Tum Hi Ho Mehboob Mere (1969)
Cast: Waheed Murad, Deeba, Rozina, Qavi, Nanna
Director: Shabab Kairanvi
Nutshell: Typical 1960s convoluted family oriented melodrama full of unfortunate coincidences, a whole lot of bad luck and the usual emotional mess.
Producer-Director team A. Hameed and Shabab Kairanvi had got a good thing going. Working together they hit the jackpot with Insaniyat and tasted more success together before teaming up for another emotional romantic love triangle in Tum Hi Ho Mehboob Mere. As the 60s came to an end Waheed Murad was riding on an unprecedented wave of popularity and everything and anything he touched seemingly turned to gold. Tum Hi Ho Mehboob Mere was to be tailored to fit his demands make maximum mileage from the immense popularity as a singing, dancing romantic hero like no other. Deeba was cast along with Rozina making up the potential love triangle. Films of this kind were popular at the time containing heaps of melodrama, intrigue and some heavy-duty emotions. Along with some solid songs, this formula seemed to do nicely, drawing the women as a large percentage of its audience.
Tum Hi Ho Mehboob Mere starts with Rozina and Deeba as the very best of chums and “sisters” even though it is made very clear that one of them was born to a “driver zaat” and therefore probably has blood that contains some dubious cells of potential evil or crime or those evil activities that the poor are drawn to by nature. But their relationship is so solid that Deeba returns from the tailor master without her new outfit even though it was ready! The reason being that Rozina’s outfit wasn’t ready and she couldn’t possibly wear her new suit and not have her favourite person in the world be kept waiting.
As is with these films, it is time for fate to intervene and throw a spanner into the mix whilst at it. Deeba goes off to care for her aunt in Murree where she finds romance and love with a dashing Waheed Murad who is visiting along with his sidekick Qavi, also looking for love. Waheed Murad or Mehboob as he calls himself is told by his father that he has accepted his friend’s daughter as his son’s wife to be. Dismayed at not even having seen his prospective wife, Qavi and Murad head off to the city to check the girl out and when Deeba show up from the address they were searching for Waheed Murad is satisfied enough to return home to tell his father that he will willingly accept his dad’s friend’s proposal. Unknown to him of course is the fact that the proposal is for the other girl, Rozina who also lives at the same address. Thus, the wedding plans go ahead as planned.
When Deeba returns from Murree to tell Rozina about her new love, Rozina also replies that she too has snagged herself a handsome prince and is set to get married to him. Of course, that handsome prince is none other than Waheed Murad and the complications are only just beginning to shape up.
The next chapter is one of sadness and supreme self-sacrifice and of sucking up the tears for the betterment of those around you and feeling terribly sorry for yourself bursting into self-pitying songs at random.
Rozina keeps on telling her friend that despite marriage her husband doesn’t come near her and she can’t understand why. Deeba meanwhile meets a terrible accident and Waheed Murad is torn to shreds emotionally until finally people overhear conversations and the jumble of emotionally charged wires slowly begins to untangle itself.
The first half of the film showcases Waheed Murad at his boyish chocolate-hero best in his dark glasses and his wooing the nakhre-wali girl who takes three or four songs to get completely smitten by his unrelenting charm. In the second half, the emotions are slowly turned on as the plot thickens with nasty complications and sacrifices must be made for the cause.
Though Tum Hi Ho Mehboob Mere is never dull viewing and yet it is also not quite fiery enough nor innovative or edgy or indeed engaging enough to stand out from an already crowded market of similarly themed films. The music is okay but not particularly memorable and though there is a climactic, tear-jerking Mehdi Hassan number picturized on a morose Waheed Murad, it doesn’t have the power to get the tear ducts flowing. The problem with Tum Hi Ho Mehboob Mere is that though it is quite funny in the early parts it isn’t funny enough and while the romance and the songs are okay they aren’t really memorable enough (Fasana e Dil, the most enduring) and finally when it comes to the bit when the audience is supposed to be choking and holding back the tears, you really don’t feel involved or invested enough to feel like shedding any. The masala that it takes to make a success for this kind of movie is lacking an element or two and it just doesn’t elevate to levels that desi audiences are sated by. Unsurprisingly the film faded rapidly at the Box Office for its inability to stand out from the crowd.
Yasin Goreja, a film historian and personal friend wrote the story and perhaps he didn’t quite get the masala up to levels high enough for audiences as audiences were now accustomed to major emotional trauma with films like Zerqa and this in comparison was unworthy of shedding the tears over. So, essentially Tum Hi Ho Mehboob Mere is a comedy cum romance with a heap of tragedy thrown in, but it just doesn’t have the punch and fails to deliver the knock out blows, nor does it have music with that golden touch.