Gumnaam (1965)

For anybody who’s been following my idea of ‘linked posts’ – each post connected to the one before, and to the one after – this probably comes as no surprise. And Then There Were None was based on Agatha Christie’s highly popular novel and play; Gumnaam is, in turn, an adaptation of And Then There Were None. Not a completely faithful adaptation, but a vastly entertaining one, as you’ll see if you scroll through the comments on my And Then There Were None post: most of my readers, even if they’ve not seen the Hollywood film, have had something to say about Gumnaam.

So, here are my two paise.

Gumnaam starts off in good, time-honoured crime-riddled way: on a dark night, wealthy Seth Sohanlal, stepping drunkenly out of the Hotel Metropole, is mowed down by a speeding car. He expires right there on the sidewalk, and the scene shifts to a seedy room, overlooking the Metropole. This room is occupied by Khanna (Hiralal), who smirks in a satisfied way to himself. A man – whose face we never get to see – arrives shortly after, and is given a hefty wad of currency notes by Khanna.

Khanna now sets about making a series of phone calls: to a doctor, whom he tells that a medical certificate will have to be made; to a mysterious woman, telling her to send the will to the ‘right place’; and to another man, whom he tells that the will will reach him the next morning; after that it’s his job. In no case do we see whom Khanna is speaking to.
He finally phones Seth Sohanlal’s niece Asha (Nanda), and breaks the news to her. Asha is obviously very fond of her uncle, because she breaks into loud sobs and shrieks…

… which get amplified when she hears the shots at the other end of the line. Someone – another faceless figure, in hat and coat – has entered Khanna’s room and shot him point-blank. Khanna dies, his blood dripping grotesquely onto the receiver of the dangling phone.

Cut to later, this time to the Princes Hotel. Here, in the wake of a very peppy song-and-dance, the MC announces that the winners of the ‘lucky draw’ held earlier that evening are now going to be announced. These fortunate people have won a free fortnight-long trip to an unspecified destination abroad, and will be going in a chartered plane. We now get introduced to these people, one by one. The first is Barrister Rakesh (Pran):

Then a certain Dharamdas (Dhumal – with a name like Dharamdas, you can bet he’s anything but religious, honest and upright)… Kishan (Manmohan), Kitty (Helen):

Dr Acharya (Madan Puri); Madhusudan Sharma (Tarun Bose):

And, finally, someone we’ve encountered before, though she now seems more composed: Asha.
These seven people are, a few days later, in their chartered plane, off for their vacation abroad, when the pilot announces that they’re going to have to make a forced landing. When they do, he comes out of the cockpit to let them know that it’s going to take a couple of hours to set the plane right and take off again. He tells the passengers – and the only flight attendant who is on board, Anand (Manoj Kumar) – that they can go explore the area and stretch their legs a bit.

They do that, only to discover, as soon as their backs are turned, that the pilot’s taken off without them! (He’s been kind enough to dump their bags out, fortunately, so they needn’t wander through the rest of the film in just the one set of boring clothes). They sit around, bemoaning their fate and wondering what to do, until Asha decides to take matters into her own hands and sets off looking for some means of getting out of here.
(Incidentally, though none of the camera shots so far have indicated that the plane ever went over water, it seems they’re on an island. And therefore stranded).

Spookiness happens, now. First, they find themselves being heralded by some unseen female, who, accompanied by odd sounds (crickets? Jackals?) sings an eerie song. Then, after much stumbling through bamboo thickets and whatnot, they finally arrive at a vast and spooky mansion (shades of Madhumati here?)
Inside, lying on the huge dining table, is a figure enshrouded in white. Before their very eyes, it rises – stiff as a poker all the time – and by now most of the group is close to hysteria.

This, however, turns out to be all (seemingly) innocuous: this is a butler (Mehmood), who is in charge of the mansion. In fact, he’s the only one around. He says he’s there to cook and clean and wash for them. And – this is where things start getting even weirder – he knows each of these people by name. It turns out that he has been given a letter (nobody thinks of asking him by whom) listing all of these people. Except Anand.

The butler shows his ‘guests’ up to their rooms, and provides dinner for them. In the course of the meal, they discover that the butler has a diary. This, besides containing a daily expense account, also contains a message, addressed to the entire group. It accuses each of these people of having conspired to kill Seth Sohanlal. It blames them for the seth’s murder, and passes a death sentence on them: they, now, have to pay up, with their own lives.

