Dil Diya Dard Liya (1966)

Despite its having a cast of several people whom I like a lot (Waheeda Rehman, Dilip Kumar, Pran, Rehman, Shyama), a music director whom I like a lot (Naushad) and being by no means an unknown film, Dil Diya Dard Liya is one I’d never got around to watching. Perhaps it is because I had been told by knowledgeable readers that it was based on Wuthering Heights—and I could imagine what a confluence of Wuthering Heights (dark, grim, with two thoroughly selfish and unlikeable leads) and typical Bollywood (melodramatic, with no lead capable of being anything but noble, even if it’s only in the final analysis)—would be like. Mishmash, hard to bear?

But when I posted a Naushad song list in tribute on Naushad’s birth centenary last year, several people mentioned the songs of Dil Diya Dard Liya, and I decided it was time to take the plunge. If for nothing else than Naushad’s music.

The film begins with a disaster: a boat, with seemingly only three people on board—a man, his wife and their baby—capsizes. The baby is the only one who survives, and he is rescued by the servant of a Thakur (DK Sapru).

Far away, in the princely state of Belapur, the ruling Maharaja (Murad) is breathing his last. He has been waiting anxiously for the return of his son, but the Grim Reaper has outstripped the heir to the throne. Even as the Maharaja dies (having first, conveniently, handed over to a faithful servitor a distinctive locket that is the emblem of royal power in Belapur), news arrives that the expected prince has perished in a boat accident along with his wife, though their baby has survived. Where the baby is, however, nobody knows. [This sounds very suspect to me: how come somebody knows the baby survived, but doesn’t know where the baby is?]

Flash forward a few years. The Thakur has adopted the abandoned baby and named him Shankar. Shankar (?) has been brought up along with the Thakur’s children, Roopa (Baby Farida) and her step-brother Ramesh (?). For some unexplained reason, Ramesh harbours a deep dislike for Shankar, and spares no opportunity to lay into him. The Thakur scolds him and manages to keep him in check somewhat, but Roopa—who is very fond of Shankar—cannot do anything, despite all her pleading and threats. Ramesh refuses to listen to her. Naturally, he doesn’t even listen to their maid (Dulari) or the servant (the man who’d rescued Shankar as a baby).

Also good friends of these children are the offspring of a neighbouring family. Satish (?) and Mala (?) also try to reason with Ramesh to spare Shankar, but to no avail.

Basically, nobody sides with Ramesh over his ill-treatment of Shankar, but nobody except his father actually manages to keep Ramesh from harming Shankar.

So, when the Thakur dies one day of a heart attack, it’s curtains for Shankar.

The next time we see Shankar (now Dilip Kumar), he’s sweaty and scruffy, chopping wood while Ramesh (now Pran) glowers at him from horseback, snarls some nasty comments about Shankar, and generally appears to have amped up the ill-treatment.

Roopa (now Waheeda Rehman) is distressed by all of this. She and Shankar are deeply in love with each other, but—thanks to Ramesh’s hideous behaviour—she is too scared to let her stepbrother know. And she’s too cowed down to stop Ramesh from treating Shankar badly. So when Ramesh one night orders Shankar to run to Satish’s home to fetch a gun he’s left there accidentally (it’s three kos each way, and Ramesh is going to leave for shikaar in an hour’s time), Roopa can only wince.

The worst thing is that when Shankar turns up, panting and puffing, at the home of Satish (now Rehman) and Mala (now Shyama), it’s to discover that Ramesh has made him do this marathon for no reason at all: Satish says he distinctly saw Ramesh take the gun with him. Why does Ramesh treat him so badly, Mala and Satish wonder as Shankar runs off again…

Shankar, however, has something helping him bear all this. Roopa’s love, of course, but also the thought that someday he will break out of all of this. He will become a wealthy, powerful man and then he will come back to face all these people who taunt him and abuse him—and he will forgive them, won’t he, says a hopeful [and hopelessly naïve] Roopa. No, says Shankar. No, never. He will never forgive them. He will treat them the way they treated him.

For the present, though, Shankar is getting the short end of the stick. In his love life too. Shortly after he’s gifted Roopa a set of glass bangles—he apologizes because they’re such a sorry, cheap gift (but Roopa pays no mind; she says their mutual love makes the bangles priceless), he is witness to another confession of love, another gift of jewellery to Roopa. Roopa and Shankar are in her room when Satish and Mala arrive unexpectedly, and Shankar is obliged to hide behind a curtain.

Satish sends Mala away, and then sets about confessing his feelings to Roopa. He even puts a heavy gold necklace around her neck—this is the last straw for poor jealous Shankar, who inadvertently lets fall a vase from behind the curtain. Satish realizes he has a rival but (surprisingly for a character in Hindi cinema) is too much of a gentleman to fling back the curtain and see who it is). He tells Roopa he understands, and that he will wait. Meanwhile, he hopes to see her at Mala’s birthday party, which was what they had come to invite her for.

With Satish gone, an embittered Shankar emerges and spews angst and self-pity, which Roopa manages to quell somewhat by snatching off Satish’s gift from round her neck and flinging it away. She has to go to the party, however; she can’t wriggle out of it—so she asks Shankar to get her a bouquet of flowers which she can take along to gift to Mala.

As it happens, Shankar gets delayed. Roopa waits and waits, and finally is forced to leave for Mala’s home without the bouquet. Shankar, therefore, in what I can only call a display of extreme naivety and/or stupidity, decides it would be best if he were to go personally to Mala’s home and hand over the bouquet. He does this, gate-crashing the party and earning a sound thrashing from Ramesh, who is incensed at Shankar’s effrontery in thinking he can barge into a gathering like this, filthy and low-down as he is.

Events occur in swift succession now. Shankar decides to leave the house and run away; Roopa tries to stop him, but he—meeting her one last time at the old ruins where they always meet—says no. This time he must go. But Ramesh won’t even let Shankar go easily; his goons hunt down Shankar here too. They surround Roopa and Ramesh, beat Shankar, and then fling him into the river while a screaming Roopa looks on.

Ramesh, who has long been deep in debt to Mansaram (Sajjan) and is a confirmed baddie—he drinks like a fish and is infatuated by a tawaif named Tarabai (Rani)—now dives even deeper into sin. He’s so lost in wine, woman and song that Satish and Mala, looking on, fear for Roopa. It’s not safe for her to live on in that house with her debauched stepbrother any more. If she comes to stay with them, it’ll be better for her. Satish, who is now even more obsessed with getting married to Roopa, goes to Ramesh and suggests that he allow Roopa to move to their home. Mala’s company will be good for Roopa, and it will give Satish a chance to woo Roopa.

… which happens, and which Roopa protests. All to no effect, because Satish won’t take no for an answer. He insists that he loves Roopa, no matter if she is still in love with Shankar (who, of course, everybody—including Roopa—imagines dead).

But Shankar isn’t dead. Because Shankar, for the second time in his life, washes up alive on a shore and is rescued. And, rescued, he ends up working in a faraway factory, where one day he escorts a fainting visitor to a grand palace—and sees that the coat of arms embossed all over, on the doors, the furniture, etc—is the same one on the locket that Shankar has been wearing around his neck ever since he was found as a baby.

So Shankar finds himself the Maharaja of Belapur, and he sets out to have his revenge on Ramesh. To prove to his old enemy and all those who looked down on Shankar, that he is not a no-account, after all.

The sad bit, though, is that when he turns up at Satish’s home, it’s to see Roopa sporting a massive engagement ring on her finger, and making no attempt (or so Shankar perceives it) to ward off Satish’s attentions.

I began watching this film wondering how the script writer (Kaushal Bharti) and director (AR Kardar) could have adapted Wuthering Heights for an India audience. There is something so completely un-Bollywood film-like about Emily Brontë’s dark classic that I was both curious and a little sceptical. The fact, however, is that Dil Diya Dard Liya is only based on part of Wuthering Heights; it stops about midway through, and takes an (expectedly) ‘happy’ turn which makes it into something that would have been acceptable to a Hindi film audience.

What I liked about this film:

Naushad’s music. It is really—bar nothing, not even the excellent cast—the best thing about Dil Diya Dard Liya. My favourite songs here are Koi saagar dil ko behlaata nahin, Phir teri kahaani yaad aayi, and Kya rang-e-mehfil hai dildaaram o jaan-e-aalam, but even other than these, there are good songs: at any rate, not one song that jars.

The setting, which includes a good bit of filming done at Mandu: beautiful.

What I didn’t like:

Sadly, so much.

To start with, the cast. As someone who is a fan of all the main actors and actresses in this film, I must admit that Dilip Kumar, Pran and Rehman were just too old to be cast in those roles. Shankar, Ramesh and Satish are pretty much of a similar age as the girls when they’re young—there seems to be no more than a couple of years’ difference between them. Then why is it that as adults, the women are so obviously much younger than the men? Rehman and Dilip Kumar, especially, show their age—Pran not so much, particularly since Ramesh’s debauchery would be expected to have an effect on his looks anyway.

But, that’s a minor issue, especially given that the acting is good. What bothers me are the characterizations here, in particular the characterization of Roopa. Nobody’s holding a gun to this female’s head, forcing her to marry Satish; she is not even in any way obliged to marry him—but she will. Why? Satish is irritating too, in that he’s insisting on marrying a woman who is obviously in love with someone else, and who makes it clear that she doesn’t want Satish: but this is a type I’ve come across often enough in cinema, so it didn’t jar that much.

The very brief quasi-comic scenes featuring Murlidhar (Johnny Walker) and his wife (Tuntun) plus their brood of nine children are almost painful, given that they contrast so completely with the rest of this film. These scenes are so short and so unconnected to the rest of the plot, that they do nothing to ease the overall pathos and grimness, if that was the intent.

You shouldn’t really consider this much of an adaptation of Wuthering Heights. For me, what makes Wuthering Heights what it is are the characterizations of Catherine and Heathcliff, and the dark, wild atmosphere of the entire book. The plot is fine, but to me, it’s secondary: the wilful, self-centred, self-destructive passion of Catherine and Heathcliff is Wuthering Heights—and those are missing in Dil Diya Dard Liya.

There is nothing of Catherine in Roopa: Catherine is untamed, untamable, while Roopa is a milquetoast who pretty much embodies every outdated patriarchal stereotype of the ‘perfect woman’: submissive, putting family honour before her own happiness (and before the happiness of other people as well), and generally a wet blanket. Shankar is slightly closer to Heathcliff in his character, especially when he goes on a rampage after finding that Roopa has been faithless, but even then: that rampage is short-lived, he repents, and all ends happily ever after.

Verdict: watch only for the songs. Or watch the songs for themselves, skip the film.

33 thoughts on “Dil Diya Dard Liya (1966)

  1. Hi Madhu!

    I had tried writing in as soon as I saw this post… ( but inexplicably my reply did not go through….so here’s to a second attempt…and will keep it briefer than the one that did not go through…..)

    As always, so good to see a new post from you , on an old classic; must admit that i have not seen the film, though do recollect the music and the songs.

    Briefly….this is to point out to an error that has inexplicably crept in, in the text.
    Am referring to para 17 — beginning with
    “Events occur………” and to the last two lines of this para.

    It should read as “Shankar” and not “Ramesh” …..who is set upon by Ramesh’s goons….
    (I’m referring here”….they beat Ramesh and fling him into the river…..”)

    Apologies for appearing “picky”…but habits die hard for this researcher from pre-Internet days…

    My very best to you, always, in all that you do,…so well, unfailingly!

    Praba Mahajan

  2. Couldn’t agree more.
    The movie was painful to say the least. One can say Dilip acted well out of nostalgia or sheer respect but after the early 50s his acting was only bearable in comedies.
    No wonder the movie was a resounding flop.

    • Yes, it was really painful. I agree about Dilip Kumar’s acting taking a nosedive by this time, other than in comedies (thank goodness he was getting some good comedies like Kohinoor and Azaad then). This one was especially dreadful. It’s only the songs that redeem it.

  3. I had heard good things about this film from people that I respected – and ended up completely annoyed at the end of the film. I am actually a fan of “Wuthering Heights” for the interesting characters. And every equivalent character in this film was such a disappointment – neither true to the original, nor different in an interesting way. And I hate Waheeda’s character. Your description in the last paragraph summarizes exactly what I think of Roopa. Unlike a lot of people, I am not as huge a fan of Dilip Kumar, but I love Waheeda, and Pran. This film just used their talents in the worst possible ways.
    The songs help a lot, but not enough to erase the bad taste this cliched film leaves in the mouth. Now the masochist in me was wondering if I should watch this film again since so many people had spoken well of it – maybe I was missing something when I saw it 20 years back. But after reading your review, that thought has been quickly put to rest :-)
    BTW, have you watched “Dil Apna aur Preet Paraaye”? Don’t think I saw a review of that one by you. Would love to get your take on it.

    • Thanks for that insightful (and funny!) comment. I like Dilip Kumar’s acting, though I must admit a lot of the films he worked in are too depressing for my liking. Waheeda and Pran are both big favourites of mine, but they – like everybody else – are completely wasted in this film. You would do well, I think, not to rewatch it. After all, the best thing about it are the songs, and those can enjoyed without having to go through the film.

      I have watched Dil Apna aur Preet Parayi a long time ago, but not since I began writing this blog. I will certainly rewatch that and review it. It’s been so long since I watched that, I don’t remember the nuances of it.

      • Hindi cinema has long had a range of cliches in them – both in terms of story-lines and acting. But then some movies break those norms and stand out. There were 2 films that I happened to see within a few weeks of each other that stood out for me – now this was 25 years back. One was “Dil apna aur preet paraaye” and the other was “Aarti”, the latter leaving a much greater impression on me. I had associated Meena Kumari with the over-the-top rona-dhona and shied away from her films (not a huge fan of her in Sahib Biwi and Ghulam though I like the story and maybe the film is worth a second look). But the 2 films above changed my whole perception of her and made me appreciate the subtlety that she could bring to roles. Then of course I discovered her comedic capabilities in “Kohinoor”.

        • I have to admit I have a special fondness for Chhoti Bahu. But yes, Meena Kumari’s rona-dhona could get really irritating in a lot of films she landed up with. Sad, because – as you rightly point out – she was such a versatile actress, and could do comedy so well, too.

  4. Your review gave me flashbacks – I’d conveniently forgotten what a washout this film was!

    I’m afraid the writing of the Brontë sisters has never appealed to me.Wuthering Heights itself made me want to rip my eyes out of my skull; I have never understood what made it a ‘classic’. (I must be such a philistine! :( )

    I watched Dil Diya Dard Liya long before I’d actually read Wuthering Heights, so at least comparisons didn’t occur to me. But it was such a washout even as a standalone film. I wanted to smack Roopa silly even then. Yeah, watch the songs (or better still, just listen) and forget the film!

    • Wuthering Heights isn’t one of my favourites, either. It’s so grim and depressing, and in a way that has almost nothing to redeem it (except the Hareton Earnshaw – was it? – and Catherine II romance at the end). Worst of all, there are no characters whom I really liked or rooted for: they’re all uniformly nasty and/or stupid and gullible. I mean, if I compare this to another depressing novel – Far From the Madding Crowd – at least the latter has a really likeable male lead, and the all-round grimness is lightened by moments of mirth thanks to the villagers. But Wuthering Heights… hmm, not my cup of tea.

  5. My comment seems to have disappeared into ether? Too tired to write it again, but will just say that your review brought back memories I wish it didn’t. :)

    I think I’ll stick to listening to the songs.

  6. Hmm……
    Another film with good songs wasted.
    Ok
    I’ll stick to your advice and go with the songs.
    Anyways, I’m not a Dilip Kumar fan, but I like Waheeda Rehman a lot. She was very charming and classy.
    But will skip the film.
    Which film should I watch just for Waheeda? Shagun? Patthar Ke Sanam?

    • I wouldn’t recommend Shagoon, at least – it’s a dreadfully regressive film, though Waheeda Rehman looks lovely in it. Patthar ke Sanam I watched too long back to remember much of it other than the songs. Seriously, I think the best films of hers are probably the ones with Guru Dutt.

          • Thanks for the suggestions Madhuji and Manuela. I tried watching Kagaz Ke Phool and ended cursing Johny Walker for irritating me no end. It became unbearable and left the movie midway.
            Sahib Biwi and Pyaasa are excellent.
            Khamoshi I should definitely watch, so should Mujhe Jeene Do. Waheeda must have excelled in it too.

            :-)

            • I have forgotten Johnny Walker in Kaagaz ke Phool, so perhaps that’s all for the best! ;-) But while Waheeda Rehman is wonderful in that film, I don’t much like the film itself – it’s too too depressing for me.

              Do watch Khamoshi – it’s excellent. And if you want something much frothier and funny, Ek Phool Chaar Kaante. She’s lovely and funny in that.

  7. Couldn’t agree more.
    Beautiful songs, beautiful ladies’ outfits, too.
    But this film is just horrible.
    I will never forget my great expectations, given the fact that Wuthering Heights has been a fave since school; and then that great cast! So many favourite actors!
    How it was even possible to mess it up like this is beyond me.

    • Hehe!

      Yes, messing up something which actually had everything going for it would be quite a task. I think what they got wrong was when they took something so intrinsically unsuited to Hindi cinema tropes – the unlovable, selfish lead pair, the grim setting – and tried to adapt it to Hindi cinema. It falls completely flat.

  8. The movie is all about the genius of Naushad and Mohammed Rafi . MS Vishwanathan that genius of a composer in Tamil considered Naushad as the ultimate in music. The world of music is poorer in the absence of Naushad . It is also the lack of gratitude among aficionados that Naushad is not feted the way he deserves to be feted . Rafi’s genius was shown to the world first by Naushad before anybody else

    • The world of music is poorer in the absence of Naushad

      I agree. He was a class apart. There are so many films that have nothing to recommend them except his music – and I feel that his music elevated a lot of films from run-of-the-mill to highly popular.

  9. I had seen Dil Diya Dard Liya on Doordarshan more than three and a half decades back and read the story of Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë much later. You have reviewed the movie nicely and are correct in asserting that Wuthering Heights could not be presented in its original form in a Bollywood movie (especially till the end of the 20th Century, I must say). The movie is definitely irritating in its later part which dilutes its overall impact on the viewer. Naushad’s music is the saving grace. However let me add that Naushad was incomplete without Shakeel Badayuni whose beautiful, meaningful and touching lyrics only could render immortality to songs like Koi Saaghar Dil Ko Behlaata Nahin, Phir Teri Kahaani Yaad Aai and the title track.

    And being a Pran-fan, let me assert with conviction that I never found Pran as more hateable in any other movie done by him as a villain. His performance in this movie, especially in the ending reels, left an indelible imprint on my heart.

    • Agree completely about Pran. He’s really good in this film. Such a shame that the film, overall, falls so flat.

      Agree, too, about Shakeel Badayuni’s contribution in the music. True. Some beautiful lyrics there.

  10. Dil Diya Dard Liya was a box-office disaster and deservedly so. All of the actors are wrongly cast and act pretty averagely, esp given their much-vaunted reputations. Only saving grace is Naushad’s music, as rightly pointed out by all of our brothers and sisters here.

    AR Kardar, who was the director of the film, made several hits back in the 50’s and 40’s, though most of them weren’t much to write about from a point of view of quality. Yet hardly any of them was a disaster of DDDL level, simply because those films didn’t have the interfering nose of Dilip Kumar. Dilip Kumar, one of our acting greats, sadly by the mid 60’s had developed a swollen head and would interfere incessantly in his films, at times even hijacking the director’s role. Kardar became his victim in this film, Bhimsingh in Admi and God Forbid, Dilipsaab even didn’t spare such a mighty talent like Asit Sen in Bairaag. End result-All 3 films flopped big time. Thankfully these films drove some sense into Dilipsaab’s head and In his second innings, he became far less interfering. But the period from 1964- 1976 was the height of Dilipsaab’s interference. During that period, the only two films where he didn’t interfere at all were Paari and Sagina Mahato, probably because both these films were in Bengali and not in hindi. End Result- Both films rank among Dilip Kumar’s best 5 performances of all time.

    • A friend of mine commented on Twitter about this interference, which I hadn’t known about. I suppose that tends to happen with actors who let their star status go to their heads – Dev Anand and Rajesh Khanna are among the others who’ve become slaves to their stardom. I don’t know whether either of these were guilty of interference, but they certainly let their stardom run away with them, so that you ended up always seeing the star onscreen, not the actor.
      Such a shame.

      • Dev and Rajesh were victims of their
        own mannerisms and prisoners of their own stardom, but they never interfered to the extent of hijacking the director’s role ( Dev did so once in Teen Deviyaan though). Dilip Kumar and Manoj Kumar though are pretty infamous for such creative interference, especially during the 1964-76 period. Same goes for Mehmood too. Ashok Kumar & Shammi Kapoor too would often take the control of their pictures in their own hands, though they would keep quiet and follow the instructions of filmmakers like Shakti Samanta, Vijay Anand, BR Chopra, Hrishikesh Mukherjee, Subodh Mukherjee, Satyen Bose, Bimal Roy, Nasir Hussain etc, to the tee.

        On the contrary, Raj Kapoor, Dharamendra, Amitabh Bachchan, Jeetendra, Sanjiv Kumar etc are/were known to be least interfering and very cooperative with their directors.

  11. The unanimous verdict on the movie in 1966
    was “ Paisa Diya Dard Liya “. As far as I remember it was a massive flop!
    Nitin

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