Professor (1962)

The first time I watched this film was on TV, back in the mid-80s. Luckily enough, our TV was hooked up to a VCR, and a blank tape was in the VCR – so we recorded Professor. I loved the film so much, I rewatched that tape again and again over the next 15 years. By that time, VCDs had come to India and I’d just gotten married. My husband and I bought a VCD player. And guess which was the first VCD I bought?

Now I have the DVD, and I have seen Professor so many times that I know each scene. I remember a lot of the dialogues, and I still love the film as much as I did way back then the first time, as a starry-eyed, Shammi Kapoor-loving 12 year old.

Pritam Khanna (Shammi Kapoor) is a graduate, but despite a good academic record (and much effort), hasn’t been able to get a job. His ex-professor at college is sympathetic, and has been trying to help Pritam in his search. The latest application, for a tutor in Darjeeling, has been sent back by the prospective employer Seeta Devi, who makes it clear that while she acknowledges Professor Khanna’s credentials, she would want to employ him only if he’s over 50 years old. Eccentric old so-and-so.

That’s another hope gone down the drain. A dejected Pritam goes home to his widowed mother (Protima Devi).

They’re down to their last handful of rice – though mum doesn’t let Pritam know that. Then, a sudden, terrible fit of coughing makes her collapse. Pritam rushes off to his friend the professor to borrow some money (after all, where there’s a doctor, there will be a fee). The professor lends him the money, and hands over a regretful letter for Seeta Devi, requesting Pritam to read through it before posting it.
The doctor has bad news for Pritam: his mother’s got tuberculosis. But the good news is, she can be cured. All it needs is a stint in a good sanatorium.

Pritam’s joblessness, their poverty, and his mother’s potentially fatal illness act as inspiration. Seeta Devi wants an elderly professor? All right, she’ll get an elderly professor! Having admitted mum to a sanatorium in Siliguri, Pritam disguises himself – with the aid of a fake beard, greying wig and droopy moustache; shapeless coat; specs and a walking stick – and presents himself at Seeta Devi’s grand mansion in Darjeeling.
Seeta Devi (Lalita Pawar) is a harridan who immediately subjects him to a rigorous cross-questioning.

Pritam’s extempore answers quickly land him in trouble – when she wonders why his face is free of wrinkles despite his age, he puts it down to yoga, and on being asked which yogi he learnt from, he says none; he learnt from the yoga shastras. Seeta Devi latches on to the fact that the yoga shastras are all written in Sanskrit; so does Professor Khanna know Sanskrit, too? Yes, oh yes (he knows zilch).
Very well, says Seeta Devi. Professor Khanna, besides his main job – which is to tutor her two young nephews – can also teach her nieces Sanskrit.

The nieces in question are Neena (Kalpana) and Rita (Praveen Choudhary). They’ve been looking on, irritated but too scared to speak up, while their education is being decided for them. Neither is keen on learning Sanskrit (yes; I can understand that. I remember rejoicing the year I finally could stop studying Sanskrit in school!). In whispers, they agree that they aren’t going to stand for this – they must do something to get rid of the Professor ASAP.

Which they attempt through a couple of pranks, tailored to show up poor Professor Sahib as a lecherous and irresponsible character, not at all suitable for teaching any kin of Seeta Devi’s. Fortunately, our hero is able to retrieve himself from the situation the first time, when Neena and Rita trick him into entering the cottage of the belligerent servant Hanuman Singh (Rashid Khan), just as Hanuman Singh’s wife (Bela Bose) has emerged, all wet-haired and towel-clad, from a bath…

The second time, though, Pritam cannot resist the temptation to join the girls and their friends in a boisterous song-and-dance – just as Seeta Devi arrives. Pritam is dismissed but again escapes by the skin of his teeth: Seeta Devi overhears Neena and Rita congratulating each other on having succeeded in getting Professor Khanna fired. Seeta Devi promptly hires him again – and Neena tells the Professor, when her aunt’s gone, that she won’t stand for it. She’ll make sure he’s out.

We’re also given a glimpse, in the meantime, of just how much of a disciplinarian Seeta Devi is. It turns out that Neena, Rita and their two little brothers are the children of Seeta Devi’s brother and his wife, both of whom were killed in a plane crash six months earlier. This clutch of orphans has been uprooted from Bombay – where they were studying – and has been brought to Darjeeling to be under the eagle eye of Seeta Devi.

