Dil ne pukara is another of these rather sweet movies which are nice to watch on a Saturday afternoon without being a cinematographic masterpiece. It is the story of Asha (Rajshree) and Rajan (Sanjay Khan) who meet while they are both on holiday in Kashmir. He is instantly smitten with her; she is instantly irritated by him.
At the same time we meet Bansi (Mehmood) and Jyoti (Helen) who have a similarly complex courtship. Bansi and Rajan are good friends, and Bansi's courtship of Jyoti will continue throughout the entire movie
She may just object to his choice of clothes:
Rajan woes Asha by sneaking into her room, dressing up as a boatman, singing a long song, and finally playing the mouthorgan under her window in the middle of the night. Amazingly, she doesn't have him evicted from the hotel but instead agrees to one last meeting where he tells her that one day she will love him they way he loves her.
You are not winning:
Further signs that this isn't going too well:
Oh, stop it already:
This is all rather irritating, verging on the creepy, but I suppose it is meant to be romantic. The day after the mouthorgan business, Asha receives a telegram that her father is ill and she is needed at home. Back home she finds her father, Dharamdas Khanna (Manmohan Krishna) in bed, but generally in good spirits.
I feel he is missing a moustache:
We also meet the family cat:
and, to fulfil the cuteness quota of the movie, Prakash (Shashi Kapoor), the orphaned son of an old friend of Dharamdas, who is a (very young) medical doctor. It is pretty obvious to everybody apart from Asha, that Prakash is in love with her.
All that is missing is the cat:
Alas, Rajan has been prophetic, and Asha now spends her nights tossing and turning while longing for him. Why, I am not sure. She seems to be missing midnight mouthorgan serenading. Well, each to their own. We also learn that Asha is a medical student.
Some days later Prakash is celebrating is birthday. Asha gives him a stethoscope, which leaves him decidedly underwhelmed. Also at the party is Rajan, who is actually a good friend of Prakash. Prakash leaves the two in each others company while he is busy dealing with his other guests.
Given that they didn't part on the friendliest terms, the two are a bit awkward around each other. Before we can get overwhelmed by their awkwardness we get a song which involves Helen in a white swimsuit.
Over the next days, Asha and Rajan manage to work out that they now actually are both in love, and with each other, while Bansi and Jyoti continue to have communication issues. Well, mainly Bansi gets the wrong end of the stick and then has placate Jyoti.
Rajan is now prepared to make that all-important step, introducing Asha to his mother (Achala Sachdev), which works very well.
She is now Ma-approved:
Around the same time, Asha's father is having words with Prakash. He is a heart patient who may not live for very long, so obviously he wants to see his daughter settled, and who better to get her married to than his old friend's son, etc. pp. ... Needless to say, Prakash is delighted with this development, and when Asha comes back, he goes all shy and embarrassed. It is all rather sweet
She asks him to stay for dinner, and after a conversation which really is a masterclass in talking at cross-purposes they part, both extremely happy.
Alas, their happiness is mutually exclusive:
After a short interlude with Bansi and Jyoti, we are back with the happy couple expressing their joy in a rather nice song.
Shortly afterwards, Rajan goes to see Prakash to tell him about his new-found love. Prakash at first isn't at all convinced of the seriousness of the situation, as Rajan apparently had several girlfriends in the past, but he is finally convinced that she is the one. Prakash mentions that he is in love to but doesn't mention her name, which is a good thing when he is introduced to Asha shortly afterwards. He doesn't do the best job at hiding his feelings, but the two lovebirds are rather preoccupied with each other so they remain oblivious.
Don't mind me, that's just my heart breaking:
Prakash next goes to Asha's father to ask him not to insist on his marriage to Asha but to let her marry the person she has chosen. Her happiness is his happiness, he says.
Now officially too good for this world:
He also has to tell Rajan that he was unlucky in his love, when Rajan comes up with plans for a double-wedding, but he doesn't tell him, who he loves. Before it all gets horribly melancholy, we get back to Bansi, who has a less than promising first meeting with his future father-in-law.
