Starring Manoj Kumar, Mala Sinha, Jayant, Shashikala
A doctor wanting to serve the needy in remote areas is a theme that would appeal to few in these times. But more than four decades ago it took the shape of a film that won accolades for Manoj Kumar and Jayant for their restrained performance in “Himalay Ki Godmein”. There was nothing extraordinary about this film that revolves around Manoj Kumar but then it was a clean offering from Vijay Bhatt.
Those were times when cinema was the biggest source of entertainment and filmmakers looked too pleased to come up with subjects that appealed to the society as a whole. Films carrying a social message were guaranteed success and “Himalay Ki Godmein” was produced with a mission that urged the medical fraternity to explore avenues to reach out to the ailing in secluded places.
Sunil Mehra (Manoj Kumar) is one such doctor who lands up in a village at the foothills of the Himalaya. An encounter with a dacoit leaves him injured and he is treated by a simple villager Dayal Singh (David) and his niece Phulwa (Mala Sinha). The petite Phulwa happens to be the daughter of the dacoit Lakahan Singh (Jayant) but is brought up by Dayal. Circumstances lead Phulwa to the city for treatment of her uncle and compel the doctor to return to the serene surroundings when he learns the plight of the poor villagers. The doctor falls in love with the village girl but confronts all kinds of challenges before he is happily united with Phulwa.
The movie has some strong and weak moments. It is strange when the doctor fails to recognise a dacoit and asks in a silly tone, “Aap log kaun hai?”
It is also silly when a simple village girl matches the doctor in the duet “Oe Tu Raat Khadi Thi Chatt Pe”. The song “Kankaria Maar Ke Jagaaya” is a misfit as Phulwa breaks into a dance at party in the city.
Let us best ignore these little aberrations. Just as we need to ignore Shashikala playing a character that just does not go with her persona. She looks too old to be cast in a role of Manoj Kumar’s fellow doctor also aspiring to become his wife. Mukri and Kanhaiyalal have been wasted as quacks out to discredit the doctor who has wiped off their business in the village.
The stand-out performance comes from Jayant in his role of a bandit, who reforms himself towards the end. David is as composed as ever in delivering his role as Phulwa’s foster father. Manoj Kumar is passable. Mala Sinha either dances or breaks into tears.
The duo of Kalyanji-Anandji, with the pair of Laxmikant-Pyarelal as assistants, bring quality music, beginning with Lata Mangeshkar’s lilting number “Oonche Himalay Ke Neeche” that so aesthetically captures the serenity of hills.
Mukesh on song
But it is almost 90 minutes into the movie before you hear “Chaand Si Mehbooba Ho Meri Kab”, which has Mukesh at his melodious best. This happens to be one of the favourites of Sunil Gavaskar. It is also said that wily leg-spinner B. S. Chandrashekhar, a die-hard Mukesh admirer, sings this number very well. One can well imagine why Gavaskar would often cajole Chandra to sing this song. There is also another haunting Mukesh number “Mein To Ek Khwab Hoon” that reminds you of music’s significance in the ‘60s.
Released during a year that also saw “Waqt”, “Arzoo”, “Kaajal”, “Mere Sanam”, “Jab Jab Phool Khile” and “Gumnaam”, this movie went on to win the Filmfare Award.
It was not exactly a super hit but earned rave reviews for its social theme. It advocated young doctors to devote their services in areas far flung. It also fittingly ends with a doctor’s dream coming true – a hospital nestling amidst the fascinating Himalayas.