She supervises what they consume (lots of salad and barley water), what they wear (no fancy Western clothes for the girls), where they go, and what they do. No wonder Neena refers to her as a ‘dictator’ and a ‘jallaad’ (literally, someone who flogs another). Life is very hard for them all, and Pritam soon begins to feel very sorry for the siblings.
It does not, however, prevent him from deciding to give Neena a taste of her own medicine. She’s promised him she’ll make him – the Professor – weep.

… so, he’ll return the favour.
Which he does by appearing before her (in his absolutely gorgeous self! – honestly, her eyes widen and she looks half-dazed when she comes face to face with him the first time!)

He runs into her at the tailor’s in Darjeeling, and takes advantage of the fact that her dupatta inadvertently gets entangled in his jacket. It becomes a good excuse to get talking – Neena threatens and then pleads when she realises he has little intention of returning her dupatta, and it ends with him getting her to write him a short note thanking him for the return of her dupatta. A receipt, he says. Neena fumes, but there’s little she can do.

From then on, Neena keeps running into this handsome but mysterious stranger. He’s there in town when she goes back; he’s there in the vicinity when she goes for a picnic…

…and before she quite knows it, Neena’s fallen in love with a man whom she only knows by name. Pritam’s plan to have his revenge on Neena has misfired, of course, and he’s as much in love with her as she is with him.
Neither of them knows, at this point, that Rita has also fallen in love – with a wealthy young rake named Ramesh (Salim Khan).

In the meantime, Pritam (in his avatar as the Professor) has been doing his bit to try and patch up the differences between Seeta Devi and her nieces. This results in him doing a lot of desperate ad-libbing whenever Seeta Devi summons him to her office for an interrogation:

And soon enough, Seeta Devi’s façade – at least as far as the Professor is concerned – is cracking too. It’s not long before Seeta Devi is singing Prem nagar mein banaaoongi ghar main, has begun dyeing her hair, and has changed her very austere, almost uniform-looking saris for rich, zari-embroidered ones.

In the midst of this, Seeta Devi has to ask the Professor for a favour: could he go to Bombay on their behalf? Neena’s parents’ property has to be made over to Neena, for which the paperwork needs to be completed. Seeta Devi and Neena will also come down to Bombay after a few days… which is all the incentive the Professor needs to agree. But in Bombay, he’d rather spend his time meeting Neena. So Pritam – masquerading as the Professor’s nephew – turns up to greet the ladies when they finally arrive in Bombay.

What ensues is a mad whirl of activity as our hero romances his girl, runs around like mad changing from the Professor to Pritam to back again – and makes the very disturbing discovery that Seeta Devi has fallen in love with him.

What now? How long can Pritam maintain this charade? Where will it end? How will he account to Neena – and worse, to Seeta Devi, who sees in the Professor her hope for finally getting married?

An amazingly entertaining film, and highly recommended if you are a Shammi Kapoor fan. (Notice that this is the last of his films I’ve reviewed in this special week? The film I’ve kept for the end? That’s because it’s my favourite of all his films. Unbeatable).

What I liked about this film:

Oh, everything. But if I were to list the top stuff, it would have to be:

Shammi Kapoor. Of course. He’s his usual entertaining, charismatic and gorgeous self – the Shammi Kapoor who ruled the 60s – but he also gets to show off just what a fine actor he is. (He got a Filmfare Best Actor Nomination for the role, by the way). As a man forced by circumstances to adopt a disguise, he acts in many different styles. As Pritam, he is the heartbreakingly handsome young man, light-hearted and romantic, occasionally clownish, who flirts with Neena, falls in love with her, and ends up juggling identities madly to keep everybody happy.

As Professor Khanna, he is actually a different man altogether – not just in his slower, gruffer speech or his limp and facial hair, but also in his attitude towards life. He is a wiser man, more circumspect and mature (see the way he tries to reason with Neena and Rita when they’re being anti-Auntie, or the way he tells Seeta Devi that she is being too harsh) – he really projects an image of an older, more experienced man than the madcap Pritam is. And there’s another Pritam – the good, respectful young man who is Professor Khanna’s dependable nephew, the man who impresses Seeta Devi so much that even she is kindly disposed towards him. Very good acting, this, supported by a good script and dialogue.

