Priya (1970)

This week’s film came about after several false starts. A new blog reader and I have been waxing eloquent about our shared love for Sanjeev Kumar, not just one of Hindi cinema’s finest actors, but also, in his younger days (as far as I am concerned), also exceptionally dishy. After some false starts—Husn aur Ishq, Gunehgaar, Insaan aur Shaitaan—I ended up watching Priya, one of several films in which Sanjeev Kumar co-starred with Tanuja.

Sanjeev Kumar and Tanuja in Priya

Priya (Tanuja), in a voiceover, talks of how she went from being Chandan to Priya. The people involved: her parents, her brother and his ill-tempered, selfish wife; a classmate, a professor, the cycle waala who was in love with Chandan…

And then we go into flashback, to Chandan’s home. Chandan is the daughter of a postman, Motilal (Shivraj) and his wife Parvati (Sulochana Chatterjee). They have a son named Kishore (?), who is married and stays with his parents along with his wife (?). Kishore’s wife is a shrew who, when Kishore tries to point out that his father cannot afford gifts, says that everybody must look to their own interests. Sadly for Chandan’s father, Kishore is too spineless to stand up for his dad.

Kishore's wife gives him a scold

Shortly after the film opens, we get an idea of the dynamics of his household. Chandan stops by at a neighbouring tailor’s shop to ask if he’s stitched the handkerchiefs she had ordered. The local cycle repair waala, Man Singh (Sanjeev Kumar) is there too. Man Singh is in love with Chandan but hides the depth of his feelings under a cloak of light flirtation, so Chandan has no idea.

When the tailor hems and haws about the handkerchiefs, Man Singh promises Chandan that he’ll make sure the man gets her handkerchiefs done and delivered the same day.

Man Singh with the tailor

Sure enough, the handkerchiefs arrive later in the day, while Chandan is in the kitchen helping her mother, her bhabhi, and her widowed aunt Lalita (Dulari) in their chores. Bhabhi’s immediate reaction on seeing the handkerchiefs is to pass a snide remark: what has Chandan done to make the tailor do her work so quickly?

This makes Chandan’s mother pile on, too. Chandan will be the death of her, what did she ever do to merit a shameless hussy like this as a daughter, blah blah.

Chandan's mother gets mad...

Chandan gets so angry at these unwarranted accusations that she rushes off into the adjoining room. When her mother follows her, Chandan lashes out: what was the need for those accusations? Does she not trust her daughter? Her mother, to her credit, realizes that she may have gone a bit too far, and there’s a touching moment of reconciliation. No matter how much Chandan’s mother may scold, no matter how much Chandan too may snap back at her, there is affection here.

The scene now shifts to Chandan’s college. Chandan, wearing a short dress, is up on a stepladder in the library, when a slimy classmate named Raju (?) makes a pass at her. Chandan’s angry berating of Raju draws the attention of Mr Pujara (?), their professor. Pujara tells off Raju and sends him away before giving Chandan his handkerchief to wipe her tears. There is something very definitely non-avuncular in his attempts to pacify her, but Chandan is too naïve to realize.

Pujara comforts Chandan - with ulterior motives

The college students are rehearsing a play, Shakuntala, with Chandan playing the title role and Raju as her husband, King Dushyant. Pujara interrupts the proceedings, finding fault with Raju’s dialogue delivery [which, along with the actor’s overall acting, is really pretty bad]. Pujara pushes Raju out and starts spouting Dushyant’s syrupy lines to Chandan himself. Soon, he’s dismissed the rest of the class, too, and closed the doors.

Shakuntala being enacted

He goes on speaking romantic dialogues to Chandan, who’s getting uncomfortable. She doesn’t do anything, though, to get away from Pujara. This faux drama comes to a halt only when Raju and the rest, who’ve been peering in through the ventilator, fall down with a crash.

Chandan, tossing and turning in her bed that night, cannot figure out what to do. Tell her parents? Warn them of what might be in the offing? But her mother tends to go overboard at the merest whiff of supposed impropriety, and her father has too many troubles, anyway. Perhaps things will sort themselves out.

But the damage is done. Raju, who is anyway annoyed with Chandan’s disinterest in him, now sets out to ruin her reputation. The next day, Chandan arrives in class to face booing and the cold shoulder from all her classmates. Raju boasts that she can do nothing to him, because his father is on the college’s board of trustees. He will make sure her name is mud.
He, along with his disreputable friends, begins a smear campaign against Chandan, including lots of graffiti on the walls around Chandan’s home.

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Soon, things have spiralled out of control. Chandan’s father is summoned to a meeting of the trustees at Chandan’s college, and is told that though they will stop Pujara’s increments [there is no talk of taking any further, more punitive, action against him], Chandan has given their college a bad name, and is therefore expelled. [Does this sound realistically familiar, this confusing of the victim and the perpetrator?]

Motilal is told that Chandan is being expelled

When the family discovers this—the shameful graffiti, the news of Chandan’s being expelled—there is mayhem. Kishore’s wife throws a tantrum, packs up her suitcase, and leaves. Chandan’s mother goes on hunger strike and a maun vrat: she will not eat, drink, or speak until—who knows? [Since she refuses to speak, she can’t explain her condition for breaking her maun vrat].

Ma throws a fit and begins a fast

The household has become so oppressive, her mother’s angry silence and fasting so onerous and her father’s mournful eyes so accusatory, that Chandan cannot bear it any more. One night, she packs up a little bundle and runs away from home. She makes it to the roadside, where she hails a passing lorry—only a driver and his helper in it—and asks for a lift. [Why a girl who’s just been made the victim of sexual harassment doesn’t have the sense to travel in public transport beats me. Especially when the helper, leering vacuously at her, urges her to get in beside him].

Sure enough, they haven’t gone far when the two men start off in earnest, encouraging Chandan to sit a little closer, move in here… when the lorry slows down a little, Chandan sees her chance, opens the door, and leaps out. The driver and his helper will not be thrown off so easily, however: they chase her through the woods, and a screaming Chandan is finally cornered beside a lake.

