Usha Khanna‘s entry into films was remarkable. The great movie mogul of the times, Sashadhar Mukherjee had been introduced to this wisp of a teenaged girl by none other than the King of Melody at the times, O P Nayyar. Sashadhar Mukherjee heard her sing and was pleasantly surprised to be told that she had composed the song as well. As a test and an exercise, he told her to see him everyday with two compositions that she had to make. She gamely pursued the extremely difficult task and the man, very impressed by her talent, gave her the break in a movie that would become famous for many reasons, Dil Deke Dekho.
Sashadhar babu made the movie with his production company and his own Filmalaya studios. He was part of Filmistan with Ashok Kumar and two others, but moved out Southwards in Mumbai to form his studio in Andheri (Bombay Talkies in Malad, Filmistan in Goregaon and Filmalaya in Andheri, progressively moving in a Southern direction).
This was Nasir Hussain‘s second film as director. His directorial debut was with Filmistan’s Tumsa Nahin Dekha, a movie Totaram Jalan meant as a (re)launch vehicle for Ameeta, his protege, but actually not just saved Shammi Kapoor’s then floundering career which was going nowhere with a string of flops, but became a monster hit and and gave his career and image a huge fillip, recasting him in the image as a comic, dancing hero with a devil may care attitude. Nasir Hussain and Kapoor joined hands once again with this film, which Sashadhar Babu made in his own studio. The movie also had a former child actress, Asha Parekh make her film debut as a heroine.
Usha Khanna’s debut film became a huge hit at the box office. Nasir Hussain, Shammi Kapoor, and Asha Parekh would get together again with Teesri Manzil, which was initially offered to Dev Anand (he backed out due to a misunderstanding) and this also became a big hit. Nasir Hussain would also cast Asha Parekh as his leading lady in five other films. Shammi Kapoor later said that he had tried to persuade Nasir Hussain and Sashadhar Babu to get Waheeda Rehman for the lead role, Nasir Hussain had initially offered the role to Sadhana, but Sashadhar Babu had already by then signed Asha Parekh, then barely 16, for the movie, and being the producer he not just prevailed over the other two, but also encouraged the teenaged leading lady a lot during the making of the movie, going to the extent of releasing the movie on Asha’s 17th birthday. Usha Khanna was also all of 17 when the movie was made.
The most famous song from the movie is the title song, but I also like this amazing duet between Ashatai and Rafisaab. Majrooh’s lyrics and Rafisaab’s voice would later become an inseparable part of the Shammi success story.
A wonderful frothy song that clearly shows OPN’s influence on Usha Khanna.
A lovely movie that is most enjoyable and will remain a memorable debut for the teenaged leading lady as well as the music director.
Have a great day folks, as I go for winding up my hospital work before I come on air for the 5th program on AIR FM Gold at 1120
Stay safe, stay healthy