The period immediately after Independence was a great time for the growth of our cinema. In fact, the years roughly starting from the late 1940s and extending up to the late 1960s is often referred to as the Golden Era of Hindi Cinema. Each year of the Golden era gave us magical films with mesmerizing music which retain their fond recall value in every cine-goer’s heart to this day.
For this blog-post I have chosen to look back on the year 1960. Many visionary directors, exemplary cinematographers, phenomenal singers, outstanding lyricists, remarkable music directors, good-looking and talented actors and actresses all contributed in giving us some classic and memorable cinema to make this year a landmark year in Bollywood history.
1960 was indeed a special year not only for our industry in particular but also for our country in general. It was on 1st May 1960 that the Indian State referred to as ‘Bombay State’ till then, was divided into two new states- Maharashtra and Gujarat. The city of Bombay was made the capital of Maharashtra.
Before partition, Hindi films were being made by three major centres- The Bombay film industry, The Lahore film industry and the Calcutta film industry. However, after partition Bombay became the sole focal point for producing Hindi films and our industry thus firmly established its home in Bombay city in Maharashtra.
The year also gave us the epic film Mughal-e-Azam unanimously considered by one and all as the greatest film ever made in our country. Neither before nor after has there been a film to match it in aura, stature, story, concept, production values, screenplay, music, sets, grandeur, costumes, direction, lyrics, dialogues, etc. The film had one of Hindi cinema’s most enigmatic on-screen romantic pair of Dilip Kumar and Madhubala bringing to life the unrequited love of Salim and Anarkali facing opposition from none other than Salim’s own father Emperor Akbar played by Prithviraj Kapoor.
Here is a Shakeel Badayuni masterpiece from the film- In the song ‘Pyar kiya toh darna kya…’ the line ‘parda nahi jab koi khuda se bandon se parda karna kya…’ deserves a special mention. It defined the very essence of Salim and Anarkali’s love and Anarkali’s defiance and fearlessness towards Emperor Akbar himself forcing him to accept defeat. Lyrics like these are not written everyday.
‘Pyar kiya toh darna kiya…’
This film considered to be director K Asif’s labour of love took 16 years to complete as it went through several obstacles including change of cast as well but when it was released it created history and till date remains the biggest block-buster in terms of box-office collections also. Even after 60 years every film lover continues to be in awe of everything associated with the film with the minute detailing of every aspect remaining an enigma.
Superb acting by the brilliant cast of Prithviraj Kapoor, Dilip Kumar, Madhubala, Durga Khote, Ajit and Nigar Sultana, evergreen music by Naushad, memorable lyrics by Shakeel Badayuni, and dialogues by a team of four writers-Kamal Amrohi, Wajahat Mirza, Amanulla Khan and Ehsan Rizvi- the film continues to inspire the new generation in every respect.
‘Ghadi bhar ko tere nazdeek aakar…’
1960 boasted of some of the greatest musicals of Hindi cinema like Mughal-e-Azam, Chaudvin ka Chand, Barsaat ki Raat, Jis Desh Mein Ganga Behti Hai, Kaala Bazaar, Dil Apna aur Preet Parayi, Jaali Note, Bambai Ka Babu, Hum Hindustani, Chhalia.
Music directors Roshan, Ravi, Naushad, Shankar-Jaikishen, S D Burman and Kalyanji Anandji gave some evergreen songs. Among the lyricists we had memorable lyrics from Sahir Ludhianvi, Shakeel Badayuni, Shailendra, Qamar Jalalabadi, Prem Dhawan, Asad Bhopali and a few from S H Bihari and Raja Mehndi Ali Khan as well.
Here are some remarkable songs of 1960
‘Zindagi bhar nahi…’
‘Ajeeb dastaan hai yeh…’
‘Khoya khoya chand…’
‘Aha rimjhim ke ye pyare pyare…’
1960 is also remembered for giving us one of Hindi cinema’s best crime thrillers Kanoon. What made Kanoon unique was that it was a song-less ‘who-dun-it’. At a time when music was at the heart of all our films, director B R Chopra was gutsy enough to give the audience a song-less murder thriller-Kanoon. And his confidence paid off as this movie was accepted by the people whole-heartedly and is rated even today among the top 10 thrillers of Bollywood.
The trend of Muslim socials started with Guru Dutt’s Chaudvin Ka Chand which had another great on-screen couple Guru Dutt and Waheeda Rehman playing lovers with Rehman forming the third angle of the triangle. Ravi composed some great numbers and lyricist Shakeel Badayuni created magic with the title song of the film ‘Chaudvin ka chand ho ya aaftab ho….’
‘Sharma ke agar…’
Barsaat ki Raat was another unique film and gave Hindi cinema some of its greatest qawaalis. The film had the outstanding ‘Isq Ishq hai ishq ishq…’ by Manna Dey, Mohammed Rafi and Asha Bhonsle which till date is considered the ultimate in qawaalis. The genius music director Roshan put his soul in the film and the results are there for all to see. Sahir Ludhianvi’s memorable lyrics resonate to this day in every music lover’s heart.
‘Yeh ishq ishq hai…’
‘Nigahen naaz ke…’
The ten highest-grossing films at the Indian Box Office in 1960: (source: Wikipedia)
|1.||Mughal-e-Azam||Dilip Kumar, Madhubala|
|2.||Barsaat Ki Raat||Madhubala, Bharat Bhushan|
|3.||Kohinoor||Dilip Kumar, Meena Kumari|
|4.||Chaudhvin Ka Chand||Guru Dutt, Waheeda Rehman|
|5.||Jis Desh Mein Ganga Behti Hai||Raj Kapoor, Padmini|
|6.||Dil Apna Aur Preet Parayi||Raaj Kumar, Meena Kumari|
|7.||Love in Simla||Joy Mukherjee, Sadhana|
|8.||Ghunghat||Bharat Bhushan, Pradeep Kumar, Asha Parekh, Bina Rai|
|9.||Kanoon||Ashok Kumar, Rajendra Kumar, Nanda|
|10.||Kala Bazar||Dev Anand, Waheeda Rehman|
Highlights of the year
Let us revisit this fabulous year to get an overview of the kind of films which were released and who were the stars dominating that year. A look at the list of films definitely suggests that romance was the dominant theme in 1960.
The triumvirate of Dilip Kumar-Raj Kapoor-Dev Anand who were at their peak had some great releases to their credit. Dilip Kumar was undoubtedly the ‘Shehenshah’ of 1960 with the magnum opus Mughal-e-Azam (opposite Madhubala) breaking all records to emerge as the biggest grosser of 1960 followed by another super-hit Kohinoor (opposite Meena Kumari). Both were in the top three successful films of the year clearly indicating the power of his stardom.
‘Madhuban mein radhika…’
Raj Kapoor acted in and directed the brilliant Jis Desh Mein Ganga Behti Hai and started a new era in R K Films when he signed South star Padmini as the R K heroine. The film was a super-hit. He also had two more film that year- Chhalia opposite Nutan which had one of the best rain-songs of Hindi cinema-‘Dum dum diga diga…’ and Shriman Satyavadi opposite Shakila which did not do well but had the heart-tugging ‘Haale dil hamara jaane na bewafa yeh zamana…’.
‘Aa ab laut chalein…’
Dev Anand had six releases- Jaali Note opposite Madhubala, Kaala Bazaar opposite Waheeda Rehman, Bambai ka Babu and Sarhad opposite Suchitra Sen, Manzil opposite Nutan and Ek Ke Baad Ek opposite South star Sharada . Of these only Kaala Bazaar made it to the top 10, Bambai Ka Babu, Jaali Note and Manzil did well but the other 2 did not fare well.
‘Sach kehta hoon bahut haseen ho…’
‘Chal ri sajni…’
Veteran Ashok Kumar came out trumps with his outstanding performance in the murder mystery Kanoon. He starred in another suspense thriller Kala Aadmi opposite Shyama. His other releases included Kalpana where both Padmini and Ragini were cast opposite him, Aanchal opposite Nirupa Roy and a special appearance in Masoom with many child artistes.
‘Dil dhoondta hai sahare sahare…’
The genius singer-actor Kishore Kumar also made his mark with a heart-tugging and one of his career best performances in Apna Haath Jagannath opposite Sayeeda Khan and three light-hearted films- Bewaqoof opposite Mala Sinha, Girlfriend opposite Waheeda Rehman and Mehlon Ke Khwab opposite Madhubala’s sister Chanchal. Interestingly the film also had Madhubala but she was paired opposite Pradeep Kumar.
Balraj Sahni had the critically acclaimed Anuradha opposite the lovely Leela Naidu which dealt with marital discord and he also starred in family socials Dil Bhi Tera Hum Bhi Tere and Bindiya.
