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Okay, so, a movie about twins, and the main lead is none other than Mr Dilip Kumar. Ram Aur Shyam is a Dilip Kumar vehicle all the way and even the opening credits say "Dilip Kumar in his first dual role", as if it was an event of sorts. But while you expect something particular from the film, it turns out to be different. First, it is not a complete comedy of errors. Actually, there's more drama in this one than comedy. Towards the end, it even gets a dark tone which I personally did not predict and did not like at all. The comedy does work from time to time, and it's nice to see the turns even though everything is predictable. Ram Aur Shyam is not the only movie of its sort, and many such movies were made later, like Seeta Aur Geeta. Which brings me to the next point and it is the fact that today while watching all these twin movies, comparisons are inevitable. Clearly, the best one of the lot is Seeta Aur Geeta, an all-time great comedy, which had the verve, the light and lively comic mood, the music and the excellence that Ram Aur Shyam lacks. Even Hema Malini's unforgettable performance remains unmatched. Where acting goes, well, as said, this movie was made for Dilip Kumar, and he does well, but it is far from being his best. He is excellent as Shyam, but overdoes the cowardice and the shy nature of Ram. The girls do very well even if one expects to see them disappearing under his shadow. Waheeda Rehman plays Anjana with grace and conviction, while Mumtaz is wonderful as the street-smart Shanta. The supporting cast do well. The music is very ordinary and forgettable. Ram Aur Shyam is not a bad film and it has its moments of comedy and great fun, but they are limited, and I would rather go and watch Seeta Aur Geeta instead.
Though Dilip Kumar was labelled as the Tragedy King of Hindi cinema, he
was quite skilled in comedy too. Today I am reviewing a movie which is
a showcase of his comic talent. It's a classic movie which became a
pioneer for twins-based stories in Hindi cinema later. This movie is
Ram Aur Shyam (1967) which features Dilip Kumar in contrasting twin
roles - one is a weak, coward and submissive person whereas the other
one (the twin) is a daredevil and smart person. It's the latter which
provided Dilip Kumar an opportunity to make the audience laugh and he
did it with such finesse that till date his performance in this role is
quoted as a classic comic performance.
Ram Aur Shyam is the story of twins who got separated in their childhood and brought up in utterly different environments leading to development of completely opposite personalities of them. Ram (Dilip Kumar) grows up in a rich household which remains under the tyranny of Gajendra (Pran) whereas Shyam (Dilip Kumar in double role) grows up in a village with the affection of Ganga Mausi (Leela Mishra) and the childhood teasings of Shaanta (Mumtaaz). For Ram also, the love of his affectionate sister-in-law - Sulakshana (Nirupa Roy) and niece - Kuku (Baby Farida) is there but they are helpless before Gajendra. Gajendra is greedy too and he decides to marry Ram to Anjana (Waheeda Rehman) who is the daughter of a wealthy man (Nazir Hussain) for the sake of getting a hefty dowry. Now comes the principle twist in the tale which forms the backbone of the story.
Destiny takes Ram to the house of Shyam and vice-versa. Now Ram who has always been getting bashed and humiliated by Gajendra, gets warmth, love and respect too. Shaanta finds his 'Shyam' to have changed into a shy and submissive person and instead of teasing him (as she has always done to the real Shyam), she starts loving him. On the other side, Shyam enters the house of Gajendra as Ram and his daredevil activities prove to be a pleasant surprise for Sulakshana, Kuku and the servants of the house and on the other hand a nightmare for Gajendra whom he bashes like anything. He happens to meet Anjana and her parents and falls in love. Anjana also starts loving him and she is quite happy to be the fiancée of 'Ram'. The reality comes before everyone in the climax and the fact of Ram and Shyam being twins is also known to render a happy ending to the movie.
Ram Aur Shyam was a pioneer movie in Bollywood because it paved the way for follow-ups like Seeta Aur Geeta (1972) starring Hema Malini in lead role, Jaise Ko Taisa (1973) starring Jeetendra in lead role, Chaalbaaz (1989) starring Sridevi in lead role etc., the stuff being the same, i.e., twins separated in childhood and nurtured in entirely different environments to grow up into entirely opposite kind of individuals. However the comedy Dilip Kumar did as Shyam in Ram Aur Shyam could not be repeated by anybody, may it be Hema Malini or Jeeendra or Sridevi. Ram Aur Shyam can be watched any number of times to watch the brilliant comedy presented by the actor who is contradictorily known as the Tragedy King of Indian cinema.
