After all the unhappiness over the past week or so – first Ravi’s death, and then Joy Mukherji’s – you’d think the last film I’d want to see would be one that starred the ultimate tragedy couple: Dilip Kumar and Meena Kumari.
But, thanks to Anu, who assured me that Azaad was loads of fun, I decided I should try watching this one. And yes, Anu: I loved it. Loved Meena Kumari’s pretty peppiness. Loved Dilip Kumar at his swashbuckling, handsome, thoroughly attractive self. Loved the smoke rings (almost perfect circles) that Pran blew. Loved Sai and Subbulaxmi’s awesome dancing. Loved C Ramachandra’s fantastic music.
‘Azaad’ is the leader of a band of gangsters who hide away in the hills around the fictitious village of Bhopur. Azaad and his men are believed to have committed dozens of murders and thefts, and the local police are at a total loss about what to do. A previous inspector has been transferred out of Bhopur after having failed to deliver, and the new inspector (Raj Mehra), though he’s keen and level-headed, is hampered by having, as his main assistant, the earnest but nutty head constable #441 (Om Prakash).
Though they’ve been trying, the inspector and #441 haven’t been able to net Azaad yet. Neither have they been able to catch Chandar (S Nazir), another goon who’s been wreaking havoc in the vicinity.
Meanwhile, we have been introduced to Shobha (a gorgeous Meena Kumari). Shobha is an orphan, and has been brought up by her father’s friend, Charandas (Badriprasad) and his wife (Achla Sachdev).
Shobha is much loved by both Charandas and his wife [I’m going to call her Mrs CD from now on]. Now that Shobha’s grown up, they are looking out for a groom for her. If only their young son Kumar had not gone missing all those years ago, they mourn—they’d have a groom right here, at home. But Kumar has long vanished [we aren’t told how that happened, yet], and alas, Shobha has to now be wedded elsewhere.
Charandas goes off out of town to meet a prospective bridegroom, and while he’s gone, Mrs CD receives a surprise visit from an old acquaintance. This is Janki (Shammi), and she has a sob story to relate. Sundar (Pran), a man who’s known to Charandas and Mrs CD, has ‘ruined’ Janki and left her. Now Janki has come trailing after him, and wants him back. [She obviously hasn’t learnt her lesson yet].
Janki begs Mrs CD to help—perhaps they can put in a word with Sundar?
What these ladies don’t realise is that Sundar:
(a) is the boss of the vile Chandar—the same man who’s been ravaging the countryside. Sundar is a baddie, big time.
(b) Sundar has his eye on Shobha. [To be fair, the ladies do know this, but not its full extent]
(c) Sundar has commissioned Chandar to now kidnap Shobha, so that Sundar can have his wicked way with her (presumably).
However, since they don’t know all of this, Mrs CD assures Janki of her help, and Janki goes away happy.
Now we’re introduced to another character: the very dignified, very wealthy (he has dozens of houses across India, and two stables in Yorkshire) Khan Sahib Abdul Rahim (Dilip Kumar, with moochh, beard, and a large mole on his left cheek). Khan Sahib is much respected, so the new inspector, along with #441, comes to visit. [And to sponge on Khan Sahib. They need to collect Rs 50,000 for the government war funds—this film is set during the days of the Raj].
We now switch back to Shobha’s house. One night, a bunch of goons break in, knock out Mrs CD, and kidnap Shobha. One of them waves some shrubbery under Shobha’s nose, apparently to knock her out; the smart girl that she is, she pretends to swoon instead of putting up a useless fight.
These hooligans are Chandar and his men [not that Shobha recognises them]. They bung her onto a charpai, and hurry off with her into the woods.
Midway, however, they are ambushed—and Shobha, on her charpai, is carried off by another lot of men. They finally put her down far away, and except for one old man (Dilip Kumar, in a very grey and very hirsute facial disguise), all leave to attend to Chandar’s men.
The ‘old man’ tries to revive Shobha, but of course she gets up of her own accord, since she’s been conscious through all of these adventures.
The ‘old man’ takes Shobha under his wing, and promises that he’ll return her to her home the next day. Meanwhile, she’d better take shelter in a cave; he’ll be there to protect her. Shobha agrees.
The next morning, though, the old man, instead of taking her to her home, persuades her to come to his home, in the hills beyond. Since she’d be hopelessly lost in the jungle anyway, Shobha again agrees.
It’s a long and complicated route they follow, through the hills, a jungle (where we’re shown a fight between a leopard and a wild boar), and a rough cable car, operated by a quartet of well-oiled men who spend the rest of their time in calisthenics.
Shobha takes it all in her stride. She doesn’t even really bat an eyelid when the ‘old man’ takes her through a tunnel and into a fine mansion—where he introduces her to two girls named Gopi (Sai) and Chanda (Subbulaxmi) and their mother, his mausi (aunt), Paro (Deepa).
[Oddly for a girl who’s generally sharp-witted, Shobha doesn’t seem to be struck by the fact that the ‘old man’s mausi’ looks about half his age. Yes, I have relatives with wildly discordant relative ages too, but Hindi cinema doesn’t usually believe in that].
Shobha soon makes friends with Gopi and Chanda, and the ‘old man’ reveals himself to be—Azaad! Dashing and handsome [and young enough to perhaps be actually Paro’s nephew], and the much-feared leader of the dacoits in Bhopur. Shobha is initially wary, but he soon wins her over.
He also confesses to her that he and his men are not really dacoits. They are actually latter-day Robin Hood and his Merry Men [well, sort of]: they steal from the thieves, and return to those from whom the thieves had stolen stuff. Azaad refuses to tell her why, if he’s really such a good man anyway, he and his men hide out here in the hills.
In the meantime, Charandas has returned to Bhopur, and has discovered Shobha’s abduction. [When he comes back to Bhopur, he brings with him the parents of a prospective bridegroom for Shobha—they inexplicably disappear after this one and only scene in the film. I guess these two people were there because they really wanted to be in a film, and must have known the financier or producer or chai-wallah].
Soon after, Charandas receives a very odd letter, from Azaad. He takes this to the police station, where he, the inspector, and #441 mull over the puzzling contents of the letter. Azaad assures Charandas that Shobha is safe in his house—and that he would like to marry her.
The gall of the man! Charandas, who’s been wearing himself out trying to find a suitable boy for Shobha, will now be reduced to having a dacoit for a son-in-law?
Absolutely not, he says.
Some digressions follow, comic and otherwise. One that is important to the story is the introduction of the local jagirdar (Murad), who is in cahoots with Sundar and Chandar. We discover that the Chandar-Sundar-jagirdar troika is the one behind all the thievery and murder that’s been plaguing Bhopur. Right now, the jagirdar and Chandar are cribbing because a haul of jewellery has turned out to be bags full of sand and pebbles—Azaad has, once again, got the better of them.
