Junglee (1961)

For a lot of people of my generation – or those younger than me, who have seen Shammi Kapoor in his earlier films, this is the film that is probably representative of Shammi Kapoor: the ‘Yahoo! Kapoor’ as a friend of mine says with a sneer.
Junglee is one of the major successes of Shammi Kapoor’s heyday. It is also, with Shammi’s wild whooping and crazy antics in songs like Suku suku, an important reason for him getting saddled with that ‘Yahoo! Kapoor’ epithet.

But for me, Junglee is more. It’s a sweet little romance, uncomplicated and lovely, and with some fabulous music. And it actually allows Shammi Kapoor to show off (though in a limited way) his skills as a thespian and not just a whooper and neck-jerker.
More on that later; for now, a synopsis.

Chandrashekhar ‘Shekhar’ (Shammi Kapoor) is the son of a very wealthy widow (Lalita Pawar). His mother has modelled Shekhar (and herself) on the tenets propounded by her late husband, whose portrait hangs in the house. Shekhar’s father had believed in all-encompassing discipline: no laughter, no childish frivolity, nothing that is silly and dishonourable. That is how Shekhar has been brought up, and he’s a grim, unsmiling man.
Shekhar has returned to India after three years abroad, and his reunion with his mother is marked by the stiff formality one would expect of a pair such as this (the scenes up to this point have no dialogue, but a narrator with a dry humour all through).

When he goes to office of the vast business he controls, Shekhar shows he’s not going to tolerate any nonsense there either. The manager (Shivraj) whom Shekhar had, as a child, played with and called chachaji (‘uncle’), is brusquely told that he had better remember he’s just the manager. An employee is reprimanded for being 10 seconds late. Shekhar’s secretary Rita (? Sangeeta?), when she phones from hospital to beg for leave because her boyfriend had an accident, is summoned to the office and told that she has a choice: either she quits work or quits her romance.

This man’s an unfeeling brute.

There is one person in the household, though, who’s not cast in the same mould. Shekhar’s younger sister Mala (Shashikala) – even though she isn’t openly rebellious – is a happy, cheery girl, who’s romancing Jeevan (Anoop Kumar), a clerk in Shekhar’s office. They know well enough that Shekhar and his mother will throw a fit when they realise that Mala is in love with a mere clerk, but that doesn’t stop them.

Meanwhile, Shekhar, now that he’s back home in India, has been told by his mother that it’s time to honour the long-ago promise that Shekhar’s father had made to the Raja of Aamgarh: that Shekhar, when grown up, would marry the princess (Azra) of Aamgarh. Shekhar agrees, a message is sent to Aamgarh, and the princess’s brother (Rajan Haksar) arrives. As a token of the agreement, an heirloom sword is handed over to Shekhar from Aamgarh. In return, Shekhar’s mother gives Rs 10,000 and a valuable necklace for the princess.

She, however, makes one stipulation; that the wedding be held only a few months later, since Shekhar has to go on urgent business to Kashmir. The prince of Aamgarh tries to plead, but Shekhar’s mother is sternly adamant.

The scene now shifts to Aamgarh, where we are shown the real reason behind the hurry to get the princess married to Shekhar. The Raja, his son and daughter live in a mansion that’s obviously seen far better days; it’s now falling apart, faded and battered. There’s a line of creditors outside, all of them clamouring for their debts to be cleared.

Fortunately for the degenerate Raja and his equally degenerate son, there’s the Rs 10,000 that Shekhar’s mother has given. They quickly distribute that, and look forward eagerly to when Shekhar gets back from Kashmir and the princess can marry him and they can all loll about happily in all that gorgeous wealth.

In Bombay, Shekhar and Mala’s mother has discovered Mala sneaking off (to meet Jeevan, though she doesn’t tell her mother that). Mum figures out that Mala is “up to no good” and this is confirmed by the manager, who happens to have seen Jeevan and Mala together. Mala and Shekhar’s mother decides that a ‘change of air’ will be good for Mala – so Mala will accompany Shekhar to Kashmir.

