Essentially Gold, The Lavender Hill Mob

A praying mantis sitting on a leaf, stealth mode on, meditating and still, prepares to make a move, to catch the prey and the predator unawares, killing one, fooling the other.

A man sitting in a bank jeep, subservient clerk’s hat on, conniving and shrewd, plans to make a move, to smuggle gold out of the bank and become rich, killing none, fooling them all.

The praying mantis jumps, attacks with precision, and wins; the man, fumbles, tumbles and yelps ‘Old MacDonald had a farm, ee i ee i o.’

The film poster.
[Source –]

A black and white 1951 comedy film, that runs truly, only and only, on the story fuel, The Lavender Hill Mob, is perfectly crafted, balanced and performed heist caper, a hilarious journey that arrests you from the very beginning.

Ranked as one of the greatest British films of all time, The Lavender Hill Mob confides in the audience, letting them see, feel, laugh and think without tickling persuasively with a joke here and a punch-line there.

And so, personifying itself successfully, narrating a comic tale straightforwardly, wonderfully, giving the visuals the space to rise and fall, promising entertainment, delivering it with twists.

Comedy that studies its own movement through planned time-checked routes and unexpected quick-sharp turns, The Lavender Hill Mob set the foundation for future British comedies without any pomp and show, rather just through pure performance.

Check out the official trailer of The Lavender Hill Mob now –

Meet the protagonist, Henry ‘Dutch’ Holland

I was a potential millionaire, yet I had to be satisfied with eight pounds, fifteen shillings, less deductions. A weekly reminder that the years were passing, and my problem still unsolved.

Henry Holland (played by the genius Alec Guinness) narrates his tale honestly, matter-of-factly, beginning from the beginning, a man of numbers, to be specific, of the number 495,978 (pounds of gold bars), for that is what happened and he, like an amused storyteller, reminisces it gladly. This fact, that the protagonist is the narrator, doesn’t hang heavy on us, we forget and start walking with Henry Holland.

Henry is daydreaming again.
[Source –]

The bank manager and his superior and juniors and most importantly the two guards see him as an honest fool, imbecile, fussy crack-pot, who they can trust, even blindly, who they feel is a cog in the machine, tailor made for nothing innovative. Henry knows it, he bows to this fact, choosing to continue the charade.

A place that assumes no special status, the boarding house, Balmoral, in Lavender Hill, London, becomes Henry’s abode, suiting his obscure identity well.

Mapping a robbery of a consignment of gold bullion robbed Henry of peaceful mapping as without a safe route to smuggle the gold abroad, all this stayed stuck like a day dream unexecuted. It is when Al Pendlebury, an artist, finds lodging in Balmoral, Lavender Hill, that Henry finds a ‘golden’ way out.

Pendlebury owned a foundry that made souvenirs – like Eiffel Tower paperweights – that were exported to holiday destinations like Paris.

More than a paperweight, eh?
[Source –]

These two good friends partner-up and set the mapped scheme into action – timely they hire two chaps/ experts/ thieves for executing the robbery smoothly.

What Henry didn’t factor in while daydreaming about the robbery was the common errors, intrusive and funny ‘by-chance’ happenings and the simple-stubborn-absurdly-comical behaviour of all of us.

Ha-ha! Henry and his mob of friends run, miming a wall and hitting against it, encountering the police on the street, in the office, the gully, the lodgings, somehow meekly fooling them.

But when juggling too-too-too many balls, some are bound to fall… especially if one is juggling and running madly down the Eiffel Tower’s spiral staircase like Henry Holland the juggler… His paper plane, boat, car, crashes, sinks, collides and yet, he tries to do as planned – “for it’s a perfect plan.”

Henry Holland beams through his eyes, camouflaging neatly, mantis-like, aware of his agility and other’s dreariness; master planner, he walks to-and-fro, amongst the crowd, catching them unawares, cheating, skipping, dodging.

Al the Artist

Ee i ee i ohhh!
[Source – IMDB]

Alfred Pendlebury (played by the wonderful Stanley Holloway), lover of everything fine – paintings, sculptures, pottery, complete/incomplete canvases, a ready-made studio at his lodgings that he exclaims ‘…has a north light, too’.

He would be a full-time artist, quitting his souvenir business for good, but he never had the courage, and he quotes – “Of all sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these… it might have been.”

