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22 April 2013

Jab Pyar Kisise Hota Hai (1961)

Directed by: Nasir Hussain
Music: Shankar-Jaikishen
Lyrics: Hasrat Jaipuri, Shailendra
Starring: Dev Anand, Asha Parekh, Pran, Sulochana, 
Rajendranath, Mubarak, Raj Mehra
*Warning: Lots of comments on the side, and a long preamble to the review.*
This was not supposed to be my next post. I had a list of songs all written out and scheduled to publish, when one of my long-time readers and occasional-email-and-telephone-friend, Lalitha, called to say she was visiting a friend close to where I live, so, could we meet? But, of course. We shared a love for old Hindi movies and music in general, and Dev Anand in particular. So plans were finalised and we had a long discussion on which film to watch while they were here.

Saturday finally rolled around, and Lalitha dropped in close to noon, husband and sister, V, in tow. J, her husband, successfully masked his reservations about dropping in on someone whom neither he nor his wife knew; according to Lalitha, their conversation about us went somewhat like this:

J: How well do you know her?
L: I have spoken to her, and emailed her a few times.
(I can just see J roll his eyes - [figuratively; since he is such a gentleman that I cannot see him really do anything like that].)
J: Well, where does her husband work?
L: I don't know; something to do with IT, I think. 
(My husband, if he weren't a gentleman too, would have rolled his eyes if he had heard that, since he claims he has nothing to do with IT at all.)
J: OK, what does she do?
L (exasperated): I don't know. I just like the way she writes. 

I should think J gave up by this time.

Now I would definitely have loved to be a fly on the wall when this conversation took place, if only to know how it really transpired. But as I said before, J was an absolute sweetheart and successfully masked his trepidation, and my husband, S, equally politely, masked his reservations about the plans that their wives had made (without knowing each other at all)... it needed very little time for all of us to chat away like old friends, and trepidation and reservation all disappeared unmourned. (I think Lalitha and I were very nice indeed (looking piously upwards at a shining halo) not to say 'I told you so'.) I don't think either J or S would have heard us even if we had voiced that sentiment; they were both engrossed in their conversation about cricket and Physics, and football and History, and...

In any case, after lunch, where we chatted a lot more about Bombay (J was born in Bombay and loved it - and of course, I liked him even more when he said that.) and films and respective jobs in the middle of eating some more, we decided to watch a film. And because we are both mean like that, Lalitha and I thought about how best to upset two other friends on the blogosphere, Harvey and Bombaynoir  - photographs and descriptions of food in the case of one, and watching a Dev Anand film in the case of the other. Mwahahahahaha...

Unfortunately for us, we had fallen on the food like a ravening horde, quite forgetting that we needed to take photographs so we could make Harvey jealous. :( That took care of going into rapturous descriptions of the feast because a picture is worth a thousand words.  Sorry, Harvey, you will just have to take our word for it that we lunched not-very-wisely-but-very-well. And that you would have wished you were here.

But our other wish was well within our grasp. So we dithered between Kala Bazar and Hum Dono, then finally decided on Jab Pyar Kisise Hota Hai. S decided to make tea before we began our watchalong. Once various requests were fulfilled - no sugar, yes lemon grass; no lemon grass, yes ginger; yes ginger, yes sugar - we all settled down (quite literally - S and L were comfortably stretched out on the floor, J was beginning to nod off against the cushions, and V and yours truly were the only civilised people left) to watch Devsaab who was already nodding his head to Jiya ho, jiya o jiya kuch bol do on the DVD's title menu.

The movie began (I couldn't resist telling them that the instrumental version of Jiya ho that played during the credits was by Van Shipley) with Malti (Sulochana) offering to bring her son Sunder to meet Sardar Roop Singh's (Mubarak) daughter, Nisha (Asha Parekh). Malti and Nisha's late mother had been friends and had decided their children would get married to each other when they grew up. (Why, oh why, do Hindi film parents do this to their offspring? A spirited discussion begins between S, Lalitha, and me, ending with S' admonition - Why are you taking on my role of asking questions?) Roop Singh is dead against the match, and Malti leaves with the warning that her friendship with his late wife will win over his wealth. 

