Samadhi (1950)

Two confessions, to start with. Firstly, although I am very fond of Ashok Kumar—I think he was a great actor—I find it difficult to envisage him as the dashing hero of a spy thriller. Secondly, I think 50’s and 60’s Hindi cinema (with the notable exception of Haqeeqat) never quite manages to depict war properly. Battlefields are too often obviously sets or, at the most, a bunch of extras letting off firecrackers in a patch of woodland.
So Samadhi, despite being 1950’s top-grossing Hindi film and starring the beautiful Nalini Jaywant—was a film that I approached with trepidation. Which was perhaps just as well, because if I’d begun watching it with expectations way up there, I’d probably have been disappointed. As it was, by the end, I decided it wasn’t bad; in fact, pretty watchable.

Ashok Kumar and Nalini Jaywant in Samadhi

The film begins in the early 1940’s, with World War II at its peak. India’s firebrand patriotic leader, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, has revived the Indian National Army (INA), which has thrown in its lot with the Japanese in an attempt to defeat the British and liberate India. Netaji goes to Malaya, which has a large Indian expat population, and tries to get them to donate money for the INA. In a moment of high drama, Netaji auctions off the garland around his neck, and is pleased to find that a wealthy young man, Shekhar (Ashok Kumar) has enough love for Bharat Mata to give up his all (Rs 7 lakhs) for the garland. Shekhar gives further proof of his patriotism by joining the INA.

Shekhar joins up

Shekhar’s widowed old father, the blind Ram Prasad (Badri Prasad) is very proud of Shekhar, as is Shekhar’s younger brother, the teenaged Pratap. [Aside: According to imdb, Shashi Kapoor plays Pratap. Considering that Shashi Kapoor played the kiddy Raj Kapoor in Awara a year later, besides looking quite different, somebody seems to have got their facts wrong. Or do we have a Benjamin Button in Hindi cinema? The film does have a Sashi Kapoor in the credits, but this is very definitely not the man.]

Sashi Kapoor? Shashi Kapoor? Benjamin Button?

The only person not overjoyed at this development is Shekhar’s elder brother Suresh (Shyam), who’s an officer in the British Indian Army. Suresh has been sent on a mission to Malaya to gather intelligence about the INA, and is horrified to discover that (a) Shekhar has joined up, and (b) Daddy is all for Shekhar being in the INA.
Suresh tries to make his family see his point of view—is there any guarantee that the Japanese will let India stay independent, even if the INA succeeds? —but no one’s listening.

Suresh and his father have a difference of opinion

Suresh returns to India after spending a little while in Malaya with his girlfriend Dolly D’Souza (Kuldip Kaur, in one of her best roles). Dolly and her younger sister (Nalini Jaywant) are dancers/singers/performers, but Dolly has an alternate life too: she’s a spy for the Brits. The Japanese had killed the girls’ father on a suspicion that he supported the British, and Dolly is out to take revenge on the Japanese and anyone who sides with them—which includes the INA.

Dolly vows revenge

All the while, she and Lilly have been appearing in various shows. One of these is an entertainment programme for the soldiers of the INA, where Shekhar sees Lilly and is immediately smitten (the song’s the delightful Gore gore o baanke chore).

...and Lilly enchants Shekhar

Shekhar’s smitten-ness doesn’t go unobserved. Dolly’s half-lame, all-nasty spy boss (Mubarak; all through, he’s always referred to as Boss) notices—and shortly after, uses that knowledge. Shekhar has been promoted from havildar to captain (Now that’s what I call a promotion!) and has been given a secret letter regarding troop movements. He has to take the letter to Bangkok, and Boss needs a copy of the letter to pass on to the Brits.
So Boss tells Dolly, who begs him not to involve the innocent Lilly. But Boss threatens her, and eventually Dolly agrees to talk to Lilly, who also agrees reluctantly.

Boss bullies Dolly into getting Lilly to spy for them

Lilly flies on the same plane as Shekhar and even gets a seat next to him. They get talking, but before Lilly can go through all his belongings (which she tries to do while he’s away being discreetly airsick), the plane’s engines pack up and they crash-land.
Shekhar, toughie that he is, decides he can’t wait for a relief plane to come along and so trudges off through the jungle towards Bangkok (Um. How does he know which way is Bangkok?)
Lilly decides to accompany him, and they’re soon billing and cooing. So much so that by the time Lilly gets a chance to purloin the letter (while Shekhar’s sleeping), she’s suffering pangs of conscience.

Lilly and Shekhar fall in love

The thought that Dolly could get into trouble with Boss finally forces Lilly to accomplish a task she’s finding very distasteful. She makes a copy of the letter, and when they arrive in Bangkok, hands it over. The British are able to ambush a large contingent of INA troops and inflict serious damage. Suresh, who was in charge of the operation, is wounded and is brought home by Dolly to recuperate. Lilly is bitter towards him and Dolly, because it’s dawned on her that by betraying Shekhar she has also driven thousands of men to a sure death.