We now follow Shekhar to Kashmir (where, though he’s ostensibly gone on work, he seems to spend all his time skiing, wandering through gardens, or doing anything but work). One day, as he’s going along a snowy slope, Shekhar encounters Rajkumari ‘Raj’ (Saira Banu, in her debut film). Raj is the daughter of a doctor (Moni Chatterjee) and is an outspoken, impish girl who isn’t in the least intimidated by Shekhar’s scowls or his snapping and snarling.

A few days later, while Shekhar is not at home, Mala begins to feel unwell and has to go visit the doctor – who, as we know, is Raj’s father. He examines her, and in his conversation, tells her that she has only about three months to go, and this is her first baby, if he isn’t mistaken…? Mala is devastated [I am amazed at how naïve so many Hindi film heroines can be; isn’t it a little far-fetched for a woman who’s six months pregnant to not know?]

Once away from the doctor’s, Mala heads for the nearest cliff and tries to fling herself off, but is saved just in time by – another coincidence – Raj. Raj takes her back to the hospital, has her admitted, and firmly tells her to put all thought of committing suicide out of her mind. When Mala voices her anxiety about Shekhar’s reaction to all of this, Raj says she’ll handle Shekhar. I like this girl; she’s got so much backbone.

Raj’s ‘handling of Shekhar’ consists largely of driving him up the wall (most of which occurs during the delightful Kashmir ki kali hoon main). Shekhar finds himself tripped up, dumped in a water channel, his shoe stolen, his motorboat driven off with him left floundering in its wake… he’s even bullied into taking flowers for his poor invalid sister in the hospital.

Meanwhile, Mala’s getting close to her due date. Shekhar has been coming to see her every day. They must contrive now to get Shekhar away for a couple of weeks; otherwise he’ll soon know the truth. Raj takes it upon herself to send Shekhar away. This she accomplishes by disguising herself as a sadhu [a very poor disguise, I may add – and those beautifully manicured nails aren’t often seen on sadhus].

In her sadhu disguise, Raj meets Shekhar and ‘predicts’ that Shekhar is being tormented by a girl. He can rid himself of her irritating presence if he goes to the shrine at Sheshnag and prays there constantly for fifteen days. For someone who’s such a curmudgeon, Shekhar agrees quite readily. I’d have expected him to be rather more suspicious.

Having sent Shekhar off to Sheshnag, Raj returns happily to Mala’s side – only to discover that an awful blizzard has hit Sheshnag and some people have died. And that’s where she’s sent Shekhar off to! Oh, no.
So Raj sets off at once to stop Shekhar. He flies into a rage when he realises the prank she’d pulled on him, and they end up caught in the blizzard. After much stumbling about in the flying snow and with a roaring gale all around, they find a deserted hut and stumble into it.

They get stuck in the hut for the night, the next day and the night following it. It’s all very innocent – Raj is her chirpy self, pulling Shekhar’s leg at every opportunity, and he’s as sulky and snappish as ever.
But something’s slowly happening here, and Shekhar, waking on the first morning, sees Raj lying asleep:

And has to literally run from the hut – on the pretext of chopping firewood, even though there’s a snowstorm outside – because, as he says when Raj ingenuously questions him, she has no idea what storms he has to face. Raj, thankfully is not a naïve moron, and realises what’s happening. There’s loads of tension here, but nothing does happen, except that they’ve now run out of food and the storm doesn’t seem to be abating…

…but it does, and they wake to a new, sunny morning. And a changed Shekhar. He’s a complete madcap, wild and more playful than Raj could ever have imagined.

They head back to town, and Raj discovers that Mala has had her baby (a fact they are able to hide from Shekhar). Unfortunately, Shekhar and Raj’s new-found love hits a barrier: he has to return to Bombay. But he’s already asked Raj’s father for her hand in marriage, and so they’re able to part with the anticipation of that.

