Ziddi (1964)


In the wake of my post espousing the awesomeness that is Asha P, several people recommended that I watch this. And indeed, I’m glad they did: Asha is at her feisty, gun-totin’ best. And the songs—my God, the songs! They are made of beautiful, all of them, and the film is worth watching just for them alone.

My quibble with the movie is that things slow to a crawl in the middle as the combative courtship between Asha and Joy Mukherjee drags on—and it turns them into cruel and thoughtless people, too. The last half hour picks up again, luckily, but the middle hour or so really could have used some editing (and an animal activist or two). The Comic Side Plot is also far too intrusive: Mehmood again, given lots of screen time to compensate for his hefty compensation, I guess. A little of him goes a long way (and a lot of him can bring the main plot to a halt) especially when it’s the same exact CSP every time.

Anyway. Our story begins with a Judge (Ulhas) who is the patriarch of a large family. His youngest son Ashok (Joy Mukherjee) is not winning any points with his dad, who deplores his absence at the breakfast table.


Ashok is a scribbler of poetry and plays, whose publisher (DK Sapru) doesn’t display much enthusiasm for his artistic endeavors either.


It’s no wonder, then, that he decides to flee his home and see the world. He leaves a note for his family:


and sets off by train to seek adventure. Adventure finds him in the form of Mohan Choti, who steals his suitcase and hops off the train. Ashok jumps off after him, and ends up at the wrong end of a double-barrelled shotgun in the hands of beautiful girl—with whom he is instantly head over heels in love.


Asha (Asha Parekh) is not as overcome, except with annoyance; she is the spoiled daughter of the local tea estate’s owner Thakur Mahender Singh (Raj Mehra). The Thakur is upset because his chauffeur (Mehmood) has not left for the station yet to meet the new estate manager’s incoming train. And so begins the endless CSP.


Mehmood and Dhumal spend a great deal of time in this film facing off like this, and they always look like they are about to start laughing—which is more than I can say. Mehmood is romancing Sheila (Shubha Khote) who is of course Dhumal’s daughter (Dhumal is some sort of flunky on the estate), and Dhumal is standing in their way. As always, this involves Mehmood donning various disguises—and drag—and the usual fake sadhus, and on and on and on. Although lovely Shubha always seems like she’s enjoying herself, I wish she hadn’t wasted so much of her career on this same old, same old.


I guess we all have to pay our bills! Enough said.

Mehmood (when he finally gets underway) mistakes Ashok for the newly arrived manager, and Ashok plays along in order to see more of Asha (they get rid of the real manager when he shows up later, as part of the CSP). He settles in, welcomed by Asha’s mother (Sulochana) and father—not so much by Asha herself, though.


Undeterred, Ashok begins to woo his rebellious and sulky beloved, even as she continues to take potshots at him (not just with her double-barreled shotgun, but also a fishing rod, a slingshot, and various other weapons she has lying around, including her elephant Majnu).


Their battles are interrupted continuously by the CSP, and much more nicely by the lovely songs (written by SD Burman with the able assistance of his son RD). Asha naturally gets to dance, too—always a yay! moment. My favorite is “Raat Ka Saman”—it’s picturized beautifully too.


Another favorite song (although really I love all of them!) is pictured on Shubha Khote and Mehmood, “Main Tere Pyar Mein.” Look them up on YouTube, you won’t regret it!


Hey—it seems that way to me too, Shubha!

Life (and the film) go on in this vein for some time. As I said, it’s entertaining for a while and then becomes tedious. One afternoon as Ashok sits mooning by the window with his bad poetry, he gets a visitor.


It’s Seema (Nazima), Asha’s little sister, who has been away at Girl Guides Camp.


Now the story takes what seems to me an unnecessarily cruel turn. Seema is obviously very taken with the new estate manager, but Ashok only cares that Asha is jealous when she sees them talking. He begins to romance Seema—and she thinks he is serious, because he acts serious, and doesn’t tell her what he’s really up to! I want to slap him, hard.


Then, I want to slap Asha into next week, when in a fit of pique she sends Seema’s little dog sailing skyward tied to a bunch of balloons! He barks and howls in distress, and I shudder to think how they got the audio. I’m hopeful that it’s not a real dog up there, but still: what kind of message is that to send?


Of course Asha is also the woman who tries to sell her elephant when he transfers his loyalties to Ashok in exchange for some sugar cane. Sigh. If I did that with Gemma every time she switches her affection to the latest cookie giver, I’d have sold her off a gazillion times already.

