Rustom-E-Hind (1965)

rustomehind

I have to admit that I didn’t expect much from this movie, although I wanted to see it for Helen, Laxmi Chhaya and Madhumati dancing, and Mumtaz as the heroine opposite Dara Singh. Also: KN Singh! and lots of men in tights (as per usual for a Dara Singh starrer). However, it turned out to be an excellent fairy tale of a film, with a coherent plot, a truly detestable villain, and even a semi-bearable comic side plot thanks to Mohan Choti and Tun Tun. The dances did not disappoint either; the music by Hansraj Behl is lovely and Laxmi Chhaya’s number in particular is now one of my all-time favorites.

Oodles of fun!

Ranjit (Dara Singh) works on a timber estate and lives with his mother. He’s a very large, strong man with a big heart and a wafer thin moustache, who comes to the rescue of a flirtatious Madhumati when she draws unwelcome attention from other large bulky wrestlers.

reh_madhumati

He’s curious about his absent father, but his mother refuses to talk about him until she’s hit by a falling tree one day. As she lies dying, she tells him that his father threw her out when she was pregnant with Ranjit because someone influenced him to doubt her character. She tells him that they lived in the kingdom of Balrampur, in a house called Phool Haveli; she dies before she can tell Ranjit his father’s name, though.

He swears vengeance for his Ma, and sets off for Balrampur.

In Balrampur, the king’s army commander Bhimsen (Shyam Kumar) is congratulated on his swordsmanship by the king, who tells him that if he manages to defeat all of the king’s champions, he will make Bhimsen Rustom-E-Hind. Bhimsen’s father Pavan Singh (KN Singh) is proud of his son too, but he cautions the king and Bhimsen.

reh_peace1

The comic side plot is introduced: it involves stammering Madhav (Maruti) and weedy Mohan (Mohan Choti) as rivals for one of the Rajkumari’s ladies-in-waiting. Tun Tun plays Madhav’s would-be fiancee, and as usual I’m delighted when she is onscreen.

reh_buffalo

I wonder if she ever got tired of fat jokes? There’s so much more to her than her size (no pun intended). But I digress.

Pavan Singh wants to believe that his son Bhimsen is a good man; although he’s heard stories to the contrary, he refuses to believe them. On his way home, he runs into a group of men who want to kill him in revenge for their friend who was murdered by Bhimsen. Luckily, Ranjit turns up and runs them off after a spectacular lathi fight.

reh_lathi

Pavan Singh is suitably grateful, and takes Ranjit home where he introduces him to his wife Laxmi (Praveen Paul). Ranjit refuses to stay long, as he wants to get to Balrampur; after he leaves, Pavan Singh is thoughtful.

reh_joy

Hmmmm. Anyway, Ranjit doesn’t get far before he has to rescue someone else: the king’s daughter, Padma (Mumtaz). Her carriage has broken down, and he fixes it but refuses payment, which completely charms her.

reh_princess

He arrives in Balrampur and is just in time to rescue Mohan from a couple of large wrestlers (the story is liberally sprinkled with fights, as you’d expect). Once they’ve been defeated, he asks for directions to Phool Haveli, which garners strange looks from people. It turns out that Phool Haveli is now a brothel. And guess who works there?

reh_helen

Helen does her eyebrow trick and performs a lovely mujra (“Raja Ji Tore Raaj Main”).

Bhimsen has a penchant for the girls at the brothel, but one poor girl did not survive his attentions. The owner of the brothel is understandably reluctant to send her girls to him now, so Bhimsen sends a large henchman in tights to take one by force if necessary. Ranjit is there, luckily, and more than a match for the bad guy, although he’s arrested as a result of the fight and taken to the king. The diminutive king is impressed.

reh_inever

He hires Ranjit to be his daughter’s new coachman and it doesn’t take long before Padma is smitten with him. This incurs the wrath of Bhimsen, who fancies her for himself although she can’t stand him. There’s a little power struggle between Padma and Bhimsen which Bhimsen loses, and he’s not happy.

