Saira Banu is bent on spoiling my weekend! This is the second bad movie (the last one was Pocketmaar) I watched this weekend and it again had Saira, this time paired with Joy Mukerji. There were some compensations to watching this movie though. Apart from some lovely songs it had a very young Sanjeev Kumar and a very young MacMohan - the latter was for once playing a nice character with no overtones of shadiness.Rakesh (Joy Mukerji) and his two friends Mac (MacMohan) and friend no. 2 (Manavendranath) are desperate to save their friend Hari (Sanjeev Kumar). Hari is intent on killing himself because his beloved Asha (Madhvi) wants nothing to do with a poor guy like him. Rakesh pretends to be a rich friend of Hari's and works on Shalini (Saira Banu) - Asha's friend - to convince her that he can help Hari become rich. The friends have to use deception and cajolery to coax money out of a moneylender and for this Mac performs a strip-tease to the song - Yeh jhuki jhuki jhuki nigaahein teri. It sounds a bit risque but turns out to be really great!
Shalini is won over by Rakesh's moneyed charm and persuades Asha to capitulate. While all this is going on, of course, Shalini and Rakesh fall in love. They sing lovely duets (Tum akele to kabhi baag mein jaaya na karo) when the villain of the piece arrives in the form of Raja Rishikesh (Shyam Chatterji). Rishikesh is a rich man with pronounced Hindutva leanings - he wont countenance anything that isn't truly "Bhaartiya Sanskriti" (Indian culture) and objects to singing and dancing in nightclubs. He is also the man who lent Shalini's late father Rs. 20,000, and now means to collect the debt by marrying her. Shalini asks her rich boyfriend for the money to free her from the debt. Rakesh has to confess that he is a poor man pretending to be rich. Shalini isnt convinced by his new poverty and thinks he doesn't love her enough to help her financially. A lot of heartbreak, emotional storms and accidents follow.
Shalini is taken to Europe by her rich cavalier who is willing to forgo Bhaartiya Sabhyata (Indian civilization) for the comforts of the decadent west. She develops a heart condition that requires immediate surgery - talk about hearts wounded by love! Rakesh's friends club together enough money to enable him to follow Shalini to Europe. Cue for emotional drama and sad songs all over Europe. The story eventually culminates in a - guess what - Bull Fight! Yup, Rakesh turns Matador to prove his love - and his love is eventually satisfied.
The movie - in common with Pocketmaar - has all the makings of an interesting story but the dialogues reduce it to a cliche-ridden blot on the cinema horizon. One has to give it an A for trying, though. Joy Mukerji and Saira Banu look beautiful and are completely wooden - in keeping with their cliched dialogues and situations. Sanjeev Kumar looks really smart and slim - hard to believe that within a decade he would look like a patriarchal figure! Funnily enough, he is billed as Sanjay in the cast. It was really fun to watch MacMohan (the cast calls him Brijmohan) do a character role and boy, can the guy dance! I dont recall ever seeing him play anything but dubious, villainous characters. The songs are plentiful and lovely. Usha Khanna's music and Rajinder Krishan's lyrics make for gems like the aforementioned Yeh jhuki jhuki jhuki, Tum akele to kabhi, plus Aao pyaar karen, Meri dastaan mujhe hi, Jahan tu hai, Dilbar dilbar o dilbar and Dil ke aaine mein.
Watch it for the lovely songs and beautiful people but be prepared to be bored to tears!