70s Week: Yaadon Ki Baaraat (1973)

This post, originally published in March, 2009, is being republished as part of 70s Week, being celebrated across the Bollywood blogosphere this week. The mere mention of the 1970s and Bollywood demands mention of Amitabh Bachchan and Rajesh Khanna -- here are posts dedicated to my favorites Deewaar (1975) and Haathi Mere Saathi (1971). And finally, I can't not mention Garam Hawa (1973), perhaps my absolute favorite from the decade.

Oh how the tables have turned!

And no, bad cannot be 'good', no matter how one looks at it ;) The tales of good versus evil are the focal point once again, this time in a film produced and directed by Nasir Hussain, written by Salim-Javed, and with music by R. D. Burman. Yaadon Ki Baaraat is perhaps best described as a fun and entertaining film, despite its use of tried and tested themes.

Brothers Shankar (Dharmendra), Vijay (Vijay Arora), and Ratan (Tariq), are separated in their childhood when their parents are killed by a stranger (the audience knows the killer as Shakaal (Ajit Khan)). Each brother follows a different path with a support system that is unique to his upbringing. Dharmendra grows up to be a thief, and is closest to discovering who the killers are of his parents. Vijay is unemployed after having obtained some level of education; he actively searches for a job (and for love; fair, given we're talking of Sunita, Zeenat Aman, here). And Ratan is lead singer for a rock band which performs at a hotel. The brothers cross paths as adults and are unaware of their relationship. But they do have a common enemy (Shakaal), and they are the only ones who know the lines to the title song, which Ratan hopes will unite them some day.

Will they unite? Will Shakaal's identity be revealed, and will he be brought to justice? And what price must Shankar pay for his attempts at revenge? Watch Yaadon Ki Baarat for all the answers, and much more. It's not one of the more unpredictable films, but it sure is a lot of fun. And that is what makes it well, well worth the ride.

Not that it is completely relevant here, but I have been thinking of the awareness quotient of those who ask to be excused as they are being excused. I'm not sure it warrants much thought, but it is something that I find funny, and was reminded of here.

There sure are a lot of people seeking revenge.

But that's okay, because it is a rather complete film. The cinematography, art direction, music, background score, screenplay and dialogue are as important here as are the cast. Perhaps this is also why Vijay Arora and Tariq fit in extremely well with the likes of Dharmendra? I really liked the wardrobe, and if pictures and video footage from the 1960s and 1970s I've seen of family and friends offer any indication, they are a fair reflection of the popular attire (in Bombay, at least) at the time. A specific example that I find easy to relate to is this:

There's never a shortage of style. Its combination with substance works effortlessly.

The villain's got some style too! Ajit Khan gives Kader Khan of Parvarish (1977) a run for his money.

Of course, I was looking forward to seeing Zeenat Aman in this all along, and the wait was definitely worth it, because she is every bit as fabulous as one expects. There have been lots of comparisons of current actresses to Ms. Aman. I think none comes close!

By the time this brilliant exchange less than half-way through the film appeared, I knew I had a new-found crush on the woman who owns the distinction of being the first filmy crush of my life (for the record, she shares this with Parveen Babi)!

Comic relief is extremely effective, and loaded with visual delights as well, as is much of the film. I think this holds up really well with the other Nasir Hussain film I saw from the era, Teesri Manzil (1966).

Like Teesri Manzil, it employs some fun and funky angles.

The other ladies, Neetu Singh and Anamika, have much smaller roles. The latter had a significant role in the plot. I couldn't figure out what the former was trying to do here, but that doesn't mean it was even remotely a waste. The song Le Kar Hum Deewaana Dil (link below) is one for the ages, and more than makes up for it.

This is also Aamir Khan's debut film!

The opening credits yield to the title song (mentioned in the kid songs post, also see below), after which there are but a couple scenes with the children.

Aamir's character (Ratan) grows up to be this:

Interestingly, in his debut film in a lead role, Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak (1988), Aamir's character is introduced as this. How fitting!

