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Monday, 18 April 2011

When the past haunts (Humjoli)

I am not too fond of Jeetendra. Rather, I cannot brook Jeetendra. I think that he being called "The Jumping Jack" is no exaggeration. I think his acting is flawed, he is not much of a looker and his style sense is horrendous. So what brought me to watch Humjoli, a film that where Jeetendra plays the male lead? Well, if I am to be honest, I watched it not for the jumping jack (and how true this film proved him to be!), but for the histrionics of Leena Chandravarkar, whose films I'm yet to explore in totality, for Pran, who plays a repenting villain and for Mehmood, a guy who pulls all the stops when it comes to ribtickling comedy.

Ramanna's 1970 film is a family drama. And it is quite a surprise that Laxmikant Pyarelal composes a very different and youthful score for this one. It does not contain the drab monotone of their otherwise much celebrated songs. While Dhal gaya din is infectious in its unique beats, Haye rey haye is sexy, seductive and memorable. Tick tick tick is just awesome. Picturised on Mumtaz, the glam doll, it is catchy and racy. Sure winner of an item number. The picturisation of these two romantic numbers are quite great too. But, then when that song, One two three starts, I feel like hiding under a chair. Not for the banal lyrics and boring music. It is for the horrible picturisation featuring a semi-clad Mehmood and Jeetendra. Ramanna could have definitely refrained from such slaughter of the senses.
A villager called Gopal (Pran) loves Shyama (Shashikala) and wants to marry her one day. But he is waiting to earn some money so that he can grant a good life to his beloved. One day he goes to the city and has an opportunity to pocket a huge property by marrying the plain looking Rupa. He quickly grabs the opportunity and becomes the owner of a huge property. But Pran being Pran, he cannot love Rupa. At the first chance he bumps her off so that he can marry Shyama. He also hides from his new wife that he already has a daughter from his previous marriage. He arranges for Ranibala to be taken care of by someone else and later she grows up in a hostel. With time though Gopal is thoroughly swept with guilt and remorse and repents over his past deeds. He also loves Ranibala (Leena Chandravarkar) very much and suffers from the way he has muddled up his life. Ranibala too loves her father and though she cannot fathom why she cannot go and live with him in his house, she readily agrees to staying away from him if that keeps him happy. So Gopal arranges for her to stay at a bungalow where he comes are meets her every single day.
But Ranibala is upset over the fact that she has to stay away from her father. So Gopal suggests that she work for him in his office provided she calls him 'Sir' there. Ranibala accepts the proposal. There she helps Rajesh (Jeetendra) to get a job as she knew him from before and is saddened by his sudden dismal state of affairs. Rajesh is also her friend, Shobha's brother. Slowly, the two grow close and profess their love for each other. This is not a good thing for Manmohan (Manmohan), a leech in Gopal's office, as he too is vying for Ranibala's attention and affection. He keeps complaining to Gopal about Rajesh but to no avail.
At home, Gopal is suffocated by the vicious fumes emanating from his wife's relatives' presence. They are mere parasites and fool Shyama into believing that Gopal has not been true to her. This is just a way of showing that the past catches up with Gopal in the form of his nasty in-laws and very soon life becomes too complicated for him. He has to risk his daughter's happiness and play to the tune of Manmohan and his wicked uncle. It only is a matter of time till the web of deceit closes in on him and he has to pay a heavy price for the murder he committed years back...
I will not waste space on Jeetendra. I repeat I do not like him. His acting is just about ordinary. His dances are mere jumps. He does not look good and his voice is too husky to like.
Leena Chandravarkar is so pretty and perky here and she does have an awesome frame. She acts well, dances very well and expresses her emotions darn too well. The character of Ranibala is strong, independant and feisty. Only when she breaks down seeing her lover rock and roll with a cabaret dancer, I find a flaw in her personality. Why can't she confirm first? Why does she have to jump into conclusions? But otherwise Ranibala was good. She fought for her rights, she stood up for what is right and she even taught Manmohan a lesson. That's what good heroines do!!
A large part of the film is centered on the comic subplot of Shivram, his father, grandfather and Shobha (Aruna Irani). And they sure are one hell of a lot. Shobha is still tepid. But it is the histrionics of Mehmood that brings the house down. watch Mehmood in a rollicking triple role and you'd know what I'm talking about. While the father is a parody on the wimpy side of Raj Kapoor, the grandfather is a hollering copy of Pritviraj Kapoor. God, they were just too funny all together. Seeing them, you realise that good comedy needn't necessarily border on slapstick or bawdy. Frothy, light and cracking is the effect when Mehmood comes on screen. And I so love him for doing what he does!!!


  1. @Sharmi: I remember Mehmood parodying Raj Kapoor and Prithviraj Kapoor in this movie. It was funny. I fully agree with you about your take on Jeetendra :)

  2. @Sreenath: thank god!! at least someone feels the same!!

  3. I remember watching this one 3-4 times a few years back. But I could never watch the whole movie in one go. However, I do remember Mehmood's take on Raj Kapoor and Prithviraj Kapoor and Aruna Irani as his jealous wife. I only like the "Dhal gaya din..." song from whatever I have seen till now!

  4. Somehow I found Mehmood very irritating in this film, especially in his avatars as the father and the grandfather. But yes, Leena Chandavarkar was great, and Mumtaz - as always - fabulous, even though she was onscreen only for those few minutes!

    By the way, what was that kabaddi song towards the beginning of the film? I liked that too, it was kinda cute.

  5. @Punya: Don't you remember haye re haye? That was nice too :)

  6. @Dustedoff: I think it's called Hu Tu Tu. Ya it was kind of action-packed :)

  7. @Sharmi - No I don't! But seeing ur enthu, I think will check it out on youtube. :)

  8. @Punya: I think you can give it a shot just for Leena Chandravarkar :)

  9. Wasn't Mehmood hilarious in this film?

  10. @Shilpi: Oh yes he was!! I believe he was a comedian of great calibre!!

  11. tHIS IS A TRUE CASE OF ONE MAN'S FOOD BEING ANOTHER'S POISON, jEETENDRA MIGHT NOT BE THE BEST OF ACTORS BUT i JUST LOVE HIS ENERGY, IN FACT I'M NOT A BIG FAN OF ACTORS in the sense of the word per se, i just love people who have an energy and enjoy or have a blast on screen and i get that a lot from him. Plus again in my taste i find he had a very cute almost boyish face in a lot of his ealrier films, I'd class him as good looking though some of his clothing in Humjoli especially the white badminton outfit wasn't flattering at all, but he looked handsome in this tonic suit.
    Overall i loved Humjoli as fun film

  12. @Bollywooddeewana: Yes, Humjoli was definitely a funny film. Maybe I'm partial, but there is something about Jeetendra that has been irking me for long :(

  13. I am neutral to Jeetu. I am neither extremely fond of him nor I hate him. I enjoy watching his films and songs. In fact, I even find him cute.
    One of his songs that I recently watched and totally adored him was - Dil ki kitaab kori hai. I liked Rakhee as well in it, for a change.
    I had seen Humjoli couple of times during my school days. That reminds me it's been so long since I saw it again.
    I like the songs - Dhal gaya din, Haye re haye, Tik tik...all of them are catchy and nice in their own way.
    I totally agree to you on Leena's character. She was sweet, expressive and feisty. But the hero dancing with a cabaret dancer led to a breakup...what an idea na?
    And I have to admit that I had found Mehmood rather irritating in the Kapoor generations triple role. Don't know if I would change my opinion on that if I watch the movie now.

  14. @Sunheriyaadein: May be you would! He was so utterly hilarious :)