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Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Twin bonanza (Hum Dono)

Hum Dono is an archipelago of emotions. A poignant drama revolving around the inanity of war, Amarjeet's 1961 classic is a rare treat for the senses. Whether it is the warmth of a mother-son relationship, the closeness of two sweethearts, the faith and trust between a married couple or the promise of filial love, Hum Dono's large canvas has equal opportunity for all emotions. With tender moments galore, this Dev Anand-Nanda-Sadhana masterpiece reinstates my love for social and family dramas. Oh! How I love this roller-coaster joyride...
What does war do to a man? Vijay Anand pens a touching saga to address this issue. He highlights the banality of war and the sad repercussions such political maladies have on a common man's life. A war tears a son away from his old and frail mother, it separates a man from his loving wife and it builds a huge wall between two sweethearts harbouring a dream in their expectant hearts to settle down in bliss. Even when war ends, nothing is hale and hearty.
In Hum Dono, one feels for the protagonist who gets embroiled in a nasty war and how his life changes after that...His love is tested, his patience tried and his credibility suspected...It's his fight for the truth and fulfilment that makes the film so endearing...
Every scene is significant. And every dialogue is well penned. In the scene where Anand (Dev Anand) comes to meet Nita's (ebullient Sadhana) father you get to see the selfish love of a father. He scares the poor suitor away with tall claims of money. He tells Anand that he is not prosperous enough to keep his daughter happy. The father's words sets off a chain of irreversible incidents. Anand deserts his old mother to join the Army. With tears-stung eyes, she tries to dissuade him but he is adamant about earning a good sum (his self-esteem has suffered from his girlfriend's father's insult).
He sees the morbid side of life at the war front and sings Mein zindagi ka saath nibhaata chala gaya. Jaidev, the music director, embellishes the film with a marvellous score. Every song is a jewel. This song especially harps on the transcience of life and acceptance. It is ironical that Anand, who has faced some harsh realities, is unfazed by troubles. But, that's what lends his character a pragmatic element and renders him nonchalantly charming.
Not all is sordid in war. At least you make some friends for life while the world around you is full of pain, death, gunshots and fire. Anand befriends Major Verma, a robust, jovial man who astonishingly, resembles him. Barring their hairstyles and moustache, both look like identical twins. What commences is a strong bond of brotherly love, friendship and affection. It is here that we witness the love and admiration between Major Verma and his wife, Ruma (a lovely Nanda). He simply adores her and draws strength to go on in these trying times from her remembrance. A flashback takes us to his world, his home. His wife is doting, his mother caring. He eases tension with his witty repartee and is forever amiable...You can actually feel the happiness in Major Verma's abode...the positive vibes are so powerful...
Another musical gem here...Kabhi khud pe, kabhi haalat pe rona aaya. A person is helpless before the onslaught of fate and circumstances. Anand's yearnings for his sweetheart is almost tangible...No wonder it goes, Man proposes, God disposes...
There are two bhajans that are remarkable in their lyrics as well as rendition. Both picturised on beautiful melancholic Nanda, both are prayers to God to disperse light...Allah tero naam is a hymn for the safe return of the soldiers. Prabhu tero naam is a wife's cry to God to settle the storm in her domestic life and negate the misunderstandings between her and her husband. Earnest and melodious, both songs tug at your heart...
The best is of course the opening track, Abhi na jao chodke. Magnificently romantic, to say the least. Listen to it to relish the pangs of a lover!!! What a compostion!!!
Whoever was the casting director (if they had anyone doing that work those days) did a superb job! Nanda and Sadhana's charm is infectious. While Nanda is mellow and soft, Sadhana has a spontaneity about her. She makes a seamless transition from a rich man's carefree daughter to a mature responsible girl taking care of her lover's sick mother.
One Dev Anand is great. Two Dev Anands are inexplicably great, I guess!! His dexterous act takes the cake away. He juggles two personalities with panache and flamboyance. While his middle-class loverboy image has dignity, maturity and self respect, his Major Verma is smile-inducing, warm and large-hearted. In the scene where Anand comes to give bad news to Major Verma's mother and wife, we get to see a well-nigh perfectly sensitive side of Anand. Dev Anand breaks down immaculately and clings on to Lalita Pawar, Major Verma's mother. He is grief-stricken because of his mother's death and takes this old woman to be his mother...Tch...Can't get any better!!!
Hum Dono is a story of twos at all levels... Be it the story of Anand and Nita, Major Verma and Ruma, Anand and Ruma, Anand and Major Verma or the story of a son and his mother, this film is multi-layered with transparent emotions, heartwrenching sensitivity and glorious hope!!! And, at every level there's double doses!!!


  1. So true. Lovely film, great acting and such a fabulous score!

  2. @dustedoff: Yes, great acting!!! I think Dev Anand is at his sensitive best here. And, Abhi na jao chod ke sends shivers down my spine...pleasant shivers that is!!! Thank you for the comment.

  3. Hello! Saw Hum Dono yesterday.. was bowled by it! you can't go wrong with a bold subject in Vijay Anand's hands. You are hooked to the film from minute one. Haven't seen any other with such a beautiful opening. Md. Rafi infuses pleading with mischief to give a soul stirring number.. I have goosebumps every time I hear "abhi na jao chhod kar...". "Main zindagi ka saath..." and "Kabhi khud pe kabhi haalaat pe rona aaya..." are mirror to Sahir's caliber - too good!
    I really loved the pre-climax scene, with Anand facing confrontations with Mita and Ruma.. perfect dialogues! You could almost feel the heartbreak through Sadhana's punchy replies to Anand's pleadings. And, this is the first time I could appreciate Nanda for her histrionics.
    Hum Dono is, definitely, Cinema at its best!

  4. @Punya: YOur dissection is great, too.
    I think it's time again to see this film once more :)

  5. 'Equal opportunity for all emotions'. I simply love this phrase that sums up Hum Dono. The film is a canvas of feelings where every stroke of the brush is bold and every word is uttered from the heart. The build-up is quick and the director sort of throws us quickly into the hurly-burly of the plot. Thereafter, the characters seem to pull us with them in their journeys. The director deserves praise for handling the denouement, a tricky one, deftly.
    The songs are wonderful but what does the trick is Kersi Lord's use of jal tarang, creating a score that becomes a wonderful leitmotif of the film.

  6. @Netdhaba: Couldn't have said it better!!

  7. "Dukh aur sukh ke raste" was also a tender and touching song from Hum Dono....