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Saturday, 1 January 2011

Rollicking romance (Deya Neya)

 I've had a very juvenile belief since I was really small. I believe that if you do something on the first day of the year, you'll keep doing that for the entire year. So, ever since we were children, I made sure that my parents took me out for goodies at a pastry shop on January 1 every year. I made sure that I wore great clothes on this day when I was an adolescent. I made sure to be happy no matter what on this day, with the hope that happiness will reside in my abode the rest of the year. I made sure not to touch books to the utter displeasure of my parents. I made sure not to sulk over anything. And I made sure of many other things!! Children and their wishful thinking, you see...

Today I made sure that I watched a good film, believing yet again that throughout the year I'll land up with some great old cinematic classics. It's not guaranteed I know, but then one should always make the effort from the beginning of the year!!
Uttam Kumar as a dishy singer is a great bait for a movie maniac any day. Pair him with the pretty Tanuja and you have a winner. Sunil Banrejee's Deya Neya is a rollicking romantic musical with a handful of wonderful songs composed by the very talented Shyamal Mitra. The entire cast is fantastic and the story is absolutely fun and adorable. With so much of goodness packed into one film, I'm sure my luck is secured in terms of films for the rest of the year!
Prashanta Ray (Uttam Kumar) is the only heir of rich industrialist called B K Ray (Kamal Mitra) residing in Lucknow. Prashanta is also a successful radio singer who uses a pseudonym called Abhijit Chowdhury. In the pursuit of his art, Prashanta neglects his father's business much to the ire of the stern man who rubbishes his son's knack for singing. Father and son have an altercation over this and Prashanta leaves his ancestral house and comes to Ashim's (Tarun Kumar) house in Calcutta. On his way, he promises Sukanta (a poet friend who is suffering from tuberculosis) that he will do something so that Sukanta recovers soon and is able to pen poetry again. Prashanta is extremely fond of Sukanta's verses and composes songs off them only. The first composition by Shyamal Mitra is awesome. Sung by Sandhya Mukherjee, E gaaney prajapati has the lift of a romantic ditty and is a refreshing track.
While Prashanta's mother (Chhaya Devi) is upset over being distanced from her son, Prashanta moves in with Ashim and his wife (Lily Chkaraborty). One day, while sauntering about on the streets, he lands up with a freak job of a driver and mechanic (it's really funny how that happens). His employee is a wealthy old man called Amritlal (Pahari Sanyal), who has a niece called Sucharita (Tanuja), a convent educated and haughty young girl. She is a crazy fan of Abhijit Choudhury and is craving for a picture of his. So now, Prashanta has three identities-- Prashanta before Ashim, singer Abhijit Chowdhury before fans (who have never seen him) and Hridoy Horon before Amritlal and Sucharita, who believe him to the father of two kids and an illiterate man. The scenes where Hridoy Horon drives Sucharita and her friend Bishakha (Sumita Sanyal) to college is delightful. Sucharita and Sumita are swooning over Abhijit's singing, while Hridoy is enjoying the adulation from the driver's seat. Imagine what the girls would have done if they were to know that Abhijit himself was now chauffeuring them!!
The comedy is subtle yet so pleasant. Uttam Kumar is dashing and sings some lovely songs. The jugalbandi between Shyamal Mitra and Manabendra Mukherjee (picturised on Tarun Kumar and Uttam Kumar) is a masterpiece. Doley dodul doley jhulona is a brilliant track-- it is frothy, fun and so pleasing to the years. A semi classical song depicting the joys of life and love. Then there is Ami chey chey dekhi sharadin, a track that is immediately uplifts the mood.
Jibon patar proti patay exhibits the mastery of Gouri Prasanna Majumdar with the lyrics. Speaking of the transience of life, this song is to be heard to be believed. The picturisation is also apt. As Prashanta (Abhijit) sings his heart out, Sucharita is falling more and more in love with his voice and him.
She is so much in love with Abhijit that she goes to Ashim's house to get his picture. The moment Prashanta sees her entering the gate, he scoots off for cover because if she sees him in Ashim's house, the game will be over. These little scenes are simply naughty, teasing yet so special.
While the romance is growing by the day, B K Ray wants his son to come back to Lucknow. For that he takes the help from the law. Prashanta has to go undercover and there is a huge ruckus when Hridoy Horon goes missing from Amritlal's house. The countdown to the knowledge of the true identity of Hridoy Horon and Abhijit Chowdhury is exemplary. And in between we have two awesome songs. Arati Mukherjee's Madhobi modhupe holo mitali is freewheeling, chirpy and sweet. Picturised on the very jubilant Tanuja, it is a treat for the senses.
The last song is Gaaney Bhubon bhoriye debo, sung on the stage by Abhijit Chowdhury before a public audience for the first time. It is ethereal in its feel and sublime in its music. A range of emotions is exhibited by the people present on the screen. Tanuja is aghast to see that Hridoy Horon and Abhijit Chowdhury are the same person. B K Ray is stunned to see the talented artist that his son is. Ashim is ecstatic that the function has raised more than the amount required for Sukanta's operation. And Prashanta has mixed feelings. He is doing this stage show for his ailing friend. But, he is also sad that this will be his last song. Since after this he will have to go back to Lucknow with his father who will never recognise his desires. In the lyrics are hidden Prashanta's real emotions...
Deya Neya made in 1963 is said to be one of Uttam Kumar's biggest hit. And that's not for nothing. For the film is immaculate. The cast is superlative (Pahari Sanyal has such a sweet role), the songs are fantastic and the story is so good. The only flaw I think is in the way they show Lucknow. The locations are correct but everyone in Lucknow speaks such chaste Bengali. How on earth is that possible?
But otherwise this is a brilliant film celebrating the chemistry between Bengal's matinee God and a pretty darling. It's peppy, fun and a sureshot moodlifter. A cinematic treat focusing on the powerhouse called Mahanayak...


