Way back when I wrote my “ten favorite qawwalis” post, someone pointed me to the one from this film (only available on vcd at the time) which features Shammi and Shashi Kapoor plus Bhagwan, Om Prakash, Kumkum and Shyama in guest appearances. So when the movie finally appeared on a dvd with subtitles I jumped at it. Of course one should perhaps be wary when the dvd cover expends much of its available space advertising the “Star Studded Qawwali” but never mind. I cannot resist Shammi.
And I am glad I did not, because this is a really cute movie from director Kedar Kapoor. No great earth-shattering messages or anything, but a simple love story with the usual obstacles and best of all great music (Dattaram Naik). No wait—best of all, Geeta Bali. She is just adorable, sparkly, full of life. Plus feisty and hilarious: she is a natural clown. This is a better vehicle for her than many I’ve seen her in, and she is too much fun.
Shameroo has done us no favors by using a subtitler who seems to have been drinking, and making no effort to fix the murky video quality, but that is business as usual for them.
Pradeep Kumar is the hero—not the best hero material, although he has really grown on me this year; I was pleased to see Siddhu as the villain since I’ve not seen him in much and he’s very handsome in that creepily ruthless way of all the best villains. They are supported by Agha, Vijaylaxmi, Tun Tun, Sunder and Bir Sakhuja, making a very nice cast indeed.
Mohini (Geeta) lives with her father Charudutt (Bir Sakhuja) in a lovely place full of hills. On one of them she hears a man singing one day and falls in love with his voice although she has no idea who he might be. The song is lovely (“Yeh Din Din Hai Khushi”) and I spot Geeta and Shammi’s little son Aditya Raj Kapoor in it too.
He’s beginning his own acting career now too, almost 50 years later, and seems to be focusing on villainy. It’s more than time for a Kapoor Khandaan Villain! But I digress.
The man with the golden voice is Mohan (Pradeep Kumar), an unemployed guy whose best friend is Chandru (Agha). Chandru is in love with Kitty (Vijaylaxmi), but Kitty’s head and heart have been swayed by a new arrival from abroad named Sehgal (Siddhu). The Drunk Subtitler substitutes “I’Mohan” for “I’m” through the entire film, plus he inexplicably uses Chandru’s name over and over too as a verb.
Sehgal is an engineer who has just returned from abroad, with a big contract in hand to build a new road. Charudutt puts in a bid for his company to do some of the work, and Sehgal—who has gotten a look at Mohini at Charudutt’s birthday party (where she performs the awesome “Chand Tale Jhoom Jhoom”)—gives the job to him, and makes it clear that he is interested in Mohini.
Mohan—who is a childhood friend of Sehgal’s—has in the meantime also fallen hard for Mohini, and who can blame him? She really IS the life of the party!
Mohan’s brother and sister-in-law Shobha (Dulari) come to visit him, and it turns out that Shobha is a good friend of Mohini’s. When Mohini discovers that Mohan is the source of the beautiful voice and song she’d heard she falls instantly in love with him too.
He decides it’s time to get serious about earning a living, and gets a job from Sehgal.
Alongside this blossoming romance, Chandru is losing ground fast with Kitty, who thinks that Sehgal is the answer to all her problems—she needs money, and fast. She can’t even pay her poor maid Sundari (Tun Tun).
But Sehgal is romancing other women at the same time (with names like Rita of course), and has convinced Charudutt that he’d make Mohini a good husband despite her obvious coldness towards him. When Sehgal asks Mohini why she doesn’t like him, I cheer. You tell him, girl! Being leered at does not turn us on!
And hooray for Charudutt: when he tells Mohini that he wants her to marry Sehgal, he actually listens when she tells him that she doesn’t see him in the same light as he does. Men, she tells him:
Okaaaay! Charudutt is not dependent on subtitles, fortunately, so he goes to Sehgal and tells him that there will be no marriage between him and Mohini. And he sticks to it even when Sehgal sets out to ruin him financially.
But will Mohini be able to watch and do nothing as her father’s life’s work slips away? Can Mohan convince his bachpan ke dost Sehgal to change his ways? Or will Seghal turn on him too when he finds out that it is Mohan whom Mohini loves? And what about poor Kitty?
If you are in the mood for something easy and pleasant to watch, with a good cast and really wonderful songs—you might want to reach for this one. Geeta can carry a film all by herself, but it’s nice when she doesn’t have to! We even get Nazir Kashmiri as a judge! Ooh—why a judge?! I’m not telling. Just watch it yourself and enjoy!