Sunday, July 7, 2013

Sazaa - 1951

The movie starts on a dark and a stormy night.  The credits roll as the clouds thunder in the background.  Nimmi gets the top billing, Dev Anand follows.  From IMDB, I find that he had been working for 6 years and made about 17 films prior to this one.  On the other hand, Nimmi had worked for two years and made 5 films prior to this one.   I am guessing she became very popular very soon.  Either that, or it was merely a case of 'ladies first'.

More on the credits, the movie is produced by G.P. Sippy, the direction is by Fali Mistry.  His brother, Jal Mistry is the cinematographer.  The sound direction is by Robin Chatterji (I think he was a minor music director as well).  The lyricist was Rajinder Krishan and the music director was SD Burman.  Quite an interesting credits line up, I feel.

Well, to return to the movie, on this dark and stormy night a scream rings out.  Ashok (Dev Anand) runs out of a house.  He is walking along when he is mowed down by a pretty woman in a car.  Kamini (Shyama) is horrified and takes Ashok to the hospital.  She visits him often while he recovers.  She even fixes up a job for him when she finds out that he is destitute.  He starts working for her father's company as a manager.

Kamini, who is obviously attracted to Ashok, invites him over to her house often.  That is when Kamini's maid, Asha (Nimmi) spots Ashok and has a very emotional reaction.  She runs off home and seems all happy and overwrought.  Her mother (Lalita Pawar) is happy to see her happy.  She cannot figure out why her daughter is happy because the girl is dumb.

After a while, Ashok turns up at Asha's house to get her treated by a doctor. The doctor examines her and pronounces her fit and fine.  He surmises that there was something in her past that shocked her into losing her voice.  At this point Asha's mother relates her past story.  As a child, Asha was very pally with a boy of a rich household.  They loved each other very much.  But the boy's father, the cruel Major Durjan Singh (K N Singh) did not like it.  He slapped the girl and forbid her to meet the boy.  The girl was clearly traumatised by this event, and stopped speaking thereafter.

Upon hearing this story, Ashok is moved.  This was his own story.  He had lost Asha when he was young, and is overjoyed to find her.  He is able to coerce her (that is the word I feel I should use for the way he emotionally blackmails Asha) into speaking again.  The young lovers are happy.  They go off to sing a song that has survived 5 decades and sounds as beautiful and fresh as the day it was composed first.

But before they get to sing it, Asha describes what love means to her.  There are a lot of beautiful shots of trees swaying, birds flying, water rippling, clouds scurrying across the sky etc, while Asha goes over the top with her descriptions.  This sequence goes on for 5 minutes, just a montage of pretty shots.  It is an emotional confession of their love for each other.  This is followed by the song I spoke about.  Aa gupchup gupchup pyar karen.

Alas, their love is doomed!  Kamini is unhappy and sacks Ashok.  This forces him to sell the expensive ring he is wearing to defray his expenses.  This sale allows his father to trace him and he commands Ashok to return home and locks him up.  In addition to this, a grim, aristocratic looking Durga Khote makes an appearance. She seems to have a say in Ashok's life as well.

Poor Asha is bereft once again.  She sings one gorgeous song to convey how sad she is at this.  This lovely Lata number tells us why Lata was the queen of playback singing for so many decades.  Here goes, tum na jaane kis jahan me kho gaye.

A few more twists and turns in the story follow.  There is a lot of emotional drama at the end.  It was hard for me to say whether the story would end tragically or happily.  So I was wavering between "Looks like they will live happily ever after" or "Oh no, they will die". 

It is not a great film.  But it is engrossing enough if you can swallow the high drama that often crops up in the movies of that era.

It was the two gorgeous songs that drew me to watch the film.  Nimmi put in the highly emotional performance that she was famed for.  It was Dev that surprised me.  He was devoid of his trademark style, the exaggerated mannerisms and fast dialogue delivery that he was famous for.  He was muted and natural.  Not as charming as he was a few films later, but incredibly good looking as he was from the start of his career till almost the 70s.  It was a treat to watch him.