There’s instant consternation, disbelief, fear – and then the unknown lady starts singing again.
That night, Anand goes on a recce of his fellow guests’ rooms, peering in through the key holes to have a look at what they’re up to. Rakesh appears to have taken a liking to Kitty, and is busy flirting with her – and pleading with her to join him in a drink. He seems to be very fond of drink himself.

The doctor is cradling a bottle of poison in his hands…

And Dharamdas has a fearsome-looking dagger which he slips under his pillow. Anand is caught out in his night-time perambulations by Kishan, but neither says anything to the other, each satisfying himself with a curling lip and a knowing lift of the eyebrow.
The next day passes uneventfully; but at dinnertime, the butler is annoyed when he sees that Kishan hasn’t bothered to come for the meal the butler’s gone through so much effort to prepare.

Following dinner, Anand takes a torch and goes searching for Kishan. Asha accompanies him through the ruins scattered across the island. So there are two of them when they stumble onto Kishan, stabbed to death.

Anand finds a bit of half-smoked cigar next to Kishan’s corpse, but that’s all the clue there is. There is also, next to Kishan, a letter addressed to the group. When they get back to the house, Anand reads it out: it emerges that Kishan was the driver of the car that ran down Seth Sohanlal, and that is why he’s now been killed. A second fact is revealed, this time by Anand: that the dagger used to murder Kishan was none other than the one Dharamdas kept under his pillow.

Everybody immediately corners Dharamdas and tries to get him to confess to Kishan’s killing, but the man pleads his innocence. Nobody believes him. But Dharamdas’s innocence is proved, the very next evening. Anand and Asha have spent their time falling in love (quick work!) and are busy singing a love song in a ruined church when they stumble onto Dharamdas’s strangled (? That’s what the doctor says, later) corpse – and the unseen lady begins another verse of her creepy song.

What is happening? Who is avenging – or so it appears – Seth Sohanlal’s murder? Anand is certain, since the island is deserted, that it is one of them. But who?

What I liked about this film:

The sheer ‘interestingness’ of it all. I’m not a patient person when it comes to watching films at home: though I will sit and watch an entire film, no matter how boring, without pressing Fast Forward (though I may take a lot of breaks in between), and though I have seen Gumnaam plenty of times before, I still watched it all at one go. There is lots of suspense here, and plenty of good entertainment to be had.

More specifically:

The songs. Shankar-Jaikishan, at their best. The title song – played throughout the film, at the spookiest moments – is excellent, but so are Jaan-e-chaman shola badan (though I do wish it had been Asha Bhonsle singing the female part instead of Sharda, whose voice is not among my favourites) and Is duniya mein jeena ho toh: Helen at her best! Another popular Helen song is Hum kaale hain toh kya hua; I’ll have to admit I’m not very fond of that.

And – the best saved for the last: Jaan-pehchaan ho, jeena aasaan ho. Awesome song, awesome Rafi, awesome Laxmi Chhaya, awesome Herman Benjamin, awesome Ted Lyons and his Cubs. Awesome everything. I can understand why this found an appearance in Ghost World.

The cast. Tarun Bose. Pran. Helen. Mehmood: these are my favourites from this film. Tarun Bose because he gets to be a somewhat different character from the usual roles he played. Pran because he is – well, Pran. Mehmood because, as the Hyderabadi butler (with a superb accent, and some delightful dialogues), he’s in one of his best roles – and this from someone who often finds Mehmood very annoying.

And Helen, just because this is one of her best roles, not a film where she just gets to be a pretty vamp who does a good dance and that’s it. She got a Filmfare Award nomination for best supporting actress for her portrayal of Kitty. And if it’s sheer eye candy you want, Helen is deliciously stylish:

While other reviewers think Manoj Kumar and Nanda were bad choices for the lead roles in Gumnaam, I tend to disagree. Nanda’s role, for instance, requires not much more than screeching every time they find a corpse; Helen actually has a more interesting role than hers. Of course, one could argue that that meant not utilising Nanda’s considerable histrionic talent, but it’s not such a bad casting decision, anyway. I would personally have felt more unhappy if an actress I liked more – say, Asha Parekh, or Sadhana – had been relegated to a role as restricted as this one.
And Manoj Kumar, though he was already in patriotic mode (Shaheed was also made in 1965), was good at suspense films. Remember Woh Kaun Thi? Remember Anita? Poonam ki Raat? Saajan? All good films (okay, nearly all – Poonam ki Raat can be exempted), and with plenty of suspense. This genre was right up his street.

