Jab Pyar Kisise Hota Hai
Director: Nasir Hussain
Translation - When One Falls in Love
Glorious Bollywood Black and White
A few minutes into this film it was feeling very familiar and I began to
wonder if I had seen it recently - I am getting to that age - but as it turned
out it was a different film from director Nasir Hussain. But similar in many
ways to his previous film Dil Deke Dekho. Same lead actress and same actress
playing the mother. Hussain said about himself that he arrived in Bombay
with one film script and one idea and made many films out of it. Having seen
his first four now I have to agree, but in this case that really isn't such
a bad thing as they are all great fun. He stuck to a winning formula - coincidences
run around like wild horses until they are corralled at the end, the characters
are all well educated middle to upper class and Anglicized, the locations
are out in the Hill Stations (England built all these hill stations to migrate
to in the summer months), people fall in love at the drop of a hello, one
of the parents objects, there is often an arranged marriage in there to gum
up the works, a villain is trying to gain the wealth of the wealthy family
through hook or marriage and there is always some identity confusion or disguises.
Same but not same and utterly charming. It helps that Hussain gets top notch
actors as well as some of the best music to come out of Bollywood.
In his first two films he had shaped Shammi Kapoor into the charm bomb that
he became - in this one he has Dev Anand who was a top actor at the time
but one has to wonder if this film was meant for Shammi. It has him written
all over the script. Dev is fine but Dev doesn't dance. He never really does.
In musical numbers he just walks around with the girl doing all the hard
work. This film called for some Shammi dancing and moments of pure joy. It
also stars Asha Parekh as the love interest. Hussain had used her in Dil
Deke Dekho against the advice of many. She was basically unknown and seemed
to have an attitude problem. One of the film studio's had offered her their
training classes and she refused - either you have it or you don't she said.
Apparently she didn't on one film in which she was fired after two days.
But Hussain liked something about her - youth, looks. modernity and sass
and maybe that lower lip. It came down to either her or Sadhana, another
up and coming actress - but Sadhana got sick and so it was Asha - Sadhana
went on to make Love in Simla. Both films made the actresses stars. Asha
was to appear in a number of Hussain's films over the years. I have so many
favorite Bollywood actresses from this period that I can't say which I like
more but I will watch Asha and Madhubala in anything.
The music is just fabulous - and there is a lot of it - another characteristic
of Hussain's films. The music is from the team of Shankar–Jaikishan and lyrics
from Hasrat Jaipuri or Shailendra with Lata and Rafi doing the vocals. Unfortunately,
the lyrics were not translated on the dvd but the songs were so well picturized
and the footwork in two ensemble numbers from Asha is stunning. The song
in which Dev is on top of a moving car singing to Asha on a moving train,
Jiya Ho Jiya Kuchh Bol Do, has become a classic.
So where to start. The mother (Sulochana - only in her 30's but already
being made up to do mother roles) of Sunder (Dev Anand) and Nisha's (Asha)
mother made a promise years ago that their children would get married some
day. Years pass, Nisha's mother dies, they never have met, Asha has no idea
about this deal and Sunder has weirdly fallen in love with this girl he has
never met. In any other film industry that would be creepy - in Bollywood
it is kismet. But Nisha's wealthy father wants nothing to do with this arranged
marriage and wants Nisha to marry his right hand man Sohan.
Sohan is played by Pran which is a dead giveaway because Pran always plays
the villain - in hundreds and hundreds of films. He has a face that a mother
would not trust to go to the corner store to buy a pack of gum and bring
back change. To give Pran credit - his villains were of all types - slimy
ones, simpy ones, sly ones, sadistic ones, slovenly ones - he is like the
Baskin-Robbins of villains. And I love the guy. Here he is both sly and slimy.
Asha goes off to Darjeeling to do a dance performance and to bring back a
man named Popat to her father for a business deal. It just so happens Sunder
is there, spots the girl he loves and pretends to be Popat and goes back
with her. They fall in love of course. At the same time another man (Rajendra
Nath - i.e. comic relief) is also pretending to be Popat. There is also an
old murder that comes into play and an ending that is just whacky as the
earth begins to explode, But it all works with Hussain's light touch and
emotional touchstones that he hits with ease.