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27 February 2014

Chandni Chowk (1954)

1954
Directed by: BR Chopra
Music: Roshan
Starring: Meena Kumari, Kumar, Jeevan, 
Agha, Shekhar, Achla Sachdev
Smriti Biswas, Krishna Kumari,
Protima Devi
I first came across this film a few years ago. All I knew was that it starred Meena Kumari. While I liked a couple of songs from the film, I didn't bother to watch it. There were too many other interesting films to watch, and besides, who has the time? Then, late last year, I came across Chandni Chowk again. This time, I realised that the film was a Muslim social. I like Muslim socials, especially the well-crafted ones. Then, I discovered that it was directed by BR Chopra. That was a combination that I could not resist because I usually like BR Chopra's movies. His female characters are usually very strong, even if they are 'traditional'. His movies also take a stand on very sensitive social issues. I like a film-maker who has the courage of his convictions. I have also liked Chopra's previous foray into the world of Muslim socials - Nikaah and Tawaif (that I also saw recently) among his films, and the very well-made television series, Bahadur Shah Zafar. So, with a little trepidation (The hero is Shekhar? Do I really want to watch it?), I watched it in between waiting for some long and boring edited files to be uploaded.  

Nawab Safdarjung (Kumar) lives in Chandni Chowk in Delhi with his wife (Achla Sachdev) and teenage daughter Zarina (Meena Kumari). He boasts of an ancient lineage, 'one of the 500' he says, and despite not having the affluence of his ancestors, still believes in honour and the family's good name. 
So when Ibrahim Baig (Jeevan) comes to him with a proposal of marriage for Zarina from his neighbour, Yousef (Agha), the Nawab is furious. Marry his daughter off to that upstart? Ridiculous! Why, he was just a vegetable seller in Chandni Chowk a few years ago. Ibrahim tries to convince him that Yousef is wealthy now, but the proud Nawab has no time for the nouveau riche. He brushes the proposal aside. Seeing that he has really angered the old man, Ibrahim decides to change the subject.

When he goes back to Yousef, the latter is not as easily consoled. He has loved Zarina for a long time, and it is his earnest desire to be able to wed her. Besides, as Ibrahim keeps insisting, if he becomes the Nawab's damaad (son-in-law) and therefore a khandaani nawaab, then he too will rise in the social hierarchy. 
 
Ibrahim has an idea. The old Nawab is in need of a lesson. He knows just the scheme. He and Yousef know a personable young man, Akbar.  Why should he not present Akbar to the Nawab as a likely alliance for Zarina? They can pretend that Akbar is a nawab himself; from Lucknow, so that Safdarjung cannot easily make any enquiries. And then, just at the right moment, he will inform the Nawab that Akbar is in fact, the son of his erstwhile maali (gardener). That will destroy the Nawab's pride and make him more amenable to Yousef. 

Yousef doesn't quite understand how presenting Akbar as a prospective groom is going to help make Zarina his wife, but he is used to letting Ibrahim do the thinking for him. He is too busy visiting, and romancing, a nautch girl Laila (Krishna Kumari), and is not above a bit of chicanery himself. 
Laila is under the impression that Yousef loves her and will marry her, thus saving her from having to stoop to prostitution once her dancing days are over. Ibrahim gets his way. When approached, Akbar (Shekhar) agrees to the masquerade, thinking it all a huge lark.
Besides, Zarina was his childhood companion, and he nurses a soft spot for her. Soon, a letter reaches Nawab Safdarjung. A young Nawab, Akbar Ali Khan, the scion of an illustrious nawabi family from Lucknow, is visiting Delhi. Since Nawab Safdarjung is the head of one of the most honourable nawabi families in Delhi, the letter writer says, would he take care of the young man on his first visit to the big city? Akbar will of course stay in one of the city's seraais.

Of course not, responds the old Nawab. The young man will stay here, in his house. What? Have all notions of proper hospitality been discarded after the war? His wife sounds a note of caution - who is this stranger? Do they really want to bring a strange man into the house when they have a marriageable daughter living at home? The Nawab pooh-poohs her concerns. That young man is a Nawab! He knows what honour means. 

So Nawab Safdarjung hurries off  to meet the young aristocrat at the station, but not before admonishing his wife to have the guest quarters ready, and to prepare a feast for dinner, because he will be inviting some guests to meet his visitor. In the station, he runs into Ibrahim, who claims to have heard of the young man's family. Thus reassured, Safdarjung is all smiles when he meets Nawab Akbar Ali Khan, the purported nobleman. 

