Rustom-e-Rome (1964)

Another tribute, to yet another great who’s passed on. Dara Singh, the wrestler-turned-actor who made such a big niche for himself in a slew of films, especially in the 1960s, passed away on July 12, 2012.

As a child, nearly all my movie-watching was restricted to what was aired on Indian TV—Doordarshan—(and later, the few TV channels that showed Hindi movies). Somehow, I never ended up watching any Dara Singh movies. Despite that, Dara Singh was a very familiar figure and name. A synonym for formidable strength, for something like the Rock of Gibraltar: utterly immovable, impossible to defeat.

I confess I watched my first Dara Singh starrer only a couple of years back, and I was struck by the sweetness of the man: there was a certain naïve charm about him that seemed to shine through even onscreen. And it’s the same with this film: a quintessential Dara Singh showcase, not much in the way of storyline [to be precise, nothing], but everybody seems to have had a lot of fun. Dara Singh included.


Rustom-e-Rome begins in the midst of an invasion. The kingdom of Chhaama [Jaama? It’s not very clear, and it certainly doesn’t sound like any place I’ve heard of] has been attacked by enemies—who, we don’t know. They’ve laid Chhaama/Jaama low, along with its king, who stumbles back into his palace just in time to tell the distraught queen (Rajrani?) that all is lost. The king’s sole regret as he’s gasping his last, is that if only Suleiman had been here—“Who is Suleiman?” asks the queen. “Suleiman is my—” the king begins to blurt out, and then cops it before he can impart that secret.


The queen is inclined to weep while the enemy takes over, but a wise officer advises her to save her two sons and escape through the tunnel that leads from the palace, out of Chhaama/Jaama.
The queen, therefore, gathers up her two sons—both clad in sad-looking frocks [which I later realised might have been an attempt at kiddie tunics]. She manages to get them out into the countryside and lies down to sleep with them in some ruins.


Come morning, and the elder child wakes up and wanders off by himself. He runs up against a cobra, and is so frightened, he loses his balance and goes over a cliff—just in time for his mother to see him fall off. Poor woman. First her husband, then her elder son…


…and, while she’s been away by the edge of the cliff, weeping her eyes out, her younger son too.
A bunch of passing bandits, led by a man in a really badly-crafted mask, happens to come upon the toddler, who’s woken up and begun crying. For some reason best known to himself [and never revealed to us, the poor audience], the leader of the bandits decides to take the baby and bring him up among the bandits.


The bandits go off with the little prince, and are watched—unknown to them—by Darvesh Baba (Rajan Kapoor?), a prophet with a wonderfully gnarled staff. Darvesh Baba makes no attempt to rescue the child [not that he would have been successful, methinks], but seeing the devastated mother make for the cliff-edge to fling herself off, goes and stops her, and brings her to his own home.


The queen doesn’t tell Darvesh Baba who she is, and he asks her to be like a sister to him and bring up his poor motherless baby daughter, Shabnam. The queen agrees and stays on in Darvesh Baba’s house.

Meanwhile, there’s been a minor miracle. The queen’s elder son, who’d fallen off the cliff, has been rescued by a passing soldier named Scipio [Really. Everybody pronounces his name as CPO, which makes me think of Star Wars].  Scipio has brought him to court, asking what’s to be done with the child (nobody knows that this is the prince).


The king summarily hands him over to his rescuer, telling the soldier to bring up the boy [hah. Go around rescuing children, and you get saddled with them for the rest of your life]. Darvesh Baba, who happens to be present, suggests that the boy be named Firdaus [which means ‘paradise’; I have a feeling the foster father doesn’t think this kid’s heaven-sent. But he is given no choice].


Years pass, and Firdaus has now grown up (into Dara Singh, yippee!). Firdaus is big and brawny and seems to be pretty untrammelled by a foster-father or any other foster relatives. He lives in the kingdom of Jodia [that’s how everybody pronounces it. I wonder if this was meant to be Judaea. It seems to have some connection to Rome, but nobody bothers to mention what].
Jodia is ruled by the beautiful Princess Ruma (Vijaya Choudhary).


