9 comments on “Mujrim (1958)

  1. Gosh Shammi looks awesome and I love the camera-work and his expressions in the first scene in the first clip – it screams “cornered and desperate”! Ragini’s dancing is as always, awesome. I know you were distracted by her and Padmini, but was the movie worth seeing apart from the dances? And was there any nice romantic number with Shammi?

    I had no idea Shammi Kapoor had so many noir-ish films from his “male-starlet” days. I’ve recently acquired his Singapore and cant wait to see it. Hopefully Padmini has some good dance numbers there.

  2. Very good review. I have never seen Geeta Bali dance so well. Shammi looks really good as well. I have to watch this movie. It sounds awesome without giving a headache. How did you track down Green Door as the original. I would never have thought of that song. How did OP Nayyar track that song down is more the question. It doesn’t seem like such a popular song.

  3. I love this film…Singapore is fun too bollyviewer!!!! OP Ralhan remade it years later with Amitabh but it isn’t nearly as good as this version. Shammi makes all the difference (well, at least for me)…

  4. Bollyviewer,

    It’s kind of difficult to say how a movie like this would be apart from the dances. :) But I’d say that hyopethically it would be worth it because of the performances. Shammi did play this character in a unique way and was fun to watch. There were a couple of romantic scenes with Shammi and Ragini that were pretty good. One of the clips here shows Shankar watching Uma dancing on stage while the romance is underway, and Shammi has a sweet expression on his face. (Shammi had virtually no expression on during Geeta Bali’s dance scene, but watching him watching her was even sweeter – and sad.) The reunion between the characters at the end was very sweet, even if it was a bit reminiscent of the ending of a couple of other movies.

    Tun Tun and Johnny Walker were also always fun to watch. The humor was good throughout the film.

    But as I was saying, it’s just that the suspense plot that was supposedly the core of the film wasn’t the most compelling part. I thought that Shankar’s secret was dragged on for a bit too long and there was no thrilling chase scene like at the end of Howrah Bridge. But that’s all right; the other stuff made this a good film.

    Singapore was a good movie too. I wrote that one up last August (talking a lot about Howrah Bridge too):

    http://roughinhere.wordpress.com/2008/08/23/there-is-a-lot-of-fun-to-be-found-in-singapore/

    Padmini had one of her best non-classical dances in that, which I referred to in an earlier post, last July:

    http://roughinhere.wordpress.com/2008/07/29/padmini-helen-and-shammi-kapoor-in-singapore-1960/

    (The original clip of that had been removed at YouTube, but I managed to replace it. Unfortunately, I haven’t yet found a replacement for the Helen dance, which was also good.)

  5. Hema, I also noticed that Geeta Bali did an exceptionally good dance here. Her dancing skills seemed to have improved quite a bit since Baazi!

    Now, you asked how I “tracked down” Green Door. To answer, I will have to reveal a little about my past :) …

    I wasn’t born yet when the original “Green Door” came out. However, back in my adolescence, I was somewhat of a fan of early punk rock music, especially, at least at first, the things coming out in my home town, New York City. Now, we’re talking 30 years ago, but some of that stuff remains in my brain. One of the bands to come out of that scene was a group called The Cramps, who didn’t do punk rock per se, but they did thrashing covers of very early rockabilly and psychedelic songs that most people had forgotten by then, and they exaggerated the weirder and more camp aspects. (The singer, Lux Interior, died recently, and I got into a conversation with someone elsewhere on the Net in which I said that it would have been perfect if The Cramps had covered “Jaan Pehechaan Ho” – even if Lux didn’t exactly have Rafi’s voice. The other guy completely agreed.). Anyway, one of my favorite songs by The Cramps was their cover of, guess what – “Green Door”! So I recognized the song instantly.

    I think it probably was a bit popular back in the day, and O.P. Nayyar obviously had his ears open for such things…
    —————–
    P.S. Looking at Wikipedia, I see the song was covered by a number of other people. I know that the song also inspired the title of a very famous short story and film in the pioneering days of the modern American porn industry, back in the early ’70s. Everybody around here knew about this movie “Behind The Green Door” – I know I did, and I was probably all of ten years old. That probably was one reason The Cramps and other “underground” bands continued to revive it and it has survived somewhat in our cultural memory. :)

  6. Hi, Memsaab. I saw other movies with this title on the shelves for a while (probably including that remake), but I couldn’t find the 1958 Mujrim at all in the two big Bollywood stores around here. Then as often happens, I spotted it in a pile of discount DVDs at a store that sold a lot of knickknacks and other things… It was down near the floor, and I nearly knocked over the rack of bangles behind me when I lunged to get it.

    Anyway, yeah, Shammi is good in this. But I probably wouldn’t have looked for this movie if I hadn’t known that Ragini was the heroine.

  7. The remake was called Bandhe Hath (just so you know enough to avoid it ;-)…it’s a sad waste of Amitabh and Mumtaz.

    I love the Cramps too!!! Did you know that they were also influenced by Bollywood, way back (70s-80s). They used to watch Hindi films on late night TV when they were touring in England…I believe that Jaan Pehchaan Ho was a favorite of theirs too :)

  8. Memsaab, you love The Cramps? That’s interesting. :)

    I was a fan of theirs waaay back, in the late 1970s. I was about 15 or 16 when I bought their first two singles, in late ’77 or ’78. I saw them about three times in Philadelphia, where I was going to school, in late ’78 or 1979. (BTW, I went to college when I was still only 16 years old, because I was a little genius. Then I ended up basically majoring in punk rock. :)

    The Cramps helped to bring me into a rockabilly phase in the mid ’80s. I never cared for Stray Cats or some of the slicker retro outfits; after The Cramps, I went straight for the original stuff. That’s another reason I might be more able than many people to recognize some of the ’50s American music that was ripped off by O.P. Nayyar.

    I checked out The Cramps now and then over the years, but I didn’t know they were still performing so much 30 years down the road until I saw some of that on YouTube. In fact, this thread inspired me to check out some of their more recent performances, and they weren’t all that bad; they might have even become better musicians (though that isn’t saying much – but, then, musicianship was never actually the point here…)

    I didn’t know that they used to watch Hindi films, and when I made that suggestion about “Jaan Pehechaan Ho,” I had no idea they had seen and heard it!

  9. Now there’s a group I obviously missed. I never heard of them or the Green Door but I think the English music/Hindi films connection that you guys bring up are so fascinating.

    I was completely bowled over when Dil Deke Dekho had THREE ripped off English songs. I didn’t get it until Shammi/Rafi sing my favorite home town Paul Anka’s Diana (who was his babysitter in Ottawa). I couldn’t believe it. Of course the Shammi/Rafi version is more romantic. Now in my download from iTunes, they list that song as being sung by Shammi and other sung by Rafi. If you listen to the song, it does sound a little different. Can anyone verify?

    Still can’t get over a non-Indian rock band watching Hindi films.

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