It was the fifth highest grosser of the year, and walked away with almost all the major Filmfare trophies: Best Film, Best Actor (Manoj Kumar), Best Director (Sohanlal Kanwar), Best Music Director (Shankar-Jaikishen), Best Male Playback Singer (Mukesh), Best Lyricist (Varma Malik), Best Supporting Actor (Pran) who turned down the award in protest against Shankar-Jaikishen getting it in place of the all time haunting music of “Pakeezah”. This fuelled the prevalent belief that the awards were rigged, and money was a factor in the decision making process. The fact remained that the lyrics were ordinary and their compositions did not really set the Indian Ocean on fire. All the seven songs “Na izzat ki chinta…jai bolo beimaan ki” (Mukesh), “Yeh rakhi bandhan hai aisa” (Lata Mangeshkar-Mukesh), “Patla patla reshmikurta…lut gaye mama” (Mahendra Kumar-Asha Bhosle), “Dekhojee raat ko julam ho gaya” (Asha Bhosle), “Ek ek ginwata hoon” (Mukesh), “Hum do mast kalandar” (Kishore Kumar-Mahendra Kapoor), “Mein to chali hoon wahan” (Sharda-Asha Bhosle) were ordinary and, therefore, without any lasting value, except, perhaps, the rakhi song.

Manoj Kumar plays a key cutter who is conned and framed into a fake murder to aide a group of city bandits in this blockbuster that had the basic story by Sachin Bhowmick with a screenplay by Ram Kelkar and dialogue by Ved Rahi. It, like many of his ‘Bharat’ starrers of the period, showed his otherwise invisible hand in the choice of character artistes, camera placements, and shot breakdown in action sequences in at least the scenes featuring him though the direction of the film made under the Film Nagar banner was credited to Sohanlal Kanwar.

The story in short: Seth Jamna Das’s (Raj Mehra) only college going daughter Sapna (Rakhee) is involved with poor Shyam (Manoj Kumar). Failing to persuade her, and prevail upon her to marry DIG Gopal Das’s (Prem Nath) only son, Deepak (Prem Chopra) he agrees to marry off the lovers. But on the night of marriage Shyam is not only accused of a safe break but also death of Kamini (Snehlata), and forced to join the criminals in a spate of robberies after one of which there is a showdown between him and the rest, and manages to escape and lands in a town where he saves a young girl, Meena (Nazima) from a group of hooligans, who then forces him to come to her house for first aid treatment. Meena is the daughter of an honest cop, Constable Ram Singh (Pran) who instantly adopts him (now called Mohan) as his son.

Not withstanding continuity jerks now all action (murders, rapes, gold smuggling) and characters find themselves in the same town. And the lecherous Deepak in partnership with Jamna Das is the kingpin of all unlawful activities even though DIG Gopal Das is honesty personified. In the swiftly changing scenario, the old lovers get reunited, songs and dances in flashback follow, Shyam/Mohan finds out Kamini is alive, after some fisticuffs he is arrested, Ram Singh gets promoted as Sub-Inspector but in a chase to prevent Deepak/Jamna Das’s consignment with gold he falls prey to the former’s bullet. DIG Gopal Das gets him cremated with full honours, vowing to get the culprit booked. Jamna Das agrees to marry off Sapna to Deepak to consolidate his nefarious activities but Shyam/Mohan spoils the party leading to a showdown between the partners.

Not only that, he also convinces the DIG about his son’s doings, how he had been hoodwinked into the aiding them, and brings him to the scene of action where the party is in a confessional mode. And in an attempt to escape, Deepak even fires at his father.

Performance-wise, Pran excels, Prem Nath for a change is subdued in a relatively brief role, Prem Chopra does his villainous act with standard perfection, the three ladies have limited scope while Manoj Kumar goes through most scenes in his customary fashion more in profiles than in frontal shots and awkward in romantic scenes as a college student. Gulshan Bawra has precisely one scene, and Murad, O.P. Kohli, Brahm Bardwaj perhaps three-and-a-half each. Nand Kumar as editor and Radhu Karmakar as cinematographer hardly get to show their craftsmanship in an otherwise routine entertainer.

Genre: Drama

Director: Sohanlal Kanwar

Cast: Manoj Kumar, Rakhee Gulzar, Pran, Nazima, Prem Chopra, Prem Nath, Raj Mehra, Murad, Gulshan Bawra, Dulari,

Story: Sachin Bhowmick

Screenplay: Ram Kelkar

Dialogue: Ved Rahi

Music director: Shankar-Jaikishen

Lyricist: Verma Malik

Box office status: Highest grossing movie of the year

Trivia: Pran turned down the Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actor in protest against Shankar-Jaikishen getting Best Music Director award for the movie in place of “Pakeezah”