If you are entertained by a crackling great story, brisk direction which keeps things moving along, and a cast of stalwarts who give good performances, you will like this movie. The central theme explores the importance of honor over money—it’s hackneyed, and we are beaten over the head with it, but the plot is engrossing. Love, betrayal, vengeance…be prepared for an emotional rollercoaster ride. Get your hankies out!
Our story begins as Ashok Tandon (Dharmendra) is being released from prison, where he has served his sentence for stealing one million rupees from the bank where he was Manager.
Of course, he was framed, but hardly anyone believes him. He first discovers that his mother has died, crushed beneath the wheels of a truck.
Next, he finds that his fiancee Deepa (who had promised to care for his mother) has disappeared. Ashok’s trial lawyer, Barrister Amarnath, is now living in Deepa’s old house.
Ashok next runs into Sameer (Roopesh Kumar), a clerk who worked for him when he was the Bank Manager. Sameer always believed in his innocence, and has figured out who framed him. Three envious bank colleagues conspired against Ashok, and they also bribed his lawyer Amarnath to lose Ashok’s case. Despondent and disillusioned, Ashok decides to leave town and look up his best friend from college, Prem Prakash (Rajendranath).
To that end, he hops on a train, where he is robbed of his prison stipend while sleeping. The thief is killed when he jumps from the moving train. Since the stipend envelope has Ashok’s name on it, the police assume (and publicize) that Ashok is the dead man.
Then Ashok finds a briefcase full of money and important documents, which he returns to its owner Raja Ranvir Singh (Bipin Gupta). Ranvir Singh is impressed with his character.
He asks Ashok about himself, and Ashok tells him his story. This is done through a flashback…we meet Ashok as a college student facing his fellow student Deepa (Rakhee) in a debate about whether money is greater than honor.
Deepa takes the Republican…er…money’s side and of course Ashok argues for honor. Deepa and Ashok are sweethearts, planning to get married some day. They sing a very sweet song in anticipation of their life together, “Jhilmil Sitaron Ka Aangan Hoga.”
Deepa’s dream is to open a school, and after graduation Ashok gets a job in a bank. Due to his diligence and honesty, he is quickly promoted through the ranks until he becomes the Bank Manager. This does not go over well with his colleague Harish (Ajit), who has not been promoted because he doesn’t work hard and has a bad attitude. He is egged on by his friends Ramakant (Krishan Dhawan) and Jagat (Kanhaiyalal).
They frame Ashok for the theft of one million rupees, and bribe Amarnath the lawyer (Ramesh Deo) to lose the case. He is hilariously avaricious, a caricature of greed (remember: greed bad, honor good):
Ashok is duly convicted, and sentenced. Deepa promises that she’ll wait for him, and take care of his mother.
Back in the present, Ranvir Singh offers to help Ashok retrieve his honor. In Bombay, the four bad guys (I’ll call them HARJ for short) read about Ashok’s death in the newspaper, and are gleeful.
Ranvir Singh gives Ashok a job managing his Bombay office, where Prem Prakash already works. Since Ashok is “dead” in the eyes of the world, it’s fairly simple for him to disguise himself as Bikram Singh:
I think Bikram Singh is hot!
Prem has no idea who Bikram Singh really is, and I’m not sure why Ashok doesn’t tell him, but he carries on the charade. He plants stories about his arrival in the papers to excite the interest of other wealthy businessmen (especially HARJ). He also asks Prem to find the former Managing Director of the bank (and his mentor), Mr. Rai (who was disgraced after the theft, because the bank went kaput and a bunch of people lost their life savings), and to hire a detective to track down Deepa.
Prem finds out that Mr. Rai (Jairaj) is living with his daughter in his home, which is now mortgaged to Jagat. Because of illness he has not been able to repay Jagat and faces losing everything. Bikram befriends HARJ and they soon feel comfortable borrowing money from him to invest in the stock market, which a holy man has told them to do (Ashok in yet another disguise). He also buys Rai’s mortgage from Jagat, and returns the house to him. He’s well on his way to ruining HARJ when the private detective finally finds Deepa.
She is living in a small town, where she has followed her dream and built a school. Bikram goes to see her; she is wearing white and he probes to find out why:
She tells him that she’s a widow, but refuses to say anything about her late husband. In fact, she’s pretty rude to him throughout (to be fair, he does ask a lot of personal questions and she doesn’t know him from a bar of soap). He offers her a donation and she turns it down flat.
Hurt, he realizes that she didn’t take care of his mother as promised because she couldn’t wait for him, and married someone else. He thinks to himself:
“Nahiiiin!” I cry. But he doesn’t listen to me, and sets off on a path of vengeance against Deepa too.
Oh, oh, oh. The pain, the sorrow; but also the joy when he gets Jagat behind bars first, and then ruins Amarnath financially.
But Harish and Ramakant are now suspicious. Will he manage to wreak havoc in their lives anyway? What will he do to poor Deepa? Whom did she marry? Will she and Prem ever get to know Bikram’s real identity? Will he get his izzat back? Watch Jeevan Mrityu to find out. And seriously, keep the Kleenex handy.