Aamne Saamne (1967)

I watched this with Carla (Filmigeek), who liked it more than I did possibly thanks to the dazzling spectacle that is Sharmila in a swimsuit. For me it was ruined on the mystery front by obvious red herrings thrown at me like bricks and then left unexplained; and elsewhere by the insistence of the men who supposedly “loved” Sharmila (including the hero, argggghh Shashi) threatening repeatedly to kill her if she didn’t do what they wanted. There was fun to be had in some foot-tapping Kalyanji-Anandji musical numbers (and background score) and the general gorgeous sixties ishtyle of Shashi and Sharmila (what splendid alliteration!), but it didn’t quite make up for the annoyances above and a sad lack of gadgetry, lairs or any other kind of embellishment which might have made it less predictable.

Khair. You cannot always win everything.

The film opens on a dark (but not stormy) night as a mysterious male figure approaches a dimly lit mansion. A woman’s scream rings out and the servants spring into action, catching a man on the grounds. As the credits roll, he is put on trial. His name is Deepak Verma (Shashi Kapoor), and the unhappy murder victim is Vimla, his wife. The judge acquits him for lack of evidence but as is so often the case in real life too, the public—and Vimla’s brother Jeevan (Karan Dewan)—judge him guilty, believing that Deepak killed his wife for her fortune.

Now, we all know that because he is The Shash, he cannot possibly be guilty, right? The filmmakers know this too, and so bend over backwards to try and make us think this might be different. He gets off a plane, dressed in a natty white suit with drainpipe pants and sunglasses, watched by a suspicious-looking character smoking a cigar (Shinde—dear Edwina’s brother-in-law, husband of sister Marie and a dancer/musician in his own right). Deepak exits the airport looking nervously over his shoulder and on the way to his hotel switches from one taxi to another in an obvious effort to obscure his trail.

At the hotel (whose Taj-like majestic exterior is not at all matched by its modest interior) Deepak opens his suitcase so that we can see he’s packing a gun and makes a phone call to “Suraj Prakash” (cute nod to the film’s producer/director)—introducing himself as Gopal Mittal.

(Birbal has made him an id bracelet with his new name: I guess that’s all he needs to take on a new identity.)

Deepak Gopal has purchased a house complete with creepy gardener and car for his new life as a bachelor, although he does assure the gardener that he will have a new wife soon.

He wanders through his dark bungalow, turning lights on one by one to a snappy Bond-like score, until he opens the drapes in his bedroom and comes to a Hitchcock-like stop at theĀ rear window overlooking his neighbor’s house. His new wife appears to already be on the horizon! He watches as she is hailed from below, runs downstairs and climbs into a taxi; then he looks at a photograph he is holding in his hand.

The neighbor is pretty Sapna Mathur (Sharmila Tagore), a girl of some means with a beau by the name of Prem Malhotra (Prem Chopra) and they head for a nightclub (yay!) where the music is as much of a treat as you could ever want. It is reason enough to put up with the painfully obvious red herrings!

I know that one or two (Mike Barnum I am looking at you) of you will be as thrilled as I am to recognize yet another filmi prop that I also happen to have lying around in my house! Of course I’m way more excited about my lamp than is Sharmila, probably because mine is much more beautiful.

But I digress.

Sapna’s older brother Pran (Madan Puri) appears on the scene (in one of those “of course this is going to be someone benign because we’re so obviously supposed to be afraid” approaches), and when Sapna complains about her pesky new neighbor he assures her that he’ll take care of her. More Hitchcockian lurking and spying from the rear window ensues. I am distracted by those bunchy things behind Shashi’s head. What ARE they? Grapes for someone to peel?

Pran is eager for Sapna to marry his friend Prem, but she has the good sense to be reluctant. At this point the CSP couple is introduced as well in the form of Rajendranath as “Subodh Mukherjee” (jokes about the famed producer-director and Bengali stereotypes are made) and his wife Eetabai (Shammi) whose face is hidden behind her ginormous Maharashtrian pearl “guchhedar nath” (I love it). Gopal hires them as cook and handyman and I am delighted to see them both.

