I can’t find words to describe this movie. Sublime? Magnificent? Classic, for sure. Fantastic romantic story; excellent debuts by “Filmalaya discoveries” Asha Parekh and music director Usha Khanna; and of course, my favorite actor of all time, Shammi Kapoor. I ask you, how can you not like a film whose credits begin with a little boy in his chaddis and a pair of wings and gladiator sandals taking aim at your heart? It’s also directed and written by Nasir Husain, who gave Shammi his first big hit with Tumsa Nahin Dekha. I’ve said it before: Nasir Husain=great entertainment.
It was such fun to watch it again! Not to mention that I ended up on the floor as a Shammi-induced puddle.
We are plunged directly into treachery as a bad guy named Harichand (Wasti) narrates his scheme to get his grasp on wealthy woman Yamuna’s (Sulochana) property. He has faked his own suicide and left a note saying that the reason for this drastic step is Yamuna’s affair with him, and he leaves her with responsibility for his son Kailash.
When her husband Rana Raghuvir (Surendra) hears of this, he calls their marriage a sham:
And leaves her, taking their son Roop with him. She is left with Harichand’s “orphaned” child Kailash to raise, while Rana soon meets with an accident, losing his eyesight. Things can only look up from here!
Kailash grows up to be Rajendranath, a bumbling idiot of a man; Yamuna wants to get him engaged to her good friend Jagat’s (Raj Mehra) daughter Nita (Asha Parekh). Here’s our first look on celluloid of Asha:
So pretty! I love Asha Parekh; she always has a bit of an edge, refreshing in a time when many heroines were weepy and helpless. And she’s by far my favorite with Shammi (apparently she was also one of the few actresses who could tolerate his shenanigans).
Anyway, Nita has just returned from being educated in London at Yamuna’s expense. She is less than excited at the prospect of marrying the goofy Kailash, but feels obligated by Yamuna’s generosity towards her and her father. Yamuna sends Kailash off to woo Nita.
Meanwhile, Nita’s girlfriends tell her about a shamelessly flirtatious drummer at a local club who has hurt one of their friend’s feelings. She vows to get even with him, and off they go. The drummer, named Raja (Shammi Kapoor), also happens to be Yamuna’s long-lost son Roop—who lives in Nainital with his father. He is earning money to send Rana for eye surgery in Delhi.
Of course, he gets wind of Nita’s plan, and cons her into “getting even with” another guy.
Raja is smitten by Nita’s beauty, although she does get him fired from his job. Before she leaves Ranikhet to meet Kailash and Nita in Nainital, Yamuna instructs the manager of her hotel to hire a bandmaster. Hmmm.
Raja pursues Nita despite her dislike of him (yes, the old “stalking-as-courting” scenario that Shammi is so good at). He sings a great song, “Megha Re Bole” (at a picnic, naturally!) which makes no dent in her feelings. Her resistance mystifies me.
Poor Raja, though, is more and more in love with her. His friend Pyare sees the ad for a bandmaster in Ranikhet, but Raja doesn’t want to leave Nita, and he has a new scheme for earning the rest of the money that his father needs.
He advertises the services of “Professor Samri” who can help with any problem. The first to contact him is Kailash, newly arrived in town—he wants help in winning Nita’s affections; the second to contact him is Nita, who wants help getting rid of Kailash!
Several disguises, a lot of silliness, some gender confusion and a song later, and Kailash and Nita are no nearer to their goals, but Samri/Raja is several thousand rupees richer.
His father sets off for Delhi with Pyare’s father Murli as company. As the train pulls out, Jagat (who just happens to be at the station) sees Rana, but Rana is gone before he can catch him. He tells Yamuna about it and begins to track down Rana’s address.
At another station stop on the way, Rana realizes that his wallet with all the money for his operation and recovery has been stolen. Murli leaves him there and goes to find a place where they can stay while they wait for more money from Roop.
Unsurprisingly (to any veteran of Hindi films), Harichand and his second son Sohan are at the same station. Drunkard Harichand has been living in Rangoon with his second son Sohan (Siddhu), and they’ve run out of money and returned to India with a plan to pass Sohan off as Roop. Harichand spots Rana.
Sohan befriends Rana, who asks him to take a letter to his son. He writes out his note to Roop and signs it, and gives Sohan a photograph of Roop so that Sohan will recognize him when he sees him. Lucky, lucky Sohan!
Harichand, Sohan and I agree on one thing, anyway.
Roop is still making little headway with Nita although he hasn’t given up (more songs). Nita meets “Samir” and tells him she’s off to Ranikhet with Kailash. Pyare has been hounding Roop to take the bandmaster job there, so now he finally agrees.
On the way to Ranikhet, Kailash has a problem with the car. Luckily, Roop is passing and offers Nita a lift (he tows Kailash behind). He takes the opportunity to make fun of poor Kailash, an easy target:
and romances her further with another song, “Rahi Mil Gaya Rahon Mein.” I melt further into a Shammi puddle. And though she tries not to show it, Nita is beginning to melt too.
Meanwhile, in Nainital, Jagat has finally found out Rana’s address, and the neighbors have told him that Rana is away and that Roop has gone to Ranikhet. Jagat and Yamuna set off for Ranikhet too.
In Ranikhet, Raja and Pyare get the job singing at the hotel’s night club. Nita is staying there, too, as are Harichand and Sohan—they have come to con Yamuna into believing that Sohan is Roop. Armed with Rana’s letter, and the photograph of the real Roop, Sohan recognizes Raja right away.
[Side note: does anybody know who this actor is? Update: I have identified him as Siddhu, who went on to be a deliciously crazy villain in such gems as Apradh and Intaquam. End side note.]
Nita dances with Raja and as the music ends they stare at each other, sparks flying. Melt, melt…
Sohan and Harichand tell Kailash who they are, and convince him to help them fool Yamuna. Seeing that his pursuit of Nita isn’t going well, Kailash agrees to help them.
That night, Nita finally admits to Raja that she loves him (my favorite song out of all the beautiful songs in this film, “Hum Aur Tum Aur Yeh Sama”). It’s so romantic! *Dies*
She feels obligated to Yamuna, though, and she knows Yamuna will never approve of her marriage to a poor musician, even if Kailash didn’t exist. She tells Raja to go away and not to contact her again. Finally giving up, he leaves Ranikhet. At the same time, Yamuna and Jagat meet Sohan and believe him to be Roop.
Looks like the bad guys are winning! Can Nita and Raja/Roop overcome all the obstacles? Will Yamuna ever find her real son? Or her husband? Dil Deke Dekho has all the answers, plus more gorgeous songs and Shammi at his best (acting) and most beautiful. These are purely for me, but I’ll share anyway: