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Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Dutt drama (Kissi Se Na Kehna)

I wonder whether Kissi se na kehna would have been as memorable without Utpal Dutt. For, who would have managed to look this flummoxed, befuddled and flabbergasted at the sight of a jeans-clad modern girl spewing English lines at top speed before her prospective father-in-law??? Or, as shocked and dismayed when another such girl grooves to some popular English track, right before him!! Or look as satisfied and at peace when he hears the simple Rama sing, Dhunde yashodha chahu orh? Or as satiated when he has eaten a plateful of delectable kachoris? Or, as disappointed and hurt when he learns of Rama's truth?
No one, right? Dutt's magic is totally unmatched. No one, yes, no one could have fitted the part of Kailashpati, the large-hearted, lovable father-in-law in this rollicking 1983 Hrishikesh Mukherjee romantic comedy.
His histrionics were par-excellence, his comic timing past perfection and his versatality, absolutely inexplicable!!! I bow before this earth-shatteringly talented artist!!
Kissi se na kehna is a hilariously sweet journey. With, first mistaken and then, hidden identities, this film is a laughathon. At the very outset, you have a young man called Ramesh (Farooq Shaikh is handsome, smart and quickwitted) meeting Dr Ramola Sharma (Dipti Naval's very different). The initial glitches sorted out, both fall for each other (and you have the beautiful title track). But, Ramesh's father, Kailashpati, a retired elderly, is already disillusioned with modern English-speaking girls, courtesy his bitter experiences of trying to find a suitable life partner for his son. So, now, he wants his educated son to marry a village girl, who doesn't know English, sings bhajans and can make kachoris!!! Torn between his father's love and his sweetheart, Ramesh devises a fullproof plan, in assistance with Lalaji (a clever Saeed Jaffrey), his father's old friend. He convinces Ramola to pose as the village belle, Rama, and meet his father in a village set up. Her uncle, Om Prakash (S N Banerjee) is presented as the hard-of-hearing village purohit!!! A flamboyant subterfuge, this is. The alliance is brought by Lalaji to Kailashpati and we have a field day!!!
Soon Kailashpati and Lalaji set off to meet Rama and her uncle, with rib-tickling results. She parrots lines from the Mahabharata, sings a soulful bhajan and serves home-made kachoris. Suitably floored, Kailashpati zeroes in on Rama as his son's would-be-bride...
The fun just begins!! Watch out for the scene where Rama, as the new bride, has to cook kachoris for a batch of oldies coming to meet Kailashpati. Lalaji, with his cracking plan, comes to the rescue. He runs off to buy kachoris from the market and slyly slips them to Rama through the kitchen window!!! And, after everyone is happy with the savouries, Lalaji says, "Bhai Kailashpati, ab jab kachori khaney ka ji karein, zara pehley se bata de na." And, goes on to mutter, "Taki zyada daurna na parey." Ha-ha!!
Rama, or Ramola, the good girl that she is, takes an instant liking to her doting father-in-law. In fact, she even grudges the fact that he is being hoodwinked!! She takes care of her father-in-law, loves her husband, is a dutiful wife and daughter-in-law. Mukherjee depicts these human emotions impeccably!!
The plot never slackens. There is action at every turn, with a comic twist. For instance, the hotel scene, where Ramesh takes Ramola for their honeymoon. A word here for the music given by Bappi Lahiri. Jab se mere is a lovely lilting track. It is charming, joyous and romantic.
While the couples are exchanging sweet nothings, Kailashpati and Om Prakash are travelling to the village to meet Rama...crazy!!! I almost feel like a yo-yo, trying to enjoy every sudden event that happens simultaneously!!! It's uproarious watching Dutt negotiating the village roads on a bullock cart!!! His one-liners give you tummy cramps almost!!!
Then there's Mansukhlal (Deven Verma) and his promiscuous tomfoolery!! And of course, the bathroom sequences!! The comedy just doesn't end!!
Farooq Shaikh is charismatic here. He is the common man, striving to uphold the responsibilities of a good son and a loving husband. He succeeds, too. I especially remember him looking dashing in a purple silk shirt!!
Dipti Naval is stupendously good. She dexterously handles her roles of a smart educated girl, a humble village simpleton. a caring daughter and a loving wife! And in the scene where she slaps Mansukhlal, its riotous!!
Mukherjee juxtaposes false beliefs and the superiority of truth very deftly in the film. But, it's really fabulous how he subtly laces morals with top notch comedy. And, about Utpal Dutt's contribution, what do I say??? Just go, weigh that yourself...


  1. Thanks for the virtual joyride.
    Your post reminded me of the heady cocktail of undiluted fun and simple emotions that Hrishikesh Mukherjee stood for.
    And yes, any praise for the genius called Utpal Dutt would be an understatement.

  2. matter what the genre was, Utpal Dutt just shone!! Thanks for the comment :)

  3. Hi Sharmi,
    Oh, I so love Utpal Dutt! I haven't seen him a lot, but each time it's like a treat (those 3 adjectives of yours were a howler: "flummoxed, befuddled and flabbergasted"). Have you seen Agantuk? But I'll make a note a that one, that's for sure. AND it's Hrishikesh Mukherjee!
    Thanks for that review.

  4. @Yves: Yes, I've seen's a masterpiece just for Dutt's subtlety...In fact, I have the film at home. Have you seen Shaque??? There, Dutt plays a middle class man with grey shades...astoundlingly good!!! Thanks for the comment...your praises are really encouraging :)

  5. Sharmi I wrote a long comment on and in trying to post it got lost...i'm so mad now at this comp:) anyway again a refreshing post that revived the film in my mind i had nearly forgotten! Wonderful post:)

  6. @Abhi: I think you have a flair for comedy also (the second comment proves that... ha ha!!) But, yes, you are so right...The media just did not acknowledge his contribution in more serious films (and theatre) such as Agantuk, Shaque, Michael Madhusudan Dutt and so on. He was truely a genius and comedy was just one tiny part of his true repertoire!! Thanks for the comment, very encouraging!!!

  7. Thanks Sharmi, I too had forgotten abt this movie. Utpal Dutt was great, but one can't ignore Saeed Jaffrey. He was equally grt.

  8. @Sarbani: Exactly, Saaed Jaffrey was the perfect Lalaji!!! Thanks for the comment :)

  9. i think this movie is our answer to any brit comedy. the spice of the movie was definitely utpal dutt, bit the dalchini effect was definitely syed zafferi with his uncanny comic timing. i forgot to mention him earlier for chasme baddoor!!

  10. @Cancerian: I swear, you just cannot forget Saeed Jaffrey hain na?? He is such a whiplash in these films!!! Thanks for the comment!!!

  11. Hi Sharmi,
    I've checked Carla on Shaque (you know she's Shabana Azmi's blog specialist), and she says it "isn't much more than a forgettable timepass", so for all Utpal Dutt's worth...
    Let me know what you think of the movie as a whole.

  12. @Yves: I agree Shabana does not have much to do in it apart from going through a tortuous phase of suspecting her husband for a scam!! But, trust me, you'll be awestruck by Dutt's subtly grey performance!! He is simply mindblowing!! It's a very celebral thriller with great performances by the lead (read Vinod Khanna, Dutt) and the supporting caste!! I watched Shaque years ago and the film stays etched in my memory! It's sad that the film's not readily available in stores now or else I would have definitely made it part of my collection! Watch Shaque Yves, and let me know what you feel.
    Also do read my post on Teesri Manzil and send your comments...I'll be waiting :)