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Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Discovered by chance (Man Mauji)

Put a spunky heroine, a comic villain, a goofy hero, a good story and a convincing supporting cast together, and you get Krishan Panju's Man Mauji. That's precisely what I thought of this 1962 AVM production (they always have a nice family setting, hummable songs and packets of entertainment). A relatively obscure film, I stumbled upon it on Youtube through the lovely Lata Mangeshkar number, Main to tum sang nain milake haar gayi sajna, loved the vulnerable prettiness of Sadhana and couldn't keep myself from watching all of it. And, I'm happy.

The film does break a few prototypes. Here. the hero is not the Mr Goody Two Shoes, who is brave, smart and a ladykiller. Here Raja is hardly handsome (I simply cannot bring myself to call Kishore Kumar so), creates fibs like it's nobody's business, is occasionally contriving and is unable to extract any sympathy for his misfortunes. The focus here is more on the relation between a brother and a sister and how the two face different adversities before being united. The hero here is not given a chance to pursue the damsel romantically (before he does it, something in his mind tells him that he is already going to get an affirmative in this case. Also, I think Panju realised that the sight of Kishore trying to make the gorgeous Sadhana fall in love with him wouldn't be too attractive). The villain is beaten to pulp after every petty misdemeanour and he is shown in a vastly comic light.And, lastly Madan Mohan deviates from his usual melody. His songs here are mostly peppy, fast and light (save the wonderful Lata number lip-synced by the even more wonderful Sadhana).
Siblings Raja and Laxmi are separated during childhood when Raja has to go to a reformatory after stealing medicine for his ailing mother. He is an imaginative lad, quick and resourceful, who can manufacture lies at the drop of a hat. While he grows up in the reformatory, Laxmi grows up in an orphanage.

Years later, Raja (Kishore Kumar) is released and he looks everywhere for his sister, learning that she is in an orphanage. Meanwhile he also gets the job of a servant in a house manned by a rich miser Bholaram (Om Prakash). When he goes to meet Laxmi (Kumari Naaz) he pretends to have done well with himself and impresses her with his big talk about business and money. He also dresses nattily during those visits. On one of these visits, Laxmi tells him that she would like to study more and asks him to pay for her college admissions. In a fix, Raja steals the money from his employer to save his and Laxmi's face. He also steals a costly sari and some jewellery to gift them to Laxmi. Soon, Raja is caught and thrown out of Bholaram's home, and sent to jail. Laxmi, burning with shame for what her brother has done leaves the orphanage to fend for herself.
A lot of things happen till here. Raja meets Rani (Sadhana), the local vegetable vendor, who is a ravishing and charming motormouth. Saving her from the clutches of the rogue Jagga (Pran), Raja instantly garners her affection. Raja also beguiles her with his big talk about money and business as he sings Zaroorat hain, assuring her that she is the chosen one for him. So, when Raja is caught for theft, Rani is aghast and sad.
One day, Rani saves Laxmi from Jagga (poor villain, his timing is never correct!), and takes her to Dr Mohan's house. Dr Mohan (Ashim Kumar) is a benevolent doctor who helps many poor people. As events unfold, Laxmi is allowed to stay in his house and look after the household chores. She is dutiful and responsible and garners the good faith of the family comprising Dr Mohan, his advocate elder brother (Anwar Hussain), two children and his mother (Durga Khote). Very soon Dr Mohan falls in love with Laxmi and the two are going to get married. But there are plenty of twists.
After serving his sentence, Raja comes to Rani to explain what happened. Rani, the sweet girl that she is, patiently hears him out and forgives him. He is then employed as Dr Mohan's driver and recognises his sister in his master's home. Realising that his presence might jeopardise her happiness, he decides to leave. A misunderstanding results in Raja being insulted and shooed out of Dr Mohan's home. And, then as I said, plenty of events take place...
There is a simplicity about this family film that really attracted me. Though I'm never game to watch Kishore Kumar (as I always feel he is too frivolous with his parts) as the lead, this one is not bad at all. He is quite convincing as Raja. Om Prakash is funny and Pran is delightful. Kumari Naaz is melodramatic but good.
But, the brownie points go to Sadhana for being such a natural. She is simply delightful as the rustic girl who is not scared to fight the baddies, is a dear friend to Laxmi and is a naughty sweetheart to her lover. She is undeniably the most pleasing aspect of this pleasant family drama...


  1. @Sharmi: Nice review. This is another film I saw long back so it's good to catch up via review. Though Kishore Kumar is not a typical hero, it is fun to watch his antics in some of his movies. I enjoyed his Dilli Ka Thug recently.

  2. Somehow I always find it difficult to accept Kishore Kumar as the hero, even if he is an unconventional and rather comic hero! I've seen him in quite a few films - Asha, Rangoli, Manmauji, Half Ticket, Jhumroo, Dilli ka Thug, etc - as the hero, but just can't get reconciled to that. I guess I need to rewatch some of these films!

  3. @Sreenath: I liked thsi film because of the good storyline and Sadhana :)

  4. @Dustedoff: Seriously I too cannot accept Kishore Kumar as a hero. And I have been evading his films. This one I chanced upon and liked it for Sadhana. She was so lovely :)

  5. Am I glad I came over and found out that this film is on youtube!
    Thanks for the review Sharmi.
    I've got the time and so I'm going to check it out right now. :)


  6. @Pacifist: Yes thank God it's on YOutibe. For, I do not want to spend money buying films starring Kishore Kumar. And at the same time cant let go of Sadhana films. That way Youtube is a great bet. Enjoy! :)

  7. What a beautiful site.
    Thanks Buddy. Just loved it.