Friday, September 9, 2011


As per the title, it’s absolutely entertainer than anything else and quite a cult hindi musical entertainer ahead of it’s time with adult certificate. The film was directorial debut of Yahoo a.k.a. Shammi Kapoor. Many common misconceptions considered the film as a plagiarized version of Billy Wilder’s ‘Irma la Douce’, however that’s a partial truth. As a matter of fact, both Billy Wilder and Shammi saw the original French play on the West end. Here is what Shammi said about his directorial debut- ‘Both Billy Wilder and I had watched the play in London and both of us were inspired by it. And both of us came out and decided that we would make a movie on the play. Billy made ‘Irma la Douce’ and I made ‘Manoranjan’. The movie was not a success as it was ahead of its time to our Hindi cinema. Heroines as prostitutes were not acceptable in those days…but I enjoyed making the movie.’

Sanjeev Kumar played Constable Ratan who’s seedha-sada chaddiwala hawaldaar joined his new duty on red light area known as Manoranjan Street. During the raid on hotel he unknowingly caught his senior officer and soon suspended by him. He joined the company of Dhup-Chaon played by Shammi, the owner of Dhup Chaon Café and started working as pimp of number one hooker played by sensuous and sultry Zeenat Aman. He soon fell in love with her and wanted to marry her but the hooker is so happy to be what she is. Poor lovelorn constable has to play disguised Nawab to win her heart to reform.

The film is complete mindless hilarious farce filled with some adult innuendoes and adult dark humor; nothing shocking or objectionable from today’s standards. Unlike other films of its time, it doesn’t represent the oldest profession of the world as unacceptable but romanticized it where hookers are enjoying their lives for what they’re and love to remain so. The film avoided any sort of serious moral or social statement.  Most of the fun comes from that Nawab act played so wonderfully by Sanjeev Kumar and it has whacky dialogues in Urdu penned by brilliant Abrar Alvi (the man who scripted many of Guru Dutt masterpieces) and the language was never used so farcically funny in Hindi cinema with words like dil-e-bhitari, ghanta-e-chaubish, jawani-e-haribhari, jism-e-dilkash.

Sanjeev was remarkable actor and he’s the man to watch here displaying his comical timing, however the camaraderie between Shammi and him is treat to watch compared to today’s Bollywood baffoonary. Must say Zeenat was much more than all Mallikas of today and undoubtedly she’s the first urban pin-up hindi actress with her erotic screen appeal.  There’s quite four songs in the film and Panchamda composed them up to the expectations. Out of all, two were quite brilliant Junior Burman compositions. The duet number of Kishore Kumar- Asha Bhosle ‘Aaya hun main tujhko le jaoonga’ is an absolute RD style rhythmic number where variations of flamenco meets upbeat percussion and creates magic with that 32 bits thumba intro. Another melodious track of the film us ‘Chori Chori solah shringar’ and Asha’s vocal perfectly matches with Zeenie baby’s urban sensuousness flavor of those days.


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