Hum Dono (1961)
Name: Hum Dono (Both of Us)
Starring: Dev Anand, Sadhana Shivdasani & Nanda
Did I watch this recently? Yes
Synopsis:Mahesh Anand is in love with a rich girl named Mita. After asking Mita’s father for her hand in marriage, Mita’s father reminds Mahesh how poor he is and unable to support his daughter with no job or ambition. So without informing Mita and leaving his ailing mother, Anand joins up in the fighting in WWII. There he meets Major Verma who is from a well-off family and both look-alike. When Major Verma is missing, believed dead during a war, Mahesh is asked to convey this news to his family. Upon arrival, he is mistaken for Major Verma. He meets with Verma’s mom, Mrs. Verma, as well as his ailing wife, Ruma. Unable to break the news of Verma’s death and shatter their fragile world, Mahesh gets mistaken as Verma and is welcomed home. This creates complications in Mahesh’s life as his sweetheart, Mita, thinks that Mahesh no longer loves her. Mahesh has trouble deciding what he shoud do.
Hum Dono is the 1961 attempt by Dev Anand at a dual role. Although there will be many more golden oldie experts who can adequetely compare Dev Anand’s dual role performance, i have not seen alot of the great dual role movies to compare. But in isolation without comparison i think this is one of Dev Anands better films. I found the movie moving and engaging due to the screenplay and most of all the performances. I very rarely felt the actors over did the acting which is rare for the golden oldies. The movie had a more relaxed pacing and tone then a lot of the more dramatic films (more 70s era) where everyone screams their lines and every dramatic scene has the thunderbolts and drawn out close ups. It was nice to see this more nostalgic and relaxing movie where not every drama was played out so grandly.
Despite the fact i got caught up with the characters and liked the movie, the story itself was the biggest downfall in that it was utterly predictable. If it wasn’t for the scenes and characters being so engaging, then i probably would have been very bored by the predictable story. Even the occasional comedy of the lookalikes was so cliched that it didn’t bring any laughs. One thing that i was glad of was they didn’t draw out the drama involving the mistaken husband identity. I almost expected that to be played out for 3/4 of the film but luckily was only reduced to 45 minutes so then the ‘will he, won’t he tell the truth’ scenes were a bare minimum. So something i must commend about the film was the pacing in the second half was good, only the first half was dragging but i’ve almost come to expect that off all bollywood movies. If anything important actually happens in the first 45 minutes of the early bollywood films i almost die of shock.
Something that extremely adds to the relaxed yet emotionally moving tone of the film was the music. Never did i feel like the songs were just there for the sake of having more songs. Each song spoke about the characters feelings and interactions. Not just the normal comparing the girl to a flower, season or moon but something with a little more depth. “Abhi Na Jao Chhod Kar” is my personal favourite. It is a duet with Mohammad Rafi & Asha Bhosle. Its light and melodic, but sad once you know whats about to happen. Also “Allah Tero Naam, Ishwar Tero Naam”, a devotional song that is aided emotionally by the concurrent scenes in the movie. Its beautifully moving when you watch it in the film and is supposedly still quite often sung by Lata in her concerts and one she herself is very proud of to this day after the thousands of songs she has sung. Prabhu Tero Naam is another song that adds the emotions of the character through song.
Now for the acting – I’m not much of a fan of Dev Anand. He seems a bit of a sleeze nowadays, but watching his B&W films House No.44 and now Hum Dono i must say he is absoutely fine in his 50s-60s film. While for Hum Dono despite the predictable storyline, i really think he did a good job as both characters in his dual role. I’m not in a position yet to judge him based on other dual performances (such as Hema Malini in Sita aur Gita or Amitabh Bachchan in Don) but from what i saw i think he was able to distinguish his acting between both and you can fall for both characters predicaments.
But despite the fact Dev Anand was definitely the star of this film, i have found a new favourite actress of sorts. After watching Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam there was something alluring about Waheeda Rehman that made me want to rush out and get all her other good films. The same thing i have felt about Sadhana Shivdasani after seeing Hum Dono. She plays ‘Mita’, the rich girlfriend of Mahesh who gives up all her riches to look after his mother while Mahesh is at war. Sadhana has beauty, charisma and presence on the film reminds me of Waheeda (although i must say Waheeda still beats her if there was a competition). She reminds me of Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday, well of course the indian version. But in terms of the looks, class and elegance i would call Sadhana and Audrey very similar. I didn’t expect to be so taken back by Sadhana, considering her character doesn’t get a whole lot to do. Its my own opinion that Dev Anand’s character Mahesh does not treat her all that well in the film. She always seems to always come second on his priority list, despite the fact he says he loves her. But this love is rarely shown, which is a bit of a disappointment to me. But anyway i’m looking forward to seeing Sadhana eventually in ‘Woh Kaun Thi’ (1964) where she has a much bigger role and gets to sing ‘Lag Jaa Gale’ one of my favourite classic songs.
Although i prefer the love story between the husband and wife, Major Verma (Dev Anand) & Ruma (Nanda) there were some especially cute scenes. But i think Nanda performance has the personality of a wet mop in this film. Although i like the husband and wife scenes i feel she did very little to add to them. I know she is supposed to be the ailing devotional wife. I love how Major Verma is quite devotional to his wife (and of course vice versa) but i think in the emotional scenes or just the normal husband-wife discussion scenes she is missing something. be really emotional scenes but Nanda does not give back enough in the scenes. Its hard to explain what i found lacking in her performance, but she just does not give back enough in the scenes. Maybe i’m just badly comparing her to Sadhana, but even in the crying and whimpering scenes Sadhana wasn’t as boring as Nanda. I don’t know i just wasn’t feeling Nanda’s performance overall.
Overall Score: 3.5/5 Hairy Anil Kapoors – Overall it might not be an all time favourite because the movie is far too cliched and predictable to be special, but it was beautiful to watch it once thanks to the relaxing drama tone of the film, performance of the actors and music that only helps to add to the emotions of the scenes and characters.
I love the cheap budget scenes for the WWII shots of Dev Anand. They took stock footage of WWII and inserted a face over with Dev Anand – a very funny cheap budget trick!