Lilly is tormented by the realisation of her guilt

Dolly and Suresh try to protect Lilly from Boss, who’s adamant that Lilly continue spying. Dolly insists she is committed to the cause, but Lilly, whom she regards as not just a younger sister but almost as a daughter, shouldn’t be forced to become a Mata Hari. But Boss isn’t having any of that; he threatens to kill Lilly, since Lilly’s love for Shekhar can jeopardise all their work and their lives. Willy-nilly, both Lilly (that rhymes! Maybe I’ll take to poetry next) and Dolly end up as pawns in Boss’s latest nefarious scheme…

Suresh saves Lilly from Boss's anger

…which is to assassinate Netaji. Netaji is in town for the celebration of his birthday, for which a grand function is being organised. Lilly and Dolly stage a show, while Suresh and Boss arrange for a sniper to be hidden in the hall with his pistol aimed at Netaji.
The sniper, however, misses and is caught by the mob. Netaji interrogates the man in the presence of Ram Prasad, Dolly, Shekhar, and Boss (with Boss fearing all the time that the assassin will squeal), but nothing conclusive emerges. Ram Prasad and Shekhar, however are disturbed to hear the assassin’s description of the man who hired him: it sounds uncomfortably like Suresh.

Shekhar and Ram Prasad suspect that Suresh is behind the attempt on Netaji's life

Boss, emboldened by the fact that his unpatriotic secret is still hidden from the INA, goes on to greater misdeeds. This time, he discovers that Shekhar will be leading a large contingent of INA troops out—but where, it’s not known. The obvious person to unearth this secret is Lilly. But Lilly has had enough and refuses to co-operate; and Dolly takes her part. So Boss gives Lilly an ultimatum: get the secret out of Shekhar, or Shekhar will die. (Since Shekhar will very likely be killed even if Lilly discovers where the INA are headed, this is pretty much a no-win situation for Lilly). What ensues is a poignant scene, with Shekhar and Lilly pledging unfailing love to each other.

I love you and you love me...

Lilly manages to get Shekhar to divulge his destination, which she passes on to Boss. As Shekhar’s contingent is moving out of town, she tries to stop him going, but he doesn’t notice her—and the contingent is later bombarded by the British. All Shekhar’s men are killed and he is wounded, but eventually returns home, bandaged and relieved to be back.
When he goes to meet Lilly, however, Shekhar receives a bad shock. Though she’s initially ecstatic that he’s alive, she soon blurts out the truth, that she’s a spy for the British. It is because of her that the INA, especially the section of which Shekhar is a part, has been suffering such reverses.

Lilly confesses to her duplicity

Shekhar is furious, disappointed and disillusioned—but like the good soldier that he is, puts duty before love and turns Lilly and Dolly over to the INA. The INA institutes a court martial, and sentences both to death.

... and is given the death penalty

Can a miracle occur to save Lilly and Dolly from an ignominious death? Or will the rest of the story be a Samadhi—a memorial—to a dutiful soldier’s lost love? And who will switch sides: Shekhar or Suresh? Both? None?

What I liked about this film:
The conflict that is so much a part of the entire scenario. At a superficial level, there are the more obvious conflicts: the Allies versus the Axis; the INA versus the British; Suresh versus Shekhar/their father; Lilly versus Dolly; and later Lilly and Dolly versus Boss.
More interesting are the other, equally important conflicts that arise as the film progresses. There is, for instance, Shekhar and Suresh’s inability to separate duty from fraternal love—neither seems to be able to reconcile completely to the fact that the other is an enemy soldier. On a similar (yet different) note is Dolly’s relationship with Lilly; it begins with Dolly using emotional blackmail to push Lilly into spying for Boss—but then, as Dolly begins to realise how much Lilly loves Shekhar, the conflict shifts focus: now she is in conflict with Boss, who begins to emerge as the only out-and-out villain in the story. There is also Lilly’s dilemma: caught between her conscience and her unwillingness to be involved in the politics being played out around her.
Yes, conflicts are an intrinsic part of just about every story ever told (or enacted). But this one handled all these conflicts with a sympathetic touch that helps dull the boundaries between black and white in a way that was ahead of its time. Just 3 years after the British left India, and Samadhi showed an Indian officer in the British Indian Army, as not a completely black-hearted and traitorous villain? Unusual. And there’s the refreshing fact that though they do quarrel and make no bones about their disapproval of each other, Suresh on the one hand and Shekhar/Ram Prasad/Pratap on the other are still deeply attached to each other. And they don’t give long speeches about their love: it shows in small ways.

The music, by C Ramchandra. Especially Gore gore o baanke chore and Kadam-kadam badhaaye jaa, both infectious tunes.

