Sunday, May 4, 2008

Yakeen (1969)

A stylish thriller starring Dharmendra, Dharmendra, Sharmila Tagore, a dog, a beautiful red car and loads of thrilling masala!
Dharmendra plays Rajesh, a scientist working on a top secret government research project. The project requires Rajesh's complete involvement to the extent that he isn't able to spend time with his girl friend Rita (Sharmila Tagore). Rita is understandably peeved at the neglect. Rajesh manages to wangle a few days off and woos his girlfriend (should that be re-woos?) to the tune of Yakeen kar lo mujhe mohabbat hai tumse tumse... Rita hears Mohd Rafi's beautiful voice and is properly won over. Rajesh then goes over to Rita's place and formally asks for her hand in marriage from her mother (Kamini Kaushal).

While Rajesh is away, sinister happenings take place at his home. Two strange men arrive at his bungalow with a camera and tell his manservant (Asit Sen) that the bungalow is to be featured in the press and they need to take photographs. While one man engages the servant the other one quickly photographs everything in the bungalow including his collection of photos.
Rajesh returns home a happily engaged man and starts on his research. The super secret "formula" is fast approaching completion and things are at a crucial stage. When he tells his boss, Dr. Sharma about his impending marriage he is told to postpone it as their work cannot wait even a day at this critical juncture. An argument ensues with Rajesh losing his temper and yelling that he will remove any obstacle to his marriage. He storms out but is summoned by Dr. Sharma later in the evening. He enters Dr. Sharma's office only to find the man dead of a bullet wound. He runs out and alerts security but when they re-enter the office there is no trace of the body or any other evidence of crime! There is plenty of alarming background music but the police take no notice of that.
Unable to convince anybody that Dr. Sharma is really dead, a dispirited Rajesh returns home at night only to find a mysterious visitor (David) awaiting him there. The visitor plays a recording of Rajesh's argument with Dr. Sharma and threatens to expose him to the police as Dr. Sharma's killer. His aim: he needs the secret formula that Dr. Sharma was working on. Rajesh angrily refuses and goes to summon help. When he returns, the stranger has disappeared! More alarming music. Sounds more like a Gothic romance than a thriller? Wait, the thrills are coming...
Shortly afterwards Rajesh is arrested for the murder of Dr. Sharma. While in jail, he is summoned by the secret service for questioning and discovers the mysterious stranger is none other than Mr. Roy, head of counter intelligence. The service has a job for him. He is to admit to killing Dr. Sharma and once convicted, the service will arrange his escape from custody making him a fugitive. The killers of Dr. Sharma would naturally approach him for the formula and would be easily caught by the secret service agents who would shadow him. Simple and straightforward, like 2+2=4. Unfortunately the bad guys don't know their place in the story and mess things up.
Rajesh safely escapes from the police and then gets picked up by the bad guys who manage to shake off his shadow. He is now completely at their mercy and imprisoned in their underworld dungeons. Only Rita can penetrate the underworld by pretending to be a dancer of low morals. Unfortunately for Rajesh this is a Sharmila movie, not a Hema-starrer. So a dancing Rita is out. There isn't even an Aruna Irani or Helen to play the sympathetic gangster's moll and help him out. Really Rajesh, you are in a very tight spot! (Correction: Helen is there but only in an item number.)
As if this isn't enough to take the heart out of our hero there is a further complication. The bad guys have a Rajesh look-alike in their possession. Since the look-alike is on the evil side, he has light brown hair and blue eyes. Once Rajesh is safely in their custody, all the look-alike needs is a hair rinse, brown contacts, and Rajesh is a new man! Wait a minute... the look-alike doesn't speak in Dharmendra's voice. Now that is a significant plot twist never tried in double-role movies either before or after. Plus, the bad guys are smart enough to know that plastic surgery cant change voices. A 60's thriller which such true-to-life ideas? This has got to be something special... It gets better - the look-alike disguises his voice by pretending to be dumb. Now, armed with his splendid disguise and information collected earlier, he is ready to take Rajesh's place in the world.
Rajesh is miraculously restored to the world and his beloved. Rita is tearfully grateful for this resurrection and takes advantage of his silence to sing some songs of her own. Everybody accepts the look-alike as Rajesh with one notable exception - his four legged friend. Look-alike doesn't use the same brand of cologne and the dog can smell it! The dog is mysteriously killed. So, are a few others who discover his secret.
All these mysterious deaths rouse Mr. Roy's suspicion. Hmm... sounds like he knows about the double-role formula. A fellow movie-buff, in fact! He asks Rita for help in identifying her beloved. She describes an identifying mark and fake Rajesh is examined for it. Alarming music again - you know the evil-doer is about to be unmasked. Look-alike turns out to have Rajesh's mark on him! You are flabbergasted. Something is terribly wrong. Was there a double switch with Rajesh pretending to be look-alike pretending to be Rajesh? Why is this new Rajesh so reluctant to marry Rita? The bad guys are getting inside information from the service that helps look-alike/Rajesh to sustain the imposture. Who is the traitor? What happens to Rajesh and look-alike? All these mysteries will be solved on the day of Rita and Rajesh's wedding. You are all invited to attend and see the rest of this thrilling adventure.
Dharmendra looks too handsome to be a successful scientist but chic enough to be the Indian 007. Sharmila looks lovely but sadly has little to do but flash her famous dimples. The songs are great, especially Yakeen kar lo mujhe mohabbat hai tumse tumse, Gar tum bhula na doge and Baharon ki baraat aa gayi. The film is full of 60's thriller chic and the best alarming music I've heard in a long time. The story is slick, fast paced and fun - a great one for those long winter evenings or short summer nights...

6 comments:

Shweta Mehrotra Gahlawat said...

A lot of 007 style movies came out in the late 60s- early 70s, and I love each and every one of them :) Easay on the romance, high on campy "technology."
thank u for letting us know about this one- now just gotta track it down!

Bollyviewer said...

You are welcome Shweta. Dharmendra had quite a few of these thrillers. My favorites are Aankhen (1968) and Blackmail (1973) but this one comes close even though it doesnt have a big role for the female lead.

memsaabstory said...

I loved this movie. Dogs rule!

I'm having trouble with Aankhen (have started only to abandon watching it several times) but looove Blackmail too.

Bollyviewer said...

Memsaab, Aankhen has to be one of the smoothest Bollywood action thrillers I've ever seen. It also has the best set of colored lights and radio transmitters. :-) Blackmail was great not just because of the fast paced action, but, also because of its elaborate plot and the romance!

Daddy's Girl said...

This sounds deliciously camp - it's definitely going on my list! I really enjoyed the review.

Bollyviewer said...

Welcome daddy's girl. I'm sure you will enjoy Yakeen. Dharmendra's late 60's and early 70's movies were wonderful and covered a varied range from comedy, drama, action to pure romance and Yakeen has a little bit of all those parts! :-)