STARRING Raj Kapoor, Vyjayantimala, Usha Kiron, Agha, Achala Sachdev, Gemini Ganesh, Sabita Chatterjee

A remake of Tamil “Kalyana Parisu” (1955), also directed by C.V. Sridhar, this is yet another classic example of what wrong casting can do to a strong emotional drama. A plump, overweight Raj Kapoor as a college student is an eyesore. B. Saroja Devi had been originally cast in the role of Vasanthi (though she had played Geeta in both the Tamil and Telugu versions opposite Gemini Ganesh and A. Nageshwara Rao) but differences with the director during the very first schedule led to her hurried exit. This was also the leading pair's first outing together.

It is a triangular love story — two sisters in love with the same man, the younger one sacrificing for the self-effacing older sister. Both Usha Kiron (Geeta) and Vyjayantimala (Vasanthi) flip for Rajesh/Raj (Raj Kapoor), once Vasanthi's classmate who is rusticated for writing a love letter. But Cupid strikes when she apologises at the next meeting. Meanwhile, he finds a job, and hunting for a place after temporary refuge in bluff master friend Murli's (Agha) house. Vasanthi offers one and he becomes a tenant in their house. Love prospers as they meet clandestinely. When Rajesh falls sick, Geeta (who has been stitching clothes to support the family) nurses him back to good health, even sings a song and falls in love with him. On learning about her feelings Vasanthi sacrifices her love, and persuades an unwilling Rajesh to marry her instead.

They leave town after marriage. He treats her with disdain, learning about which Vasanthi writes to him, which brings about a change. A son is born. She takes up the job of a typist under Shyam (Gemini Ganesh), who proposes. She declines the offer, instead pays sister and brother-in-law a visit. Camaraderie between her husband and sister arouses suspicion resulting in her leaving the house. She meets with an accident, and a benevolent old man gives her refuge, little realising she has landed in the old boss' house. This time she agrees to marry him, getting to see the ad about her too late in the day. Meanwhile, suffering from guilt Geeta dies on learning about her husband and sister's sacrifice, but not before ensuring that he will make Vasanthi their child's mother. Unable to manage the child, and on learning about Geeta's impending marriage he makes a dash to the venue…but rather late. He sends the child to the newly married, ostensibly as a wedding gift, before walking away into the dark.

Filmfare award

This Venus Films, Madras production grossed Rs.9000,000, and was named amongst the top 12 hits of the year and, getting writer-director Sridhar the Filmfare Best Story Trophy. Usha Kiron lives her performance, first as the sacrificing older sister, and then a jealous one. Vyjayantimala is a delight to watch in both serious and naughty moments. Her smiling eyes and effortless dancing steps are an apt foil to Raj Kapoor's tired movements and lacklustre performance. A. Vincent's camerawork and N.M. Shankar's editing lends support to the gripping narrative, especially the supposed comic interludes which are limited and do not disturb the flow. All the songs were appealing Ravi compositions, “Ek woh bhi Diwali thi ek yeh bhi Diwali hai” (Mukesh) can be heard even to this day, “Bikhra ke zulfe chaman mein no jaan” (Lata-Mukesh), “Mere peechee ek diwana” (Mukesh-Asha), “Baazi kisne pyaar ki” (Mohammed Rafi), “Mele hai chiraghon ke” (Lata) were other Rajinder Krishan creations.

SURESH KOHLI

A. Vincent's camerawork and N.M. Shankar's editing lends support to the gripping narrative