Waqt (1965)

By some strange oversight, despite the fact that Waqt is one of my favourite masala films, I’ve never reviewed it on this blog. And I’m wishing I didn’t have to end up writing about it on such a sad occasion—because Achla Sachdev, the actress who played the self-sacrificing, long-suffering mother and wife in this film, passed away on April 30, 2012.

For me, Achla Sachdev—not Leela Chitnis or Nirupa Roy (or other contemporaries, such as Durga Khote, Mumtaz Begum, Sulochana Latkar, Pratima Devi, etc)—is the quintessential Ma. Leela Chitnis was invariably only one shade of mum: meek and mild and weepy. Nirupa Roy, though usually acclaimed as the mum, did actually act as heroine in a number of films, such as Razia Sultana and Lal Qila.

But Achla Sachdev? Her I always associate with only the mother. She may be the blindly superstitious and/or emotionally-blackmailing mother of Shagoon or Mere Sanam. She may be the rather unmaternal mother of Anhonee, who abandons her baby to the suspect tender mercies of its father. She may even be a foster mother of sorts—as in Adalat or Humraaz. Or, more often than not, she may be the doting mother.

That’s what she is in Waqt: Achla Sachdev in one of her most memorable roles (and with a serenade sung to her too!). This is for you, Ms Sachdev. Rest in peace.

Waqt (‘time’) is all about how time holds the reins of all our lives. Lala Kedarnath (Balraj Sahni) has, by dint of hard work, managed to turn his life around from being a labourer to a wealthy trader, dealing in carpets and dry fruit. On this day—a particularly auspicious one, since it marks the birthdays of each one of this three sons—Lala Kedarnath is inaugurating a new shop for himself.

For the celebrations, Kedarnath’s friend Hardayal Rai (Hari Shivdasani) arrives, bringing with him an acclaimed astrologer. He cajoles and bullies a reluctant Kedarnath into showing his palm to the astrologer. When the astrologer tries to gently tell Kedarnath that destiny rules everything, Kedarnath scoffs at him. He has made his own destiny, he says. All that Kedarnath is today, is because of Kedarnath’s own efforts; destiny played no part in it.

The celebrations are held—Kedarnath sings a delightful song in praise of his wife Lachhmi (Achla Sachdev). When all the guests have gone home and the two elder sons are asleep in their beds, Lachhmi brings the youngest, a baby, to their room, and Kedarnath starts telling her all the grand plans he has for their future…

… and all hell breaks loose. There’s a horrific earthquake, with buildings falling like cardboard [possibly because they are cardboard?] and fires breaking out all over the place. In all the debris, the dust, the flames and the confusion, Kedarnath’s entire family gets separated from each other—except for Lachhmi and the baby, whom she somehow manages to rescue. The next day, tottering about the rescue camps and asking for her husband, Lachhmi is told that someone saw a beam fall on Kedarnath. He’s dead.

…and poor Lachhmi, to keep body and soul together, is reduced to cleaning utensils in people’s houses. [Thankfully, she is soon able to graduate to a sewing machine].

Meanwhile, the eldest son, Raju, has washed up at an orphanage. This place is run by an evil manager (Jeevan, who else?), who ill-treats the boys under his ‘care’, thrashing them, depriving them of food (while he stuffs himself silly), and generally being a pest.

Raju, who rebels against this tyranny, runs away one day. And soon after, Kedarnath—having finally got a clue to where his son has been taken—turns up at the orphanage. Here, he discovers from the other children how Raju has been treated. Kedarnath sees red, and chokes the life out of the manager…

…thus ending up imprisoned for many years.

Also in the meantime, the middle son, little Babloo, has been found wandering around by the wealthy Mr Khanna (Surendra) and his wife. They are immediately besotted by the child and decide to bring him up as their own son.

Flash-forward to the present. Raju (who’d run away from the orphanage, remember?) has continued his running—only now, it’s away from the law. He’s a suave [or, as suave as Raj Kumar can be] gentleman burglar, and his latest haul is a fabulous diamond necklace. A policeman (Jagdish Raj) comes by asking Raju (who now calls himself Raja) whether he happened to see the burglar, who had been seen running in the direction of Raja’s house.

In the course of the conversation, Raja is told that the necklace belongs to a Judge, Mr Mittal, who had bought it as a birthday present for his daughter Meena—it’s her birthday tomorrow.
Raja is sufficiently intrigued to gate crash the party. Fortunately, he knows Mr Mittal (Manmohan Krishna), who introduces Raja to Meena (a gorgeous Sadhana). Raja hands over the necklace, with a tale about it having been dropped in his (Raja’s) yard by the thief when he was making his getaway.

Meena is sweetly grateful and gracious, and Raja is completely smitten.  So smitten, in fact, that when he drops in unannounced a couple of days later and hears her singing a love song, he imagines she’s singing it for him. [No chance, bro. Wait till you see the competition!]

What Raja doesn’t know is that Meena’s happiness owes itself to some good news: that Ravinder Kumar Khanna ‘Ravi’ (Sunil Dutt) has just got his law degree and is coming from Delhi to Bombay to practise.
Poor blind Raja is so thoroughly oblivious that when he comes visiting—again unannounced—and discovers that she’s gone to the airport, he follows her there, to give her a bouquet.

The bouquet ends up in the hands of the exuberant Ravi, who flirtatiously presents one flower to Meena and hands the bouquet to his new acquaintance (Meena’s introduced him to Raja). Raja is a little uncomfortable at Meena and Ravi’s very cheery friendliness, but hasn’t yet cottoned on to the fact that they’re more than just good chums.

Raja is also getting it in the neck on the professional front. He goes to meet his boss, Chinoy Seth (Rehman), who hauls Raja over the coals for returning Meena’s necklace. Raja is insolent and manages to fend off Chinoy Seth, who boasts that he was the one who picked Raja—then a teenager, surviving by picking pockets—off the streets and made him what he is today.

Also hovering in the background [and flashing a Rampuri chaaku—thus giving Raja an opportunity to shoot off a kickass dialogue at him] is Chinoy Seth’s slimy henchman, Balbir [Madan Puri. This film has its full complement of villainous characters].

Meanwhile, away in Delhi, we finally meet up again with Lachhmi. All those years of sewing clothes have finally wreaked havoc on her health, and she’s in a bad way. Fortunately, the baby has grown up into Vijay (Shashi Kapoor, looking knee-knockingly cute). Vijay studies in a college in Delhi, and is being rather diligently pursued by a classmate named Renu (Sharmila Tagore, as cute as he is).

Vijay is keen on her too, but realises that the gap between them—socially and economically—is so huge, they have little chance of ever getting to a happily ever after. Anyway, Renu’s cuteness eventually triumphs, and she and Vijay do spend a little bit of time driving through Delhi, sitting in gardens, and going on the usual ‘cultural tours’ so popular in 60s’ filmi colleges.

But when he finally gets his degree, Vijay also gets a nasty shock. Ma is very ill. The doctor tells Vijay that the only hope for her is to be taken to Bombay, where there are good hospitals. Vijay, who will do anything for his mother, agrees. He doesn’t know what he’s going to do about the money; but he bravely takes his Ma off to Bombay.

…having first said goodbye to Renu. Renu argues that this isn’t the end of their romance. She too will be coming to Bombay soon, since her elder brother has shifted there, and her parents have decided the entire family will be better off staying in Bombay.

Which brings us to who Renu’s parents are. The Khannas. The same long-ago Khannas who had picked up and adopted Kedarnath and Lachhmi’s second son and brought him up. Ravi is actually Babloo, though he doesn’t know it.

Also, in the meantime, Kedarnath, having spent so many years in jail for murder, has completed his sentence. As soon as he’s free, he goes out looking for his family. His search proves fruitless, and he finally goes in desperation to the house of his old friend, Hardayal Rai. Hardayal Rai tells Kedarnath that he’d heard a rumour that Lachhmi was in Delhi—he even manages to dredge up, from the depths of his memory, the name of the street where she was said to be living.

Kedarnath, in Delhi, finds the place, but the neighbour tells him that Lachhmi has left for Bombay. So Kedarnath too follows in her wake, to Bombay…

…and now we have the entire family finally congregated in Bombay. Kedarnath, who knows that even if he should come across his sons, he won’t be able to recognise them, since they’ll be all grown men by now. [Which, by the way, happens with a startling regularity].

Raja, who’s in love with the girl whom his own younger brother wants to marry—though Raja doesn’t know yet that Ravi is actually Babloo.

And Vijay, in love with Ravi’s foster sister, but well aware that his love is doomed. (Also, since he hasn’t been able to get a ‘good’ job till now, Vijay has ended up working as a chauffeur for Chinoy Seth).

How will this frightfully tangled story get straightened out? How will they all come together [and they will; there’s no two ways about it in Hindi cinema]? It’ll be a long [just over three hours] journey to the happy end. Along the way there’ll be plenty of those agonising moments [for the viewers, who know the truth] when the separated family meet, or almost meet, but don’t know each other.

There’ll be plenty of great songs. More romance. And a murder and much courtroom drama [that’s why there are such nasty goons in the story, and that’s why Ravi is a lawyer. And that’s why Jagdish Raj is in the film].

