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Ménage à trois

This movie is a unique one as it was the only movie ever made with the 2 leading men and the lady together. Although both Dilip Kumar and Raj Kapoor made several other movies paired with Nargis, Andaz remains the only one which had the two men together. Given the old adage that nothing succeeds like success, it is amazing that not one movie could ever be made with Raj Kapoor and Dilip Kumar together after this one.

Andaz was the largest grossing movie ever made by Bollywood when released, a record that was broken later that year by Raj Kapoor’s Barsaat. I have always wondered if it was the clash of egos between Raj and Dilip that led to the nixing of all future projects with the two or was it the jealousy/insecurity created by the success of Barsaat immediately after the record breaking release of Andaz. Both movies released 72 years ago and all three of the main cast involved are now dead and gone, so it’s now purely a matter of conjecture, but the thought rankles in my mind, nevertheless.

The storyline was a bit contrived and had Dilip Kumar as the man who rescues the damsel in distress, Nargis, from a runaway horse, and falls in love with her, aided , no doubt by the fact that she is a rich man’s (Murad) only child and a young, good looking heiress to an enviable fortune is very much a pot of honey that attracts butterflies and bees. He befriends Nargis by time tested strategies in Bollywood like singing songs and thinks every smile of hers , no matter how innocent, is an acknowledgement of -and reciprocation of- his amorous intentions.

A movie made by Mehboob Khan, Andaz had music by Naushad, one of his early megahits that made him a big name. After the horse riding incident, Dilip Kumar’s romantic advances evoke Murad’s ire, he tries to explain that spending so much time with Dilip is not good, as Dilip might misconstrue their friendship as love. On the day of her friend’s (Cuckoo) birthday party, Dilip tries to tell Nargis of his love. This is well and truly nixed by Murad kicking the bucket of a well timed heart attack on the same day. Dilip comforts her and Nargis, deep in grief and shocked, gives him the responsibility of looking after her father’s business and also inviting him to stay in a spare room at her home.

Dilip who thinks he has made it, is shocked when her fiancé Rajan – Raj Kapoor returns from the ubiquitous Vilayat.  Raj and Nargis do get married, and Dilip finally chooses to reveal his true feelings for the lady on the wedding day (isn’t that rather ridiculous, but who can expect commonsense to prevail, least of all in Bollywood). We are expected to believe that Nargis has thus far been opaque to his feelings and that she thinks of him only as a “friend”. Dilip tries to leave but stays to avoid any suspicion from Raj Kapoor. Further ridiculous coincidences later, Raj Kapoor gets suspicious after the birth of a daughter and a misplaced whisper in his ears (the lights have metaphorically gone out thanks to a power outage and Nargis is shown as not realizing who she is talking to, and says what was meant for Dilip Kumar into Raj Kapoor’s ears). A fight ensues, Raj Kapoor walks out, Dilip Kumar tries to molest Nargis who shoots him in self defense, but is convicted of “murder” (terribly incompetent defense by the lawyer, I must say) & is sent to jail despite Raj Kapoor discovering Dilip Kumar’s confessional letter (of all the places) inside a doll (& not disclosing this to the court despite the sentence not having been handed out… To me the most ridiculous and weakest link in the storyline). https://youtu.be/tn52dhPotW4

As a result Raj Kapoor gets the daughter and the moolah, Dilip exits 6 feet under the turf, and Nargis gets to be a guest of the state for a long sentence.

In keeping with the times, the movie was packed with 10 songs, all memorable. A single one penned by Prem Dhawan, the rest are by Majrooh. https://youtu.be/M71eDgmpjR4

An amazing score that definitely contributed to the outstanding success of the movie at the box office.

Enjoy the song, folks, stay safe and away from the evil Chinese. Stay happy while I have this 20 year old nightingale’s song go around in a loop in my head.

By abchandorkar

Consultant Interventional Cardiologist, Pune, India

4 replies on “Ménage à trois”

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