Starring: Dev Anand, Asha Parekh, Pran, Rajendranath
Nasir Hussain, patriarch of one of the hugely successful but unassuming families of Bollywood had the knack of conjuring up cinematic experience that set the box-office jingling with unnerving regularity. Films like “Tumsa Nahi Dekha” in 1957, followed by “Dil Deke Dekho” in 1959 and “Jab Pyaar Kisi Se Hota Hai” (JPKSHH), proved the point.
It was his treatment that set the tone for his continuing success – woven around a golden recipe – a racy story laced with heavy emotions, suspense and drama, a good, fast flowing script, taut editing, excellent songs and a top class star cast.
While JPKSHH had all this in ample measure, it was the scintillating screen presence of Dev Anand and Asha Parekh, with a superlative music score by Shankar-Jaikishen that stood out. It is simply a treat to watch Dev Anand as the handsome and dapper Sunder, falsely implicated in a murder case but ultimately exonerated by the court. Those who have seen Anand caricatured and lampooned for the acting style he adopted in later films (drooping shoulders, highly stylised mannerisms, peculiar style of dialogue delivery and the slanting walk) will find it hard to believe that this immensely competent actor with a high star quotient (erect gait, easy walk, subdued, natural acting style) is the same person.
Hussain made full use of the innate strengths of his start cast. Anand, crooning the title track “Jab Pyaar Kisi Se Hota Hai” from the roof of a car moving alongside the toy train to Darjeeling, to woo Asha Parkeh, who is on the train, is the stuff that gives cinema its magical moments.
The story of JPKSHH, also written by Hussain, inspired “Betaab”, the Rahul Rawail directed launch vehicle of Sunny Deol and Amrita Singh (Nisha and Sunder had been promised to each other by their respective parents, but Roop had subsequently changed his mind).
Asha Parekh, as Nisha, the daughter of a wealthy businessman dad, Sardar Roop Singh, displays the effervescence and verve required for such roles, which became her forte and took her to the very top of the industry.
With this, she reinforced her position as the principal muse of Nasir Hussain, who went on to cast her as a leading lady in five more films: “Phir Wohi Dil Laya Hoon” (1963), “Teesri Manzil” (1966), “Baharon Ke Sapne” (1967), “Pyar Ka Mausam” (1969), and “Caravan” (1971).
Parekh showcased her prowess as an accomplished dancer besides a formidable glamour quotient.
Each of the songs, penned by Hasrat Jaipuri and Shailendra, and set to music by Shankar Jaikishen, has the freshness of a rose bud to it, including “Sau Saal Pehle Mujhe Tumse Pyaar Tha”, “Teri Zulfon Se Rihai to Nahi Maangi Thi” and the title track that is repeated, this time in the evocatively haunting voice of Lata Mangeshkar.
Twists and turns
The core of the film, despite its myriad twists and turns weaved in, in what is essentially a love story, has the support cast deemed necessary at that time, a villain, Sohan (Pran with his trademark smirking expression, with a double barrel gun in his hand and toupee on his head for support) and a comedian (Rajendranath, with his usual antics and the underwear act).
However, with a script that does no justice to their character, they pale in front of Anand's charisma and Parekh's charms.
Even the otherwise dependable Pran, who exuded a screen presence that had many a leading hero running for cover, is wasted in a half baked role. Undue effort to accord them screen space commensurate to their stature added several minutes to the film's 163 minutes length.