Lekh Tandon was a director who made some movies that went on to become super succesful. Films like Professor (1962 -Shammi Kapoor), Prince (1969 – Shammi Kapoor), Ek Baar Kaho (1980 – Navin Nsichol, Shabana Azmi and in one of his very first roles -Anila Kapoor) and Agar Tum Na Hote (1983 – Rajesh Khanna, Rekha, Raj Babbar) were some of the movies he made which really worked big time. Lekh Tandon also was an actor who did character roles in movies such as Swades (2004) and Rang De Basanti (2006).
But his swan song as a director came in 1968 when he achieved something that is rarely achieved in the Hindi Film Industry…
Its was in this year that his swan song was released “Jhuk Gaya Aasmaan”. Saira Banu was a beautiful actress who had some hits credited to her at that time already. And the hero of the film -Rajendra Kumar- well his nickname at that time was “Jubilee Kumar” because all of his films went on to become golden and platinum jubilees at the cinemas. A feat which is unthinkable in today’s times when a movie stays in the cinemas for 2 or 3 weeks max.
In 1941 a Hollywood movie was released titled “Here Comes Mr. Jordan” which had Claude Rains in the lead. The movie although a good one was a moderate succes. but succesful enough to warrant a sequel. In 1978 (a good 10 years after “Jhuk Gaya Aasmaan”!!) this Hollywood movie was remade by Warren Beatty as “Heaven Can Wait” with himself and Julie Christie in the leading roles. And finally in 2011 Chris Rock remade the movie once again with himself in the leading role as “”Down To Earth”. This last film surprisingly had a lot in common with “Jhuk Gaya Aasmaan”… Does Chris Rock watch Hindi movies…?
So “Jhuk Gaya Aasmaan” which released in 1968 was a remake of “Here Comes Mr. Jordan” and with this remake Lekh Tandon achieved something that is rarely achieved by anyone. And that is to make a remake which is actually much and much better then the original! Yes you read it right!! “Jhuk Gaya Aasmaan” is the best version of all the films mentioned above.
The cast of the film couldn.t have been better selected. In those days there were no so called “casting directors”, the producer and director did the casting themselves.
Rajendra Kumar as the hero does a fantastic job. You really feel for him, laugh with him and cry with him. Prem Chopra as the evil step brother in the second half of the film does his usual “Prem Chopra” role but he is effective. Rajendra Nath – best known for his “Poppatlal” roles in the Nasir Hussain films is really funny for once. But that is not just because of his antics, it is also because of his role. he is one person whom we can identify with. First as the friend of Rajendra Kumar who cremates his friends body after his death and then when he is called by his friends lookalike in another city who tells him that he IS his friend since his soul is in another body. It is also funny to see the interactions between Rajendra Nath and Prem Chopra when you keep in mind that in real life Prem Chopra is married to Rajendra Nath’s sister.
Saira Banu as the leading lady is good. This role seems to be written especially for her. Though a fan of many actresses of those times (and there were a lot of good actresses those times) I can’t visualise any other actress in this role. Kudos to Saira Banu. Durga Khote as the dadi as very effective. Now I must confess I know her from a film that was released almost 12-13 years later – Karz (the original Rishi Kapoor one that is) and her role in this movie reminded me of her role in Karz. But she did very well. And finally I must mention the name of an actor whom I like very much (mostly thanks to the Hrishikesh Mukherjee films) but whose name mostly doesn;t ring any bells for most viewers – David Abraham. David as he was billed in the movies portrays the role of Clause Rains in this movie and is fun in his short role. The entire cast was well chosen and each and every member did their best. No complaints here.
Now since this is a movie released in the times when the soundtrack of a hindi movie produced gems of songs, let’s have a look at the music of this film.
Shankar Jaikishan compsed 8 songs for this film which were sung by Mohd. Rafi (this was before Kishore Kumar took over the nation), Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhonsle. All the composed songs are well placed in the film and enhance the story (an aspect that is missing in today’s times and movies in general).
According to me 4 to 5 songs that were composed for this movie became immortal. The songs I mean are Sachha Hai Gar Pyaar (part 1 and 2), Kaun Hai Joh Sapnon Mein Aaya (inspired by the Elivs Presley song “Margarita”), Kahan Chal Diye Idhar Toh Aao and my personal favourite from the movie “Unse Milli Nazar ke Mere Hosh Udh Gaye”.
There is one thing however which I would like to mention for the people who have only seen this movie on dvd: When i watched the movie as a kid on VHS I remember seeing the song “Sachha Hai Gar Pyaar Mera Sanam” part 2 in the movie. But for some reason -and I really can’t fathom why- this song was deleted from all dvd versions. I remember the song was picturised when Rajendra Kumar goes to heaven after his car crash right before the interval point this song was picturised on him and David. But like I mentioned this song is deleted from all DVD’s. If anyone has a VHS copy of this movie just check out the song – it’s really a very beautiful song. And if you have the VHS please let me know.
“Jhuk Gaya Aasmaan” (1968)
directed by Lekh Tandon
music by Shankar – Jaikishan
singers Mohd. Rafi, Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhonsle
cast Rajendra Kumar, Saira Banu, Durga Khote, Prem Chopra and Rajendra Nath