Gopal now seemingly coincidentally begins bumping into Sapna everywhere she goes, and he uses every opportunity to flirt outrageously with her. She is suspicious and flouncy at first of course, but his Shammi-like persistence (and lip-synching, and dancing) pays off and she really starts balking at her brother’s insistent questions about her marriage to Prem. When Gopal is injured while saving her from a runaway carousel (that she isn’t even riding; this movie is full of false alarms) at a fair, her fate is sealed and love, well, blossoms.

For a while all the shark-in-the-water music and overdone scare tactics disappear in favor of love songs in tree-filled parks, but not for long.

Sapna’s new romance does not go down at all well with Prem or Pran, who want her to marry Prem. Prem pressures Pran, who pressures Sapna, who is obstinate. If I had to choose between a guy who looks like Shashi and only wanted my money and a guy who talks through a clenched jaw and specializes in destroying things he can’t have, I’d choose Gopal too.

Yup, definitely Gopal, and truthfully I’d not only never speak to my brother again if he pulled a gun on me, but I’d put out a restraining order on him. I’d do the same for a would-be fiance if he brandished an aluminum foil knife at me, too.

Instead Sapna marries Gopal at the registrar’s office with Subodh and Eeta as witnesses, and they head off for a happy honeymoon in Kashmir where Sapna water-skis on Dal Lake (she spent a lot of time in swimsuits that year) as Gopal serenades her. Prem and Pran are pretty unhappy when they discover what has happened!

On their way home from their honeymoon Sapna is pushed from a hilltop where she was waiting for Gopal to get water for their conveniently stalled automobile and ends up in the hospital.

Did Gopal—who is really Deepak of course—murder his first wife Vimla for the inheritance? Is he behind the attempt on wealthy Sapna’s life? Or is it Prem or Pran having a fit of manly rage? What will Sapna do when she finds out about her husband’s past? If not Deepak, who did kill Vimla, and why? Who is the mysterious guy lurking about watching Gopal/Deepak? And how is he connected to servant/CSP Subodh?

This is most definitely one of those movies that I feel like I should love—but just can’t quite. This was my second viewing of it, and I didn’t much care for it the first time around either, for all of the same reasons. It simply lacks some indefinable thing for me—humor, craziness, a sense of fun. It takes itself too seriously and there are stretches of boredom interspersed with all those ridiculously obvious attempts to scare which didn’t (and I am easy to scare). I’ve liked Shashi and Sharmila’s chemistry in other films together, but here it doesn’t quite gell; and as I said before, I find the repeated casual threats to kill poor Sapna beyond irritating.

But on the upside, we are treated to a crazy Laxmi Chhaya dance:

and Shashi and Sharmila are gorgeous:

so there’s always that.

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48 Comments to “Aamne Saamne (1967)”

  1. But AT LEAST we have your fan-fic lamp picture! :D :D Worth it just for that.

  2. I think every one of your criticisms is completely valid – and I enjoyed it well enough all the same. You are right that Sharmila in a swimsuit (and a bubble bath) is not irrelevant to that. Some of it is just a matter of being in the zone – it was exactly what I was in the mood for that evening and I watched it largely with my brain off.

  3. One more thing – David and I cannot stop laughing at the picture of you delighting over your lovely lamp.

    • Glad you like the lamp picture, I have to admit that when I was done making it I just sat and giggled at it too :D I do crack myself up sometimes.

      My brain is pretty much always switched off, but I still just couldn’t quite like this one as much as I wanted to. Ah well. It wasn’t a complete waste of time, especially since you brought me delicious Indian food to accompany it!

  4. Your lamp photo is a complete winner!
    Remember the scene in which Sapna is pushed off a cliff and we are supposed to think its Shashi? The car breaks down and Sapna says she wants to go for a walk. And what I love is that IMMEDIATELY she stars walking with a sense of purpose up the hill, to the edge of the cliff and stands with the express intention – it seems to me – to be pushed off. That I thought was a lovely `one-of-those’ moments.

    • I know! She just stood up there, perched on the edge of the cliff, fiddling with her hair and waiting to be pushed. There was just way too much of that sort of thing :(

  5. Am I mistaken or are Rajendranath and Shashi both wearing very similar dressing gowns?

    Also, I would probably watch the movie with the sound off just to drool over Shashi.