What I didn’t like:
The film is puzzling when it comes to technical details. Havildar to captain in one quick move? (Shekhar is actually ordered to step forward while on parade, and the captain’s epaulettes are pinned on him with the announcement, “Havildar Shekhar, you are now a captain”). Wow. Offices of military establishments look like a poorly-paid and ill-qualified set decorator’s idea of what an army office should look like: large maps showing borders of countries but no details; a couple of files; and a 3D map of the terrain. And I didn’t know civilians—even if found to be spies—could be court martialled (though my sister, who’s a historian, tells me that the INA indulged in some pretty irregular stuff and may have done something of the sort. I wonder if the speedy promotions were part of the irregularities of the INA).
And oh, the battle scenes. They’re so obviously on a set, except in some instances of actual footage.

All said and done, not what I’d call a superb spy/war film. And certainly a far cry from the believability of a mid-60’s war film like Haqeeqat or a spy thriller like Aankhen.
Despite that, I wouldn’t complain—it’s unfair, I think, to discount the technical advances that had been made in the interim, and in any case the style of film-making had evolved considerably by the 60’s. Where Samadhi remains watchable is in its acting and the glimpses it offers of humans in a time of war: Dolly, Lilly, Shekhar, Suresh et al are people with familial ties and ties of love that make them more than just warriors for a cause; and Suresh and Dolly, though on the wrong, unpatriotic side, are not all bad.

By the way, the film is based on a true incident—which bit, I haven’t been able to figure out. Does anybody know?

And, to sign off:

Ashok Kumar in Samadhi

Yes, I think I’m beginning to revise my views on Dada Moni.

64 thoughts on “Samadhi (1950)

  1. I really LOVE Dada Moni’s face, and I could stare at it for hours in a film. I also love his acting. Even though I don’t fancy war filims, your post has got me interested to see this one.


  2. Here’s a funny coincidence: I almost did my latest post, late last night, on “Gore Gore O Baanke Chore,” but then I found out that it was the 25th Anniversary of Khurshid Anwar’s death. so I decided to post a few of his songs instead.

    “Gore Gore…” has a fun history, starting with “Chico Chico”:


  3. Gore gore is from this film?!! If I didnt love Ashok Kumar so much, I’d need to see it for that song alone! But I do love Dada Mani (he looks so dashing in that last screen cap), so this was on my shopping list. (Sadly, my last shopping spree from Nehaflix didnt include this because they’d run out!) And there is Shyam too! I remember falling for him as a kid when I saw Dillagi, and Manto’s anecdotes about him just make me more curious to see him onscreen again. Hopefully, my next shopping spree will include this.


  4. I saw thi smovie on DD sometime in the late 70s, when I wa still achild. Therefore I can’t remember anything except the song “gore, gore”
    I’d read somewhere, that Ashok Kumar and Nalini Jaywant were deeply in love with each other during the making of this film. Does it show up?

    “Suresh tries to make his family see his point of view—is there any guarantee that the Japanese will let India stay independent, even if the INA succeeds? —but no one’s listening.”

    A sound arguement! As far as I know, Subhashchandra Bose wasn’t a strong advocate of democracy.

    “Samadhi showed an Indian officer in the British Indian Army, as not a completely black-hearted and traitorous villain? Unusual.”
    Not really unusual. India was officially on the British side of the WWII. The Congress party supported this action sometime in the 1941, if I remember right. Moreover the congress government (read Nehru) was also not a big fan of Bose. Thus I think the depiction of darker shades of INA passed the censors. And war is never a fair game and I think it brings the worst of men to the fore.

    I think I’ll have to prepare myself for some brickbats now!

    Before I duck down, Thanks for the review of this wonderful movie with the beautiful Nalini Jaywant.


  5. sitaji: This isn’t really that much of a war film – it’s a spy thriller + patriotic flick + romance + (of course!) musical. True, there are elements of war (especially in the last few minutes), but not that much.

    Richard: Thank you, I loved that! (here’s an alternate link, by the way – for anybody who, like me, got an error message on that first one)
    I hadn’t realised Gore gore was an ‘inspired’ song. I’m planning a post on that sometime – there are so many wonderful songs out there that sometimes sound better than the original.
    And guess what’s the next film I have lined up to watch? Anmol Ghadi. I’m really looking forward to that!

    bollyviewer: I thought Shyam was quite wonderful too! I have to see some more films of his, preferably some in which he was the hero. Any suggestions will be most welcome!
    What, by the way, were Manto’s anecdotes about him?

    harvey: No brickbats! But yes, the reason why I wrote that was that the rest of the film is quite unashamedly very proud of the INA. Samadhi is actually a fairly vehement pro-INA film that almost comes close to deifying Netaji. Against that sort of backdrop, a scene where a British Indian officer actually raises the issue of whether the Japanese will let an independent India be sovereign, is like a breath of fresh air. (Okay, nobody listens to him and so he shuts up, but still).