Which brings us to what seems to be what the film is most well known for -- its music. R. D. Burman and Lyricist Majrooh Sultanpuri deliver some extraordinarily delightful tracks. The integration of the songs is magnificent, and that's all that needs to be said. Here are links to the videos. Check out the wealth of talent in this list!

  1. Yaadon Ki Baaraat; Lata Mangeshkar, Padmini and Shivangi Kolhapure
  2. Aap Ke Kamre Mein Koi (below); Kishore Kumar, Asha Bhosle
  3. Chura Liya Hai Tum Ne; Asha Bhosle, Mohammad Rafi
  4. Le Kar Hum Deewana Dil; Kishore Kumar, Asha Bhosle
  5. O Meri Soni; Kishore Kumar, Asha Bhosle
  6. MAJOR spoiler here; Mohammad Rafi, Kishore Kumar

It's certainly one of those films in which I found myself smiling with each song (it was really more a reminder of how little I know), which definitely enhances the film by a lot. #s 3 and 4 are amazing, and so is the title song. Asha Bhosle, in a concert last year, sang #3 (of course). My favorite picturization involves #2. Here it is, and I absolutely *love* it (if this video doesn't work, please visit this YouTube link)!

An easy one here -- nothing less than four stars for a fine overall effort. Consider Yaadon Ki Baaraat a must-see, ye lovers of masala film. This one has all the ingredients of a pleasant and indeed memorable entertainer! If you've seen this, do you agree?

Movie rating: 4/5 (Excellent!)

Music rating: 4.75/5 (Loveleh!)

My Classification: PG/PG-13 (for violence, (infrequent) scenes with gunshot wounds)

Also see: Director Ashutosh Gowariker's tribute to Aamir and the film in Swades (2004); see #7 here.


dunkdaft said...

Indeed, this is a '70's masala' movie at its best. With standard formula 'Lost and found'. I just Love this one. Especially because of Aamir too :-P. I can easily relate Slumdog [the train sequence], with this one.

And yes man, this was a super stylized movie. As always Nasir's movies are. And you know one trivia? Asha Parekh was first choice for the role of Zeenat !! [thank god she must have been busy, and we got beautiful change]

RDB was I think main hero of the film. Burmanda's music is so good that it made everyone go crazy at that time. I love O meri soni and Le Kar Hum..And being Asha and Rafi's fan, Chura Liya is like a prayer for me.

Rum said...

I LOOOOVEE this movie, i bought zeenat's red dress and even a Shakaal's glasses and i must say i look pretty fly! I think the yaadon ki baraat song was great for reuniting any long lost brother!

Bhargav Saikia said...

This movie has unforgettable music! Completely agree with "Loveleh"! :D

By the way, good observation about how Aamir's character in QSQT is introduced!

Kanan said...

LOL @ the caption of first image. :D

Same with me, YKB has been one of my favorite multi-starrer masala movies along with Waqt and Amar Akbar Anthony. I adore each and every song of this film. Quite an interesting similarity between Ratan of YKB and Raj of QSQT. Thanks for sharing. :)

theBollywoodFan said...

Darshit: Agreed on every bit. The deal with Asha Parekh is very interesting. In hindsight, it worked out well for everyone! Burman's music is splendid, just fantastic. There are so many good songs, 'Aap Ke Kamre Mein' is probably my favorite. I like the bit where Zeenat says, "Kaun? Main?" (Who? Me?) :) 'Chura Liya' seems to be the most popular track from the album, though. It's all over the place, and I think everyone has listened to it very often, and still continues to like it.

Rum! That's awesome! Ditto to the long lost brother comment. The title song was used three times, I think, and each time carried a unique significance, never boring. One would imagine it's not easy to maintain the interest of the audience throughout -- this film seemed to have no issues with that.

Bhargav: Word, dude. That Aamir introduction in QSQT was something else. Here, I liked how he kept on moving as he asked to be excused by his mom, it was hilarious!

Kanan: That bit of dialogue was just perfect. I like how Zeenat said, "Haaye mere maalik," just a stroke of genius. :) I haven't seen Waqt yet, thanks for the recommendation. Amar Akbar Anthony will forever be a favorite, it's just got a lot of good fun for anyone to not love it, na? That Ratan to Raj bit was fun!