Back in Bombay, people are in for a surprise. The office staff are shocked – and pleasantly surprised – at the sudden change in Shekhar, who’s gone from being tyrant to chummy boss. Shekhar’s mother is horrified to find him hugging her instead of maintaining a decorous and respectful distance – and she finds that she actually likes it.

Shekhar’s intended – the princess of Aamgarh – and her debt-riddled relatives have however been clamouring to hurry up with the betrothal. So Shekhar is bullied into going and paying them a visit. He manages, with some lunatic antics, to convince the Aamgarh lot that he’s quite mad. But they decide to ignore that minor flaw; the bridegroom’s millions will nicely make up for any mental shortcomings in the groom himself.

So we’re in a bit of a mess here. Shekhar is engaged to a gold-digger, while the girl he really wants to marry is far away in Kashmir. His mother is adamant that the princess is the only girl she’ll let him marry – because Shekhar’s father, after all, had given his word, and there is no greater dishonour than to go back on the word of one’s own father.
And in all the flurry, there is the small matter of Mala and Jeevan’s baby…

What I liked about this film:

Just about everything. The story’s simple; there are no complicated plots and side plots cluttering up the background; and the climax is neat and not unnecessarily prolonged. [I hate it when the hero has to spend all of the last half-hour of a film bashing up the villains. We know he’s going to win, dammit – get on with it!]

But, what I particularly love about Junglee:

(a) The sheer eye candy. Saira Banu and Shammi Kapoor are gorgeous.

(b) The romance. Yes, the gorgeousness of the leads contributes to that, but there are sweet little scenes that actually build up the romance. For example, when Raj and Shekhar are stuck in the hut during the blizzard, and all that follows after he sees her lying asleep… this is also one scene that prompted me to write that bit in the beginning of this post about Shammi Kapoor showing his acting skills. The dawning realisation that Raj is not the pest he’s always considered her – the realisation that he’s actually very attracted to her – and then the discovery that he really loves her – are beautifully reflected in his face.

(c) The songs. Shankar-Jaikishan are in their element in Junglee, with some lovely tunes (yes, one – Suku sukuborrowed, but still). I especially love Jaa jaa jaa mere bachpan, Mere yaar shabba-khair and Kashmir ki kali hoon main. But my all-time favourite is the wonderful Ehsaan tera hoga mujhpar. The lyrics are beautiful, the music melodious – and the picturisation of both the male and the female versions sublime [that beseeching look in Shammi’s face when he’s singing it to her; and the pain in his face when she sings it to him in his dream… mmm].

(d) I can’t help but put this in: the heroine. Saira Banu’s Raj is such a refreshing change from the usual simpering beauty (or, conversely the silly-and-rather-naïve beauty) that is a hallmark of old Hindi films. This one’s sweet and feminine, but she’s also got a terrific sense of humour, loads of spunk, and a generally sensible head on her shoulders. I love her; such a perfect match for Shammi Kapoor’s Shekhar.

What I didn’t like:

The forced funniness in places. One scene that especially irritates me is the one involving Asit Sen as a doctor who is brought in to examine Shekhar.

Also, I thought the ‘makeover’ of Shekhar from stern tyrant to unmitigated joker was too drastic. He could’ve become a sweeter person, ‘softened by love’ so to say, but this change was too abrupt and too over the top to be swallowed.

Who cares, though? I love Junglee for its charm, its beauty, its embodiment of all the delightful escapism that makes so many Shammi Kapoor films addictive for me.

Two little bits of trivia:

First, Saira Banu’s recollections of debuting opposite Shammi Kapoor in Junglee. In an interview shortly after Shammiji’s death, she recalled that she first met him in Srinagar’s Shalimar Bagh, where they were filming Kashmir ki kali hoon main. Saira Banu was nervous – she was fresh out of college, and had defied her mother (Naseem Banu) to join the film industry.

