Shammi Kapoor plays a wealthy man who pretends to be poor while far away from home. He falls in love with the only daughter of a poor blind man. Pran comes along and throws a spanner in the works.
Kashmir ki Kali? Yes, but also Dil Tera Deewaana.
It’s been a long while since I reviewed a Shammi Kapoor film, and considering he happens to be my favourite actor, I decided it was high time I revisited one of his films. I’d watched Dil Tera Deewaana many years back and remembered just the bare bones plot (besides the title song, which I don’t really care for). I did remember, though, that it was fairly entertaining as a film.
The story gets off to a flying start. Mohan (Shammi Kapoor) is the only offspring of very wealthy parents (Ulhas and Mumtaz Begum). While Mummy dotes on her son and is indulgent, Daddy is, with every passing day, losing patience with Mohan. Instead of going to office to work, for instance, Mohan is absconding—and when his father runs him to earth (in the aptly named ‘The Rebel Club’), it’s to find his son singing and dancing along with a friend, Anokhe (Mehmood), who’s in drag.
A scared Mohan (with a gibbering Anokhe, both of them terrified of Mohan’s father) explains that they’re rehearsing a play. This does nothing to endear him to Daddy, who is thoroughly incensed.
Daddy’s anger goes up a few notches that night, when Mohan, having duped his mother into thinking he’s sleeping in his room, slips out through the window and heads for the theatre. Daddy [the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree?] quickly exchanges clothes with their driver and sends the man off while he, pretending to be the driver, gets into the car and drives Mohan, who doesn’t even bother to look closely at the uniformed character in the front seat.
Along the way they pick up Anokhe, and the two young men sit in the back and exchange notes on life. Mohan cribs about how his freedom is curtailed, his father doesn’t let him do anything, he is watched all the time, blah blah. Anokhe says he wouldn’t mind all of that if he could live in the sort of luxury Mohan is used to. Oh, how gladly they would exchange places! Daddy, sitting in the front seat and eavesdropping, fumes and decides he’s got to do something.
Having revealed his true form and frightened the wits out of Mohan and Anokhe, Daddy hurries off to put in action a plan he has to set Mohan right: he will send the young man off to stay with Captain Dayaram Jang Bahadur (Om Prakash), an ex-jailor friend who prides himself on being able to beat into shape anyone who comes his way.
Dayaram is more than happy to oblige an old friend. Mohan, accordingly, is packed off to the old jailor’s home, which is in Ooty. Daddy refuses to give Mohan any pocket money for his sojourn, but a sympathetic Mummy sneaks a roll of three thousand rupees, packed into a steel dabba, which she passes off as sweets. She manages to tell Mohan what it really is, so Mohan leaves home happily…
… and picks up Anokhe along the way. Because Mohan has a plan.
The plan is that Anokhe, calling himself Mohan, will land up at Dayaram’s home and make himself comfortable there while Mohan will go off and get a taste of the freedom he so yearns for. Anokhe is sceptical: won’t Dayaram recognize him? No, because he hasn’t seen Mohan.
Anokhe’s other protests are all brushed away, and he, decked up in one of Mohan’s suits and looking relatively natty, arrives at Dayaram’s home. Dayaram may be retired, but handcuffs, whip, and an air of almost tyrannical bossiness surround him. His daughter Malti (Shubha Khote—in just how many films did she star opposite Mehmood?) is quickly given charge of Anokhe, to show him around the house and get him acquainted with the routine he’ll follow (including working in an office that is part of the house).
A string of servants brings in Anokhe’s (actually Mohan’s) luggage, and Anokhe begins to settle in, quickly falling in love with Malti—who reciprocates.
Meanwhile, Mohan is at the hotel where he and Anokhe had checked in for a couple of days before beginning their exchange programme. He realizes too late that along with everything [the key word being ‘everything’] that’s gone off to Dayaram’s, the steel dabba containing the precious money given by Mummy has also gone.
The hotel manager comes along asking for payment, and Mohan has to admit that he doesn’t have a naya paisa to pay for anything. A hairy and nasty-looking bouncer-like character is called in, and Mohan manages to take him along to Dayaram’s, getting him to wait outside while he sneaks in and tries to get Anokhe alone in an attempt to retrieve that precious dabba.
All of these attempts are in vain, and Mohan is finally obliged to give the bouncer the slip and race off, climbing into a bus and finding himself sitting next to a pretty stranger (Mala Sinha). Although she’s not kindly disposed towards him, she—out of the goodness of her heart—pays for his ticket when she realizes he’s not got the money to even buy himself a ticket.