Back to Shobha and Azaad: after a last little bit of shy (on her part) and flirtatious (on his) chatting, Azaad has told Shobha he’s finally taking her home, since her foster parents will be worried. [Shouldn’t this have occurred to him much earlier?]
Shobha therefore goes to bid farewell to all of Azaad’s family: Paro mausi, Gopi, Chanda, and Paro’s old husband. This is an occasion for a nice little song-and-dance…
…and Shobha’s trip back to Bhopur, accompanied by Azaad, provides ample opportunity for more singing.
Near the journey’s end, however, Azaad has made other arrangements. The inspector and #441, who’ve chosen a nearby tree to keep an eye out for suspicious goings-on, see a ghoonghat-ed woman being escorted out of the jungle and into a horse-drawn carriage, which they immediately recognise as belonging to Khan Sahib Adbul Rahim.
Khan Sahib?! In league with that ruffian Azaad? What is the world coming to? [Well, we—who’ve watched enough cinema—can guess, but these people are completely clueless]. What is the link between Khan Sahib and Azaad? Who is Azaad, anyway? And what happened to Charandas and Mrs CD’s long-lost son Kumar? [Another sitter for lovers of old Hindi films]
Rather convoluted, but loads of fun.
What I liked about this film:
The fun of it all. Everybody—especially Dilip Kumar and Meena Kumari—seems to be enjoying themselves immensely. He swings about on ropes, has fist-fights with the villains, acts in two very different styles (as Azaad and Khan Sahib), and generally seems to be having a ball. She’s unbelievably pretty, bubbly, and utterly enchanting. Delicious pair, this (incidentally, if you want to see these two in a similarly delightful film, let me suggest Kohinoor: another good romp).
Meena Kumari—just by the way—is so very pretty, I couldn’t resist another screenshot.
C Ramachandra’s fantastic score. There are loads of songs here, and many of them went on to be huge hits. My favourites are the melodious Radha na bole na bole na bole re, Kitna haseen hai mausam, Pee ke daras ko taras raheen akhiyaan, and Aplam chaplam chaplai re…
…which also happens to be a stunning dance performance. I freely admit that I’m not much of a connoisseur of dance. But this particular sequence had me sitting up and staring in open-mouthed, wide-eyed wonder. Sai and Subbulaxmi are so flexible, so graceful, so perfectly synchronised. And their eyes sing. How gorgeously expressive. (They also have another dance in Azaad, O baliye o baliye… aa chalein wahaan, but I think that pales in comparison to Aplam chaplam chaplai re).
For once, I actually liked the comedy in a Hindi film that wasn’t primarily comedy. There’s no real ‘comic side plot’ here, but #441’s attempts to nab Chandar or Azaad (or, as he at one time suggests, Chandar/Azaad—“Maybe they’re one man, playing a double role, as in the films”) are hilarious.
With two wives, a platoon of children, unmarried sisters, an old father, etc to feed, #441 is desperate to get a promotion, so most of his time is spent in coming up with crazy schemes to nab criminals. The inspector’s unsympathetic thwarting of #441’s ‘ideas’ (that’s what #441 calls them) never seem to dampen his spirit. Neither does the sad fact that most of the offenders he seems to nab turn out to be completely innocent or not really worth pursuing.
What I didn’t like:
This may seem self-contradictory, but those comic interludes. While they’re funny, they come too thick and too fast. Along with the songs [and another fight between wild animals—this time a tiger and a sloth bear], they break the narrative to the extent that after a while, I couldn’t keep up with what exactly was going on in the ‘real story’ itself.
…which is another flaw Azaad suffers from: it gets too complicated. There’s too much happening, too many pasts, too many mysterious motives and unexplained incidents. The last half hour or so, at least, had me pretty much all at sea through much of it.
But, I still love this film. It’s entertaining, good-looking, good listening. A definite addition to my ‘rewatch’ pile.
Seriously Dilip KUmar had so much swashbucklingness hidden in him. Meena Kumari is perky and sooo pretty. This couple should have done many more such films. Though this one has a few flaws, it was entertaining. BUt even better is Kohinoor! Dilip and Kumar picked up there from where they left of in Azaad. Such a blissful jodi!
Yes, every time I watch Kohinoor (and, now that I’ve acquired Azaad, this one too), I keep wishing Dilip Kumar and Meena Kumari had done more of these type of films together. Frankly, I prefer these two films to the other two where they acted together – Footpath and Yahudi. These are so much fun, and they look like they’re enjoying themselves.
Dear Dustedoff, you are so much on the target in ‘lilking’ the silken beuaty of Meena Kumari.
She, and for that Dilip Kumar got so much typed in serious role, that we, the spectators, lost on Meena’s beuty and Dilip’s versatilty of acting.
Of course, he was rather too loud in subsequent Gopi or Ram Aur Shyam [as Ram], but ceratinly very enjoyable in Kohinoor.
I wanted more Meena and Dilip and much less Om Prakash and Raj Mehra. I wanted more plot and character development and less…well, undeveloped plot :) And while I loved a couple of the songs (*heart* the qawwali along with Sai and Subbalaxmi) there were too many of them too…but it was def. fun to see Meena and Dilip having a good time (although Meena wasn’t the tragedy queen she became later yet).
Yes, I would’ve liked more of Meena Kumari and Dilip Kumar too. Plus, Pran was pretty much wasted. He didn’t get enough scenes to merit his being in the movie. Still, just the mere fact that Meena Kumari and Dilip Kumar were at their chirpy, cheery best here was good enough for me. :-)
Delightful review of Azaad, Madhu! It made a good reading! You had me in splits all the time.
“Loved the smoke rings (almost perfect circles) that Pran blew”
I’ve always wanted to do that, but as a non-smoker, I hardly get any practice.
“Now Janki has come trailing after him, and wants him back.”
Don’t tell me they marry in the end.
“If only their young son Kumar had not gone missing”
I wonder who this can be? ;-)
“Sundar has commissioned Chandar to now kidnap Shobha, so that Sundar can have his wicked way with her (presumably).”
These are some heavy charges against Sundar. You don’t think he just wants the ransom?
“Dilip Kumar, in a very grey and very hirsute facial disguise”
Now that is some disguise, I really didn’t recognise him here.
“they steal from the thieves, and return to those from whom the thieves had stolen stuff”
A counter-revolutionary? A sort of Anti-Zorro, eh?
“…and must have known the financier or producer or chai-wallah”
I saw this film ages ago on DD and remember enjoying it even then, though I was expecting Dharmendra’s Azaad.
Do you know by any chance if this was a remake of a Tamil or Telegu film, like most of the Hindi films produced in Madras?
Meena Kumari had cut her finger during the early 50s and she always managed to cover this with her pallu or chunri. In the song kitani jawan hai raat koi yaad aa gaya and ja ri jai or kari badrya, though she doesn’t do it.
