Pages

Looking for Love?

July 28, 2009

Bollywood In 1950's : The Golden Era of Classics !


Alright folks, this is a movie related series which i wanted to write for a very long time, just searching and selecting the best of the movies took a bit of a time. So, here are my favourite seven Hindi Movies from 1950-1959......


1) Awara (1951)

The USP of ‘Awara’ was the famous Raj-Nargis pairing. Whenever Raj Kapoor and Nargis came together on screen, sparks flew. Their chemistry was electrifying and it crackles with raw passion in Raj Kapoor’s ‘Awara’. Nargis’s wild and carefree sensuality pulsates and Raj Kapoor’s scruffy hair-rebellious persona only adds fuel to the fire. The film was a runaway success not just in India but also in the erstwhile USSR and China. Raj Kapoor plays Raju an aimless youth turned into a criminal living in the slums who is loved by a respectable lawyer played by Nargis. The film established Raj Kapoor as the Chaplin-like ‘tramp’ of Hindi cinema. The music of the film was on the lips of not just Indians but people from all over the world especially Russians. The songs specially “ Awaara hoon”, “Ghar aaya mera pardesi" and “ Dum bhar jo udhar muhn phere" are remembered even today. The first ever dream sequence to be filmed in Hindi cinema where a gorgeous Nargis wafts through the clouds in search of her lover, Raj Kapoor took three months to shoot. It is a symbolic picturisation of the turbulence in the mind of the hero, he escapes the hell that the villain has created and climbs up to the angelic heroine. This song was a big attraction in its time and it spawned numerous dream-sequences in the future films.

2) Do Bigha Zameen (1953)


A Bimal Roy classic, ’Do Bigha Zameen’ is one of the most unforgettable films of Indian cinema. The protagonist Shambhu (brilliantly played by Balraj Sahni) migrates to Calcutta from a small village where he owns two acres of land. He needs to earn money desperately to pay the debt as the moneylender wants his plot of land. His son joins him in the city and becomes a shoeshine boy. Balraj Sahni becomes a rickshaw puller. The scenes with him pulling people in his rickshaw were so compelling that you felt the anguish and the urgency with which he enacts them. To get into the skin of the character, Balraj Sahni, a well educated westernized actor practiced rickshaw pulling on the streets of Calcutta and mingled with other rickshaw pullers without telling them who he was. The film explores the cruelty that is meted out to the poor in villages and cities alike. The film wasn’t a big hit but it won major awards at almost all film festivals it went at that point of time.

3) Devdas (1955)

Based on a novel by Sharat Chandra Chattopadhyay, this has been made numerous times in the history in different Indian languages, with the latest modern versions in Dev D (Abhay Deol) and Devdas (Shah Rukh Khan). But in this Bimal Roy directed classic, Dilip Kumar played the title role, and is arguably the best performance among all the other lead actors in different versions till date. It is tragic tale of lost love and a complex mish-mash of human relationships, it made you wonder what's so enigmatic about this character that it is been made so many times, after all it is a story of a looser ! But, then sad stories always work better than happy ending stories, they are remembered more and they are more relatable.His drunken scenes are understated and that coupled with his inimitable style of dialogue delivery is a deadly combo. Its dialogue " Kaun kambakht bardasht karne ke liye peeta hai ?” was often repeated by Dilip Kumar fans. Vyjayanthimala as Chandramukhi and Suchitra Sen as Paro gave sensitive performances. Motilal as Chunnibabu is a treat to watch. If you didn't liked the two latest modern versions, go for this one!


4) Pyaasa (1957)