When she gets off the bus, Mohan realizes that his fellow passenger has left her purse behind. He alights immediately, but she’s already gone, and within moments, Mohan has made the acquaintance of Raja (Mohan Choti), who informs him that the girl’s name is Meena, and that she is Raja’s neighbour.
The purse is duly returned; Raja tells Meena what a good and honest man Mohan is, to insist on returning the purse; and Meena is suitably impressed. Raja also invites Mohan to stay with him—an invitation Mohan immediately accepts, given that it means Meena (whom he has already fallen for) lives right opposite. The accommodation is very basic…
… and Raja doesn’t even have tea to offer his ‘guest’, but Mohan is happy simply because Meena is nearby. She too is not oblivious, and very soon, a romance has blossomed.
Meena’s father (Manmohan Krishna) is blind and owns a taxi. This is driven by Ganpat (Pran), who’s always complaining that the taxi is ramshackle and keeps breaking down, making him spend whatever he earns from it on repairs. He cannot therefore pass on any earnings to Meena’s father, but continues to demand (and nastily, too) wages. Meena, who teaches dance at a school, tries her best to manage all by herself, but it’s difficult.
Eventually, matters come to a head. Meena hands Ganpat the money he’s demanding and tells him to get lost. Ganpat goes, muttering threats all the way, and Meena tells her father to sell off the taxi. It’s no use to them, and its sale could bring in some much-needed money. But her father gets all melodramatic and refuses: Meena’s dead mother’s jewellery was sold off for this taxi, and this taxi has seen many years of sweat and toil from him. It’s as much an offspring of his as Meena herself is.
Fortunately, a chance remark from Mohan makes Meena realize that he needs a job desperately, and that he also knows how to drive. So Mohan gets hired as the new taxi driver.
All seems happy and well. Two romances—the Mohan-Meena one and the Anokhe-Malti one—are flourishing, Mohan has a job, and Dayaram’s frequent reports to Mohan’s parents about his progress are glowing (since Anokhe, as Mohan, is being good).
But there is, after all, a good deal of deceit at work here. Mohan and Anokhe, between them, have fooled several people, not least the women they love. And things are going to get much more complicated before the resolution arrives. Because, besides all the expected consequences of their farce, there’s also something Mohan and Anokhe don’t know yet: that there’s a Dakkani-speaking lookalike of Anokhe’s, by the name of Sohan, who also lives in Ooty with his wife (Kammo) and three children.
What I liked about this film:
Shammi Kapoor, of course. For someone who’s a Shammi Kapoor fan, this film is satisfying when it comes to Mr Kapoor’s role. He’s handsome, he’s clownish and suave and whatever is needed to be the somewhat comic hero. Plus, I love the fact that he has so few inhibitions—the way he sits on that broken charpai, for instance, is made especially hilarious by the fact that this is our hero here, not the comic supporting actor…
And talking of comic supporting actor, Mehmood deserves a mention for his role as Sohan. He’s relatively unfunny as the timid Anokhe, but utterly delightful as the loud-mouthed Sohan.
That said, it’s not as if the film lacks humour even when it comes to Anokhe. The deceit practised by Mohan and Anokhe comes with its pitfalls, and one of these, threatening to reveal all, is the basis of a funny sequence with Shammi Kapoor and Mehmood rapidly switching roles and behaviour in order to fool two different sets of people simultaneously.
Last but not least, the songs, by Shankar Jaikishan. While the title song is possibly the most famous of the songs of Dil Tera Deewaana, my favourite is Nazar bachaakar chale gaye, followed by Mujhe kitna pyaar hai tumse. And yes, I must make a special mention of the picturization of Nazar bachaakar chale gaye, which is shot mainly across the many historic monuments at Hampi. Having recently visited Hampi, I was glad to be able to see so many of its monuments all over again, through this song.
What I didn’t like:
The waste of what could have been a good comic plot, but is reduced to a side plot. With talents like Shammi Kapoor, Mehmood, Om Prakash, and Shubha Khote, there was plenty of scope here for a really good comedy, what with the Mohan-Anokhe impersonation scheme, and the Sohan angle. But throw in the blind father-self-respecting girlfriend-jealous villain angles, and instead of being a fine comedy, it becomes a mishmash of genres, with melodrama coming to the forefront in the last half-hour or so.
Not terrible, but not as good as it could have been, either.