One last plus point: Gumnaam has what I listed as one of the ten most memorable scenes in classic Hindi cinema.

What I didn’t like:

The holes galore in the plot. The killer’s motive for murdering this group of people is not merely farfetched, it’s ludicrous. After all that waiting to see who is going around, one by one, killing off these people, it is immensely disappointing to be presented with a motive so weak, it falls absolutely flat.

Then there are the unanswered questions. I’m fine with these in a drama which is meant to make its viewers think, but in a mystery, you do want things cleared up. Here, there’s too much that’s left a mystery. For example, how did Anand manage to get onto the plane as a flight attendant? Why did someone steal the photo Asha kept in her room, of her with Seth Sohanlal? And why, anyway, would anyone go on a vacation armed with poison or a dagger?

Oh, and the mysterious woman who sings Gumnaam hai koi? Another let-down. I expected this, the first time I watched Gumnaam, to end up being something along the lines of Woh Kaun Thi or Yeh Raat Phir Na Aayegi. But the explanation is, again, unfulfilling.

Spoiler ahead:

How come the butler’s sister sings in good, pure khari boli, while he speaks in Hyderabadi Hindi?

Spoiler ends.

Comparisons, comparisons:

So, which is better? And Then There Were None, or Gumnaam?

I think that’s a difficult question to answer, because though they’re both based on the same premise – ten strangers stranded on an island, are mysteriously killed off one by one – they are actually very different films, too. And Then There Were None is more of a classic Hollywood suspense film: tightly scripted, not much in the way of diversion (other than those brief and rather avoidable digressions into humour). Gumnaam is what I think of (and no, I didn’t coin this phrase) ‘Bollywood noir’. Here’s what I wrote about the genre in my article for The Popcorn Essayists:

“‘Film noir’, according to the Compact Oxford English Dictionary, is ‘a style of film marked by a mood of pessimism, fatalism, and menace’. Merriam-Webster goes a little further, by providing hints on what to expect from film noir (‘… a sleazy setting and an ominous atmosphere that is conveyed by shadowy photography and foreboding background music’).

Pessimistic? Fatalistic? Sleazy? With shadowy photography and foreboding background music? Not quite… If, however, the all-important prefix, Bollywood, is added to that morbid definition, everything suddenly gets turned around. Because Bollywood is emotion and escapism and all that erases—even if only for three hours—the dull reality of life. So noir, Bollywood style, has the shadowy photography and some of the sleaze, but it’s easier to relate to for an audience that likes its singing and dancing around the trees, its pretty ladies and its happy endings.”

Which is pretty much how I’d describe Gumnaam. It has the dark ruins dotting the island, the night-time finding of corpses, the cold-blooded killing of not just Sohanlal but everybody after that – and it has romance, great songs, an often-hilarious Mehmood. Loads of entertainment.

If that’s what you want out of cinema, see Gumnaam. If you want more gritty, enthralling, real suspense, watch And Then There Were None.

A note of caution: Steer clear of the Moser Baer DVD of Gumnaam. Besides the fact that the colours are very wonky and dark, they’ve clipped two of the best songs—Jaan-pehchaan ho, and Jaan-e-chaman shola badan—down to just the chorus. That is something I find impossible to forgive.

About these ads

50 thoughts on “Gumnaam (1965)

  1. Wow, now I want to see this! I’ve been warned off it by lots of people, despite my love of Jaan Pehchaan Ho, but your review has sold me. I’d not heard <Gumnaam Hai Koi and thought it not only a stunning song but a wonderful example of how Hindi cinema’s musicality can enhance what it copies if done well – that was seriously eerie! But HOW, HOW, HOW could anybody eviscerate Jaan Pehchaan Ho?

