Munimji (1955)

It has been a sad year for us lovers of classic cinema. After the passing away of Spanish filmmaker Berlanga, I’d hoped December would pass in the usual round of festivities, punctuated perhaps with a couple of posts on some Christmas-themed old films, or a list of ten songs with which to usher in the New Year. Alas, instead, there have been two deaths. The first, on December 15, was director, producer and writer Blake Edwards, the man famous for having made the Pink Panther series starring Peter Sellers. The second, on December 24, was the beautiful and highly expressive Nalini Jaywant. I’ll do a review of a Blake Edward classic later; this post is dedicated to Ms Jaywant. RIP.

Munimji is one of Nalini Jaywant’s hit films, even though her role in it doesn’t allow for a sufficient display of her talents as a thespian (for that, I’d recommend Kala Pani and Nastik, among others). Despite that, though, I think of this as a film worthy of Nalini Jaywant herself: entertaining, with a certain amount of depth, and very easy on the eyes.

The film begins in the present day (1955), where a bandit who calls himself Kala Ghoda is going about murdering and looting and generally wreaking havoc in the countryside.
Bela (Ameeta), a woman who dances in the streets, happens to be the only one who knows his identity—because he is her husband. He manages to wheedle her into doing just about everything for him, including being an accomplice.

A little deft toing-and-froing between scenes, and we learn that Kala Ghoda is in reality a wealthy wastrel named Ratan (Pran). Ratan’s father Ramlal (?) died when Ratan was a baby, so Ratan has been brought up by Ramlal’s friend, a Captain (?). And, very importantly, he’s been brought up by a doting maid, Malti (Nirupa Roy). Malti dotes on Ratan to such an extent that she neglects her own son Amar (Dev Anand, disguised in fuddy-duddy shapeless coat and dhoti, wearing glasses, a large moustache, a huge mole on his cheek, and a cap with a long lock of hair dangling at the back). He also drags one leg and speaks in a high-pitched singsong voice that adds to his overall unattractiveness.

Having established the fact that Malti neglects Amar in favour of Ratan, the film swishes into the past, and we get to see the reason for this strange preference for the unlovable Ratan.
A young Malti, with a baby in her arms, comes to meet Ramlal and overhears a conversation. Ramlal’s wife has recently died, leaving behind a baby boy. Ramlal, chatting with his friend the Captain, readily agrees to the Captain’s wish that should the Captain someday have a daughter, she will be eventually married to Ramlal’s son.

When the Captain takes himself off, Malti comes forward and tries to persuade Ramlal to accept the baby she’s holding. It turns out that Ramlal had married Malti and left her pregnant while he went off and married another woman. Now, with Ramlal’s other wife dead, Malti’s come to ask for her rights—or at least for the rights of her baby. Ramlal refuses to have anything to do with Malti and boots her out…

…so that night, Malti returns and exchanges the two babies. She leaves her baby next to the sleeping Ramlal, and takes away his child. Ramlal, when he wakes up, figures out what happened, and comes to Malti demanding his son back. In the process, Ramlal gets bitten by a snake and very conveniently dies. Malti ends up with both babies, working as a maid in the Captain’s house, bringing up her own son Ratan as Ramlal’s heir, while Ramlal’s other son is brought up as Malti’s own, long-neglected ‘son’, the munimji, Amar.

All the while Amar and Ratan are growing up, Malti makes no attempt to hide her own feelings. Ratan, though he kicks her and treats her like dirt, is her darling. Amar, though he hits out at Ratan when Ratan abuses Malti, only gets a scolding from Malti for his efforts. She even pleads with Amar to let Ratan thrash him!

Now that they’re grown up, things are no better. Ratan still treats Malti with contempt; Amar still tries to protect his ‘mother’; and the ‘mother’ still favours Ratan. And Amar keeps his munimji disguise on because a good-looking and smart Amar will infuriate Ratan.
In the meantime, the Captain’s daughter and Ratan’s fiancée Roopa (Nalini Jaywant) returns home after a long time abroad. Roopa is fashionable in a Westernised way, and keeps handing out baksheesh to the munimji, who has been deputed to help transport her and her bags home.

