Dil Ki Rani (1947)

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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.

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She tracks him down and falls instantly in love with him, as he does with her.

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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.

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Then Madho comes back, and once the misunderstanding is all cleared up—the Thakur still likes Banke better.

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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.

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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:

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This plan is so dumb even the Thakur isn’t impressed.

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Munshi devises another one, equally dumb—but as I said, our young lovers aren’t very bright either.

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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.

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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. 

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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.

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Now it’s Banke’s turn to come up with a stupid plan!

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Will this one work? 

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Nope!

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.

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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.

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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.

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38 Comments to “Dil Ki Rani (1947)”

  1. I might just be tempted to watch this for a young Madhubala. I suppose the presence of future legendary actor doesn’t always guarantee a good movie. Reminds me of Anokha pyaar in that respect: Dilip Kumar, Nargis and a rather soporific story.

  2. Two questions:

    1. Where did you find this movie and any information about it before you found it?

    2. How did you manage to slide the screenshots one after the other? Looks so cool!

  3. Is this really a comedy or it is unwittingly so?
    Poor memsaab, has a spate of bad films.
    Damn annoying this!

    • I think a bit of both.

      I’ve rewatched a couple of favorites in between that I haven’t written up so it’s not one bad film after another :-) but I appreciate your commiseration!

  4. I am usually not a big fan of raj kapoor the actor (the director is a diff mater all together), and find him v v annoying in his early stuff (again, aag was an exception). On the other hand, I do enjoy badri prasad- that lovable walrus- and it seems he has quite a big part to play here- those poor fathers of the brides do get gypped in bollywood most of the time.

    • Yes, Badri and Munshi really get the most screen time with all their machinations. Badri has a great time with his mouche as well. I feel the opposite about Raj—I like movies he’s only an actor in better than those he directed :) (and I hated Aag). He hams it up here too, but they all do!

  5. Ohhh noooo!! I dont think i could watch this film based on these silly plans Munshi makes up, and Raj looks very cute with the Guy-liner and flippy bohemian hair!

    • He also (like Nargis in Raat Aur Din a few days ago) was channeling Liz Taylor with the eyeshadow and liner and fierce brows! His hair flopped all over the place too :) But it was silly, and dull, nonetheless…(also, he is NOT blobby).

  6. hey i want to hear raj kapoor sing and madhubala at 14. rest could be ffwded.

    btw, totally unrelated to this, as the name Jalal Agha came up at the atul blog between us, have you seen Do Boond Pani (1971) with him as hero and Simi Garewal?

    used to be shown on DD tv all the time, but wonder if anyone else remembers it. I liked it (except for one thing with the plot) and songs were lovely.

    • Well, you can hear him sing if you follow the first link in my post above :)

      I have not seen Do Boond Pani, but I love Jalal Agha and he would be a great hero opposite Simi! He’s very handsome and funny, would offset her serious demeanor perfectly. Will look for it!

  7. Dil ki Rani is really quite awful and has got worse with time. This is my write up on the film on upperstall.

    http://www.upperstall.com/films/1947/dil-ki-rani

    • I see that we pretty much agree Karan :) I also really liked the second innings of Raj’s song picturized on different people and their walks of life in Bombay—the city looks so clean in 1947! But yes, in general pretty awful except for the historical value.

  8. God I could hardly follow the story. I dont think even the ‘star-power’ can draw me to it.

  9. This sounds like something I wouldn’t want to see – not even for Madhubala, whom I adore. Raj Kapoor, even if he’s looking like Shammi Kapoor, is hard for me to watch for long, especially not with hair that flops about all over the place. In screen cap # 13, his hair really looks like it’s a woman’s hairdo!

    I guess the film industry was going through a bad phase what with Partition and all… was this a fallout because of stressed-out writers and directors? ;-)

    • There was a bit of Britain-bashing but not much else to indicate that India had just gained Independence (it wasn’t a deep enough film for that ;-) Probably you are right, not many resources dedicated to good film-making at that point as everyone was distracted.