    • Yes, the evisceration (that’s the perfect word in this context, Stuart!) of Jaan-pehchaan ho is awful. How could they, really?! I’d actually bought the VCD of this film – not by Moser Baer then, they used to only do the blank CDs then which we used to burn data on – years ago, when my husband and I bought our first VCD player. I don’t know who’d done that VCD, but it was the same there – both these wonderful songs reduced to maybe a minute each. I finally threw away that VCD, I was so disappointed. And now Moser Baer, too…

      Actually, Gumnaam is not for those who equate suspense only with Hitchcock and his like. If you are willing to make room for all that is almost ‘essential’ in classic Bollywood, this is a very fulfilling watch. Not as good as (say) Ittefaq, but fun enough.

  2. I love Gumnaam no matter what. I loved Manoj Kumar here, and helen, and Mehmood and Pran and evrything. I thought Nanda looked jaded but then who paid attention to her! You didn’t mention the song Ek ladki hain. Wasn’t it super funny with Manoj Kumar dancing in a red T and all!!! Ahh!! they don’t make good murder mysteries like this anymore :(

    • Considering I recently saw Nanda in The Train (which was five years later, and had her mostly in a sari – though she did wear short skirts in part of the film), I didn’t think she looked particularly jaded here. But Helen beat her hollow! Besides which, Helen’s clothes are so classy. Poor Nanda ends up wearing churidar-kurtas most of the time, even when she’s clambering through the ruins and having to keep gathering up her dupatta all the time…

      Ah, yes. Ek ladki hai. I’d forgotten about that. Not as good as the rest of the songs, but good nevertheless.

  3. Ah I feel your rage, how could they??? moserbaer have rarely failed me but this is a disappointment. I love Gumnaam to bits too and its well among the number of hindi films I’ve watched in one long stretch, its total paisa vasool and yes Is duniya is Helen at her best, its one of my favourites from her if i had to do a top ten of my favourite Helen songs it’ll sit comfortable amongst the top. The whole movie is available on youtube with Eng subs. but i have no idea if they snipped out the songs from that as well, but the picture quality is much sharper

    • I agree – Moser Baer can usually be depended upon, and when I got my hands on this one as a Moser Baer video, I was really pleased! But… :-(

      You know, I was thinking of that ‘paisa vasool’ rating which you put on your reviews, when I was writing this one! And I thought, Gumnaam should merit at least an 8/10, if not more! It may not be perfect (it is actually far from perfect), but it’s worth all the money you spend if what you want is good old-fashioned Bollywood entertainment!

  4. I think I mentioned this on Greta’s blog but all the same here it is again. It was decided by the makers that none of the actors will be told the identity of the murderer so barring the actor playing the murderer (by the way can you see the halo on my head? HA! HA!) and Manoj Kumar none of them knew who was playing the murderer it was only towards the end that the suspense cleared.
    By the way I was just thinking while you were on ‘The Train’, if you could have laid your hands on Burt Lancaster’s The Train that would have been a nice link up, it is one of my favourite films

    • I read through Greta’s blog post so quickly that I actually never got around to reading the comments, so didn’t know that bit of inside information! Thank you for it (and for that halo!! Now I think those who haven’t seen Gumnaam yet will be even more intrigued!) That’s what I’d call a good thought process, actually – I’d have imagined it would have heightened the acting skills of everybody.

      I had been toying between reviewing And Then There Were None or the Hollywood The Train after I’d reviewed the Hindi The Train, actually – then I decided I’d gone on about trains long enough, so should switch tracks (haha! – literally!). But I’ve seen it, and agree on what a superb film that was. Very well crafted, and I believe the scene where the train runs off the tracks was actually done full-scale, not using a small model or anything. Will rewatch and review that, someday!

  5. First I will say it again — Shilpi most certainly deserves that halo, I think that is the best performance of the “Gumnaam” of at least 3 films I have seen (& that includes one by Richard Ath-Ana-Bharo.). In fact I would go so far as to say that (along with Ashok Kumar & Balraj Sahni) Tarun Bose approaches the same league as Alan Arkin (Wait Until Dark) & Javier Bardem (No Country for Old Men).
    And I will second her other recommendation of the Burt Lancaster starring “The Train”, a really great movie, am still kicking myself for not remembering it earlier. You’ve got Burt, you’ve got French Art, you’ve got the French countryside, you’ve got the Big Bad Nazis, you’ve got wine cellars used to hide people. I heard a story that the main reason Gen. Patton did not get to liberate Paris, is that he wanted to liberate French vineyards.