Which immediately gets Amar’s dander up. While Roopa drives off in her own car, Amar strips off all that oh-so-boring munimji makeup, and emerges as his own dazzlingly irresistible self. Some convoluted car-swapping, overtaking and car-conking-out later, Roopa finds her own car being hijacked by a handsome stranger who bullies her into letting him not just drive the car, but also sing.

Over the following days, Roopa keeps bumping into the man, whose name is Raj. Raj meets her at a gambling club, where he exposes one of Ratan’s men who’s been cheating at cards at Ratan’s behest. Raj ends up playing—and defeats Roopa roundly.

Raj also saves Roopa from a tiger that appears while she’s out swimming. And, when she falls off a horse, he’s the one who picks her up and is not just solicitous, but loving. Roopa, already pretty much infatuated despite her constant bickering with Raj, falls in love with him. He tries to shake her off by leaving a note saying that they should part ways—but Roopa is a girl who knows her own mind. Some cajoling, some flirting, and a good song, and she’s got Raj eating out of her hand again.

But how long will life be roses all the way for Raj and Roopa? Malti, hovering in the background, soon discovers that Raj aka Amar is romancing Roopa, who after all is Ratan’s fiancée. So Malti goes to Amar and uses emotional blackmail on him to convince him to give up Roopa. Your mother or Roopa? If you continue this relationship, I will kill myself. Ratan is your master; you should not betray him thus.
And so on and so forth.

Does Amar agree? Does his love for Roopa win, or does his love for, and his duty towards, his heartless, selfish and undeserving ‘mother’ triumph? Where do the Kala Ghoda and his wife come into the picture vis-à-vis Ratan and Roopa? And when will Roopa realise that the shabby munimji and the suave Raj are one and the same?

Nasir Hussain, the man who went on to make Tumsa Nahin Dekha, Dil Deke Dekho, Jab Pyaar Kisise Hota Hai and Phir Wohi Dil Laaya Hoon, also scripted Munimji (the director was Subodh Mukherji). There are basic similarities between the films: the long-lost heir to a fortune, masquerading as a mere employee; babies—male and female—promised to each other, and going on to fall in love as adults, but without knowing that they had been destined for each other in infancy (!); and a villain who wants to marry the heroine for her wealth while himself pretending to be wealthy. Of course, in Munimji, Ratan doesn’t know he’s not really the heir to Ramlal’s fortune, but still. What sets Munimji apart from the others is that it doesn’t exactly follow Nasir Hussain’s cookie-cutter storyline. There is the somewhat disturbing fact that Amar and Ratan are, after all, half-brothers. Then there is Malti’s utter selfishness, and Amar’s corresponding distress and frustration. This is not a film with the depths of a Pyaasa or a Parakh, but it is a little more than a mere romantic and dramatic tragicomedy.

What I liked about this film:

Nalini Jaywant and Dev Anand as Roopa and Raj/Amar. She is beautiful; he is handsome. But more than that, they’re also great together: flirtatious, gentle, emotional, playful. I love the way their relationship passes through different phases, beginning with him getting on her nerves, then the realisation that they’re falling in love, followed by Raj’s trying to break free from her—and Roopa’s playful teasing to get him back. And, though I did say that Munimji doesn’t allow Nalini Jaywant much scope for histrionics, she does get to act something more than just irritated or charming or playful. The obstacles in the way of her romance may drive Roopa into deepest sorrow, but they also bring forth a wealth of emotions—and Nalini Jaywant portrays them beautifully.

The music! Munimji had fantastic songs, scored by the inimitable SD Burman. Though Jeevan ke safar mein raahi (sung in two versions, male and female) is probably the best known, some of my other favourites are Ek nazar bas ek nazar, Nain khoye-khoye tere dil mein, and Dil ki umangein hain jawaan. And, a very special mention: Shivji bihaane chale palki sajaaike. Everything about this song is superb: SD Burman’s music, Hemant’s rendition, Sachin Shankar’s choreography, the picturisation. The song also refers pointedly (and obviously) to the story of Munimji itself; there’s a definite parallel between Shiv disguising himself before Parvati and the world, and Amar doing the same for the woman he loves, Roopa.

