Valluri had many stellar accomplishments in his distinguished career, but his 19 long years (1965-1984) as NAL’s Director were so intense, passionate, and momentous that everything before and after those two decades pales somewhat in comparison.
Dev Anand and Nutan return to Delhi of the early 1960s in Tere Ghar Ke Samne. Sadhana is enigmatic and beautiful in Woh Kaun Thi. Jeetendra manages to hold his own in the ridiculous Yaar Mera. Dev Anand and Sharmila Tagore try to kick up patriotic fervour in Yeh Gulistan Hamara.
Mehmood has his moments but he eventually leaves you groaning in Sadhu Aur Shaitaan. Guru Dutt provides company to the troubled Meena Kumari in Sahib Biwi Aur Ghulam. In spite of Amitabh Bachchan it requires grit and courage to survive Sanjog. Nutan shows off her magnificent acting prowess in Saudagar.
Vinod Khanna neutralizes every threat to Leena Chandavarkar’s life in Qaid. Shankar-Jaikishan’s music, and Sadhana’s beauty keeps Rajkumar afloat. Rickshawala has threats, tears, screams, seizures and, thankfully, Neetu Singh!
Dev Anand is earnest, Zeenat Aman is enticing, but it is hard to find any method or meaning in Prem Shastra. Guru Dutt is a poet that no one recognizes in the dark, melancholy but gripping Pyaasa. Vyjayantimala isn’t even pretending not to get bored in Pyar Hi Pyar.
Sanjeev Kumar manages to embellish even an absurd film like Paras. Raj Kapoor and Mehmood ensure that the classification problem fails in Parvarish. Jaya Bhaduri stays with you long after Piya Ka Ghar ends.
Meena Kumari tries to be the voice of sanity and hope in Mere Apne. Long before Mr India there was Mr X in Bombay. Munimji is saved by Dev Anand’s suave charm. Dharmendra is determined to destroy the evil of capitalism in 150 minutes in Naya Zamana.
Dharmendra picks necklaces from rich maharani necks in Loafer. Why Meena Kumari chose to be silent in Main Chup Rahungi. Dev Anand and Nutan are a bewitching duo in Manzil. Bullets fly, bombs go off, and horses tumble in Mera Gaon Mera Desh.