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6 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

a Dacoit drama taking off from Hollywood Gangster films like Manhattan Melodrama (1934)

10/10
Author: Yellow_Spider from Belgium
31 March 2005

The film is a story of two bothers on opposite sides of the law, Ganga (Dilip Kumar) and Jamuna (Nasir Khan). Having been framed for a crime he did not commit by a Zamindar (Anwar Hussain), Ganga becomes a criminal living in the mountains with his girlfriend, Dhanno (Vyjayantimala). Jamuna, educated on Ganga's money in the city, becomes an upright police officer. When years later Ganga is about to become a father, he decides to return to the village but has to face his brother who shoots him down in the name of duty. Dhanno also dies in the gun battle.Ganga Jamuna is a Dacoit drama taking off from Hollywood Gangster films like Manhattan Melodrama (1934), and pioneered a widely copied action formula of two brothers on opposite sides of the law, most notably in Deewaar (1975). The most significant departure from the Hollywood stories is that the two protagonists here are brothers rather than buddies like in Manhattan Melodrama or kids who have grown up in the same block like Angels with Dirty Faces (1938) and what's more real life brothers Dilip Kumar and Nasir Khan play the protagonists! And like most of the films of this type, the focus and sympathy is totally on the good man who is forced by circumstances to turn bad. But having taken up a life of crime, his redemption, in spite of all that he has gone through, comes only with his death.

Directed by New Theatres old-timer Nitin Bose (though supposedly ghost-directed by Dilip Kumar), Ganga Jamuna is a well-structured and briskly paced film and was notable of the use of Bhojpuri dialect, which helps make the film refreshingly real and gives it a proper locale and geography. The performances by lead artistes Dilip Kumar and Vyjayantimala are faultless and full marks to the latter who in spite of her South Indian upbringing speaks the Bhojpuri dialect flawlessly. While Vyjayantimala deservedly won the Filmfare Award that year for Best Actress, shockingly Dilip Kumar lost out to Raj Kapoor for the Best Actor award, which the latter won for his production Jis Desh Mein Ganga Behti Hai (1960).

The lyrics of the film also make use of the Bhojpuri flavor and Naushad's earthy music naturally does its work to enhance the film without thrusting itself too obtrusively on the attention of the audience. Nain Lad Gayin re (sung by Mohd. Rafi), Do Hanson Ka Joda and Dhoono Dhoondo re Saajna (both sung by Lata Mangeshkar) are particularly well tuned and were popular hits.

Ganga Jamuna is one of the few Indian films that enjoy legendary cult status and runs to packed houses even when released today.

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

An emotion filled drama

8/10
Author: kramachandran from United States
7 May 2008

This movie was a block buster when it got released in 1961. Dilip and Vyjanthi reached dizzy heights . This movie came in quick succession after "Madhumati" another mega hit starring the same pair Dilip - Vyjanthi.

Curiously and interestingly , I , a movie buff, missed out on watching this movie for so long, though I have a heard a lot about it. Somehow that did not happen so far. Thus in my mind a kind of mysterious aura got built around this movie , and this movie was high on my list of to be watched movies. This is the first time I watched this movie and my expectations were not totally belied. This movie is a trend setter of sorts because in my opinion it has the right amount of masala, melodrama and whatever else that defines a Bollywood masala. This trend continued well into seventies and eighties , and ensured a fail-safe formula for hits. For instance movies like Deewaar, Amar Akbar Anthony etc that defined Amitabh had essentially the same theme of two brothers on the opposite sides of law. One driven by circumstance takes to crime and the other again driven by similar circumstances takes the side of law and a clash becomes inevitable.

The movie is made very well, considering the fact that the resources available for making such movies in those days were very limited . The technical stuff of this movie is quite beyond it's times like photography , lighting effect etc.

The movie's background score by the legendary Naushad, absolutely blows your mind and adds to the thrill. Now coming to the acting part, Dilip is too good and plays the role of Ganga very realistically, sometimes though he tends to overact. The role of Jamuna is played fairly OK by Nasir Khan as I find his face lacking in expression sometimes. But somehow Nasir manages to lend a quiet dignity to his role. Vyjanthi scores , throughout the movie as her role as Dhanno also is tailor-made for histrionics. The pair Dilip- Vyjanthi really hit it off together. Direction by Nitin Bose is commendable.

One disconcerting aspect of the movie though are the songs. They pop up when least expected and least wanted. The songs are one too many and very distracting to the main plot. But others may have a different view altogether about this. The songs are by themselves are OK but bursting into the movie in the most unwelcome moments and junctures. Iam compelled to deduct a star on this count alone.

Well in one word : This movie defined the phrase " time pass masala " in Bollywood's context.

