Monday, 4 May 2020

Mem Sahib (1956)- A Classic Film with Four Legends in Making


A rare film with a star cast Shammi Kapoor, Meena Kumari, Kishore Kumar, and Mehmood in one film is an attractive proposition to watch. At the time of its release, none of them was a big star. Shammi Kapoor's first hit film was Tumsa Nahin Dekha which was released one year later in 1957. What is more, he is not the hero, he does not get to walk away with the heroine, and he plays a negative character. Mehmood had a small and insignificant role. Kishore Kumar was also not a big name. Meena  Kumari was the only one who was successful, not a Tragedy Queen at that time. 
Meena Kumari played the role of a  modern girl in this film. An unlike Meena Kumari film with full of entertainment. This is also one of Meena Kumari’s non-tragedy roles. 

This film is based on the usual clash between ‘traditional Indian’ and ‘modern/Western’ values. Kishore Kumar(Sunder) who plays the naive young man, brought up in an ashram comes to town to marry which was fixed long ago by the heroine's rich father when both the boy and girl were a child. The girl who lived in a city with a modern lifestyle refuses to marry such a  guy. She gives a matrimonial Ad. in a paper and takes interviews. Manohar (Shammi Kapoor) who plays a negative character in the film reads the Ad and decides to go for an interview. Manohar impresses Meena, both become friendly. Meena introduces Manohar to her uncle as her prospective groom,

Meena's aunt was against this marriage so she calls Sundar from Guru ji ashram to meet Meena, the girl to whom he is betrothed. Meena, on the other hand, wanted to marry Manohar.
Sunder blames Manohar for ‘stealing’ his Meena away, The uncle advises Sunder to forget Meena. In the meantime, Manohar approaches Meena’s uncle for his blessings. Uncle tells Manohar that he has no problem as long as Meena wants to marry him but  Meena’s father’s will states that if Meena marries anyone other than Sunder, the latter will be heir to all her wealth. 
Manohar who is after the wealth of Meena tells Meena about the will. Manohar, along with Meena, steals the will out of her uncle’s safe but their plans fail once again when they come to know that one more copy of this will is lying with Sunder's mother.
Manohar plants the idea of Meena getting the will from Sunder by pretending to fall in love with him. Meena falls for the idea. Initially, she pretended to love Sunder but after a while, she realizes Manohar of wooing her for her money; if he truly loved her, he would take her as she is. 

The film was produced and directed by R C Talwar, music was given by Madan Mohan. 
Music Director  Madan Mohan was inspired by the 1934 song  Isle of Capri for not one but two versions of the song Dil Dil Se Mila Kar Dekho,sung by Asha Bhosle and Kishore Kumar respectively. Both the songs were picturized on Meena Kumari and Kishore Kumar. The first version (Asha Bhosle) in the film comes more than an hour into the film when Meena Kumari pretends to be interested in Kishore Kumar and who, outside the world of the ashram he has grown up in, is just getting introduced to the ways of the ‘sinful’ world. Meena Kumari is driving the car while Kishore Kumar sits on the front seat.

The second version (Kishore Kumar) comes about half an hour later once Kishore Kumar, now having fallen hook line and sinker for Meena Kumari, has succumbed to the lifestyle of the rich and wealthy. In this song, Kishore Kumar drives the car and Meena Kumari sits on the front seat.
Another popular song "Hamari Gali Aana, Achha Ji" picturized on Meena Kumari and Shammi Kapoor, a sung by Asha Bhosle and Talat Mahmood was also very popular, This film is available on YouTube.
Song of Mem Sahib 1956 (Female Version)


Song of Mem Sahib 1956 (Male Version)



Song of Mem Sahib 1956



Song of Mem Sahib 1956


Song of Mem Sahib 1956



Song of Mem Sahib 1956


Song of Mem Sahib 1956


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