    Ashok Kumar and Nalini Jaywant do have good chemistry in this film – there are some scenes (especially the one where she gets the secret of his destination out of him) that are deeply romantic. I can well imagine that they were in love when this was made.


  6. I’ve long been a fan of Dada Moni (have you any idea of how he earned that name). I love the Gore Gore O Baanke Chore (what does it mean pleae) no surprise it was inspired by the song posted in the comments as i thought this sounds so bluesy jazzy (Lol i just invented that)


    • Actually, this is a rather naughty little song, based on the social times of the 30s and 40s. Women of the street used to entice men to come to their street by shouting out after them, Or sometimes just to embarrass them “how come I do not see you on my street, nowadays,” with his name, said afterwards,so that the whole neighbourhood could know that he was in the habit of visiting soiled doves.
      That is why that song supposedly depicts a mischievous lass telling her Swain – fair, fair, oh, dashing youth, do come to visit me, sometimes, in my street, and he nothing loth answers back,oh fair, oh fair, oh pretty lady, you had better Invite me every day!
      We as kids loved to rewrite lyrics,Especially the ones our parents enjoyed in the 40s and 50s, and this one was always sung as oh, fair, oh fair, sack full of flour, why do not you come to visit me in my street… And he replied, oh fair, oh fair, oh pretty one, you had better have a bath every day…
      Those were the days, My friend!


        • Actually, whatever the people may say about these modest young ladies of the 30s and 40s, they were actually very earthy and one could often say brazen. There is another traditional song going back more than 400 years, about the village doctor, Hakim Tarachand, who this lady keeps on inviting to come and meet her anytime, on her roof.
          The doctor is of course quite worried about his own reputation and that is why she goes to all sorts of tricks in order to get him to come visit her. Like, he said, do not drink any alcohol so she had plenty of homemade hooch! He said, all right,laddoos, a traditional sweetmeat is not good for your health, so she had another delicious addictive traditional sweetmeat kalakand, instead. And then when he said, all right, it is time you stop having any more kids, she went ahead and had a full wedding procession, “janjjhh” in the vernacular. Limits to which some women would go, in order to meet their objects of obsession.
          Thinking it over, I was comparing this particular song with another traditional song, sung by another very earthy people, the Turks. This song is called Uske dara. In which the lady describes how she spends her evenings, with her scribe, who is handsome, poetic, and to whom she feeds lokum dodurum, a sweetmeat. All of these traditional songs have a double meaning somewhere, but then, Greek, French, and other songs of ancient civilizations had people full of vigour, until the West with their concept of this thing is bad, that thing is bad decided to civilise them! Including the Brits, the Memsahibs of would have been horrified, if somebody translated the real meaning of some of the lyrics sung in the movies of yesteryear!


  7. Dada means ‘elder brother’ in Bengali, and moni is ‘jewel’, so it’s a sort of affectionate nickname for him – no idea how he got it though, or who first thought it up. Bengalis, by the way, are known for their really eccentric nicknames! My mother’s part-Bengali and my brother-in-law’s Bengali, and both have some relatives with really whacky nicknames – Laltoo, Putlu, Gudul, Puttu, Gaga… I could go on and on!.

    Gore gore o baanke chhore kabhi meri gali aaya karo means (literally, so this’ll sound funny!): “Fair, dashing youth, come visiting the street where I live”. The lyrics don’t sound weird in Hindi, but I must admit I like the music much more than the words.


    • Oh, nicknames are a part of the Indian ethos and are definitely not restricted to just the Bengalis. When we were living in West Bengal, as kids, we forgot that their names were Shobhojit, Priyojit, Tanubha , etc., such lovely names, but we used to call them what their parents called them,shumu, jeenu, Kakoli,Rimi, Jhuma , and so on. And now that they are all grown up, it is very amusing to meet them, with their families, kids and grandkids and say, hey,Shumu, you have gone all gray! And he is going to answer, do not you call the kettle black,Dubboo. :-)


      • I can identify with that! Just a month back, my parents and I had to go to Calcutta for a relative’s funeral. My mother – who grew up in Cal but has returned there very infrequently over the past 50 years – couldn’t recall some of the people at the funeral. My cousin tried to help by telling Mummy some names, but it was only when she began to refer to people by their pet names that the penny dropped and my mother actually remembered who those people were!


