BLAST FROM THE PAST Friday Review

Double Cross (1972)

A STYLISH THRILLER Poster of film “Double Cross”  

Dev Anand never lost an opportunity to praise his younger brother – VijayAnand. For Dev saab, he was ‘Goldie’. Vijay was nicknamed Goldilocks by his father because of his golden hair. Even the film industry later came to identify him with this nickname. He was special in his family of illustrious film-makers led by Chetan Anand.

Vijay Anand was a writer, director, editor…only he did not write songs or sing. He was one of the celebrated names associated with Hindi cinema and way ahead of the times. When he scripted “Taxi Driver” in 1954, a super hit that was made on a shoestring budget, the film industry took note of a teenager who could come up such thrilling subjects. Having written and directed some plays at college, it was the beginning of a long journey for Vijay Anand.

It was hardly surprising when Vijay Anand made a splendid debut with “Nau Do Gyarah”. He also wrote the script and it is said the film was completed in less than two months. The success of the movie meant a lot to the film world. Vijay Anand had arrived with a bang and was set to contribute handsomely to the most popular medium of entertainment in India.

For a man who directed gems like “Kala Bazaar”, “Guide”, “Teesri Manzil”, “Jewel Thief”, “Johny Mera Naam”, “Tere Mere Sapne”, “Tere Ghar Ke Samne”, to have agreed to do “Double Cross” was surprising. He neither scripted nor directed it. But played the lead role. Here too, he went a step ahead and signed up to perform a double role in a movie that had a weak story and weaker music by Rahul Dev Burman.

Music was a casualty that hurt “Double Cross”. Not to forget the most forgettable screen presence of Vijay Anand, who had otherwise made an impression with his cameo in “Kala Bazaar” and a pleasant performance in “Chhupa Rustam”, which he had produced and directed. He preferred light roles but “Double Cross” was different. A story of twins who go different ways only to reunite and part again in tragic circumstances.

The film had Rekha and Asha Sachdev, playing the lady love for Ajay and Vijay and Jimmy. For Vijay Anand, it was one thing to direct, another to act, which he did discover in this movie, failing to engage the attention of the audience. In “Kora Kagaz”, he had Jaya Bhaduri as the partner in a movie which perhaps was his best as an actor.

The plot in “Double Cross” followed a predictable path. The two brothers dote over each other and do demonstrate it in the only good song of the movie – “Dekho Hum Dono Ki Yaari Kya Kehna” by Kishore Kumar and Bhupinder Singh.

The rest of the songs lacked the flair of RD and Kishore. Ajay loves Sonia (Ranjita Thakur) and looks forward to marry her but is left heart-broken when she prefers to settle down with a much-older Maganbhai (Madan Puri) for money. Ajay promises to give her the luxuries of life but she refuses to change her mind and leaves Ajay shattered.

Ajay takes to illegal ways of making money and drifts into a world where he finds solace in support from Sonia. As the story progresses, Sonia is appalled to find Ajay dating her step-daughter Rekha. It adds to the intrigue. A docile Ajay is not docile anymore.

He has to extract revenge from Sonia even as he adores Lily, his new-found love from the underworld.

Rekha finds her partner in Ajay’s brother but sadly, Vijay Anand is unable to deliver and the character remains unconvincing.

What prompted Vijay Anand do take up this role shall remain unanswered. He had Rekha for company and Asha Sachdev too but a director in Gogi Anand who never rose to the promise he showed when studying at the Film And Television Institute Of India. The combination of Vijay and Gogi should have created magic on the screen along with RD as composer. If it failed, the reasons were not hard to find.

None of the characters involved with the movie seem to have their heart in the project. Therein lay the reason for “Double Cross” being such a disappointment. An intriguing one at that since it involved some of the established and emerging names of Indian cinema.




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Printable version | Dec 4, 2021 12:04:52 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/Double-Cross-1972/article16442861.ece

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