When they come home, he is quite put out to find that the guest quarters are not yet ready. Apologising profusely, he offers his own rooms to the young man so he can rest after his journey. The Nawab's wife is still put out - how many guests is her husband expecting? The money that comes from their lands for a month is spent within a week, because her husband still insists on living a nawabi lifestyle. When she doesn't get any reply, she sends Zarina to ask her father, not knowing that their visitor now occupies her husband's rooms. Zarina, as is her wont, strolls casually in, and is taken aback when she sees a stranger. Unveiled as she is, she quickly moves behind the curtains, making a makeshift purdah out of them.
She begs him to let her leave the room (he has to close his eyes so he doesn't see her), but he teasingly refuses. He has no intention of keeping her there, but is forestalled from letting her leave when Ibrahim walks in. Akbar quickly closes the drapes hiding her from view, and pretends he is not too well, so Ibrahim would leave. But Ibrahim, being rather clever as befits a man who lives by his wits, suspects something is wrong. 
 
When Safdarjung comes to ask Akbar if he has everything he needs, Ibrahim tells him that Akbar is feeling under the weather, but he refuses to pull the drapes aside to let the fresh air in. With his host looking on, Akbar is caught between a rock and hard place. 

However, when Ibrahim pulls the drapes open, there is no one there. Akbar heaves a sigh of relief and is back to his teasing self when, after his unwanted visitors leave, he spots Zarina hiding behind the pillar. 
She quickly exits, but the handsome visitor has left an impression on her. Besides, her friends are quick to tease her about him. 
As Akbar continues to live there, it is obvious that he would run into Zarina quite often. Soon, they begin to find excuses to meet and, unknown to anyone else, their relationship progresses. At the same time, the Nawab and his wife are very impressed with their young visitor, and since he has everything they are looking for - looks, lineage, wealth, they wonder if an alliance would be acceptable to the boy's family. 
As is his wont, the Nawab asks Ibrahim for his opinion. Ibrahim is quick to reassure his host - he has heard that the Akbar's parents are no more. What is more, he has also heard that the Akbar was thinking of moving permanently to Delhi. 
The old Nawab is pleased - what could be better? Zarina will not have to put up with the dominance of a mother-in-law or the ill-will of a sister-in-law. And if they live in Delhi after the marriage, then he can continue to see his daughter frequently. Would Ibrahim...? 

Of course! So Ibrahim goes to Akbar and congratulates him on his impending marriage. Akbar's conscience begins to prick - he cannot accept, he tells Ibrahim. Why, if the Nawab knew he was a mere gardener's son, he would... No, no, no, interrupts Ibrahim. The Nawab knows all about his family of origin. 
But he is so impressed with Akbar that he is willing to overlook that. Akbar is overjoyed. To marry Zarina whom he loves! To be accepted by his father-in-law to be as an equal even though his father was the Nawab's employee! 

Zarina is also over the moon. But in the house opposite, Yousef is devastated. This is what Ibrahim had fleeced him for? So he can watch Zarina get married to someone else? Ibrahim consoles him - just wait and watch. 

The haveli is filled with laughter and celebration.  The Nawab wonders why he hasn't seen Ibrahim around, but there is much to be done before the Nawab's daughter can leave her childhood home. The Nawab's old friend Mirza Saheb (Manmohan Krishna) has arrived just in time to help. Finally, the day of the wedding dawns, the baraat arrives, and the bride is brought down to the hall. The kazi is there to conduct the marriage according to the rites of the Shariat. Too soon, it is all over. Qubool hai! rings out the groom's confident voice. 

The fond father bids his daughter a tearful goodbye. He exhorts her to consider her husband's home her own. Their honour is now in her hands. For girls leave their father's home in a doli (the bridal carriage), but their janaaza (the funeral procession) should leave from their husbands'. 

As Zarina seats herself in the doli, the missing Ibrahim turns up. He seems very perturbed and insists on talking to the Nawab in private. What he has to say is shocking - he has just learnt that the bridegroom is not the nawab he pretended to be; in fact, he is not a nawab at all! He was shocked, shocked! to hear the truth! Akbar is the son of the Nawab's old gardener. He, Ibrahim, has rushed over just to inform the Nawab. The Nawab must stop this wedding. Now! Surely it isn't too late?
 