The director, Subodh Mukherjee, explained the scenario to them, and filming began – with a vast crowd of eager onlookers on the fringes. The crowds bothered the already-nervy Saira so much, she just wasn’t being able to summon the saucy expression Subodh Mukherjee wanted. Shammi Kapoor finally lost his patience and yelled at her, “If you’re so nervous about people watching you, wear a burqa for the shoot!”

Saira burst into tears and vowed she wouldn’t work with him again until she’d learnt how to act (well, she did star opposite Shammi Kapoor in Bluffmaster in 1963, so I’m guessing she made rapid progress…)

Second bit of trivia: I don’t know if this was intentional, but the set design for Suku suku bears an uncanny resemblance to a song and dance sequence from the Dean Martin-Jerry Lewis film Artists and Models.

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46 thoughts on “Junglee (1961)

  1. Madhu, I never thought I would bless the day when my work would keep me from my beauty sleep, but your post came up just as I was logging off. :) I’m glad you’re showcasing Junglee – it is by far my favourite of all of Shammi Kapoor’s films. Mainly because, I suspect, he finally had a heroine who was a match for him. And the romance was really very cute, no? I do not know if I’m the only one who felt this, but in the scene in the hut, once they realise they are in love with each other, you could cut the sexual tension with a knife. And I liked it because it was done with no physicality on screen! I thought it was amazingly ‘modern’ for the times. And as I said before, I absolutely loved the scene where Shekhar will just not believe anything against Raj, even if she admits to it.

    [I am amazed at how naïve so many Hindi film heroines can be; isn’t it a little far-fetched for a woman who’s six months pregnant to not know?]

    I’m afraid it can happen. There was a girl in school we all thought was growing fat during the year; she did too. She didn’t know she was in fact, pregnant. She was dieting and taking part in Games and stuff so she could lose weight. It was all shushed up, as was usual in those days – she went away to Himachal Pradesh or something, came back three months later, slimmer by the kilo, very sad-eyed, sans baby. Of course, I came to know much later.

    • Yes, Anu – those scenes in the hut during the snowstorm are amazing, because there’s so much sexual tension without anything physical actually happening. Frankly, I find that vastly more satisfying as a *pure mush* watch than the more obvious ‘something-is-cooking’ innuendo of Roop tera mastaana. I could see those scenes from Junglee again and again and again.

      Hmm. That’s an interesting story from your school days. I have read newspaper snippets about girls giving birth in school toilets and stuff like that, but I always thought that was a result of the girl not wanting to let anyone else know, not about the girl herself not knowing.

      • I’m sure your scenario happens more often; in this case, I only heard about it years later. My gynaec was the same one who had attended to this girl, and apparently she was in shock at the time. She really didn’t know what had happened and my gynaec (having seen quite a few such cases , was a very cynical woman), was quite sure she was telling the truth. I was doing an article about teenage pregnancies, and that is how the topic came up. She didn’t know I knew the girl.

        ps: I’m sorry the html went haywire in my previous post.

        • I suppose the scenario you mentioned can be put down to a sheer lack of sexual awareness. Back when I was in school, I remember we were never taught anything about the birds and bees – down to the extent when we got to the ‘Reproductive System of the Human Body’ chapter in our biology textbooks, our bio teacher neatly skipped large sections of it and told us to study that as homework. I don’t know how many actually did.

  2. What a pity, I’ve to go to work now!
    Junglee is Shammi and Shammi is Junglee!
    Saira didn’t convince me much in this film, but nor did she do in any other, but Saira is Saira.But she did look good!
    I was very amused by the last fight scene, where Lalita doesn’t allow Anoop to interfere. I thought at that time “See, Even Lalita likes a good dishoom-dishoom!”

    • I can’t imagine anybody else doing the Junglee title role as well as Shammi Kapoor did, no? He’s fabulous in this.

