I am writing this review in memory of B.R.Chopra, the maker of this film, who passed away recently on 5 November 2008 at the age of 94.
Chopra was a thinking director like many of his generation of film makers.Hailing from Lahore, now part of Pakistan, he has had a many checkered career starting with being a film journalist, and later taking over the film monthly 'Cine herald' and running it until 1947.He had to flee Lahore as riots broke out and settled down in Delhi, India.He later moved to Bombay, where he directed his first film 'Karwat' which was released in 1948, which had no takers.He was disheartened, but decided to learn everything that was needed to make a good film .For his next film, he took extreme care about all the details like, script, location, music, starcast .He released his next film ' Afsaana' in 1951, with Ashok Kumar in a double role, and the film was a thumping success and there was no turning back.
Chopra gave stellar roles to Ashok kumar in most of his later films.He has brought many actors, script writers and singers into films, and had recieved scores of awards in his life time.
== About the film Naya Daur ( 1957) ==
Naya Daur was recently colourized and re-released but did not do well at the box office. The new look was hideous and it is a potent reminder that some classics like Naya Daur are best left untouched, as they make more than enough impact in black and white.The story of the film revolves around the clash between old values and new values, here, the focus is on the Industrialisation that is slowly creeping up, threatening the livelihood of cottage industries and other related work spots like timber felling and handlooms, where machines are being introduced by the owners, who are looking for larger share of profits.
The story here is about a village dependent on a timber mill owned by
a kind hearted person Maganlal( Nasir Hussain).He is very considerate to his workers and takes good care of them and their families.the other major occupation of the villagers is driving horse carriages for a living.
Shankar( Dilip Kumar) is one such Tangewala( horse carriage driver), living in this village with his sister Manju (Chand Usmani) and mother(Leela chitnis). He has a childhood friend Krishna( Ajit) who works at the Timber yard felling trees and cutting them.Maganlal decides to go for a piligrimage and leaves the responsibility of running his timber mills with his son Kundan( Jeevan). Kundan a city bred youth, takes stock of the situation and decides to modernise the mill.He brings modern equipments and machinery into the timber yard rendering hundreds of workers jobless.He also hires 2 buses for transportation which renders all the Tangewalas jobless
The life of all the people in the village changes and they are in a desperate position with no work and income.But Kundan is least bothered about their plight, advising them to go to cities and find jobs there, which they are reluctant to do giving up their home, land and their very existence at the village.Shankar decides to challenge Kundan but, he is met with opposition on all sides including his friend Krishna, who feel that Kundan is all powerful and it is useless to oppose him, and he may create more problems for them...
Earlier on with the coming of the Beautiful Rajni( Vyjayantimala) both the friends Shankar and Krishna develop a misunderstanding created by Manju, who loves Krishna, whereas Krishna falls head over heels in love with Rajni and so does Shankar.Shankar is determined to challenge Kundan all alone and show him that both machines and people can work side by side complementing each other instead of clashing. Kundan asks him to prove, that people's power is as efficient as machinery and if he does that, he would withdraw all his machinery.Shankar takes up the challenge, though all are against it, he is supported and helped in this by Rajani who is in love with him and prepared to go to any length to support him and his cause.
Shankar also gets support from an unlikely quarter, a freelance journalist who calls himself Anjaana, which means unknown ( Johny Walker) hailing from Bombay who is impresed with Shankar's ideologies and decides to publicise his cause.
And as days pass by, the villagers who are anyway jobless decide to help Shankar in strengthening his cause and take up the challenge thrown by Kundan...
It has a very interesting and exciting climax..
My views about this film Naya Daur is arguably BR Chopra's finest, best known and most successful film to date. The film fitted in nicely with the new initiatives that were taken in economic planning and rural community development in the first decade of Indian independence, and it was a topic that was relevant at that time of period. The film was very well received and loved by all for its progressive thinking on the subject.