The Nawab is shocked as well. But he is quick to take action. He storms out of the inner rooms and demands that his daughter step out of the doli.  
When the justly-confused onlookers demand to know what is happening, the Nawab accuses his brand-new son-in-law of being a fraud and impugning his, the Nawab's, honour. The Nawab's begum is scandalised - she tells him that it is he who is impugning his own honour. Whoever has heard of a father destroying his own daughter's marriage even before the doli has left the house? 
Zarina too refuses to get out of the doli. She begs her father's pardon, but hadn't he just told her that once a bride's doli leaves her father's house, it's only her janaaza  that can leave her husband's? Besides, she doesn't care if her husband is a nawab or a gardener. Mirza Saheb also tries to knock some sense into his friend's head, but the Nawab is obstinate. 
 His daughter's doli has become her janaaza. Meanwhile, the humiliated Akbar has left the scene, leaving a note behind in which he insists on his innocence.  And Yousef, all his hopes and dreams are shattered, perhaps forever.
 
Finally, Mirza Saheb, angered by his old friend's obduracy, takes matters into his own hands. He tells the Nawab that since he has declared the doli a janaaza, he will take the janaaza where it should be - the husband's house. And so, Zarina reaches her in-law's house, without the ceremonial baaja or the baraat. Once there, both she and Mirza Saheb are shocked to discover that Akbar had not returned. But Akbar's ammi (Protima Devi) is warmly welcoming of her new daughter-in-law. The two women mourn their fates together. Mirza Saheb leaves, promising to leave no stone unturned in his search for the missing Akbar.

A desolate Akbar has not only left the city, but picking up employment as a stevedore on a ship in lieu of his passage, has also sailed away from the land of his birth. 
The ship is bound for Misr (Egypt). Once there, the travel-weary and emotionally distraught Akbar finds his way to a nearby café. He has his pay to tide him through for some time but he needs to find a job. At the café, the dancer, Noorie (Smriti Biswas) has noticed the handsome, albeit distracted, stranger. He is polite, but all her overtures are rebuffed. 
By the time her performance ends, the patrons at the café are disturbed by the sounds of a runaway carriage outside. Akbar, joining the crowds outside, is the only one who tries to stop it. Inside is a little child, the grandson and heir of a very wealthy trader. Full of gratitude, the trader takes the injured Akbar to his house. Noorie follows, even offering to take care of him herself. 
The man refuses. It is his grandson that Akbar saved; it is his duty to take care of him and make reparations. So, when Akbar recovers, the trader offers him a job as the manager of his brass company. Akbar accepts gratefully; but everyone is not pleased with his appointment. 
 Meanwhile, back home, Zarina is heartbroken at her husband's continued absence. She and her mother-in-law console each other, and pray for Akbar's safe return. 
Back in Misr, Noorie is assiduously following Akbar around, much to his discomfiture. When she openly propositions him, he is kind to her, but equally frank. He is not up for an emotional attachment, he tells her, and walks out. Akbar has not forgotten his responsibilities, however, and when he gets his first pay, he sends money home to his mother. His mother and Zarina are overjoyed when the money order comes - Akbar is alive! In Misr, but alive! Zarina asks the postman whether there is a return address on the money order, and is saddened to hear there is not. But the postman has a solution - they could send a message care of the bank which sent the money order. He is sure they will have it delivered. So Zarine, smiling for the first time since she was married, writes a letter to her husband. 
 
Only, the letter goes astray. Noorie, who is at Akbar's office when the letter is delivered, is curious when she sees Zarina's name and opportunistic enough to read it. To Noorie, all is fair in love and war.
 
Zarina, waiting to hear from her Akbar, is devastated when the response to her letter comes in the form of a telegram - Akbar is dead.
The Nawab, hearing the news is equally sorrowful. It is all his fault, he cries. If he hadn't chased Akbar away, this would never have happened. His wife doesn't offer any solace either. I hope you are happy, she tells him. I hope your honour has been sustained, and your family's name is well-guarded now that your daughter's low-born husband has died. 

What is in store for Zarina? Is Akbar really dead? (Well, long-time movie watchers will know the answer to that, but I have to ask.) The Nawab, looking to make reparation, wants to get her married again. Does that mean Yousef has a chance again? 
What will Laila do when she sees her hopes being dashed so cruelly? What role is Ibrahim playing in all this? 

It is a delightful little film. Not very original, since we have seen this plot play out many times before and since. But there's a subtlety here in the way it is presented. Performances are by and large restrained, no one is completely black or completely white. Well, Ibrahim perhaps, but his is the malice of greed. It is not personal. 

