Phir Wohi Dil Laya Hoon (1963)

Someone once said that Nasir Hussain came to Bombay with one story in his briefcase, and created a series of blockbusters out of it. This is one of them, and a vastly entertaining film: total paisa vasool. You get your money’s worth.

The story’s similar to that of Dil Deke Dekho, Tumsa Nahin Dekha, and Jab Pyaar Kisise Hota Hai: a couple separates, and one of them raises their only child, a son. He grows up, meets his `other’ parent (who’s wealthy), and they don’t quite hit it off—but he does fall for that parent’s adopted daughter. To complicate matters, there’s a villain who pretends to be the long-lost son, whom the parent has been yearning for all these years.

Joy Mukherji and Asha Parekh in Phir Wohi Dil Laya Hoon

And though I’ve more or less given away the story, I’ll repeat myself for Phir Wohi Dil Laya Hoon.
Colonel Mahindernath (I don’t know who the actor is—Wasti?) suspects his wife Jamuna (Veena) of infidelity, and throws her out. Jamuna hires a crook, Mr Kapoor (Krishan Dhawan) to kidnap her infant son, Mohan, from the colonel’s home. She takes Mohan to Kashmir, while the colonel ends up raising Mohana `Mona’, the orphaned daughter of a friend who died in an accident while chasing Mohan’s abductor.

Jamuna pays Kapoor to kidnap Mohan

Years pass (where would Bollywood be without the flipping calendar?), and Mona (Asha Parekh) is now an accomplished dancer, for whom the colonel (a very wealthy man) has fixed up what he fondly believes is a good match: the London-returned Deefoo (Rajendranath). Mona is not enamoured of Deefoo. I’m not surprised.

Deefoo

While Mona’s cribbing about her clownish fiancé to her friends, in faraway Kashmir, Mohan (Joy Mukherji) has found Jamuna with a tabloid photo of the colonel, Mona, and Deefoo. Mohan can’t understand his mother’s love for the colonel—though, to give the colonel credit, he’s discovered Jamuna was innocent, and has been putting ads in the papers asking her to come back.
Jamuna denies that she feels anything for the colonel. Ha-ha! Mohan’s not convinced.

Jamuna and Mohan

Mohan’s pal Kamaala (Ram Avtar) is a cab driver, whom (coincidence, coincidence!) the colonel commissions to come to Delhi, pick up Mona and her friends, and drive them to Kashmir for a youth festival. Kamaala invites Mohan to come along to Delhi and back, and Mohan agrees. In Delhi, he recognises the colonel. The colonel thinks Mohan’s insufferably insolent, and forbids Kamaala from taking Mohan along in the cab to Kashmir.

The colonel warns Kamaala off Mohan

Mohan also sees Mona, and takes it upon himself to break up her non-existent romance with Deefoo. Outside a café where she and Deefoo are supposed to meet, Mohan intercepts Deefoo. He convinces Deefoo that Mona is nuts and has been taken to Agra for treatment. Mohan then goes into the café and introduces himself to Mona as Deefoo’s friend from London, in town for a day. He also tells Mona that Deefoo’s nuts (I agree!) and has been taken to Agra. He mourns the fact that he’s now all alone in Delhi, with nobody to take him sightseeing. Mona offers.

Mona offers to take Mohan sightseeing

After some tripping around Delhi, they head for Agra (Mona wants to see the loony Deefoo). There’s a brief interlude when Mona’s friends—including one played by the vivacious Tabassum—catch up with them and do a song and dance (Aji qibla, mohtarma, kabhi shola). Mona and Deefoo run into each other at the Agra hospital, and are both convinced the other’s bonkers.
The day over, Mohan and Mona return to Delhi. He tells her he has to return to London the next morning, and has no idea when—and if—he’ll come back. Mona assures him she’ll wait, even forever.

Mona admits she loves Mohan

Meanwhile, in the hotel room next to Mohan’s, a plot is being hatched. Mohan’s long-ago abductor, Kapoor, is now in cahoots with a murderer called Ramesh (Pran), on whom Kapoor has the goods: a photo of Ramesh, red-handed. Kapoor gives Ramesh the lowdown on the colonel, Jamuna, Mona, et al.