    • Though Shilpi certainly deserves that halo (or does her father? He, definitely), you have acquired the right to wear it too, with that reference to Alan Arkin in Wait Until Dark (I haven’t seen No Country for Old Men, so can’t comment). ;-)

      Spoiler ahead:

      I think the difference here is that while Tarun’s Bose character pretends to be a gentleman – the kindly, elderly, scholarly type, who is later revealed to be a ruthless killer, Alan Arkin’s character in Wait Until Dark is coldly vicious right from the start. That is a man you just can’t watch without having shivers run up your spine. There is no pretence there at all.

      Spoiler ends

      Love that piece of information about Patton, by the way. Incidentally, while on the topic of the Allied liberation of Europe, have you seen Miracle of the White Stallions? It’s along similar lines, though much less well-crafted. It’s about the Lipizzaner horses of the Spanish Riding School in Vienna, and how they might have become extinct during WWII had it not been for a certain man who loved them deeply…

  6. I’m adding my vote of approval to this wonderfully entertaining and suspenseful film. I didn’t mind Nanda and Manoj Kumar at all. Agree with you about thrillers and Manoj going hand in hand. For that matter Nanda too was in Ittefaq, holed up in a room instead of an island. Of course there she had more to do and did it very well.
    Gumnaam is a well loved film.

    From ‘trains’ to ‘suspense’!!
    And now…….
    -film adapted from another book?
    -film with an assortmrnt of characters?
    :-D

    -

    • PS: Shilpi, thanks for that insider’s information. Very interesting. Good that those in the film could also enjoy the suspense.

    • Yes, Nanda was superb in Ittefaq, wasn’t she? That’s one of the all-time great Hindi suspense films, as far as I’m concerned. of course, it gave her much more scope to show what a fine actress she was, as compared to Gumnaam

      You know, pacifist, you should be a detective too! One of the options you’ve suggested is bang on. :-)

      • LOL! I I missed my profession. :-D

        I was thinking about another Agatha Christie novel adapted very well to a hindi film, but it’s not within the time range of the blog. Perhaps there might be another author or another book of AG’s that you have in mind.

        I was also thinking about how much I love when there are a lot of characters together in a film (like in Gumnaam) or in a village, on a ship, etc etc and hoped that would also form a theme.

        Looking forward to seeing which one it will be :)

        • Another Agatha Christie story (not a novel, though) that was made into a film – and one within the period I write about – was Witness for the Prosecution. But I’ve already reviewed that, so that’s out of the reckoning. :-) Interestingly, though, the author this time also had the initials AC (not completely, though – there was more to it. Now I cannot give away any more than that! It’ll take away the suspense!)

          I love films that have a group of characters too – maybe journeying together, staying in close proximity, or whatever. Some of the films that satisfy that criterion include Lifeboat, Ice Cold in Alex, Zulu (though those are all films that are, to some extent or the other, connected to war) and the wonderful Hitchcock film, The Lady Vanishes – I love that one. And it’s mostly on a train, too. ;-)

          • Oh, I didn’t mean a hollywood film (I hardly have any knowledge about that).

            I was thinking about BR Chopra’s 1973 film ‘Dhund’ adapted from Agatha Christie’s ‘The Unexpected Guest’.
            It’s a well made film on the lines of ‘Ittefaq’.
            It lacks masala unlike ‘Gumnaam’.

            • Ah, yes – Dhund was excellent, too – but yes, it isn’t from the period I focus on, and there’s a very obviously 70s feel about it, too. I hadn’t known that was adapted from a Christie novel. I must try and get hold of The Unexpected Guest.

              • It’s a play, I believe, so may not be separately available as a book.

                But I did find something in my quest for it:

                Haven’t seen it yet (may not, even, since I don’t like plays unless I’m actually sitting in the theatre), but if Dhund is anything to go by, it must be awesome!

        • Aeons back, I saw ‘Dhund’ on DD but I just got bored. But at that times I couldn’t really appreciate masala so much like now. I was very much snooty of the films I saw, but I also remember that I loved the 60s films for their blatant escapism!
          The only thing I remember of the film is scantily clad Zeenat and wheel-chair bound Danny!

