The old-world charm of Delhi basking in the radiance of winter sunlight, sprawling lawns, easy paced bazaars, wide and empty roads, and Lambretta scooters provides a fitting locale to the feud of two die-hard business rivals, Lala Jagannath (Om Prakash) and Seth Karamchand (Harendranath Chattopadhyay). Matters get worse when Jagannath’s architect son Rakesh (Dev Anand) and Karamchand’s daughter Sulekha (Nutan) not only fall in love but Rakesh is unknowingly selected by both businessmen to design and build their dream houses on plots situated bang opposite one another! Helped by Sulekha’s brother Ronny (Rajendranath in a surprisingly restrained role), Rakesh constructs two bungalows that looks exactly the same for the old foes and then makes them forget their ill will towards one another, thus sealing the triumph of his romance.
A rom-com in its true sense, ‘Tere Ghar Ke Saamne’ refuses to age. In fact, like a good wine, the more it ages, the better it gets. Well, this reminds me of the song, ‘Ek ghar banaaunga tere ghar ke saamne’, where Dev Anand’s character, Rakesh, an architect, misses his beloved, Sulekha (Nutan) so much that he could see her inside the goblet of his drink. If you notice carefully, Dev Anand holds the goblet in different ways all throughout the song. And when the character, Madan puts an ice cube inside it, Nutan feels cold and asks Dev to scoop the ice cube out of the goblet.
Composed by SD Burman, the title song is an interesting conversation between a dreamer (Dev Anand) and realist (Nutan). Lyricist Hasrat Jaipuri’s words take the centre stage when Mohd Rafi sighs, Ulafat me Taj chhoote, ye bhi tumhein yaad hoga, ulafat me Taj bane, ye bhi tumhein yaad hoga…Mein bhi kuch banaaunga, tere ghar ke saamne, duniya basaunga, tere ghar ke saamne.”
Just when you are reeling under the influence of this gem of a song, the song, ‘Tu kahan yeh bataa’ captures your imagination and the indelible memory of Nutan flashing a thousand watt smile literally lights up the screen. To give the devil (angel) his due, this magic could never have been possible without Mohd. Rafi’s ability to blend his voice with the inimitable style of Dev Anand. Place this song in a different film, different situation or different actor, and it’s most likely to fall flat on the face. Check out this song on YouTube and you will surely agree. The songs, ‘Dekho rootha na karo’ and ‘Sun le tu dil ki sadaa’ are indeed worth replaying.
Having said that, ‘Tere Ghar Ke Saamne’ couldn’t have been what it is without two veterans, Om Prakash and Harendranath Chattopadhyay, who play the warring parents of the leads. The opening scene where they throw ‘expletives’ like ‘Aenak wale akhrot’ and ‘Aaloo Bukhara’ to each other with a gleeful abandon.
The other artists who deserve mention here are editor Babu Shaikh, who cuts the film to perfection, never letting the melodrama take over and Ratra, the cinematographer, who captures the romantic moments of the leads in a distinct style, especially the title song where Dev Anand sees Nutan inside the goblet. A scene of kind was unheard of in those times when VFX didn’t even exist.
‘Tere Ghar Ke Saamne’ is replete with comic situations rather than slapstick. The restaurant scene where Dev Anand is stuck between both warring families and how he manages to wriggle out of the awkward situation is sure to leave you in splits. Along with entertaining and making you laugh, ‘Tere Ghar Ke Saamne’ also sends across a social message that, “Not all that is new is bad, nor is all that is old good”.
One sincerely hopes that our filmmakers take a leaf from ‘Tere Ghar Ke Saamne’ and come up with a comedy where the audience needn’t leave their brains at home. Visit this classic if you haven’t and revisit if you already have.