What I didn’t like:

Malti. Yes, Nirupa Roy’s acting is good (it won her a Best Supporting Actress award), but Malti is so selfish and heartless, I really hated her as a character.
Interestingly, Nirupa Roy was just 24, 8 years younger than Dev Anand and 11 years younger than Pran when she played their ‘mother’ in Munimji.

And there are some silly, pretty pointless scenes featuring Amar disguised as a sanyaasi/soothsayer, who with the help of his pet elephant, repeatedly manages to hoodwink Ratan.

Despite those hiccups, this is an entertaining and enjoyable film—and a good showcase for Nalini Jaywant.


73 thoughts on “Munimji (1955)

  1. Nice to see you paying a Tribute to this Miss Expressive eyes Nalini, another performer from this era gone, may her soul RIP.

    We shall certainly remember her her many superb performances, including this movie Munimji, one immy recalls her in another Sachin Dada number ‘ nazar laagi raaja tore bangle par’, here she also won the Best Supporting Actress in the Filmfare Awards 1959.

    If any1 can share her following movies, or where to get them, we will appreciate that-

    Bombay Race Course 1965

    Sheroo/ Mr X / Kitna Badal Gaya Insan…. all from 1957 and the last one
    Directed by none other than I S Johor, he also acted here !!!!

    A chip of da ol’ block has departed.



  2. You know, I was just thinking how painful it is for people like us, who like old films so much, because those who made those wonderful films are either all gone, or slide away from us every now and then… and, having seen and heard and admired and loved them – actors and actresses, directors, MDs, singers, etc – it does feel terrible.

    When it came to deciding which film to review, it was a toss-up between Munimji and Kala Pani, both being the only two Nalini Jaywant films I possess. Nalini Jaywant is superb in that too (and, as you mention, she won a Filmfare Award for it), but somehow I think her role doesn’t do her complete justice, since Madhubala is so much the heroine. Still, that is a film I like a lot as well. Will review it some day.


  3. I read that Nalini Jaywant passed away with no one on her side. No one even cared that such a brilliant actor was no more. What a shame for the current generation of film artists!!! :(
    Dev Anand does look dandy here. And Jaywant is beaaauuuutiiifullll. :) I will have to see this for its fun :) thank you :)


    • You must see this for sheer fun – good entertainment, lovely romance, and a lead pair that’s absolutely swoonworthy! And of course as I mentioned the music is out of this world. Definitely a must-watch.


  4. Sad to hear that Nalini Jaywant passed away. Even more unfortunate is that I don’t think anyone on the mainstream media covered it.

    I always have mixed feelings for Munimji, the plot is ridiculous even for its time, but the presence of Dev Anand and Pran keeps it engaging. Nirupa won an award, but this was one of her most irritating and senseless roles. The climax as quite surprising.


  5. I think The Times of India covered Nalini Jaywant’s death, to some extent – I happened to miss the newspaper for a couple of days, but another reader, ash, sent me links to the e-paper articles on Ms Jaywant’s passing away. But yes, you’re right – it went pretty much unnoticed. Sad.

    The climax of Munimji reminded me a bit of Mother India in its basics. Though Nargis in Mother India was a far stronger and believable character!


  6. Although Nalini Jaywant passed away at the ripe old age of 84, she was according to newspaper reports leading a reclusive life. That is what makes her passing away qite sad.I quite like her although she was a little plump I notice in films like Kala Paani where she had to do the subtle steps of Kathak she was rather nimble footed.


    • Ash even forwarded a rather sad link about how Nalini Jaywant’s pet dogs are inconsolable now that she’s gone. They were apparently her sole companions and she was very attached to them. So now that she’s gone they even refuse to go with neighbours who are willing to look after them.

      It does seem particularly sad that someone who was such a star back in her heyday should have become such a recluse that her best friends were her pets…


      • Yes,it is rather sad and she needn’t have led such a reclusive life; theatre personality Vijaya Mehta and Tanuja were her relatives and they all reside in Bombay. They have mentioned that over the years they lost touch with her. I wonder why she became reclusive and yes I did read about the dogs.


