Fresh from my ever-growing stash of mostly-oldie gems sent from the wonderful Si and her travels hither and yon in India, I give you Man-Mauji, a very very cute movie starring Sadhana, Kumari Naaz, Kishore Kumar, Pran, Om Prakash, Durga Khote, and a ton of other people, including someone named Jhony Whisky. The drama, action, and emphasis of the plot were nicely distributed among the leads and supporting cast. If anyone emerges as a star, it's the two women, who as the sister (Kumari) and love interest (Sadhana) of Kishore's character Raja put a lot of courage and thought into getting him out of scrapes that result from his lies and bad decisions. (Raja is one of those jolly criminal types, and it's hard to be mad at him for stealing, given the givens - medicine for Maa, trying to help his sister with school fees, you know the type.) He's the central character, in that most of the story is in response to him, but I thought the film's emotional heart was with sister Laxmi and love Rani. And they like each other, too - none of that tiresome, man-based jealousy crap.
Madan Mohan's songs are simply wonderful. There are seven (eight if you count a wordless Radha-Krishna dance recital featuring Kumari), and it's hard to mention just four favorites specifically: my favorites were Sadhana's love songs "Chanda Jaa Re Jaa" (hopeful) and "Main To Tum Sang Nayan Mila Ke" (rueful)
The lyrics of the latter broke my heart. Who among us has not felt like a fool? "I wish I had never met you. I wouldn't have lost my peace and hurt myself today. I wish I wouldn't have fallen in love with you. "
the allegorical, Sound of Music-worthy "Murge Ne Jooth Bola," featuring Kumari and some cute kids,
and "Ek Tha Abdul Rehmam," a takin'-care-of-business vegetable-selling duet by Sadhana and Kishore.
Most of the movie is uncomplicated, sweet, and light-hearted, if not outright funny (though it has moments of that too, like Kishore fighting off Pran with a spray of soda water),
and I really don't have much more to say about it than that - which is by no means criticism. It's totally charming, and you should watch it, even if just for the clever monkeys, doe-eyed expressions, and prominent vegetables.
I watched this with Memsaab, and she agreed: "It's very cute. That is all." And that is plenty for a Wednesday night pick-me-up.