Sunday, February 6, 2011

#52: Hum Dono - Rangeen

First up- Color restoration is a blessing. May their tribe increase.

'Evergreen Dev Anand' was only living up to his name when he re-released the 1961 black and white classic - Hum Dono this weekend with the new title of Hum Dono- Rangeen. So at very beginning, before the opening credits play out, Dev Anand, who is 87 years old now, tells us that the viewers can now cherish this movie in color and on wide cinemascopic screen with Dolby surround sound. It is a brief introduction and the theater that was nearly packed on a Sunday afternoon with elderly people gives him a warm applause. You can sense the nostalgia in the air.

The movie is the story about Anand (Dev Anand) who is in love with Mita (Sadhna). Anand's unemployed status irks Mita's dad when he goes to meet him to present himself as a suitor for Mita. Spurred by an emotional taunt, Anand leaves his mother to immediately join the Army- a decision that's taken in haste but to prove a point to himself that he can be an able breadwinner. While in the army, Anand meets his lookalike Major Verma - who has left a newly wed wife Ruma (Nanda) and his old mother, Lalit Pawara- to shoulder the responsibility of a front line officer in a war. Anand and Major Verma soon strike a warm friendly note with each other over glasses of army whiskey and the soulful number of 'Kabhi khud pe kabhi haalat pe rona aaya...'. The story then progresses with what happens in the war and how it affects their lives back in their homes.

You don't take time to absorb the fact that this is a movie with Dev Anand at the peak of his acting prowess. But that's not all- he completes the good boy look and with his trademark mannerisms - the shirt with the collar button tied without a tie, the wavy tuft of hair on his head, his persistent nodding and swaying of the neck as he is speaking a dialogue- all pointers that this is a movie that's woven around an actor par excellence who invented a debonair style of his own in tinsel town. So whether it's the restraint and humility of the character of Anand or the elan and poise of Major Verma, Dev Anand is hitting all the right notes as a performer. The confrontation between these two characters in the climax is the highlight of the movie. As the romantic Major Verma, Dev Anand portrays an effortless charm and nonchalance that's missing in art of acting these days. So when Hrithik or Shahrukh play the charming lead today, they need perfectly toned bodies, not a hair out of place and expensive costumes that are designed to make them look good. Dev Anand, on the other hand in Hum Dono looks dashing in a khaki army uniform. Peppered with an outstanding soundtrack that has some unforgettable melodies woven by composer Jaidev and lyricist Sahir Ludhianvi, Hum Dono works as a lazy pleasurable watch. It won't be an exaggeration to say that Mohammed Rafi when he's rendering Main Zindagi ka saath nibhaata chala gaya is probably miles ahead of any other singer of his time.

Lalita Pawar plays the traditional mother's role replete with the sadness of the woman whose son has gone to serve in the army while Sadhna and Nanda just do what actresses did in those days - act coy, cook food and weave sweaters in their husbands absence. Sadhna though strikes as being extremely pretty and her famous haircut is not to be missed. At 2 hours and 40 minutes, the movie does get a bit boring and given the melodrama that was such an integral part of the 60s and 70s, the producers (this was an in-house production from Navketan Pictures) could've considered editing certain parts. After all, this was a movie released in 1961 trying to woo audiences in 2011.

But be that as it may, Hum Dono- Rangeen is definitely worth a watch for Dev Anand and the brilliant melodies it brings back to life. It will transport you back into a time when filmmakers were not so market savvy with their research and marketing and yet knew what the audiences loved and indulgently served it all on a platter.

Rating: 7/10