Ruma is right now presiding over a tournament in which contestants generally batter each other until one emerges victor—something like gladiatorial fights, though mostly minus the weaponry. In the fights, one man soon manages to trounce all his opponents: Firdaus. He’s so magnificent that even Ruma is quite bedazzled.


When Firdaus has laid low the last of his competitors, Ruma summons him to bestow on him the title of Rustom-e-Rome. With it comes a splendid jewelled dagger. When Firdaus sees the dagger, he staggers back, confused and puzzled. Where on earth has the princess been able to lay her hands on this dagger? There’s obviously some mystery here.


We don’t get a chance to learn why the sight of the dagger has shaken Firdaus so, because just then, an interloper appears. This is Arsalan (Azad), who claims that the contest is not over—he is here to defeat Firdaus. [In a later scene set in the camp of the masked bandits, we learn that Arsalan is the younger brother of Firdaus, whom the leader of the bandits had decided to bring up. How he’s parted ways with them isn’t explained].


So Firdaus and Arsalan battle it out, and Firdaus pretty much bashes Arsalan to a pulp. Despite the crowd egging him on to finish Arsalan off, however, Firdaus shows mercy. [Ah, brotherly love. Even when there’s no reason to suspect that the other is a brother].
That night, Arsalan sits and ponders over what has happened. His conscience tells him to go and thank Firdaus for sparing his life, and Arsalan listens.


—just in time to enter Firdaus’s chamber to see a masked assassin bending over Firdaus, ready to plunge a dagger into him. Arsalan throws a dagger and kills the assassin himself, and Firdaus, who wakes up because of the racket, is suitably grateful, not to mention puzzled. [I must admit to being puzzled, too: why did this masked bandit want to kill Firdaus? And why did Arsalan—who, after all, was once a buddy to these guys—kill him? Why not simply yell and wake Firdaus, who would no doubt have made short work of the man?]


Because this masked bandit was killed, both Firdaus and Arsalan are hauled up before Princess Ruma, on charges of murder. She sentences both of them to death. [Nobody in Jodia, least of all the dim-witted princess, seems to think that killing an assassin by way of defence is pardonable. Even the much-respected Darvesh Baba, who seems to be the last word in wisdom, keeps mum].


Firdaus and Arsalan obviously believe that actions speak louder than words. Instead of wasting their breath trying to defend themselves, they set about fighting the royal executioner and guards. In a matter of minutes, our two heroes have managed to floor the better part of Ruma’s guard, and Darvesh Baba decides to step in, begging Ruma to pardon them, which she does.


Darvesh Baba has figured out who Arsalan really is [remember? All those years ago, when the masked bandits were making off with the little prince, Darvesh Baba had seen them]. He thinks it’ll be a good idea to re-unite mother and son [how he’s realised that Shabnam’s foster-mother is the queen is never explained]. So he takes Arsalan home, and invites him to live with them.


…with the result that Arsalan and Shabnam (Indira) fall in love with each other and are soon going about singing love songs, under the indulgent eye of mother/foster mother.


Not that the ex-queen knows who Arsalan is. For some unexplained reason, Darvesh Baba doesn’t tell her or Arsalan their relationship. They end up floundering for a long time, wondering why they feel such a deep and inexplicable affection for each other. [Does Darvesh Baba have a love for the dramatic, and hopes that when they eventually learn the truth, it’ll be even more joyous for them?]


Thankfully, the scene now shifts to Firdaus, who (having been named Rustom-e-Rome), on the pretext of taking Ruma hunting, has gotten the chance to romance her. We’re treated to a lovely little song and dance in a garden…


And then disaster strikes. [Or rather, the masked bandits do]. Their leader, for reasons best known to himself [and he tells his men so], has decided to terrorise Jodia. He does so by kidnapping Ruma while she’s out gallivanting with Firdaus.
Poor Firdaus again gets hauled up before the law—this time, a high-ranking courtier accuses Firdaus of not having looked after the princess. Firdaus is again sentenced to death.