There had been lost-and-found siblings/offspring/etc stories before Waqt (Kismet, Afsana, Tumsa Nahin Dekha, and Dil Deke Dekho, among others). There were dozens more to come—especially, in the 70s, the blockbusters Yaadon ki Baaraat and Amar Akbar Anthony. But Waqt remains my favourite. Never had a lost-and-found story been attempted on such a massive scale (three children and their parents! Whew). Waqt brought together a fabulous star cast, with some of the biggest names of the mid-60s (and great supporting actors too, including stalwarts such as Motilal):

…and Shashikala:

And, while it is very long and very complex, Waqt never drags. An absolute must-see-again-and-again.

What I liked about this film:

The cast—some of my favourite people here, including Sadhana, Sunil Dutt, Shashi Kapoor, Sharmila Tagore, Balraj Sahni, and Rehman. And, of course, the inimitable mum, Achla Sachdev.

The songs. Waqt brought together two of Hindi cinema’s greats when it came to the creation of songs: Ravi and Sahir Ludhianvi. Between them, they created a clutch of superb songs, including the fabulous Aage bhi jaane na tu, the teasing and sweet O meri zohrajabeen, and some lovely romantic songs—Hum jab simatke aapki baahon mein aa gaye, Kaun aaya ke nigaahon mein chamak, Chehre pe khushi chhaa jaati hai, and Din hain bahaar ke among them.

My favourite is Aage bhi jaane na tuSahir’s lyrics are philosophical without being sunk in depression; Ravi’s music is out of this world; Asha Bhonsle sings it beautifully—and Erica Lal is (as my mother says) “every inch the 60s’ crooner”. And, unusually for a song in a Hindi film, the action doesn’t come to a standstill while the song goes on. Quite the opposite; a lot happens while the song is in progress.

And, connected to the fact that Aage bhi jaane na tu helps (rather than hinders) the narrative: Yash Chopra’s superb direction, combined with a great screenplay and taut editing. Three hours sounds massive. It is massive. But I’ve never baulked at watching (and rewatching) Waqt—simply because it’s so fast-paced and well-scripted. The scenes are all fairly short, and there’s almost no detail that is unnecessary. Even Raja’s sarcastic treatment of Balbir, or the car race that takes place between Ravi and Raja, eventually turn out to be not superfluous to the plot.

What I didn’t like:

Well, not really ‘didn’t like’; more along the lines of ‘What I thought could’ve been better’. The courtroom scene at the end. Does such high drama actually take place in trials like this? I don’t know; they seem to be pretty common in Hindi cinema, but I didn’t think this worthy of Waqt.

But: whatever. This is a fantastic movie, and a great example of 60s’ masala. It doesn’t get better than this.

166 thoughts on “Waqt (1965)

  1. Achala Sachdev was also a glamorous mom. Remember ‘Sangam’? ‘Waqt’ is one of my father’s favourite films. The video cassette of ‘Waqt’ (from Shemaroo) was one of the first home video titles we bought. Now we have it on DVD. I liked Sadhana’s queenly look, Shashikala’s presence, and that microphone-holding singer in “Aage bhi jaane na tu”. ‘Waqt’ was a very glamorous film, indeed, if the good-looking lead actors are considered.


    • I’ve forgotten Achla Sachdev in Sangam, but yes – I do remember her as a glamorous mom in one or two 60s films.

      Coincidentally, Waqt was one of the first VCDs I bought when we first got a VCD player years ago, and now I have it on DVD. Everything about it is very spiffy and smart and pretty. Totally unreal, but very enjoyable, nevertheless. :-)


  2. Great one, Dustedoff. One more interesting thing about Waqt was that it introduced new fashions–Bhanu Athaiya’s tight salwar kameezes for Sadhna and Sharmila became a rage. The films as Chopra modern, and has to be seen as the first of the many he and BR made (Aadmi air Insaan and even Kabhie Kabhie) which were about fashionable, upper class people


    • Churidar kameezes, sidharth, not salwar kameezes. ;-) But you’re so right – those clingy outfits became all the rage in Hindi films after Waqt.

      It’s a coincidence that you pointed out the fact that this (like the other films you’ve mentioned) was about “fashionable upper class people”. I was thinking the same way.

      After I’d published this post, it did cross my mind that this is one of those utterly upper-class films that are very unreal, very BR Chopra of the mid 60s. Even Gumraah or Humraaz fall into the same category: depicting a cast that seems almost completely to live in very high society. The glimpses of poverty – as in what happens to Lachhmi and Vijay – are very fleeting (well, Vijay seems remarkably well-dressed for someone in such dire circumstances).


      • I have a bevy of gorgeous older cousins who wore these extremely tight churidar kurta’s like Sadhana. I still remember watching them torturing themselves trying to pull on this stuff, sometimes even tearing it. But they looked almost as lovely as Sadhana.


        • I remember that my mum actually had two of those clingy kurtas tucked away in her trunk – though she never wore them – till well into the 80s. They were made of Chinese silk, and were simply gorgeous. I also recall managing to somehow squeeze into one – and then wondering how I’d ever get out!


      • sorry, Madhu, I am not an expert on women’s fashions! The Chopras, esp Yash, were very comfortable in the upper class world of the Punjabi lalas, as evidenced from a number of films starting from Kabhie Kabhie (Chandni) and the son has continued with the tradition (DDLJ). Waqt stands out for me for kicking off the glorious technicolour 60s, waving off the 50s in style


        • sorry, Madhu, I am not an expert on women’s fashions!

          I’m not surprised! ;-)

          Looking back at B R Chopra’s filmography, I find it interesting that his earlier films – like Naya Daur, Sadhana, Ek hi Raasta or Kanoon – had more variety as far as settings went (other than Kanoon, for instance, all of these featured main characters who weren’t wealthy and fashionable). They also had deeper meaning, and weren’t just entertaining fluff. An interesting transition – I wonder why that happened (though I hasten to add that I enjoy both types of films – B R Films can always be relied upon to deliver).


            • Ah, yes. Right. :-) Still, considering BR Chopra did produce those films, I’d have thought he’d have insisted on a little less fluff and more substance, even in the later films.

              Anyway, I’m not complaining! Whether it’s a Naya Daur, a Waqt, or an Ittefaq – they’re all right up my alley!


  3. And no, no high drama takes place in a court. I’ve been inside a courtroom at the Ranchi high court. The procedures are lengthy and not at all dramatic like in the movies. Except the judge (who sits on a high chair) one can listen to no one else. There are no power-house lawyers, like Sunil Dutt in ‘Waqt’ or Anupam Kher and Rani Mukherji in Yash Chopra’s last release ‘Veer-Zaara’. The lawyers (in real life) seemed to be cowed down by the judge and the fact that they were under a lot of pressure to properly represent their clients. Several cases are heard in a day and there are not even enough chairs inside a courtroom to accomodate all the visitors. The audience, in a filmy courtroom, are all properly seated in perfect discipline. Thankfully, the courtroom I went to was air-conditioned. I don’t know what the situation must be like in a real-life courtroom in the 60’s when ‘Waqt’ was released. I assume that in those days there were not too many cases. Plus, proceedings in those days took place in those huge old-style, palatial buildings with high ceilings. So air circulation was somewhat ok.


    • Yes, I do happen to have some idea of what courtroom procedures are like. I’ve never been inside a court, but my brother-in-law is a lawyer, so I get to hear a lot from him – and none of it is anywhere as dramatic as what happens in Waqt (or, another thoroughly unlikely courtroom scene, Paying Guest). :-)

      One film that was primarily centred around courts, and which may have been closer to the truth than most was the Sunil Dutt-Leela Naidu-Rehman starrer Yeh Raaste Hain Pyaar Ke (that too had Shashikala and Motilal in the cast, with Motilal acting as one of the lawyers). The film was based on the Nanavati Case, the last case in India to be tried by a jury, and I remember being impressed with the courtroom scenes.


  4. Such a long time since I saw this!
    I was in the second standard of the primary school. It must have been winter when they showed it on DD. I still remember the next morning vivdly. It was a misty morning and we were passing a a hospital and the guy in hut nearby had a transistor radio playing the song: aage bhi jaane na tu.
    The fact that I didn’t like going to school mixed up with the feeling of not knowing what lay ahead depressed me more.


    • I don’t even remember the first time I saw Waqt! But it was certainly on Doordarshan, because back then, we didn’t even have VHS players. But I’ve seen it countless times ever since.

      Aage bhi jaane na tu might be particularly depressing if you were headed for an exam in school! ;-)


      • I used to always sing this song before each exam of mine so as not to tempt providence by being over-confident & presumptuous (its lyrics of uncertainty put me in my place) & it proved to be lucky for me & I did well in all my exams & even came in the merit list in my final M.B.,B.S year.


    • While both Harvey and Madhu saw it on DD, I saw it in ’65 itself, during the Christmas holidays! I remember loving the circular bed that Sadhana has and their car race. I also remember commenting on how it was impossible for Sadhana to lie down on all that snow in one of the songs!


      • At least she seemed to be pretty well kitted out in woollens for that song where she lies down in the snow! Not like poor Sharmila in Gunguna rahe hain bhanwre, or her many successors in newer films, who’ve had to traipse about in the snow in really flimsy clothing.

