Zamaane Ko Dikhana Hai (1981)

When I look back at pictures of my younger, prettier and thinner self and then look in the mirror at the me of today, I feel the way this film would probably feel if it could look back at Hum Kisise Kum Naheen: the same old thing, but wearier, more bloated and not any smarter or more mature. It is the middle-aged incarnation of HKKN after bad plastic surgery, making it occasionally fascinating in an “I want to look away but can’t” kind of way. Mostly it’s just dull, though, and I might not have bothered to write it up but for my friend and fellow Hindi film music fan PC over at Third Floor Music. He has waited patiently for me to gather the courage to go through this eyesore again for screencaps, and we are doing a tandem music-review post. He has uploaded the RD Burman soundtrack for your delectation, so grab it here and read on!

Wealthy businessman SK Nanda (Shreeram Lagoo) is furious when his oldest son and heir Ramesh (Randhir Kapoor) marries a simple girl named Seema against his wishes.

(Not all prostitutes are poor, either, but that’s another story.)

Nanda kicks Ramesh and his new bride out of the house and his life, and then repents at leisure as the years go by. He instructs his business manager Shekhar (Kader Khan) to search for Ramesh and Seema, and when his younger son Ravi (Rishi Kapoor) returns home from being educated abroad explains to him why Ramesh’s marriage bothered him so.

This second marriage didn’t work out very well because the “poor” girl tortured Nanda Senior (no specifics on how unfortunately), although there was a son from the union: Shekhar. Nanda’s father instructed him on his death bed to take care of Shekhar, which Nanda has—by making him work for him. I am not surprised when we shortly discover that Shekhar resents this.

Meanwhile, his men have come back with news about Ramesh and Seema.

After the accident which claimed their lives, Seema’s sister Kanchan (Padmini Kolhapure) has taken in their eight-year-old son Pappu (Master Ravi) and is bringing him up. Shekhar’s informant is a gangster named Maula, and Shekhar’s man Ranjeet (Viju Khote) describes him as a “mountain of a man”:

This cracks me up: while it might be difficult for me to disguise myself as Hindu or Muslim, it doesn’t seem like any great feat for an Indian man. And speaking of disguises, Shekhar himself is inexplicably wearing one. I thought he had just aged a bit since the Ramesh episode, but he takes it off now, making it clear that he looks exactly the same as he did the nine-odd years before. He only seems to wear this aging disguise in the presence of Nanda and Ravi and no reason for it is ever given. But there are a lot of things in this movie that make no sense, so I surrender to the aesthetic and move on.

Shekhar instructs Maula to find Kanchan and Pappu at once and to take them to Calcutta. Maula himself remains mysterious to us (for now) although all the trappings of evil (black glove? check. Whiskey bottle? check. Film magazines? check. Apples? che—oh, wait…) are there.

Shekhar now murders the husband of a woman named Kavita (Neelam) whom he lusts after, and he promises her that he’ll keep her in diamonds when he gets rid of Ravi, the only remaining obstacle to his inheriting Nanda’s wealth when Nanda (a heart patient, we learn) dies. This murder strikes me as absolutely pointless, but it is amusing even if inadvertently so: Kavita is only vaguely horrified by her husband’s death and Shekhar’s clean-up crew wear color-coordinated-to-their-outfits masks.

Ravi informs his (back in disguise) uncle that he has found a clue to his brother’s whereabouts and is going off to look for him.

Shekhar calls Maula again. Black glove? check. Jack-knife? check. Film magazines? check. Apples?…

He tells Maula to keep an eye on Ravi. In Karsiang, one of Kanchan’s neighbors warns her that some goondas are looking for her and Pappu and they flee in the nick of time. They catch a ride with Rajendranath and this leads to one of the most eye-searing things I have ever witnessed. Rajendranath takes them to his home, which was decorated by someone dropping acid, and does a striptease to the sounds of the Bee Gees’ “Stayin’ Alive.” Alas, I could not find it on youtube.

I don’t know whether to laugh or cry or scream or all three. I mean…just…LOOK. I think the woman in the poster on the left above pretty much sums up my feelings. Kanchan herself can only say: “oh my God.”

I am particularly fond of the little spaniel on the door.

Maula’s men burst in looking for Kanchan and Pappu, who sneak out while the men are temporarily blinded by the scene in front of them.

Ravi meanwhile has arrived in the area and his car is rear-ended by a man wearing a black glove (Amjad Khan).

