Starring Kishore Kumar, Supriya Choudhury, Amit Ganguly
This movie is about Kishore Kumar. His ubiquity in the movie is a tribute to his genius and an affirmation of his amazing skills. When he is not acting, he is directing. When he is not singing, he is composing. Not to forget, he is the producer too of this critically-acclaimed effort. In this much-watchable movie, the man, known to be a complete comic hero, is a melancholic character, so strikingly different to his personality of a dancing, prancing actor. He wins your heart with whatever he does — singing, acting, directing or composing.
Kishore was indeed unique. He was enigmatic and eccentric. His crooning had an unmistakable touch of romance even though he could also cast a gloomy spell with his sad renderings. There was a rare combination of emotion and depth in his voice. It did not really matter if he was singing for Dev Anand or Dara Singh. Kishore was different.
From the time the movie opens to a baritone background score by Hemant Kumar — “Raahi Tu Mat Ruk Jana” — it takes you on a journey that so splendidly portrays a father's quest to restore voice to his son. It is touching as the real-life father-son pair brings on the screen some sad moments and gives a memorable performance.
For a man who sang some of the most unimaginably outrageous numbers like “Baam Chik Chik Baam” and “Naach Meri Jaan Fataa Fata Fat”, Kishore does not indulge in any yodelling in this movie. In fact, he comes up with some of the finest classical songs that touch your heart for their melody. When you have a lyricist like Shailendra, music must enjoy a commanding attention. It does, especially when Kishore sings “Aa Chalke Tujhe Mein Leke Chalun” to his son.
This was Kishore's directorial debut and successful by any yardstick. It may not have created a stir at the box office but it earned praise from critics. Kishore was reportedly mighty pleased by the response from the connoisseurs of good cinema. He plays a war hero without a scene in the movie from the battlefield. He is forced to pawn his war medal to raise money for his son's treatment but he hardly looks the war hero in the state of helplessness. It hardly matters really.
The story is simple. Shankar (Kishore) returns from war to find his house ravaged and wife perishing in the fire. The traumatised son Ramu (Amit Ganguly) survives but loses his voice from the shock. The father and son bring rare sensitivity to their performances with the beautiful Supriya Choudhury making an impact with a powerful screen presence. She is brilliant as the kind-hearted woman who develops a motherly affection for Ramu.
Ramu, impeccably acted by an 11-year-old Amit, can't speak but conveys so much through his eyes and the pain on his face. Kishore is a class act in the absence of histrionics and the crass humour that marked some of his acting. His face mirrors the anguish as “Koi Lauta De Mere Beete Hue Din” haunts in the background. He also does justice to “Jin Raaton Ki Bhor Nahi Hai”, one of the landmark scores from his illustrious career.
What makes it a Kishore special is his ability to create music that goes so well with the story. Two outstanding numbers by Asha Bhonsle take you on a nostalgic trip. “Khoya Khoya Chanda Khoye Khoye Tare” leaves you in love with her voice and then you are spellbound by “Path Bhoola Ik Aaya Musafir”, a personal favourite of Asha.
Shankar leaves no stone unturned as he prays and pleads for his son's voice, seeking the best of doctors and divine help. “Bapu” (father) is all he craves to hear. He confronts a scheming village tyrant and wages a lonely battle that he wins after much suffering. It, however, appears odd that the tyrant gets away with all his scheming so conveniently in a village that proudly looks up to a war hero for protection. In the end, good prevails over evil, the son regains his voice and you are left admiring the genius of Kishore Kumar.