  7. I don’t remember seeing anything with Nalini Jaywant, except small roles, when she was older I think. She looks gorgeous. Must see ‘Munimji’ and ‘Kaala Paani’. The TOI coverage of her demise was quite sad. The fact that she was alone, and a recluse.

    I agree with you, that as the old stalwarts pass away, people like us who love the old films are left with a feeling of great loss, and sadness.

    By the way, I hate these selfish, heartless mothers, who of course, are meant to be examples of great motherly love. Demented, I say.


    • Yes, I too hate mothers of the sort Nirupa Roy portrays in Munimji. But, to be fair, the film’s sympathies seem to lie more with the wronged Amar – slighted by the woman he thinks is his mother – rather than with the mother herself. Despite that, I must admit to wishing Malti hadn’t been part of the story. She made me see red. Certainly demented.


  8. may her soul rest in peace, i remember seeing and loving her in Kala Pani the only film of her’s i’ve seen till date.

    Poor Nirupa playing a mother from the age of 24 yikes, the only movie i recall where she was allowed to be youthful but yet ma is do bigha zamin


    • Yes, somehow even for me, the abiding image of Nirupa Roy is that of the mother – and that holds true also for films which she made (like Munimji) in which she was actually quite young! The only two films I recall watching in which she didn’t play old or at least middle-aged are Teen Batti Chaar Raasta and Razia Sultana – her role in the latter, as Delhi’s only woman sultan, is a refreshing change from all those weepy mums!


    • Oh yes (or oh, no!!): I read that article in today’s newspaper too. Positively sickening! What can one expect from more backward classes when people who’re supposed to be educated and enlightened and whatnot behave in such a manner? Incidentally, just today I read also that a lot of Indian couples are now opting to go to Thailand for IVF treatment – simply because while prenatal sex determination is illegal in India, it isn’t in Thailand, so that always leaves the way open for a quick abortion if it turns out the expected baby is female….

      Makes me want to throw up.


  9. I just want to point out that maybe she was happy being alone. I am, although it is true that most Indians especially find the whole idea of it hard to wrap their minds around ;-) Human company is overrated! Dogs are usually better companions than many people so I am going to try hard to think that she was happy at the end :D And I hope to God her dogs are cared for as promised by her neighbors! (*fret fret fret*)…

    I like this film too but was equally enraged by Malti to the point where she almost ruined the good things for me—urgh, how could Nirupa DO that role over and over? Once is too often!!! I am sad to say I haven’t seen Kaala Pani, but I love her in Nastik and Nau Bahar too. She is just so beautiful and I particularly always loved her with Dadamoni.


    • Actually, now that I come to think of it, I am very happy being on my own too. I’m at home all day on my own, and don’t find myself ever feeling lonely or bored. And I don’t even have any pets! So yes, it’s highly probable that Nalini Jaywant was happy being a recluse. At any rate, I hope and pray that that was how she wanted it, not how she was forced to be!

      There’s one Nalini Jaywant film I remember having seen, but cannot for the life of me remember its name. I think her co-star was Dilip Kumar, but I can’t be sure. What I do recall is that it was set in the countryside, in a village, and Nalini Jaywant played a somewhat embittered woman, with a crescent-shaped scar across the top of her forehead. That was a fine performance, but I wish I could remember which film it was! Does anyone know?


      • DO the only phillum I can remember with DilIp Saheb is Shikast (1953), I have not seen it so far but my gut feeling is there was another lead actor/ ANOTHER MOVIE will keep ma head scratchin’…..

        And btw Nirupa ben has done quite a few lead roles, as a heroine, esp in Mytho movies, I have at least 2, unfort can not get the names but will share if they pop up.

        @bawa, we do have contrasts for sure in our Society, one side we have daughters as Lakshmis, other side we have educated people pronouncing them as LIABILITIES.

        Then we have certain group as strong AHIMSA followers and within the same group I have seen them as worst offenders as far as stray dogs, cats are concerned.