Nisha, who had overheard the conversation, is disturbed. She wonders if her father would similarly object if she were to fall in love with someone - her aunt (Dulari) assures her he would. 
Roop Singh has already fixed her marriage with Sohan (Pran), his friend's son and his estate manager. 

Roop Singh is planning to go to Darjeeling with Nisha - she is taking part in a charity show there, and he has to meet a Mr Popat Lal, from whose father Roop Singh had leased some land. Unfortunately, the lease will expire in six months, and the son has no intention of extending the lease. Sohan interrupts - Roop Singh cannot go anywhere; he has to attend a court hearing here in Neelgaon. 

Nisha offers to bring Mr Popat Lal back, and though her father has no great hopes that she will be successful, he agrees. Meanwhile, in Darjeeling, Malti (Maaji, from now on) is seething at home. Sunder (Dev Anand!) is unperturbed - forget her, he says; is Nisha the only girl around? Maaji, like any other filmi mother, is adamant. Teri shaadi hogi toh Nisha se! How? asks Sunder bemusedly. (Yes, how?
By praying to God, she says. (Yes, I can see how that will work!) Besides, Kamala appeared in my dream last night, she continues, and said that Nisha will be married to my son. Sunder is amused; I hope you said 'Thank you', he says, laughing. But he has more important things to worry about - he has been offered a job in Neelgaon, and he has to leave the very next morning. Maaji is ecstatic - see, Bhagwan has answered her prayers! (I like that Dev Anand is busy packing books into his knapsack while his mother packs his clothes!)

But that is on the morrow; right now, Sunder's friend has come to take him to the Darjeeling Club where there is to be a dance performance. Sunder is indifferent, but one look at the poster that his friend pushes into his hand makes him change his mind.
After the performance, Sunder and Prakash are hanging around in the bushes when Nisha and her friends come out and have a conversation about her plans for the morrow before returning home.
(Lalitha: I wonder why they have to stand around and talk so loudly about their plans.
Me: C'mon, yaar, how is Dev going to be able to impersonate Popat Lal if they don't do that? 
L: Yes, but don't they have any sense? Everyone can hear them.
So on and so forth until J exasperatedly butts in: Can't you just keep quiet and watch the film? 
L [sotto voce]: I was wondering when he would say that! 
Grins all around, but we decided that J had suffered enough.)

The pertinent information, of course, is that Nisha had never seen Popat Lal before. Which gives Sunder an idea. Nisha has invited all her friends to her room to watch how she entices Popat Lal to Neelgaon. She is sure that with a name like Popat Lal, the man must be short, dark and pot-bellied.
She is taken aback when she opens the door to see 'Popat Lal'. 
And then of course, nothing quite goes as she expects. He is alternately charming and annoying her when the 'real' Popat Lal (Rajendranath) rings up. 
(Lalitha: Why is Rajendranath always dressed up in a frock? And look at his hairy arms!
Me: Hey, he's got a flowered bonnet too. 
V: He looks funny. 
J is gently dozing away next to me.

Sunder brushes Popat Lal off, and then manages to infuriate Nisha with his views on 'gaaonwaalis'. (Dev pulls off the supercilious city slicker act very well.) Scene set for the next song (S-J in their somnolent mood), and a food fight, while Sunder stands aside enjoying himself. Finally, though, it is left to Sunder to rescue Nisha from the mêlée
(The how and the why can best be answered by Eros, who saw fit to cut the film right here. In the very next scene, Sunder and Nisha are sitting on the back of a truck, while the background is moving. 
Lalitha: There comes the fake background again! Why do they always have to move the background to show they are driving somewhere? 
J wakes up and informs the room at large that he was, is, engrossed in the film.)