  1. This sounds SO good! I've had it in my wishlist ever since you recommended it to me, but I've not got around to ordering it yet. I think I'd better, soon.

  2. @Dustedoff: Yes, it's sure bliss. Just go ahead. Order and enjoy :)

  3. That's exactly what I believe/believed in too, though not very strictly of late.
    I saw Aaja Sanam with Feroze Khan and Tanuja on the 1st :)

    It is no patch on this film, I think...Tanuja again.
    I'd love to watch it. Is it on the net? I know itsnot the right way, but there *is* no other convenient way :-(

    So if I can watch it on the net, I'll feel that this year I'll be watching a lot of Tanuja (which isn't bad).

    Thanks for bringing this to light. Being a non bangla person I would never have heard of it.


  4. @Pacifist: I think you'll find this on the internet but it might not have subtitles. Try buying a DVD instead and enjoy it :)

  5. >Try buying a DVD instead and enjoy it :)

    I would if I could, but paying three times or more for shipment is very intimidating. In addition Induna doesn't accept paypal anymore and that's intimidating too ;-)


  6. @Pacifist: Ohh... then i guess you have to make do with the internet :)

  7. Lovely film, lovely songs, fantastic Uttam Kumar, now just try to imagine Rajesh Khanna in Uttam Kumar's role, and Simple Kapadia in Tanuja's role, well I am talking about the terrible Hindi remake by Shakti Samata 'Anurodh'. I did not like the Hindi songs either particularly after almost growing up on the Bengali songs.

  8. @Shilpi: Ohh is that so??? I think I'm better off without seeing the Hindi version. For, the Bengali original is immaculate :)

  9. ohhh...i absolutely love the film. can watch it over and over fact i have! the songs are superb. the uttam-tanuja chemistry is so hilarious yet real :)

  10. @Debarati: Omigish.. what a surprise to see you here. But welcome welcome.
    Yes, this is one of my favourite Uttam Kumar films. It's funny, sensitive and has a feel good factor. The songs are awesome :) Thanks for the comment and keep reading :)

  11. I'm looking for this one. Hope to find it soon.

    Its really nice that you're revewing a lot of old Bangla movies lately. It helps us to know about some great movies and add to our collection too :)

  12. @Roshmi: Hope you get it soon. For, this one is simply delectable :)

  13. @ Sharmi: How is the movie Prathom Kadam Phool? Had watched it long back and hardly remember anything :(

  14. @Roshmi: I'm not sure whether I've seen it. But it does sound familiar. Will catch up on that soon.

  15. There's a funny story about Dole Dodul Doley...
    Shyamal Mitra was singing for Uttam, the singing hero, and Manabendra for Tarun, who was basically the archetypal 'hero's-friend'. So Manabendra was asked to sing not-too-well... at least not as well as Shyamal Mitra.
    Thank god he didn't listen, do check out how Shyamal's mellifluous vocals merge with Manabendra's classical touches.

    Also do check out Uttam and Tarun's scenes... the acting is so natural that it almost seems that the two brothers are having an 'adda' at the family home.

  16. @Spamsport: Wow cool trivia. Thanks a ton for sharing it :)

  17. Wonderful review, well done. Completely agree with the review. Friends also see Rajkanya another Sunil Bannerjee and Uttak Kumar masterpiece. Another favorite of mine is Chadmabeshi with Uttam Kumar proving himself to be a master comedian...