Kapoor and Ramesh make plans

The next morning, Kamaala picks up Mona, her pals, and Deefoo, and they start off for Kashmir, with Mohan (unknown to everybody but Kamaala) sitting on top of the cab. They stop along the way to eat and play juvenile pranks on Deefoo. Some irritating slapstick follows, along with one lovely song: Aankhon se jo utri hai dil mein. When they reach Kashmir, Mohan emerges and tries to sweeten up Mona, who’s miffed at having had her emotions played with.

Mona tells off Mohan

Mohan’s cajoling takes some doing (and more songs: I love Banda parvar thhaam lo jigar), but he succeeds, just as the colonel arrives unexpectedly. The colonel has news for Mona: he’s been approached by a doctor called Subodh Mukherji.
[Aside: I love the many references to Bollywood in this film. Mohan’s hotel in Delhi is the Parekh Hotel, and at one point, Deefoo says about his parents: “What a fat mother! What a funny father! I wish I was anath (an orphan)! I wish I was Premnath!”]
Anyway, back to where we were. Subodh Mukherji has told the colonel that Jamuna is dead, and that Mohan—whom she’d named Ramesh—is now deranged as a result of his grief for his mother. Mona and the colonel go to meet Ramesh, who acts violent and half-crazed. Mona succeeds in soothing him.

Mona calms Ramesh

Subodh Mukherji now tells the colonel it had been Jamuna’s dying wish that Ramesh marry Mona. Ramesh emphasises the point by trying to commit suicide when he sees Mona with Mohan.
The colonel is so blinded by his love for his `son’, he’s willing to ride roughshod over Mona’s feelings. And the fact that that ne’er-do-well Mohan will be left out in the cold doesn’t hurt either.

Anybody who’s seen Dil Deke Dekho, Tumsa Nahin Dekha, etc (or just about any 60’s masala film) can probably guess what happens next. It’s out-and-out formula: chock full of coincidences, misunderstandings, melodrama, slapstick and songs—but loads of uncomplicated fun.

What I liked about this film:
The music, by O P Nayyar: fabulous. Mohammad Rafi gets to do some wonderful playback for Joy Mukherji, including Lakhon hain nigaah mein, zindagi ki raah mein and Aanchal mein sajaa lena kaliyaan.
Asha Parekh. She’s beautiful, she’s a good actress, and just so very watchable. And she hits it off well with Joy Mukherji: there are some playful scenes between them which are great fun.

Asha Parekh in Phir Wohi Dil Laya Hoon

Tabassum. I saw a lot of her on TV when I was a kid, and I remember her as the little girl in Bachpan ke din bhula na dena (Deedar, 1951), but this is one of the few roles I’ve seen her in as an adult, and she’s delightful.

Tabassum with Joy Mukherji in Phir Wohi Dil Laya Hoon

What I didn’t like:
The sets. Oh God, the sets. Much of the film is shot out in the open in Kashmir, but where they try to replicate exteriors—Delhi’s streets, a historical building, the garden outside Mohan’s Kashmir home, etc—everything’s just so obviously painted on or embellished with plastic flowers. This, for instance, is obviously not a real historical monument at sunset:

Unbelievable sets!

The comedy element. Rajendranath is a favourite of mine, right up there with Mehmood and Johnny Walker; but he’s really not very funny here. The comedy’s too slapstick for my taste. And what is he doing in a dress?

Rajendranath in Phir Wohi Dil Laya Hoon

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15 thoughts on “Phir Wohi Dil Laya Hoon (1963)

  1. I’m all for these completely improbable but utterly entertaining films of the 60’s – this one, Love in Tokyo, Teesri manzil, Junglee, Professor, Mere Sanam, Jewel Thief, Shagird, Sharmilee…I could go on and on. And I loved the music in all of them too!

  2. Yes, An Evening in Paris is quite a lot of fun, isn’t it? Kitsch in big doses, but fun! I love almost all of Shammi Kapoor’s work in the 60’s, actually – Kashmir ki Kali is another hot favourite of mine.