Sunder and Nisha are still bickering, when the truck comes to an abrupt halt. The driver and his companion are surprised to see the stowaways, but Sunder offers them money to take them back to town. The sight of his well-filled wallet overcomes their annoyance; soon, the wicked two offer their unasked-for-passengers some bhang-laced laddoos. 
Sunder soon realises what is happening. (I like the fact that Sunder continues to eat the laddoos even after he realises they are doctored.) But he manages to fool the would-be robbers and hijacks the truck only to crash it. (How, you ask? Well, even Dev cannot drive a truck like this and expect it to stay on course!)
They leave the truck behind, running away until Nisha can run no more. She is dizzy, she says. Sunder is definitely intoxicated - but twice as much, he claims; by the laddoos, and by her intoxicating eyes. Uff yumma! 

(J: I love the way the songs are interwoven into the story! 
He is wide awake now - for the song.) 

The song ends with Nisha losing consciousness. Sunder, gentleman that he is, carries her safely back to her hotel room. When she comes to, all she has is a note he's left her. Nisha is bewildered but she has to get to the station to catch the train; Sunder, seeing her in the compartment, hides himself on the upper berth, but soon realises that the man he is impersonating is a co-traveller. He fools Popat Lal into thinking Nisha is mad, and incites Nisha into picking a fight with Popat - soon Popat Lal has disappeared through the window, and Sunder puts in an appearance just when Nisha is longing for him. She still cannot admit she loves him, and the two continue their bickering until Sunder threatens to jump off the train. Go right ahead, she tells him. She will regret it, he says. Of course she wouldn't; would he like her to open the door for him? And so Sunder jumps, and Nisha screams and...
...it's time for Jiya ho, jiyo o jiya kuch bol do ...and they are in love, though that doesn't stop them from squabbling through the rest of the movie. (It's quite charming, actually, and quite realistic.)

Meanwhile, Sohan has his own troubles. 
Who is Khanna (Raj Mehra)? Why is Sohan being blackmailed? Who is Shanti and what does Sunder have to do with her? What will Nisha's reaction be when she realises that the man she termed a 'clumsy old goat' is the real Popat Lal? And that her Monto (Sunder) had deceived her badly? Will love really surmount all odds? 

And if you think the mystery is a bit too mysterious, blame the butchers at Eros for it. The DVD jumps from scene to scene with no thought for continuity; most of the songs do not have endings, and one whole song Bin dekhe aur bin pehchaane is missing. Makes you want to take a hatchet yourself. When will the DVD companies learn? Do they even care?

The music of this film is a mixed bag. If S-J gave us some excellent melodies in Jiya ho, Yeh aankhen uff yumma, Sau saal pehle (S [to J]: Listen carefully, and you can hear the mandolin being played in the interludes. It's probably Laxmikant playing. J: It's amazing; these songs would not be the songs they are if it were not for the contribution of these musicians. The rest of us grin.), and my favourite Teri zulfon se, the rest were probably composed in their sleep. Pleasant enough nursery rhymes.  

Devsaab was at his charming best, and there was quite a bit to like about the movie itself. The mother-son interaction, for one, even if the mother is hysterical, whiny, lachrymose, and as emotionally manipulative as most screen mothers were. It is affectionate, it is humorous, and what is more, Sunder has his own firm stand on issues and doesn't just follow maaji's orders. Neither does he kowtow to Nisha's father. It is all so reasonable and sane and a very pleasant surprise. The Dev-Asha pair also worked, at least for me. 

What I didn't like was Nisha's character - if she was so conflicted about leaving her father, why go after Sunder to vow her undying love? And why, at the first instance of trouble, believe her love is capable of murder? And Popat Lal. Why was he even there, in the first place? Neither the imposters nor the 'real' real Popat Lal had anything to do with the story. The plot had its holes, of course, though Nasir Hussain would recyle this over and over again. I also did not like the female version of Jiya ho. It was too effervescent a song to be sung in that context. 
(S on Lata's version of Jiya ho: Rafi sang it while Dev sat on a car chasing a train; Lata sounds like she has a train to catch.)

It is still a good watch, especially when you are watching it with friends. Bombaynoir, I hope we have made you properly jealous. :)
Trivia: After Devsaab's death, heroine Asha Parekh was reminiscing about the film, and she had this to say about shooting Yeh aankhen uff yumma!

