A young woman named Roopa committed suicide at a hotel in the name of love for Anil Kumar 'Sona' (Shammi Kapoor). Sona, an artist, performed as 'Rocky' at that hotel, which was where lovely Sunita (Asha Parekh) arrived with revenge on her mind. She would later befriend and fall in love with Sona. But would she discover that he was Rocky? Would Rocky's confidant Mr. Kunwer (Prem Nath) succeed in aiding him to mask the truth? What was the truth? And how devastating would Sunita's discoveries be? What role would her cousin Ramesh (Prem Chopra) play? And would Ruby (Helen) pay the price for her misdeeds, motivated mostly by attraction? Teesri Manzil answered these questions within the framework of a classic mystery, complete with the elements of Bollywood cinema of which by far the biggest highlight was the music.
1. The beginning to the film was just perfect;
Asha Parekh wasted no time in making an impression.
2. Given the plot, comedy wasn't going to take center stage, but it almost did in some unique ways, a testament to the comic timing of the cast who made the most of every opportunity. Few films of the genre double as entertainers (which this is!), enough to warrant repeat viewings.
3. The focal point of the film -- the mystery -- was very well depicted. Should have known with the fun in comprehending the title (as noted above), that it would be a strong, dialogue-based film. The screenplay was, for the most part, excellent. And character sketches preceding the problem statement were effective, especially for those at the heart of it all, the two beautiful women vying for one man's love.
4. Greatly complemented by a phenomenal soundtrack, the film had tune after great tune. R. D. Burman's music and lyrics by Majrooh Sultanpuri were excellent. Here are four of my favorites, the first three widely considered to be among the biggest hits by two of the best vocalists Indian cinema will ever have known in Mohammad Rafi and Asha Bhosle:
- Oh Haseeno Zulfon Waali (view here)
- Aaja Aaja (view here)
- O Mere Sona Re (view here)
- Tum Ne Mujhe Dekha (view here)
5. Other noteworthy elements included some interesting cinematography and art direction, often with delightfully elaborate color palettes (are those Snow White dresses?):
There was also a decent dosage of circles. A reference to the circle of life, perhaps? Here a circle...
...there a circle...
...everywhere a circle,...
And what better viewing instrument than one with circles?!
I'm not sure this was what the filmmakers intended, but all the circles involved could certainly be subtle references to poetic justice and karma. They say what goes around comes around. Sure, it does. Maybe it does in the film, too. But at what cost?
And if you believe in superstitions, maybe you'd appreciate it as being more than merely a coincidence that the digits in Sona's room number (the room served as the site for significant suspect activity) added to the number 13:
The acting was top-notch throughout. The film was engaging, and although the climax was slightly predictable (I used to be better at playing along and not trying to anticipate the end; here's one instance where that would have helped), it wasn't something one would mind too much. The fantastic performances across the board, splendid and fun music, and dialogue, made this one for the ages. I'm going with over four stars for the incredibly amazing ride! I hope you enjoy(ed) it!
Movie rating: 4.25/5 (Excellent!)
Music rating: 4.75/5 (Stuff of legends!)
My rating: PG-13 (for plot, some violence)
PS: Honorable mention to a special appearance by Salim Khan (that would be Salman Khan's father, Helen's husband) of the Salim-Javed duo. And given this, and that this was a film by Aamir Khan's uncle, we've come full circle, haven't we? :)