A beautiful picture which entertains one subtly by engrossing both the attention and sympathy, All India Pictures’ “Laila Majnu,” produced by P. N. Arora and directed by K. Amarnath, is a good film and captures much of the haunting loveliness of the tragic love story.
Premiered at the Minerva and other theaters on December 4th, 1953 the picture was accorded a fine reception by an audience which was enraptured from the first shot to the last.
Told in flashback, the picture opens with a dance sequence in a desert encampment alive with exotic allure and danced by Cuckoo with all her sinuous art. This prologue is a superb stroke of showmanship and Cuckoo and Vijay Kumar as her lover cast a spell which grows subtly over the audience till the tragic end of the narration.
The casting of Nutan and Shammi Kapoor as Laila and Qais is brilliant and the stars bring a strong romantic appeal to their roles and act superbly, literally sinking themselves in the characters they portray.
Instinct with all the pulsating romance of black velvet nights in a desert encampment, “Laila Majnu” exudes the exotic essence of love by idyllic, poetically imaginative settings.
In spite of the fact that there is a certain lack of action and a trifle too much of dialogue, the film seems just so much of lovely romance doomed to exotic tragedy.
Director Amarnath has done an excellent job on the two youthfully charming stars who themselves invest their roles with all the poignant, heart-touching appeal of ill-fated young love. Baby Chand and Rattan Kumar, who portray the young Laila and Qais, are equally spell-binding in these beautifully-contrived roles.
The supporting cast, however, do not fare so well. Ullhas in the principal supporting role as Laila’s father acts in the grand, heavy manner and roars his lines in a deplorable, deafening pitch. Wasti does well in a role which is cleverly shaded and comes from an unsympathetic to a dramatically sympathetic character. Om Prakash provides comedy which, despite a certain heaviness, comes off well with audiences.
A fine contribution, too, is Begum Para’s; she makes her every scene a personal triumph and imparts a poised glamour to her part as the love-lorn Zarina.
W. M. Khan is good, despite the heavy dialogue, as Qais’s father and the rest do well in their roles.
The music by Ghulam Mohamed and Sardar Malik is completely beautiful, alive with haunting melody and glorious emotion.
The picture has, apart from the exquisite, lovely settings and decor, rich costumes and the exotic appeal of caravans silhouetted on a desert horizon, superb photography by V. Avdhoot which often reaches lyrical heights.
Year – 1953
Language – Hindi
Country – India
Producer – All India Pictures
Director – K. Amarnath
Music Director – Ghulam Mohammed
Box-Office Status –
Cast – Rattan Kumar, Shammi Kapoor, Nutan, Ulhas, Begum Para, Kammo, Wasti, Vijay Kumar
Miscellaneous Information –