  3. This is such a cute movie – so typical of the stylish 60s. The music is superb, too, which really helps. I loved the dance competition in the beginning too, though like all filmi dance competitions I thought the wrong person won! And I didnt realise Tabassum was the kid in Bachpan ke din bhula na dena! She was really cute even as a kid. The movie had such freaky resemblance to Pyaar Ka Mausam – right down to Tabassum as the heroine’s friend that I kept feeling surprised at Joy instead of Shashi in the entire film!

  4. I’ve got to see Pyaar ka Mausam again – it’s been too long since I last saw it, which is why I remember only snatches of it: “Tum bin jaaoon kahaan” in two versions; Iftekhar in an unusual role as a villain’s sidekick; and Bharat Bhushan stumbling about blind – and running into Shashi Kapoor.

    I did so like movies like this: cute, thoroughly entertaining, and not requiring much thinking! Maybe not great cinematic art, but loads of fun.

  5. I loved this movie….Love in tokyo is my favourite…Joy mukherji and asha parekh share a rare chemistry that shoots up a movie to superhit…..It’s one of the times when movies / story plots were simple and became an instant hit….(not to mention without the special effects nowadays)….I miss these two legends…..:(

    • I agree! I really like the Joy Mukherji-Asha Parekh pairing a lot, both in this film and in Love in Tokyo (Ziddi not quite so much). They were wonderful together. :-)

      • I wish Joy sir was alive……and only if there was a good script like Baghban (where Amitji and Hema Malini came together after 15-20 years)….we could have recreated that magic – the midas pair (asha-joy) again……:) but if wishes were horses………..

  6. One of my favorite films. I love the slapstick comedy. Difu is indeed THE best!! His mother is also awesome.. Indra Bansal. Remember the scene where Kamala (Mohan’s friend who gives him a ride to Mona’s place) checks out Difu’s mom and she gets all shy batting eyelids and all. ;) I also like Tabassum. My fav dialogs of hers: “phir tumhare ghar mein chhote chhote difu ghoomte honge” aur “ladkiyon, sunti ho, woh phir kabhi nahin aayega… are woh lambu to kab ka neeche ghoom raha hai” ;)) and I like the fake sets too. Absolutely love the songs as well. Can’t pick a favorite as I like all of them. Ah, the signature OPN tanga song “banda parvar thaam lo jigar” is so awesome, “aankhon se jo utari hai dil mein” is gorgeous and playful and “mujhe pyaar mein tum na ilzaam dete” wrenches heart along with “nazneen bada rangeen hai wada tera” I love the sheyr in the beginning of the song too..

    door bahot mat jaaiye leke qaraar humara
    aisa na ho koyi loot le raah mein pyaar humara
    paas raho ya door tum ho sang humare
    de gawaahi poochh lo yeh khaamosh nazaare :)

    This film is right along the top with Golmaal on the list and I’ve now lost the count how many times I’ve watched it.
    Now I gotta watch all the other movies you mentioned that have similar story lines. Can’t wait! Thanks for sharing your Phir-Wohi-Dil-Laya-Hoon love.

    • I have to admit the fake sets don’t push any of my buttons! But everything else you’ve written… yes, yes, yes! :-) This is such a totally wonderful film. The romance is just perfect, the comedy, the villainy, the gorgeousness of Joy and Asha, Tabassum and her pithy dialogues (I also love her first interaction with Joy Mukherji, by the lakeside on the Delhi-Agra road), and the songs. All are wonderful. I too have lost count of the number of times I’ve seen this one. Can never tire of it!

      • I’m with you when you say Rajendranath is right up there with Mehmood & Johnny Walker. However, unlike you, I even loved him when he was in drag ! For some inexplicaple reason he wear’s a nightie in some scenes in this movie & also on the train in “Jab pyaar kise se hota hai” & he wears it with such panache & such total unselfconsciousness that you die laughing !

        • I just recently rewatched Jab Pyaar Kisise Hota Hai – but I’ll admit I couldn’t bear Rajendranath in drag! (I suppose part of that might be because it’s never explained why he’s wearing a nightie – which is also the case in Phir Wohi Dil Laaya Hoon. This inexplicable wearing of women’s clothing unsettles me. It makes me wonder what the film maker was trying to do, or portray…

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