Guest writer Achala Srivatsa reviews a sixties’ super hit film.

(I realized as I added this image from Google that it really is worth a 1000 words – Please revisit after reading the review.)

“Chaudhvin ka chand ho…” from the movie Chaudhvin ka Chand is a song I’ve been listening to since I was a kid, and when I actually saw the song sequence, the combination of the magical voice of Mohammed Rafi with the beauty of Waheeda Rehman stayed with me. But I never actually watched the movie – something I decided to change last week. Here, just for fun, is my review of a classic.

There are two men who live in Lucknow. One is an Obscenely Rich Nawab (Rehman), the other less rich, but pretty comfortable (Guru Dutt). Rehman and Dutt are friends, the latter is deeply obligated to Rehman who has helped him get to where he is.

Now follow the sequence of events closely here…

  1. Rehman catches a glimpse of Waheeda Rehman in the bazaar or Gunj and falls hopelessly in love. She does not know he exists.
  2. He wishes to pursue this lead, but unfortunately his mother needs him to do a proxy Haj for her. What to do, what to do? He wants to chase the bazaar chick, but then, Mother.
  3. Solution: Get a 3rd proxy to go on Haj – the impoverished Moulvi. Moulvi is happy enough to go on an all-expenses paid trip to Mecca but has a daughter. If she’s married off (because she cannot possibly live on her own till he returns from Haj), he is happy to go.
  4. Rehman now needs to offload the Moulvi’s daughter – and aha! Calls upon Dutt, not so gently reminds him of his obligations and gets him married to Moulvi’s daughter. (Naturally, he never actually sees this girl…big mistake.)
  5. Guru Dutt serendipitously finds his new bride is Waheeda Rehman (also, as many alert readers would have figured out, is the Girl in the Gunj), and promptly launches into Chaudhvin ka chand ho…
  6. Rehman is now free to pursue unknown girl in the crowd and gathers his sidekick (Johnny Walker) and Dutt and begins to hunt her down.
  7. After a long stretch of mind-numbing boredom, Guru Dutt realizes that Rehman is in fact, in love with his own wife.
  8. Disaster! After all he’s obligated to Rehman… He should SACRIFICE his Love.
  9. He tries a few tried and tested ways of getting rid of a wife – drink, lurk around at the local tawaif’s place. etc.,…but merely gets a beating from her brothers for his trouble.
  10. He gloomily segues from happy love song to deeply tragic love song (Mili khaak mein mohabbat). Still does not work.
  11. Following this is an incredibly convoluted scene. Dutt organizes a wedding for Rehman where he requests his own wife to dress like a bride so he can give her a swift push into the bridal seat at the wedding just before the “I dos” or “Qubool Hais”.
  12. Mercifully, it dawns on Rehman around now that his dream girl is the one he forced his obligated friend to marry.
  13. Now he sits on the multi-pronged pointy antlers of a dilemma. I will represent this as a decision tree.

The Decision is taken – but how to do the deed? As an Obscenely Rich Nawab, he needs to ensure his exit is suitably regal.
Poison is pedestrian, Shooting…meh, messy. But wait…what’s this? A fat diamond on my finger. I shall grind this up and drink it. Or maybe swallow it, I forget. And Exeunt… frothing at the mouth, on his wedding day and no doubt feeling pretty silly. Audience cheers.

Now in all this, let me outline for you the role of the other characters:

  • Mother: weep and wail.
  • Waheeda Rehman – Throughout this incredibly silly movie, she has NO clue about anything that’s happening. Her role is limited to “Ooi ma” and “Hai Allah”. I am not making this up. Even after the movie ends.
  • Johnny Walker…continuously say two lines…”Ama Miyan” and “Nahi, nahi”. Again, not making this up.

So here it is…an all-time classic. Plot summary: Man forces friend to marry the girl of his own dreams and kills himself when realization dawns.
But hey – two brilliant songs. Now please examine the image closely.


Featured image courtesy uploader/Google.

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