‘Jaane kaise sapnon mein…’
Both Pradeep Kumar and Bharat Bhushan shared screen space in the much acclaimed Ghunghat opposite Bina Rai. Incidentally Bina Rai walked away with the Filmfare Best Actress award for the year for her performance in the film.
‘More cham cham baje payalia…’
Bharat Bhushan also starred in the hit Barsaat Ki Raat and Chand Mere Aaja. He was praised for his sensitive performance in the title role of Angulimal who undergoes reformation from a killer and adopts the path of Buddhism. The song ‘Buddham Sharanam Gachchami …’ sung by Manna Dey became quite popular at that time.
Here is a small clip of the song:
Sunil Dutt had Hum Hindustani, Ek Phool Chaar Kaante, Duniya Jhukti Hai and Usne Kaha Tha to his credit. One of the best songs of the year was picturized on him…
‘Chodo kal ki baatein…’
Shammi Kapoor, who had yet to yahoo down the snow-clad hills with his Junglee which came the next year, had three releases- Basant (opposite Nutan), College Girl (opposite Vyjayanthimala) and Singapore (opposite Padmini). All three were average hits.
‘Yeh sheher bada albela…’
Rajendra Kumar had a super- hit in Kanoon and his two other releases were family dramas with a social message- Patang (opposite Mala Sinha) and Maa Baap (where he and Pran play brothers). Manoj Kumar had only one film Honeymoon opposite Sayeeda Khan.
‘Rang dil ki dhadkan bhi…’
Among the heroines, top actresses Madhubala, Waheeda Rehman and Meena Kumari had two blockbuster hits each featuring in the top 10 films of 1960. Madhubala had Mughal-e-Azam opposite Dilip Kumar, Jaali Note opposite Dev Anand, Barsaat Ki Raat opposite Bharat Bhushan and Mehlon Ke Khwab opposite Pradeep Kumar.
Apart from the two top hits Chaudvin Ka Chand and Kaala Bazaar, Waheeda Rehman had Ek Phool Chaar Kaante opposite Sunil Dutt and Girlfriend opposite Kishore Kumar.
South star Padmini had a good year with one super-hit Jis Desh Mein Ganga Behti Hai opposite Raj Kapoor, three average hits- Kalpana opposite Ashok Kumar, Bindiya opposite Balraj Sahni, Singapore opposite Shammi Kapoor while Sarhad opposite Dev Anand did not do well.
Here is a lovely song from the film Kalpana with both the sisters Padmini and Ragini dancing together and the soft classical composition is rendered in the soulful voices of Mohammed Rafi and Manna Dey.
‘Tu hai mera prem devta…’
Actress Nanda also had a good year with seven of her films being released in 1960- Kanoon, Aanchal, Usne Kaha Tha, Kala Bazar, Chand Mere Aaja, Apna Ghar and Jo Huwa So Bhool Ja. Nanda also received her first Filmfare trophy -Best Supporting Actress Award for her performance in Aanchal.
‘Ga rahi hai zindagi…’
The beautiful and talented actresses Shyama and Shakila had four releases each. Nutan was seen in Chhabili directed by her own mother Shobhna Samarth in which she sang her own songs one of them being the popular ‘Ae mere humsafar…’. Chhalia (opposite Raj Kapoor), Manzil (opposite Dev Anand) and Basant (opposite Shammi Kapoor) were her other three releases.
Ajit who had not yet switched over to villain roles had three releases as a hero without much luck- Gambler, Baraat and Delhi Junction. Interestingly Pran was the villain in Delhi Junction. Among the male supporting artistes Pran made his mark with seven releases including hit films like Jis Desh Mein Ganga Behti Hai, Chhalia, Maa Baap, Bewaqoof, etc. Helen appeared in more than 20 films which spoke of the popularity and demand for her songs and dances. In Hum Hindustani she was the second heroine along with Asha Parekh.
‘Neeli neeli ghata…’
NEW TALENTS OF 1960:
The year saw many new talents make an entry in the film industry which included Dharmendra, Sanjeev Kumar, Tanuja, Joy Mukherjee, Sadhana, Indrani Mukherjee, Prem Chopra, Moni Bhattachajee, Gulzar and Manmohan Desai. All of them went on to carve a special niche for themselves and their invaluable contribution to our industry remains unmatched.
Dharmendra was introduced in Dil Bhi Tera Hum Bhi Tere by director Arjun Hingorani and today after completing 60 glorious years in the industry he remains the same humble and loving man that he was in his early days.