Guru Dutt was one of the most brilliant filmmakers of India and ‘Pyaasa’ his most evocative work. Guru Dutt did the lead role of a suffering poet Vijay when it was rejected by Dilip Kumar. Mala Sinha plays his girlfriend, Johnny Walker his masseuse pal and Waheeda Rehman his admirer and a prostitute. The film is replete with symbolism, Guru Dutt’s forte. Whether it’s the powerful crushing the feeble or the hypocrisy of the society there is no parallel to the way it’s handled in ‘Pyaasa’. As an unsuccessful poet he is shunned by all and sundry from his own brothers to even the prostitutes. In bizarre circumstances he is believed to be dead and as luck would have it his work gets published and famous. The same people who ridiculed him attempt to cash in on his ‘posthumous’ glory. In a Christ-like manner the poet ‘resurrects in a function in his memory. The poignancy of the moment leaves you stunned. ‘Pyaasa’ is utterly bitter at times and painfully ironic at others. Its not the kind of film that one forgets in a hurry, it forces you to contemplate over matters that one usually shoves at the back of one’s mind. S. D. Burman music is brilliant as usual but the crowning glory of the film is the lyrics by Sahir Ludhianvi. Songs like “Jaane woh kaise log the”, “Jinhe naaz hai Hind par who kahan hain” and the heartrending “
Yeh duniya agar mil bhi jaaye to kya hai ” are true classics. The film is an absolute must see for all film buffs!

5) Mother India (1957)

‘Mother India’ is basically a tribute to spirit of the Indian woman! The only film before ‘Lagaan’ to get a nomination in the Best Foreign Film Category at the Oscars, ‘Mother India’ is an epic. Nargis as Radha, a ‘Mother Courage’ like character was spectacular in the film. It was a performance of a lifetime, a role to die for. The film is emotionally charged as Radha represents millions of women across the country struggling to preserve their dignity while bringing up their children single-handedly. She works like a beast to feed her children and pay off the moneylender. Her sons played by Rajendra Kumar and Sunil Dutt help her in getting back their land from the vile clutches of the local moneylender. Sunil Dutt as the rebel son whom she shoots in the end is brilliant. While shooting for the film Sunil Dutt had rescued Nargis from a fire that had broken out on the sets. The two later married spinning a romantic folklore around the film.

6) Do Aankhen Barah Haath (1957)

The renowned filmmaker V Shantaram made a stirring ‘Do Aankhen Barah Haath’; a film about social reforms. It’s a stark black-and-white film about a jailor who believes that love and trust can turn even the most hardened criminals into God fearing responsible citizens. V Shantaram played the lead character of an idealistic jailor himself and his real life wife Sandhya plays a toy seller. The jailor takes six murderers out of jail and takes their responsibility to reform them. He gives them freedom and trust and gradually are reformed. Shantaram makes the film believable as the change is gradual and thankfully there is no melodrama in the film. The prisoners keep going back to their old ways but the jailors faith and psychologically handled situations make him a winner in the end.


7) Kaagaz Ke Phool (1959)

Another classic from Guru dutt, it traces the life of Suresh sinha (played by GD only), a movie director whose marriage is in the rocks because his wife's family see film making as a direct attack on their social status. He is also not allowed to see her daughter in the boarding school. One rainy night, he meets Mala Sinha accidentally, and sees a potential star in her. She goes into becoming a big star, but the tabloid gossip results in breaking her marriage and relationship with her daughter. He turns to alcohol, don't direct a film till Mala sinha stars in it, and all that tumultuous events in his life ultimately leads to his demise, and in the climax scene - he dies sitting in the director's chair, a true epitome of his own life and its tribulations. You can also read another earlier post on this film and interesting facts about it here.


PS: Please free to share your other favourite movies, just make sure the scope of this post are the Bollywood movies released between 1950-1960. Similar kind of posts to come, covering movies from other decades in a chronological order, stay tuned !

Sources:

www.indiatimes.com,
www.indiafm.com,
www.apunkachoice.com,
www.wikipedia.com,
www.rediff.com

42 comments:

anupama said...

Bandini,Sujata- my all time favourites.

Hopeless Romantic said...

@Anupama

Bandini is 1963 film, so not valid in this post. But ya Sujata (1959) is another classic, but i find bandini better, and would surely add in the next post on this topic!

Bimal Roy movies Rock btw, try Do bigha zameen if you have not seen yet!

Cheers,
Amit

anupama said...

Actually, i did not dwell to deep into the year of making. But these two remain my all time favourites along with a whole lot more. I have seen Do bigha zameen and i love it!

Hopeless Romantic said...

@Anupama

no worries, we are all here to share our favourite movies. And Sahib, biwi aur ghulam is 1962 movie, but ya another classic of guru dutt, though it was not directed by him.

