I remember watching this movie for the first time on Star Gold when I was in Class XII. Those in India would know that XII means the dreaded board exams (those in US, think SAT, add tonnes of parental and peer pressure, double it, double again if you have an over achieving family, and just for fun double it once more, then you might be close to what Im talking about!!!). It was a sunny morning in the middle of February, and the pre-boards were just over (pre-boards are like jumping from 100 ft, just so you know how it feels before you jump again), and I was expected to be deeply burrowed in my books, except I wasn’t. I was watching this classic of a movie, whose absolutely hilarious sequence between Mehmood, and Om Prakash I had seen on numerous Hindi movie shows, accompanied by Dad’s lavish praise had gotten me hooked. And I wasn’t disappointed. (although got an earful from mom which included her favorite “Watching movies all day…What do you wanna do when you grow up, cut Grass?”…..Yups, I too never got the connection.) Ok, enough arbit, now to the movie.
Pyar Kiye Ja begins with Ashok (a very young and thin Shashi Kapoor) who comes from a poor family, and has a job as an assistant manager at Ramlal’s estate (Om Prakash). Ramlal has two daughters, Malti (Kalpana) and Nirmala (Rajshree, not to be confused with the one in Janwar, this one is from Tollywood!!). It doesn’t take long for Ashok to fall for Rajshree, but before that in true 60’s hero style he completely pisses her off. She has him fired from the estate, and what follows is a hilarious song and dance sequence, where Ashok and a few extras camp in front of Ramlal’s bunglow and protest with the song “Kehne ki nahin baat”, and dance in gay abandon, including elvis-inspired pelvic thrusts.
The song that follows is hilarious, with lyrics like “Ye 420, nai ye 840”, and “Ramlal ye khaye maal”, and both daughters spraying buckets of water on the gang.
Ramlal also has a son Aatma (Mehmood), and all he wants to do is to produce a movie under his Wah-Wah Productions (which Mehmood would later reference in the cult hit Andaz Apna Apna). Aatma already has a heroine Meena (Mumtaz) signed up, and he keeps pestering the miser Ramlal to finance his movie, which leads to some of the funniest moments in the movie. Including my favorite sequence, where Aatma is describing a scary scene from his movie to Ramlal along with his own background music of creaking doors, blowing wind and chudail’s (witch’s) laugh, and their reactions are hysterically funny. The story goes that while filming that scene Mehmood asked OP to give his natural reaction to whatever he is saying, and the take was okayed at first go. I can’t vouch for its authenticity, but that sequence is one of the best in Hindi Cinema.
Eventually Nirmala also falls for Ashok, but all is still not well. Apparently it is easier to patao a pissed off girl, but not so easy with a pissed off father. So, while Ramlal is searching for a millionaire groom for his girls, Ashok calls his millionaire friend for help. Shyam (Kishore Kumar) arrives disguised as Ashok’s rich father, and the greedy Ramlal agrees to the match. Now Shyam is romancing Malti in Bombay, but that doesn’t stop him from hitting on an oblivious Malti dressed as Ashok’s father in a brilliant song “Pyar kiye ja”. Malti obviously is not amused, but more fun ensues, when Shyam’s father Devraj (Chaman Puri) arrives, and it turns out that Ramlal and Devraj are chuddy-buddies, and arrange a match between Shyam and Malti (who still doesn’t know that Shyam and Devraj’ son are the same person). So much happening, along with the Mehmood sub-plot makes for a rollicking ride that culminates in a long climax, as truth tumbles out.
The movie has a lot going for it; crazy performances by both Kishore Kumar, and Shashi Kapoor, a brilliant Om Prakash, and a stand out performance by Mehmood. This has to be Mehmood at his finest. Also Mumtaz was an inspired choice, and she easily outshone the other two leading ladies, who looked too chubby, and too made up. Mumtaz on the other hand was charming, looked like a million bucks, and danced her way to “ai ai o, ai ai oo”.
Songs were another highpoint, not so much because they were classics, but because of their mad choreography, and lyrics. My favourite is “ai ai o”, which is hard to get out of your head inspite of lyrics like “mein bhar ke layi jholi, par chonch na tune kholi jaalima, ai ai o, ai ai ooo”. Somehow, whenever I hear this song I imagine it with Shammi instead of Mehmood doing the shimmy shimmy, and Rafi in the background. Although Mehmood was very funny in this song, but it sounds more like a Shammi-Mumtaz combo hit.
This was a remake of a telugu movie, and was unashamedly copied by David Dhawan for his 1999 hit Haseena Maan Jayegi, which wasn’t a patch on the original. Highly recommended for a lazy weekend afternoon.
Next up Angoor.