Vyjayanthimala‘s pairing with Dilip Kumar was always special. They did a series of unforgettable films : Naya Daur, Ganga Jumna, Sangharsh and Madhumati
“Yes,” she sighed and laughed. “He was such a dedicated professional. The way he practiced riding the tonga in Bhopal, it had to be seen to be believed. He worked really hard on his roles. He believed in very natural acting. And it worked beautifully in Naya Daur.”
Naya Daur hit the marquee again in 2007, 50 years after it was first released – and this time in colour. But legendary actress Vyjanthimala, who played the main lead, said she prefers the black and white version.
In an interview with me the stunning Vyjanthimala stated, “Mr BR Chopra had made a such a timeless masterpiece. And the black and white photography had its own charm. Even today I prefer black and white to colour. I guess the colours have their own flamboyant charm and I’m sure Naya Daur will be liked in colour. The colouring is very authentic.”
Chopra was known for making progressive films on social issues and this film, released in 1957, focused on the war between the haves and have nots. In the film, Dilip Kumar plays a tongawala who fights a rich businessman bent on replacing tongas (horse carriages) with buses to earn more profit.
Interestingly, it was when Dilip Kumar fell out with the beauteous Madhubala during the first schedule of Naya Daur that the equally-vivacious Vyjanthimala was brought in as an eleventh hour replacement.
“I know Madhubala was doing Naya Daur first. Then I don’t know what transpired among them. That was none of my business. Suddenly she wasn’t in the picture at all. I was just asked to take the lead. I heard my role and I was on. Beyond that I know nothing,” Vyjanthimala said in a matter-of-fact tone.
“I just loved my role, that’s all that mattered. I’ve wonderful memories. I’ve done good work in Naya Daur, I think,” she laughed.