We are so patently obviously supposed to believe that this is Maula that I am inclined to disbelieve it, despite the fact that by now (1981) Amjad Khan was well-established as a villain extraordinaire. Soon after this encounter, Ravi picks up Kanchan and Pappu from the roadside and offers them a lift to Darjeeling.

Thus thrown together for a night, Ravi and Kanchan are forced to endure Disco Night at a local hotel. Thus far—except for the frightening “Stayin’ Alive” interlude—the film has been music free. But with the introduction now of our lead pair that’s about to change.

We spend much of the next hour with Ravi in amorous pursuit of Kanchan. Long-lost Ramesh is forgotten for the time being. There are more disguises:

another (albeit deceased) Pappu:

and another Kanchan (Simple Kapadia):

[that’s Colonel I.M. Tipsee (Om Shivpuri) to be precise].

Plus, more gaudily presented bad songs including a qawwali which I find tolerable although it too seems tired tired tired.

I look forward to seeing what PC has to say about the music. To me it sounds like Bappi Lahiri has taken over Burman’s body (that is not a compliment). I will say that Nasir Hussain spent a lot of money on the song picturizations. The electric bill alone must have run into lakhs of rupees.

When we eventually make our way back to the plot, will Ravi discover that Pappu is his nephew? Will evil Uncle Shekhar eliminate them and Kanchan? Will Kanchan still love Ravi when she finds out that he’s from the same family who mistreated her poor sister Seema so? And who is Maula? Does anybody care?

To find out, watch Zamaane Ko Dikhana Hai. Or not. I can’t really recommend it, although I sincerely wish Rajendranath’s “special” appearance were available online. Apart from that, there’s no reason you shouldn’t just watch Hum Kisise Kum Naheen again instead.

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47 Comments to “Zamaane Ko Dikhana Hai (1981)”

  1. This was the first of 3 flops that Nasir Husain made during the 1980’s. After which, he handed the directing reins over to his son, Mansoor, who directed Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak (1988), which became a hit. Sad to say that Mansoor refused to use R.D. Burman as music director for his films, although he might have been justified since Pancham’s music for Nasir in the 1980’s wasn’t in the same league as it was in the 1960’s & 1970’s.

  2. I remember this movie being hugely hyped up at the time.

    HKSKN had been a mega-hit, one of the biggest musical blockbusters of the decade. This movie tried to build on that – and the music was released well before the movie and also very much hyped up.

    Much like HKSKN, there were loads of songs – including a qawwali and a Nasir Hussain trademark “roothna/manaana (i.e hero/heroine getting upset and being cajoled by the other)” song. He has this in almost every movie – Tumsa Nahin Dekha, Dil Deke Dekho, Jab Pyar Kisise Hota Hai, Phir Wohi Dil Laaya Hoon, Teesri Manzil, Caravan, Yaadon Ki Baarat, HKSKN, ZKDH…Even QSQT (family production).

    Inspite of this “successful” formula, if I remember right, the movie did not do well. It was an expensive movie to make – and it just fell flat. I remember reading “meh” reviews at that time. Together with Shaan, it was considered one of the biggest flops of that time. (Mehbooba and Aashiq Hoon Baharon Ka were a few years earlier but had similar statuses).

    When I saw ZKDH, I also did not like it very much. I found it very silly actually. The only thing I liked was that one song “Hoga tumse pyara kaun” sung on the top of a train. Shailendra Singh’s voice, beautiful scenery.

    Otherwise not much else to keep you interested in it. Quite ghisa-pita (stale).

    • And there was Pyar Ka Mausam too. :-)
      This theme of “roothna/manaana” with outdoor songs in lovely locales served Nasir Hussain really well. :-)

    • Ooh, two new phrases to remember! I have to admit that I didn’t like even the song “Hoga tumse pyara kaun” although I did like the picturization…

      • :-)
        “roothna” is “to get upset”, “manaana” is “to pacify”.

        “ghisa-pita” (adjective) is colloquial usage for “stale”, in the context of a story, an excuse.

        It comes from “ghisna”, i.e to crush and “pitna”, i.e to be beaten.

        So “ghisa-pita” is like “beaten to death”. :-)

        So a story is either “ghisa-pita” or “hatke” (“different” in the context of a story). Most actors will claim in interviews that their movie is “hatke” but actually it is “ghisa-pita”. ;-)

        I guess that is (more than) enough for one day. :-)

  3. Greta, I’d watch it just for the qawali and a couple of the songs such as Hoga Tumse Pyara Kaun.

    I like the idea of the synchronised posting with PC. Looking forward to more.

