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Padosan (1968)

Love Thy Neighbour


Padosan - 1968

Padosan literally takes cue from the commandment ‘Love thy neighbor’. One of the most hilarious movies of all times in Bollywood. Packed with the most sort after comedians, like Mehmood, Kishore Kumar, Keshto Mukerjee, Mukri, Agha etc., of the time who went beyond their craft to produce magic on the silver screen. Their comedy was a few notches higher than the usual slapstick comedy which the Indian audiences were so used to see, more of situational and oral comedy interspersed with high quality dramatics.

Padosan is easily the cult comedy with no other probably even coming close to it. Though there were some racial stereotypes in the movie which by today’s standards would have caused a furor, but I am sure that when these saviors of humanity the racial crusaders see the movie in private they would also not be able to resist a laugh or two. It is to be taken in the spirit of comedy and in no other way. Released on 29th November 1968, Padosan is based on the Bengali story Pasher Bari which was adapted to a movie of same name in Bengali in 1952. Not only the characters but even their names in the movie evoke funny feelings.

The movie opens with Bhola (Sunil Dutt-loveable, effective) an innocent bumpkin type stays with his maternal uncle Kuwar Pratap Singh (Om Prakash- loud and funny as ever) and crossed the age of 25 and as he has set foot in the next stage of life the grihastashram (going strictly by the book) wants to get married but is taken aback to note that the uncle is looking for a bride himself at his age, though already married and living apart from his wife. Miffed he leaves him to stay with his estranged aunt and chances upon their neighbor Miss Bindu (Saira Banu- beautiful and in form) with whom he falls in love instantly, but the girl thwarts his advances and reserves her attention for her music Master Pillai (Mehmood-over the top) a typical South Indian stereotype, who is enamored by Bindu, the apple of his eyes though she does resist his advances but it seems that he is a wall between Bhola’s love for her.

Bhola with the help of his mentor Vidhyapati (Kishore Kumar-absolutely terrific) who is a singer and theatre person spies on Bindu and finds out about her love for music. It is decided to enter her heart thru music but teaching the same to Bhola is like teaching a blind person to read, thus Guruji as Vidhyapati is fondly called takes it upon himself to give his live playback voice to Bhola and arrange for a singing contest with the person in opposing window namely Bindu and her Masterji.

The competition song in Padosan – ‘Ek Chatur Naar’ is absolutely hilarious is every respect and as the first round is won by Bhola, the seeds of love start sprouting in Bindu’s heart for Bhola, leaving Masterji fuming. Masterji tries all methods to deviate Bindu’s heart and even resorting to beating up Bhola which only strengthens the bond between the lovebirds and the marriage is fixed with even the maternal uncle coming around but there is a twist in the tale when Bindu discovers Bhola’s bluff of being a super singer when her friend spills the beans about Guruji. In a huff she gives consent to Masterji for marriage, on the day of the marriage Bhola plays a ruse which works and the very venue where Bindu was to marry Masterji, now Bhola is the groom and Masterji is seen sportingly playing the Shehnai.

While the story of Padosan, though is straight forward, the comedy lies in its treatment, excellent screenplay and superb performance by the seasoned actors. The music by R D Burman was really good which was absolutely complementary to the story being played out. Songs by Kishore and Manna Dey (Voice of Mehmood) were fantastic. Everything about the movie was perfect. A masterpiece in its own rights. Padosan was co-produced by Mehmood.

– Padosan revisited by PAWAN GUPTA


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