Once again, Darvesh Baba intervenes. Give Firdaus a day to search for Ruma, he pleads. So, after some cribbing, Firdaus is allowed till sunset to find and bring back Ruma. If he doesn’t, he’ll be put to death. [Nobody stops to think that Firdaus, if he has an ounce of sense, won’t come meekly back to be executed, if he can’t find the princess].  So Firdaus and his friend Naatu (Sundar) go off into the wild, towards the lair of the masked bandits, to look for Ruma.


What is going to come of all of this? What is the secret of the two daggers? Who is the leader of the masked bandits [and why is he masked, anyway]? What is going on? [Warning: a lot of these questions are never effectively answered, so don’t hold your breath].

What I liked about this film:

Dara Singh. Rustom-e-Rome is one of those films where he doesn’t get much to do except wrestle and show off his muscles—even Firdaus’s romancing of the heroine takes second place. Yet, even when he’s throwing punches or hoisting opponents on his shoulders and whirling them around till they’re dizzy, there’s a beguiling, endearing charm about Dara Singh that is very sweet. [Yes, I know. Calling a man who’s that tall and that broad ‘sweet’ is odd. But you just have to see his smile and his eyes, and listen to him speak with that Punjabi accent, and you’ll know what I mean].


The music, by Suresh Kumar. A little-known composer, but he created some good tunes for this film. My favourite is the lovely Yeh bahekti ghataayein, yeh mahekti hawaayein; the qawwali, Husnwaalon ki kya baat hai, isn’t bad, either.

What I didn’t like:

The story. [Or, to be more precise, the lack of a coherent story]. After having sat through the film, I’ve not yet managed to figure out exactly what was going on, how, or why. There’s a much-hyped mystery element which is never fully explained [it has a number of sub-mysteries to it, as well, which also don’t make any sense]. I suspect T Series might be at least partly responsible for this sorry state of affairs, but even they couldn’t have distorted any film to this extent.

At one point in the film, Darvesh Baba observes that Firdaus is looking [and I don’t blame poor Firdaus], ‘hairaan’. He says, “Tumhaari hairaani bahut jald door kar di jaayegi.” (“Your bewilderment will soon be put at rest”). Joke of the century.

The art direction, costume design, etc. What was the brief given to these people? If this was supposed to be Rome (or a Roman-ruled territory, as Judaea was), some of it—the furniture, murals in villas, and Darvesh Baba’s clothes—might have fitted in. But where do sphinxes, pillars decorated with Egyptian art, and statues that look straight out of medieval China fit in? And the tunics are, really, a travesty. Most of the time, they’re too flared and frock-like to look at all masculine. The rest of the time (and this especially happens when the man has to fight), they’re so short, they can barely cover the man’s chaddis.

No, it’s not a great film. It’s not even a good film. But I still think it was a good way for me to say goodbye to Dara Singh, because he was the life of the film. The life, actually, of many totally fantastic (in the literal sense—‘based on fantasy’) films. A life that’ll live on through all these fun, loony, films that he lights up.

RIP, Dara Singh.

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67 thoughts on “Rustom-e-Rome (1964)

  1. Thanks for this tribute to the man (or gentle giant, as Greta called him), Madhu.

    I’ve seen a handful of Dara Singh movies – and I’ve learnt never to expect a tight storyline from them. :-) It’s mainly about showcasing Dara’s strength, in any which way. :-)

    And of course he’s always the virtuous guy, very caring for womenfolk and the elderly – and if you go by Mumtaz’s comments on his death, apparently not very different in real-life compared to reel-life.

    I’ve enjoyed watching his movies – they are relaxing (maybe because they are entirely predictable :-)), they often have good – if under-rated – songs. And in any case, I like so-called B-movies for their fantasy elements, the makers really let their imagination go wild – and I love that! :-)

  2. “Nobody stops to think that Firdaus, if he has an ounce of sense, won’t come meekly back to be executed, if he can’t find the princess”
    HAHAHAHA.
    “At one point in the film, Darvesh Baba observes that Firdaus is looking [and I don’t blame poor Firdaus], ‘hairaan’. He says, “Tumhaari hairaani bahut jald door kar di jaayegi.” (“Your bewilderment will soon be put at rest”). Joke of the century.”
    GAHAHAHAHAHAHA. HAAAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

    Awesome review, Dustedoff! Your side comments keep getting funnier and funnier! Hahahahaha! Dara Singh was one of the first wrestlers I knew, because my grandma would say, “He was the best wrestler,” and he even came to Singapore. And yes, she went to go see. I’m jealous.

