Zindagi ittefaq hai
Kal bhi ittefaq thi
Aaj bhi ittefaq hai
On first hearing, it sounds like a title track for the movie Ittefaq, which was being made around the same time as this movie. Following the super-success of Waqt, Yash Chopra soon began working on a movie which had its roots in socialism.
India was on the path of industrialization, and lot of factories were coming up. Many development projects were on the anvil, construction of dams and irrigation projects were a priority. Akhtar Ul Iman used this backdrop and scripted the movie which was a story of two friends, one rich and the other poor, Munish & JK.
Yash Chopra roped in Dharamendra to play the humble and honest Munish Mehra. Dharamendra was shooting for Satyakam with Hrishikesh Mukherjee, and that could have been one of the reasons for casting him in this movie as the character of Munish was a little similar to Satyapriya Acharya. Those were the days, when Dharamendra was not yet labelled as He-Man. In those days, he had a lover-boy image, a man of honour and integrity, brainy and brawny. While he did play a simpleton in movies like Seeta Aur Geeta, Jeevan Mrityu, Satyakam etc; in parallel he also did thrillers like Do Chor, Ankhen, Shikar etc.
Even in this movie, he did justice to the character of Munish Mehra. Siding up with Dharamendra was Feroz Khan who played JK alias Jai Kishan. JK is a rich brat industrialist who loves to party and knows his drink.
Jaam pakad badha ke haath, maang dua ghatey na raat
Jaan-e-wafa teri kasam, kehte hain dil ki baat hum
Gar koi mel ho sakey, aankhon ka khel ho sakey
Apne ko khushnaseeb jaan, waqt ko meharbaan maan
Milte hain dil kabhi kabhi, warna hai ajnabi sabhi
Mere humdum mere meharbaan
Har khushi ittefaq hai
It was a chance meeting that brought Munish and JK together. JK liked Munish’s sincerity and honesty; and he decides to alleviate Munish’s burden. JK helps Munish financially and also sponsors his education. JK comes across as a benevolent person who wants the welfare of Munish.
Munish returns to India, armed with a degree and JK soon makes him the in-charge of his construction project. While on duty, Munish chances upon Meena, played by Saira Banu, and falls in love with her. He of course doesn’t know that JK too likes Meena a lot.
While Munish is going about his duties, he accidentally finds out about JK’s financial irregularities and how he has expanded his empire by wrong means and business malpractices.
A two-hero movie invariably has a duel and here too, Munish & JK are locked in a bitter duel that involves Meena on one hand, and JK’s favours done for Munish on the other. One weighs more than the other, but which side will Munish swing?
Husn hai aur shabaab hai, zindagi kamyaab hai
Bazm yoon hi khili rahey, apni nazar mili rahey
Rang yoon hi jama rahey, waqt yoon hi thama rahey
Saaz ki lai pe jhoomle, zulf ke kham ko choomle
Mere kiye se kuchh nahi, tere kiye se kuchh nahi
Mere humdum mere meharbaan
Ye sabhi ittefaq hai
JK feels betrayed, the one person whom he had trusted, turned against him. He hoped that Munish would remain indebted to him for life. But instead, Munish dared to go against a friend who had done so much for him. Its an interesting movie about human relationships, about friendship and honoring that trust. Its never an easy task to take a stand, but Munish takes a stand and the duo split.
Munish takes up another job, trying to forget the bitterness. Yet again, just by chance, a case comes to Munish, to investigate the collapse of a bridge. It turns out that the bridge was constructed by JK’s firm. Will Munish do a fair investigation based on ground realities or will he mix emotion with his profession and use this as a vehicle to get back to JK?
The problem with honest people is that, they have very few options. They are always in a pristine white zone; rarely do they choose to stay in a gray area or live a life filled with ambiguities. On the flip side, the ones in gray area just have one objective; that objective could be anything, love, money, status symbol. Whatever be the objective, they find ways and means of getting there, by hook or by crook. That’s the basic difference between a man [aadmi] and a civilised/moralistic man [insaan]. Feroz Khan, for the stark portrayal of JK, won the Filmfare award for Best Supporting.
Except for the song Zindagi Itteaf Hai sung by Lata mangeshkar and Dil Karda, O Yaara Dil Dara sung by Mahendra kapoor, the other songs weren’t anything to write home about. It was the same team that had worked in Waqt, Sahir Ludhianvi & Ravi. But somehow, the consistency was lacking this time around.
This movie again shows Yash Chopra’s strength as a director. Be it the tight thriller Ittefaq or this movie, he excels in both. The reason I have mentioned Ittefaq so many times is that, both these movies released in the same year. And while Yashji was shooting for this movie, Saira Banu fell ill and the shooting had to be halted for a few months. Restless person that he was, Yashji and Akhtar Ul Iman collaborated again on Ittefaq project which was shot within a month. When Saira was back in good health, he wrapped up this movie.
Some people aren’t able to give their best even while directing just one movie at a time, but Yashji did justice to both movies. The ease with which he switched from melodrama to thriller genre, and then back to the melodrama, is commendable. Basically, his understanding of movies, the spirit of the story, and comprehending the characters with all their flaws, is tremendous.
In AAI, Yahsiji has captured the milieu of the construction site very well. Be it the bridge or the government offices, he is spot on. But best of all is the way he films human emotions. Feroz Khan’s anger, arrogance and the hurt was shown very well. He is quite a spontaneous actor, so it becomes all the more important to give him enough time and space and he does wonders. Even in movies like Safar, Arzoo, Apradh etc, he comes good in scenes where has to display remorse and anguish.
Dharamendra is excellent in the movie, be it the honest officer or the good brother or the faithful friend; he plays all the parts with such ease and fantastic body language. Never does he try to overpower other characters in the movie. In fact, he gives Saira and Feroz enough space to shine in the movie.
Yashji balanced the characters very well; never showing one better than the other. He shows both sides of the story and nobody comes across as a villain; they are all trapped in a situation of their own making. Just remember that, much before Namak Haraam, there was Aadmi aur Insaan.
Note- This is post is part of the special Yash Chopra Blogathon as a humble tribute from MAM to the master filmmaker, Yash Chopra. You can also check out our posts on Waqt, Kabhi Kabhie, Trishul, Kaala Patthar, Silsila, Dharamputra, Dhool Ka Phool and a tribute to Yash Chopra as well.