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Forever gems: 1963 films celebrating diamond jubilee

Music and romance were the highlights of these 1963 films celebrating their diamond jubilee this year

Forever gems: 1963 films celebrating diamond jubilee

IT isn’t for nothing that the 1960s are called the Hindi film industry’s golden era; they stand out for some exceptional films. This memorable decade was about exquisite cinema with magical, immortal music when handsome heroes and awe-inspiring heroines dominated the silver screen.



Jaskiran Chopra

IT isn’t for nothing that the 1960s are called the Hindi film industry’s golden era; they stand out for some exceptional films. This memorable decade was about exquisite cinema with magical, immortal music when handsome heroes and awe-inspiring heroines dominated the silver screen.

The films released in 1963 are marking their diamond jubilee this year and some of them still stand out: ‘Mere Mehboob’, ‘Taj Mahal’, ‘Phir Wahi Dil Laya Hun’, ‘Gumrah’ and ‘Dil Ek Mandir’. The setting and tone of each of these films was very different, but the romance and the warmth which formed the crux of the golden era was the hallmark of each one of them. The best of Urdu poets, including Sahir Ludhianvi, Shakeel Badayuni, Majrooh Sultanpuri and Hasrat Jaipuri, contributed greatly towards the success of these films, which are especially remembered for their songs set to music by legends like Naushad, OP Nayyar, Ravi, Roshan and Shankar-Jaikishan.

‘Mere Mehboob’ has fascinated viewers down the generations. Produced and directed by HS Rawail, the film starred Rajendra Kumar, Sadhana, Ashok Kumar, Nimmi and Johnny Walker. It was Sadhana’s first film in colour and she looked breathtakingly beautiful as Husna, the Lucknow girl who studied at Aligarh Muslim University. She plays the sister of a nawab (Ashok Kumar), who is in love with a dancer (Nimmi). Husna falls in love with Anwar (Rajendra Kumar), a poet, who is the younger brother of Nimmi. After several twists and turns, the film comes to its happy ending. Nimmi had been offered the lead role but decided to play the hero’s sister. Rajendra Kumar, known as Jubilee Kumar in the ’60s due to his films running for 25 or 50 weeks, was a popular face of romance in this era. The conviction with which he played Anwar made his fans believe that he was actually a Muslim and Rajendra Kumar was his screen name!

‘Taj Mahal’, a historical romance, repeated the lead pair of the 1953 film ‘Anarkali’ — Pradeep Kumar and Bina Rai. Sahir’s poetry and Roshan’s music took the nation by storm. Each song was beautiful. The Filmfare Award for the best music went to Roshan and to Sahir for the song ‘Jo waada kiya woh nibhaana padega’. The music was the real star in the film.

‘Phir Wahi Dil Laya Hun’, Nasir Hussain’s first colour film, is always a joy to watch. The attractive Joy Mukherjee, the pretty and bubbly Asha Parekh, along with Veena, Tabassum and Rajendra Nath, created a lively and picturesque world that echoed with OP Nayyar’s mesmerising music and Majrooh’s lyrics. The story, also written by Nasir Hussain, was repeated with a few changes in his later films. In ‘Phir Wahi Dil Laya Hun’, it was fresh and engrossing with Rajendra Nath’s lovable pranks adding to the fun. Pran played a villain in this film; he had to act as being mentally challenged to fool Asha Parekh and others.

Next come two black and white gems that had the love triangle as its theme. BR Chopra’s ‘Gumrah’ and CV Sridhar’s ‘Dil Ek Mandir’ proved to be major hits and like the first three films, they too had beautiful music scores given by Ravi and Shankar-Jaikishan, respectively. Lyrics were by Sahir and Hasrat.

‘Gumrah’, shot partly in Nainital, was about a married woman getting misled by her emotions for her lover, whom she could not marry. Following her sister’s death, she has to marry her brother-in-law. Mala Sinha plays the lead and Sunil Dutt is the charming lover; the two keep meeting when she comes to her parents’ home in Nainital. Ashok Kumar plays the brother-in-law, a calm and dignified barrister. Mahendra Kapoor got the Filmfare Award for best playback singer for Sahir’s iconic nazm, ‘Chalo ik baar phir se ajnabi ban jayein hum dono’.

CV Sridhar’s ‘Dil Ek Mandir’ had Rajendra Kumar playing Dr Dharmesh. He treats Ram (Raaj Kumar), the terminally-ill husband of his earlier sweetheart Sita (Meena Kumari). Dr Dharmesh is so invested in his patient that he gives up caring for himself. In an unexpected climax, Dharmesh dies and Ram survives. The title song by Rafi Saab and Suman Kalyanpur is divine. ‘Yaad na jaye beetay dinon ki’, ‘Ruk ja raat’ and ‘Hum tere pyaar mein sara aalam’ are other unforgettable songs.

All these films are true classics and have stood the test of time. Or should we say, that, like diamonds, they are forever!


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