Two films with Dharmendra and Rehman as the common thread.
In the first, DNPYK, D and R star in a kind of two-hero film (the way Riteish Deshmukh needs a two-hero film). Perhaps D’s career had still not stabilized and needed the suave R to prop him up. The second film MHMD, released about 2 years later had D firmly ensconced in the role of the hero and R playing a negative character.
The lives of the two, too, are quite interesting. R (so www.imdb.com tells me), was born in a Pathan family believed to be the descendants of Afghanistan's King Amanuallah. Wikipedia adds that his family was exiled to India during the 2nd Afghan-British war (1879) to India. Sach Bhagwan jaane (in the manner of speaking). But, what is a fact is that R joined the Indian Air Force as a Pilot and then somewhere down the line strayed into films. R impresses with his regal presence, immaculate diction, and an aristocratic bearing. Initially R played all roles including lead roles, but with time the roles he got were mainly those with a shade of grey (per wikipedia).
D meanwhile came from a Punjabi semi-rural (?) background to become a romantic cum action hero in Hindi films. While his current roles, the ones in the recent and not-so-recent past are immensely forgettable, these 2 films in question do show a glimpse of a gentle, subtle D who also gets a chance to show his acting skills.
DNPYK was made about 19 years after India won independence from the British, this movie in a way also serves as a record of the changing times and the changing India.
Nehru had died in 1964, his successor Shastri died in Jan-1966, the latest war with Pakistan had ended in Sep-1965. Indira Gandhi as the dynastic heir ascended the throne in 1966. Yet to prove herself she had been branded as a ‘Goongi Gudiya’ (Dumb Doll). In is in this context that perhaps the movie was influenced.
For a start the film is dedicated to ‘that friendship between man and man which knows no barriers of caste, religion or language’.
The wish of Dharmendra (right at the beginning of the movie) said in jest, that of making each of his 3 sons an officer in the Army, Navy and Air Force respectively and of the fear of one of his sons turning out to be a blackmarketeer; is perhaps indicative of the times they lived in and the need to inject a nationalistic fervour
The evils of the feudal system (now almost absent in the current set of movies) still persists here in the form of Jeevan, the village villain exercising his right on Nutan and attempting to molest her. But then there is much more resistance too on the part of the oppressed.
Villainy exists in another form, the capitalist shopkeeper without sensitivity or compassion who fires Amjad (played by Rehman) and Ashok (played by Dharmendra) resigns in protest. The initial stirrings of a labour movement here?
The close friendship of the Hindu and Muslim characters (Ashok and Amjad) who stay together through thick and thin perhaps indicative of the need of the hour, particularly in politically dynamic times.
The movie itself is no great shakes. The story hardly matters. But for the record, D is in love with Nutan, who dies in a train accident. R is D’s best friend and Muslim and his newly-married wife is an exact hum-shakal (copy/replica) of Nutan. D is recovering himself from the train accident and R contrives to place his wife before D as D’s girlfriend so that D can recover fully.
There is a sad lack of depth in acting by all, aided in no small measure by a weak script, contrived situations and melodrama all round. But D and R do show some indication of their talent, inspite all…….
And there is some terrible dancing by Nutan in the eye-opener (for Dharmendra) song ‘Mohabbat ka humko sila mil gaya’
In a bizarre ending, the bullet-struck Dharmendra follows the ghostly spectre of the singing Nutan presumably down a cliff signifying thus that the movie can go downhill no further.
Playback: Lata, Rafi, Asha, Manna Dey, Suman Kalyanpur, Usha Mangeshkar, Usha Khanna, Krishna Kalle and Mukesh
Editing: Pran Mehra
DoP: Taru Dutt
Music: Sonik Omi (What appropriate names!!)
Produced by B. L. Rawal
Story, Screenplay, Dialogues and Lyrics: G.L. Rawal
Directed by C.L. Rawal
Mere Humdum Mere Dost (My Soulmate My Friend) (Hindi film) (1968)
Another terrible movie which attempts to be a thriller. The story is a mess. D (Dharmendra) falls in love with S (Sharmila Tagore), who he believes is poor. S, a rich gal falls in love with D because all others fall in love with her money first. The twist is that long ago, when they were kids, S’s father murdered D’s father. Another twist is that the reason for the murder is a suspicion that D’s father may have had an affair with S’s mother (who is/was actually a prostitute). So we have implied incest, false identities, hidden secrets (S doesn’t know her mother till she is quite grown-up and that her father is serving a jail sentence), karma catching up (S’s father is killed by the man who took care of his business when he was in jail). And along the way, S discovers that her attendant, Mumtaz, is her sagi bahen in reality. Phew!!!
The Dharmendra I saw here and indeed in the other previous too is of the subtler, gentler variety as compared to the ‘kutte kamine’ brand of Dharmendra more familiar to many.
As in many other Hindi movies, some of the songs are the saving graces
* Na Ja Kahi Ab Na Ja – Rafi, Oh! Rafi
* Allah, Yeh Ada kaisi hai in hasino mein – Mumtaz sparkles, Lata delights
* Chalkaye Jaam – Rafi again
The songs though are a dime a dozen and not always well placed or paced. Somehow the editing seems much below par (and this from the master editor Hrishikesh Mukherjee who is editing). But it may also be a problem with the DVD in question (Moser Baer’s at fault)
The movie is a challenge for the artistically-inclined.
We have a geographically challenged director who shows D in Mumbai which is depicted as having coniferous tree forests and a backdrop of the Himalayan foothills.
Also a colour-sense-challenged colour consultant
An acting-challenged heroine, Sharmila Tagore who confidently tries to pass on her emoting as acting. S’s emoting is silly at times, but maybe that’s what was acceptable in those days. This is in sharp contrast to the much more controlled, subtle ‘acting’ from Dharmendra.
And when we have a script-challenged script writer, what else can you expect from such a movie.
It’s a melo-melo-melo-drama, as they would say in Marathi.
And just to complete the package, there is a kind of race / religion caricaturing/profiling: a Parsi is described by his wife as cowardly, the pimps are 2 guys named Lala and Khan and when Dharmendra gathers some goondas, 3-4 of them sport the Muslim skull-caps.
So, onto some eye-candy
Dialogue: Rajinder Singh Bedi
Story: Nirmal Kumari
Lyrics: Majrooh Sultanpuri
Editing: Hrishikesh Mukherjee
Playback: Lata and Rafi
DoP: K Vaikunth
Music: Laxmi Pyare
Produced by Kewal Kumar
Screenplay and Direction: Amar Kumar
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