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Naya Daur: The Classic Bollywood Sports Film

Naya Daur is a 1957 Hindi-language social drama film directed and produced by B.R. Chopra, written by Akhtar Mirza, and starring Dilip Kumar and Vyjayanthimala in lead roles, along with an ensemble cast. The film was the second-highest grossing Indian film of the year 1957 and is considered a classic in Indian cinema.


The film narrates the story of Shankar and Krishna, two best friends who fall for the same woman, Rajni. When a businessman from the city arrives in their village to modernize and mechanize the business, the tongawalas (horse-cart drivers) lose their jobs. Shankar and Krishna plan on deciding who will marry Rajni by checking the color of flowers she offers at a temple. But when they both come to know that they both love Rajni, they get into a fight.

Kundan, the businessman, introduces a bus in the village which takes away the tongawalas’ livelihood. Shankar challenges Kundan to a race to determine who will continue running their transport. He makes a plan to build a road that is six miles shorter than the current road. The villagers, initially not supportive of his plan, eventually come together to help him.

The film culminates in a race between Shankar’s tonga and Kundan’s bus, with Shankar emerging as the victor. Shankar and Rajni unite while Krishna and Manju, Shankar’s sister, unite with each other.


The film stars the following actors:

  • Dilip Kumar as Shankar
  • Vyjayanthimala as Rajni
  • Ajit as Krishna
  • Jeevan as Kundan
  • Johnny Walker as Journalist
  • Chand Usmani as Manju
  • Nazir Hussain as Seth Maganlal
  • Manmohan Krishna as Jumman Dada
  • Leela Chitnis as Shankar & Manju’s Mother
  • Pratima Devi as Rajni’s Mother
  • Daisy Irani as Chikha Master
  • Radhakishan as Narayan
  • Minoo Mumtaz as Dancer / Singer in the song “Reshmi Salwar, Kurta Jaali Ka”
  • Kumkum as Dancer / Singer in the song “Reshmi Salwar, Kurta Jaali Ka”


All the songs in the film were composed by O. P. Nayyar and the lyrics were penned by Sahir Ludhianvi. The soundtrack features the following songs:

“Aana Hai To Aa”Mohammed Rafi
“Dil Leke Daga Denge”Mohammed Rafi
“Main Bambai Ka Babu”Mohammed Rafi
“Yeh Desh Hai Veer Jawanon Ka, Albelon Ka”Mohammed Rafi, S. Balbir
“Mangke Saath Tumhara, Maine Mang Liya Sansar”Mohammed Rafi, Asha Bhosle
“Uden Jab Jab Zulfen Teri, Kunwariyon Ka Dil Machle”Mohammed Rafi, Asha Bhosle
“Sathi Hath Badhana, Sathi Hath Badhana”Mohammed Rafi, Asha Bhosle
“Reshmi Salwar, Kurta Jaali Ka”Shamshad Begum, Asha Bhosle
“Ek Deewana Aate Jate”Asha Bhosle

Naya Daur was a groundbreaking film in Indian cinema, with its strong social commentary on the effects of modernization and mechanization on traditional livelihoods. The film was directed and produced by B.R. Chopra, and starred Dilip Kumar and Vyjayanthimala in lead roles. The story revolves around two best friends, Shankar and Krishna, who fall in love with the same woman, Rajni. The film was a commercial success, becoming the second-highest grossing Indian film of 1957, behind Mother India.

The film’s music, composed by O.P. Nayyar and featuring lyrics by Sahir Ludhianvi, was also highly praised, with iconic songs like “Uden Jab Jab Zulfen Teri” and “Yeh Desh Hai Veer Jawanon Ka” becoming instant classics. The film won several awards at the 5th Filmfare Awards, including Best Actor for Dilip Kumar, Best Music Director for O.P. Nayyar, and Best Story for Akhtar Mirza.

Naya Daur’s impact on Indian cinema was far-reaching, inspiring future filmmakers and actors to create socially conscious films that addressed important issues. The film also served as the inspiration for Aamir Khan’s Academy Award-nominated film Lagaan (2001), which also explored the effects of modernization on traditional livelihoods. Overall, Naya Daur remains an important and influential film in the history of Indian cinema.

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