I was planning a film review for a long time now! A few months give or take! And the process began with a lot of frustration, as I tried watching the film in a single go! When I consulted ‘Dusted off‘ and ‘Beyond the wonted‘, both the ladies were kind enough to guide me and enlighten me. I tried following the right path, shown by them. There was a total chaos about the whole process, but slowly the condition improved and here I’m with Hindi film review. I hope I have done a good job! Don’t want to let anyone down.
My first problem was to select a movie! I wasn’t able to decide what kind of movie would interest people. I went through hell and finally decided it. I wanted to go for a simple fantasy movie, full of entertainment and no fuss. Instead I went for a family drama with a lot of entangled emotions between the characters.
So, here we go………
Star Cast – Raj Kapoor, Nargis, David, Agha, Om Praksh, Achla Sachdev
Music – Roshan
Lyrics – Nakshab, Satyendra Athaiya, Santoshi, Shailendra, Sardar Jafri
Screenplay, Dialogues, Producer & Director – K A Abbas
The story begins in Lucknow, where we see a young man, riding a bicycle. In due course, we understand that he is our hero, Rajkumar Saxena (Raj Kapoor) and that he has come to meet his landlord. He is instructed to meet, ‘Chhote Sarkar’. He meets the person, who is none other than our heroine, Roop (Nargis).
He complains of shabby condition of the rooms rented to him and the rooms need maintenance. He also announces that he won’t pay a penny unless the rooms are looked after. They have a short cat fight and ultimately land up in front of her father, Thakur Harnaam Singh (Badri Prasad), who’s a respected man in Lucknow. He is known as a man of pure character.
He at once spots his honesty and the spark in Raj’s eyes. He exempts him from the room rent and invites him to work for him as a lawyer and to top it, invites him for Roop’s birthday party. Roop and Raj are surprised by it, but can’t decline it.
Raj lives with an uncle, Munshi Kaka (David), who looks after him like his own son. Raj, irritated to find no suitable clothes, finally settles for some and goes to the party.
In the party, we come across, Salma, Roop’s close friend and Shyam Sundar Laddan (Om Prakash). The latter is a son of Thakur Saab’s family friend. He is a spoiled brat and manages to irritate everyone in the party.
He is actually a बिन बुलाया मेहमान, who announces himself a well wisher of the family. But we can make out his evil intentions. Vidyasagar (Agha) is also a family friend, and his jolly nature brings life to the party. He at once recognizes Raj, as his college mate and announces that Raj will sing for the party soon after the dinner.
Roop is still angry with Raj and ignores and insults him. But Raj sings a beautiful piano song and Roop gets mesmerized.
When Laddan tries to insult Raj, he spontaneously sings for his pride. The gesture leaves Roop touched.
I think, there was some portion missing in the movie that I saw. As in the next scene, Raj is seen directly talking with Thakur Saab, confessing their love to him. Thakur Saab, already impressed with Raj, readily agrees to the alliance.
But, life is never so simple! One day Raj meets Mohini (Nargis), who is Roop’s look alike. Raj is very much surprised at the close resemblance. But she is a courtesan and has come to Raj for a legal advice. Her mannerism and smoking cigarette completely differentiates her from the decent and sensible Roop.
She immediately falls for the handsome young advocate. She challenges him to come to her house to collect the fees.
Raj visits her home, where she sings and dances. Raj is irritated and leaves angrily feeling insulted. Unfortunately, Laddan sees him leaving the home.
After meeting Roop and her father, Raj describes her encounter with Mohini and adds that she looks exactly like Roop and has come from Calcutta. Roop’s father is horrified to learn this and takes ill.
He manages to say just one word, ‘Anhonee’ and dies. The news finds place on the front page of the newspapers. Mohini comes to know about it when she accidentally reads it. At this point, we come to know that she was aware of the photo of her father, in a locket given by her mother. But her mother, who was a courtesan, never told his address and name. Mohini decides to demand for her share in the property. Meanwhile she has a rift with Laddan, who tries to manipulate her.
Mohini decides to seek legal advice from Raj and on her way, she meets with an accident and is taken to a hospital. The staff at the hospital calls for Raj, as they find his card in her belongings. Raj is annoyed, but for the sake of humanity, stays there. Mohini narrates him the story of her mother, who never defamed her father, despite the fact that he cheated on her and refused marriage.
She announces Thakur Harnam Singh as her father. Raj is shattered, he is in a dilemma, how would he tell this to Roop, who thinks of her father as a pure man!
When he tells the story to Munshi kaka, Roop overhears them and comes to know about the whole truth.
She is kind hearted, generous woman and never wants to discredit her father’s name. She instantly agrees for Mohini’s share in all her property and takes Mohini with her. Raj appreciates the gesture! But both of them are unaware of Mohini’s lust for Raj.
Mohini is arrogant, disobedient, cunning, melodramatic and adamant. Roop requests her to be decent, and behave like a lady, but she continues smoking and ignores all the advice. One day, while roaming around in the home, she gets hold of her father’s revolver, which she keeps for herself.
She snoops around when Raj & Roop are talking privately. Mohini is a Nosey Parker and jealous of their love. Raj gifts Roop, a beautiful ring with a watch incorporated in it. Next morning the couple sings a romantic telephone song.
Roop throws a party to introduce Mohini to her friends. But Laddan blackmails Mohini in the party and forces her to act as per his instructions.