The scripting. (The story, by the way, was by Shashi Bhushan; the screenplay and dialogue by the stalwart Abrar Alvi). It’s a fairly simple story, but so well written that the characters and situations get a chance to evolve, instead of getting bogged down under silly comic sub-plots and unnecessary villainy. We see how Seeta Devi goes from being a nasty old harridan to a starry-eyed woman in love with an elderly professor. It doesn’t happen overnight. 

(I also like the fact that – unlike in a lot of other Hindi films I’ve seen – both women who come in relatively frequent contact with Pritam and Professor Khanna, Seeta Devi and Neena – are immediately struck by the resemblance between the two men). Too many other disguised heroes seem to disappear completely behind thoroughly inadequate disguises, even for women who are in love with them.

Lastly: the music. Shankar-Jaikishan are in their element here (they won a Filmfare Award for Professor). My favourite song is Ae gulbadan ae gulbadan, followed closely by Hamre gaon koi aayega, Main chali main chali peechhe-peechhe jahaan, and Khuli palak mein jhootha gussa, band palak mein pyaar.

What I didn’t like:

The very last scene. It’s a little too melodramatic for my taste – and there’s too sudden a change of heart, there.

But otherwise? Top notch entertainment, and not to be missed. I know; I’ve seen it often enough.

66 thoughts on “Professor (1962)

  1. My uncle had this film taped on a cassette and I would watch it every time I visited his home and it used to be a blast, made all the more precious because it wasn’t our cassette to see as many times as we wanted.

    Few things I remember from this movie – I completely disliked Kalpana. I thought she resembled a goldfish. And I hate goldfish! :D
    But I loved the songs and how Shammi managed between both roles and how well he did it. Also, I’m sure you know the ‘wealthy rake’ who the heroine’s sister falls in love with is Salim Khan, Salman Khan’s father. And that many years later there was a movie with Salman Khan and Madhuri Dixit modelled on the same premise as Professor, with a role reversal. It was disastrous. Imagine Madhuri trying to pull off a Shammi?

    Nevertheless, this is another top favourite of mine as well. I used to giggle when I saw Lalita Pawar falling for the Professor. Ha ha! And this is the last of Shammi Kapoor week? Awww!! We should have a Shammi Kapoor month!!!! I was thinking you’d be doing Andaz and Teesri Manzil also. I know I said I didn’t like Andaz much but I think it was coloured by the fact that I remember hating the way Aruna Irani dies in it and that Shammi gets blamed for it, etc. :D The things that affect us when we’re kids I tell you!


    • Yes, Kalpana was a bit weird, wasn’t she? (I remember another blogger – Greta, over at Memsaabstory, describing Kalpana’s face in another film looking as if it was ‘beginning to melt’ or something like that. I thought that described it perfectly.) Here, I thought Kalpana was all right in most of the scenes – she’s far worse in films like Naughty Boy, Teen Deviyaan and Saheli.

      Oh, and yes – I do know that Salim Khan is Salman Khan’s father. He also plays Shammi Kapoor’s friend in Teesri Manzil, though I don’t recall seeing him in too many other films.

      Madhuri Dixit and Salman in a remake of Professor? No. :-( I haven’t seen it, and I can’t imagine it. As it is, I can’t bear Salman Khan – the only film of his I’ve liked was Andaz Apna Apna, and he was not the reason I liked that!… and, anyway, I cannot imagine anybody, Madhuri or not, being able to pull off a Shammi. He is par excellence in Professor.

      Nah, this isn’t going to be Shammi month, much as I’d have liked it to be – I do have to get down to work and finish writing my next book! But if it’s any consolation, this is only the last review in Shammi Kapoor week; there is one more post coming up, though it isn’t a review.


      • Wasn’t the Madhuri-Salman film ‘Dil Tera Aashiq’? With Anupam Kher playing the role that Lalita Pawar did in Professor? *shamefacedly* Yes, I’ve seen it (what can I say? I saw practically every Hindi film during the time…)


        • Thank you for telling me the name of the film, Anu! I’ll put it on my ‘Beware of’ list. Sounds horrendous. Okay, maybe I am being judgmental, but hey, there were some truly ghastly films floating about in those days.


        • Yes, I’ve seen it too. :D Not that shamefaced because those were my teenaged years and I too saw every sidey film that was released! :D

          I don’t know why film makers do such bad remakes. They redid Bawarchi as Hero No.1 which was simply horrendous. If they are going to remake a classic, they should go to some film school and learn basic elements of film making before they even dream of doing it.