Thank you, harvey! I’m glad you enjoyed the review. :-)
Yep, I’ve always wanted to be able to blow smoke rings too, but since I’ve never smoked (except second hand – in offices where I’ve worked, I’ve always ended up being best friends with chain smokers!)… it’s something that never going to happen.
“Don’t tell me they marry in the end.”
Oh, no. Not at all. Very much to the contrary.
I had completely overlooked Meena Kumari’s little finger being visible while I was watching this film. Of course I remember that she always hid it in later films – we used to wonder, when we were kids, why she went out of her way to do that (my father did tell us when we asked – made us wonder why we hadn’t thought of asking him before!) But yes, in Azaad, she’s fine all through. I wonder whether that accident to her finger happened during a shoot or something. I know Lalita Pawar’s eye was hurt during a shot when a colleague, who was supposed to slap her, hit her so hard that she fell down on her face and ended up with facial paralysis…
I don’t know when that happened, but It must have happened after she started her career as an adult (not from adult movies) star. I remember watching out for that in her earlier movies like Ganesh Mahima and there her little finger is intact.
That is indeed a sad story about Lalita Pawar. Somewhere I read that the actor was drunk when he did that. How very irresponsible! But she could change this handicap into an asset . One never know how things turn up. I would like to see her in a movie, where she is young. I have searched on you tube, but didn’t find a clip. Do you know of any?
I have a pdf of an interview with Lalita Pawar, in which she mentions the incident. But she doesn’t mention the name of the movie, the actor involved (and whether or not he was drunk). He may have been; who knows? People have been known to – even when completely sober – get carried away and become a little too enthusiastic in whatever they’re supposed to be doing onscreen. I’ve forgotten who it was, but there was some actress who was being whipped onscreen by a screen villain… he inadvertently whipped her so hard, the poor lady fainted.
I’ve looked for Lalita Pawar’s old films too, but haven’t been able to find anything – not even clips. There are some old (and usually very grainy) photos floating about on the Net, but that’s about all.
harvey, Madhu, let me blow some of that smoke away :) The actor was Bhagwan. The film was Himmat-e-Mard and he was a rookie, and didn’t know the ropes yet. He hit her too hard by accident, bursting her left eye, and leaving her with facial paralysis. She had been heroine before; when she came back, she was reduced to character roles.
Oh, was this this Himmat-e-Mard?:
And which Bhagwan? Not the Albela one?
But thank you for that information, Anu! Some questions answered. Poor thing, Lalita Pawar – must have traumatic. Physically painful, of course, but otherwise too. It says a lot for her that she picked herself up and managed to take her careers to such heights after that.
Yes, the Albela one. I remember reading about it a long time ago. Filmfare had an article about Bhagwan where he (they?) mentioned how petrified he was when the incident happened. One cannot imagine Lalita Pawar being scantily-dressed heroine, no?
Whatever the cause, kudos to her for coming back and making herself such an indispensable character actress.
Thanks for the info, Anu! Those were definitely simpler times, just imagine what would have happened if this incident had taken place in the 90’s – it would have been published in all the papers and a big showdown in public would have ensued. I am glad Lalita Pawar was sensible enough to reinvent herself and make a career out of being a character actress.
@Anu: Thank you. So it was the Albela Bhagwan. (Now I’m curious to know what he looked like, back then). Yes, I can imagine how petrified he must’ve been. If you have any conscience, it must be appalling to see something like that happen to someone because of something you did.
But I reiterate (and agree with you and Lalitha): I’m so glad Lalita Pawar had the courage to not let that keep her down.
I also have heard the version that the actor wanted to take revenge about something or jealousy, that is why he hit her that hard.
Wikipedia,in its write up on Lalita Pawar as well as Bhagwan Dada(Albela fame),does mention that a ‘rookie’ actor Bhagwan hit a slap to LP.But dont forget that at both the places,they also put in brackets ‘citation required’,which means there is no supporting evidence.
According to ‘Listeners’ Bulletin’ of Hamraz(HFGK fame) No. 106, of March 1998, it was at the time of shooting of Marathi film”Netaji Palkar” that the (unnamed) actor slapped her so hard that she got partial facial paralysis resulting in the defect in her eye.
One thing,Wikipedia,as far as Movie related info is concerned is not that reliable and secondly,Bhagawan who was born in 1913 and had worked in almost 30 silent films and few talkie films before this incident-whether in 1939 as per LB or in 1942 as per Wikipedia can not be called a ‘Rookie’ or a new actor by any standards.
Arunji, the info is not from Wikipedia, though I do use it as a resource sometimes. :) It’s from an old Filmfare article on Bhagwan that I remember reading when I was a child.
I did not mean that you have quoted from Wiki,but many people get misled by what is given in Wiki,so I commented on Wiki.
In any case even in ‘Netaji Palkar’,it was Master Bhagwan opposite LP,so it is most likely Bhagwan who must have committed this act.
Arunji, no worries. :) I knew what you were commenting on.
The accident, have read multiple versions though, happened while she was returning from a shoot on a jeep. As per Pauravi Bhatt, grand daughter of Vijay Bhatt, it was during the shoot of Baiju Bawara
Yes, I just read that in a book I’m currently reading, too.
Your comment regarding smoking reminded me of something Harv! Our neighbours kids used to hold the smoking tips of agarbatti carefully inside their mouth, fill it with smoke and then blow out the smoke stylishly as if they were ‘smoking’. You can try that, but dont tell your mother that I gave you the idea.
That must be rather risky, no? That smoke can be toxic (I’m guessing), and God forbid a burning tip of one of the agarbattis falls off inside one’s mouth.
But then, children are children. I remember getting up to all sorts of silliness when I was a kid!
I was just going off to do it, but then read Madhu’s answer and she is right! You wicked, wicked Ava!!!! Mujhe galat raste pe lana chahti ho? ;-)
I think I will just start smoking cigarillos, they have a better aroma and are not so expensive as cigars! ;-)
Don’t smoke anything! :-D
Bad for the health.
Go out and smell the flowers instead (I hope they’ve started blooming in Graz?)
Yes, spring is here! Now would be the right time for a spring post!
Please!! Yes, please. :-)
shashi has already done it. no sense in repeating it.
Didn’t AK do one, too? Or am I getting all mixed up?
he did one on jhumka. I can’t remember a bahaar post.
Almost did eh Harv? Hahahahaha… You are just like me. Thank god Madhu stopped you.
@ ava: Ignorance is a strong bond indeed!
It is a remake of a Tamil movie called Malaikallan(thief of the hills) starring MGR and P.Bhanumathi.
Thank you, Nithya!
@Harvey: There you go. :-)
Lovely review Madhu. It is indeed a pleasure to see (both) Dilip and Meena act in a movie where they were not undergoing severe emotional stress. Hehe.
Thank you, Ava! Glad you liked it.
And yes, it is not just a pleasure, it’s a relief to see Dilip Kumar and Meena Kumari in a movie where their characters aren’t under a lot of emotional stress. Whew!
