Khamosh Nigahen (1971)
Cast: Waheed Murad, Rozina, Husna, Munawar Zareef, Tamanna
Director: Jamil Akhtar
Synopsis: typical 70’s melodrama with equal doses of romance, comedy and intrigue
Back in 1971 Waheed Murad was ruling the roost in Lollywood with a young Nadeem beginning to establish himself as a young pretender and Mohammad Ali’s girth and receding hairline making it increasingly difficult to command the roles of a young college freshman. Khamosh Nigahen was one of several Waheed Murad vehicles that were churned out hoping to cash in on his huge mass popularity yet this one starring the dusky Rozina failed to click probably due to the fact that the filmmakers were so busy concentrating on the fact that they were able to shoot on location in Japan that they neglected ensuring the script had enough emotional and dramatic juice in it to be palatable to local audiences who crave their emotional roller coaster rides to have the most manic ups and downs, twists and swerves.
While Khamosh Nigahen does have its share of intrigue it is utterly lightweight when it comes to the emotional-dramatic-tear jerking stakes and though the Japanese backdrop is a minor attraction it can hardly make up for the lack of emotional and dramatic masala that he film lacks to fatally. The songs too are unmemorable and thus Khamosh Nigahen was destined to fail. Rozina too, it has to be said was a little bit of a risk as the romantic lead as she was better known for her negative roles and though pretty and pert, she perhaps lacked the glamour of the competing beauties of her era.
The film itself is engaging enough but quite simply the script lacks juice or masala and is far too insipid to score. The film begins with Waheed Murad being informed by his doctor that his condition is such that his eyes could desert him at any moment, though that said, they could return at any moment as well. He is told to avoid brightness and colour but tells his doctor that he cannot stop his devotion to beauty and a colourful life and will live it up until the dark day arrives. Meanwhile bright and pretty Rozina is the life and soul of the office of the Daily Aman newspaper where she works as the publications brilliant young investigative reporter. She is assigned to go to a party hosted by the famously debauched playboy Waheed Murad and get his interview and gauge the lifestyle of the rich and famous.
Rozina’s younger brother is a wastrel with psychotic tendencies and a frightening hairstyle. He steals thousands from work and loses it all at a betting house. Rozina returns from work to find him hanging from a rope and wouldn’t have known it that she would have been better off not rescuing him as he proves to be a thorn in her side in times to come. Waheed has an ardent admirer in the sultry Husna who keeps uttering the expression Ooh La La! Over and over but means business as she is engaged to Waheed and is hoping to lord over his millions one day soon.
When Rozina rescues her brother, he begs her not to see the renowned playboy Waheed Murad who had initially seemed like a perfectly decent person. She is forced to accept her brother’s plea and promises to steer clear of Murad but when she is sent to Japan to cover the Expo there she didn’t bargain for Waheed Murad also being on the trip and on the seat next to her on the plane. In fact, every step of the way during the journey and the trip to Japan Murad is nothing but utterly charming and it doesn’t take Rozina too long to warm to him despite the promise to her vile loser of a brother.
The catty Husna is none too pleased to learn of Rozina and Murad’s budding romance and approaches Rozina’s twisted brother Parvaiz to solve their collective problem. Rozina and Murad are hitting it off brilliantly and it looks as though marriage is around the corner when suddenly Murad’s eyes fail and he stands Rozina up and heads back for Pakistan leaving her a letter explaining that she was just a mere plaything for him (supreme sacrifice!). So, a shell shocked Rozina returns to her schizoid brother who starts to accuse her of having an affair with Murad. Meanwhile Husna pays a goon to deform Rozina’s face with acid and also decides to murder Murad though she seems to forget that to kill him before she married him wouldn’t get her his millions! Anyway, matters bubble to an eventual boiling point yet that boiling point is not the sizzler that it takes for a film of this nature to hit the target.
Murad is effortless as the rich playboy with a heart of gold and Rozina too shines in her role as the reporter who is emotionally caught in a game of tug of war between her demented brother and her love. Husna adds a touch of style with her Ooh La La’s and her murderous intent and Tamanna is in top form as the evil Ayah who is Husna’s mole in Waheed Murad’s house. Munawar Zareef plays the role of Waheed Murad’s comic sidekick in this film and though he is given loads of screen time, Zareef is hideously off colour and is hardly able to raise any laughs at all. Maybe he was just in terrible form or that the script just didn’t do the trick for him, either way he has rarely been less amusing than he is in this movie.
On the whole Khamosh Nigahen is a fairly enjoyable melodrama yet lacks the emotional weight, the spicy masala that films of this nature need in order to succeed. Having the Japanese backdrop proved to be a fatal weakness rather than the winning attraction that the film’s producers and director had hoped for. A case of misguided priorities, yet having said that Khamosh Nigahen is reasonably engaging – good enough for a dull Sunday afternoon.