Meanwhile, Asha and Rajan are intrigued by who might have spurned Prakash, and also worried, as he is really quite depressed, so they decide to try and rectify the situation somehow. First, Asha tries to get him to talk about what went wrong with his love, but he is naturally reluctant and evasive.
At Asha's birthday party, Rajan and Asha ask Prakash to sing. He follows the time-honoured tradition of singing about one's own sufferings and broken heart at somebody else's party, with the help of a piano, naturally. The song is so depressing and he looks so unhappy, that both get even more worried, and Rajan begins to suspect that Asha might be the object of Prakash's affection.
Depressed piano playing:
Look, you asked him to sing; did you really think he would be cheerful:
Prakash leaves the party pretty abruptly, clearly realising that he may have given away too much. Rajan shares is suspicion with Asha, who isn't convinced but nonetheless goes and asks Prakash point blank whether he is in love with her. Asha definitely has guts. Prakash, by now well trained in giving evasive answers, manages to convince her that she isn't his lost love without actually lying to her.
Time passes, Bansi is looking for a job in attempt to provide comic relief, and Prakash finds new ways to torture himself:
To be fair, he can't really not spend time with them if he doesn't want them to know that he loves Asha, as they are both good friends of his and Rajan is suspicious anyway, but it still seems a rather awkward way to spend an afternoon.
It turns out that Rajan plans to go abroad for a year to finish his studies (in Oxford, where else) as per his deceased father's wishes. Asha isn't keen on the idea, but he insists, and decided to go by steamer at Prakash's suggestion. Asha is not taking the separation very well, and it falls to Prakash to cheer her up. His methods are somewhat unorthodox but effective:
Unfortunately, Rajan has charged Asha with finding a good wife for Prakash in his absence. As he puts it “I don't want to see him alone when I return”. After all, a good wife is the solution for all life's problems. Prakash, however, isn't willing to be paired of with somebody, he is still hurting to much from his severe case of unrequited love.
As it turns out, a much bigger disaster than Prakash remaining unmarried is about to strike:
Asha's father promptly expires at the breakfast table:
It falls to Prakash to ascertain that there are really no survivors, try to comfort Rajan's mother, and make sure that Asha doesn't end up killing herself in her grief.
He persuades Asha to put her wealth and her education to good use by opening a hospital and she reluctantly agrees. Before the viewer gets to disheartened by all the tragedy, we get another song with Bansi and Jyoti.
Years pass, and Rajan's mother (of all people) starts to worry about Asha staying unmarried. She has words with Prakash and suggests that he should marry Asha. He is initially rather reluctant, but in the end agrees, provided that Asha agrees.
Asha isn't exactly keen, but after some gentle pressure from Ma, and a long conversation in which Prakash assures her he really only wants to do this, if she wants it, too, she agrees, and the two get engaged. At the night of the engagement, he finally tells her that she is the girl he has loved all along.
Everything seems to sort itself out with some degree of satisfaction for everybody, when shortly afterwards a patient is admitted to the hospital after a car accident.
So, did Rajan survive the ship-wreck? And did whoever this is really loose his memory? What will Prakash do? What will Asha do? And will we ever see this rather splendid cat again?
For me, this movie has one problem, and that is Sanjay Khan. I just find him completely free of any charm and rather soporific. Which is a bit of a problem, if I am meant to feel Asha's pain at loosing him. In the context of the plot, her not falling for the guy she has known for years makes perfect sense, and I like the plot for having the guy who doesn't get her be genuinely nice, it just would have helped if Rajan had been a bit more attractive. Apart from that, I have no real complaints. There may be a tad too much comic relief, and the songs are pretty pedestrian. Personally, I would have liked more screentime for the cat, and things go a bit bizarre in the last half hour, but overly much. Do watch it as fluffy entertainment or if you are a big fan of any of the stars (and my apologies if you are a fan of Sanjay Khan). Shashi does a very fine line in kicked puppy looks here.