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22 August 2011

Dil Deke Dekho (1959)

Directed by: Nasir Hussain
Music: Usha Khanna
Starring: Shammi Kapoor, Asha Parekh, Rajendranath, 
Sulochana, Sidhu
Dil Deke Dekho was Nasir Hussain's second movie after Tumsa Nahin Dekha. And while the plot is very similar to the latter movie (for a great review, go here), Asha Parekh in her debut role was a darn sight better than Ameeta in hers. Okay, that is a very subjective opinion, so all due apologies to Ameeta fans out there. :) This film also saw Usha Khanna debut as music director; it wasn't the greatest of debuts since four songs from the soundtrack were seen as 'lifts', but apart from 'Dilruba, meri Neeta' which was a direct lift from 'Diana' , I would say the others were *only* 'inspired'. 

I watched it originally for Shammi Kapoor because Asha Parekh also does not rank amongst my favourite actresses, but she did do a good job in this one. And she did look dashed pretty, which was mostly what was required of her. But subsequent viewings made me (almost) like her. The villain (Sidhu) impressed me; haven't seen him before or since, which is a shame. 

Treachery is in the air as Harichand (Wasti), who is Jamuna Devi's (Sulochana) long-time employee, schemes with his paramour to get his hands on her property, and take revenge on her husband, Rana Raghuvir (Surendra) at the same time.

It is a very complicated plot. Harichand meets a man who dies unexpectedly. Harichand disfigures the face, so he can fake his own suicide. He leaves a note for Jamuna saying that he cannot bear the guilt of his love for her any more, and begs her to take responsibility of his son, Kailash.

Jamuna has barely read the note, and is struggling to make some sense of the false accusation, when her husband, without much ado, accuses her of having cuckolded him.

Having flung a few more unfounded accusations at her, he rushes off taking their son, Roop, with him. Jamuna is bereft. Years pass. Harichand has wandered off with Nagina to Rangoon. Rana has left for the city where he seeks employment in a factory, but is blinded in an accident.

Years pass, but Jamuna does not lose hope. Kailash has grown up to be a bumbling idiot (Rajendranath). Idle comment No.1: If it is Rajendranath, how can he help but be a bumbling idiot? Harichand has become an alcoholic; his younger son, Sohan (where did this chap come from?) hates him for having played ducks and drakes with the wealth that his late mother had left in his name.

Harichand promises to get him the wealth back with interest - after all, his older son must have become Jamuna's heir by now. And so, they make their way back to India. Jamuna hopes to get Kailash married to Nita Asha Parekh), the daughter of an old friend, Jagat Narain.
Nita is not very happy with the prospect, but her father and she have been the recipients of Jamuna's bounty (Jamuna had Nita educated abroad.) and she feels a sense of obligation. Jamuna sends Kailash off to Nainital so he can woo Nita. 

In the meantime, Nita's friends tell her about one of their friends who had fallen in love with the drummer of the local club. He had apparently been very friendly with her at first, but had slapped her in public when she confessed her love. Nita vows to avenge her friend. The friends are taken aback - they do not want any public altercation, so one of them warns the drummer of Nita's intentions.
Having learnt of her intention, Raja (Shammi Kapoor) cons her into beating up his friend. Ouch! Nita is not very repentant at having beaten up the wrong person; but both Raja and his friend lose their jobs.

And then we learn that Raja is actually Roop, Jamuna's long-lost son, who is working to earn money for his father's surgery. And just as much as his father is obsessed with hating his wife, so is Raja obsessed with finding out just what happened so many years ago.

Jamuna is leaving Ranikhet for Nainital - she asks her manager to find a bandmaster and a dancer for the hotel. 'Advertise if necessary' she tells him, but the hotel should have both before her return. You can see where this is going.

Raja runs into Nita again - and it's six of one and half of a dozen of the other. He wants to pay her back for the loss of their jobs, but he is also attracted to her. He plays one of her friends up against Nita, and both the girls are under the impression that he is the other's boyfriend.
And so, they sing - Megha re / Bade hai dil ke khaali; but the end of the song(s) sees the charade fall through. Nita is further incensed. And Raja is pleased at the end result. So is his friend - he has just seen the ad for a bandmaster for a Ranikhet hotel. Raja has a new scheme up his sleeve.

He has even received two responses - only, neither of them have any name or address. Both ask him to meet at the Everest Club - the signs for recognising him are different; one wants him to hold a rose in his hand, the other, an apple. Pyare is disgusted, but Raja perseveres. 
A few comic situations later, he meets both his 'dates'. Not surprisingly, they are Kailash and Nita. The former wants Professor Samri's help in wooing Nita and getting rid of another suitor to her affections. Nita wants Professor Samri's help in getting rid of Kailash!
And this gives Raja the chance to don yet another disguise. Some comic sequences follow (with poor Kailash being the butt of a deliberate misunderstanding), and a 'contest', which gives us Do ikkam do, do dooni char. However, neither Kailash nor Nita get what they want.