        P.S. You’re so lucky to have seen it back then, in 1965! I envy you. :-)


        • That’s true, at least she had some warm clothing. I have always wondered how the directors expect the audience to believe a scene where the heroine is romping around in the snow and on hilly terrain in her bare feet! And if you have noticed something else, the hero is usually clad warmly, with those wonderful chunky sweaters and a scarf also. Why this gender bias?

          Lucky to have seen it back then? Actually, that tells you my age right there! Your parents had probably not even met each other at that time! I had forgotten most of it and bought myself a B R Chopra VCD set on one of my visits to India, which is also lying forgotten on the DVD shelf. I will dust it off one of these days and watch it again. Your review makes it sound so intriguing, especially the part about Raj Kumar’s dialogs and the court room scene. Isn’t this where Sunil Dutt drags a sack of potatoes into the court room? Or was it some other movie? And yes, I fell in love with Raj Kumar’s gravelly voice after this movie, but who can blame me – I was fifteen years old at the time!


          • Ah, I win over you this time, Lalitha! No, I am not a product of a much later age. In 1965, my parents had not only met, but were already engaged – they got married in early 1966.

            You’re right about Sunil Dutt dragging a sack into the courtroom, though he never explains what’s in the sack. Good memory! But then, I guess with some of these movies (Teesri Manzil, Jewel Thief and Mera Saaya are among the others that immediately come to my mind), the climax has a whopper that you can never really forget, even if you forget the details of the rest of the film.

            I’ve never been able to fathom why film makers seem to think a woman in flimsy clothes, teamed with a man who’s nicely warm in his woolies is going to seem even vaguely realistic to audiences. I feel so sorry for the poor women who have to do scenes like that! (P.S. Do you remember Junglee? Much as I adore that film, I always shiver when I see that particular scene in the cottage during the snowstorm… Saira Banu, sleeping, only lightly draped with a red blanket. When it snowed, we’d put on loads of woolies and snuggle around our bukhari!)


        • “In 1965, I was most probably in my purva janam! :-)

          Same here! But I’ve seen it so many times since my first viewing of it on DD, I think I’ve made up for it. ;-)


  5. I caught this on TV a couple of months ago – I remember cause the next day they were showing Jewel Thief! (And it was on Diwali too – I had to argue and argue to stay at home to watch JT!) Honestly, I didn’t know there was an old Waqt, but this performed pretty well at the box office.

    Oh, and also, R.I.P., Achala Sachdev. :(


      • My grandma had tried to explain when I was six, but it all went over my head. Oh, well. At least I know now. :)

        It was the highest-grossing film of 1965 – that’s pretty cool. :D Won some Filmfare awards, too.


  6. The most remarkable actor in terms of the audience response and popularity was Raaj Kumar. People used to flock the cinema hall just to see his trademark style and hear his dialogs. They still do for the same reason. That is a fact even if one likes it or not.


  7. I loved Achala Sachdev as a mother. Her punjabi accent was so endearing. RIP.

    The moment one hears the name of the film Waqt, it’s the song ‘o meri zoharjabeen’ that pops in ones head even if ‘aage bhi jaane na tu’ is the favourite :-D
    Another word that also pops up immediately to mind is ‘gorgeous’. I think it was the presence of so many genuinely goodlooking people (without the help of artificial means) that made it so.

    Loved your funny one liners.


    • Thank you, pacifist! Glad you liked those one-liners.

      You’re so right, one word that immediately comes to mind when I think about Waqt is ‘gorgeous’. The people, the costumes, the locales – all of it is sheer loveliness. :-)


    • Yes, for me at least (despite the fact that I also like Yaadon ki Baaraat and Amar Akbar Anthony), Waqt is the lost-and-found film. Do they still make lost-and-found films in Hindi cinema? I don’t recall having seen any in recent years…


  8. This was always the first real big “lost-and-found” Hindi movie, though I see you have earlier examples. It does hold its own with the best of 70’s L&F, Johnny Mera Naam, Yaadon Ki Baraat & AAA; perhaps even scores over them in some aspects. The choice of parents is one, Balraj Sahni & Achala Sachdev make a great pair. They do look & behave as if they would have produced children, it is not so obvious with their 70’s counterparts. Of course, the wonderful song “Ae Meri ..” contributes a lot to this, but this couple does look a lot more realistic (& romantic) than most of the 70’s depiction of parenthood.
    Absolutely loved “[No chance, bro. Wait till you see the competition!]” & “[Thankfully, she is soon able to graduate to a sewing machine].” & “[and flashing a Rampuri chaaku—thus giving Raja an opportunity to shoot off a kickass dialogue at him].
    There is no doubt that this is a several-times-rewatchable film, and with great songs.
    BTW, what would your example of a great (& realistic) BWood courtroom scene ?


    • Thank you for appreciating those wisecracks, Samir! ;-) I had wondered if it was politically correct – after all, tribute to Achla Sachdev and all that – but then decided I couldn’t not pass some of those comments.

      “this couple does look a lot more realistic (& romantic) than most of the 70′s depiction of parenthood.”

      You know, I hadn’t been able to put my finger on what makes Waqt more likeable for me than the other films (of course, there is the fact that this is a 60s films, and that in itself is enough for me!)… but you just might have pointed out an important reason. Achla Sachdev and Balraj Sahni do make for a realistic couple, who actually love each other – and show it – despite being parents. With nearly all the others, you wonder if all those children were a result of immaculate conception.

      My example of a great (and realistic) Hindi film courtroom scene? I’m not sure I can pass judgement (pun intended) – because I’ve never been inside an actual courtroom, though I’ve heard accounts of how it proceeds. I suppose I should ask my sister or my father – who’re both familiar with old Hindi cinema and actual courtrooms – for this. My idea of a somewhat more real courtroom scene would be the ones in Yeh Raaste Hain Pyaar Ke. That was based on the Nanavati Case (India’s last case to be tried by jury), and had Ashok Kumar and Motilal as the lawyers. Seemed much less dramatic than most of what you see onscreen, and more intelligent and well-thought out.


  9. Oh those dialogues of Raaj Kumar! Yeh chakoo khelne ki cheeze .. and Jo sheeshe kar ghar me rehte hain.. wah wah. I love EVERYTHING about this film. Haan, that courtroom scene is too dramatic, par chalo, chalta hai.


    • Exactly! Chalta hai, because the rest of the film is so good. Top-class. :-)

      I love that “Jo sheeshe ke ghar mein rehte hain…” dialogue too. And the perfect action to suit what he’s saying! Too good.


  10. Yeah Madhu, it doesn’t get better than this. And the courtroom scene also I love, because it all contributes to the masala. Sadhna beats the pulp out of every other lady in the film with her style and gorgeousness. Whenever I see this film, all I can say is slurp slurp!! Thank you for taking me back there again :)


    • Sadhna beats the pulp out of every other lady in the film with her style and gorgeousness.

      Fabulously put, Sharmi! :-) And I agree, 200%. She was simply awesome in this.


  11. Lovely post Madhu! I think I will learn the art of story telling some day by carefully reading through your posts. Fully agree with Samir on some of the witty comments, loved them :)

    The car race was too long isnt?
    Remember “Gul-E-Gulzaar”, “Chasm-E-Bulbul” and “Toofan-E-Humdum”? Sunil Dutt was bubbling with energy.
    The one thing that I loved about Waqt was the cast, and Ravi’s background music (and Sahir’s lyrics). Jeevan’s little stint was excellent. The lead-up to “Aage Bhi Jaane Na Tu”, ( a mild guitar) had such great effect.Do you remember that telephone waala song (Sadhana in pink dress), thats a ripper as well!


    • Thank you, Karthik! :-)

      Yes, the car race scene went on just a trifle too long. I think about five minutes – which was completely unnecessary.

      Aage bhi jaane na tu is just fabulous, as far as I’m concerned. And I love the fact that despite the fact that there’s quite a bit of orchestration, Ravi’s subdued it a little, so that Asha’s voice (and of course Sahir’s lyrics) take centrestage. A one-in-a-million song. Even that telephone-waala song is a good one, so slow and gentle. (Oh, and by the way: when you mentioned how Aage bhi jaane na tu begins, I was reminded of another lovely beginning to a Waqt song – Kaun aaya ke nigaahon mein. The music and the humming at the start is actually quite different from the music of the rest of the song. Lovely!)

      I must admit I didn’t like that bubbly “Gul-e-gulzaar” and “Chashm-e-bulbul“. It got a bit irritating after a while. (Perhaps there was also something to do with the fact that I know that chashm-e-bulbul is also the name given to a particular type of weave – diamond shapes; that spoilt the sweetness of it all)!


  12. Aha, what a wonderful, wonderful film. I happened to catch up with this a few months ago (I’d of course seen it a long time ago – and a few times!) and I loved every minute of it again.

    Most of what needs to be said has already been said – not just in your review (which is just fantastic in capturing the essence – and more – of the film) but also in the comments. Serves me right for coming here a day late!

    Love Samir’s comment about how Balraj Sahni and Achla Sachdev look and behave as if they would have produced children. That’s got to be one hell of an insightful comment. Let’s face it – in how many movies do you feel this way? These two looked just SO good together, having fun – and with Achla Sachdev blushing like she always so beautifully did. (RIP, Achla Sachdev).

    Everything about this film is gorgeous – the complicated but yet interesting storyline, the locations, the actors, and of course, the songs!!! Just love each one of them. I think I’ve heard “aage bhi jaane na tu” a zillion times – and some of the others too many times.

    I’ve always found Sadhna very beautiful but she outdoes herself in this film. And I really liked Sharmila too – the way she keeps on after Shashi (and he keeps having self-doubt) was one of the sweeter moments of the film for me, in a way balancing out the gung-ho Sunil Dutt moments (which I also liked btw). That song “din hai bahaar ke” is just so lovely in this context.

    Nobody’s mentioned that swimming pool scene. Must have been quite something in those days, right?

    I did think Raj Kumar was a bit naive when he kept on thinking that Sadhna was interested in him when anybody could have seen from a mile that Sadhna was h-over-h in love with Sunil Dutt. But then, with a name like Raja, you wouldn’t expect him to be too smart, right? ;-)

    Nobody’s mentioned Rehman – oh, I really love him. Whenever I see his name in the credits, my eyes light up. And I hope he has a big enough part. Nobody does “upper-class society” better than him in Hindi films (after all, he’s got royal blood in him) – I’m not sure whether he does his trademark “What nonsense!” in this movie, but as Chinoy Seth, he certainly does not disappoint.

    I could go on and on – let’s just say if you have a set of ALL Hindi movies ever made on DVD and you’ve seen them all loads of times – and you are getting bored and wanted to watch one of them again (and you’d seen it a zillion times already) – you could do worse than pick Waqt (and I hasten to add, the 1965 version). That (zillion + 1)th time will also put you in a good mood as you take in the beauty of the sets and the lovely songs.


    • Thank you, Raja! Your comment about Sharmila being so sweet in her pursuit of Shashi Kapoor reminded me of something else that I liked: the fact that even if she is blithely certain of her family accepting him, he, despite making it obvious that he loves her, has his feet firmly on the ground. In most other films of that period, you’d have the poor hero trying to fool her into thinking that he wasn’t worthy of her – perhaps by frolicking around with another woman, or getting deeply drunk (pretending to!), etc. Here, it was at least more realistic.

      Another very brief scene that I thought depicted love beautifully was in the courtroom, when Motilal has just subjected Sadhana to a very gruelling cross-examination. When he finishes and tells Sunil Dutt, “Your witness”, Sunil Dutt stands up, looking as if he is going to ask her some questions. But when he sees her face, she’s sweating and looking quite distressed. And all he says is “No questions“. Something very sweet there.

      Oh, and yes – that swimming pool scene is pretty daring for the 60s! (I think).

      And Rehman… ah, so, so good. He’s perfect at that supercilious look. So very upper class. :-)

      This has been, from the first time I saw it, one of my favourite 60s films. What’s not to like, really? All that’s good – no, make that fabulous – about Waqt far outweighs what could’ve been better.


  13. Here’s a thought. By the early 1960s, movies were being made in color – that was a big change from the 1950s. A lot of Shammi Kapoor movies (Junglee, Professor) benefited from this. I think Waqt must also count as a huge beneficiary of this. Can you imagine how it would be in black-and-white? The story would still be interesting (and the songs just as lovely) but there’d be so much lost, don’t you think?


    • Well said. Yes, I think Junglee and Professor – and Waqt, of course – certainly benefited from being in colour. Perhaps the producers and directors realised, too, that with such a winner of a story, a great cast and such good music, putting in the money to film it in colour would be worth it. I’m glad they did – in all three cases. I may not be able to enjoy them as much as I do in glorious colour.


  14. Achala Sachdev was there in Hare Rama Hare Krishna . She plays the apparently negligent mother. She is there in this ‘iconic’ song.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oJpqkNX_V-4 (that seems quite a poor quality video for an ‘official’ song by Shemaroo!)

    Raaj Kumar was well known for his command over the Urdu language. Have you seen ‘Heer Ranjha’1970 ? It was all in verse and all the actors including Pran were very good.Achala Sachdev also had a role in this too.


      • Well,I like most of Dev’s 70s films specially the ones ‘not’ directed by him. (despite not understanding Premnath’s accent in many of those,lol.)


        • But… but… his -sob- his.. his… HIS PUFF!

          He didn’t have his puff in the 70’s. >:( I’ve only seen four of his 70’s movies – Johny Mera Naam, Hare Rama Hare Krishna, Joshila and Banarsi Babu. Johny Mera Naam was good – actually, it was the first film of his I saw. :) Hare Rama Hare Krishna… you know the song he sings after Dum Maro Dum? I had to get up and walk away from the screen because I was cringing so hard and saying, “No Dev, stop making a fool out of yourself!”

          And Joshila. It made me hide in my room, hit my head on the wall and cry. WHAT KINDA HAIRSTYLE WAS THAT?! He needs his puff! And I caught the last bit of Banarsi Babu on TV – trust me, that was one of the corniest climaxes I’ve ever seen. Fine, it’s the 70’s, but that’s no excuse to make such corny things. And guess what? The villian was Jeevan. Yes, the same guy from Nau Do Gyarah.

          Anyway. Have you seen his 50’s and 60’s movies? :D They are awesome, just awesome. Try Tere Ghar Ke Samne? Or Nau Do Gyarah? Or Solva Saal or Munimji or Kala Pani or C.I.D. or-

          Kay, I think that’s enough. Also, sorry for this monster comment. :P


          • Please, bombaynoir – you cannot be serious about liking that hideous puff of his. :-D

            Honestly, my favourite Dev Anand films are his early ones – stuff like CID, Solvan Saal, Munimji and Nau Do Gyarah, and that mainly because that puff is hardly there, and his mannerisms are either non-existent or very controlled.

            I don’t care for his post-60s films either – except Johny Mera Naam, which was quite a bit of fun. Good old-fashioned lost-and-found drama, and such good songs! I watched Joshila because of Kiska rasta dekhe, and ended up hating it. Heera Panna didn’t disappoint me quite so much, but still – not a film I’d want to watch again.


            • WHY? :O -drops dead- I. Love. His. Puff! -crying-

              I like his mannerisms (Ah heck, why don’t we just say that I like everything about him?), but I love his puff! It’s not hideous! He was very good looking – admit it. ;) And that’s why I like his films, and the awesome songs too.

              I hated Joshila because, well, I told you that when they did THAT in Jewel Thief, I ran away, and trust me, I fell off the bed when the police came in Nau Do Gyarah. So. You’ll see why I hate it now. :D Oh, and no, Heera Panna was horrific. Horrific. I haven’t seen it, but what he does in “Panna Ki Tamana Hai” was enough to scare me away from it. For good.


        • How? How? When I know what’s going to happen next? -cries-

          I was yelling and crying at the same time, and screaming at the TV, “DEV, IT’S CALLED GETTING OUT OF THERE, OUT OF THERE. NAU DO GYARAH. FORGOTTEN ALREADY?”

          Because Nau Do Gyarah also means to escape. :D


            • Although the preachy stuff was… askdngjrmjfj. No. Not one bit likeable. Gah. -hides in corner with Bombai Ka Babu DVD-


              • ”Try Tere Ghar Ke Samne? Or Nau Do Gyarah? Or Solva Saal or Munimji or Kala Pani or C.I.D.”
                You just listed my most favourite films of Dev!!!! Munimji too, Nirupa did a different role which is similar to a Vamp IMO.
                There are others like Baazi,Jaali Note, Paying Guest etc.


                • YES. YES. You are an awesome person. -tackle hugs-

                  I love TGKS. Awesome. And Jab Pyar Kisi Se Hota Hai and Funtoosh and House No. 44 and Kala Bazaar (The first part was awesome – I just loved how he romanced Waheeda! Wahoo! :D) and a lot, lot, lot of others. And he was so handsome toooooooooo! :DDDDD -melts into puddle-


    • Ah, yes. I’d forgotten about Achla Sachdev being in Hare rama Hare Krishna until a friend reminded me, a couple of days back.

      I haven’t yet summoned up the courage to watch Heer Ranjha – not so much because of Raj Kumar, but because of Priya Rajvansh. She’s just far too wooden for me. The only film I’ve liked her in till now (and that may be because the film didn’t focus on her) was Haqeeqat.


      • Well, I did say ‘all actors including Pran’. Priya Rajvansh wasn’t bad at all. I think it is her ‘voice’ than acting which puts people off. I don’t know how to describe her voice.


        • Yes, maybe describing her as ‘wooden’ wasn’t the correct term for Priya Rajvansh – she’s not bad in Hanste Zakhm, actually. But there’s definitely something odd, sort of flat, about her diction. And she seems not very comfortable speaking in Hindi.


      • Absolutely loved Achala Sachdev in The Householder, she makes that movie for me (though I’m not complaining about the stunningly beautiful Leela Naidu and Sashi Kapoor).
        She and Balraj Sahni do the upper caste, aspirational Hindu lalas really well, probably because of their own roots. There is an earthiness or a genuine rootedness to their depiction of that culture that makes this movie, I think.(It brings to mind the Lahore or Amritsar of the 30, 40s and 50s, rich in culture and commerce) Kudos to the design team for getting the little touches right, as well. And the younger cast is so ‘mod’ and fits so well into ‘Bombay’ with its brash and guiltless modernity. (unlike the guilt of Raj Kapoor’s modern Bombay)


        • brash and guiltless modernity

          Oh, very well said. So, so true. Even the fact that Shashi Kapoor’s character is pretty poor, it doesn’t stop him looking immaculately groomed – and in expensive clothing, too – all the time.