Now Asha begins to wear saris instead of her boots and cowboy hat, and to care about girly things like face cream. She’s finally a goner! and about time too.


Ashok sends a letter to his parents, asking them to come and meet the girl he wants to marry. I’ve been waiting for the romancing to reach its conclusion so that we can get the final plot twist—and here it comes. I’m not going to tell you what it is, you’ll have to see it for yourself (it’s a pretty good one though). Okay, one hint: Madan Puri.


I will tell you that Ashok never really endears himself to me again. When Seema confronts him (and yay! screenwriter for at least letting her do that!) about his cruel treatment of her, he gives this most unsatisfying explanation, and never apologizes to her.


What a jerk! But despite these irritations, Ziddi is enjoyable. It just needs a whole lot less of Mehmood and company, and a bit more sensitivity to little sisters and their dogs! Watch it for Asha P and for the songs—they are truly fabulous (another fave: “Yeh Meri Zindagi” with Asha pretending to be drunk—so cute!).

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57 Comments to “Ziddi (1964)”

  1. I have heard the songs now and then. I can’t recollect seeing the movie,but it definitely sounds good. Hope to get it here. She sounds feisty. I like Nazima a lot too. She gets chirpy roles too. Sure you’ve noticed the unique date today. Have a good day,Greta. Our day is nearly over here.

    • I hadn’t noticed the date, thanks for pointing it out! :-) Judicious use of the FF button really helps out here, but there’s fun to be had. The songs are just fabulous (and I like Nazima too, a lot).

  2. And just LOOK at your reply time!`Wow,call That (I don’t know how to italicise in this,hence the capitals-not screaming at you as you say about sub titles) correct timing!! Cheers.

  3. Never heard of this film before, though I love the afore mentioned songs. Asha Parekh dore slook beautiful here and so does Shubha Khote!

  4. Vay! Looks like a must see if for nothing more than that balloon scene and the “Raat Ka Saman” number. Thanks for the great write up.
    All the best,

    • I always think of you when I see large bunches of balloons :) But I did not care for that scene AT ALL! Poor little dog.

      • Right Right! Of course only the concept of the scene is what I liked, the power of the Bollywood balloons, but the dog being taken away is unacceptable! I hope there’s a happy ending to that part though, but seems not to be. I will know to fast forward through that scene when I get it. Remember the balloon scene in Hum Kisi Se Kum Nahin seemed so happy, just another way to travel. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FmEWjdg74FY&feature=related

        Think of that one to get the bad one out of your head. :)

  5. As advised in your post I’m still looking through the item numbers from the film and really like this one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vbhEDZH6R0M&NR=1

  6. Thanks memsaab for reviewing this.
    I have some distant memories of it and remember liking it very much especially the song in the tea gardens, I think that would be Mehmood and Shubha Khote.

    The strongest memory is of beautiful green, green and green of the tea gardens, in addition to tomboy Asha.
    Too bad about the dog. :-(

    • Yes, that’s the song I love with Shubha and Mehmood—it’s filmed so beautifully in the tea gardens. So lush and green and beautiful!

      The dog does appear later, so is unharmed in theory. I still think it’s a bad bad message to send though! Little kids (and pathological adults) love to experiment with these things they’ve seen onscreen! :(

  7. Sitaji told me I should share this link I just found re: balloons!

    Somehow I’d never seen this site before but it is clearly a goldmine of fun.

    Also, that top picture’s outfit? VAH! Vah to both costume AND dialogue!

  8. Awww… I have good memories of this one which I watched as a kid in the good old days of Indian TV. I do remember being irritated by Asha’s saree-transformation (way too Taming Of The Shrew for my taste even then) though. But I dont remember Joy being such a jerk – selective memory! ;-)

    O well, this one gets crossed off my to-watch list. I’ll just stick to the songs, which are still lovely.

    • I’m not suggesting people don’t watch it…but those are the problems I had with it, which made it less than wonderful (Mehmood, cruelty, loonnng)…I was relieved that Ashok’s treatment of poor Seema did get addressed briefly, but he was so dismissive of her feelings and it kind of ended there—so it felt unresolved (or resolved unsatisfactorily) to me, and I couldn’t like him after that.