Cheers,
Amit

Psych Babbler said...

Can't really comment coz I haven't seen any movies of the 50s... :P

Hopeless Romantic said...

@PB

:D, well you should watch some, if time permits. you would know exactly what i mean in this post specially Pyaasa.

Thanks,
Amit

Americanising Desi said...

oldies were the goldies :D

Hopeless Romantic said...

@AD

Pretty true, i love oldie classics :)

Thanks,
Amit

Suresh Kumar said...

How about Madhumathi... the classic dilip kumar and vyjyanthimala starrer...

Hopeless Romantic said...

@Suresh

I know dude, Madhumathi (1958), prob the second classic thriller after Ashok kumar's Mahal. But then these were my choices, glad u brought it out! I loved the song and the theme of Madhumati. Dilip Kumar at its best!

Cheers,
Amit

~*~ Jal Pari ~*~ said...

I love pyaasa, kaghaz kay phool, and sahib, bibi aur ghulam ( I knw it was released in the 60's so it doesn't qualify yet). Infact I love all of Guru Dutt's movies. The ones he directed and produced. I can watch em anytime.

Hopeless Romantic said...

@Jal Pari

hey, welcome to my blog, this is your first comment here! So, finally i found someone who is also a true die hard Guru Dutt fan :D

Oh yes, SBAG would surely come in the next post of 1960-1970, its another GD classic. Btw, there is one film which was very good and can be mentioned,that is Mr. And Miss 55 (released in 1955), another GD masterpiece!

Keep coming back, good to cu here!

Cheers,
Amit

NEHA HADKAR said...

i like watching old movies at times...but i don't actually remember the names of 1s i lyked...coz i hav seen them in bits and parts...but il watch out the next tym these movies come on tv...

NEHA HADKAR said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Hopeless Romantic said...

@Neha

try all these movies, trust me - if you like good cinema, you should like all of them :) You can find a few of them on you tube as well.

Cheers,
Amit

Babli said...

I appreciate for the beautiful description of all the lovely movies and I have seen all of them.

Hopeless Romantic said...

@Babli

Thanks, great that you have seen all, they are worth watching million times!

Cheers,
Amit

Crowscious said...

Being hopeless at hindi, I've only started watching hindi movies properly recently. And im attracted to the older ones so here's a nice list for me. I'm gonna watch em all. Thanks! :)

Benny said...

Amit,seems ur spending time at oz watching these hindi movies:) good way to spend time! N even I hav started to watch hindi movies only recently..so here is a gud list of movies 4 me to watch! wil surely watch dude!

nsiyer said...

Pyaasa, Madhumati, Mughal -e Azam are some immortals. Old is gold.

http://whysoserioustoday.blogspot.com said...

haha wow ...
I like anad and mughal-e- Azam ... :)

Hopeless Romantic said...

@Crowscious

Awww, ic , nice ! Do watch them and let me know how you find them, i hope you are going to like it!

Enjoy,
Amit

Hopeless Romantic said...

@Benny

Assumptions are injurious to health :D

I have been absolute busy and not finding time (and theaters for hindi movies :D) to watch any flicks. I have not even watched HP6, though i wrote a post about it earlier. I am an ardent movie buff and have watched all of them quite a few times when i was in India.

Hope you are going to like a few!

Enjoy,
Amit

Hopeless Romantic said...

@Iyer Sir,

Madhumati was a tough choice to leave out of the seven i picked. Pyaasa is my favourite among all these, the ironies of life have been beautifully captured in the movie. Mughal-e-Azam released in 1960, it would surely come in my next post.

Thanks,
Amit

Hopeless Romantic said...

@Sugi

I think you were trying to say Anand. Both of the movies are great, though not released in 1950's. You should try some of them soon.

Cheers,
Amit

Priya said...

ohh Man, you have hit a chord...i have been a film student and among all the classics that i have seen, GD is one most prominent figure among all of them. the grandeur is well elated even in the B/W reels...the lights and the camera movement is something to be awed at. One of the best shot is the tracking shot of "Jaane woh kaise log the jinke"....man i can keep watching that shot for life...even with all the technical development in today's era, one can rarely match to that "Work-of-Art"..

This was an amazing post..loved it...