Padma expresses her feelings for Ranjit through a lively song, “Sajna O Sajna.”

reh_sajna

The king likes Ranjit quite a bit too (as we’ve seen) and after his Chief Counsellor agrees with his assessment of Ranjit’s good qualities, he announces a tournament, with a wonderful prize for the winner (who, he says pointedly, could even be a coachman).

reh_marry

He makes it clear that he thinks Ranjit can defeat everyone, including Bhimsen. Bhimsen appears to agree on this point, since he sends his men to kill Ranjit. They overpower him and throw him off a cliff. Padma frets over his absence and sends people to look for him, but he’s nowhere to be found.

He has survived, though, and gone to Pavan Singh for help. Not knowing that Bhimsen is Pavan Singh’s son, Ranjit tells him that Bhimsen was responsible for the attack. Pavan Singh, finally faced with evidence he can’t disbelieve, realizes that his son really is guilty of the accusations made about him. Laxmi naturally leaps to her son’s defense like a good enabling mother, but Pavan Singh storms off to find Bhimsen and make him apologize to Ranjit (“I’m sorry I tried to kill you” wouldn’t actually make me feel better about it all but possibly Ranjit is a bigger man than I am).

reh_justice

Bhimsen is being entertained by Laxmi Chhaya, who performs a very mod sixties-style dance for him, “Nazar Meri Badi Idhar Se.” She shimmies and shakes with enthusiasm in a fringed lame outfit. It’s spectacular!

reh_nazar

Pavan Singh arrives to find Bhimsen plying her with wine: it’s the final nail in Bhimsen’s coffin. They have a huge showdown, which ends in Pavan Singh disowning his son. It’s all very thrilling and manly, and Pavan’s mouche takes on a life of its own!

reh_shedblood

Pavan Singh returns home to find that Ranjit has left. Madhav—who until now has been Bhimsen’s loyal servant—has followed him home and tells Pavan Singh that he cannot serve a man who would cast out his own father. He knows where to find Ranjit: at Phool Haveli, trying to track down information about his father (disguised as an Arab, presumably to escape Bhimsen’s attention).

Ranjit tells Pavan Singh that on her deathbed, his mother told him that she lived with his father in this house twenty years before. Pavan Singh is clearly disturbed by this news (well, it’s clear to me, but Ranjit is not only bigger than me, he’s dumber). Ranjit informs him that he has sworn to kill his father in revenge for the ill-treatment of his mother. Pavan Singh tells Ranjit that he knows his father.

reh_father

He offers to teach Ranjit swordsmanship as he had taught Bhimsen, so that Ranjit is well-equipped to win the tournament, and Padma’s hand. He promises Ranjit that after the tournament is over, he will introduce him to his father and he can take his revenge.

Is Pavan Singh his father? Will Ranjit be able to kill him, if so? Can Ranjit become Rustom-E-Hind? Or will evil Bhimsen and his horrid enabler mother thwart him?

If that isn’t enough incentive to watch, remember: men in tights wrestling! Laxmi Chhaya, Madhumati, and Helen! KN Singh! and Mumtaz! (Thanks for this one too, Mike.)

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18 Comments to “Rustom-E-Hind (1965)”

  1. This indeed sounds like a must-see. Who knew Dara Singh’s filmography would prove to be such a treasure trove? I’ve yet to watch one of his movies that I haven’t enjoyed. Right now I have Rustom E Rome on the pile (among others), and your review has made me all the more anxious to get to it.

  2. I really liked this! Wish I could find the music, I may have to rip it from the DVD. And now I’m going to have to watch all his other films. Dammit.

  3. Nothing is better then a Dara Singh movie on a rainy Saturday afternoon!

    That Laxmi Chhaya dance is tops!

  4. Dara Singh has the looks and the physique to pull off all the swashbuckling roles he did though I wish he’d taken speech lessons to improve his horrid Hindi accent. I was amused to read in his interview that movies were his “retirement plan” from a career in wrestling! (Wonder how he left that gruelling career without a massive re-arrangement of his facial features.)