    • You are not mistaken, actually Rajendranath “borrows” Shashi’s gown (when Shashi sees him in it he says “Mera gown!” which made me laugh. You can keep the sound on, it won’t distract from the Shashi drool opportunities :)

  6. In that photo, were you in the same hotel/restaurant as Sharmila was 45 yrs ago?

  7. I watched this movie in recent times and found it almost impossible to accept such an almost-cute villain. Due credit to Shashi Kapoor though fior pulling it off.

    Sharmila must be wondering “Shammi aur Shashi ke saath swimsuit scenes ho gaya aur woh bhi ek hi saal main. Ab Rajjiki baari hain” :-)

    I liked a couple of songs especially Nain milakar chain churrana kiska hai yeh kaam

  8. I watched this movie in the 80’s and had found it quite entertaining at that time, especially both Shashi and Sharmila looked gorgeous. Also Sharmila in a bikini was a bonus. Loved the song” Kabhi Raat Din Hum Door The” Rafi sounded very good.

  9. The songs are eternal favs of mine. But the film AArgh!. The red herrings are so obvious. If they had really made Shashi a killer it would have been fab :) A truly missed opportunity.

  10. It’s been too long since I watched Aamne Saamne for me to remember whether the red herrings put me off or not. All I remember is that Shashi Kapoor and Sharmila were gorgeous together, and that was enough for me! :-)

  11. SPOILER BELOW —

    I watched this one half a month back. I never did understand why Shashi looked at that photograph when he first peeked at Sharmila through the window. And why did he say, “the same car as before” when ordering for one in a particular shade of pink? My video skipped a bit towards the end, were these things ever explained? If Shashi was innocent, why did it seem as if he’d chosen Sharmila as his next ‘target’/wife even before meeting her?

    • No, that was one of the big problems with this—nothing he did that was “suspicious” at the beginning was ever explained at the end. We were just supposed to have forgotten why we might think he was guilty I guess! Details, details :)

  12. Lovely review, memsaab.

    I remember seeing this movie a long time ago. And I do remember it disappointing me – I think my expectations were pretty high. Somehow, with all the potential it had, it never rose beyond a level of blandness for me. I think you hit the nail on its head – it probably took itself too seriously, hence none of the zaniness that we so love and associate with 60s movies (though “nain milaakar chain churaana” is good fun).

    This movie could have been so much better. I remember a couple of other Shash movies too from the late 60s that disappointed me – Jahaan Pyar Mile and Rootha Na Karo. Again, movies which started off with potential but fizzled out. I must say I saw them ages ago (maybe if I see them now I might think differently of them).

    The songs of this movie are pretty decent though. There were quite a few Shash-Kalyanji-Anandji movies around that time – I think Suraj Prakash was buoyed by the success of Jab Jab Phool Khile (he’d already worked with them in Mehndi Lagey Mere Haath). Anyway, he got them together again for Juari, Aamne Saamne and Raja saab. Even otherwise, Shashi-KA had musical successes with Haseena Maan Jaayegi and Dil Ne Pukara.

    I think I need to see some of those Shashi movies again. I do like Shashi a lot – he’s again one of those under-rated actors.

  13. This looks a lot like Waqt in its look… people going to good Hotels, eating good food and dressing gorgeously. And the Waqt pair of Shashi and Sharmila is here…

  14. A movie that was good ONLY for the gorgeous songs – I love them all, but esp. Kabhi raat din ham door the. Sharmila in that tankini looked gorgeous. In those days bikini’s on screen were not common, yet Sharmila looks so comfortable in one.

    Sharmila and Shashi can’t help looking sophisticated and well bred. They look so good with each other, like some nawab and his begum.

    • They are so very aristocratic, aren’t they? I generally really like them together (Waqt, My Love, eg) but maybe because Shashi was possibly trying to kill her throughout it wasn’t as good a pairing as usual :D

      (and it is a one piece swimsuit, what looks like a tankini line is a white stripe on the suit)

    • As I said in the post, it is Shinde. He is often seen playing an instrument or dancing in the background; he was married to Edwina’s sister Marie, also a dancer…he passed away just a couple of years ago.

