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Upperstall Review


Songs and Music

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Hindi, 1955, B/W

Cast And Crew

Malati (Nirupa Roy), abandoned by her husband Ram, switches her infant with the one Ram has sired from his second wife so that her son would be the legal heir. Her son grows to be Ratan (Pran) who is engaged to Roopa (Nalini Jaywant) and is also the notorious dacoit, Kala Ghoda. The other boy, Amar (Dev Anand), works in disguise as a munim in Roopa's father's factory often foiling Ratan's schemes but who cannot understand why his mother loves Ratan more. Amar reveals his true looks only to Roopa who of course falls for him...

By the mid 1950s, Filmistan had become a regular film factory churning out a good amount of films every year. Their films clearly indicated Filmistan's growing consciousness of genre production and their awareness of the 'Hollywood mode.' Filmistan also known as 'the film factory' because of the large number of films it kept churning out, worked within the free lance system and based their productions on star values and good music. Filmistan's policies really paved the way for present day commercial film making in India as we know it today and was a major influence on the cinema of Manmohan Desai.

Munimji, an extremely popular Filmistan release marks the directorial debut of Subodh Mukherjee, the younger brother of Filmistan boss Shashadhar Mukherjee where he began as assistant to Gyan Mukherjee with Chal Chal Re Naujavaan (1944). After years of struggling with an idea, that didn't take off, Mukherjee opted to make his debut with Munimji. The film is frothy fare, totally devoid of logic and is essentially a conflict of half brothers, dividing the moral conflicts between them. But what is extremely interesting is the way both the men live double lives. While Amar hides his good looks revealing them only when he courts Roopa, Ratan who is betrothed to Roopa is also the notorious bandit and blackmailer Kala Ghoda whose schemes are often foiled by Amar. Incidentally, Mukherjee and good friend Nasir Hussain both strongly favoured the use of the masquerade as an integral part of their films, using this item repeatedly.

Munimji was among those films responsible for ushering in a trendier, freewheeling hero in Hindi Cinema, initially epitomized primarily by Dev Anand in films like Paying Guest (1957) and Jab Pyar Kisise Hota Hai (1961) and later on by Shammi Kapoor in films like Tumsa Nahin Dekha (1957), Dil Deke Dekho (1959), Junglee (1961) and many others. But then it is important to note that Nasir Hussain wrote Munimji and thus many of the trademark touches of Nasir Hussain as boy chases girl through a colourful, playful romance layered with witty dialogues are omnipresent in the film. Munimji remains one of Dev Anand's most popular performances while Nalini Jaywant makes a lovely damsel-in-distress. Nirupa Roy plays one of her earliest suffering mother roles though years younger to both men. She went on to win the Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance.

Munimji is greatly lifted by its strong musical score by SD Burman with lyrics by Sahir Ludhianvi. Munimji sees this music director - lyricist team at its peak. While earlier Burman Dada stuck to Mohammed Rafi, Talat Mahmood and Hemant Kumar for the main voice of Dev Anand with Kishore Kumar used but sparingly, in Munimji Kishore gets the best song of the film Jeevan ke Safar Mein Rahi. With this song, Kishore earned his right to be considered by Burman dada as the voice of Dev Anand. But if Kishore makes maximum impact in the film, then Hemant Kumar is not far behind with both the songs he has on Dev Anand, Shivji Behane Chale and the light hearted ditty with Geeta Dutt and Thakur, Dil ki Umagein Hain Jawaan! The rest of the film is dominated by the Lata Mangeshkar solos, Ek Nazar Bas Ek Nazar, Ghayal Hiraniya, Nain Khoye Khoye and the sad version of Jeevan ke Safar Mein Rahi while Geeta Dutt leaves her vocal impress on Anari Anari Re, Dil ki Umagein Hain Jawaan and Zindagi Hai Zinda. Incidentally, one of her songs, Le Le ya To De De Dil was omitted from the film and the tune re-used by RD Burman years later in the Amitabh Bachchan starrer, Barsaat ki Ek Raat (1981) as Manchali O Manchali.

Munimji was an extremely successful film at the box office and following its success, Subodh Mukherjee finally made the film with the idea he had for years but which hadn't taken off, Paying Guest (1957), a second successful teaming for him with Dev Anand and SD Burman.

Upperstall review by: Karan Bali aka TheThirdMan

Jeevan ke Safar Mein Rahi - Kishore Kumar
Jeevan ke Safar Mein Rahi - Lata Mangeshkar
Ek Nazar Bas Ek Nazar - Lata Mangeshkar
Ghayal Hiraniya - Lata Mangeshkar
Nain Khoye Khoye - Lata Mangeshkar
Sajan Bin Neend Na Aaye - Lata Mangeshkar
Ankh Khulte Hi Tum - Lata Mangeshkar
Dil ki Umangein Hain Jawan - Geeta Dutt, Hemant Kumar, Thakur
Zindagi Hai Zinda - Geeta Dutt, chorus
Le Le Ya To De De Dil - Geeta Dutt
Shivji Bihane Chale - Hemant Kumar

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