Reader Chris brought the sad lack of reviews on the internet of this film to my attention recently, and I am surprised. This is a really fun film, and though Shammi is admittedly towards the end of his career as a hero, he is still the Shammi who made hearts go pitter-patter. The songs are classic Shanker-Jaikishan-Rafi-Shammi, with the dance-off between Helen and Vijayanthimala probably its most well-known feature. But there’s so much more to it than that! Shammi is less exuberant than the Yahoo Shammi of early in the decade, which gives his performance a more subdued realism. He plays Prince Shamsher Singh, the jaded, bored, arrogant son of the Maharajah of Ramnagar (Ulhas); the film is about how wealth and privilege do not guarantee happiness, not by a long shot. This theme—and the setting, at the twilight of the Princely States—may be be trite, but they are no less valid; and the screenplay and story are penned by none other than Abrar Alvi. And the supporting cast…let’s just say it is a gift that keeps on giving.
Most fans of Shammi Kapoor and this fabulous film are by now painfully aware that no full version of it has made it onto dvd or vcd. Well, fear not! Shalini has shared her videotaped version which is intact (though unsubtitled), and I am here to tell you what we’ve been missing.
On the dvd, Sunita (Asha Parekh) and Rocky (Shammi) return from their little excursion having fallen head over heels in love and Rocky discovers that his room has been ransacked while he was away. He realizes that someone is investigating Rupa’s death a year earlier, and is confronted by a jealous Ruby (Helen)—she says cryptically that she hopes that Rupa’s little sister doesn’t find it necessary herself to leap from the third floor to the arms of mother earth. Then suddenly the scene switches to a rural fair, with Sunita and Rocky singing a song on a ferris wheel; and from that point on wealthy Kanwar (Premnath) is suddenly part of the plot and Sunita’s father (Raj Mehra) is also inexplicably present along with Ramesh (Prem Chopra) and his father.
There is a lot to appreciate in this Bimal Roy production (Moni Bhattacharjee directs), but for me anyway not a lot to LOVE. It is meticulously crafted; I enjoyed the settings and portrayal of life in small-town India, but everything is so picture-postcard perfect that it began to get on my nerves (I like a bit of “messy”). Even the war scenes in the second half feel far too carefully arranged. In the long run, it somehow lacks the heart to really be a classic although it certainly looks like one; but it’s more a coffee-table book of pretty photographs than an engrossing movie. It didn’t help that the painstaking care taken over the characterizations, photography, songs and script was all in service of a complete downer of a plot! But I didn’t mind the gloomy story as much as I missed that intangible sense of life—it just wasn’t there.
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.
A new “old” Shammi film release with subtitles always gives rise to many huzzahs in this household. And when it’s a good film—well, my glee is almost uncontainable. There is nothing unique in the theme of this one (it’s a standard 1950s plea for a socialist Indian society: sharing and equality good, capitalism and greed bad), but the story is given an interesting treatment in its three separate stories which overlap, fittingly enough, at a crossroad. Each story is like the leg of a relay race, with the protagonist of one passing the baton to the next in a brief meeting at that crossing, until finally at the end all three converge. And what a cast: Raj Kapoor, Meena Kumari, Ajit, Nimmi, Kumkum and *ahem* Shammi!
My main problem with the movie is the choppy, facile ending. I am not sure if the original screenplay was written badly or if it is the result of poor editing, or deteriorating film stock, or what (possibly a combination of all of those things); but it’s jarring and more than a bit disappointing in the payoff. Of course, the payoff wouldn’t matter had the stories and characters leading up to it not been so engaging, and there’s the rub. It’s a good ride, until we get thrown off at the end!
This film is truly a Shammi showcase. He spends half of it disguised as an elderly professor, and very convincingly too, I might add. It’s one of his best films from an acting standpoint, and he is quite restrained throughout—although still irrepressibly irresistible and charming. Good performances from everyone else in the cast, lovely hit songs by Shankar Jaikishan and locations in beautiful Darjeeling are the juicy cherries on top of this bit of romantic fluff.
Sixties charm in a 1971 film! Despite the lack of Shammi (and Pran), this movie embodies just about everything I love about that decade in Hindi cinema. Lovely melodic songs, gorgeous scenery, a plot that stays on course and moves along briskly, Helen in a small part, and a feisty heroine (Asha Parekh, in one of my favorite roles of hers): ah, bliss! The best rainy day watching you can find. Navin Nischol stars alongside Asha, and though he doesn’t set the screen on fire, he is perfect here: an attractive, comfortably solid, gentle-humored guy with a good heart. Comic actor Deven Verma debuted very competently as a director with this movie.
In which film do character actors Rashid Khan and Indira Bansal appear in a song as husband and wife (in an uncredited guest appearance)?
Bonus points for the song name and singer, and the actor picturized as the singer.
Help Memsaab identify the other couples in that same song!
Name this character actor (shown here with Dev Anand), who appeared in hundreds of movies throughout three decades of cinema.
Sreya is our winner! He is Rashid Khan, and he is ubiquitous in 1950-1960’s movies, especially those with Dev Anand and Shammi Kapoor. I would love to find out more about him/his life if anyone can help.
A visual feast of a movie—another Vijay Anand fun-filled frolic, with beautiful scenery, fabulous fashions and an engaging plot that moves along at a good clip. It has Hema Malini at her gorgeous best, Dev Anand as smooth as ever, and—best of all—Vijay himself in a role he clearly relished. Bad guys Ajit, Prem Chopra and Premnath are as baaaad as only they can be. It’s obvious that a good time was had by all in the making of this film.
It was filmed in Himachal Pradesh, and the landscapes are breathtaking: