In 1951, fresh from the success of the Dev Anand-Geeta Bali-Kalpana Karthik starrer Baazi, Chetan Anand decided to make a film that would highlight the very interesting aspects of film-making he had been learning from studying the works of various European directors. ‘Based on a true incident that took place in Amritsar’, as the film’s credits read, the story of Aandhiyaan was written by Chetan Anand himself, along with Hameed Butt.
The film’s credits roll to an unusual sequence of shots: in each frame, one actor or the other is shown, battling the eponymous ‘aandhi’ or storm, though in this case literal rather than metaphorical.
The story is centred round a young and zealous lawyer named Ram Mohan Kapoor (Dev Anand). Ram lives upstairs from his munshi (Ratan Gaurang), whose daughter Rani (Nimmi) has long been in love with Ram, though she’s too shy to let him know that. When the story begins, Ram’s mother (Durga Khote) is due to arrive, and Ram is getting ready to go to fetch her from the station. Rani makes tea for him, and an excited Ram confides in her: he’s asked his mother to come because he wants her to fix a match for him. With a girl he likes a lot.
If I have one major failing when it comes to selecting films to watch, it is the stubborn (naive?) belief that any film which has good songs and a good cast must also necessarily be good. This has been proven to be a completely baseless criterion for film selection, but I plod on optimistically, buying and renting films that have superb music but fall absolutely flat on other fronts: House No. 44, for example, a Dev Anand starrer that tries to be noir but doesn’t quite make it.
Memsaab’s excellent review of the Dev Anand-Waheeda Rehman starrer Solva Saal reminded me of this film. Also Dev Anand, also a suspense thriller, and also with great music. And, may I add, like Solva Saal, extremely entertaining.
So I rewatched this and enjoyed myself all over again, ogling Dev Anand, humming along with the songs, and wishing there were more films like this.