Waqt is one of the most stylish films ever in Bollywood.
These days filmmakers clothe their stars in international fashion brands, have them ride fancy vehicles (from cars to planes to copters) and put them in lavish locations (nothing less than a trillionaire-worthy farmhouse in South Africa). The movies, however, lack substance to match the style and wind up looking hollow.
Way back in 1965 BR Chopra came up with this gem of a movie and spawned a new genre of lost-and-found, love triangle, thrills and chills, which has been re-attempted a number of times during 70s and much of 80s, and became a stock formula. This movie was the motherlode that started it all.
Lala Kedarnath (Balraj Sahni) is blessed with a devoted and a beautiful wife, three sons, and a flourishing business. He allows himself to be consumed by pride, and paints a magnificient future for himself and his sons. Right then, the town is swayed by a horrific earthquake that seperates the family. The eldest son is taken to an orphanage, the second son is adopted by a benevolant family, the third, a babe in arms, is left with the mother. Kedarnath is hit on his head and is not able to regroup his family. The eldest son Raja (Raaj Kumar) turns to a life of crime under Chinoy Seth (Rehman). The middle son Ravi, grows up to be a lawyer (Sunil Dutt). The youngest Vijay (Shashi Kapoor) has managed to get a BA degree, but has to work as a driver with Chinoy Seth. Circumstance brings the three brothers together. Raja and Ravi fall for Meena (Sadhna) which brings in an interesting love triangle. Meena loves Ravi and a shadow falls on Raja, who is willing to murder to get his love. But as he creeps inside Ravi's house to kill him, he finds out that Ravi is his own brother, thanks to Ravi's baby picture by his bedside.
Just at this time, the story turns into a thriller, with a murder done and Raja accused falsely for it. The last part of the movie is a courtroom drama which bring the guilty to the gallows (presumably) and miraculously brings the family back together. Lala Kedarnath is reunited with his grown sons and wife. The movie ends with a humbler Kedarnath acknowledging his debt to time (Waqt).
The movie was stylish through and through. Raja as the criminal, Ravi as the adopted son of a rich man, Renu (Sharmila) as his sister, and Meena (Sadhna) as a barrister's daughter are all rich people and it shows in their lifestyle. Meena's house is a grand bunglow with a vast drawing room that is carpeted from wall to wall. Her boudoir is similarly lavish with a round red bed with gossamer draperies. A staircase sweeps upstairs grandly. This again, became a standard staple in bollywood movies, used as an effective prop in many movies.
The women are laden with glittering diamonds and brooches and buckles. Achla Sachdev looks glorious in the opening scenes with her gotedaar dupatta and heavy jewellery, as befits a well-placed mistress of a rich household. The sarees the women wear when the scene shifts to Mumbai, are all fine organza with embroidery, or silk salwar or churidar with kameez. Sadhna is resplendent in every scene, faultlessly made up and looking gorgeous. Ditto goes for Sharmila Tagore. In the boat song she wears a kameez done up with numerous frills over her tight salwar. Sadhana wore a designer saree in this movie which was quite a trendsetter then. Her trademark, churidars with a kameez, which is such an essential now, was something new then. Sadhna's engagement dress, a fuschia silk churidar is beautiful.
The men are not far behind. Balraj Sahni wers pathani salwars in the initial scenes with zari waistcoats. Raaj Kumar wears natty suits as the gentleman criminal. A younger Sunil Dutt is attired in trousers and trendy shirts, tees and sweaters. Shashi Kapoor is nattily dressed in a spotless chauffeur's uniform, looking handsome as ever.
The cars the men drive are all imported sports cars, in colours like yellow and red. I am not good at spotting the brands but they look impressive. In fact, there is a smart car racing scene between Raja and Ravi, which is pretty good. The wheels move fast and the sequence has been very well picturised.
1. Ae meri Zohrajabeen
2. Kal jahan basti thi khushian
3. Kaun aaya ki nigahon me chamak jaag uthi
4. Din hein bahar ke
5. Ham jab simat ke aap ki
6. Mene ek khwab sa dekha hai
7. Chehre pe khushi cha jaati hai
8. Aage bhi jaane na tu
The songs are all melodious, with music by Ravi and lyrics by the great Sahir. The songs are picturised beautifully too. Kaun Aaya was filmed on Sadhana as she waits for Sunil Dutt. However, as she sings, Raaj Kumar comes in and is led into thinking Sadhana cares for him. Mene ik khwab sa dekha hai was a telephone song, and very sensuous too. Aage bhi jaane na tu was a party song, where everything glitters and is uber glamourous.
This album is a must have for people who love old hindi film music, though the heavy voice of Mahendra Kapoor is a spoiler.
The cut version of Waqt relayed on Indian Television is a letdown. One needs to see a full version DVD to get a feel of how sexy the movie was. The affair between Sadhana and Sunil Dutt is pretty passionate. Everytime they come together, things get steamy. From the duet where they 'sorta' kiss. The usual trick of showing the couple in a suspicious clinch. The phone song, Mene ik khwab sa dekha hai is practically like phone sex with the couple exchanging what seems like fantasies which are depicted in a dream sequence. One line goes -
aanch dene laga kadmon ke tale barf ka farsh, aaj jaana ki mohabbat me hai garmi kitni; sangemarmar ki tarah sakht badan par tere, aa gayi hai mere choo lene se narmi kitni
-- Woo Hot !
Not to be missed is the extremely sexy scene where Sunil Dutt and Sadhana go swimming. Thereafter they go to the changing rooms, and wrapped in towels exchange sweet talk through the partition. Of course, Sadhana's swimsuit covers more than the minidresses that heroines wear these days. But she is wrapped in a towel in the changing room and things get quite decorously steamy between them.
Jab tumse mohabbat ki hamne,
tab jaake kahin ye raaj khula
marne ka saleeka aate he,
jeene ka sha'ur aa jaata hai.
Sadhana sings the lines for her beloved, but they apply more to Raaj Kumar in the movie. The hardened criminal falls for the charms of Meena, his pretty neighbour. He yearns for the respectability of normal life, but Chinoy Seth wont let him go. He is suave and debonair in the movie, handsome and personable. He had some memorable lines which he delivered with style. Yeh chaku khelne ki cheez nahi hai, lag jaye to khoon nikal aata hai, and Jinke ghar sheeshe ke bane ho, Chinoy Seth, wo doosron pe pathar nahi maarte. There are no heated or bombastic exchanges between Rehman and Raj Kumar. Though they are partners, there is little love lost between them. Yet their exchanges are delivered in an ultra cool style which is a delight to watch.
Later, Raj Kumar got typed in these kind of crime-by-circumstance, sacrificing roles where he rarely got the girl, and often died in the climax. His trademark became lines begining with 'Jaani' and delivered with a hand rubbing the neck. But here, he is cool and fresh.
Sunil Dutt got a lot of bombastic stuff. First as the hyperactive lover, later as lawyer trying to save his friend. There is this unintentionally funny scene in the end. In the movie, Raj Kumar knows Sunil Dutt is his brother, and he know he is the son of Lala Kedarnath. So when the older couple discover each other at the fag end, Raj Kumar is the one who knows that he is their son too. Sunil Dutt is the only one who has no clue that he has all these relatives around him. But rather than feeling flummoxed and demanding explanations he just jumps into the group sportingly and goes for a family hug.
The overwrought scene at the end nearly mars the proceedings, but that was the demand of the times, the abrupt happy ending.
A classic for sure, this movie.