Mohabbat Ke Dushman (1988)


I haven’t seen many Raaj Kumar films, a deficiency which I hope to correct this year. I chose to start with this film for several reasons: I already owned it, Hema Malini stars opposite him, Pran is in it, and it also stars Sanjay Dutt, Amrish Puri, and another object of my curiosity, Farha Naaz (Tabu’s older sister). Okay, so essentially my choice mostly came down to one thing: the cast, the cast, the cast. And the cast, the cast, the cast in the end is what made it such an enjoyable film.

The story is a relatively simple “good versus evil” fairytale, revolving around the rivalry of two Muslim landowners ruling a wild and hilly region: Rehmat Khan (Raaj Kumar)—a devout and good man; and Shahbaaz Khan (Amrish Puri)—a…well, it’s Amrish Puri. (I also love the Urdu-based language of Muslim-dominated films—the words are just so beautiful: begum, ammijaan, adaab, khuda hafiz…)

Amrish Puri, as we all know, made an entire career out of using his marble-like eyes and gravelly voice to scare the bejesus out of people.


This role is no exception, and he brings a strange sort of creepy sexual tension to it as well. He lusts after a renowned beauty named Shamajaan (Hema Malini) and the film begins as he kidnaps her (she has fainted) after killing her father.


At Rehmat Khan’s house (Rehmat himself is away on a short business trip) one of his young proteges, Hashim (Sanjay Dutt), is learning the art of fighting from a master named Rustom (Pran). This involves a lot of unbelievable leaping about with the aid of camera tricks and some silliness where Rushtom pokes Hashim with his fingers, paralyzing him—but it’s really fun, because it’s Sanju and Pran!


Meanwhile, Shahbaaz is instructing a prostitute named Aminabai (Alka Nupur) to “teach [Shama] the things I like and return her to me.” Shudder!!! Luckily Shama has more fighting spirit than anyone expects, and she escapes from the brothel and runs to a nearby shrine, where she decides to kill herself. She is stopped by Rehmat Khan’s mother Ammijaan (Dina Pathak), who sends for Rustom when she hears of Shama’s trouble.


Outside the shrine, Hashim overhears Shahbaaz’s men talking about recapturing Shama when she comes out. He knows (and so do we) that they are Shahbaaz’s men because they sport the same pointy facial hair that Shahbaaz himself does.


Hashim practices his fighting skills on Shahbaaz’s men while Rustom cheers him along (and helps out where necessary), and Ammijaan escapes with Shama to Rehmat Khan’s house. Shama is given shelter there; she listens as Ammijaan complains about the sad lack of a bahu and grandchildren in her home. Rehmat comes home just in time to celebrate Eid with his family. Shama performs a song for the assembled crowd, and music-loving Rehmat is impressed. The song is beautiful and lots of fun—“Mohabbat Ibadat Hai.” (Kalyanji Anandji composed the music, and Prakash Mehra, who directed, also wrote the lyrics.) When he gets a look at her, Rehmat is also smitten.


Shahbaaz, in his fury at Shama’s escaping him, spreads the rumor far and wide that she is a prostitute. When she hears about this, Shama unwisely decides to plead her innocence to her community and goes to her home, where she is resolutely shunned by everyone—and where Shahbaaz and his men show up (surprise!).


Her defiance doesn’t sit well with him (surprise!) and her uncle is murdered when he comes to her defence (surprise!). She is most fortunate in that Rehmat Khan arrives in the nick of time to prevent her being kidnapped again. He gives Shahbaaz a good thrashing and is on the point of killing him when the call to prayer rings out. Although Rehmat’s friend Abu Bhai (Suresh Oberoi) counsels him against it, Rehmat lets Shahbaaz go.


Abu has a beautiful sister named Reshma (Farha). He wants to get her married since he is away a lot and he fears for her safety.


(Suresh in this awful wig reminds me of Alan Rickman as the Sheriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.) Anyway, Reshma doesn’t want to get married to just anybody: she is pining for her lost childhood love Hashim (it’s not clear to me how they lost each other when they live in the same neighborhood, basically, but never mind). But Abu is right to worry about her, because Shamsheer (Vijayendra Ghatge) has joined forces with Shahbaaz. With the help of Shahbaaz’s men, he attempts to kidnap Reshma. She manages to escape (the women in this film are pretty plucky, a big plus in its favor!) but Abu is killed. Reshma seeks refuge at Rehmat Khan’s house, where she is joyfully reunited with her beloved Hashim.