Chandan, cornered

Her screams, however, have attracted the attention of a man (?) who is staying in a nearby cottage. He runs out, bashes up the goons, rescues Chandan, and takes her to his cottage. He lives alone here, and has soon managed to calm Chandan and put her in a room to sleep. He goes into his own room and lies down, unable to sleep—the thought of this beautiful girl, in the next room, all alone, makes him restless. Reading through Life Magazine, replete with photos of scantily clad women, makes him even more restless [These firang magazines, I tell you!]

Chandan's rescuer starts feeling horny

The man keeps murmuring to himself that he’s a married man, he’s got two children, he shouldn’t be even thinking of this. But no, he can’t help himself [haven’t we heard that before?], and peering in through the window at a sleeping Chandan, he finally loses control and goes in. Chandan comes awake to find herself being raped.

Chandan wakes up to horror

Once the deed is done, the man tries to tell her that everything will be all right [how?], while Chandan weeps.

The next morning, though, as the man goes off to work—it turns out he’s an engineer, supervising the construction of a road through the forest—we see how Chandan has decided to make sure everything is all right. She shyly holds out two garlands, slips one around her rapist’s neck, and asks him to garland her with the other. [Yikes! And I thought this girl had some sense. Why, pray, suddenly decide that you’re in love with the man who raped you? Or perhaps Chandan thinks this is the only way to retain her ‘honour’, so to say].

Chandan makes up with her rapist

No, she does not consider this a wedding, but just a sort of betrothal. Chandan continues to live with the man, waiting for when they can get married.

Meanwhile, back in her parents’ town, things have gone from bad to worse. Ma, still fasting and silent, is on her deathbed. Urged to speak, to say the name of God, the woman manages to whisper “Chandan,” a couple of times before she dies.

The death of Chandan's mother, with her daughter's name on her lips.

Meanwhile, too, Man Singh has been going around trying to remove everything that points to Chandan’s shame: cleaning away the graffiti, getting into fights with those who gossip about her. Even going to Raju’s college and thrashing him.

Man Singh beats up Raju

Back in the forest, Chandan is living happily with her lover.

Until one day, when the man’s boss, coming around on an inspection, says that the man’s wife hasn’t heard from her husband for two months now. She’s been getting increasingly restive, so will be arriving the next day.

The only solution is for Chandan to be sent away, as quickly as possible. Her lover tries to tell her that his father is coming, and would disapprove of her living with him. Chandan soon becomes suspicious that he’s trying to get rid of her, and refuses to go. Why should she? They’re going to be married; she wants to meet his father. When she realizes this isn’t having any effect, she lies to her lover, telling him that she is pregnant.

Chandan lies that she's pregnant

By that night, Chandan’s lover is so desperate, he can think of only one thing: kill Chandan. He goes to her bedside with a knife, raises it to stab a sleeping Chandan—and then cannot bring himself to do it. Instead, he plunges the knife into his own hand, and, dripping blood all over the place (and dropping the knife on the floor beside Chandan’s bed), goes rushing out into the night.

The man tries to kill Chandan, but cannot bring himself to do so.

If he cannot escape from this mess he’s got himself into, there is only one way out: kill himself. There is a banyan tree there, its aerial roots hanging low, and the man hangs himself.

Later that night, Chandan wakes up to see the blood and the bloodied knife. She picks up the knife [Why? Why, girl? Haven’t you seen any Hindi films? Don’t you know this is a sure-fire way of getting caught for murder?], then flings it away and races out. She runs to the banyan tree, sees her lover dangling from there, and runs off.

How does this desperate, confused Chandan, now seemingly alone and friendless, morph into the sophisticated, pretty model Priya, who dances with Elvis (Jalal Agha), goes to meet a producer (Agha) to talk about starring in his next film—and generally seems to have become a completely different person?

Tanuja in Priya

What I liked about this film, and what I didn’t like (yes, they both get covered in one section, because this film had several things that overlapped):

I found Priya an odd film. There are times when it seems it’s been scripted by two very different people with two very different ideas of what this film should be (though the credits show that it was written—as well as directed—by Govind Saraiya).

The first half is, despite the awful acting of several important characters, fairly gripping. Chandan’s story plays out in a way that reminded me of Tess of the D’Urbervilles: the innocent who is loved by one man (to whom she too is attracted), but is raped by another. Chandan, partly through her own naïvete (and, truth to tell, even stupidity), and partly through sheer bad luck at being victimized by so many different people, goes through a traumatic period. All interesting, even bold [which other Hindi film heroine of 1970, after being raped, would not at least attempt suicide?], and this theme does get carried over to some extent into the second half, continuing the theme of Chandan’s desperate attempts at being independent, at living life on her own terms.

Tanuja in Priya, 1970.

Only, the tone of the second half—with several peppy songs, with Jalal Agha acting as a young singer named Elvis, and with comic turns by Agha and a couple of others—is so jarringly different from the first half that it seems unreal. Chandan too, changed into Priya, becomes the chirpy, bubbly Tanuja one remembers from films like Gustakhi Maaf: not at all the frustrated, hot-headed yet immensely naive Chandan, trying her best to battle it out alone against a world that seems to prey on her at every turn.

The first half was what I liked about this film: it showed so much promise, so much an attempt to be different. The second half was what I didn’t like. It doesn’t fit well with the first half when it comes to tone; there are some completely unnecessary comic scenes, and Chandan/Priya almost seems schizophrenic in her behaviour. She blows hot, blows cold towards Man Singh; she goes off with a total stranger, very clearly with the intention of sleeping with him, but then begs him to let her go. Psychotic, certainly, but the film does not delve deeper into it—it just skims the surface, so one never really knows what is going through this woman’s mind.

Plus, a film like this, which has a message (no matter how regressive, which it was), should not spell out the message. There are subtler ways of saying the same thing than freezing a frame and having someone read out a lecture on how the youth of our country should behave.

So, no. No matter how much I like Tanuja and Sanjeev Kumar (and them together, especially!), this is not a film I’d recommend. Watch the peppy Pretty, pretty Priya on Youtube, or listen to Na sun sun sun bura (what an earworm that is!), and that’s it. The rest if safely avoided.

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138 thoughts on “Priya (1970)

  1. Hmm… I was intrigued by the fact that she did not, as you point out, go off and commit suicide after being raped. I suppose ‘marrying’ the dolt who did that to her was reparation enough? As I read through the rest of your synopsis, I kept looking for a brick wall with my head.

