Picking up the Threadshttps://indianexpress.com/article/news-archive/web/picking-up-the-threads/

Picking up the Threads

Kanu (Rishi Kapoor) and Timsi (Neetu Singh) are the prime examples of khullam khulla pyaar karenge love birds.

Doosra Aadmi starts where most Hindi movies end

Kanu (Rishi Kapoor) and Timsi (Neetu Singh) are the prime examples of khullam khulla pyaar karenge love birds. They defy everyone,marry in haste and honeymoon in Kashmir. He runs in the snow to a local chemist shop and,while blushing beetroot red,shyly points to an advertisement of condoms and pockets a few. When they are not prancing in the snow peaks singing Nazron se keh do pyaar mein milne ka mausam aa gaya they are rolling on the bed. They even put up a sign on their hotel room door instructing “Please do not disturb. Hume bhook nahin hai.” Really who needs food when love is all around?

But what happens when the honeymoon is over? Doosra Aadmi,produced by Yash Chopra and directed by Ramesh Talwar,takes the story forward from where most Hindi films end. As Kanu and Timsi find out,marriage is not exactly song-and-dance. Kanu’s ambition to make an identity distinct from his rich father leads him to start an advertising agency. To make a splash he needs to get Nisha (Rakhee) on board — the whiz kid of the ad world who is described in the film as a “freelancer,moody and talented.” With the entry of the ciggie-smoking-whiskey-guzzling beautiful older woman Nisha,Kanu’s marriage gets a bit crowded.

Doosra Aadmi owes its genesis to Kabhi Kabhie.

It was during the shooting breaks in Kashmir for Yash Chopra’s film that Talwar got talking to Rishi Kapoor. His writer friend Raju Saigal came up with the film’s idea and Talwar decided to put on hold the Amitabh Bachchan-Shashi Kapoor film that he was originally planning to make. “I liked the idea that Raju narrated about a young couple’s marriage but I felt it sounded like an art film so we got writer Sagar Sarhadi to flesh it outa bit and it was he who added the background of the advertising agency and Rakhee’s character,” says Talwar.

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Rakhee pretty much cast herself in the film since Talwar and Chopra were keen to approach Sharmila Tagore for Nisha’s part. “Rakhee was my taash (cards) buddy during the shooting of Daag. She asked me to narrate the subject and told me that if she liked the idea,she would take a make-up test for which she draped the saree in a particular way and perched her goggles on top of her head. I knew we had found our Nisha. Ultimately we never approached Sharmilaji,” says Talwar. His distributors were aghast that Talwar had signed “Tapasya ki heroine as the other woman in a film aur usse akele bar mein baitha kar daaru pila rahe ho,” but Chopra and Talwar went by their instinct.

Doosra Aadmi’s major strength is that it’s not a run-of-the-mill love triangle. It treats its characters with indulgent strokes,allowing them to be human and make mistakes. The film’s title positions the story from the viewpoint of Nisha’s character who is trapped in the past — unable to deal with her fiancé’s death — yet it’s very much Kanu and Timsi’s story. The take is mature even though Rishi and Neetu endearingly bicker like only they can. Rishi walks the tightrope between a young loverboy and a man coming into his own. Neetu also gets her moments and throws a few daggers at her husband when she feels he is cheating on her. In a cute phone cut Rishi calls her “baba jaanu” lovingly and she responds with “hello baba”. Talwar recalls that the couple who were dating then,would constantly be fighting and making up on the sets so much so that he had to stall the shooting to bring in some order. “I wouldn’t roll the camera and tell them ki tum dono ladte rehte ho main shoot nahin karunga. Dono haath jod kar saamne khade ho jaate thay aur phir shooting hoti thi,” he says. 

Doosra Aadmi could not be made without Shashi Kapoor. Talwar had seen a picture of the dashing actor in the Illustrated Weekly of India where he was wearing a scarf and the caption said something to the effect that “he looks so much like his nephew.” Shashi’s nod to doing a special appearance was crucial because Nisha’s fascination with Kanu (or “mrigtrishna” as the film says) was based on his resemblance to Shashi. As Bheesham (Parikshit Sahni),Nisha and Shashi’s friend tells Kanu,“Nisha tumse pyaar nahin karti… woh apne kisi khayal se pyaar karti hai.” Talwar recalls,“I knew Shashi didn’t do special appearances,but I told him that this film could only be made if he said yes. Shashi heard me out on a car ride from his home to the studio at the end of which he told me,‘Go home now. I’m doing your film.’”

On many counts,Doosra Aadmi remains an underrated film lost amongst the multi-starrers of the ’70s but its music by Rajesh Roshan scores high on recall. Just listen to Chal kahin door nikal jaayen… anytime,and it’ll change your mood. Trust me.

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