But Professor Samri has made Raja richer by a couple of thousand rupees. It is enough for his father's operation, and Raja sends his father off to Delhi with Pyare's father, Murli. Jagat Narain has also come to the station to see off a friend; he sees Rana just as the train is pulling out of the station.  Pyare is insistent that Raja and he make their way to Ranikhet - they are not going to get a job like this again. Raja is strangely hesitant. The biter has been bit!

Jagat Narain tells Jamuna about sighting Rana, and promises to do his best to track Rana and Roop down. Halfway through the journey, Rana realises that he has lost the money that Raja had given him. Murli has a friend in town with whom they can stay until Raja can send them some more money. Rana is waiting for Murli to come back when he is spotted by Harichand and Sohan, who are making their way to Ranikhet. Harichand is scheming to pass Sohan off to Jamuna as Roop. Sohan decides to find out what he can from Rana. In conversation, Sohan pretends that he is going to Nainital, and the Rana asks him to take a letter to his son. He gives Sohan the letter and a photograph of Roop, so that Sohan will have no difficulty in recognising him. 

Meanwhile, back in Nainital, Jamuna has asked Kailash to go back to Ranikhet. When he insists on Nita accompanying him, she gives in. Nita is unwilling but forced to accede to Jamuna's wishes. However, she confides in Professor Samri, who, now that he finds out that Nita is going to Ranikhet, is more than willing to go there himself. Their meeting also gives Raja an opportunity for another pretty song-and-dance. Only, Nita is not impressed.

The next morning, Nita sets off to Ranikhet with Kailash.  After one set of contretemps, the car develops another problem, and not surprisingly, Kailash is unable to do anything to fix it. Raja, who is passing by, offers Nita a lift. He makes full use of this opportunity. (He is also kind enough to tow Kailash's car - only he gives him a long rope.)

Nita can't help smiling (and Kailash can't help glowering) though she is nowhere near in love with Raja yet. But Kailash, jealous as he is, cannot help but believe that she is in love with him. He not only fights with Nita whereupon she flounces off to stay at the hotel until Jamuna arrives, but also calls Nita's father to complain about Nita's behaviour. Neither Jagat Narain nor Jamuna are very happy about this. Jagat Narain has already traced Rana's address and has also found out that Roop has gone to Ranikhet. He is sure that once Roop is found, Jamuna will be amenable to Nita marrying Roop instead of Kailash. 

Raja and Pyare are soon employed at the hotel. That gives Nita a chance to shake a leg with him - and this time, Nita is melting...
Well, he looks like this. Who can blame her?

Harichand and Sohan are also staying at the hotel and Sohan recognises Raja as soon as he sees him. They meet up with Kailash and convince him that since his courtship of Nita isn't going anywhere, he should throw his chips in with theirs as they fool Jamuna into believing that Sohan is Roop. 
That night, Nita's sleep is disturbed by dreams of Raja, and she is soon admitting (to herself) that she loves him. Too distraught to sleep any further, she steps out into the misty morning, only to run into Raja.

Her love for him is revealed but she is now visibly distraught. She knows neither her father nor Jamuna will approve of a penniless musician, and so she begs Raja to go away from her life. In the meantime, Sohan has put his plan into action. Disguised, he hands over Rana Raghuvir's letter to Roop to Jamuna. Now all that remains is for him to present himself (as his own self) to her in the form of Roop. Which he manages, very cleverly. Jamuna fixes up Nita's marriage with 'Roop'. 

Back at the hotel, Nita drums up enough courage to tell Jamuna that she cannot marry Kailash. When Jamuna doesn't seem to mind, she goes to share the good news with Raja only to find that he has quit his job. She finally finds him, writing a letter to her bidding her goodbye. It is time for another duet.
When they return to the hotel, Raja runs into Jamuna.  It only puts Raja on his mettle. During the evening performance, he makes a public declaration of his love, and challenges Nita to join him. Though scared, she stands by him, much to Jamuna's displeasure.
Back at the house, Jamuna calls Nita to her and tells her that her son Roop has been found. And that she wants Nita to marry him - that is why she agreed to Nita not marrying Kailash. However, she will not tell Nita who he is. Nita is upset. She goes to Raja's room, where she finds a letter from Rana Raghuvir to Roop alias Raja. She is thrilled to find out that Raja and Roop are the same person, and is under the happy misapprehension that this is the same man that Jamuna wants her to marry. 

