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Back In The Day

Friday, July 14, 2017
By Deepa Gahlot

With recent films like Byomkesh Bakshi and Bobby Jasoos, the detective genre in Hindi films got a slight boost, to which this week’s release Jagga Jasoos has been added. Our crime thrillers usually involve cops, chases, action and violence, not so much detective work. Interestingly Ranbir Kapoor’s grandfather, Raj Kapoor did a movie called Do Jasoos with Rajendra Kumar.

So just for the sake of nostalgia, one revisits one of Bollywood’s classic crime movies—CID (1956), directed by Raj Khosla and starring Dev Anand with Shakila and Waheeda Rehman, making her Hindi movie debut in a negative role.

The film begins with the murder of a newspaper editor, Shrivastav, who was about to expose the criminal activities of a rich and influential man. He calls his friend, Inspector Shekhar (Dev Anand) to tell him about the threats he has been receiving, but by the time Shekhar reaches, Shrivastav has been stabbed to death. Shekhar bumped into the killer Sher Singh (Mehmood), but did not realise it then.

There was witness to the murder—a petty thief, Master (Johnny Walker) who had come to the office to steal, and hid under a table, from where he saw the whole scene. Shekhar makes an attempt to chase the killer’s car, by forcibly borrowing the car of Rekha (Shakila), who is understandably furious. She turns out to the daughter of the police chief Mathur (KN Singh), and later Shekhar’s love interest. Later Master does identify Sher Singh, who is arrested, but refuses to say a word.

Shekhar is invited to the villain’s den, where a lovely moll, Kamini (Waheeda Rehman), attempts to bribe him, then spikes his drink and has him dumped on the street. It is no secret that the criminal mastermind is Dharamdas (Bir Sakhuja), who gets Sher Singh killed in jail to frame Shekhar for the murder.

Master persuades Shekhar to escape from prison and track down the crime boss, which he does, with the help of a repentant Kamini.

The film, inspired by Hollywood’s noir style, was beautifully shot (by VK Murthy) and had some of the finest songs composed by OP Nayyar-- Boojh mera kya naam re, Leke pehla pehla pyar, Aankhon hi aankhon mein ishaara ho gaya, Kahin pe nigahen kahin pe nishana, Jaata kahaan hai deewane and the song that went on to become Mumbai’s anthem—Yeh hai Bombay meri jaan.

The film not just had a superb ensemble cast, but other luminaries on the team, like Zohra Sehgal as the choreographer and Bhanu Athaiya (credited as Bhanumati) as the costume designer, Jaan Nissar Akhtar and Majrooh Sultanpuri as lyricists.

Over sixty-one years later, CID has lost none of its magic—they don’t make films like that one any more.

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