Janwar aka Jaanwar
India 1965
Directed by Bhappi Sonie.

Everyone's favorite romantic goofball is back for more clever disguises and romantic frolics in Kashmir. Sunder (Shammi Kapoor) is the happy go lucky son of a rich, brutal, autocrat (Prithviraj Kapoor, Shammi's real-life dad). He gets away from home to play in a tennis tournament up north where he meets Sapna (Rajshree), a saucy girl who takes an immediate disliking to him. Naturally, they fall in love, once Shammi pulls out all the stops, with plenty of musical numbers, disguises, and buffoonery. His shameless dorkiness is utterly endearing, and soon the two plan to get hitched.

But there is a flaw in their plan -- he's rich, terribly rich, while she is the daughter of one of his father's employees, nothing more. His dad is strongly aware of his position in life, and has no use for those of lesser status, except to do his bidding. As for the marriage, dad will have none of it, and post-intermission, things turn dark -- Sunder's dad forces Sapna's dad to marry her off to someone else, and meanwhile Sunder's older brother, Mahendra (Rehman), collapses under the constant pressure of his father and retreats into a brothel to drink away his life. Now Sunder must somehow bring his family back together and marry the woman he loves, and its a lot harder than just singing an endless barrage of silly love songs, as he did in the first half.

Shammi Kapoor is such a doofus that it is unnecessary for him to have a comic sidekick, but he does, and the guy (Rajendrath) is way too over the top. But its all in good fun, and the second act drama keeps the song-and-dance romance from overstaying its welcome. The highlight of the film is a musical number that copies the Beatles "I Want to Hold Your Hand," complete with Shammi sporting a mop-top wig.

Rating: Marginally Recommended (Marginally Recommended)

Posted by Peter Nepstad on November 17, 2005.

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