          I liked Achla Sachdev in The Householder too, she was very good.


  15. I can see Waqt countless number of times just for that one scene– the one where Balraj Sahani confidently decides what each of his sons will do when they grow up and then comes the earthquake…… I relate to that for on the morning of March 8 in 1972 I was making plans for the evening in my class room and the next minute I found my school principal at the door of the classroom with my neighbour asking me to pack my bag and go home. When I reached home I realized why I was dragged away from school, 40 years since dad passed away but that day I will never forget.
    Sorry to spoil the mood but could not help it. By the way you see some portions of Bandra in this film the most favoured location of the Bollywood stars today. When you see the eldest son running and then the scene cuts to a grown up Raaj Kumar you find him running on an imposing structure with stained glasses (you will see itat around 0:29 in this you tube link
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nRBtmY4fV7I) this is the church attached to the school my brother went to. Soon after he jumps into an open air theatre where we saw plenty of programmes as kids. It has since been demolished and opposite this was Sunil Dutt’s office.


    • Oh shilpi, my heart goes out to you! I am in a similar situation right now, as I write this, I am watching my Dad to see if his heart is still beating and if the covers are still rising and falling. And we are talking about Waqt. I think of all the things I wanted to do for him and haven’t done, the phone call he wanted me to make for him and I didn’t make because the number I got was wrong, the Ramayan videos he wanted to watch and didn’t watch because I was doing something else, and oh, the guilt goes on and on. You never forget a day like that. My hugs to you.


      • And my heart goes out to you, Lalitha! I have not personally gone through what you’re experiencing, but I’ve seen close family and friends look on helplessly as their loved ones battle with life, for months and even years… I know how painful it can be. If it makes any difference, know that you have cinema-blog friends who feel for you. *hugs*


      • Lalitha, I’m really sorry for what’s happening, Even though I don’t know you all that well, it must be really, really painful. I admire your spirit for still being strong during these times. -hugs- :)


      • Lalitha, it must be really, really tough right now for you. I’ve been through similar emotions in the past though not with respect to my father. Don’t worry too much about all that – it’s not as if you care for your father any less because of the things you did not do for him. And he knows that – he knows you all your life, so he’s not going to mind these small things.

        Hang in there, don’t feel guilty about anything – guilt is a self-destructive emotion and does not help at all. Channelise your energy into positive energy, loving him even more now. In his own way, he will understand these vibes and be happy.


        • Thanks, Raja, Shashi, Sasha, Shilpi, Madhu, everyone! I keep telling myself that after four months, I should be a lot more stronger than this, but sometimes, especially when Dad gets confused and I see his formerly sharp mind wandering, it is so painful to watch. We have already said our farewells to the intelligent person we knew, who could solve Calculus problems for high schoolers, even as recently as last November, but this person who is like a helpless child, is painful to watch. Sorry to get maudlin again.


          • You’re not getting maudlin, Lalitha. It’s very natural and very human to feel this way. I remember visiting my parents a few years ago at around Easter. On Good Friday, we sat in church next to my mother’s friend, whose own mother had at that time been bedridden for the past 4 years, and was literally only alive because the machines said she was. My mum’s friend – otherwise a very fashionable, very bubbly lady – actually burst into tears during the service, and I remember my eyes filling up too, because we were all so helpless – my mum and I because nothing we could do could actually really comfort her, and she, because there was nothing she could do except sit by her mother’s bedside.

            We still can’t do anything, Lalitha – but we’re with you.


            • Madhu, I don’t know how your mother’s friend was able to deal with things after 4 years of caring for a bedridden mother. I feel totally wrung out after just 4 months, and yesterday was probably the worst day so far. Today is promising to be more of the same, and sometimes, coming to the computer in between holding Dad;s hand and trying to do some cleaning work or cooking, is my only break and way of staying sane.


              • I know, Lalitha. My mother’s friend was an emotional wreck during those years. She didn’t have to do very much herself in the way of caregiving etc, because as it happened, she ad her husband own a large nursing home and actually live on the premises as well. Far more traumatic was the emotional aspect of it all – to see a parent slowly degenerate and fade away in that prolonged and awful way wreaked havoc.


    • Shilpi, I am so sorry for having inadvertently caused you pain. I can understand why that particular scene from Waqt would be so close to your heart. Just the other day, I was talking to a friend of mine, and we ended up discussing how ephemeral life is – we make so many plans (or, as Lalitha says, put off so many things) thinking that we have an entire lifetime to live, but who knows how long that lifetime is going to be? A few hours more? On the other hand, I think that if we stopped dreaming (or conversely, tried to fit everything we could into today), life would be very hard to live.



    • That’s the one thing which keeps coming back to haunt my mind, Shilpi – Your dad’s departure. I simply don’t know why !!

      Maybe I was associated with him in some way in my past…..


      • My gosh, I had a mini heart-attack when I saw the advertisment.


        First I was scared out of my wits from lookalike movies cause of what happened in Jewel Thief (That. Thaaaat thing.), but I think the only lookalike film of his I’m going to stick to is Hum Dono. (Dev with a puff and scarves, YES, :DDDD)


        • You mentioned Dev romancing Waheeda. I wonder which pair was better Dev-Waheeda or Dev-Nutan?

          DO, off-topic, I cannot believe Nutan went from doing Seema,Bandini,Sujata to the weepy roles in the late 60s (check her films costarring Dharam-ji and Sunil Dutt from mid to late 60s). Seems like you have have not reviewed any of those bad films.


          • Yikes, Chris. (And yes, now you know: I think they were bad, too).

            I’ve actually seen rather a lot of the films Nutan did (especially with Sunil Dutt, as you mention) in the 60s. Milan, Khandaan, Bhai-Behan, Meherbaan – I watched each in the hope that the Nutan-Sunil Dutt jodi would show what they could really do when it came to acting, but each film was just one awful weepy family drama. Hated them all, so much that I couldn’t bring myself to review any of them.


          • Me too! I can never decide. One day it’s Dev-Nutan, the other, Dev-Waheeda. While my grandma’s a big fan of Dev-Madhubala (Though I have to concede that her best films were with others like Dilip and Kishore), I’m just stuck on which pair is better.

            Geez, we have the same mind, don’t we? :D


            • We have all agreed to disagree, right? You’re forgiven. ;-)

              Just joking! – but, actually, Milan was, of all the later Sunil Dutt-Nutan films that I’ve seen, the best of the lot. But not a patch on Sujata, for instance… what a film that was.


              • ‘Milan’ was not bad but I would have preferred a different pair for that film,maybe Dilip saab. One of the songs literally made ‘SOR’ in my ears which is rare for me.


            • Really? I love Tere Ghar Ke Samne (cause it was so light-hearted and fun and had AMAZING songs! :D). Paying Guest was pretty cool too (Their pairing is really very cute), though the ending was… crazy. (Honestly, having masks to scare the hell out of people and confess?! Okay, if Dev could hide under beds and in cupboards in Patita, this is nothing.)

              I love Dev-Waheeda in Kala Bazaar – she gets to choose twice! And then there’s Khoya Khoya Chand – the way he just falls in love with her even though he knows she has a boyfriend! (I also love how he romances her. :D) I don’t know what to say about Guide – (we -coughcough- disagree whether it’s Dev’s fault or not) but Solva Saal was really awesome. :D So I’m undecided.

              Though, what do you think about Dev-Sadhana?


  16. When we – self and my three ‘best’ friends – saw this movie,the overall momentum of the movie probably did not hurt.Of course, we did feel Hum Jab Se Aap Ki Baahon Men Aagaye little longish even then.
    However, susequent re-runs, sevarl years later, ceratinly left with the feeling that BR could have done away with his emotional attachment to the way he allowed the script, and the dramatisation, . Probably, the movie could have been a far better one!
    But, this was one of the weaknesses of Great Directors of that time – they would either too dramtise the end or succumb to compulsions of the box office [ by long fights, car chase and the works.]
    BR had mainatined a tight leash earlier – in Kannon and then, even in , Gumraah.

    By the way, Aage bhi jaane tu of Waqt and Aaj Ye Meri Jindagi of Yeh Raaste Hain Pyaar ke are two of the watershed songs in the ‘western dance’ genre.
    Ravi have had a similar ‘Kotha/ Mujhra’ icons to his credit.


    • I have a somewhat different feel about this. It’s been a while since I saw Gumraah, but from what I remember of it, I was sort of just okay with it – the music and Sahir’s lyrics were what I found most memorable about the film. As far as Kanoon was concerned, that’s a film I like a lot – but then, it’s hard to compare that to Waqt because they’re diametrically opposite films. Kanoon has a fairly small cast, all the events in the film take place in a very constricted time and space, and the message is an interesting, thought-provoking exercise in ethics. Waqt, while it does (like pacifist points out below) have a reference to how destiny and time rule our lives, is basically a pure masala entertainer. Huge star cast, loads of glamour, fabulous music (another contrast to Kanoon, which of course had no songs).

      I think Waqt is a very good movie in its own way, Kanoon in its own. And while the former does have its moments of haywire scripting (that too-long car race, or the long end), I think it’s overall far better than a lot of the stuff that was being churned out around that time, with loads of melodrama and/or pointless, long-drawn-out action.