The iron’s hot and Henery doesn’t wait to strike; Pendlebury, in the mould, honestly thinks about their honest lives and steps out to join hands with Henery the mapper.

But there is a rush now, the robbery must happen within one week’s time because Henery Holland is promoted to foreign exchange’s department, with 15 shillings raise in his salary.

The Mob

The mob at work, ta-da!
[Source – IMDB]

How to hire two thieves? Talk about leaving your office’s safe unlocked with the staff’s monthly salary in it in crowded places on the top of your voice and ta-da, the applicants will land up in the office the same night without fail.

Two applicants – Wood and Shorty – small time goons end up chewing the bait, happy to be of assistance and glammed by the grand bullion million pounds plan all mapped neatly by now. 

Miss Evesham and Mrs. Chalk become Henry’s accomplice without them or him every finding it out. These two fortuitous accomplices by simply coming downstairs, crossing the corridor, sipping tea, getting someone to read a crime-fiction for them, knitting, ignoring door bells, opening and closing doors, suggesting and commenting contributed silently in building and yet disrupting the status quo.

The Gold

What’s cooking?
[Source – IMDB]

Like a dormant volcano, the gold, in the form of bullion stays too quiet, shining but inactive, somewhat silly, sitting steadily, favourable to none but the locks owning entity, so that the protagonist lurks, dances around it praying for a better life until the day the volcano becomes active.

Henry’s prayer is heard, that is what he assumes, liquid lava gold turned into Eiffel Tower paperweights add weight to his plan but nevertheless begins to slip away, carrying the souvenirs back to Britain from Paris, landing right in an exhibition of police history at a training college for police in London.

The game reaches its final stage, with time slipping by and Henry losing almost all his mob members, he tries to place the king on the diciest square to quash the enemy king’s check-mate move.

The king wins, but which one?

So, we wait and watch till the end.


Suffering from vertigo?
[Source –]

Serious about comedy the story refrains from pretentiousness. Catch Henry Holland gently smiling now and then, turning and glaring with another soft smile and beady eyes, and you’ll be a step closer to knowing what he is up to.

Al Pendlebury’s confused, amazed looks, clumsy actions, along with his loyalty to his best pal Henry allows him to sow and reap comedy.

Wood and Shorty – though they surrender the heist midway for the greater cause i.e., getting the freaking cash (actually refusing to travel because one has got tickets to a Cricket test match and the other’s Mrs. just won’t let him leave) – become the much-needed side-kick pals who bring in the spirit of tomfoolishness in the team.

The language too brings out a unique British flavour of comedy; it is straightforward, dialogues a bit longish, colloquially languid with a Shakespearen high, funny and fitting. In fact, the climactic drama owes it to the language mix-up as it causes a French saleswoman to sell six gold Eiffel Tower paperweights to six English school girls.

A shocked Pendlebury says, “How did that get here? I told you never to use a crate marked ‘R’.”

French Saleswoman replies, “But that is not an ‘R’, monsieur, it is an A(eh).”

Pendlebury exclaims, “It’s an ‘R’ in English!”

Henry’s calculations begin to fail frequently as such twists keep on overruling it; the master plan starts to lag behind and when no one is looking, it is put aside. The nail-biting hilarious ending reminds one, amongst other things, of the novel that Mrs. Chalk is reading – You’d Look Swell in a Shroud.


A cameo by Audrey Hepburn.
[Source – Film Forum]

Produced by the Ealing Studios, directed by Charles Crichton, and written by T.E.B. Clarke – a team renowned for making great comedies – The Lavender Hill Mob became one of their masterpieces, also winning the Academy Award for Best Writing, Story and Screenplay.

As the plot swiftly steers the story ahead, the absorbing clever character tracks merge strikingly with it, accelerating, without much effort, the journey. One forgets to question anything – a twist, turn or an action – while watching Henry and Pendlebury tricking and getting tricked at once.

The Lavender Hill Mob is gold for it has aged like the metal gold, without rusting or tarnishing, still shining and entertaining, turning every viewer into a mob member, following and cheering their leader Henry the juggler.  

Can they see us?
[Source – British Comedy Guide]

Watch this comedy classic here.

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A ‘Loose Talk’ Show by Two Giants

O shit, man!