But there are more complications in store. Nita has agreed to marry 'Roop'; Jamuna is happy but does not know that her Roop is not the same as Nita's Roop. Sohan and Harichand have some more treachery in store. Their intention is not just for Sohan to marry Nita, but to ensure that Nita and Roop are killed. Will Nita be able to stand up for her love once again when she finds out that she is marrying the wrong person? Will Roop be able to sort the many tangles? And surely Sohan is not going to stand around watching while his dreams of wealth are shattered. 

Sidhu (Sohan) made an impressive villain, and quite a handsome one at that, only to vanish into ether after a couple of nondescript roles (one assumes). The plot was as convoluted as Nasir Hussain could make it, but somehow, it is all untangled to satisfaction in the end. And everything ends happily ever after.  It's perfect Sunday-evening fare. Or Friday evening. Or whenever you need something to lift up your spirits. 


  1. I was just posting on your review of China Town, when you published your new post. I saw Dil Deke Dekho with my mom over the weekend; as you mentioned in an earlier comment, it is a Shammi love-fest indeed. :) I liked Dil Deke Dekho better than I did Tumsa Nahin Dekha (though apart from Hum aur tum aur yeh sama I preferred the music from the latter. I mean, Chhupnewale saamne aa and Jawaniya yeh mast bin piye are classics! Both films are entertaining though, which is something I have come to expect from Shammi Kapoor films.

  2. Oh, I agree totally about the songs, Ruhi. Tumsa Nahin Dekha had a far better score - but then, that was OP Nayyar. The only problem I had with that was having to see Ameeta, when I would have loved to see Sadhana or even Waheeda (remember how saucy she was in Solva Saal?). Ameeta pouted too much, and somehow didn't have that *zing* which even Asha displayed in Dil Deke Dekho /Ziddi etc

  3. Thank you for that link to my post, Anu! - and thank you for this delightful review (and, most especially, for all that gorgeous eye candy towards the end of the post... I scrolled through it a couple of times just to feast my eyes on Shammi, again and again!)

    Incidentally, Siddhu was also the villain in Ek Musafir Ek Haseena:


    And he acted as Aurangzeb in Jahanara:


  4. You deserved that link, Madhu! Thanks for the compliment. And oh, the eye candy - yes, Shammi looked scrumpilicious in this. I forgot plot, story, characters - I was so lost in how he looked.

    Thanks for that information about Siddhu - I have seen Ek Musafir Ek Haseena, but I really didn't remember him - which is a shame really, because he did have an impressive debut. I haven't seen Jahanara; I should put it on my to-watch list. So many movies, so little time...

  5. Anu, I thought I MUST stop by here and give you a little heads-up. Remember I'd mentioned having bought the Vallah Kya Baat Hai DVD? I just saw it.

    I'd first seen this film years back on Doordarshan, around the same time as I saw Junglee, Professor, Kashmir ki Kali, etc - and I couldn't, after so many years, remember anything of Vallah Kya Baat Hai except for the songs. For the other films, I remembered at least the basics of the plot.

    Now, having rewatched Vallah Kya Baat Hai, I know why I couldn't recall anything of the story. It doesn't have one. :-( It's awful - so terribly incoherent and confused, it was painful. The only saving grace is Shammi Kapoor (who looks out-and-out gorgeous: this was 1962, so he was at his best), and Roshan's music.

    I'd suggest you spare yourself the trouble of buying the film; watch the songs on youtube instead.

  6. Thank you, Madhu! You deserve a medal for saving me the torture. Now I know why I hadn't even heard of it! :) And I was going to ask you to write it up so I would know what it was about. I tried YouTube for the songs, but either I am spelling it wrong, or YouTube does not want me to see / hear them :(

  7. So much male pulchritude on display! So many Shammi photographs, and so little space on my desktop :( I have to confess that I didn't like Dil Deke Dekho much, except for Shammi Kapoor, though I did like it more than I did Tumsa Nahin Dekha. :) But the songs were to die for. More so in Tumsa Nahin Dekha than in Dil Deke Dekho.

  8. Here are some of the best songs:

    Ek toh soorat pyaari aur upar se yeh naaz:


    The title song (Shammi at his awesome best!!):


    And my favourite from the film, Mehfil mein jo aaye tum jaadoo sa chha gaya:


  9. Thanks a tonne, Madhu. I didn't even know Shammi had acted with Bina Rai! I had heard the songs before (long before), not knowing that they were from this movie. As I said, this is one Shammi movie that slipped under my radar. Funny part is, I have seen earlier ones - Rail ka Dibba, Laila Majnu, Shama Parwana....

  10. You are right about the soundtrack. Tumsa Nahin Dekha was a far superior one, but then Usha Khanna was making her debut, and she was a woman in a male-dominated field, so I wonder what pressures she was labouring under.


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