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Friday, 27 August 2010

Destination music (Manzil)

I have hardly seen Dev Anand play such a brooding character. Generally this suave and dapper young man entertains with his light frolicky persona. But his Rajkumar Mehta is different. Defiant and determined to the core, Anand, in Mandi Burman's Manzil, is most of the time inebriated and weeping over his unfaithful beloved. But, this 1960 romance's lead pair piqued my curiosity. Nutan and Dev Anand make a handsome couple and the way the film starts, you will be keen to follow this Raju as he scales the heights of success.
Raju (Anand) comes to pick Pushpa (Nutan) when she arrives from Ambala to Simla to spend some time with the Mehta family. KN Singh plays the domineering patriarch who is absolutely against Raju's inclination towards music. He had sent Raju to England to study business but the young man realised that his true calling was in modern music. This angers his father who sees this useless hobby as a harbinger of bad times for his wayward son. Raju's mother and sister Shobha (Achla Sachdev) are the only ones in the rich household who understand Raju and his aspirations. But they are silenced by the martinet father.
In comes Pushpa, Raju's childhood sweetheart who eggs him on to pursue a career in what he loves best, music. Day in and day out Raju is insulted and slighted for his music, yet he is adamant that he will not join his father's business. He wants to set up a career in music and for that he wants to go to Bombay. Depressed and alone, Raju submerges his sorrows and anxieties in alcohol every evening. But Pushpa's intervention slowly shows him light.
Pushpa loves him dearly and wants him to succeed, but she is too scared to let go off him, fearing that he will forget her amidst the glamorous world of Bombay. Pushpa's father (Manmohan Krishna) is most eager to get her married to Raju provided he does a decent job and stops wasting time over music. One day, after Raju is slapped by his father, he packs his bag to leave, promising Pushpa that he will soon come to take her. Pushpa waits for him and so does her parents as the young girl is bethrothed to Raju. But Lala Mehta is not keen to get his estranged son married to Pushpa as he is concerened that she will never be happy with him. So, Pushpa's marriage is fixed with a certain Army Captain (Badri Prasad) who is also keen on the alliance.
Meanwhile a local lout swindle Raju off his money, after he reaches Bombay. Shankar, a paan seller comes to his rescue and offers Raju accomodation and monetary help. Raju runs from pillar to post to find a job. After struggling for many days, he is noticed by Titli, the young female singer reigning in Bombay movie studios. She takes him to Shah (David) who promises him work. Gradually Raju attains success when he is chosen to be the music director in two upcoming films.
Obliged by Titli's help, Raju sees her as a dear friend and is pleased to have her as his guest most evenings. But Titli has fallen in love with him and grudges his affection for Pushpa. She plays nasty tricks so that the lovers are distanced and Pushpa is made to believe that Raju has married Titli, a woman of disrepute.
Crestfallen that Raju forgot her after movng to Bombay, Pushpa agrees to marry the Captain. But on the day of the marriage, Raju comes to Ambala to take her away. Baffled to hear that Pushpa is getting married, he leaves hastily. Devastated by Pushpa's unfaithful stance, Raju goes back to Bombay a dejected soul and drowns himself in the world of intoxication and harmful liquor. Though he is rapidly becoming famous as a musician, his personal life is in a mess. He seeks refuge in alcohol to muster the strength to live as he feels shocked and cheated by Pushpa.
Even Pushpa is not happy as she just cannot forgive Raju. But, as situations unfold, the two meet after a few months in Bombay and then starts the blame game. Pushpa is sad to see Raju's state and Raju is angry because Pushpa played with his heart. In the scene where both of them quarrel and point fingers at each other, I almost feel like knocking their heads against each other to make them see some sense. Irritated by the irrationality of both the leads, I kept at it because I really wanted to know what happens in the end. Does Raju really unite with Pushpa?
Dev Anand, as I said, was different here. He acts pretty well. Only that his brooding avatar is too much to take. You get to see him in a drunken stupor so much that it just might get on your nerves. I'm more used to seeing this dashing hero prancing his way around and in command of the situation. But here, Anand is busy brooding his way to doom. Astonishing that the music director who spends most of his waking hours sozzled, is able to create stunning music!
The film deftly deals with the battle against tradition and modernity. While Raju wants to break away from tradition to pursue a career in music, his near and dear ones scoff at his choice. No one understands that he'd better follow the call of his heart rather than be mediocre in something he does not love. It takes plenty of trials, tribulations, misunderstandings and heartburns to drive home the point that Raju was not wrong in making his wishes known to the world and treading an unconventional path.
The freshness is imparted by Nutan. She is simply lovely. Sensible and warm, her Pushpa brings in radiance to Raju's dull life. She loves him dearly and has no qualms in telling her mother that she would wait for him eternally. But, when the harsh reality accosts her, she finds it more practical to marry the man her parents have chosen for her. This woman was so good looking that when you have her onscreen, you needn't have anything or anyone else. She just lights up every frame. As Raju's sweetheart and as the Captain's responsible wife, maintaining a true and brave front against his mean eyes of suspicion.
SD Burman's music is good. I love the romantic duets Dil to hain diwana na (Mohd Rafi and Asha Bhonsle), Yeh chand aur main aur tu (Manna Dey and Geeta Dutt) and Chupke se miley pyase pyase.
While Manna Dey's Hum dum se gaye is a fast fun number, Hemant Kumar's Yaad agayi woh nashili nigaahen is melodious. But the most entertaining track is Manna Dey's Hato kaheko banao jhooti batiyan picturised on the entertaining Mehmood, who plays Shankar here. He adds spice to the story and is immaculate with that accent. Watch him in this song, especially how he makes those eyes move, to be adequately and appropriately enthralled...


