Revisiting “DIL EK MANDIR”(1963)

Cinema of the Week: DIL EK MANDIR (1963)

By : Venkata Raman G


“DIL EK MANDIR”(1963) is a Chitralaya Production presentation. It is directed by C V Sridhar and the star cast includes Raaj kumar, Rajendra kumar, Meena Kumari, Baby Padmini, Naagesh, Krishna Kumari, Achala Sachdev, Shubha Khote, Mehmood, Manmohan Krishna, Randhir, Sundar, Ram Mohan, Keshav Rana etc.

This Is a remake of the original Tamil film “Nenjil Oar Aalayam” a classic in the realms of tamil film history by Sridhar. The movie was later remade in Telugu as Manase Mandiram (1966) starring Akkineni Nageshwara Rao, Savithri & Kongara Jaggayya and also in Kannada as Kumkuma Rakshe (1977) starring Rajinikanth, Manjula & Ashok and Malayalam as Hridayam Oru Kshethram (1976) starring Madhu, Srividya.& Raghavan.

The Movie:
“Dil Ek Mandir” revolves around the tragic romance of Dr. Dharmesh and Sita. They vow to get married after Dharmesh returns from abroad on completion of higher studies. By a quirk of fate, Sita is married to a caring businessman Ram and accepts her new role in stoic silence. Traumatised on return by Sita’s marriage, Dharmesh dedicates his life to serving cancer patients in a far flung nursing home. One day, unaware of Dharmesh’s whereabouts, Sita brings forth her cancer afflicted husband to the nursing home and the sudden encounter disturbs the rhythm of their lives. Petrified that Dharmesh may not provide Ram with a fair treatment, Sita wishes to take her husband to another hospital, but is dissuaded by Dharmesh as he promises to do his best to save Ram. Meanwhile, convinced he wouldn’t survive for long, Ram worries about Sita’s future and when he overhears the conversation of the two friends, he suggests they get married after his death. But this proposal is promptly rejected by both as preposterously immoral. Seized with an overwhelming burden to prove his integrity, lest he be accused of trying to get Sita, Dharmesh concentrates on the complicated surgery ignoring food and rest. After a successful operation, an elated Dharmesh runs out to convey the good news to Sita but stumbles and dies out of sheer exhaustion. The film ends with Ram and Sita leading Dharmesh’s mother to the inauguration of a hospital built in his memory. There is a comic sub plot of Lallulal (Mehmood) and Mainabhansi (Shobha Khote). These two make such an awesome couple on screen

The film was completed in record short period and must surely rank as a Herculean effort, considering it had three major stars of the era — Rajendra Kumar, Meena Kumari and Raaj Kumar. Obviously, what made it possible was the tight script by Raj Baldev Raj and Arjun Dev Rashk based on an engrossing story by C. V. Sridhar. Incidentally, while Rashk received the Filmfare trophy for best dialogue, Raaj Kumar and Rajendra Kumar won honours as Best Supporting Actor and Best Popular Actor respectively. C.V. Sridhar must be complimented for extracting stunning performances from all actors. The deft camera work of P.N. Sundaram and Ajay Vincent, who made a mark with this Film, adds to the emotional impact of the story. Shot in black and white, each frame is embellished with grace through some wonderful juxtaposition of light and shade. Many scenes are gripping as well as lyrical in execution.

Shot entirely in a Hospital, “Dil Ek Mandir” is a timeless story of moral courage and devotion in the face of adversity. Overall, the film binds you with its intrinsic simplicity and you empathise with every character. A heart-rending Movie and you yearn for the era when compassion and integrity were essential traits of human relations. It is a good remake and gave Sridhar a foothold in the Mumbai film world

The Music:
Another stellar part in the film is the stunning music by Shankar Jaikishan. They are on a melodious roll here. Every song is fantastic . SJ cleverly uses Suman Kalyanpur in 3 songs. Even today, “Dil Ek Mandir” enchants with its haunting Music. The movie is a musical blockbuster studded with seven musical gems as under;
1. Dil ek mandir hai – Hasrat jaipuri – Rafi, Suman Kalyanpur(Raag Jogiya)
2. Hum tere pyaar me saara aalam – Hasrat Jaipuri – Lata. (Raag Tilak Kamod)
3. Joohi ki kali meri laadli – Shailendra – Suman kalyanpur
4. Ruk jaa raat thahar jaa re chandaa – Shailendra – Lata.
5. Yaad na jaaye beete dino ki – Shailendra – Rafi.(Raag Keerawani)
6. Yahaan koi nahin tera mere siwaa – Hasrat jaipuri – Rafi,
7. Paalanhaare Raam hain – Shailendra – Suman Kalyanpur

Here is the Youtube Link to the song “Hum tere pyaar me saara aalam”-

This is a song with Lata Mangeshkar’s angelic rendition and Shankar-Jaikishan’s exquisitely crafted melody. With beautiful lyrics by Hasrat Jaipuri full of Traditional Values, the artistic beauty of this song is preserved in the way Lata’s voice drips with pathos as she navigates through this delicate tune. Meena Kumari’s on-screen portrayal is suitably melodramatic and the beautiful sitar interludes have been highlighted by including the instrument in the song’s picturization.

Film songs that stay completely true to the raga are rare, and we just have a prime example here that proves SJ’s mastery over Hindusthani ragas and in this Movie he strays away from his favourite Bhairavi and explores different ragas with aplomb.

Meena Kumari’s one finger on her left hand got amputed after an accident and she cleverly hides her left hand in all her Movies. Here one can see her playing the Sitar with one hand without changing the notes just to hide her left hand. The hand shown in the start & close-ups are someone else’s.

Venkata Raman G's photo.
Venkata Raman G's photo.

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