    I actually haven’t seen any Dara Singh films (>:V) but I think that’s time to change! And a couple of films I’ve seen reference him, so, he must’ve been really famous. And I remember one episode of the Indian MasterChef had his son come in with his wrestlers and the constestants had to cook for them. Ha, everyone gasped when they learned it was Dara Singh’s son. My grandma and I included.

    • Thank you, Sasha. I’m glad you enjoyed the review. Dara Singh’s films, from what I’ve seen so far, have only one pivotal point: to showcase Dara Singh’s strength. So the fights are thebig thing – though the songs are often quite nice too.

      He was a real icon in India, not just in the 60s, when he was starring in all these films, but also later. I remember people using his name as a synonym for a strong man. And there were entire legends about how much he would consume during one day (including 250 gms ghee, according to a newspaper article I happened to read yesterday. Whew!)

      Ah, so you watch MasterChef India? Like it? ;-) I remember watching part of one episode, just out of curiosity – and I turned off the TV after 10 minutes or so. I think MasterChef Australia has spoilt me for anything else. ;-)

      • Hey Dustedoff. My laptop decided to call it quits on me, so here I am, editing chapters for others on my iPod. Such a pain in the butt.

        Hmm, somewhat like Houdini’s or Jackie Chan’s films? It’s alright, I like my heroes to throw a couple of punches. (I was dancing at the end of Jab Pyar Kisi Se Hota Hai cos Dev bashed Pran up. I’m crazy.)

        Yeah, my grandma said he was VERY famous in Singapore too. Cool, huh? And ooof, I’d give anything for a bit of ghee now. American food is… meh.

        MasterChef India was really good, I liked it! My grandma liked Chef Vikas Khanna (At this age too!) a lot. I remember staying up late to watch it on Star Plus. :D And speaking about TVs, I was trying to watch the Classic Legends episode for Goldie (It was the one I absolutely wanted to watch) online, and I was having a good time UNTIL. It got cut off and there was no other version for it on the Net. AND JUST WHEN HE WAS GOING TO START TALKING ABOUT GUIDE! HOW IS THIS FAIRRRRRR. -CRIES-

        • It’s pretty creditable that Dara Singh was very famous in Singapore too. Good! I’m glad it wasn’t just the RKs and Nargises who got their share of love outside of India. :-) Dara SIngh certainly deserved it.

          The first MasterChef series I watched was MasterChef Australia, and it’s so fantastic that everything pales in comparison – the American version is just too full of backbiting and meanness, and the Indian one, from what I saw of it, was more like a “why I’m so miserable, I need the prize” sob story. And it seemed to lack the professionalism that is a hallmark of the Australia series.

          • Yup! But my grandma was crazy over all my favorite actors too. You know, I’m so jealous – she’s seen Shammi! Argh! Soooooooo jealous! -cries- And she had her photo taken with Dharmendra. SOOOOO JEALOUS. -cries again-

            And one of my relatives was in Bombay in 1961 (REALLY. -CRIES-) AND HE SAW MADHUBALA. -CRIESCRIESCRIESCRIESCRIES- WHY CAN’T I SEE ANYONE -CRIESCRIESCRIES-

            Oh, the American MasterChef was full of… uhm, strong language. The Indian one was pretty tame, and I liked it that way. I’ve seen a couple of episodes of MasterChef Australia and it was amazing. :D

  3. And when I learned he had died, my first reaction was – “Oh my God, not another one of the legends… sigh.” So… yeah. It was kind of unexpected actually. RIP Dara Singh. :(

  4. Great tribute, Madhu. ‘Sweet’ is just the right word to describe the man, never mind that he probably looked like Goliath. RIP Daraji. S is sadder than I have ever seen him – Dara Singh used to play football with him and his friends every Sunday on Juhu Beach – he was their goalee.

