Gunga Jumna (गंगा जमना, also transliterated as Ganga Jamuna or Ganga Jamna) is a 1961 Bollywood dacoit crime drama film, produced in Technicolor, written and produced by Dilip Kumar, and directed by Nitin Bose, with dialogues written by Wajahat Mirza. The film stars Dilip Kumar, Vyjayanthimala and Nasir Khan in leading roles, and Azra, Kanhaiyalal, Anwar Hussain, Nazir Hussain and Leela Chitnis in supporting roles, along with Helen appearing in an item number. Notable for its use of the Bhojpuri dialect and its rustic setting, the film features real life brothers Dilip Kumar (Muhammad Yusuf Khan) and Nasir Khan in the title roles, tells the story of two brothers, Gunga and Jumna, and their poignancy on the opposite sides of the law.
After six months of delay, the film was finally released in January 1961. Upon release the film was well received by the critics and the audience. It was one of the biggest hits of the 1960s and one of the most successful Indian films in terms of box office collection, domestically in India and overseas in the Soviet Union. Its controversial theme also earned the film a cult status.
Gunga Jumna received critical acclaim and was regarded as one of the best films of all time. Critics praised its story, screenplay, direction, cinematography and the music along with the performance of the lead actors, Dilip Kumar and Vyjayanthimala. Upon release it was nominated in seven categories at 9th Filmfare Awards including Best Film, Best Director for Kumar and Bose respectively while winning three; Best Actress for Vyjayanthimala and two other technical award for Wajahat Mirza and V. Balasaheb. It also emerge as the biggest winner at 25th Bengal Film Journalists' Association Awards where it won nine awards in the Hindi film category. In addition to that the film also won Certificate of Merit at the 9th National Film Awards.
The film was a trendsetter for movies like Deewaar, Trishul, Amar Akbar Anthony which had similar themes of two brothers on the opposite sides of law. It was influenced to make other Indian languages movies but not credited such title "Lava" in (1980 film) in Malayalam film
The films dealt on issue of sibling rivalry and had a theme of two brothers on the opposite sides of law.
The film is about two brothers, Ganga and Jamuna, growing up in a village controlled by an evil landlord. When Ganga is framed by the landlord for a crime he did not commit, he escapes to the mountains with his girlfriend, Dhanno, and joins a band of bandits. His younger brother, Jamuna, is sent to the city for his education and becomes a police officer. Years later, when Ganga is about to become a father, he decides to return to the village to ask for forgiveness. However, Jamuna wants him to surrender to the police for his crimes and when Ganga refuses and tries to leave, Jamuna shoots him dead. Ganga's death rendered more poignant by the fact that it was his money that paid for Jamuna's education and allowed him to become a policeman.
Widowed Govindi (Leela Chitnis) lives a poor lifestyle in Haripur along with two sons, Gungaram and Jumna. Ganga spends his days working with his mother as a servant in the home of the zamindar's obnoxious family while Jumna, a promising student, focuses on his schoolwork. While Jumna is studious, Gungaram is the opposite, but has a good heart and decides to use his earnings to ensure his brother gets a decent education. After her employer, Hariram, accuses Govindi of theft, their house is searched, evidence is found and she is arrested. The entire village bails her out but the shock kills her. After their mother passes away, Ganga pledges himself to supporting his younger brother as they grow to adulthood.
The adult Ganga (Dilip Kumar) is a spirited and hardworking fellow, unafraid to take on the zamindar when necessary, while his brother Jumna (Nasir Khan) is more measured and cautious. Ganga sends Jumna to the city to study, and supports him with funds that he earns driving an oxcart and making deliveries for the zamindar. But things get complicated when Ganga saves a local girl, Dhanno (Vyjayanthimala), from the zamindar's lecherous assault. The zamindar (Anwar Hussain) gets his revenge by trumping up a robbery charge against Ganga, landing him in prison. Upon his release, Ganga learns that his brother has become destitute and attacks and robs the zamindar in a rage. Soon Ganga finds himself an outlaw, and, with Dhanno at his side, he joins a gang of bandits camping out in the wilderness. In the meantime, Jumna meets a fatherly police officer (Nazir Hussain) and becomes a police officer himself. It isn't long before Jumna's professional wanderings take him back to the village of his birth, where he must square off against his outlaw brother in a showdown between duty and family.Dilip Kumar as Gungaram "Gunga"
Ram Kumar as Young Gungaram
Vyjayanthimala as Dhanno
Kumari Naaz as Young Dhanno
Nasir Khan as Jumna
Akashdeep as Young Jumna
Azra as Kamla
Aruna Irani as Young Kamla
Kanhaiyalal as Kallu
Anwar Hussain as Hariram
Nazir Hussain as Police Superintendent
Leela Chitnis as Govindi
Praveen Paul as Hariram's wife
Helen as Courtesan
The soundtrack for the movie was composed by Naushad and the lyrics were penned by Shakeel Badayuni. The soundtrack consists of 9 songs, featuring vocals by Mohammed Rafi, Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhonsle and Hemant Kumar.