  9. Actually, Joy Mukherjee doesn’t have the facial features that would make him seem like a gentleman, just as Vinod Khanna doesn’t. Though obviously he is much more handsome and likable than the latter. I suppose if he hadn’t dropped (on ground) Asha P during the shooting of Love in Tokyo, this pair may have appeared together in more films.

  10. God, the main character sounds like a jerk. I have difficulty sitting through movies that focus on characters I don’t like…

    yet…the music is good…so I might have to watch it anyway. Yet another great review, Memsaab.

  11. Hmm, I don’t remember it being so awful (the animal cruelty is completely lost to my memory but then it’s been a long long while since I saw it) but I do remember the fake-courtship. For some reason, the old timey folks really liked that device. In fact, the new timey folks like it too (remember DDLJ?) it’s just that the movie then goes “lalalalala, who’re these people, I don’t see them” and whoosh! it’s all magically rubbed away. At least Seema got to tell him off.

    • I don’t really like DDLJ (heresy!) :-)

      I didn’t think this was awful, and it’s greatly helped if you can use the FF button to get through the CSP. Some of these story elements are just so thoughtless and mean, though! I was glad Seema got to speak up, but it was still pretty obnoxious and as I said, I couldn’t really like Ashok for his response either.

  12. That first screencap is TOO CUTE!

    Why doesn’t my job require that I relax up a tree in a leopard print outfit and some proto-Uggs?

  13. I saw this movie about 20 years ago and had completely forgotten the story.
    All I remembered was :
    – fantastic songs (Raat ka sama, Jaanoon kya mera dil, main tere pyar mein, champakali)
    – usual Asha Parekh timepass.
    – very tiring CSP (way too long).

    In fact the CSP irritated me so much that it became my lasting memory of the movie.
    As it is, I usually cannot stand CSPs (a few exceptions like Sasuraal (Mehmood/Shubha) and some Johnny Walker CSPs).
    I prefer stories to stay with the main plot – just imagine if Deewaar had had a CSP ** shudders **
    I think by the time the 1970s came along, CSPs began disappearing from the scene.

    Have you seen Phir Wohi Dil Laya Hoon ?
    Also Asha and Joy Mukherjee.
    I remember seeing it long back – maybe 25 years ago !
    It also has lovely songs.
    When I saw Ziddi I had high hopes because I had PWDLH in mind. Ziddi disappointed me because of this reference I had in mind.

    • I have seen Phir Wohi Dil Laya Hoon, although I only dimly remember it (it was a while ago). I should revisit it :-) The CSP has ruined many a film for me anyway. Although there have been occasions when it was the brightest spot!—which usually doesn’t say much for the movie. I like Mehmood much better when he’s integrated into the story as a secondary character, but not only does he completely hog the screen in this film, but it’s the same same same old tired CSP that I’ve seen a million times already (Shubha-Dhumal-Mehmood triangle). It never ever changes, from film to film!

  14. Talking of Joy Mukherjee, have you seen “Shagird” ?
    Now THAT is one of his best movies.
    Not necessarily for his acting but for the movie as a whole.
    I found it a very cute, thoroughly entertaining film.
    And Saira Banu, not exactly known for her acting, is awesome in this movie.
    Lot of goodness in the film – and lovely songs !!!

    If you haven’t seen it, you really should.
    You owe it to yourself after seeing movies like Kasam Paida Karne Waale Ki. :-)

  15. I agree that Saira can be extremely irritating.
    In this movie she actually goes to a different level altogether – so much so that you actually begin to like her.
    Well, at least I did. :-)

    The movie is definitely worth a watch.
    For the Joy Mukherjee – IS Johar faceoffs, if nothing else.
    Hilarious !

  16. I was not sorry, as you said, to look up the songs on You Tube! My Mehmood tolerance is miniscule, however. Call me ziddi. In “Yeh Meri Zingdagi” I am transfixed by Asha’s incredibly tight silk blouse and slacks. The design is that of a slightly too long choli, which almost gives the impression she is dancing in her underclothes. Perhaps one reason for all the shocked expressions.

    • I love the beginning of Raat Ka Sawan—she’s so WILD :) Makes me think she would have been awesome as Lucia Di Lammermoor in the mad scene. Her tight outfits (read: pants) are de rigueur for the first hour or so, until she finally falls for Ashok and becomes a demure desi girl (she reverts to “drunk” bad girl for Yeh Meri Zindagi, which is why everyone is horrified—she’s drunk as a gori Memsaab!). I love the outfit though—it’s lovely raw silk :)

      The songs really do make the movie worth watching. There are lots of them (7 or 8) and they are ALL good (also easily available on emusic and—most likely—on iTunes).

