost and found. Although she still had to die (in the most weirdest of manners), which really angered me.

      But it was definitely much more painful than Hanste Zakhm.

    • Haven’t seen Ahista Ahista, but there is a bit of Traviata in it :)

  14. What a coincidence you wrote a Chetan Anand review! I chose one of his (better) films too for a post this time :) Do read it (everyone!) and if you have any precious snippets to add, I will be only too glad! :)

    P.S: Priya R IS quite pretty though, isn’t she? And the song “Tum jo mil gaye ho” …wow! It kinda reminds of that song “Hold me close swaaaaaaaay me more” (No idea why..probably cos of the same “lazy” voice quality :P )

  15. Hi Vinayak and Memsaab, I love that song that you posted. You know, I will keep this on the front burner and see what I can come up with…

    and Vinayak, I have your email, I will send you further details from Richard Cole, Zep’s Road Manager re. Bombay ’72 – I will scan it with more details with accuracy for Date.

    Let’s see what we can find, there was definitely an interesting Club Scene in the early 70′s. In my opinion, this is a interesting piece of history. More so now, as the 70′s seems to be “in fashion” in the Film Industry. I do think we are ready to fall in love with the 70′s all over again.

    • Ha ha, I’ve always been in love with the 70s….well, more of a love/hate relationship really, since I lived through them as a poorly-dressed, badly-coiffed teenager!

  16. I find Kudrat and Aakhri Khat as the best films made by Chetan Anand with Superstar Rajesh Khanna.
    Taxi Driver and Funtoosh with Devanand were also good.

    chetan anand was great director but vijay anand was better director.

    • Aakhri Khat is one of my favorite films of all time, but I prefer Taxi Driver to Kudrat…and I didn’t really care for Funtoosh (review is up here too).

      Agree completely that Vijay Anand was a better director overall—I love, love, love his films! :)

  17. Chetan Anand’s movie `Kinare Kinare’, in which he also acted opposite Meena Kumari and Dev anand has a beautiful song,
    `Jab Gham-e-ishq Satata Hai…’ picturized on Chetan Anand.
    The movie is not bad. He usually has at least one song (if not more) that become classic.

    • Sadly some of his early movies, which are among his best apparently, aren’t available with subtitles (Neecha Nagar, for example). He was a very handsome man, could have probably easily made a career out of acting too but I guess didn’t want to.

  18. Personally, my fav scene is where Navin meets Priya at the night club. His and Kamal Kapur’s dancing’s the best! I’ve often wondered if Priya spoke like that in real life as well- if yes, I cant imagine how Chetan was in love/lust with her!

    • I know!!!!! Probably at least she didn’t talk in such a monotone although the little girl quality of it is so grating. Agree with you on the night club scene, was fun to see Sapru, Nadira, Paro and Balraj Sahni letting it all hang out too!!!!

  19. “She pretty much single-handedly destroys this film with her nails-on-a-chalkboard performance. I have never been so irritated by someone’s voice and demeanor in my whole life.”—- A remark I would have loved to author but then you have reviewed the film, and Priya Rajvansh a beauty? Ahem, well I guess “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”. But then I am prejudiced I never liked her.
    As for your mystery man well I do not know his name, dad isn’t around, he always mentioned him. Dad used to say that there were several Anglo-Indians and foreigners at the time India gained independence, some of them stayed back and did these small roles in Hindi films just for fun, this gentleman was one of them. They were known as decent extras,those days those doing bit parts were known as extras,now they are called junior artistes and extras who got to speak a few dialogues were referred to as decent extras.

  20. Priya Rajvansh was discovered when she came to Bombay from London and met Chetan Anand. Hence the weird accent. She soon became his muse, friend, partner, heroine. He was already separated from his wife by then but this did not go down too well with his family.
    She was found murdered some years ago, so let’s not be too rude to her.
    Also, to whoever mentioned the disco Slip Disc, in Colaba, Bombay, it is not Slipped Disc. Jimmy Page and Robert Plant played there one evening in 1972 but from the mid 1970s, it became a seedy pick up joint

    • The person who murdered her (at the behest of Chetan’s sons, apparently) was rude to her. I am just pointing out that she was extremely irritating onscreen, and thus failed miserably in her job as an actress :)

    • Memsaab – Priya’s tragic passing has nothing to do with her acting abilities, her acting is the primary reason for our posts here. Her haunting smiles in the song Tum Jo Mil Gaye Ho remains a classic regardless, the rain, the lovers, the vintage intoxicating Mumbai, timeless classic;

      and Siddarth – It is indeed Slip Disc – this has been confirmed at the Official Site by me already. Here is a link to Madhu’s Site to all the vintage photos from Early Rock Scene from Bombay including the Original Log from Slip Disc.

      http://www.myspace.com/madooocom/photos/albums/album/1818870

      My Original question was whether the Disco scene of Hanste Zakhm was filmed at Slip Disc – but it looks like maybe not; Siddarth, were you there that night when Zep performed or have details? send me email at ledzeppelin51@hotmail.com…much appreciated..

