Prior to the late eighties- early nineties when good products failed at the box office and started a string of typical time pass films, Rajshri created many a gems for cinematiques. The one characteristic that stood strong throughout their sixty somewhat years as a production unit is that each of their films kept the family in mind. Dosti is a treasure-able product which families, friends should treasure upon watching. The title of the film resonates the true moral it depicts- the value of a friend.
This is the story of Rat Nath (Sushil Kumar) and Mohan (Sudhir Kumar). The film impedes in an automatically touching scene, which immediately sets precedence of what is to come. Rat Nath is a sporty young man whose mother is ill and father has passed away at the cause of his employment. Upon discovering that they will have no compensation for their lost one’s departure, Rat Nath´s mother passes away. A distraught Rat Nath (nicknamed Ramu) attempts to get some help but instead encounters a sadder fate- he is hit by a car and a leg is rendered impotent. Now alone with nothing, Ramu travels in hopes to acquire some help at living. Some times two of a kind are meant for each other, which is mostly said in reference to lovers, here, it’s for two friends, probably the most real type of relationship of them all. At a stoplight, Ramu meets a Mohan, a blind mind who almost crosses the street at the wrong time. Together they explain to each other their hardships, console each other, discover each other and learn about a life that every one scathes. While Mohan is in search of his sister, a nurse, whom he lost after a flood destroyed his village; Ramu is in search of an education, which he truly deserves. With no opportunities but few grains of foods and ten fold hardships which they encounter, Ramu and Mohan learn that life is more than houses and riches- it is about friendship. Enlisting in some, but not complete, help along the way, (at the hands of a harmonica and a young Princess portrayed by Baby Farida), these friends touch heartstrings at times we didn’t know exist. Ramu with his harmonica and Mohan with his voice, Dosti is a journey through realistic friendship with realistic obstacles all intertwined in a heart touching drama.
The emotives in this film are not so much effective because of the hardships, sometimes typical and abundant, but because of the naturalist feeling of the pain. Situations like these don’t rely on implausible occurrences, but because of the touching situation the characters face. Of course when the situation gets a little light or heavy, we have Laxmikant-Pyarelal’s extremely touching score to hit the strings in our already softened heart. One can simply say that almost all of the scores in old cinema are much better than the overly redundant and at times meaningless music we hear now. They are not all bad, honestly, but in Old Bollywood, one can easily say, none are that bad. Laxmikant-Pyarelal rely solely on bringing out the melody, sadness and meaning in Majrooh Sultanpuri’s excellent lyrics. No swift numbers, nothing too slow, an excellent pace of slow songs, which accentuate Mohammed Rafi’s excellent voice. With, “Meri Dosti Mera Pyar” being the most popular, and “Awaaz Mein Na Doonga” being the best. Of course, the Rajshri production unit has rarely let us down in terms of music and has never underestimated the power of excellent tunes.
When we think the situation will get au too normal from a normal viewer’s perspective, we are presented with the doubts that as viewers we may have ourselves. When Ramu asks Mohan that when he finds his sister if he will leave him at the hospital, we ourselves question it and loathe the act itself! When a much richer man tries to steal from two much poorer young men, how can we not identify with the occurrences? The laudable reaction from the crowd touches us even more (again straying from the norm of typical indifference).
Satyen Bose’s direction is nearly perfect. The film doesn’t diverge into many sub-plots, with necessary comedic portions entering at points, and gets to the point in which the film wants to depict; friendship. While there are few scenes unneeded due to their little relevance, they don’t take a toll on the viewer’s attention. The difficulties this couple encounters are mere coincidences with the friendship, irrespective of the hardships, being the more important portion. Bose clearly wants to tell the audience this and is successful in doing so.
The character definitions are such with which we don’t question and the narrative gives us no reason to so as to assume that Mohan is a deceptive man. Baby Farida’s character that becomes attached to the friends, giving them money at every opportunity, is probably the most well defined character in the film. Her caretaker ironically being the sister of Mohan is well played out in the latter parts of the film. Baby Farida provides much entertainment as a spoiled, yet intelligent, young girl.
It’s rare for actors who feature in super-hit films like this to fade away like Sushil and Sudhir Kumar did. The actors were featured in little to no films after Dosti. It may be because of their normal looks and more so that their author backed roles required more of naturalness than talent. Nevertheless Sudhir and Sushil both deliver excellent honest performances as the main duo and depict the right emotives accurately. Sudhir as the blind Mohan delivers a performance more note-worthy. The supporting actors perform ably with none standing out and in that sense, emphasizing the screenplay which revolves solely around the journey of these two dosts. Sanjay Khan, another popular actor of yesteryear who disappeared, performs well as Meena (Uma Rajoo)’s husband, and Uma Rajoo stands out as a heroine who doesn’t appear much throughout the film. More specifically, at the point where she realizes that her brother has returned. Of the supporting actors, Sanjay Khan’s character stands out the most.
Interestingly enough, even this film, a thirty-year-old elder to its recent products, has a trademark Rajshri characteristic, which probably started it for the future endeavors to follow. That is, the animal/pet, which saves the day, in this, film the popular dog- Taffy.
Dosti is a touching film; I can’t tell you how many times I have heard that (and “make sure you have napkins” as well). However, the film stands out even more so on a film making aspect. The film doesn’t rely on horrific occurrences to depict the hardship of a normal man, and on the same not doesn’t rely on clichés to carry itself and its message successfully. Undoubtedly one of the best films from the Rajshri production vault that not only touches the viewer but causes the viewer to applaud the film making venture itself. An excellent piece of well made touching cinema.