      I know what you mean about Saira Banu! I don’t usually like her much either (she’s mostly too shrill for my taste), but I liked her in this. Not only was she very pretty, but more importantly, her acting was spot on. She wasn’t shrill, but had this impish endearing charm to her that I really liked.

      There’s also this one frame in the last scene where Saira Banu is clenching her fists, eager to pound the stuffing out of the villain, and Lalita Pawar places a hand over Saira’s hands, as if telling her that as the prospective bahu of such an ‘honourable’ family, she shouldn’t display so much emotion. Cute!

  3. Oh yay!!! This one film epitomised my childhood. We had heard the songs on tape like a hundred times and when they played it on Doordarshan finally, it was every bit as fantastic as I thought it would be. What anticipation there was in waiting for the movie to start! And we had taped it and my bro and I would watch every time we felt like. It was definitely one of our go-to movies of the time.

    When I was small, I used to get annoyed with the Ehsaan hoga tera song because suddenly everything slowed down in an otherwise fast paced movie. Also the scenes in the hut made me uncomfortable. I think I was around 7 or 8 then and I found the implication of romance, a little weird :D

    I think this is Saira Banu’s best film because in all the others I have seen her after this, she lost that impish innocence and became this screechy thing for some reason.

    I loved reading the synopsis. Each line brought back scenes of the movie and I can’t wait to watch it again. And yes, I think the Ehsaan hoga song is one of the best romantic songs made ever.

    • You’ve reminded me of my childhood memories of Junglee, Andaleeb! I guess I must have seen this when I was about 10 or 11, possibly even 12. But I knew about it, of course (since I’d seen the songs on Chitrahaar), so my sister and I ensured we had a blank VHS tape, and we recorded it. Saw that tape I don’t know how many times until our VCR finally conked out years later. Junglee was, later, one of the first VCDs I bought. Now it’s one of my favourite DVDs. :-)

      I agree about Saira Banu losing that impish innocence of hers and becoming screechy – in fact, pretty soon after. I don’t even like her much in Bluffmaster, also with Shammi Kapoor, though she’s not bad in Shaadi. But Junglee is, by far, my favourite film of hers.

  4. I declare Junglee as an iconic film or a cult film. :)
    Harvey has said it so well, Junglee is Shammi and Shammi is Junglee.
    One has to mention Shammi and Junglee springs to mind.

    Love this film inspite of …just any flaw. Always feel sorry when it’s reaching the climax and one knows The End is not far.

    • Very well put, pacifist! I always feel rather regretful when this film is reaching its climax, because I know the end isn’t far… even though I know I can rewatch it any time and relive it, but still.

      That’s what a cult film is all about, isn’t it? Even otherwise, this actually became Shammi Kapoor’s signature film (or, more correctly its title song became his signature song) – and since Shammi Kapoor was an icon, Junglee too should be considered an iconic film. :-)

  5. Great review Madhu! You captured everything that I think is right and wrong with this movie. Although there are more rights. Whenever I see this movie, I drool over just how gorgeous the lead pair look and I’m always egging Raj on even though I know what’s going to happen! And the dry humour of the voiceover at the start always has me in bits! Great movie that you can watch again and again and again. Thanks for Shammi Kapoor week!

    • Thank you, Anoushka!

      Every time I mention my fondness for Shammi Kapoor to my mum, she always says “His films were so entertaining!” And Junglee, I think, epitomises that – it’s the sort of film that, like Professor, you can know almost every scene and every dialogue of, but still not tire of watching. :-)

  6. Yes indeed I have to admit I enjoyed Junglee — a total ‘paisa vasool’ film and as usual all the songs from Shammi Kapoor’s films were addictive, I can just go on hearing them without a break.

    • That is high praise from someone who doesn’t really care much for Shammi Kapoor! But, as you say, Junglee is total paisa vasool – comedy, romance, a lead that was mind-bogglingly beautiful, just the right amount of villainy, a little melodrama, some misunderstandings, a good script, lots of fabulous music, and gorgeous locales… I’m not surprised this was such a success.