        Btw I have 3 daughters who are not liabilities but Assets and as equal as boys(have one), and they shall remain so.
        Part of the problem is our dowry system which is very much there and this is carrying fwd in our present Gen to quite an extent, it is what I have seen….. in movies and otherwise…….

        ‘humme kuch nahin chaaiye magar aap ko jo achha lage de do apni beti ke liye ‘ !!!!!!!!

        My policy to such people is ‘ go fly a kite’.



        • Yes, I thought it was Shikast too, but I have a gut feeling that it wasn’t that. I saw the film years ago on TV, and I always thought it was Daag (you know, pertaining to the daag on her forehead), but of course Daag was Dilip Kumar opposite Nimmi, not Nalini Jaywant. And I have recently seen Daag so I do know that wasn’t the film.


      • Same here. I am very happy being on my own too. I don’t feel lonely or get bored. :-)

        Coming to Nalini Jaywant, I remember seeing Munimji when it was shown on Doordarshan in May 1978. How can I be so precise about the month/year? It was during summer vacation, we were visiting my uncle/aunt/cousins in Delhi and I saw a TV for the first time in my life! This was one of the Sunday evening movies shown at that time. :-)

        I do not remember the story though I do remember “jeevan ke safar mein raahi” and “dil ki umangein”. If I watch the movie again, I will probably remember more of it.

        Thanks for writing this up, Madhu, as a tribute to Nalini Jaywant. I have been travelling the last month and been out of touch with the news. Had it not been for your blog, I would not even had known about her death.

        It is indeed sad that one by one, these artistes of yesteryear are leaving us. I know it is inevitable but for us lovers of old movies, they are in a way part of our lives. Which is another reason I am glad you have done this tribute. Regardless of how the industry treats them once they are not in the limelight, they will remain in our hearts.

        I have got Kala Pani but have not seen it yet. Need to pull that one out from my pile and watch it. “Nazar laagi raja, tohre bangley pe” is a song I know from my childhood – my friends used to constantly tease me with this song. :-)


        • You must watch Kala Paani, raja! Even though she is in a supporting role there, I do think Nalini Jaywant has a very fine role – excellent shades of grey, very good characterisation, and of course her acting is superb. Madhubala is, as far as screen time is concerned, the heroine – but I always think Nalini Jaywant’s is the better role.

          My husband’s most vivid memory of Najar laagi raja tore bangle par is of one winter when the two of us went to Fort Unchagaon for a weekend; in the evening, there was a bonfire, drinks, and ‘cultural performance’ – which turned out to be a tabalchi, a guy on a harmonium, and two boys, one in a ghagra who sang this song very flat as they danced around – very badly. Ever since, my husband doesn’t like the song, not even in the original!!


          • Have just finished watching Kaala Pani. Loved the movie.

            Nalini is indeed very lovely in it, with her “shades of grey” role. In a movie that had a chirpy Madhubala (who I love!), I actually wanted to see more of Nalini Jaywant, she was that impressive.

            Definitely one of the lesser-appreciated actresses of yesteryear. RIP, Nalini Jaywant.


            • Raja

              yu wish yu cud see more of smashing Ms. NJ, oh well I can fullfill
              these beautiful SS from super musical JADOO 1951 with Suresh ( do
              note almost all movies of Suresh had super duper tracks ). It can not get better than these SS kya?


              All courstsy Trini bro, whose info I can share with yu folks, I know
              Trini bro does not mind more and more folks getting to share these
              g8’s contribution.

              Nalini remained an important leading actress through the mid-1950s. Movie makers K. A. Abbas (Rahi), Ramesh Saigal (Shikast and Railway Platform), and Zia Sarhady (Awaaz) extended Nalini Jaywant’s association with realistic movies, while movie makers Mahesh Kaul (Naujavan (1951)) and AR Kardar (Jaadu) developed her musical persona. She performed admirably in successful Filmistan musicals, Nastik (opposite Ajit) and Munimjee (opposite Dev Anand).

              1958 movie, Kaala Pani directed by Raj Khosla, was Nalini’s last successful movie. That year, she won the Filmfare Best Supporting Actress Award for her performance in that movie as a shady nautch girl, Kishori, who formed a “key witness” in framing the hero’s father for a murder. Her come-hither “mujra” in S. D. Burman’s composition, “Nazar Laage Raaja Tore Bangle pe” and her tearful looks at Dev Anand from across the room in Burman’s “Hum Bekhudi Mein” were memorable.