[Source – Pixabay]


Note that the show is a satire – satire is the humorous ridiculing of the social evils, the vices that we tend to hide and hide behind waiting for a solution; satires are crucial for they are reminders reminding us not to repeat, replicate, reiterate, duplicate the mistakes, blunders, rebukes, devils we commit, cause, utter and create foolishly, out-of-weakness and when terribly burdened; satires don’t pass judgements rather they accept the folly, the situation at hand, they acknowledge the ruin, the disgrace, always aiming for a better, united, cooperative, humble, sensible world.

Note that the show is a comedy as well – naturally, because comedy is satire’s aura.

Note that the show is a Pakistani show – pro-this or anti-that, the show stays true to its genre, its keen sword like wit cuts through the superficial, holding its ground against the dogmatic prevalence of all types, of this and that society; slowly, very gently, very patiently it knocks down every King’s crown, so that the oligarchy bends.

Note that the show is not against anyone – it hails the present time, present lives, societies as we are all trying to play well. Yet, it promotes old values like brotherhood, kindness, truthfulness and love for one’s land. It also acknowledges its limitedness, slantly, but mostly straightforwardly.

Last, please note that the show is created and written by Anwar Maqsood, starring late Moin Akhtar (as the guest) and himself (as the host) – together they leave the viewer in a dilemma whether to bow before the absolutely astounding acting, the phenomenal script or their jugalbandi (the duo’s entwined performance).

For now, watch Loose Talk’s nine engaging episodes out of the total three hundred –



Interviewing a Pakistani senior citizen on 14th August, Independence Day special –


होस्ट: जब आपने पाकिस्तान के सर ज़मीन पे कदम रखा तो आपको कैसा लगा?

गेस्ट: कदम नहीं रखा, नहीं नहीं ना , हमने माथा रखा था ।

होस्ट: सुबान अल्लाह ! आपने एक नयी सर ज़मीन को सजदा किया।

गेस्ट: कह चुके।

होस्ट: जी।

गेस्ट: बीच में से बात मत उचक लिया करो, सजदा नहीं किया, वागाह बॉर्डर पर किसी ने हमे धक्का दिया था, यह कह कर के ‘जल्दी चल बे’, बस उसमे जो गिरे निचे, तो सर जा कर धाड़ से पाकिस्तान की सर ज़मीन पर लगा और हमारा सर फट गया और पहली दफा जब हम दाखिल हुए पाकिस्तान तो फटे हुए सर के साथ दाखिल हुए। 

होस्ट: इस मुल्क के लिए हज़ारों लोगों ने कुर्बानियां दी है, आपने अपना सर फोड़ा।

गेस्ट: हैं?

होस्ट: आपने अपना माथा फोड़ा। 

गेस्ट: जी।

होस्ट: तो कैसा लगा दाखिल हो कर, कदम रख के?

गेस्ट: दाखिल हो के हमे पता चला की ओह हो हो हो हो, बटुआ तो हम अपना दिल्ली भूल आए हैं। 



Host: How did you feel when you first stepped foot on this land, when you entered Pakistan?

Guest: I didn’t step my foot on this land, no no no, my head touched it first.

Host: How beautiful! You bowed before this new land – Pakistan.

Guest: Are you done?

Host: Yes.

Guest: Let me finish the sentence first, I didn’t bow, at Wagah Border someone pushed and said, “oye move quickly”, and so I fell on the floor and my head hit this land. So, I entered Pakistan with an injured forehead.

Host: Thousands of people sacrificed their lives for this nation, you too got injured.

Guest: Yes!

Host: How did it feel then, when you first entered the promised land?

Guest: As soon as I entered I realised that oh-ho-ho-ho-ho, I forgot my wallet in Delhi.

Interviewing a teacher –


होस्ट: पौने 9 बजे आपके यहाँ डाकू आए और गए कितने बजे ?

गेस्ट: सुबह 4 बजे।

होस्ट: इतनी देर क्या करते रहे?

