Bombay Talkies Kismet film popularized double role
The movie that made double role a permanent feature in commercial Bollywood film was Kismet (1943). Filmmaker Gyan Mukherjee of Bombay Talkies introduced a unique experimentation of lost and found of identical brothers. The lost and found formula was a big hit in the 60 and 70’s. Remember hit films like Waqt (1965), Yaadon Ki Baaraat (1973), and Amar Akbar Anthony (1977), Dharam Veer (1978), Fakira (1976) etc.
It was a novel concept not attempted by any filmmaker earlier. In short, Kismet was India’s first ‘Masala’ entertainment film Kismet (1943), with crime, love and patriotism. The film starred India’s first official Star Ashok Kumar. He played a double role. The movie was potboiler and gave an impetus to experiment double roles on screen. In the ’50s Nargis played a double role in Afsana – Ashok Kumar (1951), Anhonee – Nargis (1952), Papi – Raj Kapoor (1953), Azaad – Dilip Kumar (1955), Hum Dono – Dev Anand (1961), Akeli Mat Jaiyo – Rajendra Kumar (1963) etc.
Dilip Kumar’s Ram Aur Shyam set an All Time Hit Formula
Similarly, India’s first superstar Dilip Kumar inspired many hits after he won an award for his extraordinary portrayal of the double role in the late 60’s hit film Ram Aur Shyam. The subject of 2 brothers, a bold and a shy, lost and found in the climax became a favorite of the film industry and filmmakers repeated the plot in multiple films like in the 70’s Jeetendra played Jaise Ko Taisa, In ’90s Anil Kapoor played the same plot in Kishen Kanhaiya. Likewise, the same subject was repeated in the female version with Hema Malini essaying a double role of the bold and shy girl in Seeta Aur Geeta in the ’70s and Sridevi repeating in Chaalbaaz in the late ’80s. Interestingly despite the same plot, all the above films were blockbusters at the box-office. Thus the concept of double role is even prevalent and is a safe bet at the box-office, for instance, Varun Dhawan‘s super hit film Judwaa 2 a remake of Salman Khan‘s earlier hit by the same name.