Puthiya Velicham (1979), produced by Subramaniam Kumar and directed by Sreekumaran Thampi was a remake of the Dharmendra starrer Phool aur Patthar (1966), the movie that ‘made’ Dharmendra the action star of Bollywood.
Puthiya Velicham (1979)
Puthiya Velicham (1979) told the story of this career criminal Venu (Jayan), the love of his life, a club dancer called Lily ( Jaya Bharathi), and the entry of a widowed, beautiful woman (Srividya) whom Venu gets acquainted with, in one of his midnight robberies. He stumbles upon her, ailing, bedridden and sinking, in a mansion he breaks into, and takes care of her, and in a peculiar turn of events, ends up taking her and offering her refuge in his bachelor quarters. Lily, desperate to leave the crime-ridden life, wants Venu to leave it all and walk away. But Venu is planning for that final one, the biggest heist of his career, the one that would never even make him want to do another ‘job’, but things take an interesting turn with the new ‘arrival’ at his house.
Jose Prakash, as usual is his crafty, cunning “Boss” who wanted him in the circle rather than walking away from it. It was a role tailor-made for the Machismo of Jayan’s on-screen persona and charisma, and it resonates through every frame of the movie. He was equally or shall I say more effective than the original, in the role, re-written with the existing sensibilities in mind, and Jayan never disappointed. As usual, it is a delight, sitting through the movie as the career criminal Venu, with a heart of gold, goes around pulverizing the real baddies and pulling of diamond heists in the middle of the night!
The songs, written by Sreekumaran Thampi, were set to music by Salil Choudhary and had all the elements that one would expect from him for a fast-paced action thriller such as this. Of the six songs that were composed for the movie, the one that instantly caught your feet tapping was the rocking Jil Jil Jil Chilambanangi sung by P Jayachandran and P Susheela.
Here is Jil Jil Jil Chilambanangi from Puthiya Velicham (1979). Checkout Jayan’s moves !
Here is an excerpt from the movie. Try as I might, I just can’t help cracking up as Jose Prakash says that legendary line, ” Typhoons and hurricanes are always helpful for a bank heist !”
Phool aur Patthar (1966)
Phool aur Patthar (1966), directed by O.P. Ralhan, was one of the defining moments in Dharmendra‘s career, I believe. The ‘Phool aur Patthar’ aspect suited Dharmendra to a T, and along with his charisma and a a fab physique, it was more than enough on screen to make the girls swoon. paired with Meena Kumari as the ‘suffering widow’ and Shashikala as his lady love, it was also rumored that Dharmendra became “uncomfortably close” to Meena Kumari by the time the movie shooting was over. The film is easily one of Shashikala’s best movies! The music was by Ravi Shankar Sharma, known by a more famous tag in Kerala – Bombay Ravi. All the songs were popular, especially the Zindagi mein Pyar karna number, sung by Asha Bhosle.
Here is the club number – Zindagi mein Pyar karna
The song has an uncanny resemblance to Nat King Cole’s Andorinha Preta ( The Brazilian Love Song).
The choice of Jayan for the remake was perfect. Try watching both the movies and it becomes very clear.