गेस्ट: असल में एक डाकू जो था उसने मेज़ पर से दीवान-ए-ग़ालिब उठा ली और उसे देख के मुझे कहने लगे – तुमने दूसरों पर अपनी काबिलियत का रॉब झाड़ने के लिए इतने मुश्किल शायर की किताब राखी हुई है घर पे ? या ग़ालिब की शायरी तुम्हारी समझ में आ गयी है? हमारी बेग़म ने फॉरेन कहा, नहीं ऐसी बात नहीं है इन्होने ग़ालिब को बहुत पढ़ा है और ग़ालिब पे किताब भी लिखी है। फिर उस डाकू ने किताब खोली और पढ़ने लगा –

“कुछ खरीदा नहीं है अब की साल, कुछ बनाया नहीं है अब की बार, रात को आग और दिन को धूप, भाड़ में जाए ऐसे लेल-ओ-नहार, आपका बाँदा और फिरूं नंगा, आपका नौकर और खाऊं उधार…”

यह कह कर उसने किताब वहां रखी वापस और कहने लगे – जब ग़ालिब इतनी मुश्किल में थे , तो वह हमारी तरह क्यों नहीं हो गए, हमारे भी हालात यही हैं।


Translation –

Host: The dacoits came around 8:45 pm and when did they leave?

Guest: At 4 in the morning.

Host: What did they do for so long?

Guest: So, one dacoit picked Diwan-e-Ghalib from the table and said to me, “You own such a great poet’s book just to show off? Or are you trying to tell me you understand Ghalib’s poetry?” Quickly my wife said, “He has indeed studied Ghalib very deeply and have even written a book on Ghalib.” Then the dacoit opened the book and read –

“Bought nothing this year, built nothing this time, fire at night and the sun in the day time, to hell with such nights and days, your creature still I roam naked, your servant yet I beg for food…”

He kept the book back on the table and said, “if Ghalib was facing such difficulties, why didn’t he become like us, our condition is the same…”

Interviewing a would-be politician –


होस्ट: अगर आपकी पार्टी ने इलेक्शन में हिस्सा लिया तो मोहतरम, आपका इंतक़ाबि निशान क्या होगा?

गेस्ट: हमारा इंतक़ाबि निशान वही होगा जो मैंने आपको वक्फे में दिया था – ठुड्डा। कमीशन इलेक्शन से हमने रिक्वेस्ट की है, अगर उन्होंने दे दिया तो ठीक, नहीं दिया तो कोई गल नहीं।

होस्ट: सर कमीशन इलेक्शन नहीं, इलेक्शन कमीशन।

गेस्ट: ओये एक ही गल है। कमीशन इलेक्शन से पहले लगाओ या बादमे, कोई फरक नहीं पेंदा।

होस्ट: सर इसकी… ठुड्डे की तस्वीर कैसे दिखाएंगे आप?

गेस्ट: ओये ये जाहिलो वाली गल किती तूने, ठुड्डे की तस्वीर नहीं होती है, ठुड्डा लिखा जाता है, “अवाम का वोट, हमारा ठुड्डा”, एह लिखा जाएगा।

होस्ट: सर इस स्लोगन से तो अवाम डर जायेंगे सर।

गेस्ट: ओ, पिछले साठ सालों से अवाम डर के ही तो वोट देते हैं। 



Host: If your party stands in the election, sir, what will be your party’s symbol?

Guest: Our party’s symbol will be the same, that I gave you during the break – a kick. We have requested commission election for the same, if they agree with us, good, if they don’t, well, it doesn’t matter.

Host: Sir it is not commission election, it is election commission.

Guest: O, it is one and the same thing. Commission if added before election or after, doesn’t make much difference.

Host: Sir, how will you show this symbol – the image?

Guest: Oye, you’re talking like an illiterate, it won’t be shown, we will simply write it down, “Public’s vote, our kick”, this is what will be written.

Host: Sir, using this slogan may scare the public sir.

Guest: O, for the past sixty years, that is what they have done, the public vote out of fear.

Interviewing a harmonium player, the only English-subtitled epsiode.

Interviewing a senior citizen from India –

Interviewing a Bangladeshi cricketer –

Interviewing a cricket fan –

Interviewing a mother on Mother’s Day –

Interviewing George Bush’s security officer –


Salute to both great artists, salute!


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Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi (That which moves is called a car)

The theatre is jam-packed and noisy; as the lights go off, everyone becomes quiet. The film starts and the opening credits roll – in black & white animation we are introduced to the star cast, Ashok Kumar, Madhubala, Anoop Kumar and a yodelling-dancing Kishore Kumar – with a melodious announcement to get ready for a laughing riot titled Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi.