    Coming to your review:
    but even they couldn’t have distorted any film to this extent.
    You don’t know! I had one old film mangled so much, with the beginning of the movie inserted somewhere in the middle, and everything else topsy-turvey too that I wouldn’t put it past T-Series to have mucked up somehow!

    On the other hand, as you so sapiently remarked, these films were definitely not made by people who had any idea of script. :) I am sure your review is a darn sight better than the film was….

    • That’s sweet about Dara Singh being the goalie for S and his pals. Such a down-to-earth thing to do on Sundays, no?

      Anu, I have this sneaking suspicion that whoever wrote Rustom-e-Rome had no idea what a script was all about. I don’t expect soul-stirring drama or whatever, but basic logic? And how come the director went along with all of it? Just a little bit of good ol’ common sense, and this could’ve been a fairly entertaining lost-and-found historical drama with a mystery thrown in. As it is, it’s so confusing, I still don’t know exactly what happened.

  5. Excellent! I saw my first Dara Singh film as a student. Our Institute used to screen films once a week for us. I saw most of the old classics like Mamta this way. On a whim the secretary of the film society decided to show a Dara Singh film. I don’t remember anything about it, except that the heroine was Mumtaj. The film was a great hit with the students and on popular demand another Dara Singh film was screened next week. That one, unfortunately and perhaps predictably, flopped. I suppose one can enjoy a roadside Dhaba meal once in a while, but not regularly.

    I rather liked Dara Singh in ‘Jab we met’. He was really sweet!

    • I remember seeing some Dara Singh songs in Chitrahaar during the heyday of Doordarshan, but somehow I don’t think they ever telecast any of his films. Since then, the only other Dara Singh film I’d watched was Jab We Met (and, yes – I loved him in that! He was perfect). Then, a while back, I saw Rustom-e-Hind (which starred Mumtaz, and was I think better than Rustom-e-Rome. Now I’ve also got a recommendation from memsaab, for Samson.

      I think your metaphor of a roadside dhaba meal is brilliant! So true. :-)

      • Dara Singh, a gentleman he was, never bragged even about his wrestling prowess – his core forte.
        It was a good turn of the fortune to a genetleman that his extended career in films never really bothered about his acting prowess, howsoever sincerely he must have tried.
        We always apprecaited Raj Kapoor’s directorial knack in picking up Dara Singh as ‘ring master’ and Dharmendra as ‘manager’ of the circus. Importantly, Raj Kapoor had brought his true gentlemanly nature so vividly in the character!

        • We always apprecaited Raj Kapoor’s directorial knack in picking up Dara Singh as ‘ring master’ and Dharmendra as ‘manager’ of the circus.

          Okay, I’m going to have to confess my ignorance. Which movie are you talking about? I’m guessing it’s Mera Naam Joker (I haven’t seen it, because RK usually gets on my nerves, and from all I’ve read about the movie, I don’t think I’d be able to bear it).

          • Indeed it is MNJ.Even if you may not be sit through the whole movie, do see the first part of the movie, about the adolescent Raju.. Of course, Dara Singh is in the second part.

            • I remember Ava having reviewed the film sometime back, and even she had recommended the first part. All right, since both you and Anu are recommending it, I will watch it. Thank you!

          • Do give it a try, Madhu, though I know you do not like RK? The first two parts are fantastic; the third, in my opinion (though I know Richard will not agree with me), suffered from classic miscasting – Padmini was too old, and too buxom to fit the role of a young girl disguised as a boy. Unfortunately, there was a serious lack of heroines who could dance, and that role demanded one such. MNJ, in my opinion, is the most under-rated of RK movies. Part 1 being the best, as Ashokji says – Rishi won a very well-deserved national award for that role.

            • I am not against RK as such, Anu – just against films in which he does the ‘lovable tramp’ stuff. Unfortunately, most of his films seem to follow that pattern. I remember watching some songs from this film back when I was a kid – Jaane kahaan gaye woh din being one of them – and knew straight off that this was one film that wasn’t going to appeal to me. But since both you and Ashokji recommend it, I’ll give it a try. At least the first part.