          • Andaleeb, I actually liked Hero No.1 :) There, my secret is out! But I didn’t look at it as a bad remake of Bawarchi – I just liked the cleaner Govinda films because they were total paisa vasool. His sense of comedy and rhythm were absolutely fantastic.That is one guy who could act (and really well), but got slotted into the downmarket roles fullof kitsch. I think the class system in the Industry did him in.

            Watch a film called Awaargi with Meenakshi Sheshadri and Anil Kapoor and you will know what I mean.


          • Somehow, I hardly ever watched any of the films that released during the late 80s and the early 90s – so while I may have heard or seen the songs (we still religiously watched Chitrahaar!), we almost never went and watched the film unless someone we knew had recommended it. I must also admit that one major reason I never watched a lot of those films was the fact that most of the men had shoulder-length hair. Yucky; that really puts me off. (Possibly because my father was in the police and had close-cropped hair, which i thought was the only style acceptable? Oh, and the fashions were something weird)

            And I’ve actually seen only one Govinda movie. Auntie No.1, I think it was. Funny enough in places!


      • Incidentally, there’s another remake of Professor- a Tamil movie called Nadigan (1990). Nadigan (which means an actor in Tamil) also had a side story involving a murder, but it essentially revolved around the protagonist Raj playing an aged teacher. That movie was a blockbuster- if I’m not mistaken, it was one of the highest grossing Tamil movies of 1990.

        As a footnote, the protagonist in Nadigan was played by prominent Tamil actor Sathyaraj, who played the role of Deepika Padukone’s father in Chennai Express.


      • Add me to the ‘never-liked-Kalpana’ club. She reminded me of a kitten, but yes, now I think about it, goldfish will do as well.

        I *know* what your next post is going to be Madhu (at least, I think I do!) – Shammi’s songs??


        • Bingo, Anu! Yup. :-)

          And I like your suggestion of what Kalpana’s face could be compared to. We bloggers should get together and compile a list of ‘Ten words to describe Kalpana’. Goldfish, kitten, melty-face… whew.


      • I’ve actually forgotten how Aruna Irani’s character dies in Andaaz. :-(

        The one in-the-way female character whose death I remember very vividly is Ruby (Helen) in Teesri Manzil – her dress (so stylish!), the way she dies, her dying words… everything is imprinted on my mind.


        • Aruna Irani is the gaon ki chori types and has this very obvious crush on Shammi Kapoor but she lies a lot and he never believes her. Two of the villians, one of them Roopesh Kumar, catch hold of her one day and rape her and kill her but just as she’s about to be taken away by them she sees Shammi going in his jeep. She cries out to him (from the top of a hill) and the villains are behind her, can’t be seen and she calls out asking him to save her but he thinks she’s joking and he drives away. God, that scene made me feel a big thump in my chest every time I saw it.


          • Andaleeb, thank you! I still don’t exactly remember the scene, but yes, your explanation did jog my memory. It sounds very dramatic, not to mention tragic, scene.

            It’s been a long time since I saw Andaaz; I must get hold of it and watch it again.


  2. Professor!
    I remember Professor much for Lalita Pawar rather than Shammi Kapoor, maybe because I saw it long time back and also maybe because I am such a Lalita Pawar fan!
    Little bit of trivia:
    After Kaagaz ke Phool Guru Dutt couldn’t pay his employees regularly and that is why he allowed them to do free-lancing, thus Abra Alvi could land the job of writing the script for Professor, which took long to materialise


    • And Lalita Pawar did have a very good, meaty role in this – she was there throughout the film, in a central role instead of being relegated to just a few scenes as a sharp-tongued elderly lady.

      That’s an interesting piece of trivia about Abrar Alvi and how Kaagaz ke Phool led in a roundabout way to the scripting of Professor! I didn’t know about that.


        • Yup. For a film that is basically a romantic comedy and which could have been allowed to slip into the usual style of silly antics and pranks interspersed with songs, Professor rises above the rest. I really like the little glimpses we get of why Lalita Pawar’s character is the way she is, and why, eventually, she is revealed as a far more loving and approachable person than she seems to be at first. And how Pritam Khanna is shown as a beautifully multi-dimensional figure, not just a romantic and somewhat clownish hero. One needs an Abrar Alvi to pull off a screenplay and dialogues like that.


