, Indian style: that in a nutshell is Raj Khosla's classic crime thriller C.I.D.
(1956). Dev Anand plays the intrepid C.I.D Inspector Shekhar who is trying to solve the murder of a newspaper editor. On the way to achieving this he comes across a variety of stock film noir
characters including a do-gooder with a dark side, a vamp with a heart of gold and a bumbling sidekick. All the elements of the genre are present, from the enigmatic woman to the cigarette-puffing hero to the tough police commissioner. And of course our hero finds true love as well.
Produced by cult actor/director Guru Dutt, C.I.D. is a worthy companion piece to the Dutt-directed hit Baazi (1951) which explored similar territory. Cinematographer VK Murthy, who is now revered as one of the best ever, creates a shadowy, smoky world that perfectly frames the on-screen happenings. What makes it uniquely Indian is the introduction of several popular songs that enhance rather than disrupt the narrative. The suave Dev Anand is more of a soft-boiled detective than a hard-boiled one. But what makes the film memorable is Waheeda Rehman's vamp who is as coy, sexy and mysterious as they come.
On the DVD: C.I.D. on DVD comes with a note that says "reproduced from vintage source for the sake of nostalgic appeal, hence possibly compromising on quality". Happily, the quality is quite good barring a couple of dropouts near the beginning. The black and white transfer is not as crisp as it could be, but given the state of film preservation in India it is quite acceptable. The subtitles are accurate. The best feature on the DVD is Nasreen Munni Kabir's three-part Channel 4 documentary "In Search of Guru Dutt" which is a comprehensive and fascinating look into the life and work of C.I.D.'s producer. --Nanan Ramachandran
Inspector Shekhar (Dev Anand) of the C.I.D. has a difficult job on his hands. A newspaper editor has been killed and he has to find the man who did it; or rather, as he knows the murder was carried out by Sher Singh (Mehmood), he has to try to find the criminal mastermind who ordered the killing. But once he has Sher Singh behind bars, it's not long before the young killer gets bumped off by prisoners ordered to silence him. Shekhar must then continue his investigation while both fighting accusations that he was involved in Sher Singh's murder and avoiding the bribes offered by the beautiful Kamini (Waheeda Rehman), struggling against all kinds of opposition in order to see justice done.