If there’s one thing I know, it’s that when two male friends love each other in that peculiarly intense way of Hindi film heroes, the women in their lives will suffer. It would just be better all around if the two guys set up house together and called it a day, na? Rajendra Kumar and Feroz Khan would have such lovely children.
But it’s not meant to be, of course. In 1960s era cinema God wants man to be with woman, even if the woman is a stark raving beeyotch when they meet and the man could be forgiven for wanting to hang with his dost instead.
Gopal (Rajendra Kumar) and Ramesh (Feroz Khan) are next door neighbors and lifelong best buddies. Ramesh works for his businessman father (Brahm Bhardwaj) while Gopal has just finished his medical training and become a doctor. To celebrate, Ramesh buys tickets for the two of them to have a holiday in Kashmir, but his trip has to be postponed at the last minute. Gopal goes ahead with the idea that Ramesh will join him in a week and meets an unpleasant girl named Usha (Sadhana) on the flight.
Once there, Gopal settles into a houseboat called Jannat owned by Mamdu (Mehmood, of whom once again there is Entirely Too Much) and soon meets up with Usha again.
Oh no, honey. Now you’re just talking crazy talk!
For some reason (lazy plotting?) which is never elaborated upon, Ramesh had booked tickets for them under fake names. Gopal’s fake name is Sarju and that’s how Usha knows him. They soon fall head over heels for each other. She sneaks out to spend time with him and their romance is encouraged by her uncle Colonel Kapoor (Hari Shivdasani) and aunt (Praveen Paul). Mamdu “helps” out too:
when he isn’t busy wooing his own love interest Savi (Malika) by threatening to off himself.
Back home, Ramesh is finally free of his business obligations and about to set off for Kashmir. His father has one thing for him to do there too: have a look at the girl he wants Ramesh to marry. He shows Ramesh a photograph of her—and of course it’s Usha!
(I could have shown you the photograph of her instead, but Feroz looks so pleased with himself and so handsome that I couldn’t resist. My blog, my eye-candy rules.)
Gopal has written to Ramesh to tell him that he’s in love with a girl, but doesn’t give her name even though it’s what most people would do. Ramesh promises Gopal’s mother (Achala Sachdev) and sister Sarla (Nazima) that he’ll check out Gopal’s girl along with his own.
But Gopal now gets an urgent summons to report to his new position at a hospital in Delhi. He has to leave before he can meet Usha’s father (Nasir Hussain) but promises to return that weekend to ask for Usha’s hand. He tells her that Sarju is not really his name but is forced to board the plane before he can tell her what his real one is.
After he’s left, Usha’s father informs her that he has picked out a husband for her (Ramesh, of course) and she finally works up the courage to tell him that she’s fallen in love elsewhere. A scene which has probably played out in quite a few Indian households now takes place between our baap-beti. Usha accuses him of not trusting her when he berates her for sneaking out; he points out with some justification that she is kind of silly putting her trust in a man who hasn’t told her who he really is. Cornered by that logic, she plays the Poor Motherless Daughter card. Ooooh!
Dad ups the ante with the Complaint Against God card!
aaaaannd she folds, sobbing. They hug and make up and her father magnanimously agrees not to decide on her marriage until he gets to meet this so-called Sarju.
But the Trauma-Drama-O-Rama is just beginning.
On his way to Delhi, Gopal is in a car accident and the doctor is forced to take drastic measures to save him.
I like to think that were I in that kind of situation, I would thank my lucky stars that it wasn’t worse—it’s just a foot, after all, not even a whole leg—and rely on my loved ones to help me through it. Not Gopal though, no.
You have not truly seen male Nahin Face until you have seen the last half of this movie, trust me. And actually I should point out that the doctor (Nana Palsikar) could have handled it far less dysfunctionally than he did as well: he basically told Gopal that everything was fine and let Gopal find out for himself that one of his feet had been amputated.
I guess at least he didn’t say “Oops!”
Gopal now decides that in his severely crippled state (he gets a prosthetic a few days later and can walk—but needs a cane, poor broken fellow) he will be a burden to his family and Usha. He spins a tale to Ma and Sarla about being too busy to visit them, and blows off Usha altogether. It naturally breaks her heart into chhote chhote pieces when he doesn’t turn up as promised to meet her father, and weeks pass with no word from him.
Her father—to give full credit where credit is due—puts no pressure on her, and when she sets her heart on going to Delhi to find Sarju (despite not knowing his real name or whereabouts) he agrees to enroll her in college there. Meanwhile Ramesh has spread that word that he is smitten with Usha and is showing her photograph to everyone. Sarla is one of Usha’s new classmates; being also Ramesh’s sister (by bromance) she thinks Usha reciprocates his feelings and gets all her girlfriends together (including Daisy Irani) for a lively song teasing Usha about love. It’s a bit sad that they are unwittingly cruel to poor bewildered Usha, but it is a FAB SONG.
I am thrilled to see a new friend in it too: Edwina, who is one of Ted Lyons’ sisters and can be seen shaking a leg in just about every song of this kind from the early to mid-sixties. She has a small speaking part in this one too as one of Usha’s friends; here she is on the right (with Oscar’s wife Teresa, also a dancer). I’m planning to write a post about her soon. She’s a beautiful woman still, and a complete hoot into the bargain.
Gopal decides to come home and cooks up a story about falling off a horse to explain the cane and his limp because, you know, women are too weak to survive such bad news. Sarla now also discovers that the man Usha really loves is her brother Gopal, although Usha calls him Sarju.
What will happen when they are all in the same town? Will Sarla tell Ramesh about Gopal and Usha? Will she tell Usha that “Sarju” is her brother Gopal? Will Gopal discover that his beloved Ramesh loves the same girl he does? Will Gopal insist on sacrificing himself further (of course)? Does anybody care what Usha herself might want (not really)? Will even higher levels of melodrama be reached (oh yes)?! Do YOU think Gopal and Ramesh should just set up house together already and leave poor Usha alone (I do)?
This film is about as overwrought and silly as anything gets. It is of An Affair To Remember (my personal benchmark for OTT emoting) proportions. If you can forgive all that, there is a lot of hilarity (much of it unintentional) to be had and plenty of eye-candy too.
Nahin! Mehmood in drag is not eye-candy (although it’s better than a loincloth)! But the Kashmiri scenery, Sadhana, Feroz, and the stylish clothing and sets almost make up for it.