  1. oh.. I love Dev-Nutan pair, esply in "Chupke se mile pyaase pyaase..." (my fav. Geeta-Rafi song). I watched the film for this song only. Manzil is by far the most serious of the four films by this pair, IMHO, and came rather as a pleasant surprise. I had expected a comic-caper with lots of good music (given its a Dada Burman album) and lively banter with the handsome pair of Dev-Nutan in the lead. They complement each other so beautifully. I loved the confrontation scene coz of Nutan's ferocious dialogue delivery and expressions (those eyes speaks a lot)and Dev Anand's restrained acting. The way they cut into each other, blaming for their misery is unlike old hindi films. the only flaw, I think, is how Pushpa buckles down a few minutes into the arguement.. it seemed like the director is in a haste to wrap up the scene. and why the hell did they have to bump off Captain in the end. I think it could have been a better film if they ended it after the confrontation, both going their own way. But then, this is Hindi cinema we are talking about, so this point is considered null.. A happy ending is a must, even though how insane and forced it looks! :P

    thanks for the review! :D

  2. @Punya: I almost wished that after Captain became suspicious and followed his wife around, Pushpa musters up strength to divorce the loser. And then decide what to do with her life!!! But, Hindi film and its easy ways are sometimes really confounding!
    Nutan is sheer bliss for the senses, in whichever film she is in. I just love her. And yes, Dev Anand was different here for sure. Thanks for the comment :)

  3. Mehmood is indeed entertaining when used in the right amounts, but sometimes especially late 60's onwards he could be painful to bear in films. I'll watch out for this tahnks as i do indeed like Dev and nutan pairing, Ter Ghar ke samne for exmaple, another clasisc i'm yet to see but i'm well familiar with the songs, and their chemistry is just so evident from that alone

  4. I am yet to see this one. For that matter, I haven't seen Paying Guest as well. But I loved Dev-Nutan in Tere Ghar Ke Saamne . I had reviewed Baarish sometime early this year. From all that I have read and heard, I feel Tere Ghar Ke Saamne is the best movie of this duo.
    Surprising to see no new post since 27th. Everything ok?
    I was rather busy and couldnt check your post earlier. Today when I came here I was surprised to see only one post since Noorie.

  5. @Bollywooddeewana: Yes, I really liked Mehmood in many films, especially when he is paired with Shubha Khote.
    Dev Anand and Nutan were adorable as a couple and the best film of their's was Tere Gharke Saamne undoubtably. Please do watch it. It's lovely :)

  6. @Sunheriyaadein: I've seen Paying Guest. It starts off wonderfully but cannot sustain the interest factor. Tere Gharke Saamne is of course the best of this couple.
    I had gone to Agra so could not write anything. But now that I'm back I'll be to watching the films and writing them again. In fact already have some in mind :)
    Thank you for the comment Archana :)