              Bombay Race Course (1965) was Nalini’s last main movie, though she did make a comeback of sorts playing a blind mother in Nastik (1983). (This “Nastik” had no connection with “Nastik”(1954) in which she had starred.)

              Actor Dilip Kumar considered Nalini as the greatest actress he ever worked with, citing her instinct for grasping the essence of a scene as second to none. A Filmfare poll in the 1950s named her the most beautiful woman in the Indian movie world. She acted opposite all top actors of her time, barring Raj Kapoor, in hit movies like Samadhi (1950), Jaadu (1951), Nastik (1954), Munimjee (1955), Mr. X (1957), and Kaala Pani (1958). She received much critical acclaim for her performances in Rahi (1952), Shikast (1953), Railway Platform (1955), and Awaaz (1956).

              She is first cousin to actress Shobhna Samarth, who was the mother of actresses Nutan and Tanuja). Shobhna’s mother, actress Rattan Bai, was a sibling of Nalini’s father. Since 1983, she has been living mostly a reclusive life. She was married to director Virendra Desai in the 1940s. Then she was rumored to have a romance with her co-star Ashok Kumar


              If yu get a chance must see Jadoo.



  10. Very sad to read this news… I liked Nalini Jaywant in Nastik and especially Kala Pani (where I found her to be more attractive and interesting than the heroine, Madhubala). I would like to see Munimji sometime.

    And ditto the first paragraph of Memsaab’s comment (though personally I prefer the company of cats :) ). I also am often quite happy being alone, and a bit perplexed when other people find it so hard to believe (though I think women are more likely to be pitied for reclusive tendencies than are men).

    By the way, Kala Pani is available on YouTube with English subtitles:


    • Richard, even though I’m a die-hard Madhubala fan, I must admit that Nalini Jaywant’s role in Kala Pani is far more interesting! She’s superb in that.

      P.S. Thank you for the link to my blog.


    • Richard, I should have put cats in there too, sorry! I just can’t own cats b/c of allergies but if I could….well, let’s just say I might be a crazy cat lady.

      Dogs are more work, which keeps my population of them in check :) Thanks for the link to Kala Pani, maybe I can find time today to start watching it anyway…would be a good way to begin the new year :)


  11. Pingback: RIP Nalini Jaywant « Dances on the Footpath

  12. Very sad indeed. I didn’t know until I read this post. I remember watching Kala Pani just the week before NJ passed away. She was really good in the movie. I have Munimji but haven’t had a chance to watch it. Will have to do so tonite and see NJ in a different form than the tortured Kishori of KalaPani.

    It is quite disturbing that so many of the best artistes of yesteryears die lonely deaths, lead reclusive lives. It is so ironic. Someone was telling me how reclusive Suchitra Sen is as she refused to appear in public to get the Dadasaheb Phalke award. Sadhana I read on the web lead a reclusive life, and so does Nanda. Though Nanda was not a popular actress I am very fond of her and find her strangely attractive – in Gumnaam, JabJab phool khile, Ittefaq etc. And when she played the matronly roles in Prem Rog, Majdoor, etc she had aged gracefully. Sadhana was a fashion icon of her time. It’s really sad to know how isolated they become once the arc-lights fade out on them! The fleeting nature of fame!


    • I wonder if so many stars opt to lead such reclusive lives because they want the public to remember them as they were…? Once you’ve wowed everybody with your gorgeousness, perhaps you don’t want them to see you looking grey-haired and wrinkled and frail. Or it could be a case of simply wanting some peace and quiet after all those years of being in the limelight!

      I don’t find Nanda particularly beautiful, but there’s a certain charm about her that makes me think of her as a very sweet person.


      • Being a Bollyw fan of yore I have made sure to see Nanda movies when ever opportunity existed, and yeah agree DO she does have a charm and kinda sweetness in her, if I may add that gentleness also shows !