Anonymous said...

Indeed this is one of the most memorable 70s masala movies!

One can never get tired of watching it again and again! Every time you see it, there is a new feel to it.

RD's music and songs were indeed the hall mark of this movie.

Tariq is Aamir's cousin.

Anonymous said...

I lurve this movie too :-D The music is just fantabulous! 'Lekar hum deewana dil' is one of the most played songs on my ipod :-) The lead actors ham so much in this film, you could eat ham sandwiches for a month! Terrible, terrible acting lol. You can see all of Paaji's vein popping out in the title song (nighclub version). The lyrics of the title song are particularly lovely.

Yaadon ki baraat
A procession of memories

Nikali hai aaj dil ke dware
Sets off through my heart

Sapno ki shehnai beete dinon ko pukare
The music of my dreams harkens to long lost days..

Chhedo tarane milan ke pyare pyare
Hum the melodies of our reunion

Sang hamare
With me

How can you not pray for the brothers to reunite? :-)

Oh, and it irritates me when people compare some doofus actress of this zamana with Zeenie. Although she was known as a fashion plate and was often dressed in western clothes, I think she looked her most divine in one of my other fave songs -
'Hum dono do premi' from Ajnabi. Woman rocks a green chiffon saree :-)

theBollywoodFan said...

Anonymous: It's been four days since I first saw it, and I've been repeating the songs and revisiting some of the scenes. It's a lot of fun, and of course, I agree with you. Thanks for the info on Tariq!

Pitu: All the songs are so well integrated, I thoroughly enjoyed them all (well, except maybe Meri Soni, which is great too before going off on a tangent, but that's okay). There's something to be said of how they drive the plot forward.

Acting-wise, no major complaints from my side. In fact, for what it was, I thought they did quite well! Well, except Vijay in some scenes. But, there are few who can dishoom dishoom like Dharmendra, and although Tariq didn't have much screen time, he did have the majority of the songs, so...oh well. And yes, of course we hope and pray for the brothers to reunite!

Absolutely agree on Zeenat Aman. I think the current actresses who try to be like her try perhaps a little too hard. It's obvious that for Zeenat in her prime at least, it was a state of being, and came effortlessly. I know there are those out there today to whom this applies, I'm just uncomfortable with the comparison to Zeenat. But comparisons are inevitable to the best in class, I guess.

And finally, speaking of sarees (Hum Dono is fab), what bothers me somewhat is the exclusivity with which the Indian media associate the word 'glamor' with western clothing. Katrina Kaif's been shooting for a film with less than normal make-up and wearing a saree, suddenly the media call it her 'de-glam' look. There's nothing short of glam when we see her in the outfit!

Pitu said...

You mean 'Rajniti'? I shudder to think of that film! She plays Sonia Gandhi :-D

theBollywoodFan said...

Yes, Rajneeti it is. I guess I shall, as I always do, give the benefit of the doubt to the director Prakash Jha and not the media. Jha has denied that Kats' role has anything to do with Sonia Gandhi. In either case, Kats in a saree! Woo hoo! =)

theBollywoodFan said...

Dear All: Eid-e-Milaad Mubarak and Happy Holi!

Pitu said...

Eid Mubarak, Happy Holi TBF!! And yes, Jha made the uber awesome Mrityudand so let's keep our fingers crossed.

Anonymous said...

Hats off to you tBF! With so much going on on-screen and the uber-hot Zeenat there, you can still spot the Aamir connections!!! ;-)

Loved the movie and the songs and all the pretty, but it left one very important question unanswered - why, WHY was Dharam Paaji in a wig?! Was it so he'd not eclipse Vijay Arora and Tariq in the eye-candy stakes? Or was it to ensure that when Zeenat met him she wouldnt instantly ditch Vijay for him? Sigh... I wish Nasir Hussain wouldnt leave me with such cliff-hangers.

ajnabi said...

Oh, how fun! I love seeing baby Aamir, but the whole movie looks like a really enjoyable ride. :-)

Anonymous said...

