Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Kinare Kinare (1963)

Dev Anand and Meena Kumari? Really?!! Even after seeing this video on youtube, I couldnt really believe those two were in a film together. A quick search on imdb, however, revealed not one but FOUR movies where they are credited together! Clearly, they werent a hit pair as I hadnt heard of any of their films (this one included) before. Well, I was determined to hunt this one down and happily, I did! As it turns out, its worth watching more for historical reasons (Chetan Anand, Dev Anand and Meena Kumari in the same film!) than any real entertainment value.


Puran (Chetan Anand) saves Neelu (Meena Kumari) and her father Bhairavdas (actor unknown) from the mobs during the Partition riots of 1947. Bhairavdas is appropriately grateful and interested in Puran as prospective husband for Neelu. Unlike a traditional Dad though, he leaves the decision up to Neelu. She takes her time deciding, while Puran holds soulful communication with her portrait.
Enter a romantically good looking and smooth-talking, Kamal (Dev Anand with his famous puff!). He is found injured on the road by Neelu who helps nurse him and (of course!) falls for him like nine-pins. Poor Puran! He reluctantly relinquishes all hopes of gaining Neelu’s affections. Kamal’s convalescence proceeds fairly rapidly and within no time he is helping Bhairavdas with his farm, while still finding time to romance Neelu and tell her about his wanderlust.
Puran and Kamal arent the only ones interested in Neelu. There is a third candidate for her hand, Manohar/Shamsher Singh (he’s addressd by both names!) who isnt as ready to let go of Neelu’s hand as Puran is. He takes the trouble to engineer a few attempted murders of Kamal. Unfortunately, Manohar/Shamsher isnt quite as gifted in the brain department as your average villain is. Kamal escapes unscathed each time, with minimum of pother! Bhairavdas finally decides to call in the cops, even though Kamal protests strongly against it.
Kamal’s reluctance for police company and his wanderlust, both, are explained the next day. He leaves town, leaving behind a letter for Neelu that Puran finds. In the letter, he explains that he is an escaped convict. He once jumped in to save a girl’s izzat, and ended up being convicted of murdering the would-be-rapist as the saved girl didnt stick around to thank him. Puran, in his immense love for Neelu, decides to hide these facts from her (?!!). He tells Neelu that Kamal is gone for good. For good measure, he also adds that he destroyed Kamal’s last communication to her. I assume this is because he had to give her cause to hate him – else how could he be the tortured soul, the one hated by his beloved?
Of course, the trauma-drama isnt over yet. Kamal goes off to Bombay and once again acts as a crime stopper. He saves a Sethji and his female companion from being robbed. For once, his good-hearted intervention is rewarded. The Sethji offers him a job in his business and a plush pad in South Bombay. The fly in the ointment is the female companion – Usha (imdb suggests Kammo, but I am not sure who she is) - who develops a crush on Kamal and does her best to seduce him. Our doughty hero is of course, steadfast in his love. He refuses to be enticed, much to Usha’s fury.
Neelu in the meantime, has developed a heart condition that can be fatal, and is brought to Bombay for treatment. According to the laws of filmi-coincidences, Puran and Kamal run into each other and soon, Kamal is re-united with Neelu. This time though, its for keeps. Neelu flies off to Europe for the magical cure and the two plan to get married as soon as she returns.
Unfortunately for Kamal, he hasnt seen as many movies as I have. Had he seen half as many thrillers as I have (or even read a fraction of the murder mysteries/romances that I’ve read) he wouldnt have put his black past down on paper! He’d have known that incriminating letters always come back to haunt the hero/heroine, and wouldnt have written that letter to Neelu! The letter inevitably falls into the wrong hands. Will it affect his wedding or even his hair puff (which has proved completely accident proof, so far)? Will Puran get more chances for martyrdom? Will I be able to make it through the rest of the movie? The answer to most of these questions is, YES!
The movie was directed and co-written by Chetan Anand, and appears to have been written solely to provide him with an opportunity to play the tortured martyr! But that wasnt the worst of it. The whole movie had a rather disjointed feel to it and the story didnt flow very smoothly. That could be because its the “disc manufacturers’ cut” instead of the more normal “director’s cut”. What cant be blamed on the disc manufacturer though, is how boring the whole film is. It has an interesting plot, but the execution is very poor. There are several unnecessary diversions that could so easily have been cut out. For example, a lot of time is spent initially in lauding Puran’s bravery (he apparently lost his own family because he wanted to save Neelu’s!) and all to explain why he cant directly ask for Neelu’s hand in marriage! This is soon forgotten and never again alluded to. Then there are several cartoonish and inept villains who wouldnt scare a child of two, but have Neelu cringing in Nahiiiiiin-drenched tears. Not only did it stretch my suspension of disbelief to breaking point, it also made me pity Meena Kumari for being stuck in the film!
On the plus side though, there are Dev Anand and Meena Kumari who look lovely together and manage to look pretty convincing as a romantic pair. I wouldnt mind seeing their other pairings, even if the films turn out to be as lack-lustre as this one! The other big plus was the songs. They were rather unevenly distributed and surprisingly, there werent any love-duets. But what was there was great. Chale ja rahe hain, Har aas ashq-baar hai, Teri tasveer bhi tujh jaisi, Jab gham-e-ishq and Der na hogi palchhin ki are all lovely.

