Starring Dev Anand, Waheeda Rehman, Nanda, Vijay Anand

“Do Ka Char, Paanch Ka Dus”….Tickets being sold in black, an unheard phenomenon in these times of Multiplexes, tele and online bookings. The opening sequences of “Kala Bazar” are enchanting, bringing fond memories of a glorious era, when cinema was a huge source of diversion from mundane moments of life.

Dev Anand and Waheeda Rehman come together to create magic in this black and white tribute to entertainment on screen. There is not a dull moment in this slick movie that carried a strong social message on the importance of education.

The film revolves around a debonair Dev Anand and a charming Waheeda. Add melodious music to it and you have an impeccable combination that transports you into the fascinating world of pure and compelling cinema.

Some of the close up shots of Waheeda will leave you in a trance, especially the one where she holds Dev Anand's hand at the footsteps of a temple, imploring him to make a wish. Waheeda is refreshing in every frame and gives a delightful performance in the company of Dev Anand, who had become a star by the time this movie was released.

A memorable fare

Then there is a beautifully composed and executed rain-song “Rim Jhim Ke Tarane Leke Aai Barsaat”, the hero and heroine gracefully sharing an umbrella as Mohammad Rafi and Geeta Dutt come up with an all-time great duet. Geeta Dutt also combined with Sudha Malhotra to give an immortal devotional offering in the shape of “Na Mai Dhan Chahoon Na Ratan Chahoon…”

Vijay Anand's direction and attention to small details contribute to make the movie memorable. Don't miss the Ben Hur is coming announcement at the Metro Cinema as Vijay Anand captures real life shots of Mother India's premier.

Music had always been an integral part of Navketan Films and Sachin Da makes a huge contribution with his craft, setting soulful tunes to Shailendra's lyrics. It was a combination that spelt sure success and Vijay Anand does capitalize on this fact with some aesthetically shot songs that certainly endeared themselves to fans of good cinema.

“Apni To Aah Ek Toofan Hai” should rank as one of the finest situational songs. Dev Anand teasingly referring to Waheeda (on the upper berth) as the train is chugging towards its destination. And then the romantic “Khoya Khoya Chand Khula Aasman” sets up the tempo, leaving the audience asking for more.

Dev Anand is Raghuvir, who loses his job of a bus conductor, and takes to black marketing of cinema tickets to make quick and big money to support his mother (Leela Chitnis), sister (Nanda) and brother. He robs a lawyer Desai (Chetan Anand) to launch his business, buys a luxurious house even as her ailing mother doubts his methods. His empire grows but his life is transformed when he bumps into college students Alka (Waheeda) and Nand (Vijay Anand).

Alka's insistence on uprightness forces Raghuvir to shed his wayward, illegal means of making money. The hero, with negative shades in the initial stages, sets on a course of reforming himself and his gang. Nand goes overseas to study. Raghuvir follows Alka on a trip to Ooty with her parents, and his chance acquaintance on the train journey develops into love for the lady. He is shattered when Alka reveals she is engaged to Nand.

Mature treatment

A few twists lead to a predictable end where Nand returns to release Alka from the bond of engagement. This mature treatment of the subject, two youngsters discovering different paths to find their true love, is the best part of the story, coming as it did nearly five decades ago. It is Alka's turn to be devastated when his dark past returns to confront Raghuvir, who is arrested for his misdeeds as a black marketer and loses his mother who dies of the shock. The climax in a court room is lit up by a sterling performance from Chetan Anand as Raghuvir's lawyer.

“Kala Bazar” is indeed a timeless classic. With a director like Vijay Anand to make use of their genius, every actor played his part in a composed manner. Some close to reality sequences in this movie only underlined the importance of his direction. No wonder, Dev Anand regarded his brother “a great asset.”

One wonders if “Kala Bazar” commanded a “Do Ka Char, Paanch Ka Dus” performance in real life too. It must have, given the fact that it was a movie close to Dev Saab.