"The best part about him was that he was unpredictable. Sometimes he'd start doing things that were not in the script. I remember we were shooting this song 'Uff Yumma'. We were supposed to act like we were a little drunk. So in the middle of the song, he took off his gloves and started hitting me with it. I was perplexed and didn't know how to react. Then I started hitting him back. It was the most fun I have ever had during a shoot."


  1. ROTFL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Enjoyed reading the review thoroughly. More than the review, I enjoyed the comment passing between Lalitha and you and your hubbies reactions. Though at times I did get confused when you wrote S and J. I thought you meant Shanker and Jaikishen.

    S-J were very stingy when it came to giving music to Dev starrers, particularly Shanker. Look at Roop Ki Rani Choron Ka Raja!

    Now coming to food! Hope you enjoyed it. mera kya hai main sukhi roti se hi kaam chala loonga :-(
    If no pic of the the nosh, than at least describe them sot hat I can get jealous properly. So did you have dosa and medu vadas or vegetable bondas with lots of sambhar and nariyal chutney?

    kuch to batao

  2. That was a wonderful review and a delightful recounting of our meeting. I told J to read it and you had him beaming (like a Cheshire cat!) when he reached the part where you called him a 'gentleman', and after that, he couldn't stop raving over your writing skills and style. The movie would have been more enjoyable if we didn't have all the cuts that made it difficult to follow, especially for a person like me, who has questions and doubts all the time!

    I am feeling a little sorry for Harvey because he would have enjoyed all that food. Should I tell him about the number of pappadams I demolished, or about the payasam or ...? Harvey, before you get too jealous, we were very considerate and didn't eat dosa or vadas or bondas. Don't you think that was nice of us? We are saving them for you.

    J and I are still in awe of S's knowledge of music!

  3. Ha ha ha, so he thinks I write well only because I called him a gentleman? :) (Meanie!)

    Yeah, the cuts were horrible. I want to personally go over to Eros and demand my money back!

    Poor Harvey! Shall we make him feel even more horrible by describing what we ate? :)

  4. The vermicelli payasam I make all the time, so this time I went very, very traditional and made a rice payasam with coconut milk and jaggery. Aound no, the pappadums were also the traditional Kerala ones, made out of Urad dal.

    See, Harvey, you do need to make a trip to the US. We promise to feed you well.

  5. I would have loved it!

  6. That is why you should visit us! :)

  7. -crying in corner-

    Yes, very jealous! I want to catch a plane to MA now! (Say, is the town where you live all right? With the Boston bombing chaos and everything...) Just! Agh! I would've been singing along, to every single song, and sighing and staring at Dev. Because he's just simply... sigh. I wish I lived up North sometimes! ('Sometimes' because I hate snow!) I've never seen an old film with other old film buffs. (Not unless you count my grandma, who sufficiently spoiled Jewel Thief for me!)

  8. -crying in corner-Yes, very jealous!

    :) My job here is done! (I did mentioned to Lalitha that I wondered who was 14 - you? Or we? :D Well, maybe you should come over sometime so we can watch movies together. :)

    And yes, we are alright here, thank you for asking.

  9. I had a smile stuck on my face throughout while reading - even when there was nothing to smile because I was in full anticipation mode :-D

    Enjoyed every bit of the review, and all the add ons.
    The line that made me go ROTFL was....

    >Sunder and Nisha are sitting on the back of a truck, while the background is moving.

    ........followed by Lalitha's questioning of it. LOL!!!

    As for the food, I'm grateful you forgot to take pictures. How long has it been since I had ...errrrr....'south Indian/ madrasi food'? I know, I know, you have to forgive a North Indian for clumping everyone under that title :-/

    I've always thought about what fun it would be for lovers of old films to get together and watch one. Glad you and Lalitha experienced it :-)

  10. You meanie! D: Out of all the films you had to go and pick the film that I love so much? A Dev film! -melodramatically falls in corner- And yes, yes, I will sometime, when I get to travel by myself! :D (And fingers crossed, go to some good college up north.)

    That's great to hear.