Hopeless Romantic said...

@Priya

ahaan, a film student, i would have loved to study fim making, somehow being a software engineer was a safer option :D

Guru Dutt movies are awesome, you just got to have a look he stands in the song u have mentioned or see the climax song in Pyaasa - "Yeh duniya agar mil bhi jaaye", just like the Jesus Christ was crucified. The irony and the subtle pain comes through so well in Pyaasa and Kagaaz ke phool, i can watch them over and over again.

Thanks for the compliment!

Cheers,
Amit

sujata said...

I agree to the list whole heartedly except for devdas..somehow the story and the character of devdas did not appeal to me ever..such a loser in love cannot be glorified and thats what the story has done,,..first time on your blog and enjoyed it thoroughly!

Hopeless Romantic said...

@Sujata

welcome to my blog space, good to see u here! Glad u liked it !

Ok, let me try and explain why devdas is so popular. It is not necessary that heroes always needs to be brave, they can be portrayed as more human also. He was one of them, he loved someone, but couldn't stand for his love when the oppressive society turned against him, and took turn to Alcohol. Don't the youth today turns to Alcohol, smoke and drugs when rejected by society and our Indian system. However, there are multiple versions of it and directors while making it have interpret it its own way. I suggest u watch the DK one (if you have not done that already). Its much more poignant, much more real than the latest two version - SRK one was more about grandeur while AD one was more about sexual repression.

Keep coming back,
Amit

Smita said...

Thats a nice list but have seen only Mother India!!!

And guess our choice is very different :)

Netika Lumb said...

I haven't seen any of these :(
I've seen the Sharukh wali Devdas. Does that count? :D

Hopeless Romantic said...

@Smita

lol,Mother India is awesome!

No worries, we are all entitled to our opinions, that was my favourite movie list :)

Cheers,
Amit

Hopeless Romantic said...

@Netika

If you appreciate good cinema, you should watch all of them some day! I am sure you are going to like a few of them atleast.

No, that don't count as of yet :P

Love,
Amit

comfortably numb said...

All worthy picks...esp Pyaasa which is a landmark n Devdas which was a landmark performance from DK.
but to me the best of all time is Mughal-e-Azam!!!

Hopeless Romantic said...

@CN

yup, thanks dude!

Mughal-eAzam would surely come in the next post in this series. It was released in 1960.

Cheers,
Amit

lifeizlikethat said...

Man what about "Chalti ka naam gadi" how could you forget that movie??? :O

Hopeless Romantic said...

@lifeislikethat

Buddy, i included only seven. Can't include all, that's why i encourage people to discuss more movies which i may have missed but are equally good. Remember its my choice!

Nevertheless, CKNG was again an awesome movie, three kapoor brothers coming together, and Madhubala was etheral, not to forget the songs!

Thanks for sharing!
Amit

mêlée said...

all the listed ones are just too good ones....but the GD bias is also too apparent ;)
how about a longer list wth lots of Raj Kapoor, more of Dillip Kumar and few more Dev Anand.

Hopeless Romantic said...

@Melee

There are just 2 GD movies, and there is no way on this earth you can leave out Pyaasa :)

I generally write 7, but anyone is free to add their favourite movies. But honestly speaking i have not seen many Dev Anand and Dilip Kumar movies of the 1950's, though there have been few of Raj Kapoor. So, may be its not the best collection in that terms.

Cheers,
Amit

mêlée said...

totally agree about Pyaasa :) and even GD was too good.
Shree 420 deserves a chance wht do you say? Me RK fan, despite his over-the-top drama king acting.
but if I had to come up with 7 movies it wud be hard to eliminate any of those you mentioned...
I was only hoping to read about more than 7, the more the better!

Hopeless Romantic said...

@ Melee

I love the innocence of Raj kapoor, Shree 420 surely deserve the mention. Actually this was the first post in the series, and i never included the "notable omissions" section in this, otherwise it would have surely featured :)

I just started with seven squeak series, because it is just the optimum number in a blogger post, otherwise people find it too long and put off by it. Obviously, this doesn't apply to the movie buffs like you and me:)

cheers,
Amit

Megha Upadhyaya said...
This comment has been removed by the author.