Mahmood was known to give jitters to established lead actors. Some veteran film critics have maintained that there was a time when Mahmood's presence was considered essential by producers to attract the distributors. The comedian had a dedicated following. As did many successful actors of his era. But nothing could match Mahmood's popularity. His style was his own. He could dominate the movie with elan and if he had Shobha Khote as support, the lead actors would feel the pressure of healthy competition. “Dil Tera Deewana” was one such film that saw Mahmood give a stellar performance. He is irrepressible in some situations but at his best when pitted against the star of the day – Shammi Kapoor.
There is a tussle for space on the screen as Mahmood challenges Shammi Kapoor in this light-hearted film that draws strength from some lilting music by Shankar-Jaikishen, Not all songs are soul stirring. There are two eminently forgettable numbers but the catchy ones stay with you as Shammi Kapoor and Mala Sinha strike a lovable pair. The film was one of the few hits during a year that saw the audience swooning to the music of “Professor”, “Asli Naqli”, “Ek Musafir Ek Hasina”, “Anpadh”, “Aarti”, etc. The duo of Shankar-Jaikishen was at its peak even though “Dil Tera Deewana” would not find a place among their best works. But then it was an era when the film industry was welcoming new stars and the fans were in the grip of some outstanding romantic offerings.
This was a film from the stables of B.R. Panthalu, who has produced and directed some classics in the South. He assembles the best possible cast for a film that progresses on predictable lines. The hero meets the heroine in unexpected circumstances and takes little time in falling in love. He is rich. She is poor. So what? He loves her. She loves him too. There is a villain. So what? There is a solution too.
Two friends – Mohan (Shammi Kapoor) and Anokhey Lal (Mahmood) – are the central characters of the plot. Mohan yearns for freedom from his father's millions. Anokhey wants to leave his poverty behind. Circumstances lead them to a situation the two have been dreaming of for long. They exchange places. Mohan lands up in a modest setting where Malti (Mala Sinha) lives with her blind father (Manmohan Krishan).
Mohan is wayward and remains so till the last frame. He is sent to Captain Dayaram (Om Prakash) to be reformed but he manages to push Anokhey in his place. A series of comic developments carry the film forward at a rapid pace. Pran, as the villain, has an inconsequential role. But not Mahmood! He is the soul of the movie. In fact, Mahmood has a double role. A rickshaw puller with the same face adds to the comic confusion in the closing stages of the movie. The rickshaw puller with a Hyderabadi accent is a delight!
Sadly, Mahmood and Shobha Khote do not get to sing a hit duet. That privilege belongs to Shammi Kapoor and Mala Sinha as they hum “Dil Tera Deewana Hai Sanam…” and “Mujhe Kitna Pyaar Hai Tumse”. Can Shammi Kapoor be denied his space with Mohammad Rafi and Shankar-Jaikishen included in the party? In fitting style, Shammi Kapoor lights up the screen with the racy “Dhadakne Lagta Hai Mera Dil Tere Naam Se” and then finds himself at ease in the languid “Nazar Bacha Kar Chale Gaye Wo Warna Ghayal Kar Deta”. A fine performance by Shammi Kapoor and Mala Sinha is no match to the delightful Mahmood. He won the Filmfare Award for the best supporting actor. Indeed, he carries the film.