        Oh another find, Nalini played in Nirdosh from 1941, and guess who was da hero. MUKESH !


  13. Re our weepy weepy momma Nirupa ben, one movie dying to see is Hip Hip Hurray (1948), where she has a major role, I have heard one or two songs and they were peppy and hilarious, I am sure movie is same, any1 got it/seen it ?????

    Share another piece of info on ‘forgotten’ people, Shashi Kapoor is another one lying quite sick in a haspatal in Mumbai, hardly any news or so called beloved friends from the past paying a call, but yeah BIG B made a call, a discreet and he spent solid 30-40 mins with him, maybe more minutes, with his co star. they did many movie together !



    • I had no idea Shashi Kapoor was so ill – but good of AB to have at least called and spent some time with him! They did do some very entertaining films together, like Kala Patthar, Namakhalaal and Do aur do paanch.


  14. DO I just checked my library and see one more movie with Dilip Saheb, Anokha Pyar 1948, here Nargis was also there, I hv this movie but not seen it yet, cud it be this one ??????



    • No… I don’t think so, because I’d have remembered Nargis. Maybe I’m completely wrong and the lead actor wasn’t Dilip Kumar, but someone else! The one thing I am sure about was that Nalini Jaywant had a scar on her forehead, just above where her bindi would have been.


      • It is indeed shikast 1953. check this song

        I think she played a widow in the film.

        I am new here. memsaab’s review of ‘munimji’ also has similar issues with the film.
        was PRAN repititive in his villain roles – most of them? his 70’s +ve roles were different.


        • Chris, thank you for that link – yes, it does seem like the film I was talking of was Shikast, though I seem to recall the scar being higher up, near her hairline. But I’m inclined to think you’re correct!

          I suppose most villain roles that were written in the 50’s and 60’s were fairly similar too, generally one-dimensional men with only money and women on their minds…. which is probably why Pran, premier villain of the era, ended up playing so many similar roles. It was, as far as I know, only with Upkaar that he began branching out into more positive roles.


          • Perhaps you are confusing the forehead scar in another Dilip Kumar film, Devdas, where it was Suchitra Sen with a similar scar nearer the hairline.


            • No, no – I’m quite sure about that. It was definitely Nalini Jaywant. Plus, I’m quite sure it wasn’t Devdas, which I saw for the first time only a couple of years back, but about which I’d heard even when I was a kid. I am inclined to think the film was Shikast; my memory of where that scar was placed is probably wonky.


  15. RIP Nalini.
    Yes, we lovers of old cinema feel sorry to see them pass away one by one, and feel very sad in case of some of them, like Nalini, who die alone.

    She was lovely in Kala Pani. Her last film was as Amitabh’s blind mother in Naastik.

    I *must* see Munimjee.


  16. I love this movie for all the reasons you’ve listed – the gorgeous music, the beautiful people and the interesting plot. Speaking of plot, have you seen “Agosh” (1953)? It has the same story as Munimji, but gender-reversed with Nutan playing the Dev role and Nasir Khan in the Nalini Jaywant spot. Lovely music there too.

    As for Nalini Jaywant, “Shikast” is by far my favorite movie and performance of hers. She is simply magnificient in it.


    • I have never even heard of Agosh, let alone having seen it! :-( And now that you’ve told me what it’s about – and that it stars Nutan – I can’t wait to watch it. Knowing my luck, I bet it hasn’t been released on VCD…


  17. After her death, i wanted to see more of NJ films and this review made me actually open the DVD of the film that had been sitting on my shelf for some years now. Didn’t realize how delightful Munimji is and I actually liked NJ in this movie more than Kala Pani where she was a bit too morose I thought.


  18. If yu can not get hold of Jadoo DO, send a word and abraak dabra I will rip it and share with you folks, btw am gonna go on a hunt for a file in my collection today, as it is urgently needed, so if I come across Jungle Princess disc, I will rip n share asap.

    Am sure folks wud love to see it.

    Cheers :)


  19. Anyone figure out what Nalini’s husband Prabhu Dayal looks like, seen him in a film? He’s credited for CID (which I recently saw) and I couldn’t find him — the only people with major roles I couldn’t identify are either old (murdered editor and Dev’s deputy guy) or henchman (bald guy w/ moustache and beefy guy).