    Your last few paragraphs sum up what’s wrong with the film. It’s almost as if the writer suddenly decided ‘Oops!’ He couldn’t show such a besharam ladki living happily ever after. I don’t think any of these men actually understand a woman – they describe a woman who, if she exists outside their imagination, must be the stupidest, most docile bovine ever.

    I shall immediately put this on my ‘Watch at your own peril’ or even better, ‘Do not watch’ list!

    p.s. Sanjeev really was dishy, wasn’t he? I’m not the only one to think so? :)

    • ” It’s almost as if the writer suddenly decided ‘Oops!’ He couldn’t show such a besharam ladki living happily ever after.

      You have no idea how close to the truth you are!

      Spoiler ahead:

      He actually does have Priya end up agreeing to marry Man Singh, and very happily too – but then, at the very last moment, before the end credits roll, the frame freezes (Priya and Man Singh aren’t married yet) and we’re treated to a long lecture on how we’ve been given the ‘happy ending’ we wanted (yes, those are the exact words), but who knows what will happen? (which probably implies that even if we’re left at this stage, we can’t be sure that a badchalan aurat like Priya will ever really be happily married).

      Sigh. And this, after Priya – in a moment of epiphany – confesses to Man Singh that it was her fault, to have tried to be free. She should have realized that a woman’s place is in the chaar-deewaari of her own home.

      Spoiler ends.

      Arrrggghhh!

      No, no. You are not the only one to think Sanjeev Kumar was really dishy in his day. I remember watching Shikaar and thinking he even upstaged Dharmendra in the looks department there. :-)

      • i first watched sanjeev kumar in old roles so when i saw him young i felt oh yeh kabhi jvaan bhi thay. i think he looked best in shikaar, anubhav and dastak. i think a viewer discovers a actor in phases. like i discovered amitabh first in weird roles of 80s and wondered he was superstar. than in young roles of till 73 after that in late 70s and than in recent movies. i realised that he didn’t contribute much to Indian cinema. he was best till he got middle stream directors. and i also felt Rajesh khanna did more watchable cinema . you can watch movies of 60s. songs, heroines and all. acc to me there should be a separate post how we discovered actors.

        • Yes, the first films I watched of Sanjeev Kumar too were his later ones – from the 80s (which was when I actually began watching movies, nearly all of them on Doordarshan). I think the first early Sanjeev Kumar film I saw was Satyakam, though at that time I was too besotted by Dharmendra for Sanjeev Kumar to leave much of an impression. It was only a few years ago – while seeing Shikaar – that I really saw how very gorgeous he was.

          “acc to me there should be a separate post how we discovered actors.

          Wouldn’t work for me, because just about every single actor worth discovering, I discovered through Doodarshan, back in the 80s. The 5.45 Sunday movie. But thanks for the suggestion!

      • Madhu! So there was a ‘moral science’ lesson for the audience as well. And of course! a woman’s place is within the four walls of her home! How could I have lived so long and not learnt that lesson?!

        Aaaaarrrrrggggghhhhh! *Goes looking for several brick walls*

          • *Snort* Lucky I wasn’t drinking tea when I read this!
            So Tanuja, after speaking those lines, must have gone about making the acquaintance of every deewar on the set. It always makes me wonder, when strong women are forced into such regressive roles. What makes them accept such roles?

            • “What makes them accept such roles?

              Yes. I’m always intrigued when I see something like this. Balraj Sahni in Ek Phool Do Maali is another example. Possibly material considerations? I guess if you’re not getting any other roles… though I find that hard to believe for people like Balraj Sahni or even Tanuja, by this stage in her career. Of course, it may have been a question of doing a favour to someone, honouring a commitment, stuff like that. Who knows?

    • With your permission, I will reply to the last part of your post. To answer you question, NO, you’re definitely not the only one to think Sanjeev was exceptionally dishy! :)

      In fact, I used the words like BEAUTIFUL, GORGEOUS, HANDSOME, HOT, SEXY, ATTRACTIVE and the so on to describe him in numerous posts – and I stand by them! It perplexes me when I encounter people who don’t see his beauty – calling his looks ordinary, common, light. WHAT?! I will dare anyone to name another actor with such perfect profile, such beautiful and expressive eyes and eyebrows, such delicate and gentle hands – well, I think I’ve made my point :)

  2. This film seems to be messed up at so many levels! I give you credit for watching it in it’s entirety. I don’t think I would have lasted after the garland exchange scene that you described. I would have nothing to do with the movie after that. It is just so lame! The movie seems to be assembled with creepy men (Raju, Pujara, Driver, Helper, and Rapist of course).

    WOW! How do the writers even think this concept can fly in any situation?

    Thanks for the heads up. I will be sure to steer clear from the movie.. So much for seeing Sanjeev Kumar and Tanuja together :) Your review as always had plenty to crack me up..

    • Ashish, to be honest, I’d already seen close to half of this film, and it was interesting until the point she convinced herself that she was in love with her rapist. I was ready to give up after that, but having wasted an hour on the film already, I decided I may as well finish it off and warn others!

      Incidentally, talking of Sanjeev Kumar and Tanuja together, you should look out for their film Gustakhi Maaf (I’ve reviewed it, too, here: https://madhulikaliddle.com/2015/01/02/gustakhi-maaf-1969/). An utterly delightful, if not completely faithful adaptation of A Comedy of Errors. It was so much fun that it made me want to see more films starring these two… and this is what I ended up with!

      • I know what you mean. Having invested an hour into a movie puts you in that predicament.

        Yes, I remember your Gustakhi Maaf review. Sanjeev and Tanuja are great together but it looks like you paid a big price for seeing them together in the end. :)

        May be add “Anubhav” to your list?

      • GUSTAKHI MAAF is one of the funniest movies I”ve seen – and,certainly, one of the best for SK and Tanuja! There were others during same period, have you seen them: OOS RAAT KE BAAD (he plays her father! Strange, somewhat intriguing movie), PURANI PENCHAAN (I haven’t seen it yet), JEENE KI RAAH (SK only has a small role in it – and it’s the best part of the movie, that’s why I edited it out :) and put it up on YT), BACHPAN, of course (cute movie, and SK looks breathtakingly gorgeous!)?