          • I bought the VCD of Dhund a couple of years back (I’d actually never even heard of the film before that), and liked it a lot when I saw it.

            I remember reading somewhere that BR Chopra wasn’t keen on taking Danny on for the role because he thought Danny looked too young. So Danny came to BR Chopra wearing the makeup and clothes he thought would suit his character, and acted the way he thought the character should – and BR Chopra was so impressed, he signed Danny on!

  7. My copy of DVD (Ultra) has also clippped Jaan pehchan ho and Jaane chaman. I don’t care too much for the latter but I adore the former. Just read this review and had to pull out my Gumnaam DVD and watch it again. Am doing so right now. The plane has just landed on the spooky island as I write this here. I love Gumnaam!

    • Oh, I’m seeing your comment quite a few hours after you posted it, so you’ve probably finished watching the film by now! But I hope you had a good time. :-)

      Have you noticed? The Helen songs – even the drunken one she sings with Nanda – are all complete. Whoever did the editing of these songs was probably a big time Helen fan. Not that I blame him/her at all – but still, I’d have liked to see the other songs in their entirety, too!

  8. ‘Gumnaam hai koi….’ was one of DD’s favourite for Chhaya Geet! and at times even ‘Hum Kale hai to kya hua’ used to make it to the list.
    And on our way to the school my friend and I used to discuss the songs, which featured on this programme the day before. And I still remember him telling me that Mehmood is in fact a police inspector in this film and Manoj Kumar the villain and THAT was the twist in the story and gullible as I was, I believed him!

    • ****SPOILER AHEAD*****
      Your friend was onto something good, personally I thought a better ending would have been Nanda adopting her “Ittefaq” role & conspiring with the real “Gumnaam” to finish off MK. Mehmood would be a rogue Police Inspector who would later convince the Police that everyone was dead in the final fight. The four of them (Gumnaam, Nanda, Mehmood & his sister) live happily ever after. Now that would be a delicious film-noir experience, something to rival say “Body Heat” with Kathleen Turner (of course minus the sensuality.)
      ******END SPOILER**************

      • Okay, I haven’t seen Body Heat, but that film noir ending you suggest, Samir, would certainly have been something very new for Indian film audiences, especially back in those days… now, I guess, people are more used to seeing unusual twists, with even heroes and heroines turning out to be villains. But, you know what, Samir? You should certainly try doing a post on suggesting ‘alternative endings’ for well-known Hindi films! I’d love to see that, given the taste I’ve got here of your obvious skill at that.

      • Wow, Samir, head to Bombay, I see you as the hottest thing happening to Hindi film scripts since Salim-Javed!

        Alternative endings Post, Yeah! I second that!
        Samir, looking forward to your post!

        • Samir is certainly one of the most well-hidden creative talents around! Do you remember that delightful Nixon post he did? It had made falling off my chair with laughter! :-D

          • @Dustedoff :- Thanks for the extremely generous praise, but you are our Dean in these matters, and Harvey is certainly the Head-Of-Dept. (what with his Chhata post.)
            @Harvey :- Thanks for thinking of me as the next Salim-Javed, I think I am more comfortable trying to be the next “Shetty” with ambitions to end up as RDX (Feroz Khan in Welcome). :)))

            Gumnaam has another song that fits within my Nixon post, “Hum Kaale Hai To Kya Hua Dilwaale hai”.
            The first televised US Presidential debate featured a handsome JFK & a Nixon with a “five o’clock shadow”, making Nixon look darker & more menacing than usual. Hence the song, with Helen serving as an excellent proxy for the US (or any other) electorate.
            And “Hum Kaale ..” also makes a great US Presidential campaign theme song for Barack Obama.

            I have an earlier post on the movie “Trishul” — “Explanation/Predictions of the Financial Crisis” (http://oenophile-samir.blogspot.com/2009/02/explanationprediction-of-financial.html); that has in addition to an alternate ending, a comparison with the recent US Housing related economic crisis.