Rehmat Khan and Shama have fallen deeply in love, but Ammijaan has heard the rumors about Shama and she no longer approves of her, although she doesn’t go so far as to kick her out (yet). This makes Shama very unhappy, of course, but Rehmat tells her to have courage. He sees Reshma and Hashim together one day, and realizes that they love each other and vows to get them married too.

But on Rehmat’s birthday, Shama is not invited to his birthday party by Ammijaan. Rehmat asks her to come anyway, and she does so without Ammijaan seeing—or so they think. The old woman has sharp eyes, though, and she does see—and understands—everything.


She decides that Rehmat must get married—to Reshma; and she sends family friend Panditji (Om Prakash) to request that Shama leave their house and to break the news of his arranged wedding to her.


Shama does not want to come between her love and his ma, and so leaves the house with nothing but the musical instrument Rehmat Khan had gifted her on his birthday.

What will happen now? Can she avoid Shahbaaz Khan? Will Rehmat Khan agree to marry Reshma to please his beloved ma? What about Hashim and Reshma’s love—and Shamsheer, who is still determined to have Reshma for himself?

If you enjoy a good story, you will enjoy this: it’s well done, with a great cast of characters and a lovely ambiance. The songs are very nice, and the two love stories—one between an older couple, and one between a younger pair—and the over-the-top villainy will give most people something for their money. I thoroughly enjoyed it, anyway. And Raaj Kumar was quite charismatic: my New Year’s vow to see more of him seems to be a good one!

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30 Comments to “Mohabbat Ke Dushman (1988)”

  1. The cast indeed! PRAAAAAN!!!!! And Om Prakaaaash, yaay! And, of course, Amrish Puri’s EYEBALLS OF HATE! Actually, I’m down with anything Prakash Mehra. I’m such a sucker for his melodrama. *wailing background music*

    Your comment about Suresh Oberoi looking like Alan Rickman made me laugh and subsequently cough up half a lung. Oh you, Memsaab!

  2. ppcc: Eyeballs of hate is PERF! :-) I love Prakash Mehra too. Like Nasir Husain: I know I will be entertained. It may not be great art, but I won’t want to press Stop. And it was the wig that sent SO into Alan Rickman territory. I love Alan Rickman, by the way, so it wasn’t an insult :-)

  3. Raaj Kumar–so much ishtyle Memsaab. How long have I been going on about “Kudrat” to you? :-)

    Never heard of this film before–hadn’t realized that Prakash Mehra worked with anyone other than AB in those days. And a young Sunju, gotta watch. Thanks.

  4. I missed this one. It was my non-film viewing period. Yes, I did have one of those, unbelievably. But I’m glad you like Raaj Kumar. So many people don’t. But I just find his style hypnotic. He’s crazy. And a real joy to watch.

  5. I’m wondering how I never even heard of this one – but it sounds like something I’d definitely like. Hema is always worth seeing a movie for, and with Pran and Om Prakash in it, I’m sure this is going to be right up my alley. Raj Kumar I’m not so sure about… he’s okay in some films (Dil Ek Mandir, for example – though a terribly morose movie otherwise; and Waqt, maybe even Mere Huzoor), but pretty unbearable in flicks like Ujala.

  6. “it’s not clear to me how they lost each other when they live in the same neighborhood, basically, but never mind”

    hahahaha.. lol.. and what on earth happened to Amrish Puri’s eyebrows in this film?? lol!!

  7. Suhan: Kudrat coming up, promise! :-)

    Banno: I loved him in this; he was so gentle and wise, or something. Very sweet. And I love his voice. Def. must see more of him.

    dustedoff: I’ve started Mere Huzoor a few times and never gotten very far with it. Will try again :-) But this one is fun, and he’s lovely in it. At least I think so!

    Ranya: Yes, well…at least they were reunited at long last :-) And Amrish was really OTT, even for him. Kind of scary, actually.

  8. hey, no screen-cap of Raj Kumar, or have I missed it somehow?

  9. The very first one is Raaj Kumar! :-)

  10. This was a period when Jaani’s presence in a film still drew crowds. I have watched several just because he was in the cast. This was one of them. Great choice. Also try Mahaveera (double role I think), Marte Dum Tak, Suryaa.

    Apart from Jaani’s mannerisms, the name of his character in these films were fun – Karanveer, Rajeshwar Singh, Veer Bahadur Singh and such.

  11. RAAAJJJJ KUMAARR! Sorry that was necessary as I love him! He’s amazing with that voice of his, I could listen to him reading the phone book with that voice! And i find this now, its got a young skinny Sanju, and PRAAAN, and Amrish(who i secretly love!)
    Waqt, and Saudagar are good movies with Raaj in them, Saudagar has him facing off with verbal battles against Dilip which is worth the watch, you can forward all the useless love parts!