36 comments:

  1. Goodness, that "watermark" would ruin my enjoyment of the movie even if the plot deficiencies didn't! Still, Meena-ji looks lovely, right? So it's not a total loss; the poof and she make it a little worthwhile.

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  2. I'm ready to believe the best part of this film is your captions! "Let me puff up your puff" is a new favorite :)

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  3. Ditto ajnabi i was thinking the same thing, they could have been more subtle with their logo, the top left or top right of the screen wouldn't hurt

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  4. Lol i echoed the same sentiment whenever i see Jagdish Raj as a doctor or a character that isn't an upright policemen! Dev and Meena just look lovely in this, though i dunno if i can stand the magical Europe cure!

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  5. ajnabi, the watermark isnt the worst thing about this. The subtitles were hard-coded on the disc and covered the better part of the screen - and they couldnt be read because the watermark cut-off huge chunks of them! But yes, there was compensation in the form of lovely Meena Kumari.

    Beth, in his autobiography, Dev Sahib reportedly detailed his love affair with his puff/pouffant. And it did indeed get puffier with time (I think it was a lot more prominent in Guide) - wonder who was responsible! ;-)

    bollywooddeewana, VCDs, for some reason, have the biggest watermarks, ever. And it doesnt matter where it is placed - a big watermark is always distracting.

    Rum, Jagdish Raj was a career IPS officer, as far as I am concerned. For him to take up another profession is just not right!

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  6. I was going to say the same thing about the watermark!!

    That's true about VCDs though, urgh.

    Dev Anand look soooo handsome!! Wow! Meena Kumari is gorgeous as always.

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  7. I could probably tolerate the boring storyline just to see two such beautiful people together! Meena Kumari looks especially lovely...

    Friends are among the worst when it comes to watermarks. The last film I saw on a Friends VCD had the watermark switching places on the screen every couple of minutes - top right corner, centre bottom, top left corner, and then we repeat the cycle! Moser Baer is perhaps the most discreet when it comes to watermarks.

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  8. Nicki, the watermark is probably there to encourage more DVD buying instead of VCD buying. But some films dont come out on DVD, and we are stuck with watermarked-VCDs. :-( Anyhow, for this one, I was just glad to see the film and the beautiful people in it, watermark and all!

    dustedoff, the moving watermark is a lot worse than the stationary one. At least with the latter, you what part of the screen to avoid, whereas with the former you can see your favorite stars being stalked across the screen!

    Dev+Meena Kumari looked really good here, and so did Chetan Anand (inspite of all his contrived martyrdom)! I want to find the other movies that have Dev + Meena, now.

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  9. For movies you REALLY like and want to remove or at least minimise intrusive watermarks, I'd recommend checking out http://forum.doom9.org/ for advice on how to do this. It's a goldmine of information on how to improve old DVDs. Thanks to one poster there, I had two different releases of Chaudhvin ka Chand used to create a new single copy that was better than either, with better audio, video and subs than either of the source DVDs. It is one of my most treasured possessions.

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  10. The puff in Guide was SO distracting to me! He's rambling on about big spiritual and philosophical questions all while looking like he's rolled his hair around an orange juice can. For someone in such torment, he clearly had a lot of energy left for his hair.

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  11. Thanks for links to the wonderful songs, Bollyviewer. I agree, they're all really quite good. Meena Kumari looks divine, gotta say!

    Wouldn't mind watching this for the cast, as has been noted, although it seems it's best to not risk enjoying the songs any less.

    That bit about gobbling up friends is hilarious.

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  12. maxqnz, thanks for the tip. I will definitely look into it - I've been meaning to take up cleaning up the videos of some of my favorite oldies as a hobby and this can be a great starting point!

    Beth, lol at the orange-juice can. Thats how puffy his puff was! But you should have tried giving him the benefit of doubt - maybe his character's shadiness was being balanced by the uprightness of his hair? Or maybe he was like Tintin - born with a puff?

    theBollywoodFan, unfortunately for me, I cant resist following a good song into its movie. Its led to several disasters, but I never learn!

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  13. I cant resist following a good song into its movie. Its led to several disasters, but I never learn!


