Art & Culture

Golden jubilee of 'Padosan': A 'simple' film Indian cinema will always love

Jaskiran Chopra
Jaskiran ChopraNov 02, 2018 | 09:59

Golden jubilee of 'Padosan': A 'simple' film Indian cinema will always love

In the month of November, in the year 1968 came a film nothing like what the Indian audience had witnessed earlier — Padosan.

It was predominantly a comedy but had some other dimensions, like Hindustani classical music, an air of innocence and simplicity, a sweetness that is missing from the films of today — and a gathering of some of the finest actors, all of whom had to be part of the soul of Padosan. It was produced by the renowned comedian Mehmood and NC Sippy, directed by Jyoti Swaroop and written by Rajendra Krishan, the famous lyricist. It was a remake of the Bengali film Pasher Bari (1952), starring Bhanu Bandyopadhyay and Sabitri Chatterjee.


The magic of this film has endured — and in 2018, its golden jubilee year, it appeals to the audience as it did five decades ago.

Generations of Hindi film viewers have enjoyed every moment of this fun-filled story and its memorable characters, played by stalwarts like Kishore Kumar, Om Prakash, Sunil Dutt, Mehmood, Saira Banu, Agha, Sunder, Keshto Mukherjee and Mukri.

The storyline was very simple and did not have many dramatic twists and turns. The life and essence of the film lay in its performances, its music and humour.

Kishore Kumar as Guru (Vidyapati) with his three — Sunil Dutt being the fourth — chelas, Mukri, Keshto and Raj Kishore, form his Natak Mandli. Their humour is loud and full of drama.

Sunil Dutt’s Bhola is an innocent man, a simpleton, whose humour emerges from this simplicity. It isn’t always easy to portray such simple characters, which is why this remains among his best performances.

Saira Banu’s (Bindu) tantrums and ‘nakhras’ create another kind of humour, especially when she interacts with Mehmood (Master Pillai), her dance and music teacher (masterji). Mehmood’s Hindi with a distinct Tamil accent also contributes to this unique comedy.


Each character in this laugh riot is rounded. We come to know them all through the course of the film so well that we can almost predict their actions.

The element of craziness, however, comes from Kishore Kumar and his naatak mandli, who are constant companions to Bhola in his journey to woo his padosan, Saira Banu, who is mad about music. Bhola cannot sing for his life. His friend and Guru, Kishore Kumar, sings on his behalf, while he lip syncs. All hell breaks loose when the cat is let out of the bag, and Saira, in a moment of anger, decides to marry her musical masterji.

In the climax of the film, the naatak mandli instructs Bhola to feign suicide — and then slowly come back to life. This scene is handled delicately by the director and evokes laughter, despite some of the characters believing that Bhola is actually dead.

The magic of this film has endured — and in 2018, its golden jubilee year, it appeals to the audience as it did five decades ago.

Not an easy job.

The film is remembered for its enchanting music — Mere saamne wali khidki mein became a chartbuster and is still quite popular. The singing competition between Mehmood on one side, and Kishore Kumar and Sunil Dutt on the other, is memorable in Ik chatur naar.


Lata Mangeshkar’s Sharm aati hai magar, and Kishore Kumar’s Kehna hai, kehna hai only add to the already rich film.

Even today, participants find themselves drawn towards these classics by legendary music director Rahul Dev Burman and lyricist Rajendra Krishan in musical reality shows.

There is a comforting ambience of a simple world in this film which is a major reason for its popularity down the ages, without it losing its freshness or charm. Om Prakash, who poses as the eternal eligible bachelor — despite being married — is shown to have a soft heart, just like Mehmood. Despite some villainous shades, he repentants and accepts Bhola and Bindu’s marriage in the end.

Even the titles of the film were shown in a never-before-seen manner, unprecedented for filmgoers of the 1960s. The animations still tickle us the cutest way.

The film’s unique brand of humour is neither slapstick, nor overtly refined. It comes from the dialogues, expressions, situations and mannerisms of the characters. The energy in this film is something that cannot be recreated easily. It happened half a century ago and was captured for posterity. I can vouch that it is an instant mood-lifter for anyone who is feeling down and out. Padosan is an out-and-out fun film to be watched, time and again.

It is a joy forever!

Last updated: November 02, 2018 | 20:53
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