Gunga Jumna
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Gunga Jumna

Gunga Jumna
Gunga Jumna 1961.jpg
Ganga Jamna movie poster
Directed byNitin Bose
Produced byDilip Kumar
Written byWajahat Mirza (dialogue)
Screenplay byVishwajeet Jaykar
Story byDilip Kumar
Narrated byDilip Kumar
Music byNaushad
CinematographyV. Babasaheb
Edited byDas Dhaimade
Hrishikesh Mukherjee
Distributed byCitizen Films
Release date
  • December 8, 1961 (1961-12-08) (India)
  • 1965 (1965) (Soviet Union)
  • August 25, 1966 (1966-08-25) (Mexico)
Running time
178 minutes
Awadhi dialect
Box officeest. INR11.27 crore ($23.63 million)

Ganga Jamna (Hindi: ? ?), also transliterated as Ganga Jamuna[2] or Gunga Jumna,[3] is a 1961 Indian crime drama film, 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 the lead roles. Set in a rural part of the Awadh region of Northern India, the film tells the story of two impoverished brothers, Ganga and Jamna (Dilip Kumar and Nasir Khan), and their poignancy and sibling rivalry on opposing sides of the law, one a dacoit criminal and the other a police officer. The film was also notable for its Technicolor production, use of the Awadhi dialect, and its rustic setting, and it is a defining example of the dacoit film genre.

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.

The film 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 performances of the lead actors Dilip Kumar and Vyjayanthimala. Upon release it was nominated in seven categories at the 9th Filmfare Awards, including Best Film and Best Director for Kumar and Bose, respectively, while winning three, Best Actress for Vyjayanthimala, Best Cinematography for V. Balasaheb and Best Dialogue Writer for Wajahat Mirza. It also emerged as the biggest winner at the 25th Bengal Film Journalists' Association Awards, where it won nine awards in the Hindi film category. In addition, the film also won Certificate of Merit at the 9th National Film Awards. It also won prizes at international film festivals, including the Boston International Film Festival and the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival.

The film was a trendsetter in Indian cinema. Dilip Kumar's performance as Ganga is considered one of the finest acting performances in the history of Indian cinema, and inspired future generations of Indian actors[], most notably Amitabh Bachchan. The film's plot also inspired screenwriter duo Salim-Javed, who wrote scripts exploring similar themes in later Bachchan-starring hits such as Deewaar (1975), Amar Akbar Anthony (1977) and Trishul (1978). Ganga Jamna also had South Indian remakes, including the Tamil film Iru Thuruvam (1971) and the Malayalam film Lava (1980).


The film is about two brothers, Ganga and Jamna, 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, Jamna, 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, Jamna wants him to surrender to the police for his crimes and when Ganga refuses and tries to leave, Jamna shoots him dead. Ganga's death rendered more poignant by the fact that it was his money that paid for Jamna'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.



The film was loosely inspired by Mehboob Khan's Mother India (1957).[4]Dilip Kumar allegedly ghost-directed the film, as well as ghost-editing.[5]

The film stars real-life brothers Dilip Kumar (real name Muhammad Yusuf Khan) and Nasir Khan in the roles of the brothers Ganga and Jamna, respectively.


Ganga Jamna
Soundtrack album by
Released1961 (1961)
GenreFeature film soundtrack
LabelSa Re Ga Ma
HMV Group
Naushad chronology
Ganga Jamna
Son of India

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.[6]

Track # Song Singer(s) Length
1 Dagabaaz Tori Batiyan Lata Mangeshkar 2:47
2 Dhoondo Dhoondo Re Sajna Lata Mangeshkar 3:19
3 Do Hanson Ka Joda Lata Mangeshkar 3:14
4 Jhanan Ghoongar Baje Lata Mangeshkar 3:32
5 Naina Lad Jaihen Mohammed Rafi 4:44
6 O Chhalia Re Chhalia Mohammed Rafi, Asha Bhosle 3:30
7 Tora Man Bada Papi Asha Bhonsle 4:41
8 Insaaf Ki Dagar Pe Hemant Kumar 3:20
9 Naina Lad Jaihen (Revival) Mohammed Rafi 4:46


Critical response

Critics particularly praised the performances by Dilip Kumar (left) and Vyjayanthimala (right).