    • Yes, terrible film. I found it on Youtube a couple of years back, when I was looking for Sanjeev Kumar-Tanuja films (in the wake of watching Gustakhi Maaf. Someone had uploaded it in several parts, and I managed to download it. Bad print (it’s been recorded from TV, as you can see from the screenshots) though.

  3. I knew about Priya from the two songs that you mention. I got a feeling it was a light hearted romantic comedy. I hate these kind of ‘the whole world is out to rape a woman who steps out of a house’ thing. And not to mention ‘Try to be independent and become a whore’ one.

    I will give this a miss and just watch the nice songs on youtube. Jalal Agha as Elvis eh? Hee hee.

    But the story also seems to have some elements of ‘Far from a Madding Crowd’ no? Farmer Giles waits patiently while Bathsheba sows her wild oats?

    • You’re right, Ava – I hadn’t noticed the Far from the Madding Crowd connection. There’s also the fact that Chandan, like Bathsheba, falls in love with a man (in this case her rapist) who is already committed to another woman – though, of course, how committed Sergeant Troy is to his lover (I’ve forgotten her name – Fanny?) is another matter.

      Looks like Govind Saraiya thought Thomas Hardy a good starting point…

      “I hate these kind of ‘the whole world is out to rape a woman who steps out of a house’ thing. And not to mention ‘Try to be independent and become a whore’ one.

      I know! It’s so appalling. And it’s actually spelled out loud and clear, not just shown. :-(

  4. Wonderful wonderful review Madhu didi! And, of course, we get to witness your trademark wit on display too.. It’s really very nice.

    Even I like Sanjeev Kumar a lot didi.. Although he was from the theatre his acting does not have any of those Stagey histrionics one associates with theatre (though the theatre scene in the 70’s was different). But he always managed to bring out the subtleties of his character very well. Also, he wasn’t afraid to act in women-centric films unlike other actors of his time.. Have you seen Dastak didi? It’s a powerful film.. Directed by Rajinder Singh Bedi. It’s an art film actually with certain mainstream touches but it’s very nice.
    And this film does look good and pretty bold for its times and one must appreciate Tanuja for taking up such a role but it’s so essential to wrap up a film properly otherwise it leaves a bad taste in the mouth.. But I absolutely loved your pacy narration didi thanks a lot!

      • Yes it did have a negative ending.. But that was done purposely to show the plight of women in India.. Bedi was trying to say that sometimes married women are like prostitutes only..but yes a bit harsh

    • I think theatrical styles changed a fair bit from what they’d been when cinema first arrived – if you see Raja Harishchandra or even later movies, like most of Sohrab Modi’s roles, the ‘theatrical’ acting is very pronounced. Which may have been the effect of nautanki, I don’t know. As time passed (and this is all my own conjecture), a new style of theatre evolved, and that possibly led to the growth of a new style of cinema, too, which existed alongside this more theatrical style… IPTA, for instance, spawned actors like Balraj Sahni, one of the finest actors Hindi cinema has ever seen. I tend to think of Sanjeev Kumar as one of that style: restrained, natural. And one huge plus point with him was that he was immensely versatile. He could do romantic hero as well as angsty protagonist as well as laugh-out-loud comic.

      I have to admit I haven’t got around to watching Dastak yet, though of course I know what it’s about. Must, someday…

      Glad you liked this review, Rahul. :-) Yes, Tanuja was brave to take on a role such as this – but, by the end, the message it leaves is so horribly regressive, I was wondering why she’d agreed to do something like this.

      • Oh you’ve managed to see Raja Harischandra didi! You’re lucky I’ve always wanted to.
        And in the 60’s didi generally directors tended to take the safe path and ended their movies rather tamely just to avoid controversy ( the situation hasn’t changed even today sadly). Like in Yeh Raastey hain pyaar ke in the last scene Leela Naidu falls at Sunil Dutt’s feet.. It’s an anomaly in what was largely a good film didi..
        Thank you for the information on the theatre movement didi! :)

        • Raja Harishchandra is in the public domain – you should be able to find it in Youtube. Not all of it is there; if I remember correctly, there were three reels originally, of which now less than two remain. So you can view part of the beginning and part of the end. Not great cinema, but it’s certainly an interesting part of Indian cinema history. :-)

          I had forgotten the end of Yeh Raaste Hain Pyaar Ke. Arrghh!

          By the way, Balraj Sahni’s autobiography has some interesting insights into IPTA and its early days. :-)

  5. I saw the title, picture of Sanjeev Kumar and Tanuja and thought, how come I have not come across this movie. I like them both a lot and together ? This would be a good watch, well then I started to read the review :( . Perhaps one person started writing the story, gave up because could not give it a good finish, another took over and put his name on it ? Such a waste of two talents !

    • Exactly, Neeru! Such a waste. Sanjeev Kumar and Tanuja are great actors, and even better when they’re together, as can be seen from a film like Gustakhi Maaf. And this film did start off interestingly – if they’d kept to that theme of an unusually ‘bold’ girl and not tried to make redemption the final outcome, this could’ve been a pathbreaker (though I’m not sure how receptive audiences back then would have been to the idea of a badnaam aurat living happily ever after).

  6. I’ve seen “Priya” many years ago and my predominant memory of the film is one of acute distaste. Sanjeev Kumar is a personal favorite of mine too, but man has he played a large number of douchebags in movies! I know he’s the “good guy” in “Priya” but not without indulging in the requisite bit of victim-blaming. Ugh.

    I think “Priya” may have kicked-off an unfortunate genre of Hindi films in the 70s. Movies revolving around stories of, as Ava so aptly put it, ‘the whole world out to rape a woman who steps outside her home.” Ugh, again.

    “Gustakhi Maaf” is probably my favorite of the Sanjeev Kumar-Tanuja pairing, but I second the recommendation for “Anubhav” and if you’re in a generous mood, try “Oos Raat Ke Baad” or “Purani Pehchan” – both are okay, timpass movies with some interesting elements.

    • “Movies revolving around stories of, as Ava so aptly put it, ‘the whole world out to rape a woman who steps outside her home.”

