As a big fan of Laxmikant Pyarelal, Dosti was a movie i knew i had to check out, as it was the film that cemented or should i say catapulted Laxmikant Pyarelal into the big league of Hindi Film Music Composers, and also with all the Mohammed Rafi loving that has been going on in blogland i knew it was time to dig out this classic movie as it was an album where Mohammed Rafi was the main vocalist with the exception of one song
Following the death of his father Ramnath (Sushil Kumar) and his mother (Leela Chitnis) are left struggling, they both expect to receive compensation from his father's company as he had died while on duty
Things however go from bad to worse as Ramnath gets dismissed from school when he's unable to pay his fees (Tragedy #1)
if that wasn't enough sorrows for poor Ram he receives news that his father's company won't be paying out any compensations as a result they're kicked out of their flat (Tragedy #2)
If all this wasn't enough for poor Ram already, his mother dies (Tragedy #3)
Yet still If all that wasn't enough Ramnath gets hit by a car thereby losing his leg and becoming a cripple
(Tragedy #4: Talk about waking up on the wrong side of the bed, how the hell did Ram keep sane, i would have lost it mentally)
Life as a cripple isn't any easier as Ram comes to find out, but he finds solace when he meets a blind boy Mohan (Sudhir Kumar) whom he had helped cross the road
the two strike boys become best friends and are constantly on the look out for one another. Ram starts playing the harmonica which in turn inspires Mohan to sing which leads to passer bys giving them alms, Ram is reluctant at first but Mohan urges him not to hide his talent
They meet and befriend a wealthy girl called Manju (Baby Farida) who becomes a fan of their music her overprotective uncle (Sanjay khan) though is none too pleased about her forming friendship with lower class citizens like Ram & Mohan, they hope their friendship with Manju would help raise money for Ram's school fees
Mohan is also on the lookout for his sister Meena (Uma Rajoo) who is a nurse, incidentally or shall we say coincidentally she is the same one who has been appointed to Manju as her carer
Tragedy strikes once more when Manju dies of her illness, the boys are then left to rely on their singing to bring in enough money to pay for Ram's school fees. They raise enough money and Ram returns to school
Mohan comes across his sister Meena but she disowns him feeling ashamed of him because he's a beggar, she later meets with him in private but Mohan finds it hard to forgive her
Following a stealing incident in their slum Sharmaji (Nana Palsikar) who is Ram's school teacher bails Ram out & gives him an ultimatum of choosing between coming to leave with him in the suburbs and as a result excel in his education or staying behind in the slums, Ramu is reluctant but he leaves with Sharmaji thereby leaving Mohan alone and broken hearted
So will Ram & Mohan ever be reunited? How will Mohan cope without the support and love of his friend? Will Mohan ever forgive his sister? Will Ram be able to well in school without the love and support of Mohan?
This film is considered a bollywood classic and upon its time of release it became a blockbuster which is very impressive given that it had no big stars, no glamour or glitz about it, if such a movie with quite a good storyline and great songs were to release in our present times without any real stars backing it, the film would flop without doubt. I guess it shows how far the dynamics of the Hindi film industry has changed from one driven by content to a heavily celebrity/brand based one
Dosti's strength lies in its story telling and its loving and sympathetic characters as well as great acting from its lead stars Sushil and Sudhir Kumar (Does anyone know if they're related), the movie gets a bit too melodramatic and strenuous at times, but it was hard for me to dislike Dosti, what with its lovely insight on friendship & triumph through tribulation, even when the odds are stacked against you.
That as well as its message of keeping your character intact even when others fail and being true to yourself struck a major chord with me and helped me love the film even more. At the heart of the film's theme is the morale of no man being an island, no one succeeds on their own, we all need the love and help of another person to succeed in life, another interesting reading on the film by an article titled 100 Queer films of India over at filmi impression notes that
"Director Satyen Bose, as in his earlier film Jagriti, invests the friendship between two young men with as much tenderness, empathy, and felicity as romantic love. The film resonates for gay audiences at so many levels from the alienation felt by the two disabled men (one is blind, the other a cripple) acting as a cipher for homosexual repression, to instances of affection so physically demonstrated, to the alternative hospice in which they take refuge, replete with androgynous dancers and women wrestlers (which for all purposes could be a gay ghetto)"
The music from Laxmikant Pyarelal with lyrics from Majrooh Sultanpuri without doubt helped make Dosti the classic status it enjoys today (i really need to do a post on them sometime) all the songs on here are winners and i could go on about them forever, there's the lovely 'Gudiya humsi Roothi Rahogi' (which was the only song on the album not to have Mohammed Rafi's vocal) and many wonderful numbers by Mohammed Rafi like 'Raahi manwa dukh ki chinta', 'Koi jab raah na paye' , 'Jaane walon zara' , 'mera to jo bhi kadam hai' and my utter favourite being the tearjerker that is 'chahunga main tujhe'
Paisa Vasool Rating: 7/10
For more Information on Mohammed Rafi's Imapct on Dosti check out Nasir's write up
But the dvd here