The film has received widespread critical acclaim in India as well as overseas. Karan Bali from, 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".[7]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".[8] 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".[9] Gaurav Malani from The Times of India gave it 3/5 stars and praised actor Dilip Kumar for his performance as Ganga.[10] 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".[11]

The film 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".[12]

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.".[13]

Box office

Worldwide gross (est.)
Territory Gross revenue Adjusted gross Footfalls
India INR7 crore[14] ($14.71 million)[n 1] $126 million (INR788 crore) 52million[14][16]
Overseas (Soviet Union) 8.03million [n 2] - $8.92 million[n 3] (INR4.27 crore)[n 4] $72 million (INR457 crore)[22] 32.1million[17]
Worldwide INR11.27 crore ($23.63 million) $202 million (INR1,263 crore) 84 million

In India, the film had a box office gross of INR7crore, with a nett of INR3.5crore, becoming the highest-grossing Indian film of 1961.[14][23] IBOS Network gave its inflation-adjusted nett as INR604.2 crore.[24]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 INR736.4 crore in 2011,[25] equivalent to INR1,222 crore ($188 million) in 2016.

The film completed its Silver Jubilee theatrical run at Minerva Cinema Hall, Bombay and completed Golden Jubilee run at cinema.[26][27] 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.[28]

Overseas, the film was a success in the Soviet Union, where it released as ? in 1965, drawing an audience of 32.1million viewers that year.[17] 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).[29]Ganga Jamna was one of the top 25 most successful Indian films in the Soviet Union.[17] At an average Soviet ticket price of 25kopecks in the mid-1960s,[18][19] the film's 32.1million sold Soviet tickets[17] grossed an estimated 8.03million Soviet rubles.[n 2]


Award Category Nominee Outcome Note Ref.
Bengal Film Journalists' Association Awards Best Indian Films Dilip Kumar Won [30]
Best Director Nitin Bose
Best Actor Dilip Kumar
Best Actress Vyjayanthimala
Best Music Director Naushad
Best Dialogue Wajahat Mirza
Best Lyrics Shakeel Badayuni
Best Cinematography V. Babasaheb
Best Audiography M. I. Dharamsey
Boston International Film Festival Paul Revere Silver Bowl Dilip Kumar For clarity and integrity in the presentation of contemporary issues
As producer
Czechoslovak Academy of Arts, Prague Special Honour Diploma As actor
9th Filmfare Awards Best Film Nominated
Best Director Nitin Bose
Best Actor Dilip Kumar
Best Actress Vyjayanthimala Won
Best Music Director Naushad Nominated
Best Dialogue Writer Wajahat Mirza Won
Best Cinematographer V. Babasaheb
15th Karlovy Vary International Film Festival India's official submission for Crystal Globe Dilip Kumar Not nominated
Special Prize Won As producer and screenplay writer
9th National Film Awards Second Best Feature Film in Hindi Nitin Bose
Dilip Kumar

The Hindu retrospectively criticized the 9th Filmfare Awards for snubbing Dilip Kumar from the Filmfare Award for Best Actor, which was awarded to Raj Kapoor for Jis Desh Mein Ganga Behti Hai (1961). The Hindu described it as "a strange travesty of justice" that Kumar lost out the award, after delivering "a magnificent role of a lifetime."[37]


Ganga Jamna is regarded as an important film in the history of Indian cinema.[38][39]



Its story of two brothers on opposing sides of the law became a dominant narrative motif in Hindi cinema from the 1970s onwards.[39] It was a trendsetter, inspiring films such as Deewaar (1975), Amar Akbar Anthony (1977) and Trishul (1978).[37] It had a strong influence on screenwriter duo Salim-Javed, who took inspiration from Ganga Jamna when they wrote the stories and scripts of films such as Deewaar and Trishul.[38]

Ganga Jamnas most immediate successor was Deewaar.[39] Salim-Javed credited Ganga Jamna as the inspiration for Deewaar, which they described as a "more urban, much more contemporary" take on its themes.[40]