What I liked about the film was that all the important female characters have a 'voice' in their own destinies. Zarina refuses to sacrifice her marriage on the altar of her father's false pride in khandaani izzat; later, she refuses to give in to emotional blackmail to marry someone else just so her father can feel less guilty. 
Laila chooses her own way of getting back at Yousef for his infidelity towards her, and makes a proactive move to getting her own needs met. Zarina's mother is not a quiet spectator to her daughter's misery and is not above taking her husband to task for putting his ego ahead of his daughter's life and happiness. Or of reprimanding him for unilaterally deciding Zarina's fate. 
 
Noorie may be at fault for the way she stalks Akbar, or for the unforgivable step she takes to ensure he remains in Misr, but she is not a bad soul. There is no judgement about her way of life from Akbar, or even from the trader. When she dies in the end, it is not because she is a bad girl, but that is her way to redeem herself. It occurs organically as part of the story and does not seem, again, to be a judgement of her morals. 

I liked the Nawab Saheb; not because of his stupid adherence to his family's izzat over everything else, including his daughter's happiness, but because he was a symbol of those times, when personal honour took precedence over everything else, when a promise made meant a promise kept, when a man's word was his religion. It was a time when 'honour' meant something completely different and I can appreciate the sentiment.  What I mean to say is that the Nawab's 'character' was true to the age in which the story was set, and the place it was set in. 

Kumar lived the role. As the aristocratic Nawab, to whom his imaan and family's izzat are paramount, he was superb. He is a doting father, and all the steps he takes are, in his mind, to ensure his daughter's happiness. While he is not very open to either his friend's exhortations or his wife's reprimands the first time around, he is shown to have learnt his lessons the hard way by the time the film ends. It is not a surprising change at all. On the contrary, one sees him struggle with the consequences of his actions halfway through the film, so the ending is not unexpected or shocking.

Meena Kumari, in one of her earliest outings, is luminous. She had already won a couple of Best Actress awards (Baiju Bawra and Parineeta), and this film showcased a talent that would sear the screen for the next decade. She was perfectly charming in the light scenes and absolutely stunning in the romantic ones. By the time the emotional scenes rolled around, she had you well in the palm of her hands. Again, the emotions were very restrained, and all the more powerful for being so. One felt Zarina's pain at not knowing where her husband is, and her absolute agony when she learns of his death. There is quiet acceptance of her fate, and a calm rejection of her father's demands. She invested the role with a grace and dignity that belied her years. 

Smriti Biswas gets the scintillating dance numbers, and a meaty role that she must have loved. Her Noorie was opportunistic but not evil, and she makes reparations in the only way she could have, in the context of the film. (Why couldn't I have seen this film earlier? I missed using this screen shot for the obvious trope in my Dead as a Dodo post.) 
 
Agha had a good role as well - as the upstart millionaire, who is quite willing to court a dancer even while he dreams of marrying a Nawab's daughter, he is the social climber who is quite common. He has the money; he seeks, nay, he needs social status. That, he believes will be conferred on him by marrying into an old family. His life's ambition is to become a khandaani nawab; it just helps that the object of his infatuation is so beautiful. Ibrahim is a clever opportunist. He cleverly stokes Yousef's ambitions for his own mercenary purposes, and is not above using him and others to achieve his own ends. 

Roshan's music is pleasant. I know I sound rather tepid in its praise, but it is a personal opinion that the composer could, and did, compose far better tunes. These must have been composed in his sleep. 

And no, while it is nowhere close to his later films which took a stronger stand against repressive and regressive social mores, BR Chopra did make it clear where his sensibilities lay. There is an attention to detail, and at least to my knowledge, a pretty accurate depiction of the zenanas or the women's quarters, its customs and sub-culture, and a peep into the lives of women who, within its restricted (and often restrictive) quarters, enjoy a freedom that is different. 
It may not be the greatest film out there, but Chandni Chowk is definitely worth a watch.

35 comments:

  1. This has been on my to-watch list for a while (mainly because of Tera dil kahaan hai, which is a song I simply love - even more than its remix from Mamta). I hadn't known, however, that it was a Muslim social; if I'd known, I'd have watched it long before. :-) Thank you for reviewing this, Anu; it sounds right up my street. Must watch.