  4. Your 1st paragraph describing this as this being an older, bloated Hum Kissi Se Kum Nahin is so apt! Now I know why I can lovingly forgive this one’s faults despite everything. I love both movies, but dont like the sorta half-hearted ending of this one. Could b crazier :D

  5. Loved your description of this film as a middle-aged version of Hum Kissi Se Kum Nahin. Frankly, even HKSKN, never made much sense to me, but it had lovely songs, and Rishi Kapoor as a heart-breaker.

    You are right, this film is dull.

    But does that mean, we the middle-aged versions of our younger selves, are dull too? I think not, no? :)

    • Some days I like my middle-aged self better than others :D It’s better than the alternative, as they say :)

      • Of course, HKSKN had the advantage of the song ‘Kya hua tera vaada..’ which I think every single adolescent of that period must have sung to the love of his/her life at least once. :)

  6. You are completely right in describing it as being an “older, bloated Hum Kissi Se Kum Nahin”!
    The songs were though all great hits and could be heard in Bombay on loudspeakers, which was damn irritating. Not one of Pancham’s best records.
    “it sounds like Bappi Lahiri has taken over Burman’s body”

    I love the cockerspaniel poster on the door as well! A change from babies ssshhhing!

    Great post, had fun reading it!

  7. And just one hour back, while driving through Delhi, my sister and I were singing along to Hoga tumse pyaara kaun and admitting that Padmini Kolhapure sitting on top of a train, wearing a black-and-yellow crotchet shawl, was the only thing we remembered about Zamaane ko dikhaana hai. Good thing that’s all we remembered, I guess.

    • She was cute, sulking away on top of the train. Maybe I’ll give the song a few more listens before dismissing it outright ;-) Padmini’s hairstyles and outfits were pretty much the best thing about this (was nice to see Simple Kapadia in something too, what a beauty she was)…

  8. Reading this review is great fun , as always. Indeed describibg this movie as an older (and not necessarily wiser) version of “Hum Kisi Se Kam Nahin” is indeed quite appropriate. Of course it applies to the movies of many movie makers, not just this one. PS- It in fact applies to most of us as well. :)

    And you certainly have an eye for fine details, viz. all the trappings of evil. :)

    As for the songs, I recall liking the songs of this movie very much. In fact, I would say that I liked the songs of this movie as much as that of “HKKN” if not more. Bappi Lahiri sounded like RD Burman in his earlier movies (viz Zakhmee, Chalte Chalte etc) but I never felt that R D Burman ever sounded like Bappi Lahiri. 1980s was when many other senior music directors (viz Laxmikant Pyarelal, Kalyanji Anandji) began to create Bappi Lahiri kind of music but R D Burman did not, and it is perhaps one of the reasons why R D Burman found himself running short of offers by the mid 1980s. And I am so thankful to R D Burman that he never tried to sound like Bappi Lahiri.

    I personally liked the song “Hoga tumse pyaaraa kaun” a lot. In fact, everyone liked this song. I in fact liked other other songs of this movie too. I did not get a chance to watch this movie, or perhaps I did not care to watch this movie, because I found the lead actors (Rishi Kapoor and Padmini Kolhapure) boring to watch.

    • I have liked Bappi’s soundtracks from the pre-disco (in India) era…but post that, ugh ugh ugh. And these songs for me anyway were just kind of boring although the picturizations were eye-popping. The story and the songs struck me as old and tired copies of better ones preceding them.

    • I thought I was the only one who liked the music of ZKDH as much or even more than that of HKKN; glad to hear I’m not alone, Atul. :)

      This is weird for me too because in the past week or so, I’ve watched this film for the 2nd time ever, listened to the entire soundtrack (plus the unreleased tracks) several times during the daily commute, and uploaded the entire medley to YouTube… and now I see a joint-review! I just felt a bit of a chill.

      As far as the movie goes, I enjoyed it, but not to the level of other RDB-Nasir Hussain collaborations like YKB or HKKN. There’s a little too much going on for my taste and too little sense displayed by all the characters involved (Shekhar’s disguise? Ramesh forgotten? And ROBIN? No spoilers from me :D), but still it was tolerable enough for me, what with my low standards and all. Speaking, of course, as someone who has sat through plenty of the audiovisual tortures perpetrated by the film industry on the unsuspecting filmgoing public during the 80s. I guess it helps that I was somewhat of a Rishi Kapoor fan as well, growing up!