Ganga Jamna was a defining example of the dacoit film genre.[41] It went on to inspire Sholay (1975), which combined the dacoit film conventions established by Ganga Jamna and Mother India with that of the Western genre.[41] The villain Gabbar Singh (Amjad Khan) is a dacoit speaking with a dialect inspired by Gunga, a mix of Khariboli and Awadhi,[42] and a scene depicting an attempted train robbery was also inspired by a similar scene in Ganga Jamna.[43]


Dilip Kumar's performance as Ganga is considered one of the finest acting performances in the history of Indian cinema. According to The Hindu:[37]

Dilip Kumar is the "super star" as he essays a character that blends rustic comedy, romance, tragedy and villainy in a magnificent role of a lifetime.
The "Badshah of Acting" enacts each scene with such ease and finesse that you are left astounded by the sheer brilliance of his genius since his body movements and dialogue delivery change in tune with the development of the character and story.

His performance in Gunga Jumna inspired future generations of actors, most notably Amitabh Bachchan, who was inspired by Dilip Kumar's performance in this film. According to Bachchan, he learnt more about acting from Gunga Jumna than he did from any other film. Bachchan, who hails from Uttar Pradesh, was particularly impressed by Kumar's mastery of the Awadhi dialect, expressing awe and surprise as to how "a man who's not from Allahabad and Uttar Pradesh" could accurately express all the nuances of Awadhi.[38] Bachchcan's famous "angry young man" persona was modeled after Kumar's performance as Gunga, with Bachchan's "angry young man" being a sharpened version of Kumar's intensity as Gunga.[44] Bachchan adapted Kumar's style and reinterpreted it in a contemporary urban context reflecting the changing socio-political climate of 1970s India.[45]


  1. ^ INR4.76 per dollar in 1961[15]
  2. ^ a b 32.1million Soviet tickets sold in 1965,[17] average Soviet ticket price of 25kopecks in the mid-1960s[18][19]
  3. ^ 0.9 per dollar from 1961 to 1971[20]
  4. ^ INR4.79 per dollar in 1965[21]


