Ittefaq (The Coincidence, 1969)

Usually, I write movie reviews immediately after I have watched them. But after watching Ittefaq, I was so dazed that I could not write the review right away. Somehow, crawling up to my desktop again, I managed. Here is what I feel, right from my heart.

Plot: A painter has a tiff with his wife and soon finds her dead. Everyone pins the murder on him and he is convicted. Due to his mental condition, which has devolved by now, he’s put in an asylum. He escapes from there and seeks shelter in the house of a woman, where he soon discovers another murder has taken place.

Director: Yash Chopra

Language: Hindi

Cast: Rajesh Khanna, Nanda, Bindu, Sujit Kumar

#10Things I Liked and Disliked about Ittefaq

What I Liked

  1. Good thriller. Things keep happening and there were no boring moments or jarring songs that break the screenplay.
  2. Good solitary moments. A Rajesh Khanna-Nanda moment midway into the movie where both of them forget their worries and laugh was a very good sequence. It took me back to those times when romance was pure.
  3. Ahead of its time. This was quite a breakthrough movie of its times, even far ahead of its times. A tightly-designed thriller that could be remade today and will still find appeal.

What I Disliked

  1. Rajesh Khanna! Seriously, was this man a superstar? At least not for this movie. Do not get ready to fly at my throat now people! Just watch his hamming in this movie and decide. As far as I am concerned, I am not going to watch another movie with Rajesh Khanna in it any time soon. However, I do concede that this was one of his early movies.
  2. More about Rajesh Khanna. In this movie, he is Rajesh Khanna the superstar. He is not his character Dilip Roy, the escaped convict. Actors of those days and a few contemporary ones too suffered from one big handicap—they could keep their own personalities from seeping into their characters. This is actually one of the biggest failings of an actor. So, when you are watching this movie, you cannot escape the fact that you are watching Rajesh Khanna. The character Dilip Roy does not matter at all.
  3. Final justifications. Why do movies where the superstars are criminals all have to have final justifications? In this movie, even if it is proved that he didn’t kill his wife at the end, the fact remains that he slapped her on many other occasions and that is criminal in itself. Well, he even slaps the woman who gives him shelter, repeatedly. It gives you a very sick feeling in your stomach when you see “superstars” behave in this fashion.
  4. Red pants. Rajesh Khanna gets a whole wardrobe of choice to choose from, and what he chooses? A black T-shirt and red pants. And you have to suffer that throughout the movie.
  5. The hammiest chase scene ever. The convict runs from the police, and the police who chase him are less than six feet away, and they have guns.
  6. Logic leaps to the point of insanity. A mentally deranged person in a mental asylum is allowed to keep a cigarette lighter of all things.
  7. The copouts. Well, the movie is titled Coincidence, so you do expect coincidence to be the core of it all. But, how much coincidence is plausible? As the movie goes towards its end, one coincidence is piled on top of the other till it becomes an almost insufferable pile. Also, (spoiler alert) this has the worst copout of them all — an investigating cop being the murderer.

In conclusion: If you are a Rajesh Khanna fan, watch this movie. He is at his hammy best. If you are on the fence about him, then this is not a good movie to start with. And if you dislike him already, just move on to something else. You don’t need the added aggravation.

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