      I agree on all the song picturizations though, they definitely went overboard on the sets… it’s probably enough to give me a seizure, although I do admire the creativity.

      • Ha ha! I didn’t even want to get into the whole Robin thing, that was a total WTF from out of the blue. Totally nonsensical! Glad others like the music, but it wasn’t my cup of chai :P

  9. feel like writing a hate mail coz u hated the music:) For me, it remains up there as one of the most beloved scores.

  10. The strip tease scene maybe lifted from a Chevy Chase – Goldie Hawn film Foul Play. In there Goldie goes into Dudley Moore’s house to escape from people who follow her and treated a hillarious striptease from Dudley.

  11. Awww, it’s not so bad, is it? Rishi does his loveable puppy dog thing, there are numerous extremely well illuminated disco numbers, the music is fun, and nutty non-sequiturs abound. Producers are always trying to replicate their successes; that is nothing new. Sometimes it just works better than others.

  12. Just to remind you guys, today is RD’s birthday.

  13. As evident previously (, some of the screencaps on your blog reminds me of characters from Indian TV serials. In this case, the disguise pictures remind me of Laagi Tujhse Lagan .

    Any luck in finding out the name of the Sombrero Man?

  14. Ouch. Guess I am the one, lone lover of this movie. This has been one of my absolute favorites since it’s release in 81 (I was 4). Both this and HKSKN, along with Bade Dil Wala and Yeh Vaada Raha go down as my FAVORITE Rishi Kapoor movies of all time. He’s my absolute favorite and I had a mad crush on him as a little girl. I even remember the trailer for this movie which had a wonderful montage of all the ‘thappads’ (slaps). And I absolutely adore the songs – Pucho Na Yaar is so fun, Hoga Tumse Pyara is lovely, Dil Lena Khel is dancey and exciting (the light up disco floor!), and of course I LOVE the title qawaali (oh that triple close up of the adorable smiling Rishi is to dieeee for). And I STILL can’t stop myself from picking up cutlery and singing “Haiyya Haiyya, ah-ha Haiyya Haiyya … Bolo bolo, kuchh to bolo …” — I know my love for this movie is wrapped with nostalgia and the fun my sisters and I had watching it together, so maybe it’s not the most objective viewpoint. I have the DVD now and will re-watch again soon, but I have a feeling I’ll still love it.

    • Nothing wrong with loving this—I am sure you are not alone, either. Sorry I can’t join you in it but life would be dull if we all liked the same things :) And nostalgia is a perfectly valid lens through which to enjoy things—happens to me all the time!

  15. Saw this movie on DVD yesterday (we got this 3 DVD pack of Nasir Hussain classics – this, HKSKN and Yadon Ki Baraat). Movie, as you is half-hearted; however, I liked the songs, especially two of them – pucho na yaar kya hua and hoga tumse pyaara kaun. The latter is beautifully pictured and RD’s music is just too good. Throw in Shailendra Singh’s voice, and I think you have a winner. Of course, Padmini Kholapure looks BEAUTIFUL!!! I used to be (still am!!!) a great fan of hers…

    • I had no clue my quest to find out who was the lucky girl RK was crooning to would lead me here! And I got a whole lot more than I bargained for :wink: The movie’s a dud, all right! Even the songs are ho hum. That blasted Hoga Tumse Pyaara Kaun has been playing in a loop in my mind since yesterday. I think the best part in the movie has to be the scene where RK jumps over from the last bogie to the one in front n there’s a hilarious ‘oooooooooo’ tune playing in the background :lol:

  16. After the hugely successful YKB, followed by the super duper hit, HKSKN, there was a lot of interest and anticipation for Nasir Husain’s next film, ZKDH. Nasir had a penchant for taking lead heroes and heroines who were current hits in their own right. But unfortunately, times were bad. Current hits did not always mean future hits (Padmini Kolhapuri, Rajiv Kapoor, Sunny Deol.. you get my drift). The plot was over-worked, disco was on its way out, RD Burman was totally fatigued and the treatment as well as plot of this particular film was totally OTT. The magic of the Nasir-RD-Majrooh team was over. Even worse was to follow with Manzil Manzil and Zabardast.

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