She misbehaves accordingly. Of course her own wish to do so is also fulfilled.
Roop takes her to Masury where they stay for two months. Roop hopes, by that time, her friends would have forgotten about Mohini’s behaviour in the party. But when Roop plans to go back alone to Lucknow for Raj’s birthday, Mohini calls Raj, pretending to be Roop. She asks him to come to Masuri at once to celebrate his birthday. Raj unaware of her plans, leaves for Masuri. Roop is shocked to know, the cunning plan of Mohini, when she goes to Lucknow to wish Raj at his house.
In Masuri, Mohini plans to be with Raj and finally succeeds to stay with him. Whereas, in Lucknow, Laddan manages to blackmail Roop and takes away her jewellery. He tries the same trick with Mohini when she gets back with Raj to Lucknow and succeeds in obtaining jewellery from her as well. Such a rotten character, is Laddan!
But, the incidence fails to create misunderstandings between Roop & Raj. Raj finalises to marry Roop. Roop decides to give away all the property to Mohini. But Mohini wants all to herself including Raj.
Furious Mohini questions Roop about her marriage. Roop is confused and can’t take a decision. When she goes to his father’s room, she finds accidentally a book named ‘Anhonee’. Roop remembers her father’s last word, ‘Anhonee’.
Why her father mentions the book? What’s the destiny of the three? Will Raj marry Roop?
The film was a good one! It’s plot may appear common today, but 66 years back, when it was released it was not a subject too often seen in the movies.
The basic crux of the film is, ‘Your birth in a so called respectable family doesn’t make you a good human being. More important is your upbringing! How you think and behave, how you empathize for others’.
I can’t talk much about it, as it forms the main climax of the film. The curious ones should watch it. I won’t call it an entertaining masala film, but it has a substance, a message.
The highlights of the film
The story – It’s a compact story, well presented, without many distractions from the main subject. No comic side plots, no much unnecessary supporting characters. The director manages to keep the pace fast and even the songs do not obstruct the flow of the story (except one). The twists and turns in the film may not surprise us today. But I think the idea was novel for a film in 1952, when it was released. A completely foul character like Laddan (Om Prakash) plays villain in the film. Though he manages to catch Mohini in a tight spot, a cunning woman like Mohini easily falling prey to his blackmail, sounds unbelievable. He also portrays a bad guy, born in a respectable family, but a complete scoundrel. He highlights the main theme of the story. I think that’s one of the purposes of his character in the story! The character played by Agha (Vidya Bhaiyya) has no actual place in the story. I think it was an unnecessary character!
Also there is just a mention of Thakur Saab’s wife in the movie, but nothing more has been said about her, not even by Roop. But such things do not actually matter much to the final impact.
The book falls too conveniently in Roop’s hands. It seems too much of a coincidence. It could have been shown in a believable way. The end of the film somewhat disappointed me. The writer could have handled it better. The film ended suddenly, when I was expecting more drama. The film raises our expectations too high, and ends with slight disappointment! These are some of the things that I didn’t like. You certainly expect a little more from K A Abbas, who was a big name in the Hindi films.
Nargis – as Roop and Mohini is fantastic. She has shown the two contrasting shades with equal intensity. Honest, loyal and kind hearted Roop and jealous, lustful, cunning Mohini. Her expressions are superb! At times felt that Mohini is more lively and entertaining than Roop, who appears a bit monotonous.
Raj Kapoor as handsome advocate Raj also leaves an impact. Other characters do not get much opportunity.
The Music – The music of the film by Roshan is definitely a highlight of the film. The film has six songs, all are good. The seventh song, a Lata-Talat duet, ‘Sama Ke Dil Mein Hamare’ is not a part of the movie. Out of the six songs, ‘Main Dil Hoon Ek Armaan Bhara’ & ‘Is Dil Ki Halat Kya Kahiye’ are, I think, quite popular and deserve to be. The latter comes very late in the movie, and cuts down the speed. The last thing we need is a song at this point, but as a song, it’s obviously great!
The other Lata-Talat duet, ‘Mere Dil Ki Dhadkan’ also lingers in our memories and it’s a telephone song, the two characters chatting and singing on the telephone.
Rajkumari’s solo, ‘Sharifon Ki Mehfil Mein’ also manages to capture the listener’s attention. It’s not a popular song, but can be included in Rajkumari’s bests. For me, the duet between Rajkumari & Lata Mangeshkar, is a major highlight of the film. The two singers sing for the two characters, Nargis plays. It’s a bit different in the sense, it merges the happy part of one character with the sad part of the other in a wonderful way. The tempo of the song changes so flawlessly that we don’t get time to think! It’s one of my absolute favourite songs. It was on one of my earlier lists, ‘Two different moods in a single song’ post. I watched the movie for the first time during the research for the post.
The film has a total of five lyricists. All have done a great job! Some of them like Satyendra Athaiya or Sardar Jafri have penned only a few songs, mainly the former fits more to the description.
I would say, it has a good story and good direction, good star cast performing well, and good music to top it all!
Here’s a link for the movie.
(Screen shots courtesy – Venus Movies)
Disclaimer- Mehfil Mein Meri, claims no credit for any image, screenshots or songs posted on this site. Images on this blog are posted to make the text interesting. The images and screenshots are the copyright of their original owners. The song links are shared from YouTube, only for the listening convenience of music lovers. The copyright of these songs rests with the respective owners, producers and music companies.