Vijay Anand's Jewel Thief is one of my all-time favorite movies. The mod style, the richness of theme, the magnificent songs - it has everything and I never tire of watching it.
So frequently when I mention that, though, someone offers "Have you seen Teesri Manzil? It's all that but even better." Well I have seen Teesri Manzil, and I do appreciate everything it has to offer. One of R.D. Burman's earliest and rockingest soundtracks, a terrific noir vibe, and Shammi Kapoor in his prime - who is understandably a little more broadly appealing (see what I did there?) than a slightly aging Dev Anand.
At any rate, as much as I love the dark tale of Rocky and Ruby and Roopa and Sunita, the movie that rules my heart is nevertheless the one that romps and teeters on Sikkim mountaintops.
But you know, that's just me. And so I decided to throw the question out to twitter. Which of these two oft-compared contemporaneous Vijay Anand classics do you prefer, I asked?
Jewel Thief vs. Teesri Manzil
Methodology: I posed the question on Twitter four times over the course of a day, hoping to bring in as many responses as I could. I encouraged retweets to increase the data pool (though few took me up on that). I favorited the responses so that I could quickly tally them, which I did 24 hours after initially posing the questions.
Some responses came with commentary. Many noted what a close decision it was; some did not want to make any decision at all.
And yet, some folks voted with the enthusiasm of strong opinions.
Some folks preferred Jewel Thief for Vijayantimala's great dancing, while other folks preferred Teesri Manzil in spite of that.
And then there is my personal favorite response, a memory of a Jewel-Thief-obsessed child that I could thoroughly imagine myself being, had I known about the movie at the right age.
At any rate, it was clear that both these movies, often thought of in the same breath, are seriously and deeply beloved.
And so when I sat down this morning to tally up the votes, I knew it would be close. I didn't expect this:
Jewel Thief: 14 votes
Teesri Manzil: 14 votes(Plus two voters who explicitly said they could not choose.)
So there you go. The ultimate verdict is that there is no ultimate verdict. We can go on loving these two great movies and debating which of them is better as long as we like. Register your vote in the comments - keep the debate alive.
Just as long as we keep watching them again and again.