This story would not even take up one handwritten purse-sized address book page, it is so lacking in substance. How then does it drag on for two hours! It was interesting for about the first half hour only because it stars a very young Raj Kapoor (he’s 23) and an even younger Madhubala (she’s 14!). Seeing these two legends so early in their careers (plus the fact that Raj sings his songs himself, and looks a lot like the very young Shammi) made the time pass. After that, I kind of wanted to shoot myself. It’s essentially about two young and naive lovers who are surrounded by people who want to break them up, but aren’t clever enough to do so. Luckily for them, the lovers aren’t very bright either; there is a lot of ludicrously silly plotting which results in even sillier lover’s spats, leaving me at least with the wish that they would all just shut up and end the film, already.
Madhav (Raj Kapoor), called Madho by his apparently lone friend Banke (Shyam Sunder), is a poet whose songs are played on the radio. One listener named Rajkumari (Madhubala) hears him singing and suggests to her newspaper publisher father Thakur Sangram Singh (Badri Prasad) that they publish some of his poetry to increase readership.
She tracks him down and falls instantly in love with him, as he does with her.
He sets her sari on fire by accident and goes off to get her another one, leaving her in his pajamas with his friend Banke. Her father, when he arrives with his faithful Munshi (Munshi Khanjar), mistakes Banke for the poet and after a short talk decides that he approves of his daughter’s choice.
Then Madho comes back, and once the misunderstanding is all cleared up—the Thakur still likes Banke better.
Madho disapproves of hunting, which is enough by itself to make him not worthy of Rajkumari; additionally, poetry writing is clearly an occupation for pansies, and Thakur Sahib has other issues with him too.
Her father forbids Rajkumari to see Madho again. She is so distraught by this that she mopes and pouts around the house until he can’t take it any more (neither can I) and tells her to go ahead and see Madho. She is thrilled, but behind her back he instructs Munshi to come up with a plan to separate them.
Munshi’s first plan is this:
This plan is so dumb even the Thakur isn’t impressed.
Munshi devises another one, equally dumb—but as I said, our young lovers aren’t very bright either.
This plan works halfway: Madho eats too many sweets and gets a horrible toothache, but goes to the party anyway according to Rajkumari’s wishes.
At the party, though, his toothache becomes too much to bear and he takes to Rajkumari’s bed. She and Banke each blame the other for his indisposition and her disappointment, and they quarrel.
Eventually this argument is resolved amicably, so Munshi cudgels his brain for another plan. He sends Banke a letter purportedly from Rajkumari saying that she loves him and wants to marry him (Thakur Sahib still approves of Banke). In a completely nonsensical turn of events Banke pleads with Madho to step aside and of course he agrees.
Now it’s Banke’s turn to come up with a stupid plan!
Will this one work?
At this point I’ve completely given up hope that any of these people will grow up. I think the film was meant to be a comedy, but the humor is childish and dumb instead of funny. The threadbare plot doesn’t seem itself to know where it’s going; it just meanders along as if to say: “Let’s try this!” or “Maybe this will work!”
It never does—much like all the scheming.
The subtitles do make me laugh—when they are there. Large parts of the dialogue go unsubbed, but I don’t think it much matters, it is so repetitive (the writers seem to feel that audience needs as much hand-holding as the characters onscreen). It’s also delivered in large part by the actors looking off in the distance instead of at each other—the typical 1940s theater hangover, along with over-the-top emoting. Unless you are a big Raj Kapoor or Madhubala fan, don’t waste your time much beyond the first song.
It IS fun to see him singing! The songs are lovely, written by SD Burman—this is one of his first films I believe, also for Geeta Dutt who sings for Madhubala. Shyam Sunder (who also was a composer) sings for himself, although his speaking voice is an annoying falsetto.
Raj is quite handsome too (Shammi!) at this age, even if his character is a buffoon.