Book Review – Chaudhvin Ka Chand – The Original Screenplay

Book Review - Chaudhvin Ka Chand - The Original Screenplay

When you are through reading 250 page book 'Chaudhvin Ka Chand – The Original Screenplay', one thing that you distinctly remember is an anecdote shared by leading lady Waheeda Rehman. Apparently, when the chartbuster title track was re-shot in color, Censor board had an issue with the visuals. Why? Because they felt that her eyes were red. Well, so red that they actually convey sensuality on screen, something which was a taboo back then. Of course producer Guru Dutt had to intervene and sort it all out but today, Waheeda Rehman can't help but laugh at the irony, considering the world of Ragini MMS-2 we are in.

Well, you do realize on flipping over the screenplay of Chaudhvin Ka Chand that the film was as graceful, elegant and respectful as it gets. Credited as a film that gave rise to many a Muslim social that were made after that, it resulted in a new genre being born. With 'ada' and 'tehzeeb' as the key words driving this film about male bonding (Guru Dutt, Rehman) with a common love interest (Waheed Rehman), the film incidentally had a female centric title.

Veteran journalists and authors Dinesh Raheja and Jitendra Kothari bring back the tale of Chaudhvin Ka Chand which stays on as one of the runaway hits delivered by Guru Dutt. Not many are aware though that the film was directed by another veteran director M. Sadiq who was looking at making a comeback. It is also revealed in the film that initially Waheeda Rehman wasn't too keen to sign the film but eventually relented on Sadiq's insistence. Also, the film was shot in Black & White and received a positive response, emergence of color meant that a couple of songs were re-shot and inserted back in.

There are a few more highlights around the film shared in the book, courtesy actress Farida Dadi (seen as a child actor in the film), production associate Shyam Kapoor, make-up man Baburao Pawaskar and costume designer Bhanu Athaiya. Considering the fact the film was released over half a century ago, it is understandable that possibility of finding people associated with it is almost nil. Still, one almost hopes that there is something more shared about the film as the basic information about Guru Dutt films in general have already been brought to fore in many other books, write-ups and essays.

Also, the ones who are interviewed don't really cover a great distance, though again one can't really pick on that since one can't really be expected to jog one's memories and go back over 50 years in time.

Hence, one comes back to the screenplay, which is the core of the affairs and presented well in a neatly designed book. With dialogues in English as well as Hindi, the well bound book makes for a comfortable read. However it must be added that this Muslim social from 1960 could well interest a very select set of readers for whom the book would strictly serve academic purposes. For such students of Indian cinema, the book could well turn out to be an educational pick.

Price: Rs. 595/=

Rating: ***

Article written by staff at Bollywood Hungama. Read more

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