  17. awwwwwww i love the shot of Joy through the cracked glass, it reminds me of my first bollywood movie ever 1942 A Love Story, where Anil sees Manisha through some cracked glass! So cute, i love this movie and i really do love the Mehmood/Dhumal/Shubha comic sideplots, because they were a welcome distraction from the story, and its true Shubha should have done a lot more than the the Mehmood storylines no matter how much i laugh through it! But she was a good Maa though in the 90’s!

    • If I had never seen the Shubha-Dhumal-Mehmood CSP before it still would have been unbearable. There was just TOO MUCH of it (although I could watch lots more Shubha by herself).

      I remember that cracked glass shot from 1942 too—which amazes me :)

  18. Ziddi is another one of those saw-a-long-time-ago-don’t-remember-much-about-movies. I vaguely remember being disatisfied with the whole thing. Everything had an air of trying too hard, including your precious tanpura-shaped Asha.:-) I can’t even share your love for the music – I find it unmemorable (except for “yeh meri zindagi”).

    I do recall thinking that while Joy’s treatment of Seema was inexcusably cruel, he was remarkably steadfast in his devotion to Asha. Isn’t he the only one who doesn’t believe Asha’s “bad girl” transformation?

  19. “…I want to slap Asha into next week, when in a fit of pique she sends Seema’s little dog sailing skyward tied to a bunch of balloons!…”

    If you ever had the chance, make sure it’s a tight slap.

  20. LOL on FiLMiNDiA’s tight slap comment and on Shalini’s “tanpura-shaped Asha” comment. Love it! Asha does have quite the spectacular silhouette. :)

  21. I love the songs. The movie is enjoyable too. I remember a bit of the climax even. hehe !

    I remember the sweet ‘Champakali dekho jukhi gayi re’ plus all other fab ones.

  22. I was not aware that there was more than one “Ziddi”. I was always under the impression that there was just one “Ziddi” that came in 1948 where Kishore Kumar debuted as a playback singer singing for Dev Anand.

    It was only recently whle I was trying to find out the movie of the wonderful “raat ka samaa” that I realised that this song was from “Ziddi” and that this “Ziddi” was a movie from 1964. I do not watch movies, and I only watch songs, that way, “Ziddi” (1964) for me is a great movie with awesome songs.

    A tidbit about the music of this movie is that the music director is S D Burman, and his assistants in this movie were Laxmikant Pyarelal. Of course, by the time this movie was released, Laxmikant Pyarelal were already composing music as independent music directors.

    • The credits in the film say that SD was assisted by RD Burman…not L-P. In any case, they are wonderful and I look forward to seeing them all posted on your blog ;-) The movie wasn’t bad (my post seems to have come across that I disliked it, which I didn’t—although I won’t rush to see it again, and when I do I will FF through about an hour of it).

      There’s another Ziddi from 1997 too starring Sunny Deol. Have not seen it though.

      • Ah! That Sunny Deol film had the memorable lines that could be subtitled as:”When this 2 and a half Kilo hand falls on some one, then he doesn’t go up. He goes UP.”
        All ‘Ziddi’ films are about brats actually.

        • LOL!!!! I need to see more of Dharmendra’s eldest. I have really only seen him in Jaani Dushman: Ek Anokhi Kahani. Not really fair (at least, that’s my hope!)…

          • Check him out in Arjun – he is endearingly vulnerable/tough at the same time. Another winning script from Javed Akthar were he for once moves away from his father fixation and talks about just plain frustration of being unemployed. :)

  23. I already have posted three songs from “Ziddi” (1964) as well as two from “Ziddi” (1948).

  24. So, would you say it’s worth the time you spent viewing, Memsaab? I can’t decide if I’m drawn by the principals more than I’m repelled by the CSP and awful treatment given to secondary sister.

    • Yes—I enjoyed the good parts and as I’ve said I did resort to the FF button to help me through the middle hour (especially the CSP). I would say that if you aren’t a particular fan of Asha’s and you’re not fond of the songs you probably won’t like it. Those are the two main things that got me through it and made it fun. Well, that and booing at the screen when Ashok was being a self-centered jackass with Seema :) Oh, and the subtitles!

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