In 2011, MSN ranked Insaaf Ki Dagar Pe at #1 in their list of Top 10 Patriotic songs in Bollywood for Gandhi Jayanti.
Gunga Jumna has received widespread critical acclaim in India as well as overseas. Karan Bali from Upperstall.com, call the film has "Gwell-structured and briskly paced film" adding that "notable of the use of Bhojpuri dialect, which helps make the film refreshingly real and gives it a proper locale and geography". Dinesh Raheja from Rediff called the film "What is also moving about Ganga Jamuna is its tragic irony[...]Of all the conundrums of human relationships that Ganga Jamuna explores, the most affecting is the one between Ganga and Dhanno --- an extraordinary love story between two ordinary people, handled with great thought and charm[...]Director Nitin Bose frames some excellent shots even while keeping a tight rein on the narrative". Deepak Mahan from The Hindu said "Gunga Jumna is a classic entertainer at its best with a powerful story, outstanding performances and riveting music[...]an eye-opener as to why good stories will always be the real “super stars” and why content must dictate the form rather than the other way round". Gaurav Malani from The Times of India gave it 3/5 stars and praised actor Dilip Kumar for his performance as Gunga. K. K. Rai from Stardust called the film "the story of two brothers on opposite sides of law repeated over and over again but never with so much power" and applauded Vyjayanthimala for her portrayal of rustic village girl Dhanno where Rai said "Vyjayanthimala’s Dhanno won her the best actress trophy[..]She played the village woman with such simplicity and grace; you’d forget she was one of the most glamorous stars of her time. She also spoke the Bhojpuri dialect like a native".
Gunga Jumna also gained good response from overseas. Philip Lutgendorf from University of Iowa said that "By focusing its story and its audience’s sympathies on the brother who goes astray, however, the film invites a critical and pessimistic appraisal of the state’s ability to protect the underprivileged, and its tragic central character thus anticipates the “angry” proletarian heroes popularized by Amitabh Bachchan in the 1970s[...]Linguistic coding is artfully used, with Gunga and Dhanno’s raucous arguments in colorful Bhojpuri dialect contrasted with Jumna’s carefully-measured pronouncements in Khari Boli or “high” Delhi speech. Rural life is also celebrated in exhuberant [sic] songs and dances[...]The sweeping landscape of the Deccan, with its arid mesas and lush green valleys forms a gorgeous backdrop to many scenes".
On 26 November 2008, Rediff ranked the film as one of the best 1960s Bollywood film in their "Landmark Film of 60s" list, adding that "Its massive success, not just in terms of business, but also vivid story-telling, endearing camaraderie, uncompromising technique as well as the concept of ideology at odds, has visibly influenced major motion pictures over the years, rural or contemporary backdrop, notwithstanding.".
In India, Gunga Jumna grossed ₹7 crore, with a nett income of ₹3.5 crore, becoming the highest-grossing Indian film of 1961. IBOS Network gave its inflation-adjusted nett income as ₹604.2 crore. Box Office magazine calculated its inflation-adjusted gross by comparing the collection with the price of gold in 1961, which gave it an adjusted gross of ₹736.4 crore in 2011, equivalent to ₹1,063 crore (US$158 million) in 2016.
The film completed its Silver Jubilee theatrical run at Minerva Cinema Hall, Bombay and completed Golden Jubilee run at cinema. The film was listed at number 2 by Box Office magazine behind Mughal-e-Azam in their list of "Top 50 Film of Last 50 Years" which feature all-time highest-grossing Bollywood films by using the relative price of gold in different years to arrive at a hypothetical current value of box-office collections of past films.
Overseas, Gunga Jumna was a success in the Soviet Union, where it released as Ганга и Джамна in 1965, drawing an audience of 32.1 million viewers that year. It came number 11 on the year's Soviet box office chart, where it was the fourth highest Indian film, behind Dhool Ka Phool (number 4), Anuradha (number 8) and Jagte Raho (number 10). Gunga Jumna was one of the top 25 most successful Indian films in the Soviet Union. At an average Soviet ticket price of 25 kopecks in the mid-1960s, the film's 32.1 million sold Soviet tickets grossed an estimated 8.03 million Soviet rubles.