Dus Lakh (1966)


I usually approach comedies with some trepidation: humor doesn’t always translate well (literally or figuratively), and slapstick wears me down after a while. However, my Sanjay Khan experience has been sadly lacking and this film also offers up Pran and Helen—and Kashmir!—which I can never resist. And lucky me! Dus Lakh turned out to be a lot of fun. It’s an ensemble film which mostly revolves around Om Prakash, Pran and Manorama; the Sanjay-Babita (in her debut) jodi is almost a side plot. The trio at the center are hilarious, though, and it’s also chock-full of excellent songs by one of my favorites, Ravi. Solid support from Helen, Ramesh Deo (who has way more charisma than Sanjay Khan), Seema Deo and Brahmchari add to the delight.

There is no fool like an old fool, as the saying goes, and widower Gokulchand (Om Prakash) is nothing if not an old fool. Not content with his lot in life, which includes a loving family and a comfortable, if modest, home, he harbors delusions of grandeur and longs for a wealthy lifestyle like his cousin-brother Nihalchand’s in Bombay.


He is greedy, self-centered, self-pitying and cranky, but his sons Kishore (Sanjay Khan) and Manohar (Ramesh Deo) understand him very well and love him anyway. Kishore is studying engineering, and woos Rita (Babita) in his spare time, while Manohar is happily married to Devaki (lovely Seema Deo) with two children Rupa (Baby Sonia—Neetu Singh, at about age eight, and cute as a button!) and Munna (Master Ripple—what a name!).

Across town live a family of a different sort: Dolly Little (Manorama) is a much-married and alcoholic woman with two children by two different husbands—pretty, sophisticated Kitty (Helen) and simple William (Brahmchari).


Dolly speaks in what I can only describe as a strangely-accented Hindi (she pronounces “hai” as “hi!!!” and rolls her “rrrs” in an exaggerated American fashion). She is supplied with the whiskey she loves by Jerry (Pran), who hopes that by sucking up to her he can win her approval to marry Kitty—who can’t stand him.


Jerry speaks a stunted pidgin-English (“It possible my hand your luck change”). Like Gokulchand, Jerry and Dolly aspire to great wealth, but unlike him they are willing to use less-than-legal means to get it. Jerry stops at Gokulchand’s small shop one day to buy matches, and sells him a “lottery ticket” for 10 Rs. 


The old hypocrite starts praying and worshipping at the local temple in order to win the lottery. He is like a small child being bribed at Christmas time to be good.


His sons roll their eyes, but are happy that for once their grouchy father is happy. Meanwhile, Jerry has organized a dance to benefit blind children, which is only in reality going to finance a holiday to Kashmir for himself and the Littles. Kitty and Rita know each other from dance classes, and participate in the show. It’s fab, and Pran clearly relishes his role as the buffoon: “Fruit give you me! Dance country versus non-country!” (For some odd reason, the subtitler chooses to “fix” Jerry’s bad English.)


Babita and Helen each get a chance at traditional Indian and “rock n roll” but of course we all end in agreement that Indian is best.


Can you imagine having to dance “against” Helen in your debut film? Poor Babita! I should also say here that she looks very, very stylish in this film (those Shivdasani girls knew how to dress). Helen is somewhat hampered by a very bad blonde wig throughout, but she gets three dances and is gorgeous despite the hair.

I digress. Gokulchand does not win the lottery, but his cousin-brother Nihalchand kicks the bucket without any heirs, leaving Gokulchand his entire fortune (dus lakh) as the nearest living relative. His excitement knows no bounds, although mine is tempered somewhat by having to look at Om Prakash in nothing but a transparent dhoti and granny pants and a sacred thread.


He returns from Bombay as Seth Gokulchand, wearing a suit, and buys a huge mansion for the family to live in. He also insists that Manohar giving up his job teaching as it does not reflect well on their new status. A huge housewarming puja is held, with all the most affluent people of the community invited—plus old friends, to Gokulchand’s dismay.


His new-found wealth has not improved his character any! Gokulchand heads off to Kashmir for a vacation—where he runs into his old pal Jerry and the Little family. When he tells them about his good fortune, rupee signs flash in their eyes. I must say that the beauty of Kashmir is somewhat outdone by Jerry and Dolly’s outfits.


Over the next few weeks, they indulge vain, snobbish Gokulchand’s every whim: dye his hair and mustache black, introduce him to the finer things in life (like whiskey and beer), and flatter him endlessly. When it’s time for them to leave, Gokulchand pays for them all to stay.

One of my favorite things about films set in Kashmir are the winter clothes.


I want Pran’s coat! In any case, Gokulchand is soon head over heels in love with Dolly. They sing an absolutely hysterical song together (“Teri Patli Kamar”) although once again Om Prakash is responsible for: “My eyes!”


