Monday 25 January 2010

Gumrah (1963)

This is a somewhat flawed but highly enjoyable suspense drama, i watched it on a lovely friday evening and was so mesmerised by the music and Mala of course. This is one of the early bollywood films that dealt with the subject of adultery

The film starts with the hindu tale of Laxmanrekha where Sita asks her partner Ram to fetch her a deer, following his delayed return she enquires his brother Laxman to check if his brother Ram is ok, Laxman agrees but before he goes he creates a line outside of which Sita mustn't step out of

We're then introduced to a modern tale of a woman who stepped outside of such a boundary

Rajendra (Sunil Dutt) & Meena are lovers who hope to get married, things take a turn when Meena's sister Kamla (Nirupa Roy) and her two kids Pappu & Dolly (funny names right) comes to visit them from Mumbai

Tragedy strikes when Kamla dies after falling off a hill

Meena's father (Nana Palsikar) suggests Meena marry her sister's husband Barrister Ashok (Ashok Kumar) since a new woman might not take to the kids

Meena disagrees but when she notices the kids attachment to her she agrees to marry Ashok and then moves down with him to Mumbai, all this happens without her even informing Rajendra

Down in Mumbai Ashok turns out to be a workaholic and is even unable to attend their first wedding anniversary organised by Meena's father in Naintal he fails to turn up, surprisingly Rajendra her former lover turns up to entertain the guests

He and Meena are reunited and he tells about her how she had broken his heart and left him without even a word of warning, Meena explains things to him and they soon start meeting each other secretly to get busy between the sheets

When Ashok and Rajender meet each other randomly in Naintal, Ashok is taken aback by Rajendra's talent as a painter, and is surprised when one of his paintings look very much like his wife Meena, he buys the painting

Ashok gets friendly with Rajender and suggests a move to Mumbai which Rajendra is reluctant to do at first but when a film company offers him a singing job in Mumbai he accepts and moves down, thus Rajendra and Ashok get very friendly which puts Meena at great unease

However she and Rajendra keep meeting up secretly until one day a woman called 'Leela' (Shashikala) who claimsto be Rajendra's wife, she accuses Meena of cheating and threatens to blow her cover, thus begins a series of blackmail and terror which would drive Meena off the rails

Who is this woman? is she really married to Rajendra, If so why didn't he tell Meena about her? Will she tell Meena's husband even after all the bribe, What will happen to Meena's marriage should her husband find out?

A thoroughly engrossing drama, i loved each and every moment of this film, just when i thought it was a standard drama the film takes a suspenseful drive that kept me at the edge of my seat right till the very end. The ending was a bit of a letdown or should i say seemed a bit too easy, going by the moral lessons in lots of bollywood films i've watched, i was a little surprised by the ending in this, it seemed a bit too fair

Also some aspects of the film can be regarded as quite sexist, the film makes the point of the woman being the moral centre point of the family, if the 'woman strays the whole family strays' is the argument the film presents, the feminist in me then questions 'How about the man, if he strays surely the whole family strays too?' Asides from the above stated quips, this is a highly enjoyable film and its one i'll be watching over and over again, if not the whole film then for the songs at least. Gumrah was remade into the 2005 Anil Kapoor, Akshay Kumar starrer Bewafaa, i have no idea how it compare but from the reviews i've read its no way as fab as this

Fabulous performance from Mala, i just loved her so much in this film, from her chemistry with the kids to her agony as the cheating wife who's being sussed out you feel her frustration as she's being frustrated to the point of insanity. I loved her style and the way she swishes her Sari around when she's about to go and do her deeds with Rajendra

Shahsikala only has a few screen time but she makes an impact, you just want to hate her, roles where Shashikala seemed to be so annoying to the point of wanting you the viewer to pull her out seemed to be her forte, she was awarded the filmfare best supporting actress for her performance

fab interior decoration, i love that sofa on the left

This is one of my favourite soundtracks from 60's bollywood all the songs are hauntingly beautiful, 'chalo ek baar phir se', the beautiful arrangements and melodies in 'aap aaye' the haunting 'aa bhi ja' wonderful kiddies song 'Ek thi Ladki and my favourite one 'tujhko mera pyar pukare' where we're treated to lovely shots of Naintal

Total paisa Vasool rating: 7/10


bollyviewer said...

This film, thanks to memsaab's comments, is now filed in my memory as "Gah"! Frankly, as a straying-wife story, Humraaz (another B. R. Chopra film) is a waaaaay better film. The soundtrack though, is superb. My favorite is Chalo ek baar phirse ajnabi ban jaye hum dono (come lets become strangers again) - such cynicism and so poetic!

The newer version (Bewafa) follows the original story pretty faithfully. Of course, Anil Kapoor is no match for Dada Mani and the songs dont even come close to the ones in the original. Its biggest flaw though, is that the story seems weirdly anachronistic in a 21st Century setting.

Rum said...

I'm with Bollyviewer here shockingly to say my Anil was quite rubbish in Bewaafa but its hilarious to see Akshay Kumar in these disgraceful haircuts that make him look like a tatoo artist! But back to Gumrah, i agree with you it had soo many twists and turns that kept me engaged but i hated Ashok at the end for doing that to his wife with Shashikala! So bad! The music is soo nice in this film especially chalo ik baar phir hum!

Ava said...

Even though I dont like Mahendra Kapoor's (RIP) voice, the songs were amazingly lovely.

Never saw the movie :( Am putting it down on my wishlist.

sunheriyaadein said...

I had watched it on TV and had missed the beginning, had seen it from the point where Nirupa and her kids come to Naintal. Never knew it began with the Lakshmanrekha tale.
I love the starcast and the songs more than the story. And Mala looks so pretty in that painting. Bewafa, though very similar to the original story,wasn't anywhere close to Gumrah.

Anonymous said...

I agree with bollyviewer - I liked Humraaz way better! It had so much suspense, Gumraah wasn't even close. But then, the whole tone of the two films is very different: Humraaz is more crime/thriller, Gumraah is more social/family drama.

That said, I love Aa bhi jaa a lot. Such a gorgeous song, especially the echo effect.

bollywooddeewana said...

@ Bollyviewer i can understand the Gah part but its well staged and a fabulous suspenseful drama is what i would call it, regardless of its theme. I've reviewd Hamraaz on here too, although i did enjoy it too, i found Gumrah more engrossing

@ Rum Wow Chalo ek baar seems to be really popular, i myself hated it, the ending is also what stops me from loving Gmrah a bit tooo too much. I might just watch Anils one to see what they've done, A've seen some clips with Akshay in some fugly haircuts

@ Avdi I don't mind his voice at al, i've heard similar complaints from many people, Gumrah although quite flawed in its theme is a superb watch

@ Sunehri I myself love that painting as a Mala fan i could do with one

@ dustedoff I love aa bhi jaa too, in fact all the songs are winners. I loved Humraaz too but there was something about Gumrah that just had me on the edge of my seats


thnx 4 d review as it told me d story without having 2 watch it ;)..d song "chalo ik baad phir se..." is 1 of d best songs sung by mahendra kapoor...

bollywooddeewana said...

the Bard the film is not bad and its definitely worth watching if you come across it