  1. Enjoyed reading the review :-D with that touch of humour.
    Those two songs are indeed gorgeous. While reading the story I realised I had seen - but don't remember the ending :-/

    I can well imagine Nimmi in her histrionic mode LOL. Dev Anand's presence with his handsome looks was enough (who'd know better than you).
    Thanks for this jogging of my memory and the two songs you posted.dtediu

  2. Thank you PI.

    I feel it is a blessing to forget the end. That way you can enjoy it anew when you watch it again.

  3. Robin Banerjee…..struck the memory chords, and the first song that came to mind is
    Tum Jo Aao To Pyaar AA Jaaye – Sakhi Robin (1952) – Manna Dey, Suman Kalyanpur -
    and that led me to search a bit more systematically, to look out for the songs that , perhaps, did not become as popular. I will mention a few here:
    Kisi Bewafa Ke Sataye Hue Hain – Firdaus (1953) – Asha Bhosle -
    Jaa Re Jaa – Tarzan and King Kong (1965) - Usha Mangeshkar -
    Zara Dekh Sambhal Ke Chal – Wazir-E-Azam – Geet Dutt -
    Ankhe Bahri Hui Hai - Amjboori (1954) – Talat Mahamood , Meena Kapoor -
    Aankhon Aakhon Men Raat Guzar Jaati Hai – Marvel Man (1964) – Mubarak Begum -
    Irada To Na Tha – Aandhi Aur Toofan - Mohammad Rafi, Suman Kalyanpur -

  4. I am sorry, I went on a wrong track of Robin Banerjee.

  5. I went on a wrong track of Robin Banerjee, in place of Robin Chaterjee-
    My YouTube search which would have used keyword Robin did yield songs of Fidaus and Andhi Aur Toofan , which shows Robin Chaterjee as music director.
    And I did find, Albeli Ek Naar – Ratnadep (1952) – Geeta Dutt - , too.
    Robin Banrejee and Robin Chatterjee would be interesting subjects to explore. Inicentally, I also found A Robi Chaterjee as the Producer of a 1950, Raj Kapoor+ Nargis, starrer Jaan Pahachaan.

    1. Amvaishnav: Thank you. I googled Robin Chatterjee as well. Got only Ratnadeep. I vaguely remembered the Robinhood song as his. Thanks to you the mystery is cleared.

  6. I too saw this because of its music - specifically, because of Tum na jaane kis jahaan mein, a song that I simply love. I have to admit that even though I watched the film not too long back, I have very vague recollections of it. Many tears, and a mute Nimmi who gets cured - that's all that stuck with me. And some confusion down the line.

    But the two songs are worth it. :-)

    1. I was expecting the movie to be terrible. I suppose my lowered expectations helped me in enjoying the movie.

  7. I seemed to ahve missed this post when it got posted. but picking it up now.
    Love your sense of humour and your aside comments.
    The songs seem to be the highlights of the movie. Shyama poor thing gets to play the trikon ka teesra kon again.
    Funny that you should mention that Nimmi is billed before Dev. SRK makes it look as if naming the heroine before the hero is his achievement alone!

  8. Oh.. There was a lot of interesting stuff going on in Sazaa. I was expecting it to be a total loss.

    But I was entertained, in a way.

    Yes, Shakila was the sidey, instrumental in bringing the hero and heroine together, but left dangling later on.

    Oh, Heroines have got the top billing loads of time. Shahrukh is capitalising on it now.

  9. "(Nimmi) spots Ashok and has a very emotional reaction"

    Nimmi always had emotional reactions to everything, in every film! ;-) Poor Shyama - she never seems to get the guy...

    I love Tum na jaane kis jahan mein kho gaye and Aa gup chup gup chup pyar karein and cannot believe that I've not realised that they were picturised on Dev A. I am going to have to watch this film!

  10. Do watch it BV. Its fun. Everything is very filmi.

    I liked Dev in this film. He has no swagger and actually acts better.

    Highly Emo reactions were rozi roti to Nimmi. Those days it was expected of the heroine to nearly die weeping.