    By the way, Shekhar seems to have had some really beautiful songs 'addressed' to him, hai na? For somebody who wasn't a Shammi Kapoor or a Dev Anand, Tera dil kahaan hai, Saba se yeh keh do, Haai unki woh nigaahein... lots of lovely ladies pining for him. ;-)

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  2. I have seen some old films which have Jeevan in the negative role. I find his progression as a villain, and the villains in general in Hindi films in the degree of viciousness quite interesting. In this film he seems to be quite a mild villain compared to what we have seen of them in the 70s and later. In Afsana (1951), his character was called Chatpat, and he did nothing more than a mild flirting with Cuckoo, with whom his boss was also having a fling. In Mela (1948), he is called Mahku, and his villainy is comic with a bit of slapstick. When did they really start raping women, murdering and maiming people, before graduating to throwing humans to crocodiles and wreaking large scale destruction on the entire country?


    AK

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  3. if I'd known, I'd have watched it long before. :-)

    Madhu, same here. :) And by the way, it is one of the better ones out there. I mean, here, the whole Nawabi culture is part of the background; just there. Not the exaggerated version in some of the 60s/70s times where that was just an excuse to get that garish colour in. Very sweet film.

    Yes, Shekhar did have some wonderful songs picturised on him. He is an okay-looking chappie; the problem is, actor he is not.

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  4. I think the progression of the 'arch villain' with his raping, pillaging, and weapons of mass destruction came when the heroes started becoming larger than life. In all these films, the 'heroes' are protagonists, nothing more, and very ordinary people leading ordinary lives. So the villains were also other ordinary people.



    I think, in Mela Jeevan was a little more than just comic slapstick no? He gets the hero-heroine separated. Of course, even there, it is more envy and jealousy than wholesale evil.

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  5. Anu,
    Shouldn't it be the other way round: That the heroes had to become larger than life, because villains became monstrous?

    Mela - Jeevan: I said 'a bit of' slapstick.

    AK

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  6. This is a very interesting conversation. An essay could be written about it. *broad hint* :-)

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  7. Which reminds me, there's another Muslim social - also black-and-white - that I've been meaning to rewatch and review. Should get around to that, soon.

    I've only seen one film of Shekhar's, Bank Manager, where his acting was so-so. Not terrible, but nothing memorable either. I wonder how he got into films in the first place.

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  8. Perhaps. I think it is a chicken and egg syndrome myself. Whatever the reason, we ended up with everything being larger than life - heroes, villains, love stories, melodrama...

    About Jeevan in Mela - yes, of course. :) Sorry. I tend to go off into tangents.

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  9. Ha! Got it! Filed away for future reference. :)

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  10. there's another Muslim social... that I've been meaning to rewatch and review.
    Oh, which one? Well-made ones are an absolute joy to watch.

    I first came across Shekhar in Aakhri Dao in Haai unki woh nigaahein; I remember posting this song on one of your posts. He's decent enough to look at, and as long as no one expected any major histrionics from him, he was bearable.

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  11. Madhu,
    You got it! This was a hint to both of you.


    AK

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  12. I really like Muslim socials such as ,Mere Huzoor,NIkaah,Mere Mehboob and Tawaif. Not to mention that they are adorned with beautiful songs :) . "Chandni Chowk" is new to me,but your review makes me anxious to watch it.(What happens to Jeevan?)
    Meena Kumari was indeed adept in light and tragic roles ex-Kohinoor,Sahib Bibi aur Ghulam. She looks so beautiful in the screenshots above .Agha is another reason that makes me want to watch this movie.He was more than a comedian and did supporting roles quite well. Manmohan Krishna appeared in many of B.R's films,didn't he?

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  13. I really like Muslim socials such as ,Mere Huzoor,Nikaah,Mere Mehboob and Tawaif. Not to mention that they are adorned with beautiful songs :) . "Chandni Chowk" is new to me,but your review makes me anxious to watch it.(What happens to Jeevan?)

    Meena Kumari was indeed adept in light and tragic roles ex-Kohinoor,Sahib Bibi aur Ghulam. She looks so beautiful in the screenshots above .Agha is another reason that makes me want to watch this movie.He was more than a comedian and did supporting roles quite well. Manmohan Krishna appeared in many of B.R's films,didn't he?

