Cinema in Retrospect: C.I.D (1956) – A film that launched careers

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C.I.D. (1956) needs no introduction. Film connoisseurs have time and again called it a classic and the music of the film is popular till date.

Yet, for those unaware (mainly newer generation or those who may not be much of a movie buff), let’s do a quick recap about this crime thriller.

Produced by Guru Dutt and directed by Raj Khosla, C.I.D starred Dev Anand in the lead as Inspector Shekhar who is in charge of investigating a murder of a newspaper editor. As he delves deeper into untangling the mystery, he becomes a victim to a villainous plot of the films antagonist played by Bir Sakuja. Shakila plays Rekha, inspector Shekhar’s love interest and actress Waheeda Rehman plays Kamini, a key role with grey shades. The film also starred actor Mehmood who against his comical image portrayed a negative role in the film.

C.I.D poster (1956) - CID 1956 Movie Review

C.I.D (1956) poster

C.I.D was stylish and modern for a film coming out of the 1950s. There are no subplots here nor any forced comedy. Music by O.P. Nayar was brilliant and although the film had only 5 songs, every single song was popular. Here’s the list of tracks:

  1. Ae Dil Hain Mushkil (Bombay Meri Jaan)
  2. Kahin Pe Nigahen, Kahin Pe Nishana
  3. Aankhon Hi Aankhon Mein Ishaara
  4. Leke Pehla Pehla Pyaar
  5. Boojh Mera Kya Naam Re

The suspense, although, revealed very early in the film, still manages to keep viewers engrossed. A lot of credit for this has to be given to a young and very handsome Dev Anand, who carries off the role of a cool-headed honest inspector effortlessly. He looks suave in those loose fitted suits and equally charming when wearing something informal. Also, the style with which he smokes a cigarette in the film matches none from today.

C.I.D is a landmark film for launching the careers of two famous personalities:

  • The film marked the Hindi debut of actress Waheeda Rehman. She had acted in Telugu films earlier on and it was then when Guru Dutt spotted her. He launched her in C.I.D. as a preparation for a challenging role that would follow in cult classic Pyaasa.
  • The film also marked the debut of costume designer Bhanu Athaiya. She later went on to win an Academy award for her costume designs in Gandhi (1982) and became the first Indian to win an Academy award. She is also a recipient of 2 National Awards for Best Costume Design – Lekin (1990) and Lagaan (2001).

C.I.D had a solid team of technicians, some of whom we know till date and some others who have a left legacy behind in their children.

  • Script writer, Inder Raj Anand is the father of actor Tinnu Anand.
  • The film was choreographed by Zohra Sehgal whom we have seen play feisty mother/granny roles in films like Cheeni Kum, Chalo Ishq Ladaye and Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam.
  • The song Ankhon Hi Aankhon Mein was written by Jan Nisar Akhtar, father of famous lyricist Javed Akhtar.

In addition to the reasons above, you must make sure you watch C.I.D. because of the Bombay song starring Johny Walker dedicated to the city and called “Ae Dil Hain Mushkil Jeena Yahan”. You may have heard your grandparent say that Bombay was much cleaner and empty during their lifetime, C.I.D. is proof that your grandparent was right. The song picturization is reminiscent of Bombay in the 1950’s when population was a few lakhs and city was clean and empty. However, if you are a lyrics person, you know that the song also talks about the twisted ways of surviving in Bombay which holds true till date, isn’t it?

(Note: I don’t own the picture displayed in this post. It has been added for pictorial representation sake. All text can get boring to read sometimes)

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Edwina D'souza

Read write watch, 2 left hands and feet, recluse, gazer and occasionally suffer from wanderlust syndrome!!

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