          • Yeah, Mera Naam Joker was pretty cool! I loved the first and second parts (But especially the second! And the first had Manoj! Heeheeeheeeeeee!), but the third… ah well. I liked the songs too, those were good. My grandma loves, “Jaane Kahan Gaye Woh Din” (She’s a sucker for sad songs. She likes “Din Dhal Jaye”. I like it too, but I often cry my eyes out at it, so I… don’t go around carrying it on my YouTube playlists, but… yeah.), while I like “Ae Bhai Zara Dekh Ke Chalo”. See, I like happier songs. But anyway. It was awesome.

            And. I’d say something but I don’t want to put you off. So, um, go watch the movie and then I can laugh once you’re done.

  6. I do not remember having seen a Dara Singh as hero movie, I have seen him playing bit roles and some songs on TV.
    Growing up in Bombay, all us kids were extremely fascinated with his wrestling matches. Each weekend would see colorful & graphic posters of his upcoming fight & results of his previous fight. His opponents would have interesting names like King Kong, Zebysko, Drop-Kick Angel, Red Scorpion; and they would invariably be from abroad. We would heatedly debate his chances, pointing out his mastery of “The Indian Death Lock”, convinced that no one would be able to beat him. Little did we know about the true state of professional wrestling (all matches were & are fixed). I suppose he was the first true Indian Superman.
    Great to see a nice tribute !!!

    • Dara Singh movies, from what I can figure out (based on my viewing experiences so far) actually did figure with some of the wrestlers you mention – especially King Kong. Both in Rustom-e-Hind and Rustom-e-Rome, the credits list wrestlers with high-falutin’ names; after all, our hero had to be able to prove himself by trouncing men equally formidable. :-)

  7. Slowly that generation is disappearing . Devanand ,shammikapoor ,Rajendra kumar,raaj kumar .rajkapoor,joy mukarjee ,meh mood Johnny walker ,bharth bushan’sunildutt, and now darasingh.I vividly remember as a child I have seen number of darasingh ‘s films with Mumtaz and Helen.we liked his wrestling bouts and incredible stunts,the last movie of him which I have seen is warrant with dev anand my all time favorite.my his soul rest in peace

    • He was in Warrant?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

      -faints-

      Still not going near a 70’s film with Dev in it. Oh God. -faints again-

    • Yes, and some of the biggest stars of that generation have gone very suddenly over the past year or so. It’s sad. But there’s one consolation for fans like us: their movies live on.

  8. But T-series is horrible. They mangled up my Jewel Thief DVD so bad that I never want to buy another T-series DVD.

    • There’s little to choose between the DVD manufacturers, actually – they’re all mostly pretty frightful. Friends, with that jarring logo (sometimes in the middle of the screen) and Shemaroo are among the worst. Almost drives you to piracy. :-(

      • I found Yashraj quite good, Madhu – though they have very limited ‘outside’ movies. They used to have all the RK and Bimal Roy films remastered (and well!) under their Forever Classics brand – however the last time I went to buy something online, I found they had discontinued it. :( Then there used to be a brand called ‘Cinebella’ – I’m not sure they exist anymore. I read somewhere about there being a DVD company in India that is doing what the Criterion Collection is doing for foreign films, but I forgot to bookmark the page, and now I don’t remember the name. :( Anybody else heard about it?

        • Yash Raj was okay, they had the DVD of Sangam on it (-dances-), but what ticks me off is how they go, “Yash Raj Film’s”. Really. RK Films produced Sangam, thank you very much.

          Honestly, I think Ultra is okay, but the stupid logo and the way it goes, “Ultra movie presentation” over the songs is simply criminal. Mangling up such classics… sigh.

          But I think I have a DVD or two (Or I’ve seen one, I swear!) that’s under the Forever Classics brand. Wait. I think it was the Sangam one. Eh, I’m not sure. :V

        • I’ve actually not watched any Yashraj DVDs of films that weren’t Yashraj, Anu. Thanks for telling me, though – I’ll keep that in mind. I’ve certainly not heard of Cinebella, and neither of anyone who’s doing an equivalent of a ‘Criterion Collection’ for Hindi movies. Unfortunately, I’ve even stopped visiting most DVD stores now, because the Hindi films they have lined up are either new ones, or the famous old ones. None of the little-known ones I’d like to see are out there – most haven’t even been converted digitally. Or if they have, they’re only available as VCDs, and the quality is invariably pretty grotty.