  7. This has always been one of my favorite movies, and Ehsaan tera hoga mujhpe … one of my favorite songs,followed by … Yahoo!, of course! That must be the most exuberant song ever sung, and I love the way the energy spills out of that song, prompting even the dullest listener to smile, if not grin. Shammi, of course, brings all that energy to life, and the whole scene is such a mood lifter that I love to watch it when I am irritated about something. Great review about one of my favorite movies!

    • I am, oddly enough, not very fond of Chaahe koi mujhe junglee kahe. I think it’s mainly the fact that I don’t like the music very much (plus, I keep wondering: wasn’t Shammi Kapoor feeling terribly cold, since under that jacket he’s actually bare-chested? In all that snow? Yes, I admit I’m crazy!)

      But that’s a minor niggle. Junglee is too good for me to pay attention to such minor flaws!

  8. Surprisingly Saira doesn’t seem to have acted in films showing her as a whimpering female.
    In most of her films she’s quite the opposite.

    One of her films where she’s quite a street smart female is Sagina with Dilip Kumar.
    The film itself is very good, I thought.

    • That’s an interesting observation, pacifist – and yes, I tend to agree with you. When I think about films like Shagird, Padosan, Aayi Milan ki Bela, Chaitali, Victoria No. 203, etc, I always remember a Saira Banu who’s quite a firebrand – never one of the simpering belles.

      I haven’t seen Sagina. Now that you’ve recommended it, I must look out for it. Thanks!

  9. Going through your review, reminded me of the fact, that I’ve forgotten lots of things from Junglee. I need to watch it again!

    What would have Junglee been without Lalita Pawar, though?

    Oh God, my memory is playing tricks on me. I could have sworn, that it was Anoop Kumar who wants to interfere and Lalita Pawar holds him back! Hmmm..!

  10. No, my memory is not that bad, I just saw the scene again and Anoop Kumar would like to go Shammi’s help, but Lalita stops him and says that this is against the principles of the family and the part where she holds Saira’s hands comes right after that!

    At 09:39 in

    • Thanks for that link, harvey! Good print, that.

      (By the way, I also like the way Lalita Pawar’s character steps forward onto the fallen pistol – at about 09:19 – and intervenes in the fight. Gutsy lady, this one).

  11. Do you remember my asking about a children’s song that was a parody of many songs, including the Yahoo … song? A friend from Atul’s blog was kind enough to find it for me – it is from Main Chup Rahungi, starring Meena Kumari and Sunil Dutt:

    I found that Ehsaan tera hoga is also one of the songs in the medley of songs, so someone else also felt the same way back then, about the best songs in this movie!

    • I have forgotten who, but somebody on another blog posted this as a trivia question, asking which film it was from. I knew that (not that there’s a dearth of films that starred Meena Kumari as a weepy mum!), but I’d forgotten which songs were parodied in this one.

      Two songs from Junglee – wow, that is certainly proof enough of the popularity of the film!

  12. Junglee! This film is so, so utterly right, for all the reasons you mention. Saira Banu was gorgeous in this, a really impressive debut. And Shammi, and Yahoo, no, none of us who have ever seen this film, can forget it.

  13. I love this film to bits too, and I love ehsaan tera hoga the best but all the songs are fab and I do have to say Helen’s set beats the one from Artists and models by a long mile ( Hooray!! for Bollywood)

  14. Junglee is one of my favourite films of all time.Infact,it is among the three best films that bollywood ever made in the musical comedy genre [the other two being Padosan and Shagird] in my opinion.
    Also,contrary to popular perception that Tumsa Nahin Dekha[which was a milestone film in his career] made Shammi a big star,it was Junglee that actually made him the Superstar of the 60’s.what TND had actually done was that it had made Shammi an actor who could run a film on his shoulders and provide a hit after he had not 1,not 2 but 15 flops to his credit [or discredit].But TND had just made him a star and not a superstar that could challenge the trio of Dilip Kumar,Raj Kapoor and Dev Anand.It was Junglee that did it.