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  14. Hey, your comment showed up twice. :) I guess Disqus is up to its usual tricks. Chandni Chowk has a pleasant music score, but at least in my opinion, it is nowhere close to what Roshan was capable of. But yes, Meena Kumari was beautiful! Nothing much happens to Jeevan other than his source of quick money goes away (which is how it would be in real life as well). After all, what was he really guilty of? Chicanery?
    It is a decent enough film and I can watch Meena Kumari any time. :)

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  15. Shalini Razdan1 March 2014 at 17:30

    What makes a movie a "Muslim social? Just the fact that the lead characters happen to be Muslim? Anyway, I don't know that I slotted "Chandi Chowk" as a Muslim social, but I do remember liking it. The plot is fairly generic for the era, but as you said it's a solid and sincere effort.
    I like Meena K is these types of roles too - ones where she gets to essay a bit of everything (comedy, romance, tragedy) without the melodrama or tragedy overwhelming everything. Her "Adl-e-jahangir" from around the same time is good watch as well. As for the music, I agree that it's not Roshan's best, but I consider "tera dil kahan hai" a minor masterpiece and Mukesh's "hamen aye dil kahin le chal" is quite good too.

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  16. Shalini, no, not just that the characters are Muslim, but that the story deals with Islamic culture and social mores. Chandni Chowk is a mix of both the classic Muslim social, in that it deals with the Nawabi culture, as well as with the middle class Muslim culture of those times.

    The music is pleasant, definitely, and I liked both Tera dil kahan hai and Hamen aye dil kahin le chal. Just have heard better melodies from Roshan. :)

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  17. Mukesh's "hamen aye dil kahin" is a throwback to the Darbari laden Bawre nain's " teri duniya mein dil..." . and the mukhda of "tera dil kahan hai" from this film and the antara of "kabhi toh milengi" ...from Aarti combines to form "Rahe na rahe hum" in Mamta. Tera dil kahan hai has just two phrases , the antara does not deviate much from the mukhda and of course the lady gets the mandolin to sound like a guitar and a mandolin. Just for that bit of legerdemain the hatted and coated gent should have thrown caution to the winds and given in.

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  18. Naqli Nawab. A little melodramatic towards the end, if I remember correctly, but very romantic. And Shakila is simply gorgeous in it.

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  19. " Prayanam, which won the National Award for Best Film in 1975" - Not rue. To my knowledge, the film did not win any national level honour.

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  20. I've often wondered why the directors do that - switch instruments around. And then I think perhaps they are like me, they don't know the difference between one and the other, and the poor music director is left tearing his hair out when he finally sees the scene.

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  21. Oh, yes, I have heard of it, and have heard songs from it, but have not watched the film. Good! I will wait for your review. :)

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  22. Shiva, I forget where I read that. Thanks for the correction; my apologies for not checking before putting it here as fact.I will remove that from the post.

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  23. What an interesting film and how delightful!
    You and Madhu have chosen the wedding-below/above-station motive for your posts.
    Very interesting!
    Meena Kumari looks so good.
    You can say whatever you want about Shekhar, but you can't deny his good taste in his heroines.

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  24. What an interesting observation, Harvey. You're absolutely right! I wonder that I didn't catch that.

    You can say whatever you want about Shekhar, but you can't deny his good taste in his heroines.</i.

    True, dat. :)

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  25. Ramana Maharshi taught us to ask ourselves,who I am.I asked and found I am a mere pebble in the vast seashore of humanity.

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  26. I hope the sepoy mutiny is over.Three teachers in the Ivory Tower School asked the Juvenile to get out of the class.He went away..On the road he met the King who was naked.The juvenile told him so.You can ask the student to get out of the class;the questions he asked will remain.

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  27. U hav a facility to moderate or delete.Ente mukalil kuthira kerenda.I will use all democratic facilities.U hav permitted me to enter,so im using it.

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  28. Anu I am once again away from home, so I am having a tough time keeping up with your blog, I just about managed to post a comment on Madhu's blog, I will be back here to read this and then post a comment, I also saw your post on Gopi. More later.

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  29. Take your time, Shilpi. This blog and these posts aren't going anywhere. :) Have a safe and successful trip.

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  30. As I have already mentioned on Madhu's blog, Muslim socials are not my cup of tea, primarily because I do not understand Urdu, my father acted in two Muslim socials Benazir and Shama. I recently found Shama on You Tube and was thrilled but I only saw my father's portions, because I was having a tough time with the Urdu dialogues barring of course the ones which are in common usage. I do not think Chandini Chowk will have so much of heavy Urdu, from your review it appears to be a film which one can enjoy, maybe I will see it if I get the time.

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  31. This is definitely worth a watch, Shilpi. A little bit of Urdu, yes, but not enough to make you want to hunt for a dictionary.

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