  11. Tell you what, Bombaynoir, why don't you come just half way to NC, where I live, and we will get Anu also to come here and we will all veg out for a week or weekend, if you prefer, and watch tons of movies and eat tons of vadas and bondas (Harvey, are you reading this?) We have great colleges here - Duke, Davidson, Chapel Hill, to name just a few.

  12. I'm glad you enjoyed it, pacifist. :)
    As for the food, grrr! I'll forgive you this time. [grin] See, perhaps if you and Harvey made a trip to the US, then we could all get together and watch a film together. Lalitha and I will even provide authentic Tamilian/Mallu food. Think of all the movies there are to watch!

  13. Lalitha, you are sorely tempting me, woman. :) It's interesting that the comments are all revolving around the food, isn't it?

  14. I do have watched JPKHH a couple of times, after having seen on the big screen. The composition and orchestration of the titles and Teri Jhulfon Se Judaai continue to remain the permanent attractions.

    That is why I have meticulously read, threadbare, the tale of encounters of two families than the review itself.

    I am quite sure there must be more of interesting tit-bits of 'views' on the film, on the lines of "Lata sounds like she has a train to catch", that may make up one more article in itself. Unless, the films put all others to roll off......in spite of that serving of tea......

  15. our parody differed only a li'l bit:
    sau saal pehle Dev Anand jawaan tha...

  16. :) Madhu, yeah, usually that is a pet peeve too (people chattering when I want to watch a film) but this one was butchered so much by Eros, we had to fill in the dialogues sometimes and then the scenes would jump and we would all be going, 'Huh? Where did he/she/it come from?' And of course, when you are watching along with someone, I think the default is that everyone will be commenting. :) (Poor J.)

    Poor, poor Dev. I don't think Dev was ever ganwar - not even when he actually was one. :)

  17. Haan, see, now that makes sense. [grin].

  18. [grin] I'm grinning as much reading the comments as I was when we were commenting on the film, and when I was writing this post. Thank you for the appreciation. :)

  19. That's right - Dev could never be a ganwar or a character out of a Raja Rani story, as in Insaniyat. Maybe that "gadhe pe sawaar tha ..." had to do with the song, Dil ki umangein hain jawan ..., from Munimji, where Pran is seated on the poor donkey, and someone confused the two of them.

  20. You are forgiven, Pacifist, for lumping us all into that heading, considering we tend to lump most North Indians into the Punjabi category, before someone corrects us and says, Oh no, I am not a Punjabi, I am from UP, or HP, or ..., and the food varies from region to region.
    By the way, did you experiment with any more dosas?

  21. It is interesting you should say that, Lalitha. It used to be m rgo-to answer when people used to say dismissively - 'Oh, all people from the south of the Vindhyas are Madrasis.' My response used to be, "Then all people north of the Vindhyas are Punjabis.' It was illuminating how they didn't like that one bit. :) The funny thing is when friends did that, I didn't mind, because I knew where they were coming from, and what they intended.

  22. Yes, Dev was never ganwaar. Don't know where my friends and I caught hold of that parody from; it wasn't our invention. And we were all die-hard Dev Anand fans.;-)

  23. Madhu, we had a similar discussion about you when we were planning a trip to Delhi and I was trying to plan our trip so that I would get a whole evening free to meet you. Unfortunately, that trip didn't work out and we went to Kerala instead. And I am still wondering why I never ask these questions when we go to meet his friends, but it is probably because he already has all the answers and has told me, at least five times, what his friend is doing, what his wife does, how many children they have, how old they are, what the children are doing, etc., The man is a stickler for getting all the info in advance, and I am happy to get it (or not) as I go along. No wonder they say that opposites attract!

  24. S always wondered how I could be 'friends' with someone on the Internet until he became 'friends' with someone on the Internet. :) Our older son has a good time laughing at us - especially when we were telling him not to be friends with someone on the Internet. [grin]

  25. By the way, Anu, the reason Lata sounded like she had a train to catch - her character is chasing Dev and trying to remember his lyrics for that song at the same time - not an easy feat!!

