Dilip Kumar is one of the greatest actors the world has ever seen, there is no doubt about it. There is a perception among younger audiences that Dilip Saab could only do tragic roles, but as a thespian, he has proved his mettle in all kind of characters. In Azaad we get to see his comic and fun side.
Azaad is a remake of Tamil film Maalaikallan (Thief of Hills), this was the first big hit of MGR and the screenplay for which was written by none other than Karunanidhi. Dilip Kumar was undergoing counselling when he was approached by S M Naidu to play this role and he took this up as a challenge.
Set in the fictional town of Bhopur, cops are trying to catch Azaad (Dilip Kumar) who is being suspected of murders and dacoity in town. We have Shobha (Meena Kumari) who is living with her adopted parents who are searching a groom for her like all Indian parents do. We have Sunder (Pran) who is a baddie who wants to marry Shobha. For a major part of the film we just see him smoking and making rings from it. We have an elderly Khan Saab (Dilip Kumar) who is a neighbour of Shobha. The rest of story goes on to show how in a turn of events Shobha falls in love with Azaad, how Azaad has to persuade the police and her parents that he is not a thief or murderer.
One of the highlights of Azaad is that we get to see him in various characters here, it is such a delight to watch him in such a role. He looks suave and dapper as Azaad. It is a surprise that during the whole movie even for once you do not see him cry.
There is comic track involving constable #441 (Om Prakash) and his suggestions to his senior (Raj Mehra) to catch Azaad . Even though it is the part of the film’s main story it sometimes hinders the main story.Another thing I liked about the movie are the songs, especially the famous Applam Chapplam. It is one of the best dance sequences in Indian cinema I have seen. The other two songs which I loved being Radha na bole na bole na bole re and Kitna haseen hai mausam.
Azaad is by no means a classic or a swashbuckling romance, but despite too many songs and comic plots it manages to entertain us, especially thanks to Dilip and Meena Kumari’s charisma. And it also reminds us how a good actor can pull of the silliest of plots and make it look convincing.Good songs, a gorgeous looking Meena kumari , fist fights ,stock footage of wild animals and Dilip Kumar, what more do you need? This is a perfect film for lazy Saturday afternoon watch.
P.S- Here’s wishing the thespian Dilip Kumar a very Happy Birthday.