7.4/10
152
4 user 1 critic

Leader (1964)

| Comedy, Romance, Thriller
Meet Vijay Khanna, educated law graduate; publisher of "Leader"; mischief monger; trouble-maker; maker of revolutionary and hilarious speeches; contemptuous of politicians; attracted to the... See full summary »

Director:

(as Ram Mukerji)

Writers:

(story), (additional dialogue) | 3 more credits »
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1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Vijay Khanna
...
Princess Sunita (as Vyjayantimala)
Jayant ...
Diwan Mahendranath
Nasir Hussain ...
Mr. Khanna (as Nazir Husain)
D.K. Sapru ...
King of Shah Garh (as Sapru)
Hiralal ...
Kharga - killer
Jankidas ...
Mr. Ghatak
P. Kailash
Jagdish Sethi
...
Mrs. Khanna (as Leela Misra)
Merlyn ...
(as Merilyn)
...
Acharya
Ram Avtar ...
(as Ravavtar)
Mirza Musharraf
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Storyline

Meet Vijay Khanna, educated law graduate; publisher of "Leader"; mischief monger; trouble-maker; maker of revolutionary and hilarious speeches; contemptuous of politicians; attracted to the princess of Shah Garh, Sunita; masquerades as the son of an industrialist; and who is wanted by the police for the brutal and daring murder of one of India's leading politicians'. Written by rAjOo (gunwanti@hotmail.com)

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(Eastmancolor)
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"Ek Shaneesh" by Das Racist sampled the song "Ek Shahenshah Ne Banwa Ke Hansee ". See more »

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User Reviews

Classic and classy
2 June 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Something grand and almost royal, surfaces in films from the 1950s and 60s. They are a refreshing look back in time. The lack of "oversexed" plots, slower shots, and relaxed pace, are some of the things that make them great IMO.

This is one of those films...like most Hindi films, there are so many characters and stories going on all at once (Note: probably needs this to fill 3 hours). We see the main character, Vijay Khanna, a wiley, fun-loving law student with idealist aims but a somewhat cowardly heart, become transformed into a man who will become a great politician someday. In Hindi films, character development happens so often through plot and a character's conduct rather than through dialogue...so different than Western films usually.

We imagine that Khanna learned the courage and bravery he needs to be a "hero" for India as he is enmeshed and then untangles himself from a dark and violent political subplot he gets caught up in unexpectedly. The green young idealist becomes a veteran-hero whose risked his life for love, and justice, albeit not necessarily because he wanted to but circumstances made it so.

We also see a bit of this development in the heroine, Sunita, a young and innocent princess living a fairytale life, who alongside Vijay becomes involved in the violence and corruption.

The two undergo trials both as a couple in their commitment towards each other, and in saving their own lifes from the political-criminals who are after them. By the end, their love is forged into something much stronger than superficial beauty and physical attraction, as we hope is Vijay's respect for the work of past leaders of the country, and his commitment to continue their fight against injustice, or in the present times, against corruption.

The picture we see of the masses in India was complicated. Their vote seems so important to politicians, but we see how uninformed and easily swayed the masses are, and how corrupt politicians are there. It was an uneasy picture. The film also exposes concepts of mob justice or mentality in India, of community justice or vigilantism occurring in India as well.

Lastly, we see a dedicated father and mother in Vijay's family who on the one hand, curse their son's immaturity early on, but will go to any lengths to save him from the trouble he becomes involved in. Family loyalty has a hand in saving our hero...

These are things I saw when digging deeper into the film, but the seriousness is balanced against comedic moments, and songs and dance scenes found in Bollywood films. It embraces multiple genres: a political thriller, a romance comedy, and an action film.

You can expect to see great sets like a grand ballroom (and other beautifully recreated rooms inside and outside a palace), a torture scene in a medieval dungeon, and scenes filmed on-site at memorable locations in India the best one for me being the Taj Mahal love scene. The sets are very creative and wide-ranging, and entertaining.

So if you're a Westerner like me, be prepared to put aside any expectation of realism in this film, don't hope to watch anything similar to a Western film, let go of any aversion you have to melo-drama, any desire for plausibility, and finally, remember the film is about 50 years old. If you can do that, the film should be entertaining.

(Be prepared for those tinny sound tracks from old movies as well ;-)


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