  3. Now after commenting on other comments….

    Thanks for reminding me how gorgeous Shammi looked in this film, Madhu! Oh, how I wish the heroine had been Sadhana, or Sharmila or even Saira! (At a pinch, I would have accepted Asha Parekh too…) But at least she was incidental to the plot (I think she was there so we could see Shammi singing songs in all his utter gorgeousness); this was a Lalita Pawar-Shammi Kapoor film all the way through.


    • Wouldn’t Sadhana, especially, have been awesome in this film? I really like her and Shammi Kapoor together – they’re wonderful. Or any of the other actresses you suggested; they would all have been good. My only contention (and that is linked to what you wrote in your comment) is that I wouldn’t have liked to see one of my favourites, like Sadhana, wasted on a role that called for very little other than simply looking pretty and either scowling at Shammi or simpering. Kalpana does have not much to do in the film – it’s Shammi Kapoor all the way – so that makes it all right for me.

      (A bit like Humraaz. I hated Vimmi’s wooden expression, and would’ve loved one of my favourites to have gotten that role instead – but I’d have hated to see one of my favourites killed off so abruptly! So yes, Vimmi was fine for Humraaz, and Kalpana is fine for Professor).


  4. Professor was really a good film in addition to being entertaining. Along with Junglee it’s my favourite films of his.

    I’m quite neutral about Kalpana, in the sense I haven’t even spared a thought on how she “looks” except that she’s usually “overlooked”, because one is mostly looking at others – Shammi, Lalita, even Parveen.

    I too have guessed what your next post will be and am eagerly looking forward to it.
    This has been a fantastic week, though like Andaleeb wished it was a month :)


    • This has been a fantastic week

      Thank you, pacifist! You’re a sweetie. :-)

      And I agree about poor Kalpana being overlooked even when it’s only Praveen Choudhary as the other person in the frame! Frankly, I’ve always Praveen Choudhary a lot – she was so stylish in Jhuk Gaya Aasmaan, and a sympathetic character in Preet na Jaane Reet. The latter was a film I ended up not liking much because Praveen Choudhary played the character who loses out to B Saroja Devi – which I thought was awfully unfair.


    • If we compare junglee and professor. professor has more better script and logic than junglee. and i too think sadhna ji, aasha ji would have been wasted. i don’t like kalpana . but when i watched the song awaaz dey key humey tum bulaaye. my heart melted. but i love her in teen deviyan. kalpana looks chic here. specially when she goes to tailor shop to give clothes for stitching. and i also want to appreciate bright color.. as i have seen in many movies andhera andhera lagta hain. if film’s lighting is not bright then it takes joy of watching. if i would have been born in shammi era. i would have watched his movies in matinee show and would come out of talkies dancing in his style . all life i was shashi ji fan. but from recent years. i do like shammi ji too.


  5. “Professor” is easily one of my favourite Shammi movies. Like you’ve said so well, except for that last scene (very melodramatic), everything else is just so much fun.

    And the songs are just fantastic. I remember when my eldest sister got married and went to Hyderabad, I visited her during the holidays. She had a cassette of Professor – and we were playing it non-stop. Every song got imprinted in my mind.

    I see Kalpana is not particularly popular amongst a lot of people here. Tbh, I didn’t mind her at all in this movie. True, she didn’t have a particularly significant role but she was pretty OK in this, I thought. If you see her in Teen Deviyan, with layers and layers of make-up on her face, like wax in a candle melting, awwwwwwwful!!! She was thousand times better here. :-)


    • Yes, compared to some other films of hers, in Professor Kalpana is pretty okay. I thought she was fine in those scenes in the hotel, for instance – when she’s with ‘Professor Sahib’, or with her aunt, or even in Iftekhar’s room. She was fine as long as she was acting natural, not saucy or screechy.

      That non-stop playing of the cassette sounds familiar! I remember us buying two double cassettes – one of Barsaat ki Raat and Taj Mahal, the other of Munimji and Tere Ghar ke Saamne, and putting them in our automatic side-changing music system, so that we wouldn’t even have to bother changing the side of a cassette! What awesome songs all these films had.