      ..and Memsaab further to the Peacock Set from Ek Muthi Me Dil, Ek Muthi me Pyar from the Classic Sherafat that you posted earlier – I have sent inquiries to Famous Cine Studios to see if they can help Identify this set – (as Sherafat was filmed at Famous Cine Studios). Also, many other classic films at Famous Cine Studios show similar white marble structures; also I posed this question to Rakesh Ji (His Grate “The Guest Post of Anand Bakshi” earlier). He informed me that Anand Bakshi did not write lyrics of Sherafat (as known and widely mentioned on the internet)….

      I think a Blog is definitely interesting on the Club Scene, and I certainly will further this casue. I also think that Bollywood Tours from Mumbai can join us on Memsaab Story to do perhaps another Guest Post as they take people on tours to show the vintage historic sets of the now famous films. Those sets are stunning and I think it is important to see just where our famous films were filmed at.

      • I think the Peacock Room was probably part of a hotel; there is a party scene there in 36 Ghante with Parveen Babi and you can see that there’s a pool outside which has pretty distinctive decor itself. I’ll do a separate post on it one of these days soon :)

        • Yes Memsaab, I do see what you mean. Famous Cine Studios, Moses Road Mumbai, also show up in the details of this film as in the location for this film, interesting – Now I really wonder what this exotic place is!!!;

  21. I would recommend Navin Nischol’s “Ek Baar Kaho” with Shabana Azmi. It is an 80s Rajashri movie. I really liked Shabana and Navin in it. Acc to OIG it is a desi version of “Come September”. I believe it is available for viewing on rajashri.com

  22. Wow, if I were to judge this film by the cast and your wonderful screen snaps, Memsaab, I would think this one to be a winner…thankfully, I read your review, as well!

    I guess I am one of he lucky few who has not come across much Priya Rajvansh, yet, although I did see HAQEEQAT…but don’t remember her from the movie.

  23. Hilarious review. Priya Rajvansh was sure a horrible actress, but she was Chetan Anand’s wife so of course she just haaaad to be in it. Sadly, I believe she was murdered earlier in the 2000s. I did enjoy Balraj Sahni and family dancing in that club. Funny stuff.

  24. Not a word about Madan Mohan’s music, Memsaab? ‘Tum Jo Mil Gaye Ho’ is one of my ten most favourite Rafi numbers (as is ‘Aaj Socha Toh Aansoo Bhar Aaye’ in my top ten Lata solos).

    Thanks for the Balraj Sahni screenshots, though; did you know that he was called ‘The Gary Cooper Of India’?

    • Oops, you did mention the music. Extremely sorry about that slip! :-(

    • Well, I didn’t talk much about it, mostly because even it couldn’t rescue the film :)

      • I can understand. Priya Rajvansh pretty much ruined ‘Haqeeqat’ single-handedly for me. Didn’t dare try to watch any further collaborations between her and Chetan Anand.

        However, the ending of this story (as I gathered from your review) has a curious real-life echo; Priya Rajavansh was found murdered in her apartment a few years back. Chetan Anand’s sons were convicted for the crime.

  25. Guys, will check on the Peacock Room (though i feel it may have been a popular set). Another possibility–it was in Sun N Sand, the go-to hotel for filmy types; there was another restaurant called Pink Flamingo, though that did not allow shootings to my knowledge.

  26. Saw this decades back on Doordarshan and B/W TV. Yes Priya did make me go Aargh!

    Yet some stills (and songs) from the film had a lingering, compelling quality.

    After the thrashing the film got here from one and all I just had to have a re-look at the film. And ………. I quite liked it! – except for the final scene – and not because she died (I think the writer – Gulshan Nanda usually had his heroines dying at the end!). Considering so many films that are just tripe – I don’t think you should give it a raw deal just because the final scene did not make the cut – which was bad – and yes, mainly due to Priya.

