An Evening in Paris was an ode to romance
Shammi Kapoor is singin’ and swingin’ in an overcoat and fedora, with a bevy of women on both sides, when he looks straight into the camera and sings in Mohammad Rafi’s voice, Aao tumko dikhlata hoon Paris ki ek rangeen shaam, dekho dekho dekho, dekho, dekho….
Shakti Samanta directed the stylish romantic entertainer An Evening in Paris, which is about two good-looking people romancing in the city of lights. As a character in the film says, “Yeh Paris hai...yahan har jagah, har waqt romance hota hai. Paris ke baare mein mashoor hai, jisne Paris mein mohabbat nahin ki, woh duniya mein kahin nahin kar sakta.” Five minutes into the film and you know what’s coming next. Our heroine Deepa (Sharmila Tagore) goes to Paris to mend her thrice-broken heart with a worldview that “Hindustan mein ab koi sachcha chaahne waala nahin raha.” Deepa thinks every Indian man is a cheat and a liar. When Sam a.k.a Shyam Kumar (Kapoor) learns this, he declares, “Kaun hai yeh badtameez ladki? Main theek karunga usay.” So our Sam decides to serenade Deepa through picturesque locations in Paris, Switzerland, Beirut, and even the Niagara Falls just so that she can change her opinion about Indian men. He doesn’t give up even when she gives him the deep freeze and does a close dance with flame-haired Shekhar (Pran), the villain.
Samanta regrouped with his Kashmir Ki Kali pair and rests the film on their individual styles and romantic chemistry. Tagore hits the high note on the glamour meter. She gets three big fashion moments in the film. There’s Tagore in a saree in the heart-melting Raat ke humsafar. She also gets to channel her inner Audrey Hepburn in a complete Breakfast at Tiffany’s inspired moment in a little black dress and a diamond necklace. And then there’s the famous one-piece swimsuit that she wears in Aasman se aaya farishta, which heralded the new bold in Hindi films. “I wore a one-piece bathing costume but I wanted to wear a bikini. Shaktida put his foot down. He forced me to wear a one-piece. He was my mother’s friend, so he was very protective about me. I remember at a party once I got up and started dancing with a man. Shaktida got really upset and told me that such behaviour is not allowed in our film industry,” says Tagore.
If Tagore is