      Anyway, to each his/her own!


      • I do agree on the score that neither Waqt or Gumrah or Kanoon can be compared on the basis of thier subjects, which inherently desrve very different treatment.
        Waqt was a huge muti-starrer commercial set on a social platform. Ab\nd for that ,matter its scripyt would unfold at its own pace, and then can be wrapped also at its own space,
        That is why we did like the movie when we first saw in mid 60s or there about.


  17. It just came to my mind that the film was actually talking more about detiny. Waqt would have meant the changes brought about by the passage of Waqt.
    It is one of my favourite disagreements with those who say ‘one’s destiny is in one’s own hands’. :-)


    • I agree, Waqt isn’t merely about the passage of time, but about how our destinies are changed by its passage. This time round when I was watching it (just before I wrote this review), I was struck by what Balraj Sahni’s character says about his three sons, when he’s boasting in the beginning of the film about his plans for all three of them. His plan for his second son – who grew up to be Sunil Dutt, the lawyer – were that ‘because he’s a little stupid, like me, he can handle my shop.’ And he’d already decided that his eldest son would be a lawyer.

      Amusing that the one who’d been ‘slotted’ to be a ‘lawyer’, ended up being a crook, while the ‘stupid one’ actually ended up as a very competent lawyer! :-)

      Incidentally, I never agree about that ‘destiny is in one’s own hands’ argument, either. My best example is myself – and the Muzaffar Jang books, which might never have happened if it hadn’t been for a crazy set of coincidences.


      • B. R. Chopra never thought much of the film titles. He may have named it that way without much ado. He never gave it so much importance that it should capture a viewer’s imagination etc., So don’t read much into this movie title too….


    • The word Waqt has generally loosely been used very often for destiny, though even there we cannot substitute them for each other. “Waqt waqt ki baat hai” – here, waqt means what Chopra perhaps meant, just as it is said, “samay balwaan hai”. That is exactly what Chopra tries to show.


  18. It is one of my favorite films from that time. And I agree it is the best lost and found story amongst the many that used to come out at that time (I love Yaadon ki Baraat too though). There is only one point where I disagree with you here- the climax courtroom sequence… yes it was dramatic… but it was so very satisfying! I loved it.


    • I agree about the courtroom scene being dramatic but satisfying. That is actually the reason why I like Waqt, overall – it may be completely unrealistic and founded totally on crazy coincidences, but it’s so satisfying! Love it. :-)


      • Yes exactly, the whole narrative rested on a series of crazy coincidences- and still it is such joy to watch. The other day I was having a bollywood vs hollywood thing with my friends.. and we sort of agreed that our strength lies in making these kind of films- dramatic, somewhat irrational, but essentially clean and happy films with happy endings…


        • I wouldn’t agree totally with that. If you look only at selected Hollywood films (for instance, the ones that have been acclaimed as the ‘best’ – like Citizen Kane), then I suppose you could say that Bollywood is more escapist than Hollywood. But look at films like The Vikings, Pillow Talk and Bells are Ringing, and you’ll discover that Hollywood, when given the chance, could be pretty escapist too. It was true back in the 40s, 50s and 60s, and it’s still true.


          • Yeah I suppose I haven’t seen a lot of Hollywood, especially the old classics- I was talking more in context of the current times, when the major Hollywood movies are mostly action franchises or high concept films.


            • Comparing old Hollywood to new is a lot like comparing old Bollywood to new – there’s a lot of difference, not just in look but in subject matter, in style, in what was considered permissible and what was not, things like that. Modern Hollywood films are a far cry from what was made back in the 30s, 40s and 50s (or even till later). I have done some comparisons on this blog of modern Hollywood films (300, Ocean’s Eleven and True Grit, for instance), comparing them to the original. It’s interesting to see how – as in True Grit or 300, both of which retained essentially the same story as the original – the treatment of the story has changed.


  19. I believe the Chopras wanted the three Kapoor brothers for the movie. But somehow things didn’t work out and only Shashi was retained. I was thinking how it would have been with Raj and Shammi Kapoor both in that car race. Would Raj Kapoor have been the ideal choice? For me, the answer is a definite no ! Shammi would have been the ideal fit for Sunil Dutt’s role.

    Dharmendra has also gone on record saying he was offered Raaj Kumar’s role initially. He refused because he thought the audience wouldn’t accept him as Sunil Dutt’s elder brother due to the obvious reason.


    • I agree. Shammi would have fit the SuniL Dutt role to a T, but I cannot imagine RK in Raj Kumar’s role. Not by a long shot, even though he has done the blind-as-a-bat (as far as love is concerned) role in other films – partly in Sangam, for example.

      Dharmendra in Raj Kumar’s role? If anybody even thought of offering him the role, that would have been idiotic. If it did happen, I’m glad Dharmendra didn’t take it on. Would’ve been completely unbelievable.

      Incidentally, while watching the car race, the thought popped into my head: “Father and son!” (Mother India, you know).


  20. Okay, Dustedoff, they showed Banarsi Babu, and guess what? They showed Mera Naam Joker before that. So I was loping around the house in a half-Joker, half post-60’s Dev state. I don’t know how to describe it but I was imitating them both and mixed it up and…

    It was scary. o_o”


    • Ah, well. I haven’t seen either (though I think I may have seen Banarasi Babu way back when I was a teenager – I prefer to blank out Dev Anand movies after the 60s). So would prefer not even to imagine!


      • Mera Naam Joker was quite a fun movie, but sorta long – don’t see why people hate or bash it, but Banarsi Babu was just…

        My grandma said, “He’s wearing a wig.”
        Me: (thinking) “Shut up, I’m already having enough trouble with him not having a puff to have you point out that that is a wig!”

        And the climax was corny. Okay, I get that that’s the 70’s, but there’s no way you can justify colorful balls that pop out of the wall and hit no one else but Dev.

        I think if he’d had Goldie direct his films and he had not directed stuff, the 70’s would be okay. Uh, and if he’d kept his puff, of course.

        Actually, damn all that. I’m going back to his 60’s films and staying there.


        • Didn’t Goldie direct ‘Bullet’ in the late 70s?
          Dev did do one bad film before the 70s which is called ‘Sharabi’. Refer IMDB profile and user reviews there. (or even the film poster on google).If you know what the title means you can guess what Dev does in the film. I can’t say much about it as I saw it long ago and recall not liking it. I’m about to start watching his early 50s films like Dilruba,Sazaa. Hopefully they’ll be good.
          Btw, Dev as a Banarsi/Bihari babu was weird.


          • Ouch. Sharaabi is one of the films I’ve got in my to-watch pile. My father lent it to me. But then, my father buys movies not on the basis of the film itself, but on the basis of its music. I sometimes get the impression he really doesn’t sit through a movie for the movie, but mostly for its music! :-)

            Ah, I see what you mean. Yes, IMDB lists Bullet as a 1976 movie directed by Goldie and starring Dev Anand. I don’t think I’ve seen it, but I’ve heard of it.

            P.S. Sazaa is a bit weepy and weird. I watched it on Youtube a couple of months back. One awesome song – Tum ne jaane kis jahaan mein kho gaye – but I didn’t like it otherwise.


            • Can you review it? Hahahahaha. :D I’ll probably die laughing before I can read the end of your review (Seriously Dev, must you go and blow up a bunch of places? I mean, I get that you like to drink alcohol and you do look good doing it, but overdose is not good. Unless it’s me overdosing on his songs. Kay, I just made no sense. :D)

              Oh, I’ve heard about Bullet too, but no, I am not going anywhere near it. No, no, no. If his 1973 movie was bad enough, I don’t have the courage to think of his 1976 movies. Can’t I just take a time machine, go back to 1976 and hand him a DVD of Solva Saal or any good movies like that? -sigh- But how the hell did Goldie agree to direct it?! He didn’t even want to direct Guide. :O

              And Dev’s movie = Weepy = Sacrilege. That is all. :P


          • Seriously? I think Chhupa Rustom was good (but I’m too busy lapping up his better films!) Oh, and I was going to watch Sharabi. Hahahahahaha! The second user review I read one night on my iPod and I was laughing at the poor guy, YEESH. If you want good Hindi cinema, watch Shree 420 and Awaara and stuff like that. (Poor guy landed up on the only bad film before the 70’s Dev did, hahahahaha!) I also read the ending. Then I said out loud, “Nau Do Gyarah”. :D I do that way too much, but the movie was so good! YES. That person should watch Nau Do Gyarah and Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi and all the good stuff. Oh well. :D

            But. I want to see it. Cause I’ve never seen Dev, well, be a sharaabi. :D XD I’ll probably bang my head on the wall or end up smashing a few cups, but I’ll see it! (Dev and Madhubala can never go wrong, can they? :o)


            I’m watching his early 50’s films too (Going to try Aandhiyan, although someone told me the Shemaroo DVD was crap), and House No. 44 (Hemant Kumar singing for Dev = WIN.) and, uh, of course Baazi and Jaal and Taxi Driver and stuff like that. Richard told me to check out his 40’s films wth Suriaya too.

