By the mid 1950s, Dilip Kumar was given psychiatric advice to play lighter roles as his ‘King of Tragedy’ image in films like Mela (1948), Andaz (1949), Babul (1950) Deedar (1951) and of course, Devdas (1955) began to take a heavy emotional toll on him. Kohinoor, directed by SU Sunny, is one such ‘light’ fun-filled film.
The plot is simple and typical and doesn’t really require an analysis. A Prince (Dilip Kumar) and a princess (Meena Kumari) are betrothed to each other. But the path of true love never runs smoothly. His uncle wants him dead so he can rule his kingdom and her commander-in-chief (Jeevan) wants her all to himself. Several obstacles, meetings, partings, songs and swordfights later, of course, all’s well that ends well!
In Kohinoor, Dilip Kumar actually seems to enjoy himself to the hilt in the admittedly enjoyable goings on of royal intrigue, playful romance and swashbuckling action. He also shows razor sharp comic timing, be it wooing the heroine in disguise, doing a ‘Groucho Marx’ with Jeevan (the famous mirror scene from Ducksoup (1932)) or bashing up the baddies. Such was his impact that he deservedly won the Filmfare Award for Best Actor for this role ahead of his comparatively more heavy-handed Prince Salim act in Mughal-e-Azam the same year.
The film is also quite a change of image for Meena Kumari, known like Dilip Kumar for her intense tragic roles. She too responds with a refreshing, uninhibited performance as compared to the studied mannerisms and passive postures of many of her tragic roles. It’s a real pity she didn’t do more such films.
Of the supporting cast, Jeevan makes a slimy enough commander-in-chief lusting after Kumari while Leela Chitnis efficiently enough plays yet another of her maternal roles. Kum Kum deserves a special mention for her fine dancing in the film.
Naushad’s music adds to the films value and is memorable, among others, for the love duets Do Sitaron ka Zameen Par Hai Milan, Koi Pyar ki Hai Dekhe Jadugari and of course that all time great Mohammed Rafi gem Madhuban Mein Radhika Naache Re for which Dilip Kumar learnt to play the sitar so that his playing of the instrument appears convincing enough on screen.
All in all, Kohinoor is classic ‘paisa vasool’ time-pass entertainment where it’s fun to see Dilip Kumar and Meena Kumari enjoying themselves on screen for a change!
Hindi, Costume, Action, Comedy, Romance, Black & White