        • You are talking about Bengal,and also other parts of India, Odisha and Assam, where we spent our youth – father being in a central government peripatetic transferred- every -two years job, so Bharat Darshan on government pay, This is the life! :-) –
          I am talking about the Punjab where fond possessive moms cannot stop calling their grown up and married sons, “baby, Sonny boy’even in public, with their nicknames. That reminded me of when I happened to be a part of my aunt’s 25th wedding anniversary. Somewhere in the 2000s. Huge family gathering, with all the generations Living it up Emperor size and lots of family, friends, colleagues and acquaintances. And then one clear voice rang out, “Baby , my sonny boyyyy?” In a querying tone and about 30 grown up male voices acknowledged, as if preconditioned to do so, ” Yes, mommy- jee!!Coming! Just a minute, please!” Guess the male of the species’ mind is always attuned to the arbitrary tone of his mama wanting to know where he is! I noticed this in France and Italy too, the universal brotherhood of mama’s boys, even if they are married, sober, sombre citizens with kids, and perhaps grandkids of their own! Mama rules And Rocks!
          In the same way, my brother is a senior officer in the defence forces, and his wife calls him by his official name, but even though he is in his 50s, he is known by his childish nickname, all over the place, thanks to his relatives, yelling “Bebou, how good to see you after so many years! My, you have grown all gray!” Definitely not dignified :-) And of course, that reminder, unniversal – the last time I saw you, you were this high/you were just a baby/my my, how you have grown up/and all the other words Necessary to put you in your place as “bebou!” :-).


  8. @ bollywooddeewana: Visit my street naturally has a double meaning! Supposedly in the older times the tawaifs/prostitutes used to invite their patrons in this way.
    Gali/street can also be used in the form of personal territory (geog.).

    dustedoff: You are the last person, from whm I would be expecting brickbats for political statements. It is just that, when people look back, many forget that our political leaders were only human and they all had their share of mistakes and weaknesses. But we would rather deify them!

    @ Richard S.: thanks for the original, but I love the “copy”, it sounds so much more lively for my ears.


  9. “many forget that our political leaders were only human and they all had their share of mistakes and weaknesses. But we would rather deify them!”

    So true. And the same goes for anybody who’s a celebrity – film stars included. Too many people put famous people into a ‘sacrosanct’ realm and are unwilling to believe anything that shakes the pedestal on which the idol stands!


  10. Yes, I would see this film just for the song ‘Gore gore..’. Never knew it was from Samadhi.
    And of course for Ashok Kumar. He looks lovely/delicious in those screencaps.

    I recall him acting in a lot of thrillers. Films like Burmah Road (I think) and another with a name with something Rangoon. :-D


  11. Interestingly, one of the few things I did know about Samadhi (other than that it starred Ashok Kumar and Nalini Jaywant) was that it featured Gore gore o baanke chhore. That was one of the main reasons I saw the film – it’s such a peppy song!

    I’ve heard of Burmah Road (in fact, I was reminded of it while watching Samadhi because part of the action by the INA is along the Burma Road), but haven’t seen it. Rangoon – something or something – Rangoon? No, I haven’t heard of that. But Howrah Bridge was pretty fast-paced too, and had superb music. I love that film! :-)


  12. I havent seen much of Shyam myself, just recall liking him in Dillagi and Patanga though I didnt care for either of the films! He was hero in both. Too bad he died so young – within a year of this film! :-( Manto was apparently quite friendly with him and talks about him very affectionately. They were drink buddies and Shyam also had a fatal fascination for women (Manto does not admit to sharing that!). The chapter on Shyam (Manto calls him “Krishna’s flute”) is full of small little incidents, quotes from him and his letters to Manto – they just make you feel like you know him! So I am curious to see him onscreen after reading about him. At the moment, I only have Dillagi which has lovely songs – will try it and let you know what I think of it, now!


    • Talking about Manto and his drinking companions and friends, there was a story prevalent at that time, that Manto used to staggered to his room completely drunk, take off his shoes, and throw them one after another, at the nearest wall before dropping off into a stupor. And of course his neighbors could hear the throwing of the shoes.One evening, Manto’s Sleep was interrupted by a neighbour, who came banging at the door yelling, Throw the other shoe so that we could Finally get to sleep.


        • My granduncle told me this story, but it seems it has another version, when he used to go to the balcony, and toss his shoes off. His neighbor, of course, was always on the lookout for a newer pair of shoes, every second evening, having a large family to be kept well clothed and shod. Well, that time he just tossed out one shoe, and the neighbour yelled at him to toss down the other shoe, so that a workable pair could be put into use the very next morning!


  13. Shyam certainly sounds like an interesting character! I do wish he’d survived and gone on to make more films. He looked very good in Samadhi and I was hoping I’d be able to unearth some more films of his… will look out for Patanga and Dillagi (goodness, how many Dillagi versions have there been? One for every decade?) Am looking forward to your review of it!