  6. I’ve seen this but I’m not sure if I love it as a much as teesri manzil (my golden Shammi film) . I remember sympathizing with Lalita, i wanted her to get the man but alas he was fake and it could never have been, i felt her heartbreak. And is it only me who finds Kalpana very very beautiful, I thought she looked almost too beautiful to be real


    • Ah, well. Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder, right? So you are perfectly justified in your belief that Kalpana was very very beautiful. :-)

      I did feel rather sorry for Lalita Pawar’s character at the end of it all. Poor thing; she was treated rather unfairly, wasn’t she? Just because she was elderly didn’t mean that she would have to put aside everything except her maternal instincts. But I suppose that’s what Hindi cinema tended to propagate at the time: that, after you’ve reached a certain age, you should give up all thoughts of romance etc and reconcile yourself to respectable celibacy.


  7. I saw this movie long, long before the days of VCRs and DVD players, so long back that I have forgotten the story! This was a quick refresher course! Thanks, dustedoff! I have just started watching it again to refresh my memory of those wonderful days when we heard the songs “Ae gulbadan …” and “Aawaaz deke humein tum …” all the time. Somebody was getting married in our street, and we heard these songs all the time on the loudspeakers – there was no noise ordinance in those days, so I knew the lyrics off the top of my head!
    I am just a little disappointed that so many of you didn’t like Kalpana. I had a friend who looked a little like her, and I wonder what she will think if she reads the descriptions here, because she used to be known as “junior Kalpana” in our group! On the other hand, I agree with the “layers and layers of caked make up” look in Teen Deviyan, but I thought she looked pretty here.
    I am glad that Shammi Kapoor got a meaty role here and he lived up to the role fully, and just wish he had got more roles like this. I have only one little question here – if he had no money, how did he get his mother admitted into a sanatorium before he took up the teaching position? I thought one had to pay before one could be admitted into a hospital of any kind in India! I doubt if things were different in those days, since I remember having to make a payment before my dad was admitted for some surgery, which was just a few years after this.


    • Arre baba, yeh Hindi film hai! Yahan kucch bhi ho sakta hai! If he can wear fashionable clothes although being unemployed, than he can admit his mother in a sanatorium without a deposit!


      • Lalita, his old principal gave him the money. C’mon, he borrows from the principal to pay the doctor, why can’t he borrow from the principal to pay the hospital??

        Besides, we have a saying in Malayalam – Kathayil chodyamila which loosely translates into “There are no questions in stories’ or more accurately ‘No questions are allowed in stories’. :-)


    • Aww, your poor friend. :-(

      (No, my sympathy was not because your friend looked like Kalpana, but because she would’ve been hurt if she knew how we shot down Kalpana’s looks!) I would think, by the average standards of Indian womanhood, a Kalpana-lookalike would be very pretty indeed. I guess looking at all the pulchritude onscreen in the early 60s – Madhubala, Meena Kumari, Waheeda Rehman, Sadhana, Sharmila Tagore, Vyjyantimala, etc – one tends to raise the bar higher, and in that case (at least for me) Kalpana falls a bit in the beauty ratings.

      As for your question regarding how he pays for the sanatorium: as harvey and Anu so rightly say, “This is a Hindi film. Anything is possible!” No explanation is given – I just rechecked the film – so I’m supposing we’re expected to believe he borrowed from his old prof at the college again.


    • Hehe :-D

      Yes, her clothes were rather well-fitted here, weren’t they? But then, the 60s were known for women’s clothing (at least onscreen) that clung to every curve.

      Kalpana Karthik was someone totally different. In fact, I’ve only ever seen her in films where she starred with Dev Anand, such as Taxi Driver, Baazi, House No 44 and Nau Do Gyarah. Here’s a screen cap of her:

      Dev Anand and Kalpana Kartik in Nau Do Gyarah


  8. I got my details about Abrar Alvi and Professor a bit wrong in my last comment. I re-read his (auto-)biography and found it to be uite different than I remembered it.

    According to Abrar Alvi, Guru Dutt had commissioned the script of Professor, based on Ginger Roger’s ‘Bachelor Mother’. It seems Alvi was not really convinced that it would work and had his apprehensions about the fact that the women wouldn’t recognise the man they love, just because of false moustaches. Anyway, Guru Dutt wanted Abrar Alvi to direct the film, to which Alvi didn’t agree. In between Alvi had gone free lancing although he was on the pay roll of Guru Dutt productions, which annoyed Guru Dutt. He fired Alvi and gave the film to one Shashi Bhushan. Guru Dutt’s fury calmed over the day and Alvi was back and Bhushan gone, but with him also the script. Bhushan went to F. C. Mehra with the script, but he was fired and Lekh Tandon took his place and with Guru Dutt’s blessings the production started. Meanwhile, even Tandon’s chair was shaking now. He went to Alvi beseeching him to help. Hearing this he went to Mehra and drew a contract, whereupon it was mandatory that Tandon would direct the film. Alvi charged only half his market price for this stipulation and it was Rs. 17,500.


