After reading a fine review of this movie over at Dusted Off, I had to see it. Nargis’ last film! Young Feroz Khan! Laxmi Chhaya! Ted Lyons & His Cubs! And truly it is an interesting and fun filmi noir, dominated by a fine performance from Nargis as a woman with a split personality. The music by Shankar Jaikishan is absolutely fabulous. My favorite song from the film is the lively “Awara Ae Mere Dil”—it’s going to be in my head for a few days, I can already tell. It’s picturized on the lovely Laxmi (it’s one of my picks for her top 10 songs) with my favorite band providing the music. The main quibble I have with the film is that it’s a Criminal Waste of Young Handsome Feroz—but hey, at least he’s there!
I won’t give a synopsis since Madhu in her review has done a great job of that already, and I agree with her completely on what worked and what didn’t (go read it, really), but here are the things that struck me as I watched.
In her party-girl “Peggy” persona, Nargis reminds me of Elizabeth Taylor:
Feroz *sigh* Feroz…he wasn’t onscreen nearly enough, but when he was I didn’t want to look at anything or anyone else. And he waltzes Peggy around so gracefully in the first lovely song (“Dil Ki Girah Khol Do”). Such presence he had!
Pradeep Kumar is good in this—I don’t usually care for him much, but quite liked him as Varuna/Peggy’s bewildered and frustrated—but loving—spouse Pratap.
(See how I snuck more Feroz in there?)
I was a little worried that the medical aspect of the film would be lacking…shall we say—authenticity?:
But I was pleasantly surprised that the whole subject of Dissociative Identity Disorder (or Multiple Personality Disorder) was handled respectfully and for the most part realistically (at least as far as my limited knowledge goes). I have a friend with DID; I know a little from him of what it is like for the sufferer, and I think Nargis portrayed someone caught in the grip of the illness in a very subtle and believable manner. And the circumstances which led to her condition, when uncovered, seem credible enough. Nicely done!
Leela Mishra is officially the most nightmarish harridan of a Ma or mother-in-law EVER. Anywhere. At any time. In any place. Hopefully she was a lot nicer in real life. She shrieks like a banshee at her poor husband (SN Banerjee):
and treats Varuna—who is gentle and sweet when not in Peggy mode—with disapproval and disdain. She calls in an exorcist when Varuna/Peggy *gasp* dances in her room one night.
Yikes! Luckily Pratap intervenes in the nick of time.
(He then removes them both from Ma’s house. Yay Pratap!)
Anoop Kumar is very funny and sweet in his role as an overwhelmed newly-minted doctor unable to cope with Peggy’s brashness.
What a way to begin one’s medical career!
It was a pleasure to see KN Singh (as Varuna/Peggy’s father) in a small but non-villainous role.
The music is just spectacular throughout; I love all the songs. Here is Laxmi:
But the best thing about the movie by far is—Nargis. It is her film all the way, and especially in her Peggy avatar she is having fun.
Wah! Wah! What an actress she was, and what a charming and beautiful woman. It’s well worth watching Raat Aur Din just for her—but there is plenty of other goodness besides.
Satyen Bose directed this, as well as other movies I love (Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi, Jeevan Mrityu); or have liked a lot (Ansoo Ban Gaye Phool). Like those, the pacing is good (although the DVD was choppy in places, possibly due to the source not being the best), the story interesting, the performances excellent and the songs just lovely.
I really need to see more of his films.