  14. As luck would have it, I re-watched this movie not too long ago and came away renewing my love for the Ashok-Nalini Jaywant pair and “gore gore banke chore” and that’s about it. Admit it, your attention wandered from time to time during the movie, didn’t it?;-) Mine certainly did!:-)

    For a look at another Ashok-Nalini movie, try out Jal Pari. It’s swashbuckling romp and has the added attraction of Geeta Bali playing the queen of an underwater kingdom.:-D


  15. bawa: Book’s getting along okay, the reviews so far have been more favourable than not. And a friend today sent me a message today to say that Landmark – one of India’s leading chains of bookstores – lists it as a hot pick. Not Potter, but I wouldn’t mind inching closer to the big league! :-)

    Shalini: Yes!! I have to admit, I did find my attention wandering in places… especially when all that patriotism versus love business was happening. Still, for a 1950 film (a period when theatrical acting was pretty much the norm), this was refreshingly less so.
    Oh, wow – Jal Pari sounds like a must-see. I adore Geeta Bali: she’s so effervescent and likeable. Must get hold of this one!


  16. Oh, thank you for that! I’m still laughing, especially as I know people (or am in some cases even distantly related to people) who’ve been saddled with names like that. I recently met a very distinguished gentleman – a senior lawyer (or was he a judge? I don’t remember), who was introduced to me as ‘Doddy’. Everybody calls him Doddy. Much probing amongst his relatives brought forth his actual name, but it sank again without a trace in less than a minute. He remains Doddy in my memory! :-)


  17. Anytime….I too had a good time laughing. I have quite a lot of Bengali friends and having lived near Bengal border for sometime, have come across these names myself.
    Senior lawyer as Doddy? Poor thing!!!

    But they do come up with such hilarious and embarrassing names ;-)


  18. I happy to find whole story of movie Samadhi. Hats off to writer for detailed info and analysis about movie as well as Ashok Kumar. I would love to see more like it.

    Best regards

    Chander Mohan


  19. There is some confusion in the mind of dustoff about Shashi Kapoor who enacted the role of Ashoka Kumar’s youngest brother in this film. Let me make it clear that the Shashi Kapoor of ‘Samadhi’ not the brother of Raj Kapoor whom we have known as the hero of many Hindi films. The Shashi Kapoor of ‘Samadhi’ was only a namesake of the more illustrious Shashi Kapoor. His career in Bollywood was not very long.
    Apart from ‘Samadhi’, this Shashi Kapoor was earlier seen in the 1945 film ‘Gaon Ki Gori’ in which he enacted the role of the younger brother of the hero, Nazir. When this Shashi Kapoor became an adult, he acted in some mythological films, among which Gopal Krishan was one. In this film he enacted the role of Lord Krishana. Though handsome, he could not make much of his career in adult life, and so he gradually disappeared from the film scene.


    • Let me also make one thing clear – I was quite certain that the ‘Shashi Kapoor’ who acted in Samadhi was not the Shashi Kapoor who became a star in the 60s. What I did try to indicate was that IMDB seem to have got their facts mixed up. If you look at the IMDB page for Samadhi, you’ll see that Shashi Kapoor is listed in the credits, and if you click the link for that Shashi Kapoor, you’ll land up at the page for Shashi Kapoor aka Balbir Raj Kapoor, son of Prithviraj Kapoor etc. So IMDB does have its facts wrong.

      But thank you for adding to the facts about Shashi Kapoor – I hadn’t known which other films he acted in, or what happened to him later in life. (By the way, was Nazir, the hero of Gaon ki Gori also the man who married Swarnlata and later migrated to Pakistan? Would you know?)


  20. Yes, Nazir (actor/director) who acted in Village Girl was also the man who married Swaranlata and migrated to Pakistan. He resumed his career in Pakistan both as actor and director (mostly as director). Madhu,
    can you look at this link and tell me if the Shashi Kapoor in Samadhi (from your screen shot I can’t really tell) is the same as this Shashi Kapoor (senior)?

    or is it some other Shashi Kapoor (excluding Raj Kapoor’s bro)?


    • Yes, Mr Jinx, I think you’ve nailed it. This screenshot from cineplot does look a lot like the Shashi Kapoor who was in Samadhi – the earrings and the get-up distracted me a bit first off, but on closer examination, it does seem to be him. Thank you!


  21. By the way, Nazir, the hero of ‘Gaon Ki Gori’ (1945), was the maternal uncle of K.Asif of the Mughal-e-Azam fame. Nazir had a sizzling romance with Kathak dancer Sitara before he married Swarnlata. Swarnlata was a Sikh who, much against her parents’ warnings, converted to Islam to marry Nazir. Both of them migrated to Pakistan after Partition. Sitara later fell in love with the nephew, ie K Asif, and remained with him for many years. When K.Asif and Sitara parted, K Asif was in a relationship with Nigar, the actress who enacted the role of Bahar in ‘Mughal-e-Azam. Later K Asif and Nigar parted, and then K Asif married Dilip Kumar’s sister, though Dilip Kumar was deadly against this marriage.


