Cast: Guru Dutt, Rehman, Wahida Rehman, Johnny Walker
This is considered a Bollywood romance classic. I had seen bits and pieces of it over the years, but somehow never saw the whole movie until very recently, and didn’t regret the experience in the least.
Set in pre-independence Lucknow, the movie showcases the friendship of Nawab Pyare Mian (Rehman), Aslam (Guru Dutt) and Mirza Masaraddik Shaiza (Johnny Walker). While Nawab and Mirza, are titled gentry, Aslam is an orphan who has been patronized by Nawab- he now owns a small business in Lucknow, and is honor bound to Nawab for all the help the latter had given him for life. Mirza is a never-do-well, whose dad is in the police, and who also eventually joins the force later during the movie.
One day, Nawab spots a beautiful woman in the street, and promptly falls head over heels in love. He runs into her again at his sister's birthday celebrations, but due to the social niceties of the day, cannot find out her name.
In fact, due to a hapless maid's interference, he mistakes her for another woman. Nawab shares his happiness with Aslam and Mirza, who encourage him to locate the woman of his dreams. At home, Nawab finds his mom is quite ready to go to Hajj (Mecca- the Islamic pilgrimage), accompanied by the local priest. However, the priest has refused to go anywhere until a suitable groom is found for his daughter Jameela and she is married off.
Without any consultation with him, Nawab's mom has pledged Nawab's hand in marriage to Jameela (yes, Waheeda). However, since he himself is in love with the beautiful unknown woman, he convinces Aslam to marry in his stead. The marriage occurs, and Aslam falls head over heels in love with his wife. He serenades her with "Chaudvin Ka Chand," (which Doc Bollywood has written beautifully about at his blog).
Nawab still doesn’t know Jameela is the one he has been looking for. He goes visiting to Aslam's house one day, and sees Jameela by accident, and simply assumes that she is Aslam's sister. He shares the happy news with Aslam, and begs to marry his sister, to which Aslam agrees immediately.
The wedding preparations begin, and we know we are headed straight to disaster- Nawab finds a photograph of Jameela, and goes with it to Aslam's shop, kissing it (the pic, not Aslam dammit :D) with great abandon. Aslam, the fool that he is, doesn’t say a single word to correct Nawab's confusion. Instead, he decides to become an alcoholic and vagrant, so that Jameela would divorce him.
He carries this plan to great effect, and even though his friends give up on him eventually, he finds Jameela will not divorce him under any circumstance.
Driven to idiocy, he decides to commit suicide on the very day Nawab is getting married to his sister. This would prevent the marriage from occurring, Jameela would become a widow, and Nawab could then marry her. Of course, no one else knows of this plan. Unfortunately for him, Nawab comes to pick him up on the day of the wedding, but sees him with Jameela instead.
It finally dawns on Nawab that Aslam was feigning vagrancy, drunkenness etc. simply to sacrifice his own love for Jameela for Nawab's sake. Driven to intense guilt on what he had unknowingly forced his friend to do, Nawab rushes back to his home, followed by Aslam, who has just realized his presence.
Nawab reaches home, declares the wedding cancelled, and locks himself in his room, overwhelmed with anguish and shame from having desired his friend's wife. When Aslam breaks the door in, he finds Nawab has commited suicide. It ends, and Aslam gets to live happily every after w/ Jameela :S
1- Rehman owns the movie- he is intensely handsome, assertive and manly, and I do believe I have developed the most idiotic crush on him :D
2- Johnny walker has a real role- he is not simply the comic relief here, and it is fun to watch him act.
3- Guru Dutt is truly a consummate actor- it is very easy to hate Aslam for his weak and idiotic behavior, which is attributable to the man's portrayal of the role.
4- Waheeda is a goddess- so beautiful that YOU know that she is prettier than the moon!
I have yet to admire the characters Guru Dutt always plays- so weak and spineless, usually alcoholics. He is a fantastic director (though Saddique direct this one, Guru Dutt directed some scenes), but always picked the worst roles for himself, and Aslam is definitely a real ass. Rather than make things transparent, he carries on the ruse, making Rehman believe in his love, and unwittingly leading him to his death. Ughh!
1- Watch out for Farida Jalal- this was her debut movie, and she plays Farida, Mirza's kid sister.
2- Guru Dutt had two younger brothers, Atmaram and Devidas, and a younger sister, Lalitha Lajmi (whose daughter is Kalpana Lajmi.
3- Guru Dutt was a trained dancer in Uday Shankar's troupe, and was also second cousin to Balakrishna B. Benegal, Shyam Benegal's uncle.
4- Aside from giving breaks to Johnny Walker and Waheeda Rehman, Guru Dutt also introduced Zohra Sehga as a choreographer in Baazi (though she had done minor movie roles as a supporting artist earlier- I LOVE ZOHRA).
5- It is common knowledge that Guru Dutt, Rehman, Johnny Walker and Dev Anand were very good friends in real life. Dev Anand introduced Guru Dutt as a director in Baazi, but both he and Rehman distanced themselves from Guru Dutt once the latter began to lose himself in alcohol (while pining for Waheeda, who had walked away). Johnny stuck by him to the last.