One of the biggest hits of 1958, Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi, directed by Satyen Bose, is a classic comedy film which though is 173 minutes long and is more than 60 years old, is still a treat to watch. The appearance of the Ganguly Brothers together for the first time, the unforgettable music composed by S.D Burman and soulful, breezy lyrics by Majrooh Sultanpuri, all combined, led to its massive success.

While no writing credits, apart from dialogues (by Ramesh Pant and Gobind Moonis), are given in the film, it has a well-structured, strong screenplay. The plot twists and character quirks both intermingle harmoniously to create comedy.

Writing a Comedy

A genre of fiction writing, comedy intends to amuse the audience; the Ancient Greeks defined it as a narrative involving an odd character caught in a challenging situation that inadvertently after making a fool of himself triumphs in the end. With changing times, and different types of mediums, comedy writing has also evolved; slapstick, parody, spoof, satire, irony, sarcasm, farce and dark comedy, these different sub-categories all approach comedy distinctively.

For a comedy story, you would need a solid comic premise, complex, but relatable characters, a risky situation in which the protagonist is caught, a touch of drama, plenty of puns and enough space for character development. Comedies aim not only to amuse and entertain but also to subtly mock the stereotypical stagnant beliefs in the society.

Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi has these elements all in place. Three brothers, all afraid of even looking at women, as if predestined, meet up three lovely ladies who take the lead to bring their story to a happy ending.


Brijmohan, Jagmohan, Manmohan – The three brothers together run a garage; the two younger ones follow elder brother, Brijmohan’s dictum of not interacting with any woman at any cost (apart from when there is an emergency). They even have a mantra that they chant to shoo ladies away; in the very first scene when their car breaks down and they are unable to find any fault in the engine, they blame it on a beautiful young lady looking at them from a distance. Seeing three men chanting the mantra, finding them weird, the lady leaves; the car starts working then and this reconfirms their theory about women.

They are not anti-women, nor are they disrespectful towards them. For the younger brothers, it is all about following Brijmohan’s rules and for him it is a way to protect his brothers from emotional traumas, something that he had undergone when his lady love left him for a rich man.

Jagmohan aka Jaggu is a fickle-minded, often cunning, but timid guy; obedient and docile in front of Brijmohan, he becomes inquisitive and laid-back when given the charge of the garage and easily passes his chores to his younger brother.

Manmohan aka Mannu is the main lead; he is sincere, dexterous and funny by nature. One rainy night, when he is all alone in the garage, he is forced to repair the broken car of a young lady, Renu, who in a hurry forgets to pay him his due. Next morning he explains to his brothers that he had to entertain that lady as it was an emergency case. Brijmohan highlights it to them that she is a clever person as she intentionally did not pay him anything.

Thus, the story takes a turn as Mannu, in a quest to get his due (5 rupees and 12 annas) follows Renu everywhere, he even reaches her home late at night and when the watchman suspects him to be a thief, Renu helps him to run away, once again without the due amount; such incidents result into the inevitable conclusion, Mannu and Renu fall for each other.

Mannu hides his feelings from Renu as he battles with the unacceptable idea of falling for a woman. He can never disobey Brijmohan, but he cannot forget Renu as well.

Comedy elements never leave the screen space even while dealing with such dramatic dilemmas. Jaggu and Mannu love Brijmohan, they look upon him as a father figure and as their hero. In one scene, Brijmohan, a boxing champion, beats up a giant who was refusing to pay the servicing charges and Jaggu and Mannu both had unsuccessfully tried to tackle him.

Their scenes together are hilarious; whenever Renu calls at the garage, both Jaggu and Mannu start fumbling, telling Brijmohan that they don’t know who she is, when Renu tells Brijmohan to send someone to repair her car, both Jaggu and Mannu refuse to go, though wishing to leave immediately.

Renu – The absolutely stunning leading lady of the film is a modern woman in the truest sense – she is bold, independent, zealous, a bit strong-headed, but sensible enough to differentiate between a fake and an honest person. She likes to drive her car, no matter even if it is late in the night – a big deal in 1950s India. When running late to reach home after giving her dance performance at the theatre, Renu is worried not that her father will scold her for being late, but about the car breaking down in the middle of the road yet again.