    Consider this,in the period of 4 years between the release of TND and Junglee,Shammi had only two superhits in TND and DDD and a hit in Singapore alongwith 10 flops.But consider the four year period starting from 1961 i.e. Junglee’s release to 1965.In that period Shammi had 7 superhits and only 4 flops.It was only after Junglee that Shammi became a true superstar who would just go on giving superhit after superhit in the true superstar fashion.Truly Yahoo Kapoor was born.

    note-The music of Junglee[by S-J] was too good.And what was like an icing on the cake was the fact that all the those great songs were also really picturised well by the Director Subodh Mukherjee.No can forget the picturisation of Yahoo,suku suku and ehsaan tera hoga.

    • I agree with you about Tumsa Nahin Dekha making a star out of Shammi (I’ve seen four or five of his early films, and really, he’s not a patch on what he became in Tumsa Nahin Dekha)… but Junglee being the film that made him a superstar. It had all the makings of a fabulous film (I read somewhere that it was also one of India’s first primarily romantic films – as opposed to historical, fantasy or mythological films – to be filmed in colour. So Subodh Mukherjee and his team obviously put in a lot of effort and money. It certainly paid off.

      And I agree wholeheartedly about the picturisation of the songs. They don’t just sound good, they also look wonderful. (It doesn’t hurt that the leads and the backdrops look so good, too – but the lighting, the camera angles, the frames and the choreography are great too).

  15. My huge compliments and congratulations on a wonderful review. Just a small observation. In your reviews you leave the end as a teaser, I guess on the reasoning that you do not want to kill the joy by revealing the climax. For most well known films, such as Junglee, which everyone would be familiar with, this would not be a concern. For someone like me – I may be in a minority – knowing the end of even a murder mystery does not reduce the pleasure; my mind involuntarily suspends disbelief. I would enjoy your writing more right up to the climax of the movie.

    • Thanks, AK, for the appreciation.

      I do think you’re in the minority, though, as regards giving out the ending (I’ve only done it for one film I’ve reviewed so far). I have had occasional very nasty comment for having given out ‘too much of the story’, as it is. And, personally, I don’t like knowing, in advance, the end – especially not in a murder mystery! (and believe me, I read a lot of those – they comprise most of my reading) That was one of the main reasons I cited for not liking Jewel Thief too much; the denouement is too dramatic to forget, and unfortunately, the film upto that point doesn’t have the sort of attraction for me that a Teesri Manzil has. Teesri Manzil, even though by now I know all its twists and turns and where the plot is going, is still an extremely entertaining film, so I don’t mind watching it even when I know what’s coming… but that’s the exception, not the rule. I hate it when people give away the end.

  16. Excellent as usual… I LOVE ‘Junglee’ – it was the first Shammi movie I saw, and once I got over my initial ‘hmm, this guy is weird’ impression, I totally fell for him. He is so good in this film, and it captures so many of the things he did so well – from crazy, humorous antics to heart-melting, gorgeous romance. As you noted, ‘Junglee’ had a fantastic heroine… I love Rajkumari. And the music is wonderful… this was one of the first Hindi film soundtracks that I absolutely had to have.

    • I remember, for a long time when I was a kid and hadn’t yet watched either Kashmir ki Kali or Junglee (though I’d heard of both), I thought Kashmir ki kali hoon main was from Kashmir ki Kali. I love Kashmir ki Kali, but I have to admit I like Junglee even more. It’s sheer joy – especially Shammi Kapoor in romantic mode. :-)

  17. excellent review.junglee was the first coloured romantic musical film.excellent music.ehsan tera hoga mujh par a perfect composition by none other than jaikishan,my heartthrob.
    this film made all the artists superstars.
    excellent work.thanks. i have seen this film at least 50 times.i had it in a vcr when i was in africa.

