Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Mr. and Mrs. 55 - 1955

Guru Dutt's Mr. and Mrs. 55 is seen as a breezy romantic comedy and does not feature on lists of Top movies.   I watched it again recently and was captivated by the following factors:

1. Guru Dutt looks very handsome.
2. Madhubala looks luminous as ever.
3. The movie is beautifully shot.
4.  The story is very sweet
5. The dialogue simply sparkles

To illustrate the point 1 and 2, here's proof.

As for point 3, take a look at how beautifully this song is shot.

Now for the story.  Right at the start, Anita (Madhubala) has run off from home to be with the boy she is sweet on, a tennis player.  Trying to escape the spy her aunt Seeta Devi (Lalita Pawar) has set upon her, she ducks under the bleachers and falls on top of an out of work young man Preetam (Guru Dutt).  He is instantly smitten with the bubbly young beauty.  

Seeta Devi is incensed on discovering that according to the will written by her later brother, Anita's father, she cannot inherit his money unless she gets married.  Seeta Devi has toured Europe and America and believes in feminism.  She hates men and wants her dear niece to live a 'man-free' life.  She hits upon a solution.  She looks for a respectable out-of-work man (Guru Dutt) for a sham marriage that will be dissolved after some months have passed.

In the meantime Anita and Preetam keep running into each other. They seem to get along fine.  Until the time Anita discovers that Preetam has agreed to the sham marriage for the sake of Rs.200/- per month.  This is a situation that Preetam and Johnny (Johnny Walker) try to redress by various means.  Not an easy task as the Aunt keeps a strict watch on her darling niece.

Will Preetam be able to win Anita over?  More importantly, will he be able to get along with Seeta Devi ever?

5.  The dialogue, written by Abrar Alvi, dazzles you.  It crackles and pops and delights you constantly.

For example: Seeta Devi and Preetam are sparring. Preetam says something about the poor people who have nothing.

Seeta Devi : Communist ho?
Preetam : Cartoonist hoon.

Then there is a long dialogue where Preetam replies to a volley of questions by Seeta Devi by merely a 'Jee'.  Each time the word is spoken, it means something different.  A sharp Jee says 'Oh Really!', a soft Jee says 'Yes' and so on.

Most times in hindi films, the dialogue is predictable and re-used so much that it becomes comic.  Not so in this film.  Each line is fresh and custom written for this film and this film only.

Madhubala and Guru Dutt make a refreshing pair.  You can see how good they look together here :

The only sour note was struck by Kumkum who plays Guru Dutt's compliant Bhabhi, who keeps busy all day chakkii peesing and cooking and minding children and not minding (gasp) if Bhaiyya beats her sometimes. Oh.. well... It was 1955. Gulp.

Apart from this glitch, the movie is so well written, well acted, well filmed that it deserves to be appear more often in people's favorite lists.