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Ultimate Classic and a source for DEEWAAR

8/10
Author: silvan-desouza from India
12 September 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Dilip Kumar is one of the finest actors Bollywood ever produced GUNGA JAMUNA is a superb film, it tells a story of 2 brothers who end up at the other sides of law. It starts with Dilip Kumar who with his mother are servants in a rich persons house,after being wrongly accused for a robbery, his mother dies leaving with him a younger brother and slowly Dilip Kumar turns into a criminal while his brother becomes an inspector. DEEWAAR has shades of this classic treated in a different manner, This film is set in a rural district where landlords call the shorts, The film is well handled and the Bhojpuri dialect suits well. The pace is at times slow but it works for a 60's production. The film has several great scenes. The scenes between DK and Vyajantimala are too good, also between the brothers and the finale is well handled

Direction is superb, there were rumours that the film was ghost directed by DK Music is good

Dilip Kumar is simply outstanding in his role, he plays Gunga superbly Vyajantimala is good too, Nasir Khan(Dk's real brother) is a bit raw but leaves a mark, Azra is okay as Kamla Anwar Hussain is good as the villain, rest are all good Don't miss young Aruna Irani as young Kamla.

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Power Packed Performances

8/10
Author: Mayank Singh from India
6 June 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Ganga Jamuna released in 1961 was one of the first movies to popularize the theme of two brothers on opposite side of law, something was later used in films such as Deewar. Dilip Kumar as Ganga delivers one of his most powerful performances. Vyjantimala too shines. The use of local dialect(Bhojpuri) also enhances the experience of the film. The little letdown was Nasir Khan(Jamuna).The film is briskly faced and never it feels sloppy or slow. "Ganga" is framed for a crime by the local zaminder. He is forced by circumstances to go to the mountains where he becomes a dacoit whereas his brother becomes a police officer. What happens when they come in conflict to each other form the basis of the film. The cinematography of the film is well done. Some of the songs were good, but they had the uncanny habit of popping out anywhere, something which I disliked. All in all, a great film and must be watched.

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Clash of civilizations

10/10
Author: CK_Dexter_Haven from India
26 April 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Gunga Jumna is a great film. One of the finest films to come out of Bollywood. A profound, yet poignant cogitation on the inevitable yet painful march of civilizational progress. A scathing yet sympathetic criticism of Oriental country life - its dirt, its poverty, its intellectual vacuity, its tribalism and most importantly its poor grasp of morality.

The movie plot is hackneyed as it deals with the clash between two brothers who love each other and yet are so very different from each other. But the ideas behind the hackneyed storyline are immortal and perennially relevant. As long as humanity survives people will still need to grapple with seemingly insoluble dichotomies. Dichotomies like civilization vs barbarism, reason vs emotion, short-termism vs long-termism, individualism vs tribalism.

Movies like Gunga Jumna will continue to guide humanity with their immaculate sense of morality and faith in western values amidst all the short-term pain and wild emotion engendered by civilizational clashes.

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Ganga-Jumna is a world-class Indian film classic

Author: khullamkhulla from India
16 July 2012

The songs in the film are part of the story. For instance the song 'dhoondho, dhoondho re sajna more kaan ka bala' is a sensuous one, that narrates how the heroine lost her virginity on the first night of her wedding. Take any of the songs, none are out of place, and all compliment their respective situations beautifully. They are shot, choreographed, and performed excellently. Camera work of the film is world class, and so is the sound design. Bollywood films of today, touted as technically superior, cannot match the sensibility and detailing of this one on various technical parameters. I wish we would have had more respect for our mainstream cinema and had not run down our cinematic tradition of using songs and dances and our lyrical romanticism.

Ganga Jumna is truly a world-class film and its characterization is real and the film represented its time and place more realistically than the Bollywood films of today that are seemingly set in India but have very little to do with Indian reality. It is a great entertainer and it also delivers important and relevant messages. This is one of the few films that even showcases that even dacoits followed certain moral code. In one of the scenes when Ganga hits Dhanno, the other dacoits castigate him for hitting a woman. Had the film been marketed well worldwide, it could have won the applause and approval of cinema lovers and aficianados all over the world for its cinematic qualities. While we are celebrating 100 years of Indian cinema, this film is worth our remembrance.

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Gunga Jumna(1961)

10/10
Author: iftikharkhokher from Denmark
11 February 2008

The best film ever of Dilip and Vyjantimala.These two took acting to unprecedented realms in this great movie.Script,music,photography,editing....all the aspects that make a movie are near perfect.Only weak point would be Nasir Khan who is badly mis-casted as the younger brother but it seems that his presence brings such impact from Dilip Kumar that one is left awe-strucked.The story is perhaps not new but it is the realism of the film that attracts the mind.Who will forget the scene of the dying Dhano with Gunga imploring her not to leave him alone in the world.You feel how much she means to him as if the drama was being played right in front of you instead of on the screen.Magnificent!Similarly the scene where Gunga see off his brother at the railway station is too good to be true.The supporting cast is marvelous.Anwar Hussain gives an excellent performance as well as Kaniyalal and Sohrab Modi in a cameo role.And what to say of the music? You have to see the film to really enjoy it because it is made for it.A milestone in the Indian film history.

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