    But the ending was quite in tune with the Title of the film: Her death is not as punishment. The point of the story was to highlight the ‘smiling’ (Hanste) stoic (wound – Zakhm) showed by the characters in spite of the raw deal handed out by fate.

    On this second look at the film, I found Priya’s delivery less cringing – I have since then seen some poor souls who do have such flat voices and awkward graces. Don’t tell me that if she was so in life she cannot hope for a besotted lover like Navin – after all the Director was one! And I know of at least one womaniser who was a Priya ‘Bhakt’!

    And the film did have stylised touches which I liked very much.

    And Navin sounding like Alvin the Chipmunk ? I seemed to have missed that…… I quite liked him here (in other films I found him very much bland – the way you feel about Rajendra Kumar!)

    (Sorry for the long comment – but considering the work you put in your blog I just couldn’t restrict myself to a two line statement!).

  27. Is it only me, or was Navin Nischol really trying to channel his inner Dev Anand in this film? I didn’t bother with the complete film when it was showing on cable once, but for me Priya Rajvansh wasn’t the only irritating thing about the film. Also, I had seen the 80s remake Mitti Aur Sona (Sonam, Chunkey Pandey, Neelam) which was equally if not more horrible. Finding that the M&S was a shot-by-shot remake of this Chetan Anand piece of art didn’t really help. The scene where Priya’s elderly client drops dead while undressing her was in very bad taste.
    Having said that, I do appreciate Chetan Anand (I almost typed Chetan Bhagat!) for not chickening out in his depiction of prostitution, especially given that the girl in question is a long-lost daughter. In most Indian films, a young girl may be kidnapped and sold off to a brothel, but she is very likely to just entertain her patrons with her beautiful voice. Also very likely, the hero will rescue her before she’s sold off, and duly reunited with her loving parents.
    I do agree with Memsaab about the climax. Killing her off at the end was rather convenient, instead of dealing with a real situation where a girl, after all those years and all that trauma tries to settle back in with her real family and blend with the society. Certainly not an easy situation for anyone involved (hey, that could make a complete film in itself!).

    • I agree completely about his more realistic depiction of prostitution and what it does to its victims (the prostitutes themselves). And Chetan Anand ≠ Chetan Bhagat, ha ha!!

  28. Maybe it would help if you watched the movie on Mute? :)
    But I fell in love with Priya’s hair-if it was real which I suspect it was. She belongs to the Sikh community whose people are famous for long lovely tresses.
    I enjoyed Navin’s performance. He was incredibly handsome (more than Rajesh K. in my opinion though I like them both) and he had a good dialogue delivery. I wish he’d become a bigger star.
    Sad sad movie…inspite of my annoyance at Priya’s dreadful dialogue delivery and diction, I still felt sad seeing her character get no breaks in life.
    Oddly her dialogue delivery reminds me of Zeenat Aman’s-in Dhund and in Insaaf Ka tarazu, her voice in the emotionally charged moments was soooooo like Priya’s…except for the fact that Priya spoke like this no matter the circumstances surrounding her character…:)
    Lovely woman, though..R.I.P. to her, Navin and Balraj who incidentally, died the year this film was released.

  29. Priya was a very beautiful woman (and speaking of hair have you ever watched a Neelam movie?) and you are right—Zeenat could be very wooden herself :) Navin is growing on me, I must say, although I still don’t find him handsome on any sort of visceral level. But he made an okay Zorro and that’s a beginning!

  30. Didn’t you watch him in Dhund? And Buddha Mil Gaya? He made me swoon in my younger days-still does..:) Glad he’s growing on you too…

  31. who is the Bartender in the song ‘Aaj socha to aansoo bhar aaye”?