    • Harvey, thank you for that! I hadn’t known that Guru Dutt actually had been the leading light behind the making of Professor: interesting. I don’t recall him being anywhere acknowledged in the credits, though. I wish he had been; it might have helped people see Guru Dutt beyond the Pyaasa-Kaagaz ke Phool-Sahib Biwi aur Ghulam style he’s usually associated with (even though he did produce and work in more diverse films – another favourite of mine is CID).

      Now I have to look out for Bachelor Mother. I love Ginger Rogers, so that’s even more incentive! :-)


      • But, but Lalita Pawar as an overbearing aunt who gets disciplined by a young man called Preetam is a bit like Mr. and Mrs. 55, especially since Abrar Alvi wrote that one too. I don’t remember Professor well but I must watch it again, soon 😃


          • I haven’t seen that either, but I’m curious because it’s by Shakti Samantha😄 I don’t really know how I feel about Kalpana, although I remember the song ‘Gore Haathon par na zulum karo’ from Pyar kite Ja and I think she’s cast opposite Kishore Kumar in that film too. What a fun film that is!


            • No, no. Don’t watch Naughty Boy. I did, and didn’t like it one bit. Pyaar Kiye Jaa is a lot of fun, because the premise is fun and there’s a lot happening, all of it funny (and I like that even the lead pair is a comic one). Naughty Boy I found tiring and unfunny.


    • I’m so glad you think so too! Somehow I’ve noticed that most people tend to think of Junglee or Brahmachari as his best. They’re great too, but this one is in a class by itself. :-)


  9. quite enjoyable film, no doubt the film is through and through Shammi Kapoor and the song Aye gulbadan is too good. I liked the role of Lalita Pawar more than Kalpana and for Kalpana her acting is not so good but look wise she isn’t bad either at least when I compare her with Nimmi, Sharmila, Nalini, Zahida, Simi… she looks quite good.


    • I think Kalpana looked her prettiest in Professor and Teen Deviyaan. Her face became a little too plump in subsequent films – like Biwi aur Makaan and Pyaar Kiye Jaa – which made her look really rather odd at times. But I don’t mind her in Professor.


      • I love this movie to extreme. good lighting . Film is bright ! shammi kapoor as Sanskrit teacher ! and i liked kalpana more in teen deviyan as insecure emotional lonely girl. here i would have prefer anyone over her. and i didn’t like the climax. aap maa hai. mai maa hu. it was dedicated to prove lalita pawar is mother or not. everybody running after her. my favourite scene is at cloth shop and afterwards when shammi says write a letter. its truly a shammi kapoor movie !


  10. Yes this is my favorite movie, great entertainment except the last melodramatic scene but that’s bollywood film can’t avoid😊
    Shammi kapoor is just😍😘


  11. First time commenting here, read a lot of reviews. Watched Professor for the first time on DVD (possibly seen it on tv when I was a kid). Average film for an afternoon time-pass. Disappointed in the lack of epic scenery (a primary reason I watch these older films), despite being allegedly based in Darjeeling. Shammi Kapoor is one of the most terrible actors of the period- with his trademark clown expressions and slapstick sloppy acting in all but the most serious scenes, when he gets out his trademark face spasms. The professor disguise wasn’t even very convincing. Kalpana I felt acted considerably well to fulfil the role; a spoiled rich girl, complete with facial expressions to match as she’s being wooed. Average dialogues; nothing to stand out. Above average songs, but easily forgotten. Wasted potential in showcasing lovely North East music (Showing instead some period-racist “tribal” dance I.e. made-up African hoo-hah).

    I can understand if someone has grown up watching this and thus has a nostalgic affinity to it, but this doesn’t get more than a two star rating from me. Compared to Shammi Kapoor’s Kashmir ki Kali, which was saved by some scenery (but hugely wasted potential of epic scenery) and more memorable songs, I wouldn’t recommend Professor.


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