      Have you seen the Geeta Bali starrer Suhaagan? I watched the film just for her, because she’s usually so much pep and vivacity – it’s a film about a woman who gets married, then ends up having to start working because her husband falls ill (if I remember correctly) and if she won’t earn, they won’t be able to survive. As it happens, the only job she gets is as a theatre actress – and though she doesn’t get raped, it’s pretty obvious that her morality is in question throughout the film. The message, which is (of course!) confessed by a teary-eyed heroine at the end of the film is that yes, a woman’s place is in her home, not outside. Yes, stay at home and let hubby and everybody else starve to death, rather than you step out.

      Eek.

      Oos Raat ke Baad has been on my list for a while. Will add Purani Pehchaan to it, too. Thanks for the recommendations!

  7. It seems two films have been rolled into one.
    And the ending! I’m going to keep my hands off it.
    The first part does sound really promising, because such things do happen in India and such things do need to be addressed. To run away seems to be quite plausible reaction but then in a truck?
    “she goes off with a total stranger, very clearly with the intention of sleeping with him, but then begs him to let her go.”
    I think, everyone has the right to change their mind. One just might not find the other person attractive anymore or some other thing.
    The songs are really good. Knew the song, Pretty Priya but the other one, I heard it for the first time. If it was any other singer than Mahendra Kapoor and what are the children doing in a night club?

    • “I think, everyone has the right to change their mind. One just might not find the other person attractive anymore or some other thing.

      No, that’s my fault for not explaining the entire scenario properly. This man has been following her around, and when she snaps at him in anger and asks why he’s doing that, he is very frank with her: he wants sex. He offers her money, and she gets into the car with him – still fuming, and obviously not at all in any way attracted to him. It’s also not as if she needs the money; she doesn’t. So her motivation is very vague. Coming from a woman who has been victimised by men so often, who has been raped, who has been nearly molested too, it’s a silly way to act.

      Then, when she gets to his hotel room, she starts crying and begging him to let her go.

      I have no idea what those children are doing in Na sun bura dekh bura bol bura! But I remember this song from Doordarshan days. Had seen it then on Chitrahaar, and it somehow stuck in my head. I hadn’t known it was from Priya.

      • That is really awful of the story-writer(screenplay-writer to put such a scene in. That doesn’t explain anything. If anything, then putting the woman at fault.
        Arghhhh… !

      • “I think, everyone has the right to change their mind. One just might not find the other person attractive anymore or some other thing.”
        it has happend for me newly for manoj kumar. so i agree with the line royally. he has lost the place he had in industry and i wonder why it happens with him only. (sic). and acc to me most unfit person in the industry. he didn’t maintain his looks and all. i think he paid for his 6 films he directed. rest P n P are still watchable. with progressing age he lost it his cinematic ideas and sense. god bless him. enough lucky to romance heroines.

        • no wonder no one from his family was able to gain footing in industry. wished didn’t watch phalkey video. it was made by some crazy person no doubt.

        • I know you’ve commented on this again and again and again on the Poonam ki Raat post, but I’ve not responded because I can’t think of anything to say. Would you please try not to clutter up this post as well? Thanks.

          • yeah i am do sorry for it extremely sorry.. i was shocked beyond repair after watching that. i am unsure about mechanism of wordpress. if it is possible you may take pain of deleting the comments cause i realise it was beyond professional criticism. i know about limited time you have. humble request. on unconventional stories i want to say something about Bimal roy . Pt.Mukhram Sharma writer wanted to make the movie on rehabilitation of prostitutes . first he went to Bimal da. bimal roy he listened this story in car. but he said people will not accept the ending that a fallen woman so he wanted the ending to change that is woman dying rather than getting accepted. then Pt. mukhram sharma said stop the car, bimal roy asked if i remember that do you want to be drop here only ?? then sharma said no he wants to take another car. and he went away. later B.R.Chopra took the subject and made the movie. also i want to say about another movie that is sharda where lover becomes step mother and the boy accepts it. i was myself shocked after reading the story line. i want to count Safar too. dont sharmila tagore character spends more time with Rajesh than her own husband feroz and even there beds are separated ! and she still wonders that why Feroz remains so angry. and on Ghar i think it is known thing that a couple was returning from cinema didn’t find taxi was walking and woman was gang raped. the movie was i think loafer if i remember. i don’t know but i feel that ghar could have been different if directed by Gulzaar saheb.

            • No problem. I’m too short on time to go about finding and deleting all those comments, so I’ll let them be.

              There have been very few film makers who have had the guts to make films which show lead actresses cast as prostitutes (not the ‘chaste’ dancing girls, whose only sin is to sing and dance, but women who are actually shown as being whores). Films like Hawas or Sadhna and the actresses who agree to work in them should, I think, be applauded for having the courage to do so.

  8. I thoroughly enjoyed your review – much more than I did the film :)

    I think my experience was worse than anybody else’s for one main reason: I didn’t understand a single word (alas, I don’t speak or understand Hindi – and have to rely on subs or my friends for clarification). Now, imagine this mess of a movie as seen by someone who hasn’t got a slightest idea of what exactly is going on (but such was a power of my adoration for Sanjeev that I endured!). Feel better now? :)

    I especially appreciate your review for it has given me a much better understanding of this movie – and made me feel better for not liking it. If I had to find something positive, I’d say it was still worth watching simply for Sanjeev-Tanuja chemistry and their acting. And these are my two cents in :)

    P.S. I don’t blame you for not being able to go through with GUNEHGAAR (although, there are some delightful scenes between SK and Kumkum – as always, Sanjeev is so wonderful at playing romance) or INSAAN AUR SHAITAAN (again, hard to stomach with the exception of some scenes between SK and Faryal, and a couple of others) – but what put you off HUSN AUR ISHQ? Fake jewelry and cheap sets notwithstanding, I found it quite delightful and entertaining. I hope you’d give it another try. What about BADAL? It’s one of my absolute favorites – and it’s a sure pick-me-upper for a bad day! It’s funny, clever, witty, romantic – just great! Hopefully, I didn’t oversell it :)

    • I’m so glad you liked the review, Alisa! And I’m glad I could help you understand it better – I can just imagine trying to understand a film if there are no subtitles and it’s in a language you aren’t very familiar with. I cannot even summon up the courage to watch non-subbed Punjabi films, even though I can understand a smattering of Punjabi! I’m impressed that you tried, despite not knowing Hindi.