    Amen! I think every true filmi fan has loved a silver lining so much they threw good money away on the cloud it came from. Til now, even I only have limits - Jaan Pehchaan Ho will NEVER persuade me to buy Gumnaam, for example. :)

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  14. maxqnz, that would be a great idea for a post and subsequent conversations! I once polled people about the worst movie they had sat through because of one of the stars, directors, choreographers, etc, but I don't think we got to actual songs. Your example is certainly why I rented Gumnaam - and "Chunari Chunari" is why I bought Biwi No. 1, which I think is horrendous but at least also has a few other enjoyable songs.

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  15. "I cant resist following a good song into its movie."

    That sums up my entire Hindi Films watching career!:-) And the worst part is finding out that song that you endured the wretched movie for isn't there!:-( Case in point - Kinare Kinare, which is missing my favorite song from it's soundtrack, Talat's "dekh li teri khuhai.":-(

    Seeing the screencaps of Dev and Meena Kumari reminds me that I need to find "Tamasha" (1952) which came out on VCD not too long ago. Dev Anand once said that Meena Kumari was the most beautiful actress he worked with and after viewing this clip from "Tamasha", I'm inclined to agree.

    http://www.whatsontv.co.uk/youtube/search/tamaasha/video/mTWiQNwAVK4/1

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  16. I cant resist following a good song into its movie. Its led to several disasters, but I never learn!

    The powers of manipulative music! I think 'Anwar' and 'Tashan' finally did it for me. :)

    I've used (and blogged about) the marketing term 'peak of inflated expectations' to assess risk of disappointment in a film, and consequent withdrawal from its soundtrack. The key is probably to realize when one is at the peak, and to consume the other pre-release materials, but then, I'm getting too theoretical with all of this.

    Point is, it's led us all to some major blunders, of course, but we know a soundtrack is really good if we like it even after having seen it in a bad film.

    So...of sheer formality...do you still like the songs from Kinare Kinare, as much as you did before you saw it? :)

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  17. maxqnz, I do own Gumnaam, but its more because I love its other songs so much (especially Gumnaam hai koi and Is duniya mein jeena). And whats more, I inted to watch it, even though I find Manoj Kumar unbearable and I'm not big on Nanda in her colored roles, either! Such is life...

    Beth, thats an excellent idea. I am going to steal your thought and start my own list of horrid movies watched because of lovely songs!

    Shalini, I didnt realise Dekh li teri khudayi was from this film until after I finished watching. So, I was saved the disappointment of not finding it!

    Thanks so much for that Tamasha clip. I've been stuck on youtube, checking out all the Tamasha clips there. Ashok Kumar as villain and Meena Kumari with unrequited passion for Dev Anand! I'd rather it was the other way round (Dev as villain and Dada Mani as the recipient of Meena's affection) but I wont quibble. My quest for Tamasha begins NOW! (O No, neither induna nor Rhythm House has it! Sigh... this is going to need a lot of work)

    theBollywoodFan, I NEVER follow new songs into movies (anything after the 70s is NEW for me!) and rarely take against songs no matter how bad the film is. This film is more boring/uninteresting than actively bad, so yes, I still love the songs. And for the same cast, I'd watch any number of bad ones without complaint! ;-)

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  18. Bollyviewer, re this comment: "I NEVER follow new songs into movies (anything after the 70s is NEW for me!)"

    I agree with the sentiment, but there are some exceptions worth noting. Papa Kehte Hain led me to QSQT, and that was not a bad movie at all, and Wah Wah Ramji was the reason I got HAHK, the sweetest masala overload imaginable. So while I share your sentiment and tend to think Hindi films ceased after about 1982, it's worth being prepared to break the rules occasionally. :)

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  19. See, I am more charitable to Hindi movies! I dont think they stopped making good movies in the 70s, merely good music. And though I like a lot of new music, it just isnt as memorable for me as oldies music is. Besides, with new songs, I never feel curious about the story behind the song, because these songs are usually not integrated into the narrative the way old songs used to be. For e.g. I love the songs of K3G but there is nothing in the songs themselves to make one wonder, why is this character singing such sentiments, wonder what happened between these two characters, etc. The songs for Dev-Meena's Tamasha (linked to, by Shalini in the comments above), however, have me all curious about the movie and wondering why Meena is singing sad songs while Dev looks guilty!

    So, I watch new movies for favorite actors and/or interesting plots, but NOT for songs. I watched QSQT because Aamir-Juhi looked so cute, and HAHK because Madhuri looked gorgeous in Didi tera devar deewana (which I never finished watching because the sweetness threatened to overwhelm me).

