Triple Laughter Treat!
By MovieTalkies.com, 04 August 2010
If asked to visualise Kishore Kumar, one instantly remembers him one cavorting with the lovely Madhubala, all for the sake of 'paanch rupaiya barah anna', or so the song goes. One can think of plenty other songs, but when it comes to movies, one keeps going back to 'Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi', a film which starred all three Ganguly brothers, Ashok, Anup and Kishore and, of course, Madhubala.
The film, which was directed by Satyen Bose and produced by Kumar himself, was a laugh riot. It easily ranks as among the all time greats and its success tempted the Ganguly brothers to try their luck once again, this time in a movie called 'Badhti Ka Naam Daadi', which didn't live up to expectations. The film's story is quite normal, with its share of intrigue, drama and romance. But what lends it, the zany, comic flavour is the dialogues, the manner in which the scenes have been constructed and the crazy acting style of Kishore, which in turn sparked a similar vein in the other protagonists in the movie.
The three Ganguly brothers play brothers in the movie as well, Brijmohan (Ashok), Jagmohan (Anup) and Manmohan (Kishore) Sharma, who run a garage. The eldest brother is a known to hate women and no women or pictures of them are allowed at the garage. His two younger brothers are quite scared of him and ensure that they stay away from women as well. Their quiet life goes for a toss when Renu (Madhubala), a rich man's daughter, comes to the garage with her broken car one night and leaves without paying the bill. Manu or Manmohan, who is on duty that night, attends to her and ends up losing his heart to her as well, as he chases her to recover his service charge of Rs 5 and twelve annas only. Meanwhile, Manu has also seen some goons dump a dead body on the street on night. Meanwhile, Renu and Manu fall in love on the one hand, while Jaggu or Jagmoghan, falls in love with Renu's friend Sheela (Sahira). Renu's father wants to get her married off to Raja Hardayal Singh (KN Singh)'s son. Little does he know that they are crooks who are after Renu's inheritance. Little does he know, that they are the men who Manu spotted dumping the dead body. Desperate to lay their hands on Renu's money, the goons kidnap both Manu and Renu. In captivity, they meet a woman called Kamini (Veena), who Renu's recognises from a picture that she had seen under Brijmohan's pillow. The duo discover that Kamini and Brjimohan were once lovers whose romance was cut short when Kamini was forcibly married off. Broken hearted, Brijmohan assumed that she left for a richer man and thus developed a hatred towards all women. When Kamini is unable to help the trapped lovers escape, she herself escapes and goes to Brijmohan for help. Meanwhile, Hardayal captures Renu's father as well and puts pressure on her to marry his brother or face the prospect of Manu's death. But Brijmohan, a former boxing champion, lands up just in time and knocks off the opposition with a little help from his brothers. All's well that ends well and the three pairs of lovers are united, happily ever after.
Rumour has it that Kishore produced 'Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi' to avoid paying income tax and thus hoped that the movie would flop. But the movie did phenomenally well and a disgusted Kishore is believed to have gifted the rights of the movie to his secretary. Such was the man's eccentricity! That story may or may not be true, but it is true that the Kishore Madhubala romance flowered during the shooting of the movie, especially with the number, 'haal kaisa hai janaab ka', which was shot in Mahabaleshwar. The singer actor was still much married to Ruma Ganguly at that time.
Another story related to the movie is about its director. It seems that Kamal Mazumdar, who had directed the Bengali 'Lukochuri', starring Kishore, was initially roped in for 'Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi' as well. But he is believed to have chickened out at the last minute, just hours before the ''mahurat, as he did not think he could handle all three brothers. Satyen Bose was then roped in and went through the mahurat, with little clue about the film and its characters.
The film's music was composed by S. D. Burman, while the lyrics were penned by Majrooh Sultanpuri. The duo made a fantastic team and churned out some brilliant songs in this movie. With Kishore leading the way, most of the songs of this movie like, 'haal kaisa hai janaab ka', 'ek ladki bheegi bhaagi si', 'hum the woh thi', 'babu samjho ishare' and 'main sitaron ka tarana,' have since gone on to become evergreen classics. SD managed to capture the light, crazy mood of the movie and composed tunes which were light, mischievous, fun and, oh so memorable.
Coming back to the movie itself, Kishore and his two brothers shared a wonderful chemistry on screen. All three of them had one thing in common, which was a superb sense of timing. Of the three, Ashok Kumar or 'Dadamoni' had a more serious role, while most of the comic parts went to Kishore and Anup Kumar. These two literally fed off each other and together lifted some of the most ordinary scenes to something extraordinarily funny. If it is true that Kishore was not much interested in the fate of the movie, then it certainly did not show in his uninhibited, energetic performance which lights up the screen. Ashok Kumar essays his part with ease and dignity as expected while Kishore, Anup and Mohan Chotti excel in the buffoonery. Madhubala is all effervescent grace, while K.N. Singh plays the smooth talking villain, as he was wont to do in countless films of that decade. Each member of the cast fits into their roles perfectly and do a wonderful job of making this a memorable movie.
'Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi' was one of the first successful comedies to come out of Bollywood and it has no peers really. It is a film which stands as testimony to the phenomenal talent of one eccentric genius called Kishore Kumar, who singlehandedly lifted the movie to great comic heights and ensured its success. This is film which is a true classic as one can still watch and enjoy the movie today, probably just as much as those watching it in 1958 did. It has truly stood the test of time and there is surely no better way to remember Kishore than as the madcap Manu of 'Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi'. It is a perfect showcase for everything that he did best, singing and comic acting. Kishore went on to act in many more movies, some comic and some serious but none could quite match the energy and power of his performance in 'Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi'.
A sure fire watch, recommended heartily.... giggle merrily all the way…