      I made my way through those movies in an interesting way: I began with Husn aur Ishq, but as soon as I saw (in the credits) that it was based on Alif Laila, I gave up for the time being, because it struck me that unless they took serious liberties with the story, there’d be tragedy looming, and I wasn’t in the mood for a sad ending.

      But I will certainly get around to watching Badal someday soon! You’ve sold it to me. :-D

      • Many thanks for your reply!

        I will be eagerly waiting your review of BADAL – and, perhaps, one day, HUSN AUR ISHQ? :) Actually, it’s not a sad movie at all! It’s a spin on Alladin story with the genie and the lamp, with vicious Vizier trying to plot against two lovers and the dimwitted King. It has some nice songs, romance, humor, dances, fights – it’s just your perfect fantasy story right out of Arabian nights!
        I only wish it was in color (well, last 10 minutes of it are) like ALI BABA (1966), another favorite of mine with Sanjeev and the lovely L. Vijayalakshmi.

  9. Sharing stories of sanjeev ji, on the shooting of bahon mein chaley aa sanjeev was upset cause his proposal was refused by hema. his co actor jaya asked this and became sad too then sanjeev said that we are artist and we should gave our best and public ko kya ptaa then jaya said us din sey unki izzat aur bhi badh guyi. second shaukat aazmi also a stage artist was impressed by sanjeev acting as an old man even if he was just 20 later on when he became sanjeev from hari bhai zariwala that is he became successful then she aksed him then he said mai aapka vahi hari hu. shaukat was touched. third sanjeev and A.K. hangal was really closed so one day they were going in car sanjeev was driving fast he asked why then sanjeev said aap meri cigratte jo pi rahey hai. it is costing him. fourth on the sets of mausam sanjeev reported late by almost 8 hours sharmila was angry and asked him . he just smiled and gave shot and left away. one day fighting happen too. but same day she saw aandhi and was impressed so she made up with him. fifth rehana sultna used to play pranks on him and sanjeev used to get in trouble not realising that it is prank on him.

    • Sanjeev’s tardiness was well-known. In fact, Gulzar, who was very diligent about schedules and times, would reprimand all the other actors but not Sanjeev; however, during every shooting of their movies together, there would be a point where he would “fire” SK for being late. On the set of MAUSAM, one day Sanjeev actually asked Gulzar himself to fire him and let the whole crew go home – turns out, he and Sharmila wanted to see a movie :)

        • Only true friendship could survive this! :)

          On the set of NAMKEEN (what a great movie!), all four women would become really frustrated with Sanjeev for his showing up late that they would refuse to talk to him. Undeterred, SK would ask Gulzar to proceed with the scene – and almost always after the first take (Sanjeev rarely required more), they would be floored and completely in awe of him. Everything would be forgiven! Isn’t that a testament to a great talent!

          There was another tradition between Sanjeev and Gulzar: on the last day of shooting they would go to either SK’s or Gulzar’s house, eat and drink, and watch Disney’s DUMBO – crying at the end of it every single time… Now, how sweet is that!

  10. sixth Sanjeev didn’t use to greet much people. i think waheeda ji was saying he was too much into himself. K.Asif was too closed to him. he died at his house in the same room where 20 years ago his father died. he was father figure to him and loved him dearly. sanjeev was atheist he didn’t believe in god. he was saying that his god is his mother only. 7th he was close to tanuja and asked by amin sayani about marriage. i remember his words aapko kya lagta hain aadmi aur aurat mai ek hi rishta ho sakta hain. and why they can’t marry cause he and she has different nature. he is traditional man and tanuja is modern. his near words were meri patni ek aadarsh grihlaxmi hogi. jo parivaar k liye khana bnaaye. jo ghar dekhey. he added they are like brother and aunty. and sometimes he becomes her brother and sometimes she becomes his aunty.. tanuja used to say shadi kar lo kuvarey hi marr jayogey and true he died like this only. he was fan of roshan and said unhey kabhi nahi bhulna chhaiye and played the song o rey taal miley nadi k jal mein. and when asked if he marries heroine than will he let her continue her career ?? he replied mai apni biwi ko kisi dusrey ki bahon mein nahi dekh sakta.

    • Very nice stories, indeed! I am familiar with many of them while some are totally new to me! Thanks for sharing!

      I never knew he wanted to marry Tanuja; on the contrary, he always maintained that she was like a baby and he was like her father. He was deeply in love with Tanuja’s sister, Nutan, in late 60s but she was married, of course, so nothing could become of it.

      I do have one question, it’s very important one: where did you read that Sanjeev was an atheist? I know he wasn’t very religious and he loved his mother very much – but he used to refer to God in his conversations. Could you please tell me more about that and where you found that information? It’s VERY important for me to know. Thank you!

  11. i don’t know if i said all known things. rehana sultnaa used to play pranks on him on the sets and sanjeev used to get in trouble not realising that rehana is playing pranks. and sanjeev was fond of non veg food of mosuhmi chaterjee home.

    • Do you know more about Rehana and Sanjeev? What kind of pranks did she play? It would be so great if you can tell us more about that!

      I know once during the filming of the song, she would burst out laughing and that frustrated the director and Sanjeev. She also used to say that when they greeted fans, nobody wanted her autograph – because all the fans would fawn around Sanjeev!

        • You made me chuckle! :)

          In all fairness, Sanjeev was by then an established actor if not yet a star (I am not sure which movie opened first KHILONA or DASTAK but they are from the same year 1970); Rehana only had CHETNA to her credit (apparently, the poster showing her bare legs made quite a splash). But, of course, poor Rehana didn’t stand a chance next to Sanjeev :)

          Interestingly, it was in large part thanks to Sanjeev and his secretary, that Rehana had a chance to finish filming CHETNA before DASTAK – which, in turn, helped Bedi with promotions and the box office since a lot of people wanted to see more of her (in a broad sense of the word, if you catch my drift).

          DASTAK is such a fantastic movie, it has a great drama, wonderful songs, superb acting – and a social message to top that all. If you haven’t already, do check it out – you’d be impressed, I am sure.

          • I will! I’ve heard a lot about Dastak and have been meaning to watch it, but… well, I and a bunch of other bloggers use an acronym for this dilemma. WDIGTT? Which is short for Where Do I Get The Time? :-D

      • want to share about B.R.Ishara ji husband of Rehna sultana. he was very bold person. his films reflected too and acc to him marriage is biggest farce of civilisation and even gave an example which was very blunt . he said people are more troubled about what others will say than guilty
        on their part.

