Of moustaches and music

Parichay is a sweet movie about evolving relationships

Gulzar's Parichay might remind you of The Sound of Music, but it is much more

It's a deadlock. The proud and disciplinarian Rai Sahab (Pran) is entrusted with the care of his late (and estranged) son's five children. The kids hate their grandfather — they call him "bbuddah" when he's not around and drive away all the tutors who dare to home-school them. Their pranks run from the banal (breaking the legs of a chair) to downright ingenious (placing a candle on a tortoise). Enter the sweet-natured, empathetic teacher, Ravi (Jeetendra), who follows a simple philosophy: Musafir hoon yaaron…Na ghar hai na thikana…Mujhe chalte jaana hai…Bas chalte jaana. He wins the heart of badi didi Rama (Jaya Bhaduri) and bridges the gap between Rai Sahab and the children prompting Rai Sahab to declare, "Ravi ne mere bachchon se mera parichay kara diya."

Gulzar's Parichay is a guaranteed joyride. The film is the first of the Gulzar- Jeetendra combination (Khushboo and Kinara followed). Similarities with The Sound of Music abound. It's a cross Parichay will always have to bear. Gulzar says, "They say there is an influence of The Sound of Music in this film. If it reminds you of the English film, then it does. There is a superficial resemblance but for me Parichay began with Rajkumar Mitra's Bengali story, Rangeen Uttarain. Rakhee ji read it and said let's buy the rights. I had not yet turned a director and we didn't have enough money to buy the rights so we requested Hemant da (Hemant Kumar) to put in a word for us to Mitra," says Gulzar.

Gulzar eventually made his directorial debut with Mere Apne. Parichay was revived when Jeetendra's brother-in-law VK Sobti told Gulzar that the actor was keen to work with him. "Jeetu was my neighbour. When I met him he said to me, 'Pados mein rehta hoon, tumhe meri yaad nahin aayi jab tum Mere Apne bana rahe they'. I told him that I had approached him for Mere Apne but he had rejected me. So Jeetu retorted, 'Then you must learn how to narrate a story,'" says Gulzar. Sobti and Jeetendra went on to produce Parichay.

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