#53 #Scriptors100BestFilms #Padosan
The appealing value of films changes as the time progresses. What was modern a 50 years ago is now ancient; and similarly what’s ‘uber cool’ now may become ‘lame’ 50 years from today. We cannot blame anyone. Taste changes.
However, there are some films that serve as the ‘magical gateways’ between generations – a.k.a. the films that are timeless. There is one such film that appealed to the youth of its time (which is now in their 70’s) and it still appeals to the youth of today (which is ‘uber cool’ and ‘uber choosy’). This is one of such films, for which everything (by ‘everything’ I mean literally everything, from hardcore talent to sheer luck) comes together to create a ‘timeless magic’.
The ‘timeless magic’ we are talking about is Padosan. This magic first happened in 1968 and has been sprinkling its fairy-dust ever since. At the center of the story is a ‘fairy’ named Bindoo – a self-styled ‘princess’ who is also headstrong and proud of her beauty (you know, like a typical Hindi-movie diva, who takes feathery and bubbly beauty-bath while singing and prancing around – this one also creates a mess for her maid to take care of later). Her ultra-Tamilian and quite ‘squashy’ music teacher, Master Pillai, who uses his musical and dance talents as a means to woo her – which may remind some of us of a mating ritual of a peacock. Then there is Bhola – a juvenile minded adult, who treats his 25th year of age as some kind of ‘induction program’ into the youth (like how it’s Sweet-Sixteen for a girl). The film chronicles Masterji and Bhola’s ‘Nehle pe Dehla’ type quests to outwit each other and win Bindoo. These quests introduce us to other quirky characters, especially (and, oh so awesomely) Vidyapati, a.k.a. Guru – another super-juvenile and even elder adult who helps Bhola win Bindoo employing his crazy outrageous plans.
Physical comedy is one such ‘handle-with-care’ kindda filmmaking method that, if used unwisely, can actually mar a well-scripted comedy. Padosan, however, stands apart in the middle of many such failed attempts (and there are gazillions of them) and actually sets an example of how an over-the-top comedy can be effective without being lame. And it’s not just the actors’ credit, even though they shine like the brightest stars. We must start the trail-of-praises from the writer, as I staunchly believe in that old-ancient saying – Content is King. Rajendra Krishan, a North Indian poet, lyricist, and screenwriter, who was also quite proficient in Tamil language, wrote the story and screenplay. A funny fact about him goes – he was considered the richest Hindi film writer because he won a jackpot of INR 4,600,000 in horse racing. No wonder he had crazy inspiration from none other than destiny herself to write such a wonderfully crazy story and create such wonderfully crazy characters.
Padosan is one of Mehmood’s production ventures. I must say he was quite a smart producer and knew what to produce and how to produce. Other fine examples being the likes of ‘Bhoot Bangla’ and ‘Kunwara Baap’. The director of the film, Jyoti Swaroop, is credited for co-writing a few classics, such as ‘Ram Teri Ganga Maili’ and ‘Satte Pe Satta’ as well as directing a hit thriller ‘Parwana’.
Before we talk about cast, we must talk about a special cast-member – Music. It was present throughout the film like one of the leads. A true star! It was (still is) hummable, melodious, and incredibly funny. These songs are such that you hum once and they linger on your tongue forever, like a tingling sensation in the watery mouth post sucking on a piece of tamarind. R.D. Burman, a.k.a Pancham Da, a.k.a the boss, was like in many of his films was at his best. It was one of those films where Lata Didi and Asha Tai sang together and it was a treat! Manna Dey provided singing voice for Masterji and managed to bring out that Tamilian flavor very well. The one, however, who shone like the brightest star was Kishore Kumar. Whether it was a romantic song like ‘Mere Saamne Wali Khidki’ or ‘Kehena Hai’ or total crackpot crazy rendering, like ‘Meri Pyari Bindoo’ or ‘Ek Chatur Naar’, this quintessential yodler literally ‘cracked us up’.
Last (and obviously not the least), the actual cast in flesh. Sunil Dutt and Saira Banu were the obvious leads and they did amazing jobs. They were not exactly known for their ‘funny bone’, but managed to bring their crazy side out in this film and they did well. The real charmers, however, were Kishore Kumar and Mehmood. Both these actors were famously known as ‘crackpots’ and that’s exactly what they behaved like, thereby giving us one of the tastiest cinematic-performance feasts of all time. The musical face-off between these ‘comic giants’ is one of the highlights of the film and is still enjoyed with constant giggles and bursts of laughter. Totally worth it! Om Prakash, Mukri, Keshto Mukharjee, and the rest of the cast members were equally effective, albeit with less screen-time.
I know I always say this for many films, but I mean it – you must never miss this film. It gives you a few moments entirely devoid of all kinds of negativities and tensions and fills your heart with pure happiness. In the times, such as today, we need to take some time out for these awesome moments and feel rejuvenated.
Go people… crack yourself up!