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50 year on, 'Imtihan' is still so memorable with superb music

Cast: Tanuja, Vinod Khanna, Bindu, Ranjeet, Abhijit Sen, Abhi Bhattacharya One of the best adaptations of Sidney Poitier’s To Sir With Lov...

Cast: Tanuja, Vinod Khanna, Bindu, Ranjeet, Abhijit Sen, Abhi Bhattacharya

One of the best adaptations of Sidney Poitier’s To Sir With Love, this Madan Sinha-directed and Vinod Khanna starrer Imtihan is truly memorable in many aspects. The film which released on May 31, 1974, was one of the earlier films of Vinod’s transition from villainy to heroism. 

Secondly, it had superb music by Laxmikant-Pyarelal with Kishore Kumar’s soul-searching rendition of ‘Ruk jaana nahin’ which became the chart-buster song of the year and has been immortalized forever. 

Thirdly, Tanuja and Bindu gave excellent performances, but it was Khanna’s brilliant performance as the professor who changed the college ruffians that won a lot of audiences’ hearts.

Pramod Sharma (Vinod Khanna) is the idealistic son of a wealthy businessman (Murad) who leaves his house and family business to become a history lecturer at Adarsh Mahavidyalay College. The college is full of ruffians and indisciplined students who is led by Rakesh (Abhijit Sen, son of the comedian-actor Asit Sen, making his debut) who also indulges in unlawful activities along with a photographer friend Paul (Ranjeet). One of the students Rita (Bindu) is infatuated with Pramod who incidentally becomes close to Principal Shastri’s (Abhi Bhattacharya) wheelchair-bound daughter Madhu (Tanuja). While reforming the students, Pramod gets framed for the ‘rape’ of Madhu. Pramod has to prove his innocence which becomes his ‘imtihan’ of life.

Another film that was released in the same year ‘Anjaan Raahen’ starred Asha Parekh & Feroz Khan as the main leads. The film also dealt with homosexuality among students and had Kiran Kumar, Zaheera & Akbar Khan in supporting roles. Another adaptation of To Sir With Love, this Feroz Khan starter didn’t do well at the box office despite having few good songs, but the performances were not up to the mark. It is here that Feroz’s close friend Vinod’s Imtihan clicked at the box office. 

Apart from ‘Ruk jaana nahin’, all the other songs also left their mark especially the Lata Mangeshkar riveting beauty ‘Roz shaam aati hai’ followed by the sensuous Asha Bhonsle number ‘ Bujha de’.  'Dekho idhar bhi’ was also a catchy number.

Bindu was nominated for the best actress in a supporting role in the year’s Filmfare awards. Director Madan Sinha who handled the camera as well with finesse shows full control over the script and also manages to extract noteworthy performances from all the actors.

Despite having stiff competition from ‘Premnagar’, ‘Roti’, ‘Roti Kapada Aur Makaan’ and ‘Majboor’, ‘Imtihan’ proved to be a successful film at the box office.

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