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Hum Kisise Kum Naheen (1977)

VIJAY LOKAPALLY
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Starring Rishi Kapoor, Kaajal Kiran, Tariq, Amjad Khan, Zeenat Aman, Ajit, Om Shivpuri

A poster of the film.
A poster of the film.

The world was swinging to the magic of Abba. The changes were apparent as the Indian youth stayed in tune with the western love for the peppy stuff; pop music was in vogue, the juke box in demand at restaurants in the Capital. There was one popular one in Bengali Market and the afternoons, not evenings, were ‘happening’, for groups of school students would invade the the restaurant and transform it into a musical stage.

The first coin in the juke box would announce “Bachna Ae Haseeno Lo Mein Aa Gaya” and the response would be a prompt “Yeh Ladka Hai Allah Kaisa Hai Diwana”…Having warmed up, you could expect “Chand Mera Dil Chandni Ho Tum,”; yes, chand and chandni in broad daylight.

I was witness to one such splendid afternoon where the boys and girls set off a competition of sorts. One coin would fill the air with “Aa Dil Kya Mehfil Hai Tere Kadmon Mein” and be followed by another over-enthusiastic youngster taking to the floor with “Tum Kya Jano Mohabbat Kya Hai”….Of course, there was “Humko To Yaara Teri Yaari Jaan Se Pyaari”, with a “Kya Hua Tere Wada” and then the round would end with “Mil Gaya Humko Saathi Mil Gaya”…The owner did not mind. The juke box, not to forget the orders for snacks and cold drinks, swelled his coffer. All thanks to “Hum Kisise Kum Naheen” (HKKN), a musical super-hit from the ranks of Nasir Husain.

Nasir saab’s love for music was so well ingrained in his movies. From “Teesri Manzil”, “Pyar Ka Mausam”, “Caravan”, “Yaadon Ki Baraat” to “Hum Kisi Se Kum Naheen”, he stuck to the wonderful pair of Majrooh Sultanpuri and R.D. Burman. Music remained the highpoint of his subjects, even though “Teesri Manzil” and “Yaadon Ki Baraat” stood out as thrillers of quality.

HKKN belonged to the genre of “Yaadon Ki Baraat”. The hero, guitar in hand, singing his way into his ladylove’s heart, was common to both. It was not a new concept at all when it hit the screens but HKKN commanded an amazing fan following among the youth. It was a new phenomenon where the young audience sang along and at some stage danced too, to express their appreciation.

Rishi Kapoor and Tariq were the key figures in this story, where one man chases the heroine in search of diamonds and the other, unmindful of possessing the booty, yearns for his childhood. Kaajal Kiran, in her debut film, is not aware that Tariq happens to be her friend from childhood, the two having separated. On the strength of music, the movie progresses at a rapid pace with Amjad Khan, Ajit, Om Shivpuri, Kamal Kapoor, Murad and Tom Alter flitting in and out of the frames. There is Zeenat Aman too, as Rishi Kapoor’s ladylove, lost in the beginning but united towards the end. Strangely, Nasir saab included a qawwali, “Hai Agar Dushman Dushman”, with Zeenat as Rishi’s partner. It was the lone sore point, since qawwali just did not match Zeenat’s image of a London-bred lass in the movie.

It was a super-hit and one of R.D. Burman’s memorable offerings to the youth. Western instruments insured the songs had a fast pace even though it was Mohammad Rafi’s “Kya Hua Tera Wada” that happened to stand out for sheer melody. The song was said to be close to Rafi saab’s heart. The idea of four back-to-back songs has not been repeated since. “Guide” had two back-to-back classical offerings in “Kya Se Kya Ho Gaya” and “Piya Tose Naina Lage Re” but this medley was pop with one of the songs influenced by Abba’s “Mamma Mia”; at another point, “Honey Honey” makes its presence felt too. It was also pointed out, how could Nasir saab allow Tariq to mime to Rafi saab’s “Chand Mera Dil” and, in the same sequence, shift to RD’s “Tum Kya Jano.” The difference in voice was so striking.

In terms of story, there was nothing exceptional. In terms of acting too there was hardly any noteworthy show, with the exception of Kaajal Kiran. She made a mark with her cute countenance but, like Tariq, failed to capitalise on the success of the movie and faded into oblivion. HKKN, however, remains one of the finest musical hits in Indian cinema.

VIJAY LOKAPALLY

It was a new phenomenon where the young audience sang along and at some stage danced too, to express their appreciation.

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