banno, dhanno and teja in bumm-bumm-bhole-land

anmol moti (1969) – water, water everywhere

I am going to go berserk with the screen caps once again. There is so much beauty in this film, if I had my way I would upload the entire film for your viewing pleasure. I have been trying so hard in the last couple of weeks to write about ‘Anmol Moti’. But there’s so little to say, so much just to watch.

My mind gets stuck with the first few sequences of the film, Gokul (Jayant) calling himself a ‘paani ka keedha’,

the romance between his son, Manik (Jagdeep) and Lakshmi (Shabnam) under water,

their marriage night and their bedroom with boats in the background outside their beach side window,

and the morning after,

which is also Nariyal Poornima. The festival is celebrated with a vigorous dance choreographed by Gopi Kishen, for Lakshmi and her friends which include Jayshree T,

culminating in the young men of the village going deep-sea diving to look for pearls.

I can’t think of any other Hindi commercial film where the location and the profession of the people is so integrated with the plot. Except perhaps some dacoit films.

People run into the sea, dive in, romance under water, fight under water,

look for pearls under water, get killed under water. Their livelihoods are threatened by rich people wanting to take over their sea, bringing in holiday resorts and foreign tourists who want to deep-sea dive.

The deep sea is also full of plastic plants of the aquarium variety, shells and stones, and a brown octopus with a steely eye who lives for generations and keeps guard over the pearls, and kills anyone who invades his territory.

The underwater scenes take on a different look altogether with the fabulous fisher woman costumes designed by Miss Meena Advani and Miss Neena, who seem to have a fondness for red and turquoise blue.

The fisher woman costumes, including the hair accessories, are not too different from the ones Koli women actually wear, though just that little bit more glamorous.

Even Sir Harisingh, (Sapru) Vijay’s father, wears a blood-red dressing gown,

there are foreign girls in red swimsuits,

and the baby who plays young Rupa wears a red frock.

Rupa (Babita), Gokul’s grand-daughter, also lives partly in water,

partly on land.

She romances Vijay (Jeetendra) underwater,

has a dream sequence in a giant sea shell

in a pond full of firangi synchronized swimmers,

hides from Vijay in water,

and even fights evil western tourist girls underwater. (Sorry, there is no image here, it was just a blur.)

Jeetendra is quite subdued under all this colour and beauty, though he does get to hug a tree

while watching Babita bathe,

which should have been creepy, but is quite cute, given his puppy dog young face. And he gets to hug Babita while she hugs a tree.

Young Jeetendra oozes sexuality not with his looks, but his sheer energy.

Veena plays Jeetendra’s mother and is sadly under-utilized.

I never seem to get my head around a submissive Veena. But she does get to deliver the moral of the story at the end.

I would have done a salaam to the story writer and director, S D Narang and his cameraman, Sudhin Mazumdar, if it were not for this sequence with Gokul and his young orphan grand-daughter Rupa, who he has to take with him on the boat while fishing, since there is no one to take care of her. He falls unconscious because he is ill, and the baby is left alone in a rocking boat.

These shots of the baby were just not funny,

and the baby was crying so hard,

that I would have liked to slap her parents or guardians and everyone associated with filming this scene.

So as not to end on a sad note, there was also a Koli TunTun eating boiled eggs, while sitting on a Rajendranath chair.

There is even some special underwater music composed by Ravi, and most of the important characters dance to it, at some time or the other.


I would say Babita dancing underwater, beats ‘Jaws’ any day, even if the deep sea does look like a murky swimming pool in most shots.

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27 comments on “anmol moti (1969) – water, water everywhere

  1. Violet
    October 23, 2011

    Awesome review Banno! I think I am going to like this movie :)

    • Banno
      October 23, 2011

      Violet, I am sure you would.

  2. memsaab
    October 23, 2011

    Oh! MUST SEE!

    • Banno
      October 24, 2011

      Memsaab, I am sure you will love it.

  3. arvind singh
    October 24, 2011

    presentation reminds me old Mayapuri mag…….loved it….

    • Banno
      October 24, 2011

      Thank you, Arvind.

  4. magiceye
    October 24, 2011

    thank your for taking us through the movie virtually!

    • Banno
      October 24, 2011

      Magiceye, it was definitely my pleasure.

