Bhappi Sonie is one of my favorite directors (Ek Phool Char Kante, Janwar, Brahmchari, Tum Haseen Main Jawan…wah!) and this film stars Dharmendra with Vyjayanthimala, Helen, Pran and Mehmood! It also contains one of my all-time favorite songs “Dekha Hai Teri Aankhon Mein” by Shankar Jaikishan. I searched high and low for it for several years and finally got my grubby little hands on copy that worked. Happy happy joy joy! Unless you hate fabulous songs, a great cast and a riveting story with lots of twists, you will love this movie.
Our story begins in an ashram, where two women have just given birth to sons. Laxmibai (Sulochana Chatterjee) is the poor widow of a policeman, while Yashodara is the rejected wife of a rich man. Yashodara has left her child at the ashram and gone away so that her child will not be brought up under the shadow of her disgrace (because being an orphan is so much better!). Laxmibai agrees to nurse the baby. A few days later, Yashodara’s husband Kailashnath Gupta (Raj Mehra) shows up; he has decided to grow a spine and take his wife and baby home whether his family approves or not.
Savitri Devi (Paro) informs him that his wife has gone away, and gives him his son. Unfortunately, Laxmibai had taken Kailashnath’s son for a bath and left her son in that child’s cradle—so Savitri Devi accidentally gives Kailash Laxmibai’s son instead of his own (all babies do look the same). Laxmibai is bereft, but Savitri is philosophical.
Twenty-five or so years along, the little boy Kailash took home as his son is now handsome, manly Vijay (Dharmendra). To Kailash’s despair, Vijay has decided to join the CID instead of his father’s business. Vijay is also close friends with his father’s driver Gogo (Mehmood) who, in a “comic” side plot woos Chamcham (Helen) by pretending to be Vijay while Vijay masquerades as his driver.
Thank goodness it’s Helen, because otherwise the comedy would wear a little thin (her father is played by Dhumal and the whole Mehmood-Dhumal father-in-law routine has gotten old for me). But—it’s Helen. So I can forgive anything (but no more about the side plot).
Anyhow, Vijay is assigned his first case: a businessman has been missing for two years and nobody has been able to figure out what happened to him. The missing man’s daughter Kavita (Vyjayanthimala) has just about given up hope. We meet her as she’s about to return to Bombay for classes. She lives with her uncle Diwan Saab (DK Sapru). Her aunt (Sulochana Latkar) tells her about a phone conversation that she overheard between Diwan Saab and his friend Ashok.
They were talking about Kavita’s father’s death, and Ashok was worried that someone named Shyam Kumar was going to ruin everything. Kavita perks up; now she has something she can work with!
She arrives in Bombay and is welcomed affectionately by her uncle and girlfriends. Her friends have arranged a picnic by a lake (Kavita is a painting student) but her uncle asks her to wait until his friend Shyam Kumar comes; he has to go out and he wants Kavita to ask Mr. Kumar to come to dinner instead of lunch.
When Vijay arrives to interview Diwan Saab about his new case, Kavita mistakes him for Shyam Kumar and invites him to join them.
By the way, what IS it with Indians and picnics? Do real Indians picnic as often as movie Indians? I don’t think I’ve been on as many picnics in my whole life as they go on in a single film.
Time for my favorite song!!! Vijay allows Kavita to think he is Shyam because he’s already fallen for her. She flirts with him because she wants information from him.
Deception is always such a promising beginning for a relationship! Needless to say, when she meets the real Shyam Kumar (Manmohan) in the evening, she is furious. She threatens to do something worse than, well:
Samsung and Dilailala! The next day Kailash is interviewed at the police station by Vijay, who makes it pretty clear that he suspects anyone and everyone. I am distracted by the pink lamp. You wouldn’t see that in an American police station! These little things are the foundation of my love for India.
We next meet Diwan Saab’s friend Ashok (Pran) who freaks out when Diwan Saab shines a flashlight in his face. As explanation we are treated to the flashback to Kavita’s father’s murder, when Shyam Kumar surprised them as they were burying him by shining his car headlights onto the scene. Since that night, he has been blackmailing them.
This is such a good strategy. Now we know what happened to Kavita’s father, and who did it; all we have to do now is sit back and enjoy the blossoming romance, wait for the switched-babies-shoe to drop and watch Vijay and Kavita solve the case. Happy happy joy joy!
Vijay shows up for Kavita’s birthday party disguised as a blind singer. It doesn’t fool her for long, though, and she dances with Shyam (who is also smitten with her) to make Vijay jealous. It’s a good song too (“Tu Mera Main Teri”).
Yes, the band is called “The Monkees” and it’s a room full of people doing the twist. Fab!
After a few more trials and tribulations, Kavita finally admits that she loves Vijay. They work together to try and unravel the plot surrounding her father’s disappearance, which results in Ashok killing Shyam Kumar when Shyam promises to tell Kavita everything.
In the midst of this intrigue, Kailash is visited unexpectedly by Savitri Devi, who is looking for donations for a new ashram. They recognize each other, and he invites her in for chai. She meets Vijay, but says nothing to Kailash of her mistake years ago.
Now we are treated to a dance recital at the arts college where Kavita is studying—but she’s dancing instead of painting. Yay! It’s a foot-tappingly fabulous number (“O Sakhiyon Sakhiyon”).
Afterwards, Kailash speaks to Kavita about fixing her marriage to Vijay. She tells him that he should meet the woman—whom she calls her aunt—who brought her up after her mother died, and tells him her name.
And so Kailash is reunited with Yashodara. He tells her that he has brought up their son.
But naturally more shocks are in store. Ashok shows up at Kailashnath’s house and tells him that he is his real son. He says that his mother told him before she died that she was not really his mother and that he had been switched by the head of the ashram where he was born. Kailash goes to Savitri Devi and she confesses all; he accepts Ashok as his son—but Ashok won’t live with Vijay.
Vijay bows out gracefully, much to Kailashnath’s distress; but Yashoda sides with Ashok.
Is Ashok really Kailashnath’s son? Is Laxmibai really dead? What will happen to Vijay? And to Kavita? Will they solve the mystery of her father’s disappearance—at the hands of Ashok?
I’m not telling! Watch Pyar Hi Pyar to find out. And for the gorgeous songs. And for more Helen than I could fit in here.