Cinema

Love in Tokyo (1966)

Asha Parekh.  

The 1960s saw a number of breezy entertainers that captured the box office with their buoyant energy, carving out a special niche in people's memory. Like books which delight and inspire yet do not win extraordinary literary accolades, these ‘formula ilms' weren't classics, yet they captivated everyone with their romantic fare and infectious medley of haunting melodies. “Love in Tokyo” was also one such film; endearing and entertaining but with no pretensions to intellectual high brow!

Once Raj Kapoor brought European splendour to our shores with his technicolor extravaganza “Sangam”, it opened doors to a formula within a formula: Indian romances in foreign land. Peppered with fair doses of comedy and suspense, these films enticed audiences into willing suspension of disbelief with racy musical scores. Obviously, this was old hat to Pramod Chakravorty and “Love In Tokyo” shows why he was so successful; the fare is deliciously frothy, tantalisingly inviting yet morally upright to make audiences smile, sniffle and giggle at appropriate intervals, forgiving glaring mistakes in screenplay and production.

Chakravorty's lavish presentation made people gawk at Japanese landmarks which were incomparable in size, shape and beauty to everything native. As you watch the film now, you are left astounded that even then Tokyo was better organised than what New Delhi is today and that bowling alleys, malls, escalators and tube trains, which came to India just recently. Which probably explains Chakravorty's business acumen and why he had an enviable record of 15 silver jubilee hits out of 19 films that he directed!

Oriental charm

Sachin Bhowmick's story gave ample scope to unfold Tokyo's beauty and Shankar-Jaikishan's teasing music, enwrapping moving poetry of Hasrat Jaipuri and Shailendra, enhanced the magic of oriental charm. If Lata flutters across “Sayonara Sayonara” and “Koi Matwala” like a nimble butterfly, Rafi sways majestically like the monsoon breeze through “O Mere Shahe Khuba” and title track “Love in Tokyo”. However, it is Shankar-Jaikishan's seductive “Aa Ja Re Aa Zaraa” that pierces every heart with Cupid's arrow as Rafi conveys sizzling desire through sensual intonations in a journey beyond ecstasy!

The script unfolds with Ashok (Joy Mukherjee) landing in Tokyo to bring back his orphaned nephew Cheekoo (Master Shahid) to India and promptly falling in love with an Indian girl Asha (Asha Parekh). Soon Cheekoo runs away from Ashok's custody but ends up with Asha who is dodging the clutches of a cunning uncle (Madan Puri) and his gangster friend Pran. To avoid detection, Asha disguises as a Sikh and when Ashok rescues both of them, he remains unaware that the ‘gentleman' is his lady love. Though the riddle is soon resolved, things turn sour when Ashok's mother Gayatri Devi (Lalita Pawar) reaches Tokyo and catches the duo ‘united in arms'. Several reels later, when the villain and the vamp retire after bouts of tears and fisticuffs, the lovers unite with Mom's blessings!

While the main cast goes through its paces in a fairly predictable manner, this film like several other films also has a Mehmood-Shoba Khote sub-plot of baffling Dhumal and one is amazed how their repetitive gags always manage to evoke laughter without irking the audiences! Aerial and night photography by VK Murthy (alongwith Babubhai Mistry) is commendable, especially as it was done manually those days on primitive equipment. The wonderful colour effects by a foreigner JFH Van der Auwera and the slick editing by Dharamveer made the picturesque locales come alive with greater vibrancy. An attractive credit titles presentation, thanks to designing and painting by Ansari and Nasir respectively, adds to the film's appeal.

Despite several omissions and errors, “Love In Tokyo” proves that Indians audiences love romantic stories that are served with the right eclectic mix of emotion, drama and music. Obviously, a foreign locale is an added bonus to lure the viewers into the theatres and if you don't believe it, go see “Love In Tokyo'” or ask Yash Raj Films who now own the formula.




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Printable version | Sep 22, 2021 10:18:43 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/cinema/Love-in-Tokyo-1966/article16044717.ece

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