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  20. because these songs are usually not integrated into the narrative the way old songs used to be

    EXACTLY! One of my favourite examples of this is Ek tha Gul aur ek thi bulbul (of course, admitting I liked JJPK brands me as the very worst sort of reactionary MCP, but I don't care). Most of my favourite Hindi films of recent years have been song-lite, if not song free, for the reasons you outlined.

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  21. ...because these songs are usually not integrated into the narrative the way old songs used to be.

    True, which is why a bad film (especially from among the older ones; they're plentiful too) with a great soundtrack ruins the soundtrack for me. I think this is because, and this is stating the obvious, good 'soundtracks' aren't separable from the films they're for. Guess the issue could be resolved by treating soundtracks as pop albums :)

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  22. Bollyviewer - If I find "Tamasha" I promise to share. Have already asked friends in India to prove their dosti and locate the video for me.:-0

    As for great songs and the less than wonderful movies that they come from, in general bad movies don't put me off the songs...bad song picturizations do!

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  23. maxqnz, I am sure we all have at some time or the other liked sexist entertainment, be it literature or movies. I used to devour Mills&Boons novels till some years ago - and that is just as sexist as JJPK! I dont think that always means that we are sexists. ;-)

    theBollywoodFan, I am with Shalini on this. Bad films dont turn me off good songs, bad picturisations do. I remember liking a particular track from Dil Se (I think it was Ae ajnabi) a lot, but was totally put off when I saw the video and never liked the song again!

    Shalini, agreed about bad picturisation. A bad video can do waaay more harm than a bad film can!

    As to Tamasha, I hope your friends do prove their dosti! I REALLY want to see it. From the youtube videos it looks like an excellent print too - well worth watching on so many counts!

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  24. I think your views might just explain part of the lack of an outrageously popular pop music scene in India that is entirely independent of film music.

    Interesting you mention Dil Se. I like the music to it, but clearly not as much as I did before I saw the film (although I liked the choreography in most of the songs, to be honest). Inversely, I have often enjoyed soundtracks to some films a lot more after having liked the films!

    Thanks for tolerating my thinking out loud through this thread. It's always good to discuss varying opinions :)

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  25. tBF, interesting discussions are always welcome! As to why there isnt a popular pop music scene in India, I think its getting there. In the 90s after the advent of cable, there was a rash of tastefully done music videos that I liked more for the videos than the songs themselves. So, maybe all of us are so conditioned by filmi music that unless there is a video associated with it, a song just doesnt register so well.

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  26. Sorry to state, but KINARE KINARE was a "Maha Flop" movie which was removed from the main theatre (Imperial Cinema) in Bombay within days (not weeks).

    Songs are good. I like Manna Dey's CHALE JAA RAHE HAIN MUHABBAT KE MAARE...

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  27. Nasir, I am not surprised at that! The movie seems to have sunk without a trace. I only remember hearing the Chale ja rahe hain kinaare kinaare and Dekh li teri khudayi numbers, before.

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  28. I have a DVD of Tamasha. I am not sure how I can share with you guys except parting with it.
    Also, I am 99.9% sure the sophisticated city woman was a last attempt by Meena Kumari's younger sister to act. She was Mehamood's wife, Lucky Ali's mother.

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  29. Anonymous, thats very interesting. I wouldnt have recognised her as Meena Kumari's sister. Why the 0.1% doubt?!! ;-)

    As to sharing Tamasha DVD, one could always copy it.

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  30. funniest review ever. esp about jagdish raj and letter being found and nahinnnn

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  31. Thanks so much, Anonymous#2. Do keep visiting!

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  32. I am just longing to watch this movie. Will find the DVD and time both at the same time some day...

    Oh, Love your captioning.

    CHale ja rahe hein... is the best song.

    Thanks for wonderful commentary,

    Peace,
    Desi Girl

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  33. Thank you, Desi Girl. Finding the DVD, the time AND the mood to watch a film, all at the same time, isn't always easy! Hope you do get to it, soon.

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  34. Hi,
    I want to use one of the pictures with captions (the meaningful conversation with your picture)for a post. Please let me know how can I do it and do you consent it.

    Peace,
    Desi Girl

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  35. Desi Girl, you are welcome to use any of the pictures (just right click on the image and use "save image as") on the blog. If you want to use a picture with my caption, I ask that you credit "Bollyviewer" and "Old is Gold", and link back to my post where you got it from!

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  36. Two songs apparently mentioned as from the film are apparently missing in the film: Dekh li teri khudai by Talat Mahmood who does not even get a look in in the credits along with the others (this song probably is not from this film) and Youtube's correspondets have it wrong. Also it does not sound like Jaidev. the other clearly a Jaidev composition: Man veena ke taar by Lata also doesnot figure in the fiilm though it is credited to the film. Can you please throw some light?

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