            I think they make a really cute pair. :D


  21. I was watching this movie today on Youtube, to entertain myself, and I noticed something – Lala Kedarnath’s youngest child, Munna, is dressed in a pink frilly frock, complete with a bow at the back! I guess they weren’t able to get a baby boy for the shooting that day, so they used a girl instead. Or is it the custom to dress baby boys in girls’ dresses? My older son was born in India and I used to buy what they called Baba suits in Madras in those days, which looked like an A line dress, but I made sure it was not in pink. I did have one pink dress which I bought, in case my baby turned out to be a girl – this was before the days of ultrasounds – and maybe I dressed him once or twice in it, but not on a regular basis. I had put it away hoping the second would turn out to be a girl, but no luck – so it was finally given away to someone a long, long time back!


    • Heh. Yes, I remember noticing that. I didn’t give a second thought to it, actually – I guessed it was just a way of ‘dressing up’ the baby without making it look too Westernised (I know that doesn’t make sense, but I tend to think of a frock as being interpretable as a small ‘lehenga-with-top’; less obviously Western than a baba suit). Somehow the entire milieu of Kedarnath’s place was very desi (despite the English words on the shopfront), so it seemed appropriate that Lachhmi would dress her baby in a frock rather than a baba suit.


  22. By the way, I just saw Mughal-E-Azam (Yes, I haven’t seen it. I didn’t even know we had it until I dug up all the VCDs.) And my gosh, I am floored, I am spellbound, whatever, I surrender to the awesomeness of this film.

    And Madhubala is breathtakingly beautiful. Just… amazing. Though I wish I could take a time machine and slap some sense into the Mughal King. WHY DID YOU HAVE TO KILL ANARKALI? -cry-


      • No, he didn’t. But he was about to have her killed, right?

        Also, Dilip Kumar is really handsome. Even if I never really acknowledged it before. :D

        Kind of reminds me of their real-life love story. I find it strange – Raj Kapoor also loved Nargis and Dev also loved Suriaya… something going on here?!


    • I agree with you, Dilip Kumar in Mughal-e-Azam was lukewarm, or totally unimpressive. It was Madhubala’s film that also gave better footage to Prithviraj Kapoor or even Nigar.


      • Eaxctly. I always think of Mughal-e-Azam as Madhubala’s film, or even (to a lesser extent) Prithviraj Kapoor’s or Nigar Sultana’s. In any case, I think Salim’s character is never (and couldn’t be, naturally, since this is based on history) the classic ‘Hindi film hero’ – he’s governed by his loyalty to the dynasty and thus to his father, the Emperor, whom he cannot defy.

        But: great music, superb dialogues, and Madhubala gets a chance to show off her skills as an actress.


    • Yeah, I won’t contest that it’s Madhubala’s film through and through. She is so beautiful, oh my God. :D I think I’ll try Aan. First color film, right? ;) Oh, and the other day I came across a poor soul searching for the movie Azaad. XD He yelled at another guy for giving him an Ashok Kumar movie instead.

      Why was Akbar so against their relationship anyway? Because Anarkali was a court dancer? And Salim was so damn stubborn about it that he was going to die? Sorry, some of the dialogues went over my head – no subtitles.


  23. A great collection of music lovers here. Hats off to you all. I was wondering if any one can post videos of most popular patriotic hindi songs. From films or otherwise. can anyone can post a video of Awaaz do Hum ek hein..? An Ajanta Arts(Sunil Dutt) non filmi creation..


  24. RIP Achla Sachdev!
    I love this movie to the core. I’m a big fan of lost and found stories. I enjoy watching Yaadon Ki Baarat, Amar Akbar Anthony and the likes. It’s been a long long time since I saw this, but I keep tuning in to the songs on youtube very regularly. I totally love Raj Kumar’s dialogue. Sunil Dutt was little OTT with his Gul-E-Gulzaar”, “Chasm-E-Bulbul”, but who cares, it’s a thoroughly entertaining movie! Great location, amazing songs, a very good looking and a fashionable star cast, separation and a reunion, chor-police, murder, courtroom drama – it just cant get better than this.
    The best thing I like about Waqt is the way the story is woven, esp the climax where one brother is accused of a murder, another is trying to defend him and the third one’s standing a witness against him.
    I get glooseflesh just thinking of the scene where Raja goes to kill Ravi and sees his childhood photograph, just in time. And the final reunion.
    Their world falls apart after O meri zohra jabeen and after 20+ years everything just falls back in place after the courtroom scene.
    At times, I wonder how their lives would have been if they had not fallen a victim to that earthquake and had grown up together.

    I feel that Waqt, was a very apt title. It depicts how one’s life changes over a period of time. We have this favourite line which we keep quoting at every possible opportunity in our group – Kismat se zyaada aur waqt se pehle insaan ko kabhi kuch nahin milta.


    • Wah! That is quite an endorsement – but I agree with it wholeheartedly. Waqt is one of those all-time great entertainers that I personally never find tedious to sit through. Everything about it is so enjoyable, such a feast for the senses. :-)

      I do think that final reunion is a little stretched – could’ve been shorter; and I think the almost-met situations dotting the second half of the film get a bit predictable after a while. Still, very minor grouses against a film that’s otherwise such total paisa vasool.


  25. Hi Madhu, I have become a great ‘pankha’ (fan) of your blog. Recently, I had compered a songs program for a small family GTG and your article on Raviji really helped me a lot. Thanks! I even acknowledged your blog during the program itself and I am sure that many of our family members must have visited this blog.

    Waqt is one of my all-time favorite movies and I used to watch it on a video casette during every summer and Diwali vacation, along with Teesri Manzil. Your write-up and all the subsequent comments were so insightful that they totally summed up all my feelings about this movie, that have crystallized over a long period of my growing up. Thanks a lot everyone:-))


    • Anjali, thank you so much! :-) You just made the day a good deal brighter for me. I hope your family members – if they visit this blog – enjoy it as much as you do.

      Teesri Manzil too us an old favourite of mine. I know lots of people who have junked it, but I still continue to love it despite all of that… such a fine example (like Waqt) of good 60s entertainers.


  26. ‘Teesri Manzil’ was a favourite of our family. My father watched it 5 times in theatre, my uncle 23 times and their cousin brother, 47 times!! Can we find such dedication today???


    • My goodness. That is quite a record – especially the 47 times. I’m sure I’d have come close to a dozen times for films like Teesri Manzil, Junglee and Professor, but all of those have been on TV/DVD, and I’ve never bothered to keep count.


  27. I know I’m late to this conversation, but, I absolutely LOVE Waqt.

    What a film! It’s way before my time (my father born the year Waqt was released!), but I can’t help but be enamored by this film. It is delightfully entertaining!

    Being born and raised in Vancouver, Canada I was never really fond of Bollywood–actually as a child and teen I didn’t really even know what it was, just that it was India’s version of Hollywood. I had little exposure to Bollywood films, and the parts of the films I did see (usually 1980s movies on TV that I would watch partially with my mother or music clips I would see my mom watching on ATN or Sony) were terrible and completely turned me off of Bollywood. I used to baulk at the idea of having to watch an “Indian Film.”

    It wasn’t until I took a foreign film class as an elective in university in 2006 that I was exposed to truly good Indian cinema and fell in love with classic Bollywood. Waqt was the first Hindi film I watched in its entirety; I sat through the entire movie at full attention (partially because I was the only person in the class who actually understood Hindi and had to translate due to a disc malfunction that wrecked the subtitles, but mostly because I was totally into it). I was so entertained by the movie and impressed with the story line, it actually sense! The mod-stylishness of the actors in the film and to an extent the acting itself–I didn’t know that Bollywood could make such awesomely beautiful and entertaining films.

    Yes, it was a bit over the top at times, and you really do have leave your sense of reality at the door when you watch, and that car race was a bit long; but even some of the best Hollywood films require you to make compromises in order enjoy them.

    It’s because of Waqt that I got into Indian auter cinema and came across Satyajit Ray’s work and came to appreciate The Apu Trilogy and Days and Night in the Forest, the latter film made me a fan of Sharmila Tagore’s work and led me to go back and watch her old films, which led me to Kasmir Ki Kali and Amar Prem which led to the discovery of Shammi Kapoor and Rajesh Khanna’s films; and it literally spiraled from there.

    I credit Waqt with showing me that Bollywood ( despite it’s unusual tropes and sometimes half-baked stories) and helping me, in a way, reconnect to my roots and bind with my mother–as a second Canadian of Indian heritage who is a member of the Indian diaspora, Bollywood films (no matter how unbelievable at times) help bridge the gap between myself and my ancestral heritage, they show me aspects of Indian culture and keep my Hindi language comprehension in tip-top shape. There are a lot of challenges for me still, such as certain pop-culture references, jokes and indigenous standards that I just don’t understand but for the most part I enjoy Indian cinema especially the pre-1980s cinema, Indian art house cinema and the new indie films. All of this because I watched Waqt and enjoyed it, 41 years after the fact.

    It seems I have written an unforgivably long post, but I have such a fondness for this film I just had to share my experience.


    • Not an unforgivably long post at all! In fact, I had a lovely time reading through your comment, because it was so wonderfully personal and heart-warming, in ways only a die-hard fan of old Hindi cinema can understand.

      I can well imagine why you wouldn’t have liked whatever you saw of the films from the 80s. I was a kid back then, and we lived in Srinagar, which had only one major cinema hall – and already too much violence and terrorism for us to even think of going there. All the films we watched were stuff on TV, and that was restricted to either old films (which, thankfully, were more frequently aired than newer ones) – or the new ones, which were mostly pretty awful. It was hardly a surprise (also, considering my father is a fan of 50s and 60s Hindi cinema) that my sister and I swiftly developed a love for old Hindi films.