  12. Oh, I really didn’t recognise him At All!!!

  13. TCP: Jaani was Raaj Kumar’s nickname? I like it! :) Thanks for the recommendations, I will look for those.

    Rum: I’ve seen Waqt, a long time ago, probably didn’t even know who he was :-) I think I have Saudagar so I’ll dig that out. Thanks :)

    bawa: He’s a bit older here, and has a beard, but it’s him all right!

  14. Memsaab – “Lawaaris” is one prakash mehra film that i abosolutely loathe! I saw it as yrs ago in a theatre in India – we wanted to walk out (my twin and I) but were firmly kept in our seat by an aunt who took us to the movie – had to sit through out of respect for her!

  15. Raaj Kumar great actor. I have seen almost all his movies.

  16. Memsaab Raaj Kumar and Rajesh Khanna have acted together in Maryada, Kudrat & Dharm Kanta. All three movies were super hit. Memsaab I request u to write review all these three movies.

  17. “some silliness where Rushtom pokes Hashim with his fingers, paralyzing him”

    This is a wuxia staple martial technique known as acupoint sealing. It comes very handy!

    I love Alan Rickman and the resemblence was spot on!

    Thank you once again for a lovely review.

    P.S: I love the eyeliner pic. You are a master at this.

  18. Solilo: Jaaaaaaaaaaaani indeed :)

    Anonymous: I’ve seen Laawaris but can’t remember much about it. How awful to be forced to sit through a film you hate. That’s why I love DVDs :)

    V Manohar: Suhan has been wanting me to see Kudrat as well, I will do so soon. Don’t have the others yet…

    Eliza: I need to see some wuxia I think, although I fear that another obsession would be born, and I don’t have time for it. :-) I love Alan Rickman too, and thank YOU for the compliments!

  19. Memsaab, I liked Kudrat very much. However I would suggest that you see it with an open mind rather than have “great expectations” coz you haven’t much liked some of the films recommended earlier by others. Of course I am hoping that you will like the movie and write a great review as usual!

    I personally liked the story, star cast (Hema Malini, Vinod Khanna & Aruna Irani (to be more specific), music, locales (beautiful Himachal Pradesh) and the direction. The only minus factor for me was Priya Rajvansh!

  20. Baby Sanjay! I haven’t seen a lot of his early stuff but maybe I should make that MY New Year’s Resolution!

  21. I’m not much a fan of these “period” films, but this one sounds quite entertaining! That’s a pretty solid starcast of some of my favorites stars and supporting actors as well – Sanjay, Raaj, Pran, Hema, Om, and the bulging eyeballs of evil, Amrish! Score!

    And I see a lot of talk about Kudrat. That’s one of my all-time favorite films! Great starcast, awesome music, neat plot & direction, and a distinct lack of plot holes big enough to drive a lorry through… but I’ll try not to boost expectations anymore than already has been done, wouldn’t want to lead to a letdown! :-) Hope you enjoy it, when you get around to watching.

  22. Well, truthfully, I don’t put much stock in recommendations since my own taste is so suspect most of the time. I often disagree with others on films (and other stuff too!) :) But I am looking forward to Kudrat and even Priya Rajvansh, since I haven’t seen much of her yet!

    But this is a fun one, great cast and good story.



  24. Raaj Kumar was a great hero – Waqt, Paigham, 36 Ghante, KarmYogi, Kudrat, Hindustan Ki Kasam, Kaajal, Heer Ranjha, Dharam Kanta, Maryada, Police Public, Marte Dum Tak, Jungbaaz, Saudagar, Bulandi are some of the hit movies he acted in.

  25. i love this film

  26. One of the flops by PM after SHARAABI and he didn’t do a film with Bachchan till JAADUGAR which was their only flop

    this movie is bad

    rajkumar annoeyd with his jaani

    sanju was too young and was awful those days

    farha was okay
    hema was as usual

  27. The story of this movie like a fairy tail, i want to saw hema ji & sanjay dutt worked together, i’m not like much more of Rajkumar but Amrishpuri was too good in this movie. but reason to see this movie only Hema ji.

  28. WOW!! You know how it feels when you finally find out you are not the only one in the universe crazy about 1970s – 80s movies, bollywood mannerisms, power packed dialogues and punchlines… I hadn’t watched this one back in the VCR days in late 1980s but it was a big hit in UAE and songs kept playing every afternoon on Shymal Studios… As for you Memsaab my emotional status is described by the song Main tera hai re jabra hoi re jabra fan ho gaya which is playing in the background while I am reading whatever you have written here…

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