Sabrina Mathew’s recent post on cinema’s most beautiful women reminded me that it was time for me to do the second of my eye candy posts. Men again, but this time it’s good old Hindi cinema. As a reader pointed out, early Hindi cinema—the 30’s and 40’s—doesn’t seem to have had too many men who could be classified as hunks, but by the 50’s and 60’s (the period I concentrate upon) we had them in deliciously large numbers. Here goes, more or less in order, with my top ten:
1. Shammi Kapoor: Who else? I simply adore this guy in his cleanshaven avatar, between about 1957 and 1966 or so. He’s smart, charismatic, very energetic, and so mind-bogglingly handsome. Ridiculously good looking, especially in films like Tumsa Nahin Dekha, Dil Deke Dekho, Junglee and Professor.
2. Dharmendra: One of the few actors from the classic era who managed to look good till well into the 70’s—but I think he’s at his best in the mid 60’s. Saira Banu, his co-star in films like Aadmi aur Insaan and Aayi Milan ki Bela, remarked that he looked Italian. One of my readers was of the opinion that no Italian comes even close. I agree.
3. Dev Anand: A little too skinny in his early films, but wonderfully good-looking during the late 50’s and early 60’s. I do wish, however, that the hairstyle, with that characteristic puff in front, had been a little less exaggerated. And he could’ve done without the mannerisms, too. But despite that, a hunk, all right.
4. Shashi Kapoor: Gloriously boyish, with his lopsided grin and slightly crooked teeth. He’s yummy in a way that’s different from his brother Shammi Kapoor, but is similar too (the joie de vivre of films like Pyaar Kiye Jaa is very Shammiesque).
5. Rajesh Khanna: Gorgeous through the 60’s, particularly in Aradhana: watch out for his photograph which Sharmila Tagore, as his girlfriend Vandana, carries around. And I think he sizzles in Roop tera mastana – that half open shirt is ooh!
6. Sanjeev Kumar: No, I don’t mean the overweight version of the 70’s (though his smile and voice continued to be gorgeous even then). I mean Sanjeev Kumar in a few films of the late 60’s, after his early B-grade films. Patently artificial costume jewellery, purple or scarlet velvet and thin moustaches don’t do much for the average man, and they didn’t do much for Sanjeev Kumar. But see him in films like Shikar, Jeene ki Raah, or Saathi, and you’ll see what I mean. Handsome. Very much so.
7. Sanjay Khan: Even though he tended to be a little wooden, I like this guy’s face. There’s something of the little-boy-lost look about him, extremely appealing—until he grins, when he’s magically transformed into an unmistakable playboy!
8. Parikshit Sahni: Okay, not one of your big time stars, but I saw him in his first film (Anokhi Raat) and nearly dropped off my chair, he’s so gorgeous. That bone structure is superb, and of course (with the genes he has), his acting’s pretty good too.
9. Joy Mukherji: Not very consistent, really: he’s sort of loose-lipped and flabby in later films like Humsaaya. But Ek Musafir Ek Haseena, Phir Wohi Dil Laya Hoon and Shagird? Yesss!
10. Sunil Dutt: I’ve always held that Sunil Dutt was a fine actor, and in films for the art of it—otherwise how could a man so handsome consent to be the buffoon (and a none-too-good looking one at that) in Padosan?
Anyway, proves that even very bushy eyebrows can be overlooked when a man’s face is overall so arresting.
And, because I did it for my earlier post, a couple of also-rans:
Manoj Kumar: I don’t at all care for Manoj Kumar as the patriotic hero with the curling upper lip (and, as one of my relatives put it, “that constipated look”), but in some of his more light-hearted roles—in, for instance, Gumnaam, Woh Kaun Thi, Nakli Nawab, or Shaadi, he does look good.
Premnath: Years ago, in school, a bunch of us teenagers was discussing Hindi cinema’s handsomest men (yes, I started young!) Shammi Kapoor and Dev Anand topped nearly everybody’s list, but one friend said, “I also like Premnath”. Disbelief all around: “That fatty?” After which, of course, my pal and I had to clarify: No, not the fatty, but the fatty when he was younger, thinner, and much better-looking. In Aan, or Barsaat, or Naujawan, for instance.