        • Very bold, indeed. Interestingly, he and Rehana were so different but they stayed married to each other for so long!

          Sanjeev Kumar always supported B.R. Ishara; he even starred in two of his movies!

          • i am deeply touched by your admiration for sanjeev kumar. he was god gifted. top 5 actors of our cinema. have seen people making joke of his speaking style as of thakur saheb.

            • Thank you kindly for your support and appreciation!

              Sanjeev Kumar holds a very special place in my heart; I don’t only admire him as an actor, I am fascinated by his persona. I take everything that concerns him quite personally (and suffer for it sometimes).

              So if you permit me a reminder, I want to ask you this question again: can you tell me where you heard or read about Sanjeev possibly being an atheist? What was the context of it? I’d GREATLY appreciate if you can tell me more about this. THANK YOU – and best wishes!

              P.S. I am afraid we’re cluttering this thread with this discussion – so I’d be happy to give you my email if you want to reply.

  12. another story is madan mohan was unwilling to go to national awards ceremony for dastak but it was sanjeev who convinced him that we will go to delhi they stitched same kind of coats.

    • Yes, that is absolutely true! I read this story in an interview of Madan Mohan’s son, Sanjeev(!). Mohan was somewhat disappointed and disillusioned with awards and movie industry’s treatment of him that he refused to go. It was SK who convinced him to go to Delhi with him and Rehana saying: “We must present a united front!” Sure enough, all three of them got their deserved accolades and awards!

        • I believe he was… There’re many lovely remembrances by the people who worked with him and were friends with him. As with any creative and talented person, he was full of contradictions; he was a very emotional and vulnerable man – but his sense of humor and quick wit were legendary in the industry! He’s always remembered as soft-spoken, kind, funny, tender, sweet, at times tough, with a great fondness for food, smoking, and drinking. There’s, of course, so much more to him – he was a beautiful and complex human being with a tremendous devotion to his craft and an unparalleled talent.

      • as A.K.Hangal said about hero and acting. naserudin shah analysis about amit ji that he didn’t contributed much was an eye opener. his another statement that mehmood was great actor made me realise that character artists are better actors . my list is not in order . david, Om prakash ji, mehmood, Manmohan Krishna who also directed Noorie, K.N.Singh eyebrow adda k shadai hai sab. keshto mukherjee, devan verma , Rehmaan saab, utpal dutt, naseer hussain, iftekaar . i will add more if i remember.

        • Thank you for clearing that for me!

          I don’t think this means he didn’t believe in God; he just wanted to show how much his Mom meant for him and how he loved her. He was so devastated after her death that he said, God isn’t fair to me (because he wasn’t there when she passed). He also was going to Shirdi, and was known to read some spiritual literature. I also heard that when he died, people were reading Hindi holy text, the Bible, and the Qurran over his body. So I do believe he was not an atheist.

          Again, thank you for this info. As you can tell, this is very important to me.

  13. Reading your blog after a long time… and it didn’t disappoint.
    I do find young Sanjeev quite dishy. He seemed to have a spontaneous charm in his young days that’s complemented very well by co-stars like Tanuja and Nazima (films like Nishaan and Manchali). Thanks for the tip about this movie though. Sound like one I should definitely steer clear of.

    By the way, the Bhabhi looks like Padma Rani who incidentally co-starred as Sanjeev’s villainous wife in one of his early Gujarati movies “Kalapi” – a biopic of a well-known Gujarati poet.

    Looking forward to your next post!

    • Good to have you back, Anoushka! Yes, long time no see.

      Thanks for the tip-off about the Bhabhi possibly being Padma Rani (I hadn’t heard about her). I would loved to have watched some of Sanjeev Kumar’s Gujarati movies – sad none of them seem to be subbed. There are a few on Youtube.

      • If it’s Sanjeev’s Gujarati movie with subs that you want – you shall get it! I come to the rescue with this:

        It’s a nice movie – and he’s very good in it! The year of release was 1971 but I get the feeling it was filmed earlier and released after KHILONA and DASTAK since his name carried so much more then.

        There are also just two short scenes from his Gujarati movie KALAPI (1966) but they are enough to get a glimpse of the talent that was already surfacing.

  14. I think you are a very brave lady for having sat through the movie, Madhu. I was cringing just reading the review and was so embarrassed for Tanuja. But was part annoyed too when I read, ‘She shyly holds out two garlands, slips one around her rapist’s neck, and asks him to garland her with the other.’ Gosh! No matter at what time period this is set, it is still cringe worthy.
    I have not seen many old movies, especially of Tanuja or Sanjeev Kumar, together or otherwise. But when I think of them, I think of the song, ‘Mujhe Jaan Na Kaho Meri Jaan’. For me the ultimate romantic song, the sheer playfulness of Geeta Dutt’s voice goes so well with the sparkle in Tanuja’s eyes and Sanjeev Kumar’s- ufff- adda with which he just stands at the rain smeared window, a slight smile playing at his lips. Maar dala! It is one of those unusual songs which seamlessly combines the sweet with the sensual- the sweetness of their relationship with the obvious sensual undercurrents.
    I enjoyed the movie too- Anubhav.
    Which brings me to this movie- man how they got it so wrong! And this is based only on my reading of the review. Makes one wonder why some of your favourite actors/ actresses have at least a dozen movies to their (dis) credit which has you wanting to bang your head, or rather theirs’ too, against the wall!
    I have been reading the anecdotes your other readers have been putting up- simply delightful! I have none, though I do remember listening on the radio once that Sanjeev Kumar was slapped by Nutan- any idea why?

    • I haven’t watched Anubhav, but Mujhe jaan na kaho meri jaan is such an absolutely lovely song. I’ve been meaning to watch that movie sometime, but let me recover from the disappointment that was Priya first. What I find really frustrating is that it starts off so intriguingly – the fact that the heroine actually gets raped by the very man who rescued her intrigued me, because I wanted to see what she would do next. And after that it went so downhill!

      “I do remember listening on the radio once that Sanjeev Kumar was slapped by Nutan- any idea why?