Meanwhile, at home Manohar and Seema have decided to arrange Kishore’s marriage with Rita. Seema borrows an expensive diamond necklace from her friend Savitri to give Rita as a token until they can give her one of her own upon Gokulchand’s return.


In Kashmir, Jerry has taken every opportunity to criticize Gokulchand’s absent family too, and has intercepted all their letters to (and the letters from) Gokulchand. Feeling ignored, betrayed and convinced by Jerry that his sons only care for his wealth now, he sets off for home with his new fiancee and pals in tow.

Once he’s there, things deteriorate quickly between his sons and his hangers-on, with the result that Gokulchand evicts his sons and family from the house.


They are only too glad to go, since they cannot stand Jerry and Dolly and are fed up with their foolish father; but the necklace which Seema had borrowed for Rita goes missing at the same time.

How will they be able to replace it without jobs and now no money either? Will Kishore be able to finish his degree? And marry Rita? Will Gokulchand ever come to his senses and realize what is really important in life? Will Jerry and Dolly be able to fleece him of everything he owns? Watch Dus Lakh to find out, and also because there are still two more Helen songs (one more with Babita):



I loved the chemistry between real-life married couple Ramesh and Seema Deo:


I think this was Neetu’s debut film too:


And no, I haven’t forgotten the “lead” pair:


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40 Comments to “Dus Lakh (1966)”

  1. I have only heard the songs of this movie and seen the videos on youtube. Not seen the movie but it sounds like fun.

    The most famous song is probably Rafi’s “aa lag ja gale, dilruba” (on Sanjay-Babita) but “teri patli kamar” is good fun too. And I love “Agre ka Lala, angrezi dulhan laaya re”.

    Another good review, Greta.

  2. “Teri Patli Kamar” just made me giggle. Om Prakash and Manorama had so much fun telling each other how young and beautiful the other one was! And my favorite dance number is the “Agra Ka Lala” although the first one (Baje Mori Payal) was very fun too.

  3. Memsaab, you dig out forgotten stuff. I remember the OM-Manorma song, but if I ever watched it, taking note of those eye-catching clothes would keep me busy for the entire film!

    That dhoti..I just kept my eyes away – even from the screen cap.

  4. great!
    sounds like big fun!
    Being a hindi film Om Prakash won’t get a chance to marry manorama.
    that is a pity! Hardly any movie lets an old man get married except to young girls, Khatta Mittha and some others being exceptions.

  5. I was kind in screencapping it too, tried to get one of the more “modest” angles. The clothes in this were eye-catching indeed, mostly in a good way though.

  6. Ramesh Deo and Seema have a son, who debuted in the 80s in a marathi film. He was hot! Running bare chested around (but not in a Salman Khan manner)! *sigh*

  7. The screencaps make this look like “Rowan and Martin’s Laugh In Presents a Bollywood Extravaganza.”

  8. Well, there you have it Keith! :-D

  9. Never heard of the movie or the song, looking forward to check it out.

  10. Let me know if you like it, Ebrahim :)

  11. This film looks FAB! And that first screencap is marvelous. I remember seeing the song Aaa lag ja gale on TV but havent seen the film. Another one on my already humongous to-look-out-for list!

    By the way, how was your “Sanjay Khan experience”? I remember finding him too wishy-washy as a kid but havent seen any of his movies in recent years to judge through my grown-up eyes!

  12. Sanjay is good-looking but bland. He was really outdone by Ramesh Deo, who had a lot more screen presence. Babita is sometimes bland too, although she always dresses v.v. well, and I didn’t much like the two of them together—no chemistry at all.

    Give me Feroz over Sanjay any day!!!! :)

  13. The first screen shot totally sucked me in. How can I NOT watch this movie?

    Ramesh and Seema Deo used to annoy me with all thier earnest characters.

    Totally Random, Neetu Singh (Baby Sonia) went to school with my older sister for about 6 months. Apparantly she was allowed not to do any homework and leave school everyday very early, because she was so busy. My sister was very, very jealous.

  14. They are pretty earnest here too, but they have senses of humor as well, and there are some lovely tender moments between them. They are very REAL, actually, despite the unreal setting :)

    LOL about your sister! I hope she’s gotten over the jealousy. I guess Neetu is happy now, but she’s had a hard row to hoe over the years, as my Mom would say.

  15. This looks too good. I love these films where Omprakash plays a rich, or wannabe rich, eccentric old man. And Helen, and Babita, and Manorama, isn’t she terrific?

    I saw Manorama recently in Deepa Mehta’s ‘Water’ and couldn’t recognize her without her eyeliner and bouffant. I kept thinking, who is this fantastic old woman, and realized it was her only when the credits came on.

