Shammi movies – Two at a time (Part I)

Since I like making lists, watching obscure movies and forgetting them with rapid ease, it is time to collect and collate all those Shammi Kapoor movies that I have managed to see over the past few months. Now next time I don’t have to trawl through IMdB to read the synopsis to figure out whether it is worth a re-watch. Spoilers abound in plenty, obviously

Shammi before 1956 

A closed book to me whose pages don’t look very inviting, because of that mustache and because the quality of the video and audio prints available just SUCKS.

Tumsa Nahin Dekha (1956)

A lost and found (with some doubt) story. Shammi’s father after some gambling misadventures with his companions kills a man and takes off, and hence is parted from his wife and little son. He manages to change his name, find new and better friends, and become a rich landlord in the tea estates of Assam. His friend’s daughter [Ameeta] who’s under his care learns of his past and has the bright idea of advertising for his long lost wife using her pet name, to avoid alerting the police. This scheme actually works but unfortunately, the Indian police who are cleverer and the brother (and his son) of the man who was murdered immediately are hot on the track, seething with revenge.  So you have Shammi (who hates his father for abandoning them and who is unaware of the Assam landlord’s identity) and Pran (masquerading as a plausible Shammi with the same made up name) joining for work in the tea-estate. Now who’s the real one and who’s the villain ? Delightful ! REWATCH worth it every time and the sound track by OP Nayyar is AWESOME.

Mujrim(1958)

Starring Shammi and Raagini, it has a really meaty (double) role for Shammi, who plays a criminal Shankar on the run and who stumbles into a theatre company where Raagini is performing. He overhears that a dramatist (Anand) is expected and when he is found on the premises by Raagini, he tries to pass himself off as the writer and is forced to accept her hospitality and spend the night in the drama company when all he wanted to do was take off. The mystification increases when the next day, the theatre owner who has met Anand before doesn’t seem to think anything is odd except mildy gong gaga over how “westernized” he looks compared to his simple kurta of yore. So the ever game Shammi plays along and then finally makes his escape. After some dramatic and tragic encounters with the man who picked him off the streets and turned him into a thief, Shankar is now free from his clutches and has the bright idea of actually looking up the novelist everyone thinks he is. Turns out that’s another Shammi who’s deathly ill ! In the briefest double role of Hindi cinema. Shankar’s conscience wins after a painful struggle with the devil’s scheme of murdering Anand and taking his place and Shankar runs for a doctor, but it is too late and Anand’s dead. Shankar then has the bright idea of switching identities and identifies the corpse as Shankar, the notorious thief on the run and becomes a man of the written word and kurtas from then on. Now can he continue this masquerade with a very suspicious policeman who keeps bumping into him ? Can he win the love of Raagini while he’s being pursued by a petulant rich young fan who’s apparently been receiving letters of love from Anand and who’s fallen in love with him too ? It is probably one of the few Shammi films where he gets to *try to really act* and does a fairly decent job of it. It is also one of the few films where he proves he can carry off a kurta as well as your traditional Hindi film hero. Raagini has some nice scenes with Shammi and some  great dance sequences (one with Padmini with a mustache). There’s even a guest-dance by Geeta Bali (Shammi’s wife in real life) with Geeta Dutt singing in the background ! The music’s again by OP Nayyar and great. Asha and Rafi’s Jaan-e-jigar is my pick of the soundtrack with Do Nighahen Teri following behind.

 

 

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