  5. Mike: I agree completely!

    bollyviewer: Luckily for me, I can’t tell that his Hindi is atrocious. And anyway, I have no room to talk! He’s surprisingly sweet, and very very very large.

  6. As Dara Singh is a home-grown Punjabi guy, I had to watch this when i was seven as my granddad knew Dara from school, and brought a ton of his dvds, naturally i became indoctrinated! I love Dara, and his Punjabi twang, and his ample ammount of wrestling and fighting that comes in his movies! Mumtaz looks great and young here, though stylist overdid the colour of her eyebrows!

  7. I’ve never seen a Dara Singh movie (well, barring Jab We Met, which I don’t think really counts!), but I remember watching songs from some of his early movies on TV years ago. But this review really tempts me – and Mumtaz, Helen and Laxmi Chhaya? Definitely!
    [BTW: I really am impressed with Mumtaz: she did this one, and Mere Sanam, when she was only 18. That’s quite a feat!]

  8. Rum: I love the way he just picks people up and twirls them around over his head. And LOL re: the eyebrows; Mumtaz wasn’t the only eyebrow victim of this makeup artist!

    dustedoff: Jab We Met kind of counts, he had the best line in the film after all :-) This one is lots of fun, try it!

  9. Can anyone tell me about Laxmi Chayya ? Is she still alive? Where is she living? Did she make anymore movies after 1981? Any information would be greatley appreciated.Thank you scorpion156cm@aol.com

  10. She has disappeared into the black hole that all filmi stars seem to go into :( I too would love to know what happened to her…but maybe someone who stops by here will know!

  11. Lovely review. I bet no Bollywood movie magazines reviewed this movie like this when it was first released in 1965.

  12. I’ll bet you are right; and what a little treasure they missed :-)

  13. And if I may add my two cents.. In one of his interviews that I read ages back, Dara Singh reminisced that once while shooting a song in a movie, the scene required that he gently push away the dancer ( I cant reall who he said the dancer was). So when the dancer moved seductivelytoward him he pushed her away (gently he thought), but flung her about 5 meteres away. Luckily she was not hurt….

  14. i hv seen dis film b4 so many years wid ma grandpa…so i dnt remembr all well…so dats y can u pls tell dat does madhumati hv any song in dis film or not…if she hv any song so wat is it..n pls writ da singer s name if u can….

  15. je suis et je demeure un fan de dara singh, c’est un grand acteur surtout lorsqu’il joue les films romains. je voudrais par ce biais demander ou je pourrai trouver ses films a savoir banjarin, naujavan, sangram, sherdil, saat samandar paar, kaka, rustom e hind, rustom baghdad, intikam rustom, insaf rustom. c’est des films dont je garde un bon souvenir de ma prime jeunesse. j’aimerai bien etre contacté par le biais de mon email. j’ai aussi un ami qui désire connaitre l’adresse de darasingh.

    • My French is pretty bad despite 5 years of it in school, but I am gleaning that you are a Dara fan as well :) I don’t have any address for him, but there is plenty of love for him here for you to share!

  16. j’ai bien reçu votre message et je suis très content que beaucoup de personnes aiment ce genre de films.mon problème c’est que je ne connais pas l’anglais je comprend et je parle le français.car nous avons été une colonie française. je suis un algerien et j’aime le cinéma indien depuis ma jeunesse. disons que je m’interesse au cinéma indien par nostalagie. j’aime beaucoup le défunt chanteur mohamed rafi c’est préféré. quant a mes acteurs, ce sont darasingh, rajendra kumar, shashi kapoor, biswajeet, pradeep kumar quant aux actrices c’est madhubala, meena kumari, mumtaz, asha parekh , sharmila tagore, rekha.par contre je ne suis pas attiré par la nouvelle vague. j’aimerai bien discuter avec vous sur le cinéma indien simplement sur le classique des années 60-70-80-90. a la prochaine.

  17. Hello,
    I am a big fan of Dara singh and i am looking for a great photo of Dara Singh, wrestling photo or a nice one for a tattoo on my arm.
    Can somebody let me now how to find one ?
    Please do me this favour.
    thanks

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