Madhuban mein radhika naache re!

Few other films or songs saw Dilip Kumar depicting a personality so unlike what he was usually known for – the tragedy king. Kohinoor can well be called a fairy tale with all the masala and pizzazz of a prince-loves-princess-evil villain-who-wants-princess and throne formula. But it was also instrumental in converting Meena Kumari, who was seen more in sobbing/tortured soul/unhappy for eternity/quiet roles, into a lovable, chirpy princess.

Wikepedia says Dilip Kumar’s psychiatrist advised him to perform lighter roles to bring him back from the brink of utter depression that came from his earlier emotionally demanding roles. Phew.

I do have a question about the song: Who sang for Mukri?

Moving on, the sitar: Yes, Dilip Kumar played it! How impressive is that? Not much, compared to the next bit I am about to tell you
about! See the screenshots on the left? Got it from this ( blog – it is a mongoose. Who wants horses and elephants when you can get a mongoose? And a pet on a leash that saves your life by killing a snake that’s let loose on you by the bad guys? I’d say the mongoose had a big hand in making this film a hit.

I know this is cheap but I wrote this post only for the mongoose. There’s not much other trivia I can give you this time! Hope you were surprised enough 😛



22 thoughts on “Madhuban mein radhika naache re!

  1. Thanks Neha for using the picture from my site but I would have appreciated more if you would have given the name of the site too in the post as your reference course.



  2. I remember reading that Dilip Kumar learnt the sitar so that he could strum the strings accurately to keep in tune with the music in Madhuban mein Radhika nache!! That is method acting.

    Also the scene with Dilip acting as Jeevan’s reflection in the mirror as been done many times in diff movies but I doubt ever with so much effect as in Kohinoor!!

  3. Neha, I don’t know how I missed this post. 🙂 Lovely song; one of my favourite Mohammed Rafi numbers. Thank you for listing this.

    But Meena Kumari was certainly known for her lighter roles long before Kohinoor. Azad, Miss Mary, Mem Saheb, Ilzaam et al, came way before Kohinoor. In fact, her ‘tragedy queen’ image was a 60s creation, when producers from the South began to remake the Tamil and Telugu tearjerkers (with doppelgangers Savitri/Jamuna) in Hindi with Meena Kumari. They destroyed her, as they did Nutan, another fantastic actress who deserved more than the bottles of glycerine.

    • I think Meena Kumari identified herself with such tragic roles due to the failure of her marriage with Kamal Amrohi. Maybe that’s why she chose them herself.

      Nutan, on the other hand, may have had a mixed bag of roles in the 60s. They were not only tear jerkers like Saraswathi Chandra (1968) and Milan (1967). She also did Tere Ghar Ke Samne and Dil Hi To Hai (both 1963).

      Of course, her role in Bandini (1963) portrayed her as a very aggressive and strong woman. I woudn’t call it a tear jerker role…

      • I am not sure if Meena Kumari always wished to do tragic roles (although I know she actively wanted to act in Sahib, Bibi. She was living her life through that film. so sad.

    • I wouldn’t say Nutan was destroyed in the 60s. She chose to stay away from movies after her marriage in 1959 and 1st child in 1962. Bimalda convinced her to make a comeback with “Bandini” (1963).

    • By ‘destroy’, I meant that two such fine actresses got trapped into the stereotypical martyred roles, that needed oodles of glycerine and not much by way of histrionics. Don’t you think that the two of them could have sleepwalked through those melodramatic tearjerkers?

      Shashi, Meena Kumari definitely didn’t ‘choose’ tragic roles. They were the only roles that were ‘female-oriented’ so to speak, and gave the actresses scope for something other than just singing 4 songs. That was the era when the production houses from the south made their way into Hindi films; and we saw the worst excesses of the Tamil and Telugu industry being inflicted on us again and again and again.

      • It is not fair to judge the heroines of yesteryears by towards standards – it is testament to the histrionic skills of the actresses that they made themselves memorable even in roles which are forgettable.
        Today’s heroines are more remembered for what they do off screen – their on screen performances even in author backed roles often fall flat – for example Aisha!!
        And before we condemn the south inspired movies – I still remember they had some great music. It was only in the Jeetendra and his Himmatwala movies that the south flicks became so predictable and dropped in quality.

  4. @PRitam – God forbid! I’m definitely *not* judging them by today’s standards. I think both of them were fantastic actresses; they did do a wonderful job in the limited roles they got at the time (and both had had author-backed roles before); but saying south Indian films had great music is by no means a compliment.

    I’m south Indian, and proudly so, but that truly does not mean that I shut my eyes to the horrible films that came out of those industries in those days. With a few exceptions, they were the tear-jerkers, where the woman had to be ‘traditional’ if ‘good’, and more importantly, a martyr who did the most idiotic things to ‘save’ the honour of the family. Once those films began to be remade in Hindi, we lost our strong female characters.

    Let’s not conflate the two issues here. Nutan and Meena Kumari were capable of a darn sight more than crying over their men. Offhand, I can cite at least ten films for both actresses where they ruled the screen – not one of them will be a south production.

    • @ Anu – I was trying to put down any particular movies, though I think I understand where you are coming from – the south movies those days dyed in the “Traditional” archaic values – while bombay movies were more “modern”! But I have to admit I enjoyed all movies – and at the time was too young and ignorant to be even aware of the provenance of the movies, especially since they all had the same stars!

      In foresight, the old south movies you refer to have now got another avatar in the Saas Bahu tele serials!

    • My theory is that when the heroines reached a mature age they couldn’t possibly do the chirpy, jumpy roles of younger heroines.
      What else could a 30+ heroine do?
      These were the roles that suited them from among the films that were being made.

      At least they were heroine oriented whatever else they may have been unlike the kind of roles heroines do today.

  5. Hahaha, Neha! I appreciate your reason for writing the post 😀

    This is one of the best songs of Rafi. I just love it. Everything is lovely, the song, the dance….and the climax (the cobra mongoose fight).

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