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ITTEFAQ (1969) - A brave and unusual ‘inspired’ classic directed by Yash Chopra. (Movies To See Before You Die - Suspense)

01 Nov, 2017 | Movies To See Before You Die / Suspense

In the creative world, a classic gem actually gets made when no one is trying to create any masterpiece making some kind of conscious effort. And ITTEFAQ is certainly one of those unintentional classics made just as per its name, by a coincidence, a mere ITTEFAQ that happened in the year 1960 as a result of an unavoidable delay in finalizing another film produced by B. R. Productions
However it turned to be a rare, quality surprise for both the viewers as well as the industry with many interesting facts associated in its making as mentioned below:
Adding to the list of suspense and thriller movies BR films was known for, ITTEFAQ (meaning Coincidence) came as one of the unusual and boldest films of its times defying many prevalent norms in terms of subject and technical aspects too surprising one and all. 
Made as a quickie with its script written in a week and shoot completed within a month, the film got planned as Chopra brothers wished to reshoot some sections of their almost ready film AADMI AUR INSAAN but couldn’t do so due to a crucial problem. It had Dharmendra, Feroz Khan and Saira Banu playing the lead roles, but Saira had gone for her medical treatment abroad and was supposed to return only after a couple of months or so. Within this available time period director Yash Chopra decided to make a small, experimental film inspired from a Gujarati play he had recently seen titled DHOOMMAS. 
Incidentally the play was also an inspired version of Monte Doyle's original play SIGNPOST TO MURDER that had already been made into an English film in 1964 directed by George Englund with the same title.

It was the story of a murderer who runs away from the mental asylum and takes shelter in a house where a lady is all alone waiting for her husband to return from his official business tour. During his stay in the night, he gets close to the lonely lady and then witnesses a corpse within the house leading to further complications and dark hidden secrets coming out of the closet.

Yash Chopra got the play re-written and converted it into a twin murder mystery instead of a single murder plot adding more interesting angles, clues and depth into its narration resulting in an even better and gripping film in comparison to the English adaptation.

So the script was reportedly written in a week and the shoot completed in less than a month.
But that was not all, as he bravely experimented in its almost every department right from the casting, cinematography, art-direction, background score, presentation, publicity and the final release (done within 3 months of its making). Featuring Rajesh Khanna and Nanda in the lead (performing brilliantly) along with Bindu, Madan Puri, Iftekhar and Sujit Kumar, ITTEFAQ was a film of less than two hours of duration with no song, no romantic sub-plot and no interval released with a specific strategy (along a documentary). In fact it was a kind of repeat act by BR Films as they had earlier made another courageous masterpiece KANOON released in 1960 as a focused, song less courtroom drama featuring Ashok  Kumar in the lead. An innovative background score by Salil Choudhary truly enhanced ITTEFAQ’s overall impact to many folds and coincidentally (Ittefaq se) KANOON also had its background score by Salil Chaudhary along with Nanda being there too as the film’s leading lady.
Winning over the viewers as well as the industry ITTEFAQ won two Filmfare trophies as BEST DIRECTOR AWARD for Yash Chopra and BEST SOUND AWARD for M. A. Shaikh. Besides its three leading names, Rajesh Khanna, Nanda and Bindu also got their deserving nominations for BEST ACTOR, BEST ACTRESS and BEST ACTRESS In a Supporting Role, respectively.
So in case you haven’t seen this Yash Chopra's (inspired) classic yet, then do go for it at the earliest and see how the director dared to make that film in late 60s beginning with a psychedelic (musical) animation before the titles just to set the mood in and then a long hand-held camera shot moving into a house (with the sound of foot-steps) creating tension right from its very first scene without any usual introductions. Further just see how he along his talented technicians effectively played with many unique shots, lighting, shadows (the courtroom scene), editing and camera angles throughout the short duration giving the viewers a completely out of the box, never before kind of experience in the theater.
Interestingly the film has now been remade in 2017 with some new twists added in its plot directed by Abhay Chopra, the grandson of B.R. Chopra continuing the reputed legacy. However it will be almost impossible to deliver anything even close to what Yash Chopra amazingly did four decades back in 1969.

(Note: The article was first published on UC-News Mobile App in November 2017) 

Tags : ITTEFAQ (1969) Article by Bobby Sing at bobbytalkscinema.com, Movies To See Before You Die, Must Watch Movies List by Bobby Sing
01 Nov 2017 / Comment ( 0 )
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