Nice read. Wish you mentioned Rajendra Kishanji’s name. Only way out is to write a post on him.
This is really uncanny, because just the other day I was thinking to myself that the only lyricist about whom I’ve written a post is Sahir, so maybe I should do another… and the lyricist who came first to my mind was Rajinder Krishan. Maybe I should start thinking of a post about him now.
P.S. Thank you for the appreciation!
As usual, a delightful read. Whatever happened to this light-hearted style of flimmaking? This one, Kohinoor (even while reading this review I couldn’t help notice its similarities with Azaad), Solva Saal, of course Dekh Kabira Roya are all first-class pieces of entertainment. And yet only a few years down, the best we can come up with is Padosan, where the humour is, well, over-the-top. Nothing understated about it.
Thank you, Abhik. Glad you enjoyed that! And glad that you enjoyed films like Kohinoor, Dekh Kabira Roya and Solva Saal (though I’d put that last one in a slightly different category from the others)… somehow Hindi film makers tend to steer clear of good, light-hearted farce like this. Another one that I like (though I know a lot of people wouldn’t agree with me!) is Pyaar Kiye Jaa – not understated, but lots of fun.
This is uncanny! I had thought of Pyar Kiya Ja just after pressing the submit button. Completely agree, loads of fun, high-jinks. Mehmood’s film scenario alone makes the film worth it. Say, why would you consider Solva Saal to be in a slightly different category?
I think Solva Saal is more a light-hearted (not strictly comic) romance + somewhat-thriller than anything else. The chase through the night, and the developing romance between two people who start off as strangers, is the crux of the film. It’s less suspense-centric than, say, CID, but I’d still not call it an outright comedy, like Pyaar Kiye Jaa or Dekh Kabira Roya – those are the sort of films that make even the romance a farce.
(Remember the scene in Pyaar Kiye Jaa where Shashi Kapoor jumps into the canal after Rajashree’s radio? She’s shrieked, and he’s come running to ask her who fell in, and she’s said, “Transistor!”, to which he’s asked, “Kiski sister?”) :-)
This film, Kohinoor, Halaku ,Noor Jahan,Miss Mary, Memsahib,Naya andaz,Shararat(last 4 with Kishore Kumar),Aladdin & The Wonderful Lamp,Naulakha Haar, and Gazal are those films where Meena Kumari was not a ‘tragedy queen’. Most of these were hits so that tag doesn’t look fair to me (even after watching those films where she was actually tragic).
I think Nargis did more tragic roles specially with RK and the biggest of them all in Mother India.
Agree entirely with the review , “Maybe they’re one man, playing a double role, as in the films” ,I know ‘Afsana’ is one before 1955 ,which other movies had double roles?
It is Meena Kumari’s 40th death anniversary on March 31, here are couple of her rare songs
and a duet
Thank you Chris :-)
I’ve been saying for ages that there are ‘a lot’ of films where she is NOT in a tragic role. I think these kind of films out number her other tragic roles.
To your list I will add a surprising one, considering it is a family drama with a name like ‘Bhabi ki choodiyan’. I mean it is not a chirpy role or anything but it isn’t a crying one, and to this genre I could add quite a few.
A couple of crying scenes, because her father or another loved one died also gets her the ‘weepy’ title :-( which is so unfair because most heroines cry at some point or other. Even Vidya cries at least three times in the acclaimed ‘Kahani’ (loved the film BTW).
And I must add after the young chirpy age was past I am glad she gave up those kind of roles.
I’d have hated to see a somewhat heavy Meena prancing around :-D
And yes, there is Chitralekha too!! A great role, good acting as usual, though the camera tried to avoid her hips and below because she ‘was’ quite heavy there.
I’ve completely forgotten that one, saw it as a child and didn’t understand it.
BTW, have you seen Chandan ka Palna? One of the few Meena Kumari films I’ve seen that has nothing to recommend it. Unless you count a handsome Dharmendra, and even he is far from enough to balance out all the horridness of the film.
Thank you for telling me that Bhabhi ki Chooriyaan isn’t a weepy film! I’ve avoided that one, not because of Meena Kumari, but because long experience (Bhabhi, Chhoti Bahen, Bhai-Bahen, Bhai-Bhai, Do Behnen, etc) has taught me that films with titles like these are not really my cup of tea. Most of these ‘relatives galore’ films tend to be full of mindless self-sacrifice and misunderstandings ad nauseum. Will look out for this one.
(And I must see Kahaani! I haven’t yet got around to it). :-(
>(And I must see Kahaani! I haven’t yet got around to it). :-(
Oh no. Don’t wait. Along with Vidya, Kolkotta is also the heroine of the film :-)
And DO!! **shaking finger*
I have told you umpteen times about Bhabhi ki choodiyan, and you always said you will look out for it. :-D
Watch Chitralekha as an adult you might like it. I just loved it.
Yes, I have seen Chandan ka palna. Fortunately for me, I can see *ANY* old film regardless. It’s to do with a certain feeling for the time gone by (the reason I love Jane Austen).
“And DO!! **shaking finger*
I have told you umpteen times about Bhabhi ki choodiyan, and you always said you will look out for it. :-D”
Bad girl! (me). Yes, yes, yes. I must – both for Bhabhi ki Chooriyaan and Kahaani.
I was telling Tarun yesterday: “Lots of people have been telling me that Kahaani is really good. Even pacifist said it.” Ever since you recommended The Artist, and we watched it – and Tarun liked it – the way to get him to agree to a film is to let him know you liked it. :-)
Though i have to say that my recommendation of Bhabi ki choodiyan’ is to for a non weepy Meena in a film that could easily have led to that.
The film is a family drama as the name indicates, but she and Balraj take it to a higher level (so also the director) by not resorting to the usual overdramatics and melodrama.
But for now it’s Kahaani that you ‘must’ see **before** you hear about the ending. :-)
Re: Kahaani, though we’ve missed watching it this weekend – and Tarun works too late on weekdays for us to watch it after office hours – he’s agreed that we should go and see it next weekend. That “pacifist says it’s good” (now with the “Anu also says it’s good” tagged on) did it. ;-)
I don’t really have a problem with family dramas – some are quite entertaining, but I hate stuff like Bhabhi, which was just unrelenting unhappiness and self-sacrifice and misunderstandings. And, Jyoti kalash chhalke is a lovely song!
How and where did you watch Kahaani?
Seconding Pacifist – do watch Kahaani. And if you can get your hands on it, Separation – sad, but lovely, lovely film.
Okay, let’s see if I can persuade Tarun to take me to a late afternoon show of Kahaani today, if possible. :-) Wish me luck!
I am sorry but BHABHI KI CHOODIYAN-1961 was a very weepy tear jerker.
It was a remake of an iconic Marathi Hit film “Vahininchya Bangadya”-1953,in which Sulochana did the role of Vahini or Bhabhi.