There is no question about parity in the film, as the women are given equal screen space and story material; in fact, the women are responsible for taking the story forward. Renu is the one who openly expresses her interest in Mannu, visiting his garage and taking him along for outings. Brijmohan too is unable to refuse as Renu had found a lady’s photo in Brijmohan’s room, purposely she enquires about it in front of his two brothers; a dumbfounded Brijmohan avoids the scene by allowing Mannu to accompany Renu.

Later, when Brijmohan tells Renu upfront that she should stop meeting Mannu, she does not falter and expresses that she is serious about Mannu; impressed by her honest approach, he then approves of her.

Renu’s actions, along with Mannu, become the driving force in the film; through her straightforward, brazen and naïve behaviour, she also adds to the humour.

Driving the Champion on the streets of Bombay. (Source – bollyviewer)

‘Champion’ car, Model 1928 – This debuting car is more like a sidekick, an accomplice and a recurring motif in the film that talks about the ‘moving forward’ mantra, connects the plot points and even sponsors the happy ending scene. Apart from being the reason that steers Renu’s entry into Mannu’s life, it is given a special Chaplinesque sequence to enrich this comedy.

Mannu and the Champion car participate in a race, competing against many including the villain’s pawn; the start is a bit rocky, but they are determined to win, exchanging an opponent’s hat with a cockerel, throwing bananas at another and spraying water at the pawn, Mannu and the Champion car beat the others with great aplomb.

The car here is a metaphor for life; if the car is running and if you are able to fix it when it breaks down, you are all set, that is all you need to do.

Listen to the uplifting title track of Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi now.

Raja Hardayal Singh, the Antagonist – In his first scene, it is evident that his kindness, his beguiling demeanour and his aristocratic attitude is all too good to be true. A fraudster, who had long back managed to rob a rich businessman after marrying his only daughter (i.e. Brijmohan’s lady love, Kamini), Raja Hardayal Singh now has plans to make his pawn marry Renu so as to get all her property.

While his bass, confident and assured tone makes him a dangerous villain, his foolish men and their shortcomings make him appear as a goof. Then again when it is revealed that he keeps his so-called mad wife, Kamini, captive in an old bungalow, he takes his position back to being a ruthless man. But unlike in a novel when such a secret is revealed, the effect stays and changes the mood of the story, here the opposite happens. As it is a comedy, Kamini’s distress does not stay for long rather it triggers the climax and ensures her freedom.

Supporting Characters

These supporting characters, some half and some nicely baked, are a good study of how in a well-written comedy everything contributes to keeping the humour alive without it being overblown.

Maujiya – A junior mechanic cum helper, Maujiya is a happy-go-lucky kid who has very few scenes in the film, but whenever present he doubles the dose of comedy. He is an on-screen audience member who observes the three brothers, their eccentricities, always amused, but also alert of being caught.

Sheela – Renu’s best friend, smart and funny, Sheela is another bold beauty in the film. She falls for Jaggu and finds his buffoonery amusing. While chit-chatting once she happily tells Renu that she would choose a simpleton over a wise guy as she wants her husband to always listen to her; finding these qualities in Jaggu, she makes sure they become friends. Her frankness and wit mark her presence strongly in the film.

Renu’s Father – Like a puppet this character is placed to add humour in a scene or to bridge one twist with the other. A jovial, simple and sweet old man, Renu’s father takes everyone’s words at face value and thus, is shocked to know Raja Hardayal Singh’s reality. He trusts Renu and gives her freedom to choose her life partner.

Kamini – Though she appears later in the second half, she plays a distinct role in shaping the story from the beginning; Brijmohan thinks she betrayed him, but she and her rich father were fooled by Raja Hardayal Singh. Not afraid of anything, she decides to save Renu and Mannu’s life and becomes a catalyst for the climax.

Climax – Renu and Mannu are trapped, Raja Hardayal Singh is ready to marry Renu with his pawn; after a hurried reunion between Brijmohan and Kamini and a comic mime-style scene between Jaggu and Sheela, everyone reaches the same bungalow and a farcical fight sequence begins. Mannu, Renu, Jaggu, Maujiya, Renu’s Father and the half-witted goons create a mockery of a climactic sequence. It is only Brijmohan and Raja Hardayal Singh who behave seriously, fighting to end it for good and all. Sheela who was following Jaggu’s car, contacts police and arrives at the end to conclude the drama.

