(function() { var c = -->

23 August 2011

Janwar (1965)

Directed by: Bhappie Sonie
Music: Shankar-Jaikishen
Starring: Shammi Kapoor, Rajshri, Rehman, Shyama,
Prithviraj Kapoor, Rajendranath, Achla Sachdev
This is going to be a l-o-n-g post with many, many screen shots. 

After so many shwet-shyam movies, in which Shammi Kapoor shone star-like, it is time to see him in brilliant Eastman Colour. Janwar is Shammi Kapoor at his zaniest best - it is filled with disguises, crazy side-plots, lots and lots of silliness (and some not-so-PC comedy, but what the heck, I laughed!), but that is not all - it is leavened by great songs, a likeable Rajshri (another one of the heroines I could never warm to), a handicapped-by-the-script Rehman, and a solidly one-dimensional Prithviraj Kapoor. Man, I love it when villains are so absolutely devoid of any shades - of course, being the hero's father, he has to repent suitably, and in time. But he does that with great elan. 

(Idle comment No.1: I wonder why Shammi acted in so many films whose titles were pejoratives - I mean, take Junglee for instance or Pagla Kahin Ka, Budtameez, BluffMaster...)  of course, he is not espousing the title role this time. That is reserved for his father, played by real-life father Prithviraj Kapoor.

Onwards with the story then, and I will reserve my comments for later. Srivastav (Grandpapa Kapoor) is a wealthy man with starch where his heart should be - he is a stuffed shirt to end all stuffed shirts, a man who considers birth and wealth the lodestones by which he measures anyone and everyone. He has two sons - Mahinder (Rehman) who works with his father and Sunder (Shammi Kapoor) who is in college. (Okay, stretch your imagination more than a little bit.)
Grandpapa Kapoor, sorry, Srivastav is very, very, mean to poor Mahinder, often yelling at him in front of his own subordinates. Mahinder is a quiet, hardworking chap who looks and behaves like he cannot say 'Boo' to a goose. Sunder on the other hand is, well, Sunder; a happy-go-lucky creature who only works hard at his tennis.  His father is under the mistaken impression that Sunder is working hard at studying for his examinations. 

Sunder has a close friend, Chintu (Rajendranath). When we first meet him, Chintu is dressed very traditionally - we learn that he believes in National Integration. Of the personal kind, of course. And Sunder is the darling of his college-mates - of the opposite sex. Meanwhile, Sunder has to go to Kashmir to play in a tennis tournament (man, I should have gotten that lucky!). He wants Chintu to go along, and thinks up a plan to trick the latter's father into paying for Chintu's ticket and expenses. This of course, involves the afore-mentioned disguise + non-PC comedy + lots and lots of silliness.
(Idle comment No.2: I must confess that Sunder's spoken Tamil is quite good even if his Hindi has the tiresome accent that they insist on foisting on South Indians in Hindi films.)

Meanwhile, Srivastav is busy pontificating on his family's wealth, position, and social status.
(Idle comment No.3: I love the idea of 'holy' blood.) Mahinder does not look too impressed. Papa Srivastav has brilliant plans for the rest of his sons' lives. He is going to get Mahinder married of to JS Sinha's daughter; and he is sending Sunder off to Germany to study engineering after which he will work for the company.

Sunder is his father's pet and manages to get his own way by hook or by crook. However, don't rush to judgement thinking he is a bad chap - no, no, no, not at all. He loves his elder brother and is fully aware of what his father can be.
Mahinder's treatment by his father has resulted in him being even more timid and reticent about his affairs - of which he definitely has one. With Seema (Shyama), his typist. He loves her, and wants to marry her. Only 'Daddee' will have nothing to do with love-shove. Mahinder, poor spineless Mahinder, cannot bring himself to tell 'Daddee' the truth.