In this film,the Bhabhi loves her husband’s younger brother like her son and makes lots of sacrifices.She suffers and ultimately dies and only after that the Devar realises her greatness.
She pawns her gold bangles for fulfilling the Devar’s needs,hence the name Vahininchya Bangadya-which literally means the bangles of sister-in-law.
The central role of Bhabhi was done by Meenakumari in BHABHI KI CHUDIYAN and she did her best to make the female audience weep plenty.
This film was remade also in Telugu as ‘VADINA GAJULU’ in
But yes,there are many films,as you say,where Meena Kumari acted funny,simple or non trgic,non weepy roles.
Now I am thoroughly confused. I suppose I’d better wait till I can get around to watching the film for myself before I decide how I feel about it.
Arunji, No, this isn’t the story of this film :-)
I think you have another film in mind with a similar name. and the choodiyan of the bhabi don’t get sold or pawned at all. It has another significance which I don’t know whether I should mention and spoil DO’s fun even though it isn’t a suspense film :-)
The bhabi makes no sacrifices, but is a good mother figure to her devar who respects her a lot.
There is no crying in the film at all except when she miscarries, and that too is shown very briefly and is understandable.
I’m not being able to find Bhabhi ki Chooriyaan anywhere. :-( Will have to check faithful old induna…
The story which I gave was that of Marathi film.In the Hindi version of Meena/Balraj,some changes were done,may be to suit the different audience.
In Hindi film,the Bhabhi loves the Devar like own son.When Devar gets married,his wife does not like Bhabhi’s closeness to him considering it as an encroachment on her possession and she tries to keep Bhabhi away from husband.The Bhabhi,due to a miscarriage can not concieve anymore.When the Devar gets a son,his wife considers Bhabhi’s proximity to the baby as inauspicious and bans her from handling the baby,but it is the Bhabhi who takes care of it when it falls sick.During all this she succumbs to the overwork and dies.When she is cremated,the Devar finds her gold bangles from the ashes and then they realise how great and selfless she was etc.
There were many scenes where Meena kumari is shown weeping and Balraj trying to console her.
I considered this film as a very touching,sensitive and a sure weeper.
No, Arun ji. :-)
The story you mentioned earlier is entirely different. So I wouldn’t say ‘with a few changes’.
The significance of the bangles, along with the fact that the devar honours his bhabhi ‘always’ changes the whole texture of the film.
A pity you came out with the whole story. I saw this film some time ago and can’t recollect the crying part you metion. But what I do remember is that it struck me that there was no exaggerated melodrama, and that Meena didn’t cry.
I’ll get back here tomorrow after watching the film again and then clear the mystery whether she cried or not :-D
I do agree that Meena Kumari wasn’t only a tragedienne – but there’s a popular perception that the roles she excelled at were the tragedy-riddled ones, like in Sahib Biwi aur Ghulam, Ek Hi Raasta, Main Chup Rahoongi or Pakeezah.
I guess part of that has to do with the fact that these are the more easily available of her films. Pakeezah or Sahib Biwi aur Ghulam, for example, are the sort of films that just about every one who’s slightly into not-just-new Hindi films has seen.
Incidentally, another chirpy role of Meena Kumari’s that I liked a lot was in Bandish. An offbeat movie, and sweet. Here’s a review I did of it:
Offhand, I can’t think of any pre-Afsana Hindi films that I’ve seen which had double roles. though I know that in Bambai ki Billi (1936), Ruby Myers played 8 different roles.
Just came across the treasure you have been penning and I am now deep into it. THANK YOU!
Meena Kumari is one of my favorite actresses (it passed on to me from my dad who absolutely worships her).
My take on why the epithet “Tragedy Queen” got tagged on to Meena Kumari comes not from her doing tragic roles or that she only excelled in that – we know she did romantic and fun roles equally well. She gets the tragedy queen tag (and same goes for Dilip Kumar with his tragedy king tag) as there is no one else who brings the pathos in the role as she does. She sits in an exalted position when it comes to tragic roles and the “Chotti Bahu” role that she essayed and the “Devdas” role that Dilip Kumar did cannot not be better enacted by any other actor — that is my biased opinion for sure. :)
Thank you so much, I really appreciate your appreciation.
And you make a very valid point. Yes, that is certainly a very plausible explanation for the epithet – she did do tragedy very well. I do agree that roles like Chhoti Bahu or even the young wife of Daaera could not have been done by anyone else. On the other hand, I feel roles like the one in <i<Majhli Didi or Miss Mary could also not have been done as well by most other actresses. I think Meena Kumari was just generally one of the very best actresses in Hindi cinema – if not the best. So versatile, too.
I just remembered a pre-1955 film that had a double role. Nargis played two almost-‘look alike’ half-sisters in Anhonee (1952).
Talking of Double roles,the FIRST ever double role enacted in a Hindi Talkie film was in ‘Awara Shehzada’-1933.Actor Shahu Modak did the roles of Rajkumar and Bholaram in the film.
One can always depend on you to provide the answer, Arunji! Thank you – you’re a walking encyclopedia. I am truly amazed and impressed at your knowledge. :-)
Azaad is such a good film to watch after ones appetite has been whetted by watching Aan.
I love the film because of DK/MK, songs, and Aplam Chaplam dance. What excellent choreography and synchronization. I think it is among the best dance sequences ever in hindi cinema.
I agree with that disguise. He is unrecognizable there.
After watching Aplam chaplam chaplai re, I was telling my husband that “I don’t usually pay that much attention to the dancing – that’s Richard’s forte – but this floored even me!” Sai and Subbulaxmi were so good.
I’m so glad you liked the film, Madhu. :) It’s nice to see a peppy Meena. Isn’t it sad that her ‘tragic’ persona overshadowed all these other roles? She was such a fantastic actress and had so many non-tragic ones.
Azaad was remade from an MGR starrer called Malaikallan – DK was amused that a south Indian producer would come all the way to Bombay to sign him – it was his first movie with south film industry. It’s probably the only movie that was remade in HIndi, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada, Hindi, and Sinhalese.
Aplam chaplam is probably one of the best choreographed dances in films. And Sai and Subbulaxmi had such sparkly eyes.
Pran blowing perfect smoke rings – I think the directors made him do it all the time – I remember that shot from Madhumati also. I have a screen cap of that in my review. Here:
So many remakes? It was obviously a very big hit. I don’t blame those who wanted to remake the film – it’s so likeable. Were there two Hindi remakes, by the way? (Since you mentioned ‘Hindi’ twice in the list of remakes).
Ah, I hadn’t remembered you inserting that screen shot of Pran blowing smoke rings. And I didn’t, on purpose, revisit your post when I wrote this one, because I didn’t want to, even inadvertently, be influenced by what you’d written.
And again, Anu – thank you for this recommendation! Loved it. :-)
No, no – only once in Hindi. Mea Culpa.
because I didn’t want to, even inadvertently, be influenced by what you’d written.