      Raj is actually pretty easy to watch here, he didn’t irritate me like he often does. Well, no more than anyone else in the cast. He’s just kind of a simple poet who loves a girl (but loves his friend more of course).

  10. Raj does look great! But I much prefer the older Madhubala.

    • Madhubala still had a puppy-fat kind of look in this, which is reasonable since she was only 14 :) But Raj—yum! although the bohemian hair did get a little wild.

  11. Prior to visiting your blog today, I was informed about Kapoor being the playback singer for “Duniya Ke Rehne Walo.” I come here and – BAM! – you have written a review on it — coincidence or WHAT!?

    The story sounds rather intriguing — I’ll definitely check it out.

    • I wouldn’t say the story is intriguing, it’s very basic (I’ve essentially covered the entire plot in this post!). But it’s worth watching at least some of it if you are a Raj Kapoor fan!

  12. I saw a couple of clips from Dil Ki Rani on YouTube, and it didn’t look that interesting to me. But I don’t see 1947 as being a bad year for Indian films in general… I kind of saw most of Jugnu (with Noor Jehan and a very young Dilip Kumar), though I watched it without subs (mainly to catch all the splendid music) and I would like to watch it fully sometime. And I saw a few scenes from the Tamil film Nam Iruvar, for the great dancing by Baby Kamala. So, there was at least some fine music and dancing in the movies that year…

    I am a Raj Kapoor fan, especially for some films that he directed, starting in the ’50s. And I was quite impressed by Madhubala’s performance at age 16 in Mahal. But maybe those aren’t good enough reasons to go searching fo this film, juding by the writeups. :)

  13. Can I just slap them all and call them a name that is on the tip of my tongue? Read my blog today to know what exactly.

    This movie is so stupid!

  14. Hi memsaab. I finally posted Helen Of Bollywood (Volume Two). I know you’ve been waiting for this :) Hope u like it!

  15. I am so glad you reviewed this. Now I dont have to watch the whole movie – I’ll just fast forward to all the songs and still know all about it! I got it because of Madhubala and the fact that it came out in 1947. But, a few minutes of watching was all it needed to convince me that I needed some other movie for my Friday night watching!

  16. Wow, Raj is wearing more eye kohl than Madhubala (and manages to pull it off)!
    I am loving the subtitles in your screencaps, though.

  17. No this wasn’t first film for Geeta Roy(Dutt). Her career had already begun with her singing in Bhakta Prahalad(1946) and had already caught the attention of many MDs.
    http://www.geetadutt.com has more info.

  18. As I have an unnatural obsession with anything and everything Madhubala-related, I though about watching this movie once upon a time. Then I read a review or two – and I was just like “not anymore”. Maybe one day I’ll check it out for the laughs…

  19. It’s worth watching just for the history and subtitle laughs :) But otherwise, pretty forgettable!

  20. I think it is worthwhile to watch the two novices, considering they are only 23 and 14, when even we were innocent. Great job.
    best wishes,
    Moti Lalwani

  21. It definitely has its place in history!!! :)

  22. I bought this vcd as a Madhubala fan. Our genaration (b 1960 or later ) saw only her later movies ( Kala paani , Chalti ka naam gaadi & Half ticket ). She looks radiantly beautiful . But our elders never considered her as most beautiful actress. That honour was to either Meena Shoree or Nalini Jaywant
    Now I can see why . Those who watched her earlier movies ( like this one ) would not be rolled over like us. Madhubala & Rekha started as ‘ nothing special ” & matured later as real beauties.

  23. It sounds like “Johar-Mehmood in Goa” Dumb, but such fun!

    Bollywood films in general all lack intelligence one way or another so my tolerence level for this will be pretty high.

    Plus, a happy ending with no melodrama is definately worth it would be worth watching this film. Is that the case?

    Btw, how is the acting? If there’s little to no melodrama, I’m guessing it ought to be okay (please confirm).

  24. Raj Kapoor was so irritating

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