Directed by: Raj Kapoor
Starring: Rishi Kapoor, Dimple Kapadia, Pran, Prem Nath, Farida Jalal
To people who started their Bollywood journey with the kinds of films like Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, Maine Pyar Kiya or Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak, the basic story of „Bobby“ will not bring anything new. It is one of the films that needs to be seen in a context of its own time, when it was probably the first movie about teenage romance between a rich boy and a poor girl. Bobby was a trendsetter and as such it should be approached by the viewers today. Before they condemn the plot-line as „seen a million times“, they should realize that at the time of its release nobody has seen the plot yet...
|Rishi in his pre-sweater era.|
|Debuting and sweet.|
Wealthy with money but somehow deprived of family love, Mr. and Mrs. Nath send their little son Raj to be brought up in a boarding school in England, partly as a punishment for his willful childish behaviour and partly because they do not really want to bother with him (probably having no idea what to do with him either). So the kid grows up into a perfect 70s stylish Rishi Kapoor, a good and just boy who only longs for his parents´ appreciation. Upon his return home he is indeed welcomed by reasonably excited mum and dad, but just like when he was a child, he is largely left to himself. Up until a moment he spots a young girl on a party, and while the famous European classic Danube Waves melody plays in the background, he lets himself to be charmed. Soon he falls in love with Bobby (I was kinda confused when I found out that was a girl´s name, but whatever...) and she returns his feelings.
The girl´s family is at first not excited about a rich guy getting involved with Bobby, fearing the reaction of his family, but thinking about the girl´s happiness and wishes they are willing even to bend their backs in front of her potential father-in-law. However the aristocratically snobby Pran accuses them of trying to ensnare his rich son to get money, and after some more insulting everything seems to be ruined for the young lovers. You know the routine. There is of course more to the film, including a song about a girl and a boy in a locked room, lovers getting hurt, lovers getting teary and lovers willing to sacrifice lives but not love. Rishi even gets his own towel scene, not that different from what his son would one day do in Saawariya. There is his father insulting her father some more and her father threatening his father afterwards. And there is the inevitable happy ending.
|Rishi´s very own towel scene. Like father, like son....|
There is sweetness and freshness in the film, that somehow managed to overcome the years and charms as much as it did back then. It may be the Raj Kapoor´s direction or maybe Rishi Kapoor´s puppy eyes, or perhaps simplicity of debuting Dimple Kapadia, or maybe everything and more put together. A person not to be forgotten is Farida Jalal. One of the most loved „screen mothers“ appears only for several minutes, however such is an impact she makes as a mentally challenged girl, it is impossible to forget her. Pran of course, is as delightfully intense as ever, not exactly evil, but not a guy to be messed up with either.
|Bobby was the main heroine, but I´m team Farida! She was heartbreaking.|
Bobby is definitely, even today, a sweet romance of the best kind, succeeding in making nostalgic even those, who were born years after it first released.