Ha! No fear of that, Madhu. Your writing style is unique. :)
Not just the writing style, Anu – but also what you liked or didn’t. Those are the things – the ideas, not the language – that I’m bothered will influence me. That’s why, even for newspaper reviews of films or books, I tend to just look at the star rating, and leave it at that. I prefer to not read the reviewer’s analysis too much, for fear that it’ll colour my perception of the work.
ps: Thank you so much for linking back to my blog.
You don’t need to thank me for that! You introduced me to this film, I linked back to your blog – we’re quits.
Wonderful review of one of my favorite movies! I will come back and add a small bit of trivia to this (contributed by hubby once again!).
Thank you, Lalitha! And I can’t wait to read what little bit of trivia you have to contribute.
This happened when hubby was working in SBI, NY (before we got married) and Lataji was visiting the US. She came to their bank one evening and all the employees were invited to a chat session with her. During that conversation, apparently somebody asked her which of her songs was her own personal favorite, and she said it was this song from Azaad, Aplam chaplam …, and naturally, that too was one of the questions hubby asked me in one of our initial meetings, Did I know that song, and so on. Luckily for me, I did!
My own personal favorite is Na bole na bole na bole re …, and it goes back to my own childhood. I was visiting my cousins, and they were learning to dance to this song, and I used to be watching their lessons, and after the class was over, we would have our own private recital of this song!
Meena Kumari and Dilip Kumar are so wonderfully happy in this movie, and it is such a pity that MK got typecast in all those weepy roles later, and DK in all those brooding, melancholy roles, other than a couple of movies like Ram aur Shyam and Kohinoor.
You and your hubby seem to have discussed movies a lot in your initial meetings, Lalitha! :-) Sweet.
I must confess too that while I love the dancing in Aplam chaplam, the song I like more is Na bole na bole na bole re. There’s something so sweet and melodious about it – and the lyrics are lovely. And while Meena Kumari is certainly not in the same league as Sai and Subbulaxmi, I think all three dances of hers in Azaad are beautiful!
Well, he had no interest in paintings or craft stuff or knitting or romantic fiction, which left us with movies as the common point! And travel stories, also! If you review movies with locales like Egypt or trekking in the Himalayas, I will regale you with some more stories then!
Heh! I can understand – even my husband and I tend to be interested in completely different things. While we both read a lot, what we read is poles apart. The same goes (mostly) for TV and films. Though, over the years, we have begun to watch ‘each other’s films’ to some extent. Food and travel are probably the only things that both of us are equally passionate about! :-D
Hmm… Egypt and trekking in the Himalayas? Now, that just might be a bit difficult. Offhand, I can think of only the Mummy series (and possibly Death on the Nile) for Egypt, and they’re not in my timeline.
You could do the Doris Day movie with the song, Que sera sera …, and then there is always Cleopatra, or have you done these already? I need to check before I open my mouth or start typing!
Smoke rings! :D Must see movie now.
‘Nuff reason. :-D
I’ve never tried (for obvious reasons), but the way they do it in Hindi films is awesome. I love the way Dev smokes too. :D
I think I may have hit upon the reason why Meena Kumari’s tragic/weepy image is more in the forefront.
Most actresses faded away around 30 years of age after having gone through their stage of happy happy heroines when very young.
Meena Kumari after passing that stage carried on as a mature actress with gravitas till well into her 30s. She was 30 when Sahib Bibi aur Ghulam was made.
She was 35 years old in Bahu Begum, and Chandan Ka Palna.
We have to blame her longevity in films as a heroine for that IMO.
That may be a reason. It might be interesting to look at the filmographies of some of her contemporaries and see what sort of roles they did, if they happened to work till later. Waheeda Rehman, for instance. She’s continued to act a long, long time – but in what sort of roles? I had a look at the films she’s worked in since the 70s (she would’ve turned 30 in 1966):
… and I have to admit I haven’t seen the bulk of these films, so wouldn’t know how weepy (or not) her roles were here.
Or Nutan, who was born in the same year as Waheeda:
With her, yes. The weepiness and ‘ghareluness’ seems to have set in pretty early, though she did work in the occasional light-hearted film (like Laat Saheb) even after 30.
Dustedoff, I feel flattered about the mention in your conversation with your husband regarding my forte. :) But I haven’t been paying quite as much attention to the dancers lately as I have to singers.
One blogger whose big forte is dancing is Minai. And she expressed an interesting thought while comparing “Aplam Chaplam” to a corresponding dance in the Tamil version, Mallaikalan, that “the Tamil version retains more classical authenticity while the Hindi remake ‘spices’ things up a bit.”
She mentions this thought in her “Twin Dances” post, where she also provides a video (right after the “Aplam Chaplam” video):
By the way, she also refers to a blog post of mine in which all the videos are missing. That’s because they all were Tom’s. Tom Daniel posted all of the major dances from the Tamil version – and acquainted me with them – before I even realized that this was the source film for Azaad. And now that Tom is reconstructing his main YouTube channel, maybe we’ll be able to see those dances again. Meanwhile, the only dance I know of from the Tamil version that is presently posted is the Dailymotion one (which is from a channel by Minai under another name – or, actually, from what I know, I think “MInai” is more of another name :) …)
Regarding the film in general, well, I think Kohinoor is definitely better… But much as I like Dilip and, especially, Meena (who is my favorite actress just for being an actress, rather than the actresses who are my favorites for being dancers or singing stars), I think the dancers upstaged them in both films. I would guess that most people know Azaad mainly for the “Aplam Chaplam” dance. And what would Kohinoor be without those dances by Kumkum? Not even half the film that it is. :)
P.S. To Harvey, that is great that you were able to point out a scene in which Meena showed her damaged pinkie! And yes, I also knew that her fingers were intact in those mythologicals that she did in ’49 and ’50 (I haven’t seen the whole films, but I saw quite a few songs from both). I also saw a few scenes of her acting in the 1944 film Lal Haveli, when she was 11 years old, but I knew not to even bother looking for any damaged fingers there. :)
Thank you, Richard, for that link to Minai’s blog (I have read her blog occasionally, but not often enough to have seen this post). That was an interesting video – from almost the very start, you can see how much more ‘classic’ this is, slower and more authentic than the Azaad version.
I think Kohinoor is definitely better, too. It’s funnier, and on the whole, it’s better scripted – less complicated, for one. In Azaad, after a while I just got so completely swamped by all the digressions and unwarranted turns of plot, that I stopped trying to figure out what was happening.
But – while I do admit that Kumkum’s dancing was superb – I do tend to remember only Madhuban mein Radhika naache re (and that, mostly because the music and Rafi’s singing are brilliant). I think it’s the film in its entirety – the humour, Dilip Kumar’s hilarious scene with Jeevan (where he acts the ‘mirror’), the songs, and Meena Kumari’s sometimes refreshingly feisty princess that works for me. In Azaad, I think the dances – not just Sai and Subbulaxmi’s, but actually even Meena Kumari’s – that I remember more from the film than other elements of it.
