Ganga Jamuna released in 1961 was one of the first films to popularize the theme of two brothers on opposite side of law . It was produced by Dilip Kumar and directed by Nitin Bose. A religious, principled widow (Leela Chitnis) struggles to raise her two sons Ganga and Jamuna. Devastated when she is framed for a theft, the frail woman passes away. Ganga pledges himself to support his younger brother as they grow to adulthood. He enjoys the endless squabbles with his childhood friend Dhanno (Vyjayanthimala). The sombre Jamuna (Nasir Khan), is in love with the zamindar’s daughter (Azra). Meanwhile, the zamindar’s brother-in-law (Anwar Hussain) has his eyes on Dhanno. Ganga saves her from the zamindar’s lecherous assault. The zamindar (Anwar Hussain) gets his revenge by upstaging a robbery charge against Ganga. The supreme irony is that his best intentions for his loved ones are ill-fated. Ganga gets an empty jewel box home probably for his beloved mother but this gets her framed.
The money he steals doesn’t reach Jamuna. Of all the human relationships that Ganga Jamuna explores, the most affecting is the one between Ganga and Dhanno- an outstanding love story between two ordinary people handled with great care. Dilip kumar is too good and plays the role of Ganga very convincingly. Vyjayanthimala is a revelation as Dhanno. Nasir Khan (real life brother of Dilip Kumar) manages to lend a quiet dignity to his role. Directed by New Theatres old-timer Nitin Bose, Ganga Jamuna is a well-structured and briskly paced film and was notable of the use of Bhojpuri dialect. This former cinematographer also frames some excellent shots even while keeping a tight check on the narrative.