      • I know, I feel like murdering Shemaroo! And Eros! Idiots, idiots, idiottsssssss! They put in all those damn bloody advertisments in my DVD of Jab Pyar Kisi Se Hota Hai, and some parts of it are cut off! What the hell, Eros?! ARGHHHHHHHHHH!

    • Uh-huh-huh-huh… -cough-

      -faints and lies on ground- Dev’s 70’s films are terrible. Aren’t they. Tell me. Before I die. :P

      • Well , you know how I was introduced to some of the stars through their films:
        1.Shammi Kapoor. and Mehmood (actually almost anyone who acted in this film)- Tumse achha kaun hai – I still like the film even though the CSP in this annoys a lot of people (not me) and it is apparently not one of Shammi’s best.(again not my opinion)
        2.RK – Dil hi to hai – an underrated classic, a muslim social (with Nutan and Pran).
        3.Dilip Kumar – Dastaan – might be BR Chopra’s first bad film.

        4.Dev Anand – Des Pardes – this features the first (!) NRI in an Indian film it seems in the form of Pran. (I wonder if It is NOT YRF then, so should Dev be credited for that?)
        contd.

        • contd. I remember watching Des Pardes on DD and liking it and then watching Jewel Thief.
          none of those films are ‘recommended’ films of these stars (except 2. I guess), but I Iiked those and saw their other work from there.
          conversely, I was annoyed (still do) by Dharam’s character from Sholay. and that put me off him for quite sometime before i watched his earlier classics.some rather blatant references (or copying of) to American westerns films which I like means Sholay will never be in my top 10 films of the 70s. sorry to any Sholay fans here.
          so what does that say about the choice of my films?

          • if you thought Sholay had blatant references to Westerns, you should (or shouldn’t) see Kaala Sona – that puts Sholay to shame! I don’t mind Sholay – even like it, in places – but I am not crazy about that film.

            BTW, wouldn’t Saira Banu’s character (and her family) be NRIs in Purab aur Pachhhim? That was well before Des Pardes.

            • Technically speaking, the 60’s had a few NRI’s — Shammi in “An Evening in Paris” and I am sure there were some in “Love in Tokyo”, and there were always foreign returned types like Biswajeet in “Bees Saal Baad”. To support your point, “Purab Aur Paschim” was probably the first NRI film, and “Hare Rama Hare Krishna” comes a close second.

              • Yes – as far as I recall, in Love in Tokyo, Asha Parekh’s character did live in Japan. And Shammi Kapoor’s character was an Indian resident in Paris in An Evening in Paris, so that works too. In B/W films, I remembered that in Singapore, Padmini’s character is an NRI too – she lives in Singapore. And if I remember correctly, Ashok Kumar’s character in Howrah Bridge was an Indian living in Burma.

        • That is quite a track record, Chris! I don’t recall the first Shammi Kapoor, RK, or Dilip Kumar film I watched, but I didn’t see any of their little-known ones till I’d seen quite a few films. So the introductions to these stars were pretty good. As for Dev Anand, I remember very well – the first film of his that I saw was CID. It’s the first film I remember watching in a cinema hall, when I was about 9 years old.

          • I have this tendency of watching the lesser known films of many stars before their classics. I have not seen ‘King kong’ yet but have seen Dara’s obscure films with titles like ‘saat samundar paar’ and ‘badshah'(Imdb lists these I think)
            Maybe Sholay was an exception.I don’t mind those references, Sholay has the tag of being the ‘best’ but lifting the plot, some scenes and an important music piece , somehow it does not suit that tag.
            And the point (which I should have made before rambling) was that I liked Dev’s lesser films from the 70s much before I saw the films of his prime. ” and that did not change my opinion of him despite the aging.” and as someone mentions his films in early part of the 70s were pretty good specially the ones co starring Hema Malini.

