(1961)

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7/10
Pleasant melodrama
Gary17045923 June 2014
It begins with soldier Ramu (Balraj Sahni) entrusting pilot Ratan (Manoj Kumar) to deliver to his sister a valuable box containing the solution to all of her problems. Ratan to his disgrace loses the address, falls in love with, marries, has a child, and is forced to leave her niece Ratna (Mala Sinha). Meanwhile Ramu is searching for Ratna for atonement, now under a new name and new life of Chanda, and Ratan for vengeance – and guess what? There's much more, that's what. Through a chance meeting with Rasik (Johnny Walker) the rather complicated circles are eventually joined, and in a messy rush at the finish. But Lord, what a mess it is when Destiny plays games with you! However, the heart of Ratna remains as constant as the vermillion on Chanda's forehead.

There's a few lovely songs from Rafi and Lata in here and some pretty photography – and Mala was a sight for sore eyes as usual too, but ultimately I thought the film was just too talky, and brimful of stiff melodrama too to be first rate. It's one thing Mala looking so seriously radiant and iconic, but Manoj Kumar looked impossibly young for such a role. Mad professor Johnny Walker plays an "artist", but one given a talent of over-exuberance and without any sense of rhythm, naturally. However, the middle-aged Sahni was by far the best actor in here, and in perhaps the most interesting role. The editing on the Zee film copy I've just seen is terrible, and a few songs even have their ends butchered - my favourites by Lata being Jo Main Chhoti but especially Kajraa Na Dekhe which was set in a quite wonderful garden. Overall, a very pleasant couple of hours but nothing particularly special.
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