  22. Yes, Sitara, the famous Kathak dancer and actress, was also known to have been the choreographer of some films. By the way, Sitara was an actress in the 30s and 40s. In some films made by New Theatres starring the legendary K L Saigal, Sitara was also a part of the star cast. In the late 30s or early 40s she shifted to Bombay. Her first major success there was Mehboob Khan’s film ‘Roti’ which was probably released in 1941. Sitara was seen in this film as a tribal girl going about in a semi-nude condition. Of course, she had a seductively attractive figure and she was then romantically linked with Mehboob Khan.
    Going by what Sadat Hasan Manto has written about Sitara, the lady in her youth was virtually a nymphomaniac. Her romance with Al Nasir, the husband of actress Veena, was tempestuous. Poor Al Nasir barely managed to survive it.
    As regards dustoff’s observation that he had no idea that Nigar had an affair with K Asif, for his information I may add that before K Asif became her paramour, Nigar was had a torrid romance with lyricist D.N Madhok.


  23. Hmm. You seem to know all the ins and outs of the sordid side of people’s love lifes in the cinema industry! I haven’t yet managed to get hold of Sadat Hasan Manto’s book, but it seems interesting… I recall someone else commenting about it too.

    BTW, I have seen Roti with Sitara Devi in it (your remark about her going about as a tribal girl in a semi-nude condition recalled it to my mind). She had some rather seductive songs filmed on her in that movie.

    Oh, and Dustedoff is not a ‘he’! :-)


    • Sorry, Dustedoff, I did not know I was confusing genders. Well, if you have seen the early 40s film ‘Roti’ and remember Sitara Devi in it, then I may add here that the music of this film was composed by Anil Biswas and, to top it all, Sitara herself sang a song in it. Of course she was no singer, but the song, ‘Sajna saanj bhai aan milo’ was intoned by her in a strangely passion-filled voice.
      For your information, I may further add that Sitara’s beau’s in this film was the tall and muscular Sheikh Mukhtar, also a tribal in the film.
      The hero of ‘Roti’ was the blue-eyed Chander Mohan. Above all, the heroine of this film was – hold your breath – Begum Akhtar, then known as Akhtaribai Faizabadi.


      • Yes, I know. :-) I watched Roti just a few months back, you see – so I know who starred in it. I was pleasantly surprised by the content, the acting and the general tone of the film; I thought there was something very modern about it – not a ‘typical’ Hindi film, as most people would say. There was a certain undated feel about it that should make it a much better known film than it is at present.


  24. That is an interesting question. According to my notes on the film (I don’t have the DVD – I’d rented it), the lyricist for Samadhi was Rajendra Krishan. According to this article, however, Kadam-kadam badhaaye jaa was already well in vogue, used by the INA (I don’t have the words or music for the INA’s marching song, so can’t tell whether Rajendra Krishan changed them – you could try comparing the lyrics on this Wikipedia page with the Youtube version of the Samadhi song. Don’t know who sang the song in the film, either – but yes, it’s a very stirring, inspirational tune. I love the march!


    • ok. I googled it and got hold of the details. Penned by Rajinder Krishan and performed by C.Ramchandra who has also given music.
      The one used by INA is the other one which is more popular.

      Actually I maintain a lyrics blog and hence wanted details about it. Thanks for the help :-)


    • I’m sorry, that’s something I can’t do – I saw a rented version of this VCD, so it’s been returned to the video rental company I subscribe to. Long back. In any case, I have no idea what Raj Adib looks like – so wouldn’t know whose picture I’d have to take a screenshot of. Do you know of any other films in which Raj Adib featured? Maybe one could then keep a lookout…


      • Oh, okay. Thank you for clearing that up. That’s an interesting article, by the way… there were many familiar names there that I didn’t know were Kashmiris. I’d have added Diwan Kashmiri to the list (he acted Nalini Jaywant’s father in Naujawan), but as the writer explains, space was a constraint. I was under the impression that Motilal was Kashmiri too.

        Or, no – wait. Maybe Motilal was from Himachal.

        Now my mind’s working fast. I think Yasmin – aka Vineeta Butt – was also Kashmiri. And Karan Razdan, of course – as well as KK Raina.