Beauty they say is in the eye/eyes of the beholder but I feel every thing is in the eyes, ears, tongue of the beholder depending on what it is beholding or be-hearing or for that matter be- tasting, which reminds — sorry I am going off the track, you see I am missing mum- my chatting buddy- so I am right now in a mood for a good chat– so where was I? Oh yes, I was reminded of Hitchcock’s Rear Window. There was this scene in the film where Grace Kelly insists on a marriage and also expresses her desire to accompany James Stewart on his photo shoots, in response to this insistence Stewart admonishes Grace and asks her whether she would be able to eat monkey’s brains and fish’s head as people in the the places he visits do. Obviously she replies in the negative and watching the scene I thought here is beauty in the tongue of the be-taster for don’t Bengalis relish fish’s head – oh goodness I have done it again am sure the stomach of the vegetarians and probably some non vegetarians is churning.
So what has that got to do with Aazad? Well Dilip Kumar has always been considered to be the God of acting but this beholder , that is I for the life of me I could not understand what the fuss was all about, to put it plainly I just did not like him and then I saw Aazad and he caught me unawares with his acting. I quite liked the film as well as his acting, here was totally different Dilip Kumar.
I love this slightly offbeat way you have of beginning a comment, Shilpi! :-) Really – I do a lot of meandering when I’m talking too (my entire family are experts at it!), and I don’t see anything wrong with it. Roundabout perhaps, but it is a way of better reinforcing what you have to say, so I think that’s fine.
I have a confession to make: I actually hadn’t thought of Dilip Kumar as an especially great actor either. Well, certainly not meriting all those accolades people heaped on him. And I guess that was because almost all the films I’d seen of him – Devdas, Deedar, Andaaz, Aadmi, Daag, etc – were the very serious, tragic type, in which he spent most of his time bemoaning fate or being sorry for himself or otherwise behaving in weepy ways… which other actors (such as Rajinder Kumar) were equally good at doing. It is films like Kohinoor or Azaad that helped me agree that he is, in fact, an amazingly good actor. I think, for me at least, being able to pull off humour well (whether it’s in writing, or emoting) is more difficult than being able to do tragedy or sordid ‘real life’,
P.S. My mother used to praise macchher muro a lot when my sister and I were kids – until one day, she managed to get hold of some (we lived in MP, so it was difficult), and made it with daal. We hated it – Mummy was the only one who ate the bulk of it. ;-) …. but then, my sister and I do eat stuff like bheja andkheeri with great satisfaction, and most people would shudder at the mere thought of those!
Not too many Bengalis enjoy the macher muro with dal, my brother being one of them, once my aunt gave it to him expecting him to enjoy it, my poor brother thought it was the usual dal and took a helping of it and then the moment he tasted it, he wrinkled his nose in utter disgust – to make matters worse my brother was then a recent convert that is to fish eating, he used to never eat fish till then. He of course did not touch the dal.
At least that was your brother’s reaction only to fish head, rather than to fish! My sister’s husband is a Bengali through and through, but he can’t stand fish. He makes an exception occasionally for some other seafood, like prawn, but that’s about it. We often tease my sister that in their family (she, her husband, and their two children), the only one who eats fish is the one with the least amount of Bengali blood – my sister!
>s, tragic type, in which he spent most of his time bemoaning fate or being sorry for himself
I remember our discussion about ‘Pyaasa’ where similar comments by people were passed about it :-)
>or otherwise behaving in weepy ways…
LOL, I don’t know whether I should take up arms to defend Dilip Kumar now, after doing that for Meena Kumari :-D
>which other actors (such as Rajinder Kumar) were equally good at doing.
I’m highgly offended.
Hrrmmphh **logs off in a huff**
Arre, pacifist – no, no, no! Please, no. Not you, too:
Honestly, though, while Rajendra Kumar too could be fun (hmmm… let me think. The only film I can think of, offhand, where he was fun, is Jhuk Gaya Aasmaan) – what I associate him is with extremely melodramatic stuff like Saathi, Aarzoo or Dil Ek Mandir. Even Mere Mehboob, which is my favourite Rajendra Kumar film, was pretty high on the emotional content, if not exactly weepy.
No, no DO. :-D
I meant it the other way round, your saying about RK being able to do what DK did. RK wasn’t even close, I think.
True! Actually, this has a bearing on the latest comment I’ve posted, below. Dilip Kumar was mostly less weepy onscreen, more inward-drawing. Rajendra Kumar had this tendency to be OTT when it came to melodrama. So he ends up making me feel irritated. Not so with Dilip Kumar.
This seems to be the right place to post my comment as DO and Shilpi are already discussing ‘tastes’. :-)
I watched the film last night. Liked it all over again because of the very different treatment given to a very familiar story.
It was as I mentioned.
No crying except the two times she loses her baby, and one song towards the end where tears stream down her cheeks (the only time where tears are shown streaming down) involving the sick baby,
Unless you are talking about the emotional moments **in the last half hour** where there are *some brief moments* (some seconds) of intense emotions where her eyes well up.
There sre NO scenes of Balraj Sahni consoling Meena because she is shown as quite a pillar of strength. She shows chinks in her satrength ‘only’ regarding the baby.
So I think perhaps it all depends upon tastes.
I didn’t think there was anything shown that was manipulated to make women cry, and I cried (or my eyes welled up) ONLY at the ending when ” not even” Balraj Sahni was crying. :-(
Thank you for taking so much trouble to bring out the facts. I do accept that I erred in describing the film as a storehouse of tears,when infact it was not so much as much as I made it out to look like.
I did not have any access to the copy of the film to countercheck,before or after my comments.Good that atleast you saw it and corrected me.
My comments were based on what impression I had about the film,which I had seen in the early 60s.It ofcourse can not be an excuse.What is wrong is wrong.
I can at best say,I agree with you that afterall it is a matter of perception and taste.Sensitive people can cry at the slightest provocation and tough ones can bear it with ease.
I appreciate your good follow up.
Thanks,once again and Good Bye !
All I can say is that I have stayed away from most of Meena Kumari’s movies, because I was tired of sobbing in theaters (as a young girl) and discreetly wiping away tears (after my entry into college). I saw Pakeezah after the whole world convinced me that there was no crying involved in it. Recently I started watching Dil Apna aur Preet Parai on YT, but changed to another site when the emotions became intense. I had seen it before so I was testing myself and I found that I cannot take it, even at this age! Just goes to show that I am not a tough person!
