9 comments on “I Have Just Seen My Favorite Vyjayanthimala Film

  1. I loooooove this song (and Manzil wahi hai pyar ki) and liked parts of the movie, (especially the dances. But I hated the aborted romance between Balraj Sahni and her characters. Looking forward to your review…

    PS: I love your new blog name – seems more in tune with your fondness for dance, too. What prompted the change, though?

  2. Bollyviewer, glad you liked parts of the movie, but I’m wondering what bothered you about the “aborted romance.” Is it that you wish the romance took place? It seems to me that here, for once, we have an old Hindi film that avoided the decades-older “Evergreen male” situation that seems to have annoyed you in the past. :) Personally, I find it more interesting that the romance didn’t take place. It made for more interesting conflicts within the minds of the characters and especially made the Balraj Sahni character more intriguing to me. (Never replacing the the love he lost when his wife died, he replaces/displaces it by cultivating the talents of women who are artistes (like his deceased wife) and becoming absorbed in their success. But this is never folowed through with a conventional romance – not even with his greatest artistic love of all, Pushpa (Vyjayanthimala)! That is a little different, I thought…)

  3. Stella and Bollyviewer, glad you liked the song so much, I did too!

    Stella, any chance that you’ll upload this soundtrack some day? :)

  4. well, I have been trying to find kathputli and amardeep (they have excellent music) but sadly I think that HMV did not publish them on Lp records anyway. Maybe, only on 78” or 10” records. But I will keep looking. I have the track Bol Re Kathputli on a compilation lp, but that’s it.

  5. Well, if you could somehow (some day) find the soundtracks for both those movies, that would be fantastic! I really love both the music and dancing in Amar Deep! (Perhaps I’ve made that clear already. :) I actually thought about Amar Deep when I called Kath Putli my favorite Vyjayanthimala film and wondered if that would be a fair thing to say, considering the great moments in Amar Deep. But actually, Vyjayanthimala herself didn’t impress me as much in that film. For me, Amar Deep was really, more than anything else, a Padmini movie – her dances stood out much more in that one. (Plus, she had already done the Tamil movie that this was based on.) If we’re talking about the music, of course, that one’s C. Ramchandra’s film. Another great music director!

  6. Aah but Balraj Sahni almost always played older characters (I dont think he ever played a college guy running around trees) and invested them with such appealing sensitivity and sincerity that I dont think I could ever accuse him of “evergreen”-ness! I saw this one very, very long ago (as a kid) so I’m going on vague memories here – but I think the two of them fall in love but then her first mentor turns up crippled and unable to ply his trade (puppeteering, right?). So, she kind of gets emotionally blackmailed into marrying him and then doing her best to make the marriage work. More realistic perhaps, but not very romantic. I’d have liked her to be able to marry Balraj Sahni’s character or at least leave her husband for him – utterly revolutionary for 50s Hindi cinema, I know. lol

  7. Hi, Bollyviewer. I wanted to get back to you on these comments sooner, but once I started thinking more about Kamala Lakshman, my mind and time just became consumed with that topic (as you have probably witnessed). Anyway…

    You’re right on a couple of points there…

    I haven’t seen many Balraj Sahni pictures yet (hope to see more), but in the ones I have seen, he did play someone his age and he did act his age. When he was paired up with Padmini in Bindiya in 1960, there were a couple of mentions at least of the fact that he was older, and Padmini was four years older than Vyjayanthimala.

    Regarding the events in Kath Putli… Well, I wouldn’t say that Shivraj was Pushpa’s mentor, nor that he emotionally blackmailed her. Although she was poor, she was in a better position socially/economically than he was, since he was living in the streets, and it was she who brought him hope of a better life by coming up with the idea that he should contribute his puppets to a real stage show rather than always performing in the street. And while his puppets inspired her dances, her dancing was clearly the real attraction. I think it was clear from the start that Loknath agreed to the combined puppet/live dance show because he was really most interested in Pushpa’s dancing.

    Pushpa and Shivraj had already agreed to have a life together when he got hit by the car. (In fact, he got hit by the car right after they made that agreement, and I think the implication was that he was so distracted with joy at that moment, he wasn’t looking where he was going when the car came along.) I don’t think they said “marriage” (or, rather, the Hindi word for it) in that scene, but it was pretty clear that this would be part of the plan.

    If Shivraj was engaging in “emotional blackmail” at this point, I didn’t see it. It seemed to me that he became a jerk much later on, driven by both jealousy and his own feeings of worthlessness at having to depend on Pushpa for support.

    Anyway, her feelings for Loknath are also somewhat driven by Loknath’s tragedies.

    It seems that everybody’s personal tragedies and dire needs are getting in the way of her being able to determine what she can do with her newly found success and her short-lived affluence. (Well, everybody’s tragedies, and their demands or commands. Didn’t Loknath kind of pass down an order that she take that new apartment once she’d become so successful?) It’s not as though she’s ever able to fully enjoy this path out of poverty.

    She’s just being pulled in all directions, like “a puppet on a chain.” :)

  8. I had such a busy week that I just couldn’t drop by to read your take on the movie.
    Glad that you liked it so much. I liked it only in parts. Music and dances are amazing. But the fact that I found Kamala’s dance better than Vyjayanthimala’s somehow made me feel that this wasn’t the right choice for her birthday.
    It wasn’t all that bad but it’s just that I have liked her better in other movies and with a title like “Kathputli” I had set lots of expectations from it.

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