  1. ^ Atar, J?v?d; Kabir, Nasreen Munni (2002). Talking Films: Conversations on Hindi Cinema with Javed Akhtar. Oxford University Press. p. 49. ISBN 9780195664621. most of the writers working in this so-called Hindi cinema write in Urdu: Gulzar, or Rajinder Singh Bedi or Inder Raj Anand or Rahi Masoom Raza or Vahajat Mirza, who wrote dialogue for films like Mughal-e-Azam and Gunga Jumna and Mother India. So most dialogue-writers and most song-writers are from the Urdu discipline, even today.
  2. ^ "Ganga Jamuna (DVD)". Amazon. Retrieved 2019.
  3. ^ Ashish Rajadhyaksha; Paul Willemen (1999). Encyclopaedia of Indian cinema. British Film Institute. pp. 658-14. ISBN 978-0-85170-455-5. Retrieved 2011.
  4. ^ Ganti, Tejaswini (2004). Bollywood: A Guidebook to Popular Hindi Cinema. Psychology Press. p. 149. ISBN 978-0-415-28854-5.
  5. ^
  6. ^ "India@64: Top 10 Patriotic songs of Bollywood". MSN. 9 August 2011. Archived from the original on 15 June 2012. Retrieved 2011.
  7. ^ "Ganga Jamuna". Retrieved 2011.
  8. ^ Dinesh Raheja (7 May 2002). "The Tragic Irony of Ganga Jumna". Rediff. Retrieved 2011.
  9. ^ Deepak Mahan (4 March 2010). "Gunga Jamuna (1961)". The Hindu. Retrieved 2011.
  10. ^ Gaurav Malani (17 April 2008). "Flashback review: Gunga Jamna (1961)". The Hindu. Retrieved 2011.
  11. ^ Gaurav Malani (17 April 2008). "Stardust Classic: Ganga Jumna (1961)". Stardust. Archived from the original on 18 July 2012. Retrieved 2011.
  12. ^ Philip Lutgendorf. "Gunga Jumna Review". University of Iowa. Archived from the original on 29 November 2011. Retrieved 2012.
  13. ^ Sukanya Verma (26 November 2008). "Landmark films of the 60s". Rediff. Retrieved 2011.
  14. ^ a b c "Box Office 1961". Archived from the original on 7 February 2009. Retrieved 2011.
  15. ^ "Official exchange rate (LCU per US$, period average)". World Bank. 1961. Retrieved 2018.
  16. ^ Mittal, Ashok (1995). Cinema Industry in India: Pricing and Taxation. Indus Publishing. pp. 71 & 77. ISBN 9788173870231.
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  18. ^ a b Moscow Prime Time: How the Soviet Union Built the Media Empire that Lost the Cultural Cold War, page 48, Cornell University Press, 2011
  19. ^ a b The Routledge Handbook of the Cold War, page 357, Routledge, 2014
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  22. ^ "Yearly Average Rates (67.175856 INR per USD in 2016)". OFX. Archived from the original on 13 July 2017. Retrieved 2017.
  23. ^ "Top Earners 1960-1969 (Figures in Ind Rs)". Retrieved 2011.
  24. ^ "Ganga Jamuna". Retrieved 2011.
  25. ^ Nitin Tej Ahuja; Vajir Singh; Saurabh Sinha (1 November 2011). "Worth Their Weight In Gold!". Archived from the original on 3 November 2011. Retrieved 2012.
  26. ^ Ziya Us Salam (5 September 2011). "Roxy to Minerva to curtains". The Hindu. Retrieved 2011.
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  28. ^ Nitin Tej Ahuja; Vajir Singh; Saurabh Sinha (3 November 2011). "Top 50 Film of Last 50 Years". Box Office. Archived from the original on 17 March 2012. Retrieved 2012.
  29. ^ Indian Films in Soviet Cinemas: The Culture of Movie-going After Stalin, page 210, Indiana University Press, 2005
  30. ^ "BFJA Awards (1962)". Retrieved 2011.
  31. ^ "The Nominations - 1968". Indiatimes. Archived from the original on 8 July 2012. Retrieved 2011.
  32. ^ "The Winners - 1960". Indiatimes. Archived from the original on 9 July 2012. Retrieved 2011.
  33. ^ "25th Annual BFJA Awards". BFJA. Archived from the original on 24 February 2008. Retrieved 2011.
  34. ^ India. Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. Research and Reference Division, India. Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. Research, Reference, and Training Division, India. Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. Publications Division (1964). India, a reference annual. Publications Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India. p. 134. Retrieved 2011.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  35. ^ Stanley Reed (1963). The Times of India directory and year book including who's who. Bennett, Coleman and Co. Ltd. p. 134. Retrieved 2011.
  36. ^ Indian Council for Cultural Relations (1962). Cultural news from India, Volumes 3-4. Indian Council for Public Relations. p. 10. Retrieved 2012.
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  38. ^ a b c "Hindi classics that defined the decade: 1960s Bollywood was frothy, perfectly in tune with the high spirits of the swinging times". The Indian Express. 31 October 2017.
  39. ^ a b c Ganti, Tejaswini (2004). Bollywood: A Guidebook to Popular Hindi Cinema. Psychology Press. p. 153. ISBN 9780415288545.
  40. ^ Chaudhuri, Diptakirti (2015). Written by Salim-Javed: The Story of Hindi Cinema's Greatest Screenwriters. Penguin Books. p. 72. ISBN 9789352140084.
  41. ^ a b Teo, Stephen (2017). Eastern Westerns: Film and Genre Outside and Inside Hollywood. Taylor & Francis. p. 122. ISBN 9781317592266.
  42. ^ Chopra, Anupama (11 August 2015). "Shatrughan Sinha as Jai, Pran as Thakur and Danny as Gabbar? What 'Sholay' could have been". Scroll.
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  44. ^ Kumar, Surendra (2003). Legends of Indian cinema: pen portraits. Har-Anand Publications. p. 51.
  45. ^ Raj, Ashok (2009). Hero Vol.2. Hay House. p. 21. ISBN 9789381398036.

External links

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