  16. Yes, she was BRILLIANT in Water (and it’s one of my favorite films, although it is so sad)…

    She’s lovely in this too, so funny! She seemed to really be enjoying herself too. I was really upset when she died last year and nobody seemed to take much notice. She had a long career in films, and is one of those poor souls who ended up alone and sort of destitute (until Deepa Mehta came along)…

  17. Totally agree with you – Sanjay Khan is a real dud – Feroze is waaay better!!!!!!!!!!!

  18. I remember watching Aa lag jaa gale dilruba on Doordarshan when I was a kid – and have been wanting to see the movie ever since. And after your review, even more!

    This actually sounds a little like Neend Hamari Khwaab Tumhaare, also with Om Prakash, in which he’s a poor man to start with, but suddenly grows wealthy and respectable – and then does all he can to hide his past.

  19. Pran’s pseudoNapolean hat is hypnotic in its power.
    That said, its just nice to see manorama, no matter how evil she was being- she is one person I’d really like ot have known in real life- she looks like she has so many stories to tell- as does Helen.
    I have never liked Sanjay Khan (unlike his worshippable brother Feroz) or Babita, but they both really look fairly cute here :)

  20. Memsaab !

    Bit of trivia perhaps: Today (March 3rd) happens to be the birthday of Ravi, who composed the unforgettable music for Dus Lakh!

  21. Anonymous: My stash of vintage Stardust magazines is offering up plenty of reasons not to like either brother :-D but even so Feroz would be tempting. Sanjay, not at all.

    dustedoff: Om Prakash is so so good in this. Even though his behavior is so bad and foolish, you can’t help but understand why his sons still love him…that had to be a difficult line to tread but he did it.

    shweta: Yes, the wedding scene (Pran says at one point that since the wedding can’t be in a church or a temple then it might as well be a zoo!) is full of hilarity. I think I even spotted a motheaten old bear suit from one of those Wadia films from the 40s :)

    Rada: Happy Birthday Ravi Sahab! He really is one of my favorites, his music is always so melodic. I’m very happy when his name comes up as the music director in the credits :-)

  22. Just this morning, I wished you would take a look at Kati Patang. Loads of meat in the story, lovely songs, Asha Parekh, Rajesh Khanna yaaaaaaa Bindu.

  23. I just can’t warm up to Babita… I don’t know what it is about her, but the moment I hear she’s in a movie or she appears on screen, my brain just shuts off. It might be the perma-sneer on her face, one that Karishma could always tap in her more annoying roles.

  24. She does have a perma-sneer! Poor thing. I think Karishma looks exactly like her too.

  25. Same here on Babita. She ruined ‘Raaz’ (Kaka’s first film, released after Aakhri Khat though) for me :-( And the less said about the execrable ‘Doli’, the better though that really wasn’t her fault–a more misogynistic piece I cannot recall seeing and that’s saying a lot given some of the specimens that mainstream Hindi fillums have endowed us with.

    No comparison either between Sanjay and Feroz–the latter wins hands down. Memsaab, does ‘Safar’ beckon yet? :-)

  26. Ha ha…Safar will be soooon….

    Doli is THE Red Mist movie for me. By ten minutes into it I already was enraged…although sadly, Shammi’s Jeevan Jyoti comes pretty close. At least it’s older by more than a decade though.

  27. Shivdasani girls… let me count em… Sadhana, Babita, Karisma, Kareena. Am I missing anyone else?

  28. Memsaab

    I meant Feroze the actor ie films and roles not the person. Indeed ur stash of old mags would give u an idea about the personal qualities of these guys which may make u run a mile!

  29. Hey, I can lend you “Banaras” DVD if you’d like to make some screencaps for a review. ;)

  30. I also have been pondering over what the director’s brief to the costume designer was…

  31. Helen and Babita looked quite stylish (except for Helen’s terrible wig), and Pran wore loud plaid suits which went perfectly with his character…everyone else maybe just wore their own clothes :)

  32. Neetu singh also was seen in a later 1968 film as child artiste in Do Dooni char…esp in that song ” Hawawon pe likhdoon hawawon ke naame” , an old Kishore classic..this set the trend for remakes like angoor later, loosely based on Comedy of Errors..Sorry to be talking OT..

    Got to see this film( Dus lakh) though…induna , here I come!


  33. Just saw this film, and really enjoyed it. In fact, I liked Sanjay Khan for once, and Babita had a really pro-active role, she was not pushed into the background at the first sign of trouble in the hero’s life. And yes, she is stylish. But Manorama was the best!

  34. a good comedy movie.best acted by pran and om prakash .wonderful acting.

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