  5. dustedoff
    October 24, 2011

    Oh, that baby crying (and obviously crying, not pretending) turns me off. :-(

    But the rest of it sounds worthwhile. I hope nothing actually bad happens to the baby.

    • Banno
      October 24, 2011

      Dustedoff, yes, the sound of the baby crying was even more heart-rending. And I did not have the heart to post it.

      No, nothing bad does happen to the baby. She grows up to be the gorgeous Babita.

  6. Rina Sen
    October 24, 2011

    AWESOME,SEXY as hell! Movie as well as review! LOVE d Jeetu-Babita chipko scenes,Tuntun ting boiled eggs..I’m dying to get hold of this ‘anmol moti’ & watch it asap.Hope I get the dvd.Look fwd to more virtual viewings of this sort!

    • Banno
      October 24, 2011

      Rina, I saw it on VCD. Eagle. I’m not sure it there is a DVD.

  7. nadi
    October 24, 2011

    underneath the smiles, is a deep deep love for the movies ..

    • Banno
      October 24, 2011

      Nadi, oh yes, there is. :)

  8. harveypam
    October 24, 2011

    Anmol Moti, never heard of it. But what happens to Jagdeep and shabnam? First I thought that it was their film.
    What is the film aobut?
    Lovely pics. But don’t Koli women wear the sari differently? Like this: 5th page of http://www.oldindianarts.in/2010/10/illustrations-by-m-v-dhurandhar-from.html
    Here it looks as if they are wearing ‘gol’-sari without the ‘kasthi’ (is it called that?).

    All the same lovely review. I am sure memsaab will review this soon! ;-)

    • Banno
      October 24, 2011

      Harvey, Though Jagdeep and Shabnam are there for only a short time, both die after the first few scenes, the romance between them and their story is so strong, that in fact, Babita’s and Jeetendra’s romance seems pallid in comparison.

      Yes, the Koli women wear the kashta, but the cholis, the flowers in the hair, the ornaments, in fact, even the fabrics were quite similar to the fisherwomen costumes.

  9. bollywoodeewana
    October 24, 2011

    Wow a film well ahead of its time, i saw a clip off it a while ago and tried tracking it down but it seemed available in vcd only, here’s hoping they’ll release it on dvd with subs. Loved your commentary on this and you’re so right about Jeetendra and his energy oozing sexuality, though i also happen to find him quite attractive (facially)

    • Banno
      October 24, 2011

      Bollywood Deewana, Yes, I saw it on VCD too. They should release it on DVD. I like Jeetendra’s face too, it’s ordinary but charming.

  10. Beth
    October 25, 2011

    Beeyoooooootiful! I’m with Memsaab – I feel I need to see this immediately! Or perhaps you will show Amrita and me when we descend upon your fair city in March? :D

    • Banno
      October 25, 2011

      Beth, what a way of making a play-date! Yes, yes, if you can wait until March. :) What fun it will be to see both of you. Masala Zindabad!

  11. DG
    October 25, 2011

    Good going Batul. I remember this film was marketed as India’s first underwater movie. Wonder how it did at the box office?

    • Banno
      October 26, 2011

      Oh thanks, DG, I didn’t know that about this film. I do hope it did well. Certainly it must have had curiosity value, plus beautiful stars, lovely songs, and a decent storyline.

  12. anonandon
    October 31, 2011

    The mind boggles a bit at the sight of Jeetendra in those stripey, yellow trunks but thank you muchly (<– please don't miss my scintillating attempt at a pun over there) for unearthing this film.

    • Banno
      November 1, 2011

      Thanks Anon and On, :)

  13. webhemant
    January 4, 2013

    I was a small kid when I saw this movie… … u bring back the good ole memories.. thnks

    • Banno
      January 4, 2013

      Glad to, Webhemant. I saw the film for the first time, and loved it.

  14. coolone160
    May 7, 2013

    Anmol Moti was indeed a beautiful film and had some fine songs.I particularly like the song “Raja Lekar Baraat Aaja”

    Jeetendra and Babita make a great pair and they look like trained swimmers.I was amused to see Jagdeep swimming :)
    The same pair appeared in “Bikhare Moti ” although the film had nothing to do with the sea.

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