Gosh Katrina Kaif can't act for nuts. I have seen quite a few movies of hers.

I agree with you about media considering western clothes are only being glamorous. Perhaps it is relfecting the changing social scene in India?

Nothing like a saree ! Indeed Zeenat Aman looked very good in that song in a saree in "Ajnabi". She wears sarees a few times in Roti Kapada aur Makan too - may be we should thank Manoj Kumar (at least for that - not a fan of Manoj at all!)

theBollywoodFan said...

Pitu: Thank you! Fingers crossed, absolutely.

Bollyviewer: LOL at that Aamir connection comment. I had at least one person I saw this with think it was a conspiracy all along that I made this the selection for movie night last week. =) Zeenat Aman caught me off-guard, she was uber-hot, as you say.

You have a very valid question regarding Dharmendra and his hair! Perhaps Anamika, in a black saree throughout the film, might have the answer? ;)

Ajnabi: It is a very enjoyable ride. There's something for everyone. Action. Romance. Family drama. Great songs. Eye candy! What more can we ask for?

Baby Aamir is only present for a total of three scenes, it's funny seeing him like this, really. His role in the song is actually quite amusing, LOL.

Anonymous: Katrina is interesting. I think when cast well, as in Namaste London or Yuvvraaj, she can add some to the film. Her presence and poise is what I appreciate most.

With you on the social scene. The media seem to have boxed it in with an 'absolute' mindset, and the lack of equilibrium is what bugs me most about it (come to think of it, I tend to blame the problems of the world on a lack of equilibrium, LOL). I honestly think a saree or salwar kameez can be as 'hot' as any other outfit out there!

Haven't seen any of Manoj Kumar's works, and hope to get to some eventually.

All: Anyone have any more Zeenat Aman (in a lead role) film recommendations?


Anonymous said...

Adab! Wonderful post! This was one of my first Bollywood films, which I saw a snipit of inside of Swades and knew I needed to hear more of that song and see the full film. Little did I know I was also seeing Aamir at the time. What do you make of that Nawab, that SRK sort of remotely worked with master Aamir in Swades? ;) Loved the screen caps..."My life has but one aim. Revenge!" How do Zeenat's breasts defy gravity? Would Zeenat be considered a lead in Don? She(and her body) certainly was the lead in Satyam Shivam Sundaram and Hare Rama Hare Krishna, but I think you've already probably seen those. I would love to see her in Insaaf Ka Tarazu.

All the best!

Bhargav Saikia said...

Hey dude, Happy Holi!

Anonymous said...

I like Zeenie in 'Ajnabi'- it's a very hatke role (really) and she's done a swell job. Sadly, most of her other films either don't give her scope to act or are exploitative (SSS being the prime example :p I did enjoy her role in 'Qurbani', even though the film pretty much belonged to Vinod-Feroz.

Anonymous said...

Dostana (80s one) - AB Snr, Shaturghan Sinha and Zeenat Aman - hit movie - story salim javed

Don - 70s one - zeenie with AB snr

Hare Rama Hare Krishna - her first movie

Insaaf Ka Tarazu - already recommended by some one above

Mahaan - AB Snr triple role - both Parveen Babi and Zeenat are there

Dharam Veer - zeenie, Dharm, Jeetandra and Neetu Singh

Manoj Kumar's - RKM

theBollywoodFan said...

Adab Sita-ji: Thank you, and glad to know you enjoyed it! Ref: Zeenat, oh yes! I haven't seen Satyam Shivam Sundaram and Hare Rama Hare Krishna, but maybe I should? And we've to add your gravity-related question to the one Bollyviewer had on Dharmendra's hair, definitely valid ;)

That scene in Swades was awesome. I liked Ashutosh Gowariker's (AG) little tribute to Aamir (contrast with that last scene in SRK's production Billu, for instance, in which he thought it necessary to take a jab at Imran Khan after a little lecture on 'one film industry'). Jodhaa Akbar is the only movie AG has directed in which Aamir hasn't made an appearance in some capacity. AG is also the only one to have gotten Aamir and SRK to share screen space in a film, so who knows? Some day, when they're in the late 50s, perhaps?