      Thank you so much for commenting; you really made my day with that comment. :-)


  28. I’m glad I could make your day because your blog definitely made mine. I stumbled upon your blog by chance, while scouring google for a pair of white shoes which somehow led me to a link to your post on Humraaz (Google you work in mysterious ways); I spent about an hour on your blog when I should have been working (it sure beats going through legal briefs!). I have to admit that the films from the 1980s and many, many of the 90s films were atrocious, even my mom disliked them, I knew it was bad when my mom opted to let my dad choose a Hollywood film (he doesn’t watch Bollywood films because he doesn’t understand the language) and she actually sat through it. I like old cinema better and it’s doubly interesting for me to apply my sociology background when watching the older films and comparing them with the newer ones and seeing the effects of globalization on Indian culture through the silver screen, absolutely fascinating, I love it!

    I look forward to exploring your blog some more and reading your new posts, I’ve got a bookmark on my address bar and everything lol


    • And now you have made my week. Thank you so very, very much!

      (and, yes – the 90s, too, were a bad period for Hindi cinema. I can probably count on the fingers of one hand how many 90s films were worth watching).


  29. Wonderful wonderful post and comments as usual. I am still catching up on your posts, but I wonder if Waqt fetched the most comments after. It seems it has something for everyone, young and the older crowd. Nostalgia as well as entertainment. BTW, the frock on the baby boy was not unusual. Punjabis ( I don’t know other families of those times ) did dress the boys and girls alike, and pink was the color for newborns or a crawling baby boy or girl. The boys were dressed in frocks though not all the time till he had a mundan. Then he was dressed like a boy. Since I saw this all the time, never questioned it. That has all changed now with time. ( waqt waqt ki baat hai ).

    One more well dressed lady in Waqt, our frail Ms. Leela Chitnis. It was nice to see her well dressed and looking all stylish !


    • Yes, Waqt is the only film in which I’ve seen Leela Chitnis looking elegant and richly-dressed throughout (she starts off well-dressed in Awara, but then goes the usual way…).

      Waqt was a total entertainer. Something in it, as you say, for everybody.

      Thank you for the appreciation. :-)


  30. I’ve been re-reading your blog today after the tragic news of legendary actress, Sadhana’s ,passing away.on Christmas day. What a beauty she was & so subtle too. Her Auxillium convent classmates will be mourning her loss too, along with countless numbers of her old & newly-acquired fans who are only now discovering her incredible beauty & talent.Sanjay Leela Bhansali said Sadhana was his favourite actress, who preferred mellow-drama to “melodrama”. May God rest her soul in peace. Don’t you think it’s the right time ,now, to write a lavish post on her, Madhulika ? We always look forward to your posts and insights, they’re so balanced and impartial & yet have solid facts. Do it for your mother, if no one else…….Rest In Great peace,dear Sadhana..
    (This delectable photo’s from “Waqt”.)

    Acknowledgments to the great Shaheed Haniff for this picture.


  31. I was just watching the song “Aage bhi”… Have you noticed how Sadhana wrapped that black sari? It is how Mumtaz wrapped her sari famously in “Aaj kal tere mere pyaar ke charche” song. I doubt if the credit is given to Sadhana for this style… Just tealizing what a style Diva she was! Could have easily walked into a movie in this age a la Deepika


    • I had never realized that! Thank you for pointing it out. :-) That’s really quite a discovery. Mumtaz’s saree style in Aajkal tere mere pyaar ke charche is iconic (possibly because the saree is light-coloured, and so the drape shows well), but Sadhana’s saree being black, tends to escape the eye a bit.


      • I have often wondered why Sadhana was never credited for initializing this particular style –the three-times drape of that lovely black sari, designed by Bhanu Athaiya. Waqt was released in 1965, two years later Mumtaz copied the same style in orange for the Bhramachari song which became very popular & thus launched her as the originator of this fashion. Later Vyjayanthimala also copied it in some other song .Also do people know that Sadhana’s favourite colour was pink, not only for her personal draperies– she wore pink a lot — but also for her curtains & beds. Everyone at that time knew about this. Mumtaz then decided to have a favourite colour too & she chose orange. Somehow her choice became well-known & the industry forgot Sadhana’s choice. Even now old Sadhana fans refer to a light peachy-coral colour as “Sadhana pink” she wore such a sari in ” Arzoo” when she had a spat with Nazir Husain after he had locked her bedroom (but she escapes nevertheless & returns disappointed having searched for “Sarjoo” in vain- she looks fabulous in those scenes) . Also in the same movie she wears a transparent sleeved overall on top of her white kurta , now when my young daughter wears a kurta with transparent sleeves & I ask her “You’re wearing “bedardi balma” sleeves ? , she laughs. A whole blogspot has been dedicated to Sadhana’s fashions in Arzoo. It’s called ‘Bollywood movie fashion: Sadhana in “Arzoo” Link’s below: The number of coats she wore–Wow ! Jayesh is right in saying she’ll fit easily into the present milieu being so stylish & spohisticated & yet heroines in her days looked “as though they’d descended from the heavens”, according to one newbie reporter.Today’s girls dress & talk casually & rapidly. PS Please do a review on “Ishq par zor nahin” if ever you get the time. Regards…


  32. When Sadhana plays the Piano in “Chehre pe khsushi” is probably one of the few times you will see an actor (likely only time an actress) play a musical instrument believably. You can see the scene where the camera focuses on her fingers and then her. Probably her a Convent education. Am not able to remember any other Indian actress do so


    • Yes, we had a discussion on this in the post on women pianists. She does look believable. It’s also rare to see Indian actors ‘playing’ the piano convincingly – Raj Kapoor, Dilip Kumar and Kishore Kumar are perhaps the only ones I’ve seen doing it in a way that actually looks believable.


  33. i hope bhanu athiya ji contribution to Indian cinema is honored as soon as possible . plzz i feel rehman saheb is apt as chinoy seth as if regular villan pran had played it then the character would have lost its impact. one day it was coming on movies ok. me and my family friends’s children were watching with me. and they said about car scene ki khtam hi nahi hota. they were seeing me like ki kya lgaa diya. and prem patra things come in my mind when i see shashi ji and sadhna ji. and i think it was a tradition of B.R.Chopra films that film ‘s tittle is said in last lines. like itefaaq, waqt and humraaz. i remember clearly. one can say on and on about richness in yash chopra films. i think in one scene sadhna and her parents are enjoying soup and biryaani is on the table too. i felt like kya ameeri hain. i read an article about waqt in an english news paper, yash chopra said in london premier of waqt when asked by Indian foreign service officer or ambassador of india that why their is so much richness in the movie. he replied what we want snakes charmers ?? he said he cannot make films like boot polish and pather panchali. this what i remember.


    • Two ways to look at the lavishness in Yash Chopra movies (Not mentioning Sanjay Leela or KJo as they copied this aspect from him)…
      1. It does not reflect the real India, even its upper middle class
      2. It creates aspirations for the people that helps them go for it


      • Also, to add to that: Yash Chopra wasn’t the only one to incorporate that unreal lavishness in his films, though – of the ‘big’ directors, he is probably the stellar example of someone who gave the audience something to drool over and aspire for. Shakti Samanta, to some extent (and in some films) also did that.


  34. i watched silsila in which there was repeatedly mentioning about amitabh bacchan’s character ki kaafi paisa kmaa liya. ghar bnaa liya and all. when characters go to have lunch at their home jaya ji character’s presses bell and order food. when rekha meets her known lady she asks her tum bhallas ki party mai toh milogi hi . if i remember the name correctly. means these characters are very rich , have servants ki fauj and are busy in socializing. the life style is alien to more than half country which has to bother khaney mai kya bnana hai ! sabzi ration lana hain and here all characters have fursat to think about their lives to mourn their sorrows. unlike people who have to do their household work even if they are ill, some death in the family or even having celebration they have do themselves only. they can identify with thoda hai thodey ki zarurat hain.


  35. whenever i watch waqt like my family friends i too feel the car running scene is too long . also i feel the reunion in court room scene the most emotional is of shashi ji but i feel dry from sunil dutt point of view. Raj kumar character knew mid way that ravi is his brother, i want to quote sagar sarhadi ji he said he wrote jhopda in a scene than yash ji said to him meri picture mai jhopda nahi chalega. i liked yash ji movies till waqt after that i don’t like it. his association with B.R.Chopra was best. i will watch parallel cinema over kabhie kabhie or silsila. obviously parallel cinema is more deeper than commercial one.


  36. The first film that a dozen+ of us went off-campus to view when it was released originally. Agreed to buy the LP jointly the next day (had to play it on a senior’s machine for a few days till one of us plunged to get one for the team). Don’t have to tell you that the timeless (pardon the pun) songs have a nostalgic tug effect all these years now that “us” are all over the globe and not in communication sadly.

    Your review was perfect (even though none of “us” really gravitated to these “types” films, we dutifully would view first-release films for the next five years together as much as practical).

    Thank you.


Leave a Reply

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

WordPress.com Logo

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

Facebook photo

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

Connecting to %s

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