They were the original stylish trio of Hindi cinema. The talented players who made the love triangle an affair to remember and repeated forever.
The year, 1949. The movie, Andaz. The creator of which was legendary director Mehboob Khan. There is no doubt it proved to be a watershed film in the careers of Dilip Kumar, Nargis and Raj Kapoor.
Andaz was the fascinating story of a girl, played by Nargis, who is engaged to one man, Raj, and develops a platonic friendship with another, Dilip, to tragic results. It was a huge hit at the time of its release and broke all box office records.
Technically, Andaz was the first success for the magical pairing of Raj and Nargis. Protégé Nargis recommended him to mentor Mehboob Khan, who was yet to find success with R.K. Films. Aag, their first film together, hadn’t done well at the box office. Barsaat, which released the same year, went on to break records only after Andaz, setting Raj’s production house and the pair on the road to stardom. Mehboob was very fond of Nargis. Years later, when her association with Raj ended, he cast her in the iconic role of Mother India.
However, it was now-thespian Dilip who benefited the most with the success of Andaz. Even though he had three hits in Jugnu, Shaheed and Mela, the actor was struggling to connect with the masses. It established him as the king of tragedy. The audience loved his searingly complex and intense portrayal of a man who is in love and struggling to maintain balance as he realises she is engaged to another man.
His love and subsequent conflict were beautifully conveyed through four solo songs composed by Naushad, sung by Mukesh and portrayed masterfully by Dilip seated on a piano. Despite the monotonous prop, one could feel the range of his changing emotions through the variety of joyful and poignant expressions that he pulled off.
Two songs showed his exuberance after meeting Nargis, Hum Aaj Kahin Dil Kho Baithe (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zOPE2pyavg4) and Tu Kahe Agar (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=emuDkBWbibI). The other two reflect on his gloom after discovering Raj’s presence in her life, Jhoom Jhoom Ke (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sln3l13aNIU) and Toote Na Dil Toone Na (video below).
Dilip aces all four songs. This one is my most favourite as the camera focuses mostly on his face as he sings, with Raj and Nargis casually leaning over the piano.
This was Raj and Dilip’s first and last movie together. Story goes that Raj tried to cast Dilip in Sangam but he refused.
I am glad he didn’t. Andaz is the stuff legends are made of. And it would have been foolish to attempt to recreate history.
Song: Toote Na Dil Toote Na
Lyrics: Majrooh Sultanpuri
Cinematography: Faredoon Irani