  25. Maitri Manthan wonders who Raj Adib is and Dustedoff says she too is unaware of the identity of this obscure actor. The fact of the matter is that our film historians have perhaps not taken much interest in chronicling the lives of minor actors of yore. There are a number of character actors from the past, whom we often saw in cameo roles in films, who have been consigned to dustbin of oblivion. No attempt has ever been made to chronicle their lives after making an in-depth research into their antecedents.
    I too have often wondered about some minor actors of the past. For instance, does anyone today know anything about an actress named Indu. She was seen mostly in the role of a vamp.
    In ‘Ziddi’ (1948), Indu performed the role of maidservant in the house of a rich man. While Kamini Kaushal, the heroine of ‘Ziddi’, is in love with Dev Anand, the young son of this house, Indu the maidservant too is in love with him. But when she finds that hers is an unrequited love, she sets herself on fire while singing this song, ‘Chali ban thun ke dulhan, jhan jhannan payal baje bajat hai…’ This song was rendered by Shamshad Begum and Khemchand Prakash gave it such a heart-wrenching composition that even today it moves one when one listens to it.
    Indu was also seen in ‘Khilari’ starring Ashok Kumar and Suraiya. Here too she was in desperately in love with Ashok Kumar, but he loves Suraiya, not Indu. Indu was seen in a number of films of 50s.
    No one knows whether Indu is alive and an old woman now, or she is dead Similarly, there are a number of other actors whose whereabouts are sunk in obscurity.


    • Very true… actually, I think more is generally known about even minor actors or character actors from the 50s and 60s, than those from the 40s (and even less as you go back in time to the 30s). Sad. Let alone knowing about some of these people – how they got into films, how they progressed, what happened to them – too often even those of us who are interested in old cinema cannot even identify them.


  26. Talking of unknown actresses, I was pleasantly surprised to see Zarine Katrak (Hrithik’s mother in law/wife of that odious Sanjay Khan) playing a small role in Tere Ghar Ke Saamne as Rajendernath’s love interest.
    I had seen this film before without really noticing who she was.
    I hadn’t known about her acting career, if there was one.


    • Yes, I’d known that was Zarine Khan née Katrak – I believe Tere Ghar ke Saamne was the only one she acted in before she got married to Sanjay Khan. I thought she was pretty, even though she didn’t have much of a role.

      Another actress whom I loved, but whom I’ve seen only in one film, was Yasmin (aka Vineeta Butt), who acted Johnny Walker’s girlfriend in Mr & Mrs 55. So bubbly and lovely. :-)


  27. Dustedoff, I am afraid it is not correct to say that the man who enacted the role of Nalini Jaywant’s father in ‘Naujawan’ (1951) was Diwan Kashmiri. I have seen ‘Naujawan’ twice and the man who plays the role of the heroine in this film is actor Nawab. Premnath, the hero of this film, jocularly calls him ‘mota seth’ in the film.
    Nawab was an actor of stature in his heyday. He played the role of Ashok Kumar’s father in ‘Sangram’ (1950) and earlier he was seen in ‘Ziddi’ (1948). I cannot readily recall now those films of the 50s in which Nawab often appeared in character roles.


    • Sorry, I got confused, and I hadn’t checked back on my Naujawan post before I wrote that. Now that I look at the Naujawan review again, I see that I did refer to the actor who played Nalini Jaywant’s father as possibly being ‘Nawab Kashmiri’. As I mention in the post, Nawab Kashmiri is one of the top billed actors in the film, so I guessed this was him.


  28. Does anybody know about these actors and where they are today – Shekhar, Jawahar Kaul, Veera, Jabeen, Nazma, Madhumati, and Chitra?
    Sheikhar was quite active in the 50s, playing the lead opposite Nimmi in ‘Hamdard’, opposite Meena Kumari in ‘Chandni Chowk’, opposite Nutan in ‘Akhri Dao’, opposite Ameeta in ‘Abhiman’ and several other top actresses of the 50s.
    Jawahar Kaul, a handsome Kashmiri, started in the 40s. He was seen with Rehana in ‘Khidkee’, with Vaijayanthimala in ‘Kathputli’, and opposite Shyama in ‘Bhabi’. opposite Anita Guha in ‘Dekh Kabira Roya’ and opposite many other actresses in the 50s.


    • DueepJSinghjiI I’m amused to read your comments on the song.The initial story u shared is from ”Ek Gaonki Kahani ”which is socially forward at that time. I have recently saw this movie. I feel that castist problem is still prevails today also of with our society of four varna system.(and at present also inter caste/relgion marriges)


  29. about shekhar-he lives in canada.veera married to karanjia of Blitz. jabeen married and happy-lives in mumbai.madhumati married to dance directormanohar lives in mumbai.jawahar kaul was a secretary to some actor-i forgot the name sekhar lost every thing inproducing films and then shifted to canada. thanks.navin shah usa.


  30. I am not able to find the movie on the net and I was curious about the story. Thanx for enlightening me. What I found surprising was that the story revolves around some thing that I had always pondered. The British Army (Allies) and the INA ( Axis ) both had Indians and must have had people with friends, relatives etc on the other side. How did theu cope with idea of having to kill them ?


    • I suppose it’s the sort of thing that gets played out every time a Civil War erupts – there will invariably be people who will have friends and relatives ‘on the other side’. Must be very tough, I think, to know where to draw the line with which loyalty.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.