  15. You know, I am certain that I have watched AAMNE SAAMNE already, but I recall nothing about it…that nightclub song is one of my all time favorite yesteryear songs (and one that I always imagined Shammi Kapoor being picturized in, rather than Shashi) so I really must watch the film again…and if for some reason I haven’t ever watched it, why in the hazelbrook have I not!!!

    And Greta, I LOVE your lamp!!! And it is much nicer than the one in front of Sharmila…so that must be why she is not as excited about it. She knows there are much cooler lamps about. You have great taste in decor, my dear!!

    • Shashi pretty much channeled Shammi in every song here—imitated his gestures, mannerisms, etc. I am sure he was told to, and at least he does it well :) It’s not that memorable of a movie so I’m sure you have seen it and just don’t remember anything about it. I couldn’t remember anything from the first time I saw it except that it had disappointed me.

      I knew you would love the lamp—don’t you have one very similar to it too? ;-)

  16. I watched this years ago and all I remember was darkness and more darkness literally and figuratively. Like you mention, there seem to be many loose ends and things left unexplained. Also, is it just me or does every scene in this movie feel like it was filmed after twilight?

  17. There is that, of course. Both of them look gorgeous. So do you, with your lamp. The rest is all ‘maya’. :)

  18. Memsaab,

    Did you do a quick costume change (while sitting with your lamp in the nightclub) and dance with Shashi? One of the gori women looks a lot like you! Plus wouldn’t it be a hoot to dance with Shashi while he is doing a Shammi number, with Sharmila looking bored?

  19. It was a good day I stumbled over to this blog searching for Prakash kaur (Garam Dharam’s first wife). I have had so much fun reading every post here. I spend spend last several weeks reading ALL your post. I have always loved me some 60/70/80’s masala drama, but I never wondered why or what I like about them so much. After reading your blog & your attention to all the cracktastic & fabulous details, I figured why I love these movies so much ! Thank you so much !

  20. memsaab just tell me which baby is shashi kapoor in Veer Babruvaan …http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g0DfTgfgFaM&feature=player_embedded ..iam searching for shashi baby in this….he is credited in Kalakaar column in screen credits

    • Different Shashi Kapoor :) He is the little boy who plays Ram in Shaheed (1948) (the one in three out of four screenshots here): http://memsaabstory.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/shaheed_loyalties.jpg

      • is he the one who is dressed up as a girl? in 2 screenshots that girl appears and 4 screenshots have that fair boy in white kurta……is shashi the fair boy in white kurta….shashi looks exactly like shashi of today in Awara.but in Veer Babruvan as well as Shaheed, he looks very unlike people from Kapoor Khandaan.
        Just tell me who is shashi from those screenshots(wearing what)

        • Oops, he is in all FOUR screen caps actually. He is the boy in the white kurta, with the curl on his forehead (by himself with Leela Chitnis in the top left). He is a different Shashi Kapoor, there is more information about him I think in the comments of that post.

  21. memsaab a special request . want to know whether shashi kapoor stareed as a child in 19 hindi films or not? I found names here – http://www.imdb.com/list/vHf3ZQz8wF8/.

    But other than aag, awara and one movie which you reviewed, am not sure whether rest had shahsi kapoor as a child or some other adult sasi kapoor.
    am talking only about the films he appeared as child between 1944-1956.
    asan adult he never appeared in the film bajranbali in 1976.

    • Dear SHRIKANT, Hope you are fine and in best of Health,I long time I wrote anything,Regarding this particular movie ,I won’t be able since I Have not seen the movie,and with snops It will have hearted attempt,so I won’t doit,as far the other thing,you are right Shashi da Never acted in BAJRANGBALI,AUG 1976,infact it was SHAHI KAPOOR duplicate of SHASHIDA,a find of IS.JOHAR acted in about 5 movies and Disappeared,hope we will keep in touch,hats of to your knowledge.RAVINDER MINHAS.minhas35@yahoo.com.

  22. It was suspence movie,with someoutstanding songs,with both SHASHIDA/SHARMILA aunty looking at their awesome best,not to forget AA GELELAG JA 1973.

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