The magic of black and white (B/W) Hindi films still attracts viewers for their simplicity, plot and immortal songs.
A Raj Kapoor, Dilip Kumar or Dev Anand film of that era brings a clever mixture of romance, crime or pathos put together by masters of their profession.
Here is a selection of B/W films which will take you into an era where family values, tradition and bravery were the order of the day.
Chori Chori (1956)
Cast: Raj Kapoor, Nargis, Pran
Director: Anant Thakur
Based on the Hollywood classic Roman Holiday, this film has a certain draw which will make you see it again and again. Raj Kapoor and Nargis gel wonderfully well and create the chemistry which made them an endearing couple on screen.
A rich and spoilt girl runs away from home when her father objects to her marriage to a pilot with a fondness for money and women. The father offers a big reward for her safe return.
A reporter enters the scene and spots her. He tries to tame her and make her understand what a bad guy the pilot is.
She begins to think but finds it difficult to back out of her impending marriage. But things go haywire later and the reporter plays a key role. The songs in this film are just brilliant.
Cast: Nutan, Ashok Kumar, Dharmendra
Director: Bimal Roy
A truly beautiful film by the master of cinema, Bimal Roy, it highlights the social conflicts and human nature in the pre-independence days. A woman-centric film, it takes you through the life of a poetry-loving married woman who is in jail for murder.
Her husband, a freedom fighter, has deserted her and the prison doctor falls in love with her. Most of the film is in the premises of the jail and the use of light and shadow brings out the conflict going through the woman’s mind. Nutan is at her brilliant best and gives the performance of her life here.
The excellent music by S D Burman heightens the atmosphere along with the superb songs which are popular even today.
Cast: Dilip Kumar, Vyjayantimala, Johnny Walker, Pran
Director: Bimal Roy
Another Bimal Roy classic, Madhumati deals with reincarnation and inspired many such films in Bollywood later. This time Salil Choudhary superb music is a catalyst in the eerie atmosphere among the hills and the woods.
An engineer arrives on a stormy night and unable to proceed further, takes refuge in an old mansion. He recognises a picture which triggers a journey into his past life.
His long lost love is kidnapped by a scheming boss and she dies. But another woman appears looking exactly like his former wife. That starts a chain of events where the past and future gets blurred.
Hum Dono (1961)
Cast: Dev Anand, Nanda, Sadhana
Director: Vijay Anand
Two army men who look identical are caught in a drama where mistaken identities help solve a problem. One of them joins the Army after his lady love’s father insults him for his lack of money when he goes to seek her hand.
The two come face-to-face and get along well before the colonel is reported missing in action. The lookalike returns home to convey the bad news to the colonel’s family but he cannot do it as the family showers love on him. He takes on the colonel’s role but finds in uncomfortable and draws him away from his lady love.
However, later the colonel is found, one leg missing, and all’s well that ends well.
Dil Ek Mandir (1963)
Cast: Meena Kumari, Raaj Kumar, Rajendra Kumar
Director: C V Sridhar
A woman’s husband is diagnosed with cancer and is to undergo an operation by her former lover.
She is unhappy that her former lover may not do justice to her husband as his love was obsessive. She seeks his promise that he would save her husband, who overhears the conversation.
The doctor prepares long and hard for the operation to save the husband. A big hit, the songs are beautiful and still popular.