Joy Mukherjee and Sadhana were introduced together in a romantic musical titled Love in Simla which was a super-hit and both became stars overnight. Joy Mukherjee remained one of the luckiest stars who got to lip-sync some of the best songs sung by Mohammed Rafi. Music directors O P Nayyar and Shankar Jaikishen contributed in a big way to his career by composing some of their most memorable songs in his films. Sadhana was not only considered a good actress but also became a style icon as long as she acted in films.
The same year Joy Mukherjee also acted in Hum Hindustani and Sadhana in director Bimal Roy’s critically acclaimed Parakh. Though she had a very small role she was noticed for her transformation into the simple village girl which was a big contrast from her role in Love in Simla.
One of the most versatile actors of the industry Sanjeev Kumar made his entry with a very small role in Hum Hindustani and had to wait a while before he achieved stardom and overtook so many others with his humongous talent.
The ace villain Prem Chopra who made his entry into the film world with a Punjabi film Chaudhary Karnail Singh, also made his entry into Hindi films albeit in inconsequential roles in Mud Mud Ke Na Dekh and Hum Hindustani. His presence almost went unnoticed till he got better opportunities to showcase his talent.
Though actress Tanuja had acted as a child artiste Baby Tanuja in 1950 in Hamari Beti, as an adult her debut film was Chhabili directed by her mother Shobhna Samarth with her sister Nutan also acting in it.
Actress Indrani Mukhrjee made her debut in the film Usne Kaha Tha with Sunil Dutt and Nanda as her co-stars. The film was directed by Moni Bhattacharjee who had been Bimal Roy’s assistant director in many of his classic films. Incidentally this film was his debut film as an independent director.
Writer-director-lyricist Gulzar stated his career as a lyricist in the film Shriman Satyavadi. His name flashes as Gulzar Deenvi in the credits and he was one of the lyricists along with Hasrat Jaipuri and Gulshan Bawra.
Director Manmohan Desai was given his first break as a director in Chhalia by his brother producer Subhash Desai. The film starring Raj Kapoor and Nutan was a big hit and had great music by Kalyanji Anandji.
‘Dum Dum Diga Diga…’
FILMFARE AWARDS for the year:
Best Film: K Asif’s Mughal-e-Azam
Best Director: Bimal Roy (Parakh)
Best Story: Ruby Sen (Masoom)
Best Music Director: Shankar-Jaikishen (Dil Apna Aur Preet Parayi)
Best Lyrics: Shakeel Badayuni (‘Chaudvin ka chaand ho…’)
Best Playback Singer: Mohammed Rafi (‘Chaudvin ka chaand ho…’)
Best Actor: Dilip Kumar (Kohinoor)
Best Actress- Bina Rai (Ghunghat)
Best Supporting Actor: Motilal (Parakh)
Best Supporting Actress: Nanda (Aanchal)
Best Dialogues & Best Cinematography: Mughal-e-Azam
When we look at the list of winners it is heart-breaking to note that K Asif never won the Best Director award for his Mughal-e-Azam and lost out to Bimal Roy whose Parakh was an average film. Similarly Naushad gave probably his career-best score in Mughal-e-Azam where each song was a gem. Instead the award went to Shankar-Jaikishen for Dil Apna Aur Preet Parayi. Honestly except for ‘Ajeeb Dastaan hai yeh…’ there is no great recall value for the other songs of the film. Roshan did not even get nominated for his outstanding score in Barsaat ki Raat. Hindi cinema has yet to see qawaalis to match the standard of this film.
Though Bina Rai was good, Madhubala was outstanding as Anarkali in Mughal-e-Azam but the award went to Bina Rai for Ghunghat. That was a time when there were no separate awards for Best Male and Best Female playback singers. So Lata Mangeshkar’s ‘Pyar kiya toh darna kya …’ lost to Rafi’s ‘Chaudvin ka chand ho…’. Both were brilliant songs and both deserved awards. Prithviraj Kapoor was not even nominated for Best Supporting Actor award!
Well! As the saying goes ‘In life you win some, you lose some’. But whatever the outcome at the awards ceremony there is no doubt that those who did not win are also etched in our memories for their memorable contribution in making 1960 one of the best years of the film industry.
I end the blog with this very popular song from the film Masoom -a superb film with three child artistes- Sarosh Irani, Honey Irani and Aziz. The song was rendered by Hemant Kumar’s young daughter-Ranu Mukherjee.