Dilip Kumar is the heart and soul of this movie and he has done well in the submissive role of Ram too. Both the leading ladies alongwith the supporting characters have also done satisfactorily. Nirupa Roy as the sister-in-law of Ram and Baby Farida as her daughter and Ram's niece deserve special mention. Other than Dilip Kumar, if someone has made his presence prominently felt in this movie, it's none other than the most dreaded and notirious baddie of Bollywood cinema - Pran.
Naushad has composed great music for this movie with the beautiful lyrics coming from the pen of Shakeel Badayuni. Two songs are immortal - Aaj Ki Raat Mere Dil Ki Salaami Le Le (Rafi) and Aayi Hain Bahaaren Mitay Zulm-o-Sitam (Rafi, Lata and chorus). Other songs - O Baalam Tere Pyar Ki Thandi Aag Mein Jalte Jalte (Rafi-Asha), Iss Nagari Ki Reet Hai Ulti (Asha-Mahendra Kapoor), Aaj Sakhi Ri More Piya Ghar Aaye (Asha and chorus), Maine Kab Tumse Kaha Tha Ki Mujhe Pyar Karo (Lata), Main Hoon Saaki Tu Hai Sharaabi Sharaabi (Lata) etc. are also good to listen (and to watch as well). Choreography in Aayi Hain Bahaaren Mitay Zulm-o-Sitam is just outstanding and it's a treat to watch this song on the screen.
Technical and production value aspects of the movie are all in order. The length of the movie is nowhere felt while watching because the complete movie is very interesting from beginning to end and at no place even an ounce of boredom has been allowed to creep in.
All in all, Ram Aur Shyam is a highly entertaining movie which should not be missed by either the fans of Dilip Kumar or the movie buffs in general. Those who have seen its remakes like Seeta Aur Geeta, Jaise Ko Taisa or Chaalbaaz should also watch it for getting a different kind of entertainment rendered by the Tragedy King's comic timing.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This movie speaks for itself , why Dilip Kumar is a living legend . A
true blue tragic hero of all the times , capable of portraying an
intense romantic hero as well , like in Madhumati , Dilip has given a
performance of his life time , in a double role , with such intricate
and subtle shades , as if two different actors are playing the lead
Dilip proved to be a role model for all the actors like Amitabh , Shah Rukh , and Manoj Kumar, who studied religiously the style , the mannerisms , body language , and his soft dialog delivery , as well as avoiding loud acting , underplaying the character . Yet , one can say without reservations , or being unfair to others , that Dilip was original , and though critics some times expressed their unhappiness over his mumbling , subdued style of delivering dialogs , in Ram and Shyam , he is exuberant , vibrant , and mischievous , funny , all rolled in one , while in the opposite role , he is extremely shy , nervous , and fearful , traits which Dilip has shown remarkably well . Vaheeda is good in a rich daughter's role , and has shown a good chemistry with her leading man ;
Though the plot line and the obvious dark and white shades are typical of that age of cinema , Pran terrorizes , and fits the bill of a staunch villain.
It's the deft handling of some hilarious scenes by the director , like the one when the crafty fellow eats heartily in a city restaurant and walks away coolly without paying the bill , and the meek fellow gets thrashing as well as deprived of his jacket , because of mistaken identity !
Compared to his contemporaries ,like Dev Anand and Raj , Dilip was not a very good looking hero , in the classical or the traditional standards of handsome or chocolate hero persona ; but his tremendous screen presence , and cultivated naturalness , weigh more than just the looks . Many movies with double roles have followed , but Ram and Shyam will always remain quite unique , a milestone , and a hearty , breezy comedy , with all the necessary ingredients of a block buster in good measures , specially the music score , with memorable numbers , even today , like the birthday song , and the duet of Dilip and Vaheeda , Main Huin Saaki , Tu Hain Sharabi , Sharabi amongst others. A timeless product , which would never go stale .
Ram Aur Shyam is a story about two twins.The movie has got enough amount of comedy scenes compared to any other movies. The climax is superb and it is appreciable.A best family story that cannot be made again in Indian cinema.The songs and the dances are very good.Mumtaz had played her role as a simple village girl who loves anything in this world none other than her lover.Waheeda Rehman excels in a lead role.Pran plays a very tough role in this movie as a cunning man who loves only money in this world.A great family show to be watched by all ages of the people.The story of the movie is a great one to watch it.The song "O BAALAM TERE PYAAR KI THANDI" would be one of the best yesteryear songs in the Hindi cinema
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