Blast from the past Friday Review

Yeh Gulistan Hamara (1972)

Dev Anand and Sharmila Tagore in Yeh Gulistan Hamara.

Dev Anand and Sharmila Tagore in Yeh Gulistan Hamara.  

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After working with Dilip Kumar in “Dastan”, Sharmila Tagore was too keen to act with Dev Anand. The pair came together in Guru Dutt Film’s “Yeh Gulistan Hamara”. This directional venture of Atma Ram was not a truly memorable one. It, however, boasted evergreen melodies by S.D. Burman. Shot exclusively on locations of Assam and Meghalaya, the filming of “Yeh Gulistan Hamara” owes a lot to Bhupen Hazarika. There were mob agitations during the shooting, even stone throwing but Dev Anand’s intervention saved the day and of course the film.

Vijay (Dev Anand) an Intelligence Bureau officer is assigned by his director (Iftekhar) to supervise a bridge construction on Dihing river in North East. This is with a purpose to open a gateway to China and help establish friendly bilateral relations. The construction work receives severe opposition from Naga tribes with the tyrannical Maharaj (Pran), his minister (Jankidas) and commander (Sujit Kumar) hell bent on destroying the bridge.

Vijay arrives determined to accomplish his mission along with his local assistant (Johnny Walker). As the work progresses Vijay and his team members take into custody Saikrani (Sharmila Tagore), a Naga lady fighter who along with her fighters combats the Indian Army. Interacting with her, Vijay learns about the oppression and torture her people face from the ruling class and when he explains that he has come to help them she slowly falls in love with him.

With Saikrani’s help Vijay crosses the river and enters her territory mingling with the commoners and children helping them to learn and visualize the value of knowledge. In a predictable but well shot climax Vijay is taken a captive by the soldiers of Maharaj and sentenced to death. Saikrani and her associates rebel. With the help of the India army they rescue Vijay who valiantly fights the evil forces. Vijay, Saikrani and their followers win killing Maharaj, Senapati and the other wrong doers. The foreign agents led by (Sapru) who instigate Maharaj against India are taken to task by the army.

Scripted by Wajahat Mirza and Ranjan Bose, “Yeh Gulistan Hamara” is just an average film. The North East of 1972 was different and Atma Ram went into a preaching mode as a director. His efforts did not pay. Dev Anand and Sharmila Tagore form an attractive pair but have little to perform. However as Sharmila Tagore lips “Kya Yehi Zindagi Hai”, she is really expressive. Dev Anand reacting silently with folded hands is convincing.

Pran shines in an ill-written character. Johnny Walker, Sujit Kumar and Lalita Pawar are adequate. Kesto Mukherjee and Asrani are wasted. V.K. Murthy has little to do as cinematographer. The scene of Sharmila Tagore kissing Dev Anand while speaking via a wireless is not required.

The saving grace of “Yeh Gulistan Hamara” are lyrics by Anand Bakshi and music by S.D. Burman. According to the iconic composer the song very near to his heart is “Kya Yehi Zindagi Hai”. He renders it brilliantly in his bold nasal voice with Lata Mangeshkar.

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Printable version | Jan 26, 2020 4:49:44 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/yeh-gulistan-hamara-1972/article7819215.ece

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