Prescient puppetry

For a long time I thought the blockbuster movie had been produced by the Hero’s production house, a misconception that was corrected when I saw the movie in our college Saturday afternoon show in the MLT and the reel with the titles got projected twice by a mix up in the dark. So I got to finally know that the famous South based multilingual film production company AVM Films had made the lovely movie of a rich girl who runs away from home as her parents don’t approve of her infatuation with a guy, who they rightly consider to be a cad and a fortune hunter (Pran, who else?),  meets a journo and flips for him. The rest of the movie is about their journey. The original print of Chori Chori was monochrome with only two songs shot in Eastman colour, ( this one and Panchchi Banoon Udti Firoon) . Colour film stock was extremely expensive those days and colour film development in its infancy in India at the time, which meant the exposed film reels were sent to Eastman for development and making copies. The movie, directed by Anant Thakur was such a big hit that the rest of the movie was colourized later and used for reruns.

Raj Kapoor and Nargis starred in this iconic movie and their on-screen chemistry reflects the off-screen romance they had (more of a torrid affair). A case of reel life mirroring real life.

The music by Shankar Jaikishan is truly wonderful. Little wonder the score won them the Filmfare Award that year. Interestingly all the songs picturized on Raj Kapoor in the movie are sung by Manna Dey and not Mukesh. I suspect this was because Mukesh had stopped singing for a short period in order to pursue his dreams of becoming a film maker and composer. An unfortunate setback in that pursuit led to much economic ruin for Mukesh but gave us a wonderful singer resurrect his singing career. An opportunity seized in a disaster, truly.

I loved the puppetry sequence which halfway through has Raj Kapoor and Nargis take over the roles of the marionettes. Filmed very imaginatively and effectively, too. The sequence really tells what happens in a marriage with both thinking they are the puppets. Incidentally this was the last movie made by Raj Kapoor and Nargis as the lead pair. Nargis moved away, as she was denied a permanence to the relationship by the Kapoor scion who had quite a roving eye. She only acted in a very short cameo role in Jaagte Raho after this. Her floundering sailboat found calmer waters and safety as well as emotional shelter with a Radio Announcer turned Filmstar. Balraj aka Sunil Dutt saved her while shooting for Mother India. A haystack Nargis was in, caught fire due to a sudden change in the wind direction. While everyone watched aghast, Sunil Dutt was the only one who showed the presence of mind and guts to go into the burning haystack to rescue the lady. She lost her heart to him in that one incident, and the love was returned by her while nursing him back to health while he was recuperating from the burns sustained in the process.

One really unforgettable duet from a film which was clearly “inspired” by “It happened one night”. One also finds some similarity to the storyline from Roman Holiday (my personal all time favourite)

Have a great day ahead folks, stay healthy and happy. Stay away from harm’s way. Do take the jab in the 2nd billion that we will administer in the country

By abchandorkar

Consultant Interventional Cardiologist, Pune, India

12 replies on “Prescient puppetry”

This “inspired” Mahesh Bhatt to make “Dil Hai Ke Maanta Nahin”. These two movies were released 35 years apart in 1956 and 1991. But the heroine’s father remains “Sattar Crore” ka maalik in both. Just proves India made precious little economic progress under Nehru family rule. Just a side thought.

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Wonderful share of an iconic song in so many ways, Did you notice no one ever repeated this magic of puppets so well🤔 !!
I believe Nargis worked very hard to give this convincing performance 👌👌👌👌👍

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Almost all the states in southern India have developed a unique kind of folk music pattern. These ancient music forms seem to be influenced by the temples in South India. The culture of Southern India is unique, equipped with facets of culture that makes it so remarkable within this country. This culture has highly influenced their folk music which is beyond comparison.

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Music director Shankar was keen on having Manna da sing for hero. He tried to do that in Basant Bahar, ujala, chori chori . Also some very hit songs from Raj kapoor films.

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Indeed. But somehow poor Mannada never could be some hero’s vocal doppelganger and despite being such a massively talented singer who could sing pure classical compositions and span the entire spectrum to rock compositions, he didn’t quite get what he deserved


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