  26. As a friend of ours says, Haan, ye bhi theek hai. S grinned when he heard your reasoning. :)

  27. My Dad used to say that! He picked it up after watching Victoria no. 203 - I think it was Pran who kept saying that.

  28. [grin]. I like hearing our friend S say it - he says it with that typical Dilli twang, I keep thinking of things to say so he will say that in response. :)

  29. Correction, Shilpi, he was very charming and handsome. :)

  30. I know! You could never take the city out of the man.

  31. Thank you, Shilpi. Your compliment made my day! :)

    Looking forward eagerly to your next post.

  32. On the train to catch thingie... When I first saw the song in another century in a land far far away I thought 's funny that's supposed to be sad and she is singing quickly. Then as I grew older and vicer I thought that took some guts, to change a happy song into a sad one still keeping the same time signature. Usually music directors do this by changing the sad version into a dirge-like slowness (watch Sholay when Jai is dying and Veeru his eyes brimming with tears is about to sneeze when "yeh dosti" plays in the background). But not SJ, they just put their foot on the pedal and accelerated away making Lota-di shriek sadly but swiftly. Takes guts to put a sad song to a rhythm when the metronome is ticking at a healthy 135 beats a minute. And yet Asha could not catch up with ambling Dev till the song was over. I don't think they were meant for each other "unke beech mein bahut badi faasle thi..."

  33. Hey, lay off on Jai dying okay? I don't care if Veeru was going to sneeze or not (though I do agree with you about the dirge!) but Jai dying was about the worst part of Sholay.

    No, in this song, in this context, Latadi's version was just awful! I mean, here is Asha crying big tears, and the song goes rollicking along with no change in emotion at all.

    But in any case, gentleman that he is, Dev comes ambling right back to Asha. :)

  34. Dat eej becauj she stopped singing no...Gaana khatam , safe to take earplugs out and approach wounded animal

  35. If he were wearing earplugs, he couldn't have known she had stopped singing!

  36. "sixth sense" is something that all hunted animals have. They know when the danger is past.

  37. [grin] So he turned around to hunt her instead?

  38. One thing I never understood was the need to introduce Rajendranath as a 'fake Popatlal' and if my memory serves me right, it was never explained (or maybe the DVD makers didn't understand it, either, so they chopped it off!). As Shilpi so rightly puts it, why are the comedians portrayed as buffoons? Why couldn't we have had some honest fun? Tere Ghar ke Samne was so much better in that respect.

  39. Actually, I have no idea why the real Popatlal was there in the film either. :( There are very few films where the comedy comes through organically - usually, they introduce a side plot which is more annoying than comic, and I always sympathised with the actors forced into these roles - I wonder how Rajendranath felt always being the buffoon, and more often than not, put into the most outrageous costumes. He must have been very thankful for Tere Ghar Ke Saamne!


    Sorry for my extreme reaction, but I WAS JUST LOOKING FOR THIS MOVIE (to join in the excitement of my awesome friend bombaynoir, haha). And I found an online version which was terrible because it kept skipping around to random parts! Aaah! I absolutely LOVED about the first 30 minutes, but I didn't want to do this movie (and the extremely handsome Dev) an injustice by watching the terrible version...Dude, and what is the real Popat Lal even wearing? And he's dressed up like this in MORE than one movie?!

  41. Bombay Noir's friend? Why am I not surprised? [grin]. Which version did you see? I caught this one and it wasn't too bad.
    Yes, 'Popatlal' is usually found dressed in the most atrocious of costumes in quite a few films, and he was made to act obnoxiously in them.

  42. Wait. There's a YOUTUBE VERSION? O.O I must watch it right after finals!!!!

    This is what I get for using the youtube app on my ipad instead of a real computer, haha.

    Yes! Bombaynoir and I have a lot in common...so much in common that we might be long lost twins. :DD

  43. Yes, of course there is a YouTube version, only they hid it so deep inside their search results that it was only by chance that I found it at all.

    so much in common that we might be long lost twins.

    Oh, my! One of you wasn't enough? {Grin} All the best for your finals.


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