But when Sunder quizzes him about the proposed marriage, Mahinder is adamant - he is going to marry Seema, come what may. Seema herself is unhappy about the prolonged secrecy, but Mahinder reassures her.
Mahinder and Seema see Sunder off at the station. It's a cute scene where Mahinder teases Sunder about his girlfriend, and Sunder says that he cannot have one because Mahinder has already laid claim to the most beautiful girl on earth. (Awwww!)

Having gotten off at a station to fill water in his flask, Sunder ends up boarding the wrong compartment (*He* would! I mean, what are the chances? Apparently, if you are Shammi Kapoor, it's 100 per cent.). And it is the Ladies' compartment - of course! There is a motley group of girls, who, after their initial dismay, are more than happy to tease such  a personable young man.
Especially one who makes such puppy dog eyes! Not so Sapna (Rajshri) who looks like she got up on the wrong side of the bed. She pays no attention to his pleas and she and her friend Radha make him stand with his hands up until the train pulls into the next station and he can finally get off.
But payback is such great fun, isn't it? Sapna is in Room 206 and Sunder is in Room 209 - you can see where they are going with this, can't you? 9 turns into 6 with a bang of the door, and Sunder takes full advantage of Sapna's momentary misunderstanding. She tries to explain to him, but he is having none of it. For after all, didn't she refuse to listen to his explanations the night before?
 Sapna and her friends are forced to apologise. Umm, not the best way to get the girl to fall in love with you, you dolt!
But Sunder being Shammi Kapoor, he stalks her up one way and down another. But Shammi is sweet even when he is in his stalker mode, and she gives in (it's another sweet sequence), but not without some qualms. She is poor, an orphan, and nowhere near his league when it comes to social position. She hides nothing.
Sunder is a nice man and doesn't believe in class distinctions. See, now we know why his stalking and his persistent wooing-bordering-on-harassment works - he is as soft as a marshmallow under all his doltishness. (And if 'doltishness' isn't already a word, well, it is, now.)
And so, Sunder wooes Seema in right earnest; and clever fellow that he is, uses Faiz Ahmed Faiz's poetry - a combination of some of the loveliest of romantic poetry, in Urdu, no less, Shammi Kapoor, and a balmy day on a lake - which woman isn't going to melt into a puddle?
Meanwhile, Mahinder is in Calcutta chasing a contract. Srivastav is as endearing as he usually is toward his elder son and the worm turns at last. Years of being the good son lie forgotten by the wayside, as he decides to cut loose once and for all.
Sunder returns home with his trophy and confides in his mother (a very young looking Achla Sachdev); she is worried but promises to try convince his father. Sunder is hopeful.
Sapna is also back home; her foster father is Srivastav's accountant and her stepmother (Manorama) is unkind (as always). Chintu is welcomed with open arms - his father has actually won the Rs50,000 prize. Pleased with the outcome of his son's 'dream', he agrees to Chintu's marriage with Radha, Sapna's friend. And Sunder (in a Beatles' wig) and Sapna perform to I want to hold your hand - oops, sorry; Tumse hai dil ko pyarand life is rocking!

Of course, so many good things happening means that doom and dread are just around the corner. (Idle comment No.... What? You haven't seen Hindi films yet?) Srivastav is fixing Mahinder's marriage to Sinha's daughter when Seema comes home. She is desperate; but Srivastav is as rigid as ever - how can his son get involved with an ordinary typist? And what right does she have to talk of honour when it is obvious she has none? 

He insults her and she tearfully leaves the house. The servant tells Sunder what had happened, and Sunder goes after her. He promises to take her to Calcutta himself. As they hurriedly board the train, they are noticed by Sapna who is seeing off Chintu and Radha on their honeymoon.
As she leaves in tears, the servant Bansi tells Sunder of her visit. He is afraid that Seema will do something rash and begs Sunder to save her. Sunder promises that he’ll take her to Calcutta on the next train. At the station, Chintu and Radha are being seen off on their honeymoon by their friends, including Sapna. They see Sunder and Seema boarding the train for Calcutta. Not knowing of Sunder's plans, Sapna is bewildered and hurt.