Bhargav: Thank you, and likewise!

Pitu: Okay, Ajnabi (the film) it is. Would you believe I haven't yet seen Qurbani?

Anonymous: Parveen Babi *and* Zeenat Aman in the same film? In an ideal world, I would see it before anything else! The others sound very interesting too, and as you can see, I have a lot of catching up to do. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Dude, Qurbani is a total timepass movie. It's one of those films best watched with friends- gather some up for dinner and a movie :-D I wouldn't watch Satyam Shivan Sundaram if I were you... all it will do is increase your blood pressure. Raj Kapoor seriously lost it towards the end of his directorial career!

Nicki said...

I'm glad you were able to watch this film. Unfornately for me, I didn't love it but could be I saw it a few years ago or so. Later I learn that little boy was Aamir Khan. So cute!!

People already recommended good Zeenat movies like Qurbani and Insaaf Ka Tarazu. Two really good movies of Zeenie.

theBollywoodFan said...

Pitu: Thanks for the heads up! I hear that a lot about Raj Kapoor, which is probably why I've stayed away for all this while. What a way to go :(

Nicki: I can imagine if it's not something to identify with easily, it might not be as much fun. If you do see it again, do let's discuss further! ;) I'll definitely check out Qurbani and Insaaf Ka Tarazu. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Recently saw this movie... and loved it.
Especially the soundtrack.

Agreed on Dharmendra's hair... what were they thinking?

theBollywoodFan said...

Glad you liked it! The soundtrack certainly makes it tick. Dharmendra's hair didn't bother me, likely because there was so much else all over the place to appreciate! ;)

Anonymous said...

great post! love this movie! I was looking for lyrics for a song and came across your blog...Thank you soo much for all your translations...its a great help to me!
on a totally non-bollywood note, im not sure if you are acquainted with tanz o maza urdu musannif but i was just reading this before thought i'd share it: http://www.geocities.com/pitras_shah/
if you have time click on the mazameen and read the "dogs" article. Let me know how you like! cheers!

theBollywoodFan said...

Hi Anonymous, thank you for your kind words, and welcome! I am familiar with the tanz musannif, but I hadn't read that Pitras Bukhari (that name sounds very familiar) article on dogs. You just made my day!

It's HILARIOUS! From a misra to a maqta, and to a full-fledged mushaira! I loved the sentences he's used, 'qaseede ke qaseede padh daale', ROTFL. I also loved that sentence with the Ayatul Kursi to a Qunut, amazing (and maybe true, to an extent). Quality writing, thanks so much for sharing!

Anonymous said...

I'm glad you liked it! Patras Bukhari is a great writer, not all of his work is translated if you are fluent in Urdu you should read some more of his work in Urdu here's a link: http://patrasbokhari.com/patras_ke_mazameen

The way he connected the barking to shayari...pure brilliance! lol! enjoy the rest of the articles! :)

theBollywoodFan said...

Awesome link, thank you again Anonymous. I know I've read 'Mabel Aur Main' a very long time ago, long enough to where I remember little, so I'll definitely look forward to reading those! Urdu stories/essays of the genre are a lot of fun to read. Thank you so very much!

workhard said...

LOL, that Amir Khans picture, He so looks the same till now..

Read poems

yves said...

Hello BollywoodFan,
I loved to read all these comments and of course your description of this movie seen in Swades a few days ago - that's how I was directed to it, I wondered what Ashutosh Gowariker was showing his crowd of villagers, and decided it must be something wothwhile, so there.
I chime in, Zeenat Aman was something: I recently saw her in Hare Krishna... well, I didn't find the movie was a must to see, but I watched just it because she was in it. Anyway, now I definately need to see this one, it looks abs fab!

theBollywoodFan said...

workhard: He does!

Yves: Thanks for your visit and comment. There's always a fun discussion to be had on a film such as this, which I'm sure you'll enjoy when you have an appetite for pure commercial film. I still haven't see Zeenat Aman in anything since this, and that must change soon!

phil said...

With everyone else here , love this movie , thanks for great review