Naya Daur is a 'Socially Relevant film' that sees the brave and traditional rural hero taking on the might of the modern city-slicker. It also remains a mainstream Hindi film at heart showing the triumph of the human spirit against all odds..The bustling village shown at the outset of the film, full of life, self sufficient with happy contented people embodied the rural face of India, where people are there for one another and flock together when one of the villager has some personal problem and celebrate their happiness together.
Performance wise Dilip kumar tops with his active, dynamic role, which is infectious.Dilip Kumar is the greatest actor Indian film Industry has ever known.His range is mind boggling from tragedy to social, to romantic and intense roles, he has played them all.Here he is such a natural as a simple hearted villager with his easy charm, colloquial language and dressing.He is an absolute treasure.Vyjayantimala is stunning, and has done wonders with her role.She is a perfect match for Dilip Kumar both in looks and performance. Vyjayantimala comes across as that rare breed of Hindi film heroine, one who has a mind of her own. She shows an independent streak in her role all through the film - Though Shankar is willing to give her up for his best friend who also loves her, she refuses to be a pawn in their game of friendship, and stands firm, that it is Shankar that she loves, but, she is not prepared to make any compromises..One must laud the director for giving her such a strong role.
B.R.chopra has always been different in his treatment of women in his films.he has given them powerful roles, never the clinging, decorative, crying, mopping around roles that one got to see/ still get to see in most hindi films.One has to make a special mention of Jeevan who plays the villain Kundan.He is one of the best, most effective villains ever.He lends a lot of dignity even to his villainy.There is no loud talk nor is there any of the other gestures normally associated with a hindi film villain, like rolling ones eyes threateningly and trying to look menacing..Jeevan in his role is cool, subdued, just with an arrogant look and dont care attitude..
another role that stands out is that of johny walker as Anjaana(unknown).he brings a smile on all the viewers whenever he appears on the screen. He is one of the rare finds of Director Guru Dutt, who gave him the screen name because of his love for whisky(Black lable).he is truly hilarious in his role and lightens up the tension, and brings a smile among all the villagersAjit too is good inhis role as Krishna, though he becomes more of a villain teaming up with kundan in the later half of the film.But he too has a powerful role, which he has carried out ably...
Interestingly Vyjayantimala was not the first chice for the leading role in this film.It was earlier started with the stunning Madhubala in the lead role and the film was shot for about 10 days with her. Dilip Kumar and Madhubala were in a relationship, and it was at the height of their affair that this film was started .
Their romance was thoroughly disapproved by Madhubala's father, who wanted the entire film to be shot in Bombay, so that he could keep an eye on her. Madhbala was terrified of her father and meekly fell in with his plans, and this caused a rift between the lovers who parted ways.B.R.Chopra had already decided to shoot the village scenes in villages close to Bhopal and Poona.There was a legal battle which was won by Chopra, after which madhubala left the film and in stepped Vyjayantimala.
The film is a musical triumph for both OP Nayyar and lyricist Sahir Ludhianvi. Each of the songs in this film was a raging hit with the audience and listeners across the country, and won composer OP Nayyar a Filmfare Award for Best Music.
the songs are many and each one of them more popular than the others.This film has Asha Bhonsle at her best with classic duets with rafi like 'Maang ke saath tumhara', " Saathi haath badana saathi re',
'Ude jab jab zulfein teri', .Rfi has some great numbers to his credit - Aana hai to aa, yeh desh hai veer jawanon ki and 'Mein bambai ka baabu naam mera anjaana' picturised on johny walker...
DVD Details Actors: Dilip Kumar, Ajit, Chand Usmani, Jeevan, Nasir Hussain
Directors: B.R. Chopra
Language: Hindi (Stereo)
Number of discs : 1
Run time : 174 mins
Format: Closed-captioned, Color, DVD-Video, Subtitled, Import, NTSC
DVD Release Date: January 20, 2004
This is a great watch, an inspirational film..