  18. Thanks a lot for you review! I saw Junglee after your post and I felt in love with it. So romantic, so awesome hero, so pretty heroine – it is amazing! I especially love Shammi’s actor’s skills here – his outraged shouts in the first part of film demonstrate us hidden mettle (and Lalita is so meaning and restrained antithesis to him). And little scene before hut when he carries Raj in his arms is the trigger of scenes in the hut – I suppose, that Shekhar have been felt enormous hunger for touch, because even his mother didn’t embrace him. So one of the reason for his love was Raj’s touches as physical as emotional. And Shammi in the second part almost always tried to touch Saira and did it so charming – I think this is not expressive but very indicative attribute of amazing actor’s skills.
    Excuse my poor English, i am not very fluent in it

    • I’m so glad you liked Junglee, Anna! I think you’re right, about Shammi’s character having longed to be loved, touched, held close, because even his mother wouldn’t show any affection for him… I think it was a very beautifully done film. I can watch it again and again!

  19. I rewatched this tonight, giving it a second chance, because I remember being annoyed and underwhelmed by it when I first saw it 5 or 6 years ago. Now I’m wondering what on Earth was wrong with me then! I loved it today, laughing so often and being swept along with the story and Saira’s loveliness. Shammi was very good, and I think I agree with others elsewhere who’ve suggested that the extreme nature of his transformation can be attributed to the sudden release of all that repressed human emotion.
    One little thing I particularly liked: In parts of the film, and especially in kashmir ki kali hoon main it felt like the film was inverting the “stalking = love” meme of Hindi films. Instead of a man proving his love by simply refusing to go away and being slightly stalkerish, it was the other way around. A nice touch, I thought.

    • Now I’m wondering what on Earth was wrong with me then!

      Ah, well. As they say, “Der aaye, durust aaye” ;-)

      Shammi is good in this film, isn’t he? And I agree completely about that ‘stalking’ meme being inverted in part of the film, especially in Kashmir ki kali hoon main – such a refreshing change. Even the bit about the heroine being the one donning the disguise to fool the hero (instead of the other way round) is a reflection of that, I thought.

  20. My most favorite movie of Shammi Kapoor! worth watching again and again!
    I liked this for 1) Lalita Pawar-She is an excellent actress.She was excellent in Anari,Shree 420,Hum Dono and above all Professor.The scene where Shammi hugs her affectionately and she could not restrain her motherly love was so touching!
    2)Shammi Kapoor- Junglee was the first movie that I watched of Shammi Kapoor,have been his fan since then :) and last but not the least
    3) Saira Banu- The most “cute” sadhu I have ever seen :)
    Hard to decide which is the best Shammi Kapoor, the beautiful locations or Saira :)
    A bit of trivia-Initially the name of the film in the beginning was to be ‘Hitler’ as a reference to the hero’s stern character,but Junglee was thought to be more appropriate.

    • Yes, is’t it a wonderful film? :-) I really like it a lot – one of my favourite films, irrespective of genre etc. And I also like the fact that the villainy isn’t too protracted and long: the focus is on the romance, which is how I like it, especially when the two people are as easy on the eyes as Shammi Kapoor and Saira Banu.

      I had known about that Hitler title (though I think I learnt about it after I’d written this post). Thanks for adding it in here!

  21. junglee was coming today. i liked saira banu more in shaadi than here. cause here i didn’t like her hair style. bun looks good on her. i liked her in some scenes where she in bun in saree. in other dresses i liked other hairstyles. there is striking similarity in 3 films. junglee, himalaya ki godd mein and An evening in Paris that these movies start in plane. in junglee and an evening in paris there is voice over for characters. i don’t think it is in himalaya ki godd mein.

    • I loved Saira Banu’s character in Junglee. So much spunk, and yet not the crassly tomboyish type that Asha Parekh played in Ziddi. Raj is a very believably realistic heroine – feminine, sweet, loyal, but at the same time, not a self-sacrificing doormat.

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