While in many black and white Hindi films of this era, the ending is usually badly shot as if the villain is in a rush to be jailed, but here the pace is much better. The police capture Raja Hardayal Singh and his team, and the three couples unite; sitting in the Champion car, Brijmohan, Jaggu and Mannu sing the title track of the film, while the three ladies in the front, Renu at the wheel, enjoy and laugh.

Songs – What added to the popularity of this film is its melodious, peppy soundtrack and catchy, honest lyrics. Iconic numbers like the title track “Babu Samjho Ishaare”, “Ek Ladki Bheegi Bhaagi Si”, “Hum The, Woh Thi Aur Sama Rangeen”, “Main Sitaron Ka Taraana”, “Haal Kaisa Hai Janaab Ka” are all timeless. Songs in Hindi films act as a medium of storytelling, usually sealing the romantic journey of the hero and the heroine, always lyrically taking the story ahead. Here a song, “Hum Tumhare Hain”, picturised on Helen and Minhaj Ansari, though not truly necessary for the plot of the film, is nevertheless a beautiful song. Great singers like Asha Bhosle, Manna Dey and Kishore Kumar create magic through their voices.

A melodious meet cute!
5 rupees and 12 annas, the amount that Mannu never got.


With a few flaws and goof-ups, this film is a pure comedy classic, and in fact, the flaws humorously add to its nature. The characters are crafted nicely and each complement’s the other; if the film is a musical instrument, then all the strings are perfectly tuned to produce a hilarious track. Characters perform comedy in pairs and that too, effortlessly; Renu and Mannu’s romantic track is sweet and entertaining, especially their short stint as detectives; Jaggu and Sheela are loudly funny, but not in a bad way; and the three brothers are like three jokers in a comical act. Also, whenever and whoever is paired with the Champion car, we are bound to get our laughter dose out of that scene.

Thus, with a strong and humorous story, quirky characters and crisp pace, this film continues to be a hit.

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I Was Born But…

Short Review
Keiji and Ryoichi.
[Source – UCL Film Blog]


Keiji comes running to his elder brother Ryoichi and tells him about the bullies. Ryoichi, a great son of a great father, stands up and assures his brother not to worry. Keiji trusts Ryoichi. They can handle the bullies, they are confident. The next morning their father walks with them half way to the school and then leaves for office. Keiji and Ryoichi, near the school gate, find the biggest boy amongst the bullies challenging them. They then look at each other, deciding with a nod what they should do. They run away and don’t attend the school that day.

Yasujiro Ozu’sI Was Born But…’, a 1932 silent film, will remind you of your childhood, the challenges you faced as a child – winning some and losing some, the faith you had in someone great and the dream of becoming someone great. Children’s world comes in contact with the adult’s world. The innocent child doesn’t understand hierarchy or hypocrisy, though he understands power as he finds it in his world as well; power to not to be bullied, power to bully the bully, power to be the group leader.

How in the adult’s world dreams become unreal, fantasies die and realities are numbered, given a name, a social status and bit by bit life is compromised, is what we see in the film, but from the children’s point of view. Children are lively and so is the film. Its comical timing is fantastically perfect. Slowly with the shifts from this to that world, the tone changes, yet maintaining the rhythm throughout.


Keiji, Ryoichi and their father, Mr Yoshii.
[Source – IMDB]

Understanding anything, anyone is a tough job, some fail to and some refuse to do it altogether. This film takes up this job and finishes it successfully, understanding the child’s dilemmas, beliefs, hopes and displeasure, understanding the adult’s demeanor and how they accept a denouement, understanding the familial ties and the need of tuning it, understanding the melodies of life and how it makes everyone laugh all the time.


Ryoichi, Taro and Keiji.
[Source – Wikipedia]

An amazingly marvelous film, it must be watched by all those who want to feel the magic of cinema. ‘I Was Born But…’ is one of my favourite films of all time. It is introduced as ‘a picture book for grownups’ and rightly so. The fact that it’s a silent, black and white film doesn’t make it a difficult watch at any point rather this masterpiece flows so wonderfully that colour or sound seems redundant.

All you have to do now is to watch this film, appreciate and thank Yasujiro Ozu for making this superlative work of art.


[Source – IMDB & The Criterion Collection]


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