Back home, Srivastav is busy making plans for Sunder's marriage, when his wife tells him about Sapna.  He flies into another rage when he finds out who she is and tells his accountant that he had better get Sapna married before Sunder returns from Calcutta. He threatens to fire his accountant if he does not do as he is told.  Sapna runs away to Calcutta in search of Sunder, leaving behind a suicide note, but it is not as easy as it seems. 

Sunder and Seema have not had much luck either; when they finally find him, he is lost in an alcoholic haze and totally in love with Bahaar, a courtesan.
And when Seema's condition worsens, Sunder takes her to a hospital where Sapna has been taken after an accident. To protect Seema's honour, Sunder keeps silent when the doctor mistakenly refers to him as the baby's father - within Sapna's hearing. Thus furthering the misunderstandings.
Where will all this end? Will Mahinder be free from Bahaar? Will he finally stand up for Seema and face his father like a man? What about Sapna? Will Sunder ever find her? Or will he consider her dead? After all, he does not even know she is in Calcutta. Will Srivastav have the starch knocked off and become less of a stuffed shirt than usual? Or will he continue to lay down the law to his helpless wife?

Another song, a few more disguises, a fight, some melodrama and tears later, this does end. To know just how it ends - well, you will have to watch it, no? 

And because I really, really, really  liked the credits:


  1. I rewatched this one last week, too (now why isn't that surprising?!) - and took a few random screenshots of Shammi Kapoor while I was at it. A couple of them are the same as the ones you've posted. :-) I've built up such a pile of Shammi screenshots in the past couple of weeks that I could probably create my own desktop wallpaper with a collage of them! (And what a wallpaper that would be - I'd never get any work done).

    I love the credits illustrations in Jaanwar too, though I find the movie a teensy-weensy bit tedious in places. The songs are great, though - and that particular bit of poetry in the shikara is beautifully rendered.

  2. (And what a wallpaper that would be - I'd never get any work done). I already have Amitabh (from Deewar) as my wallpaper; add a Shammi Kapoor collage as a screen saver and I am going to get even less work done!

    And I totally agree about the tediousness in the movie - I thought the melodrama got a bit over done, and again, the last ten minutes were unsahikkable in a phrase from my misbegotten youth. That by the way, is a mixture of Malayalam and English and means unbearable, only this one adds punch! :)

    Faiz Ahmed Faiz and the shikara and Shammi Kapoor was a combination to die for. How she could recite poetry back at him I will never know. I would have been a tongue-tied mess.

  3. I think I died and went to Shammi-heaven! I have downloaded and saved *every* screen shot of Shammi's that you have posted. And I shall pinch dustedoff's idea and make a wallpaper collage. Sigh. And I *know* I will never get any work done?

    Which film is next?

  4. I have this Eleanor Parker wallpaper as my desktop right now:


    ... and it often happens that I switch to my desktop because there's a document saved there that I need to access... and I end up just gaping at Eleanor's face, because I've completely blanked out about what I went to the desktop for!! If I put Shammi's face there, it's only going to get worse. ;-)

  5. LOL. I can see why you would! I spend a couple of minutes in conversation with the Amitabh on my desktop each time I have to access something there. Add Shammi as a screen saver and I am done for!

  6. Tina, I think we are all in the same boat as far as Shammi Kapoor is concerned. :) And as for what is next, well, Teesri Manzil, which I am in the middle of writing up. So wait...

  7. Madhu, if you come back, this may interest you:

  8. Anu, thank you for that! I hadn't seen those ones before, though I have seen a couple of Marilyn's pre-star films (Monkey Business, for one; O Henry's Full House - was that what it was called? I've forgotten now - for another). But these shots were delightful.

  9. Anu, I go off for four days and come back to find that you have been busy! Very busy. :) I spent half this movie wanting to smack Prithviraj Kapoor ever so often. But Shammi... I died and went to heaven. I did.

  10. You and me, both. But then, I wanted to smack Prithviraj Kapoor in Mughal-e-Azam too. :) I get so involved in the film that I sometimes tend to forget it is the character.


Back to TOP