            • Yes, Samir, I had a relook at your Nixon post when I posted that comment, so did note that you had a Gumnaam song in it. Oh, and I love your interpretation of how Hum Kaale Hain Toh Kya Hua Dilwaale Hain would fit both JFK-Nixon as well as Obama’s campaign! Hilarious. :-) You’re really a master in this particular department.
              Unfortunately, I haven’t seen Trishul and the US Housing related crisis draws a blank with me – I hadn’t even heard about it – so, even though I tried reading your post, I have to admit I gave up after a while. :-(

    • Oh, my goodness, Harvey! Your friend was brilliant. :-) Yes, that would indeed have been a BIG twist in the tale!! To have the hero turn out to be the murderer? I’ve seen some very unlikely murderers occasionally surface in Hindi films, but never that. Wah! Do you know what your friend went on to become when he grew up? A script writer, by any chance? ;-)

        • Recycling metal? Hmm… yes, that is probably a good direction to progress in after having begun as a recycler of stories!

          Come to think of it, a botanist – who makes things grow – gorgeous flowers and fruit and huge trees out of tiny seeds – isn’t a bad way to progress if one liked to spin tales out of close to nothing (I’m thinking of that chhatri post right now). Or – oh, more like this – somebody whose one well-remembered song from childhood (even if he didn’t quite get it right) was Chaman ke phool bhi tujhko gulaab kehte hain!

          • Oh, dear! You have a very romantic idea of a botanist! But I like it so much, that I won’t destroy it. I’ll just say, what I tell other people as well: I’m a botanist and not a gardener. LOVE your concept of what I do
            HUGS!!!!!!!!!!!!

            • Arre, theek hai. Everybody has very romantic (and completely warped!) ideas of what other people do in their jobs, no? So many people I know think women become nurses because they want to serve humanity (which is approximately what they think of doctors), but I’m pretty sure people in the medical profession merely think of it as a job, nothing more. :-)

  9. I have owned this for a couple of years, but the very thought of having to face another Manoj-Kumar-in-a-mystery makes my heart quake! If it hadn’t been for Sadhana and the lovely songs, I would never have made it through Woh Kaun Thi or Anita. Maybe I can hold on to the thought of Helen and plunge in, one fine day… :D

    • Somehow, I’m fine with early (or even mid!) Manoj Kumar when he isn’t being the curled-lip patriot. I didn’t mind him in Woh Kaun Thi or Anita at all, though I prefer the former any day… maybe because the songs are so utterly gorgeous. But Gumnaam is loads of fun, and Helen is to die for. :-)

  10. I scare very easily and had to be taken home after watching half of Kohraa because I was freaking out. Even silly scenes with ghosts like the one in Jungle mein Mangal scared me.

    Now that I am all grown up, I should watch this film too, esp for Jaan Pehchaan Ho.

    • I was wondering who ‘thandapani’ was when I saw that notification in my e-mail inbox! Good to see you again, Ava. :-)

      Haven’t seen Jungle mein Mangal, but what I remember of Kohraa was distinctly creepy in places… do watch Gumnaam, though. Although it’s not perfect, it’s an entertaining watch – and Jaan pehchaan ho is unbeatable!

  11. Why was Dharamdas killed ? What was his role in Sohanlal’s murder ? The opening scene shows Khanna giving money to Sohanlal’s murderer and then calling Doctor, Kitty, Rakesh and Asha. What made Dharamdas an accomplice?

    • Sorry, it’s been a while since I watched this film, and have forgotten, so can’t answer that without rewatching it….

  12. I know I have spammed couple of your posts by over-stressing on my ‘dislike’ for Manoj Kumar. But this film and the other spooky films that he did were fab and he was good in these roles. I also like Biswajeet’s spooky films as well and don’t mind him at all in the other genres unlike the majority of the bloggers.
    Regarding the Moser Baer ‘edited’ vcd, It is taken from the Ultra vcd which is very likely to be the one you watched originally. Only Ultra has had the rights in India.So the REAL blame should go on them. Thankfully,they have rectified their mistake on their youtube channel.
    But saying that , Chaudhavin Ka chand’s title song (and some other songs of the film) which is in color , Ultra only seems to have a B/W version of it which has been carried on to Moser baer cds to now on Youtube. I wonder what is the reason for that.

    • Was Chaudhvin ka chaand ho ya aaftaab ho originally in colour? I recall watching the film (and seeing the song countless times) when I was a kid, and remember it in B/W, even though we had a colour TV. Could it have been coloured later? Or are there two versions floating around?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s