  32. Sorry to disagree with all but I didn’t dislike Priya Rajvansh all that much here. The director has chosen not to work hard on her. There seems to be a gap between his concept and his execution By the way I just love your posts. I would like it if you wrote on Meena Kumari in a greater detail…her persona and talent fascinate me no end…wish I had known her personally

  33. HANSTE ZAKHAM was (ARRIL 1973 release),a personal fav.as this was first year IS could understand cinema,and the movie had extremely soulfull music/songs which can be heard even today,on radio even fourty years after its release,Great MADAN MOHAN had certain/specfic equation with CHETAN SAAB as it was only who provided /scored music in all his movies till he was alive.A certain coincidence between Three Brothers(CHETAN SAAB,DEV SAAB,and GOLDIE uncle)that all three had one permanent starcast which was always there in all there movies,THOUGH there was age gap of about Twenty years between CHETAN SAAB and GOLDIE uncle,acomman string between them was that they choose each time a different subject,and gave best for it.THIS very year CHETAN SAAB had another movie(HINDUSTAN KII KASSAM)awar movie , When one watch their movie,one will always feel that all happenings are real and there is nothing artifical about them,that’s reason that after decades they will touch ones heart.The same applies to this one,BALRAJDA was central Charcter in this movie,but the release of this movie coincided with death of BALRAJDA,here I will also mention that CHETAN SAAB and BALRAJDA were childhood friends.AS of PRIYA aunty ,she worked only with CHETAN saab what more can be said that here too she gave restrined performance,an underplayed role as desired with script,Opp.NAVIN uncle,though in real few years younger to her,gave equally resounding performance.A Surprise face was SUMAN SIKAND aunty,though a pleasent face somewhat slim,and could act well too,but surprise that she did no other movie,and have never heard about her,all gave excellent performace,amust see movie,though nobody associated with movie is alive today.IN the year 1989 this movie was remade by palhaj NIHALANI as MITI AUR SONA with (CHUNKY PANDEY,SONAM,and NEELAM.ONE particular scene I would Like to mention is where NAVIN uncle gets engaged to SUMAN aunty, and for two minutes he looks outside window,this itself spoke volumes of movie,can be seen any day.RAVINDER MINHAS,JALANDHAR CITY,PANJAB,minhas35@yahoo.com.

  34. HANSTE ZAKHAM TAG NAVIN NISCHOL,continueing with my earlier writeup,I mind to admit that I have stolen this Line from MEMSAAB which infact also remineds of movie by same name,I believe somewhere around 1971/72 staring VINOOD KHANNA uncle along with YOGEETA aunty,an interesting movie with mindblowing songs,First and foremost,when I read so many coments about (DHOBAN AUNTY)I am sure that her name was(UMA DHAWAN)and two Like PRIYA aunty she too acted in CHETAN SAABs movies at least to best of my Knowledge between HEER RANJHA(1970) and SAHEEB BAHUDUR(1980),though this movie was complete alongside JAANEMAN(SEP 1976)but somehow could not be released until (1980)as same was political sattire,an interesting/comic movie.BACK to NAVIN uncle,between 1970/82 he gave consistent hits,just see variations,PARWANA(1971),BUDHA MIL GAYA(1971)GANGA TERA PAANI AMRIT(1972)VICTORIA 203(1972)BARKHA BAHAAR,this one,and DHARMA(1973)and cult classic(WOH MAIN NAHIN 1974)and right upto SABOOT(1980),HOTEL(1981),DEHSHAT(1982)he gave cosistent hits,but somehow Luck was not in his side,considered and rightly so one of few most handsome person in those days,but never got the right place he deserved,not many might be aware that when DEEWAR was Launched,the original cast of movie was RAJESH KHANNA uncle/and NAVIN NISHOL uncle,but due to some differences between RAJESH uncle and SALIM/JAVED this could not happen infact RAJESH uncle shot for DEEWAR,the same goes with NAVIN uncles personal life,here too things could not work out,Not many people might be aware that in the year(1980)he Launched his home production JAAN SE PARYA,since his career was on downslide,the same could be comleted with REKHA aunty/REENA ROY aunty,somethings are never meant to happen,the same goes to NAVIN uncle,and he passed away about three years ago at age of sixty five about three years ago BIJI(NAVEEN uncles mother)is alive,and I can only hope GOD gives her enough strength to bear this Loss,though NAVEEN uncle passed away disheartned man,IPRAY his soul is in peace,To our generation who grew up with his movies right from early school years,he will always remain our hero,we miss you NAVEEN uncle.RAVINDER MINHAS,JALANDHAR CITY,PANJAB,minhas35@yahoo.com.

  35. Finally managed to read your review after seeing the movie sometime in June. I rate this as your best review. Couldn’t help rolling with laughter at every sentence esp the reference to Baywatcha and Pamela Anderson. I wish you could write some more entertaining reviews like this. Totally agree on all counts esp the bad ending. About Priya – like all other desis, I have made my dislike equally clear on several occassions. A piece of wood – period. Love does make people blind esp Chetan Anand

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