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Zamaane Ko Dikhana Hai: A Breezy Entertainer Replete with Interesting Trivia

Director-writer-producer, Nasir Husain, was the man with the Midas touch in the 1970s. Although he had established himself as one of the leading filmmakers of the 1950s and 1960s, with films like Tumsa Nahin Dekha (1957), Phir Wohi Dil Laya Hoon (1963) and Teesri Manzil (1966), to his credit, Husain had his finest hour in the ’70s. Having directed blockbusters like Caravan (1971), Yaadon Ki Baaraat (1973) and Hum Kisise Kum Nahin (1977) in that decade, he put himself at the top of the pecking order among the great Hindi film auteurs of that time.

And following the success of Hum Kisise Kum Nahin, Husain announced the ultimate multi-starrer, a film called Zabardast. The film was supposed to star Dilip Kumar, Dharmendra, Rishi Kapoor, Raj Kiran, Asha Parekh, Zeenat Aman, Tina Munim and Kaajal Kiran. The film had a minimum guarantee of rupees seventy-five lakhs per territory in India and 1.25 crore rupees overseas. Husain, however, had to abandon the film after shooting a few reels with Dilip Kumar because the two clashed over how the film should be made. Since Husain had a lot of respect for Dilip Kumar, he shelved the film entirely instead of replacing Kumar with someone else. It was the decent thing to do.

It was only after this ‘zabardast’ setback that Husain made Zamaane Ko Dikhana Hai, a film that starred Rishi Kapoor, Padmini Kolhapure, Shriram Lagoo, Amjad Khan and Kader Khan. The film had quintessential Nasir Husain plot points – the lost-and-found element, youthful romance, a hill station setting and great songs.

Zamaane Ko Dikhana Hai, nonetheless, had some interesting facets to it. In one comic sequence early in the film, a character called Subodh Mukerji appears. He is the hotel manager where Rishi Kapoor’s and Padmini Kolhapure’s characters first seek refuge while on their way to Darjeeling. This character was based on Husain’s friend in real life, the filmmaker Subodh Mukerji, who made many successful films such as Munimji (1955), Paying Guest (1957) and Junglee (1961). Husain had worked as a writer on Munimji and Paying Guest and had developed a friendship with Mukerji from that time. Husain would include a comic character called Subodh Mukerji in many of his films, as a tribute to his friendship with Mukerji. 

Mansoor Khan, Husain’s son and the man who helmed Husain’s later productions, Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak and Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikander, was also involved with Zamaane Ko Dikhana Hai. In the long medley sequence that appears in the film, which includes the songs – Main hoon woh albela’, ‘Bolo, bolo, kuchh toh bolo and Poochho na yaar kya hua – Mansoor can actually be seen handling the lighting effects for the stage behind Rishi Kapoor and Padmini Kolhapure. He is credited under ‘Electronics and Lights Effects’ for the film. Husain’s inspiration for the disco lights on the stage was apparently the 1977 classic, Saturday Night Fever, which starred John Travolta. Husain brought on son Mansoor, an engineer by pedigree, to help him emulate the lighting effects from that film for Zamaane Ko Dikhana Hai.

Moving from Husain’s son to his nephew, Tariq Khan played the character Robin, who appears right at the end of Zamaane Ko Dikhana Hai. Tariq had earlier starred in Husain’s Yaadon Ki Baaraat and Hum Kisise Kum Nahin and had become very popular for his songs from those films. Thereafter, however, he had struggled to make any significant impact in the industry. His uncle, Nasir Husain, included him in Zamaane Ko Dikhana Hai to save his failing career. But the Robin character’s appearance out of nowhere, right at the end of Zamaane Ko Dikhana Hai, only weakened the film’s premise rather than adding to its overall appeal.

The one moment that really stood out from Zamaane Ko Dikhana Hai was Rishi Kapoor on top of a train, singing Hoga tumse pyaara kaun. Husain was known for his ingenuity in song sequences, having put Dev Anand on top of a jeep, which moves parallel to a train in Jab Pyaar Kisise Hota Hai’s (1961) title track and for putting Kaajal Kiran on a crane that made her look like she was flying in the sky, with the hot air balloons pulling her upwards in Yeh ladka hai Allah from Hum Kisise Kum Nahin. Although Rishi Kapoor’s movements in ‘Hoga tumse pyaara kaun’ were shot and choreographed inside a studio, with back projection being used to create a real, life-like effect, the song had an element of novelty in that it gave the appearance of the actor actually dancing on top of a moving train.   

You can watch Zamaane Ko Dikhana Hai as part of Nasir Hussain Film Festival on Sunday 28th January at 12 Noon only on Zee Classic.