When A chaddi-clad Cupid aims its bow and arrow and three hearts fill up the screen with the words Dil Deke Dekho, you smile in anticipation. Of course, it has to be Shammi Kapoor — the true blue king of the good times.
In his second film with writer- director Nasir Husain, who gave him his swinging loverboy image in Tumsa Nahin Dekha, Kapoor rolls out the entire package — he is the charming lover, the good son, the master of disguises and the adorable prankster. The film doesn’t offer anything new — it’s a rinse-repeat Nasir Husain romantic comedy about mistaken identities, coincidences and hill station romance — but the sparkle in the scenes and the music lend it an enduring appeal.
Dil Deke Dekho marked the debut of Asha Parekh, who is proudly introduced as “a Filmalaya discovery” in the titles. The story goes that Parekh was signed by filmmaker Vijay Bhatt as the heroine in Gunj Uthi Shehnai. However, she was thrown out of the film apparently because she was not considered “star material”. Sashadhar Mukherji of Filmalaya Studios saw the spark in her and signed her. Dil Deke Dekho released on her 17th birthday.
In an earlier interview, Parekh described her experience of shooting for the film: “My character was that of a tomboy. I was very shy to face the camera. In my first few shots with Shammi chacha, I was very nervous. He was very patient with me and guided me in every shot. He especially taught me how to lip sync and emote in the songs.”
Shammi and Asha played so well against each other in their very first pairing (and in all their subsequent films, including the iconic Teesri Manzil) that now it seems preposterous to imagine anyone else in Dil Deke Dekho but in an interview, Kapoor had confessed that initially, he wanted Waheeda Rahman for the role of the bratty Neeta.
In Dil Deke Dekho, where true to Husain style, the hero and heroine share a teasingly sassy vibe,
Asha is a perfect match for Shammi. There is a line in the film which Roop/Raja (Kapoor) keeps repeating to Neeta —“achcha dost aur achcha pati kismat waalon ko milta hai”. As a romantic pair, Shammi and Asha really make you believe they had the first part of the deal going. Husain’s dialogues are as always sprightly and tailor-made for Shammi who excels in the charming stalker act as only he could. Sample this: Neeta tells Roop, “Mujhe akela chhod deejiye.” He: Ek shart par. She: Kya? He: Mujhe akela mat chhodiyega.” I quite liked this one too, when Raja is explaining the difference between “ishq” and “mohabbat” to Parekh. “Ishq aur mohabbat mein wahi farak hota hai jo ki doodh ki chai aur powder ki chai mein hota hai.”
The songs were composed by Usha Khanna and penned by Majrooh Sultanpuri. The title track is reminiscent of Sugar in the morning performed most notably by the McGuire Sisters, Pyar ki kasam hai is basically Ivory Joe Hunter’s Since I met you baby and Kaun yeh aaya mehfil mein is Paul Anka’s Diana. My favourite is Hum tum aur yeh sama… kya nasha nasha sa hai… Just the way Rafi sings it and the way Shammi looks at the girl, you feel it’s all for you.