Thursday, June 01, 2017


Producers: Mehboob Productions
Language: Hindustani
Story : Shams Lucknavi
Music: Naushad
Photography: Faredoon Irani
Audiography : Kaushik
Cast: Nargis, Dilip Kumar, Raj Kapoor, V. H. Desai, Cuckoo, Murad
Released At: Liberty, Bombay
Date of Release: 21st March 1949
Directed By: Mehboob

Whenever Indian producers try to portray sophistication in their pictures they always end by being clumsy and unconvincing. Somehow Indian artistes when they try to ape Western sophisticated ways of life, they always look more funny than convincing. The assumption that fancy costumes, horse riding, perfumes, ball-room dancing and birthday parties make up for all the sophistication required in motion pictures is entirely wrong. All these are, of course, so many outward symbols of sophistication but then sophistication being an essentially mental attitude it has to be mainly expressed in an intellectual manner and with the necessary poise and personality to be completely effective. Merely dressing the dummies for monkey tricks like horse-riding and ball-room dancing cannot bend sophistication to a story.

Seen from this view point, not one character in "Andaz" succeeds in convincing us. And it is a pity that director Mehboob, who is known for vividly portraying some rare realism of life in the past, should have this time stooped to give us a story in an artificial environment entirely inconsistent with the realities of contemporary life in India. The social life which Mehboob portrays in "Andaz" is perhaps found in a few city homes but the people who live this life are in such a small minority that their life and deeds can hardly provide a theme for millions in the country. A social theme is the one which presents the problems of the masses to the masses and suggests an optimistic solution of them. The gambols of a few Westernized monkeys can hardly make a story for 350 million Indians. "Andaz" is, therefore, a story of the few for the few.


Basically, the story of "Andaz" has some deep human values. Neena, a rich man's only daughter, is saved from a riding accident by Dilip, a young man, whose origin remains a mystery till the end. He is born in the picture on a horse back and we know nothing about his home, his parents, his occupation or his social standing till the end. The only parent of his that we see is the horse which bears his weight in the introductory sequence.

Neena feels grateful and accepts Dilip as a life-long friend. Dilip misunderstands gratitude and falls in love with Neena. When Neena's father dies, according to the dramatic schedule, Neena gives half her wealth to Dilip and asks him to manage the rest. Dilip considers this as further evidence of her love for him.

Now, Rajan. another young fellow, returns from England — goodness knows after doing what ! We are told that Rajan and Neena love each other since childhood and have been waiting for each other many years. It is the ideal love that waits till eternity.

Rajan and Neena are soon married but on the marriage day Dilip wants to pack off. In a little exchange of thoughts Neena is shocked to discover that Dilip loves her very deeply. To keep the story going. Dilip, of course, chooses to stay a little longer and continue with the management of the business.

Neena goes to Simla, away from home and away from Dilip's love.

Neena loves her husband and proves this by presenting him with a child, an orthodox act for a sophisticated girl. She doesn't want to return to the city and very soon the fretting of Rajan turns into suspicion. Love now suffers an eclipse of doubt and matters soon rush to a climax when Dilip Kumar, one of our most popular artistes, gives an excellent performance in "Andaz" of Mehboob Productions.

Rajan returns with Neena to their home town. Dilip becomes aggressive in his love and Rajan becomes more suspicious and quarrelsome till at last Neena empties her revolver into Dilip's chest when he tries to enforce his affection on her.

Neena is now tried for murder and of all people Rajan accuses her of disloyalty. Neena is sentenced to transportation for life and not till then does Rajan discover, through a letter written by Dilip and hidden in a toy, that Neena loved only Rajan and no one else. There is remorse, of course, and a mad rush to the jail gates. It ends there.


Mehboob probably wants to tell us that our young girls should not have male friends as such friendships are often misunderstood and prove tragic in the long run. Or does Mehboob consider friendship between a man and a woman as a symbol of Western sophistication?

This is rather an extreme view of relationship between a man and a woman. Friendship is essentially a human virtue and to deny it to our young girls is rather a strange order. Is it necessary that all friendships between men and women should end in sex relationship? Aren't there men who look upon their women friends as pals or sisters? Haven't we in India the ceremony of 'Raksha Bandhan' which ties strangers into a bond of brotherhood and gives a Muslim brother to a Hindu sister?

Or does Mehboob want our married girls to disown all previous friends because her husband is unreasonably suspicious and jealous? Does he want our married girls to withdraw themselves from society and isolate themselves at the feet of their husbands? Whatever Mehboob wants to tell us, he fails to convince us in "Andaz" one way or other.


As a motion picture, "Andaz" is an attractive piece of cinematographic art. Faredoon Irani excels himself in capturing some very beautiful outdoor scenery. The music of the picture is not quite happy. Mehboob has somehow stumbled through the sophisticated sequences of the picture and the first half of the picture drags a bit. In the latter half, where the human drama takes a pathetic turn. Mehboob vindicates his reputation as a good director and gives some extremely emotional work, in which Nargis reaches new heights. In the pathetic sequences, Mehboob succeeds in moving the audience to tears.


From the players, Nargis gives an eloquent performance as a superb tragedienne when sighs and tears begin to punctuate the drama. This girl is great when she has to say it with tears.

Dilip Kumar improves beyond recognition under Mehboob's direction. He casts off his usual mannerisms and becomes versatile in the role of Dilip, the frustrated lover. The way he portrays his struggle of suppressed emotions is a fine piece of histrionic art. This is easily Dilip Kumar's greatest performance so far. And yet we wish someone gives the traditional Muslim crop to his "goonda" hair running riot over his face.

Raj Kapoor plays a role that suits his personality. He lives it almost with his carefree abandon and emphatic gestures. In parts, he over dramatizes his actions but that is what Raj Kapoor actually is in life.

Cuckoo plays a sympathetic role as Sheela. For an Anglo-Indian girl, she speaks her dialogue too well at times and quite indifferently sometimes. Her movements are as graceful as her dances. She is a future hope for a good role.

And yet after all and said, done "Andaz"' is an attractive picture, the second half of which is good enough to make one forget the first half.

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