Thank you Arunji, for being so sporting. :-)
@Pacifist, Arunji, Lalitha: Interesting discussion, this – it was intriguing to read all your comments. I agree that it’s all (as Shilpi says) a matter of taste. I don’t mind shedding a few tears, but what makes me cry is often not what makes other people cry. I cry more from watching deep emotion, not necessarily unhappy. For example, that last scene in Anupama, where Tarun Bose’s character, hidden away behind a pillar at the railway station, gives his long-neglected daughter a secret blessing as she goes away with her love. I find that scene so touching that just thinking of it is giving me gooseflesh and bringing a lump to my throat.
On the other hand, much crying onscreen usually only serves to irritate me. So, for me, a tearjerker would be a well-made, subtle film rather than a melodramatic one where everybody is shedding copious tears.
Exactly. People crying on the screen rarely touches me. It is the impact of a scene, a thought, the philosophy, that brings tears to my eyes.
Add me to the count of people who get very irritated by the overdose of glycerine on screen. Yet, a well-spoken emotional dialogue can have me well up.
I wish both Meena and Dilip didn’t have the ‘tragedy queen / king’ tag associated with them – that colours so many perceptions!
Yes – especially among people whose experience of their filmographies is limited to only some of their most famous (read most tragic) roles.
This is a follow up to my earlier suggestion that you could do the movie, The Man Who Knew Too Much – I don’t think it will work because it is set in North Africa, and I cannot remember if the desert and camels figure in it. It must be at least 30 years since I saw that movie. I will keep looking for suitable choices.
Yes, Lalitha – you’re right; The Man Who Knew Too Much is set in Morocco, so it won’t do. I haven’t got Cleopatra (though I remember watching it on DD, years ago), but I do have Caesar and Cleopatra – which I don’t really like, even though Vivien Leigh makes a stunning Cleopatra.
But I’ve just been struck by the fact that one of my favourite ‘journey movies’ ends in Alexandria, so maybe I’ll review that very soon! Thank you for sparking off that. :-)
I came across your blog about a week ago and since then have spent many hours on the train (and in lectures too but I shouldn’t be confessing that) reading several of your posts. It’s been a pleasure and it’s about time I write to express some appreciation!
I too love old movies and this blog is a great resource to not only find out about movies I’ve not seen but also to wallow in the nostalgia of some of my favourites.
I’m replying on this particular post because Meena Kumari is my absolute favorite actress. Her voice…her eyes…everything was exquisite. My favourite performances include: Bhabhi Ki Chudiyan, SBAG, Miss Mary, Kaajal (a guilty pleasure), DAPP, Aarti, Mere Apne, etc etc etc. You absolutley MUST watch Bhabhi Ki Chudiyaan if you’ve still not seen it – yes it is a tearjerker but it is also a very beautiful, simple film, with awesome performances. I showed it to a friend recently (who like me is in his mid-twenties but has never watched old Indian films) and he too was captivated by Meena Kumari.
She did so many ‘fun’ films in the 50’s. I think sometimes she is derided for always crying and being the ‘tragedy queen’ but actually that was probably not just because she excelled at taht but also because she was in her mid thirties in the 60’s, she had put on weight, and so she was hardly able to do the roles that Sadhana and Asha Parekh did with Shammi Kapoor. In fact, it is a testament to her talent and popularity that even though she looked pretty bad in some of those movies post 1964, she was still getting lead roles right until then end (I think she was only character artiste in a handful of films like Dushman, Gomti Ke Kinaare, Abhilasha but even in these she was in fact the central character).
I’ve now seen almost all of her films, except a handful which I just cannot get holds of:
Saat Phere – 1971 with Pradeep kumar – Anybody know ANYTHING bout this one??
Jadui Anghoothi / Magic Ring – 1965
Bahaana – 1960 with Mehmood
Madhu – 1959
Bandhan – 1956 with Pradeep Kumar
Rukhsana – 1955 with Kishore Kumar
Baadbaan – 1954 with Ashok Kumar and Dev Anand
(And maybe one or two more)
If anyone has any info I would be grateful and would happily pay for a copy!
In terms of other favourites, well I am literally a devotee of Lata :-)
Actors: 1. Sanjeev Kumar, 2. Dilip Kumar, 3. Balraj Sahni
Actresses: 1. Meena Kumari, 2. Nutan, 3. Jaya Bhaduri, 4. Waheeda Rahman, 5. Tanuja (And i also really like Sadhana and even Mala Sinha)
MDs: 1. Madan Mohan, 2 Roshan, 3. Salil Chaudhry
Lyricists: 1.Gulzar, 2 Sahir
Directors: 1. Gulzar, 2. Bimal Roy, 3. Hrishikesh Mukherjee, 4. Guru Dutt
Singers: Lata and Hemantda (but of course also all the other greats).
Sorry i’ve not actually commented about this particular post, but it was a pleasure to read as were all the others I have read thus far. I will hopefully be a more frequent commenter now.
Best wishes and thanks again :-)
Salim, thank you so much for your long and very enthusiastic comment – your obvious love for old Hindi cinema warms my heart (and how could it not?!) Unfortunately, I’ve not come across any of the Meena Kumari films you’ve listed as being on your list to get hold of. Have you tried http://www.induna.com? They have a huge catalogue of even very obscure films, so it just may be possible that you might find something there…
Yes, Induna is pretty awesome. At xmas time I went a little crazy and ordered £120 worth of DVD’s!! (Though most of the cost was cos of a Hrishikesh Mukherjee collection (most of which conatins classics i’ve already seen but also some extras like Sabse Bada Sukh, Kotwal Saab, Jhoothi, Do Dil), and 101 Stars collection.
But I did also get a heap of obscure Meena movies like Chand (Balraj Sahni/Manoj Kumar), Sanam (Dev Anand/Suraiya), Farishta (Ashok Kumar), Naya Andaz (Kishore Kumar), Char Dil Char Raahein (Raj Kapoor), Shri Krishna Vivaah (as well as lots of other random films including Saigal’s Devdas which I’ve wanted to see forver but could never find).
That’s quite an awesome collection of obscure films you’ve listed! I’m very impressed. :-)
How is Chaand? I’ve got it lined up among my movies to be watched, but haven’t got around to it yet…
Not seen it yet – I’m saving it till later because I’m so excited by the star cast :-) Will let u know once i’ve seen it.
Maybe I should watch it soon too!
regarding azad two points i have known be shared with all of you
1 it was naushad who recommended c ramachandra as a only music director who can tune music to a film at such a short time when the producer approached the former
2 i read somewhere that both c r and r k went to chennai for the assaignment and spent first few days exploring south indian delicacies and going around . then the producer got worried and was after them continiously . then they got to job and finished the job in one week flat!
I didn’t know about them going about stuffing themselves on South Indian delicacies! That makes me like them even more. :-)
Further just now i saw Kohinoor starring same pair . One thing i noticed about Meena kumari is that age shows on her significantly in just matter of 4 years . May be for some age shows more than they actually are.
Further i thought Azad had better story line compared to Kohinoor
True, I prefer the story of Azaad to that of Kohinoor.