            • On Dev’s aging, he played his age in the film called ‘Prem Shastra’.
              I remember Kishore apparently copying his mannerisms in the song ‘Nazrana bheja kisi ne pyar ka’. It amuses me when I hear that song from Des Pardes.

        • Aaaah?! I was introduced to Dev through Johny Mera Naam – that was a lot of fun. So awesome! I watched Hare Rama Hare Krishna and that just makes me stay 100 feet away from hippie stuff. Oh my God.

          :x I was introduced to Shammi with Junglee, to Rajendra with Jhuk Gaya Aasman, umm, to Rajesh Khanna with Aradhana and Kati Patang, and Raj Kapoor with Awaara and Shree 420. :D

  9. A typical Dara film to choose for the tribute DO.
    Rest in peace daraji.

    The qwaali was indeed new to me, and since one is so starved for them these days I quite lapped it up.
    The songs of these B-rated films were invariably very good.-
    Enjoyable review as always :-)

    • Thank you, pacifist! Yes, qawwalis are so rare these days, aren’t they? I don’t watch too many new films, but haven’t seen a qawwali in ages. I think the last one I saw was in Veer-Zaara, and that was pretty so-so.

  10. Some of the best movies of Dev anand came in earlier part of 70’s
    Johnny mera naam.teremere sapne,man pasand and not so very good movies like,Des pardes.gambler. Banarasibabu and joshila

    • Joshila is scaaaaryyyyyyyyyyyyyyy. I cried cause it was so terrible. Banarsi Babu too was… uhm… it had me cringing in a corner, trying to get my iPod to save me… yes… that wasn’t a very fun day.

      Tere Mere Sapne should be good if Goldie directed it. :D

  11. Rest in peace , Dara Singh. I have been a fan of him and his films from the time I saw ‘Rustom-E-Hind’ some years back. Songs in his films are almost as good as the A-listers.
    One of his good films is ‘Sikandar E Azam’ where he is Alexander and Prithviraj Kapoor plays Porus.It includes the famous song ‘Jahan Dal Dal Pe Sone ki Chidiya Karti hai Basera Wo Bharat Desh India Hai mera ‘. This film has less wrestling as it should be obvious.
    I wonder, If Dara’s films are supposed to B films then , what is Prithviraj doing in them? (he acted in quite a few with Dara and himself in the lead).

    • I’ve never had a chance to see Sikandar-e-Azam, but Jahaan daal-daal par sone ki chidiyaan is a good song. I suppose Prithviraj Kapoor had decided by then that he wanted to loosen up a bit and act in whatever came his way – even so-called B-grade films.

  12. Thanks for the tribute to Dara Singh, Unfortunately even our Kaka passed away today, I don’t know what is happening to Indian Biggies…they all are going together….First Shammi, then Dev & now Rajesh Khanna…

    • Yes, it’s tragic. And you still haven’t listed people like Joy Mukherji, Dara Singh, Ravi, Nalini Jaywant, and Kalpana – all of whom also passed away in 2011-12.

  13. Like you I never watched a Dara Singh film until quite late. I saw Boxer recently, and enjoyed it a lot.

    I saw him mostly in mainstream movies when he started appearing in character roles – Father, dadaji etc. He looked like such a perfect patriarch, handsome, upright, benign.

    He pranced around shirtless much much more often than Salman did, but somehow he never looked sexy, he just looked like a wrestler who had lost his shirt.

    • You’ve put it so well, Ava – he did prance around without his shirt on a lot of the time, but instead of looking sexy, he “he just looked like a wrestler who had lost his shirt.” No six pack abs, was that why? Whatever. He had that endearing sweetness about him that made up for the lack of sexiness!

  14. That was a beautiful tribute to Dara!
    I understand very much you calling him sweet. He is sweet. I use the present tense, since as long as we have his films, he will always be there for us.
    The review was really amusing to read!

    • Yes, actually we should be using the present tense for all these stars whom we’ve loved so much in films. Because as long as the films are there, they will be there, too.

      Glad you liked the review!

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