Zinda Dil (1975)

A LIVELY COUPLE Rishi Kapoor and Neetu Singh  

Rishi Kapoor is making news. Not for gifting his fans a hit but baring his life in a candid autobiography where he mocks at himself and gives a deep insight into his private world.

When he walked into the hearts of his fans in 1973 with “Bobby” and won the Filmfare award for his brilliant performance, Kapoor took the first step towards creating a niche audience for his films.

With Dimple Kapadia as his lady love, Kapoor swept the young audience of the nation with that iconic escape to freedom on a mini mobike. To own a Bobby Rajdoot became a fashion statement and Kapoor rode on the success of it to trigger a journey that had taken baby steps with his father’s Raj Kapoor’s iconic film “Mera Naam Joker”.

“Bobby” set a high benchmark for Kapoor, which he struggled to cope with despite the talent to carry a film on his shoulders. “Bobby” was followed by “Zehreela Insaan”, “Zinda Dil”, “Rafoo Chakkar” and “Khel Khel Mein”, but Kapoor failed to reach the high of his romantic debut with Dimple.

It was a crucial phase for him since it was to chart his future course. Was he as good as “Bobby” showed him to be? Kapoor was confronted with issues that could impact his position in a film industry where business was cut-throat. The market was dominated by the likes of Amitabh Bachchan and Rajesh Khanna and it was obviously challenging for someone as young as Kapoor – 21 to be precise – to take the seniors head on.

But Kapoor hung on and went on to create space for himself. Shailendra Singh became his voice and romance returned to the screen with Kapoor and Neetu Singh forming a pair that attracted the young generation. “Zinda Dil” and “Zehreela Insaan” may not figure among their best offerings but then they were early days for both of them in a high competitive industry.

“Zinda Dil” suffered on many counts. The music lacked the fervour that pushed “Bobby” at the box office. The story had little scope to extract performance from Kapoor and Neetu Singh and it needed the support of Pran to stop the film from sinking at the box office.

The story revolved around two brothers who are treated differently by their father. The twins – Arun Sharma and Kewal Sharma – played by Rajesh Leher a look alike of Kapoor, are the central part of the narrative that gets a boost every time Pran comes on the screen. Those were times when Pran commanded dedicated audience and often gave the shivers to the young male actors of the day. Pran’s name in the cast often gave the film a decent pre-launch advantage.

Pran plays a war veteran in this film with a liking for Kewal. In the process, he distances himself from Arun by repeatedly making tough demands. Even his love Rekha, played by Zaheera.

Circumstances conspire to lead Arun to Jyoti (Neetu Singh). He saves Jyoti from committing suicide. She pays her gratitude by getting Arun work in a hotel owned by her father (Pinchoo Kapoor). One of the waiters leads Arun to his long-lost mother and the story tumbles to a predictable end leaving everyone happy as Jyoti deals a fatal blow to the villain, Ghanshyam played by Roopesh Kumar in an insufferable act.

Kapoor would happily like to forget the film but it helped him to learn some bitter lessons early in his career. The cushion that “Bobby” gave him carried him past a few flops like “Zinda Dil” and “Zehreela Insaan”.

If only the pair of Laxmikant-Pyarelal could whip up the musical charm of “Bobby” the film would have earned some appreciation from the paying audience. Lata Mangeshkar did manage a superb solo – “Nahi Nahi Jana Nahi Abhi Nahi Jana Nahi” – but that was all.

Pran was the saving grace in this forgettable movie that must have created self-doubts for Kapoor. That he overcame them to extend his career by holding his spot in multi-starrers showed his talent.

Genre: Romantic drama

Director: Sikandar Khanna

Cast: Rishi Kapoor, Neetu Singh, Zaheera, Pran, Rajesh Leher, Raj Mehra, I.S. Johar, Roopesh Kumar, Pinchoo Kapoor

Music: Laxmikant-Pyarelal

Box office status: Average

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Printable version | Dec 5, 2021 1:36:48 PM |

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