Mr. Lambu (1956)
Year – 1956
Language – Hindi
Country – India
Producer – Sheikh Mukhtar
Director – N. A. Ansari
Music Director – O. P. Nayyar
Box-Office Status –
Cast – Bhagwan, Helen, Sheikh Mukhtar, Suraiya, Kamaljeet, Vijayalaxmi, N. A. Ansari, Minoo Mumtaz
Miscellaneous Information – Mr. Lambu was the only Hindi film where Suraiya sang for O.P. Nayyar.
Mr. Lambu is entirely in the line of the typical Sheikh Mukhtar picture, in which the main character, built to accommodate him in the dominant role, is the tough guy with a soft heart.
Here Sheikh Mukhtar portrays a gangling village oaf who makes it his business to champion the underdog and help the unfortunate. This he does with a zest entirely gleeful and a thoroughly irresponsible contempt for the law, with the result that he is constantly in and out of jail, the terror of the rich and the delight of the poor.
His mother dotes on him and his sister adores him. Both live in constant fear of the consequences of his doings, sustained by the hope that someday somehow he will retrieve his name and the family fortune.
The girl is in love with a wealthy young man who is eager to marry her but cannot, because of her brother’s unsavory reputation. His blundering attempts to remedy this situation and secure his sister’s happiness set off a train of exciting events which involve him in a murder, with him as suspect number one.
With the prospect of his sister’s marriage now fairly ruined and the police on his trail, he sets out to trace the murderer and finds himself enmeshed in a gangsters’ racket. He gets the killer in the nick of time to rescue his sister who has been kidnapped by the gang, but is himself wounded fatally. With a heroic effort he puts the “tilak” on the girl’s forehead with his own blood, and dies.
The story has a powerful family appeal and the interest is well sustained in the clever compact plot by the firm and imaginative direction which never loses its grip on the narrative and keeps the cast, including Sheikh Mukhtar, well in hand.
There are many poignant passages in the picture, scenes of quiet domestic charm, interludes of humor and, towards the end, a crescendo of thrilling action which concludes most satisfyingly in the powerfully moving scene recounted above.
The dramatic build-up is brilliant, a tribute to Mr. Ansari’s careful direction.
Sheikh Mukhtar, as the devoted brother, has a highly sympathetic role, with just the type of action and awkward sentiment he is built to portray. Well-restrained, for once, by the direction, he gives it a straightforward natural performance which develops grip and power as the story unfolds, rising in the heart- gripping finale to a magnificence of passion and emotional appeal which scales the very heights of dramatic expression.
Suraiya as the sister is charmingly natural and acts with grace as well as artistry, a part which runs the full gamut of emotion from playful youth and happy love to despair and bitter grief. She sings beautifully, embellishing the picture with her lovely voice.
Ansari makes an excellent villain with his smooth and polished portrayal and Vijayalakshmi is adequate as his moll, except for her dancing which is atrocious. Kamal Jeet, who has the male romantic lead as Suraiya’s lover is practically a passenger and wishy-washy throughout. The support is good.
The dialogue is excellent, and the lyrics are exquisitely poetic and beautifully scored and sung. The dialogue and songs are among the special beauties of the picture, which is further enriched by O. P. Nayyar’s utterly delightful score.
The production values, from the sets and decor to the photography, are very good.