    • No idea, actually… and according to imdb, it seems Prabhu Dayal also acted in Munimji, House No. 44 and Hum Dono, all of which I’ve reviewed on this blog (I’ve also reviewed CID). Now if only I could remember who was common to all these films, other than Dev Anand, of course!


      • He’s a very elusive fellow it seems! From Ash’s picture he look good-looking..I wonder why he never got any leading roles (especially being married to Nalini).


  20. So sorry DO for using yr space, pls delete my last 2 posts as unable to u/l images, bad day today, let me try this with different codes…. thx

    this has to work :)



  21. Thank you, Ash! He does look very familiar, though offhand I can’t recall the roles in which I’ve seen him. I’ll second Upendra in that comment about how one wonders why he never got any leading roles… he is quite good-looking, really.


  22. I posted my first comment in this post. I had only seen the film on star gold till then, watched it again recently.
    Can Nirupa’s character here called a ‘vamp’? or is a ‘vamp’ only western?
    Anyway, I like films with strong women characters even if they are ‘bad women’. oddly enough one such film I did not enjoy turns out to be ‘Mother India’.
    didn’t Nirupa win the (well deserved) best supporting actress award for ‘Deewaar’ ? should have been best actress .(I know sounds ridiculous)
    and Amitabh didn’t win any award for his role!I love Sanjeev Kumar (Aandhi) but that was a shocker.


    • I wouldn’t refer to a vamp as only a ‘western’ one – for example, Aruna Irani’s character in Caravan would probably count as a vamp, even though she’s not at all westernised. But a vamp is characterised as a somewhat predatory woman (the term is derived from ‘vampire’), who typically uses herself to ‘trap’ men – sex seems to be a major part of the deal. By that standard, I wouldn’t bill Nirupa Roy as a vamp.

      No, Nirupa Roy didn’t win for Deewaar. She wasn’t even nominated.


  23. Nalini Jaywant’s best co star for me was Dadamoni.
    Here’s Shikast , you might have seen this

    was Shikast the same film with the ‘scar’?


  24. Raj “bullies” her to drive & sing?? What a nonsensical way put it! It is she who offered him place & it was she who bullied him!
    Do you have even a bit of brains? Lol


    • I may not have brains (LoL, as you point out), but it seems you don’t know the first thing about manners.

      It’s a question of perception and interpretation, not so much brains. From how I see it, Raj’s way of getting a lift in her car is somewhat underhand: he teases her mercilessly, and even when she’s going on insisting she doesn’t want him with her in the car, he continues to push himself forward. That, to me, is bullying. The fact that her wrist is sprained and so she is compelled to grudgingly allow him to drive her, is not her willingly offering him a place in the car. She just realizes that she has no choice.

      Anyway, I doubt if I will see you around again, but I do hope you can learn some etiquette. If nothing else, learn to disagree in a civilized manner. This might be of some help:


  25. Hi Madhu, I watched “Munimji” just now after reading your review of it. I often read your former posts to see which old films are worth watching. The movie is okay, and while I detest Dev Anand , because he was uniformly awful in most of his colour movies and his mannerisms jar so badly, he was tolerable in the black and white movies of the 50’s and his acting wasn’t too bad when he was directed by other people . But I’m writing this because I saw the famous music director Madan Mohan of “Lag ja gale” fame acting in “Munimji” . He’s seen at 47 :08 in the card scene with Nalini Jaywant, when he gets ready to shoot Dev Anand. His name is also credited in the titles. Did you know this ? I didn’t know that he acted in movies too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I did know that Madan Mohan acted in films (in fact, if I’m not mistaken, he first tried to make it as an actor before turning to music direction) but I had no idea he was there in Munimji! Thank you for that bit of trivia, very interesting, I must go and check it out.

      Agree re: Dev Anand in b/w films as opposed to colour. I especially like him in the early b/w films, like around this time. By about 1960 or so (Jab Pyaar Kisi Se Hota Hai), he was firmly entrenched in those mannerisms of his and had become really irritating.


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