      Goodness. I have no idea. I do know somebody, though, who is a huge fan of Nutan’s and knows pretty much everything about her life, so will ask her if she knows anything about this.

      • “…but let me recover from the disappointment that was Priya first…” Hahaha. I will wait for you to watch and review Anubhav. Would love to know what you thought of it and put my two cents in.
        Somehow I don’t think any situation where the person who saves first and then rapes, can go anywhere good, but I applaud your perseverance!
        Actually, the radio presenter had said something about the slapping incident, which had sounded heartbreaking…well sort of…but I asked the question to confirm. This was on Suhana Safar with Anu Kapoor and somehow I always doubt the validity of his contentions. And I reasoned, you knowing so much, might be able put my doubts to rest. Now it seems I will have to wait for the book- I am not partial to biographies but I might just read this one, only to find out exactly what happened!
        PS (hehehe– wanted to use it too!) I whacked your ‘Engraved in Stone’ from a friend. My tryst is with Muzaffar Jang tonight! It’s gonna be a long, but happy night I reckon :-) Will let you know how it went.

        • I second the request about ANUBHAV! It’s also one of my favorites.

          Simrita, I may know more about that slapping incident but I will respectfully keep quiet about it. One thing I can tell you: it WAS a very emotional and heartbreaking situation…

          On a lighter note, there’s also a story, that after this slapping became a public knowledge (well, naturally, it couldn’t have been kept a secret for too long – since, apparently, the whole crew was a witness to it), there was a big party attended by many movie folks. As the story has it, when Sanjeev showed up, nearly everyone there KISSED the slapped cheek! I hope that made him feel better :) This also tells me that people didn’t find him at fault (and neither do I!).

          • Aww, that’s so cute! So if most people kissed the slapped cheek, I should think most people also were aware of the sad truth behind the slap. My friend told me what it was, and her source was somebody not too closely connected with either Nutan or Sanjeev Kumar, so while the slapping may have been in front of everybody, it seems the real reason behind that too was not actually hidden from too many people.

          • Darn it! I am now dying more than ever for Nutan’s biography- slaps, kisses- it doesn’t get any better.
            Alisa, maybe if we keep bugging Madhu we will get a post on Anubhav? :-P

        • “Somehow I don’t think any situation where the person who saves first and then rapes, can go anywhere good

          True, but I was hoping the focus on the woman, rather than the man who raped her, might mean that that incident would change her in an interesting way… maybe make her an embittered man-hater, or some sort of Fearless Nadia character who waged war against men, or… well, something interesting. Not this moron who convinces herself she’s in love with this man. Yuck.

          “It’s gonna be a long, but happy night I reckon :-) Will let you know how it went.

          Do, please! And rate/review it, if you will, on Goodreads/Amazon/Flipkart, wherever you can. Every single review helps push the series that wee bit. :-)

          • “I was hoping the focus on the woman, rather than the man who raped her, might mean that that incident would change her in an interesting way”
            Yes, I have to admit, I didn’t quite think of it like that.
            And it took me some time to read the book- a lot of stuff kept happening- and though I might not rate/ review it on line, I will buy copies of it and give it to my friends! And I think students should be made to read it in schools too!
            PS have you ever been invited to any school to speak about these books? When I finish my studies and get back to teaching (history) I am going to call you :-)

            • “PS have you ever been invited to any school to speak about these books? When I finish my studies and get back to teaching (history) I am going to call you :-)” I did do a workshop on how to write crime fiction at the French School in Delhi, but I’ll be honest: I didn’t enjoy it. The problem with speaking to an audience (and that too a young one) that’s been made to sit and listen to you (as opposed to lit fests, where it’s completely voluntary) is that for every one person who is interested, there’ll be two who won’t be. And there’s little as offputting for a writer-who’s-not-a-good-speaker as being faced with a sea of bored faces. :-)

              I am so glad that you enjoyed the book! Yes, do please spread the word however you can – I couldn’t ask for more than you gifting it! Thank you so much.

              • I did write a review on Goodreads- my first one ever, if I may add! I was shaking and ended up writing a terrible one because I was so nervous. I am not sure if it even makes sense! :-P
                I know what you mean about speaking to an audience which has been made to sit- imagine, Madhu, I used to do that for a living (teach!). And I have severe social anxiety to top it!
                But you know, I think it is so important that students be exposed to history as something alive, something which can be fun, and enjoyable. I know your sister does all these walks- and I am sure, it is not just taking the students around and recounting ‘history’ but the whole process of how one arrives there. And your book, which is so obviously well- researched, could be such a great entry point into how easy or rather difficult, it is to know the past and what all we can know and what we cannot.
                “…for every one person who is interested, there’ll be two who won’t be” I agree but imagine what it would mean for that one person who is interested! :-)
                And don’t worry, I won’t force you to come!!

                • I can see your rating on Goodreads (your user name is Simrita, am I right? (Because a dear friend of mine is called Simrita, and also like Engraved in Stone) – but no review, so maybe that got lost in transit somewhere. But. Thank you so very much for taking the time and the effort to do that! I may sound pathetic, but the truth is that every little bit helps. :-) Thank you.

                  I agree, imparting a knowledge of history in a way like this – not the dry, mostly political and economic history that was taught back in school (though I think things have changed a bit) is more likely to spark an interest in students. My sister is excellent at that. I am a little more shy and uncomfortable around children (which may be because my only child is still just a toddler, so I have had little interaction with dealing with children).

    • P.S. I asked my friend about Nutan slapping Sanjeev Kumar, There seem to be various rumours regarding why she slapped him, though she definitely did do so. One, the more commonly accepted story, is that he ‘misbehaved’ and she did it in retaliation. The other… well, it’s different, heartbreaking – and confidential, as of now. My friend is hoping to be able to write a biography of Nutan and is doing research for that, so she’ll keep that for her book. :-)

      • There are rumors and theories; then there’re her interviews (where she’s being a little unkind and harsh to him for the reasons of her own) – but, like you said, the truth, most likely, is different from them and is, indeed, sad and heartbreaking…

  15. sanjeev kumar and padmini kohlapuri ‘s professor ki padson vicks vaporub scene i love it. i don’t like sanjeev in light hearted role. i love him in serious roles . his serene smile , kurta pajama, white hairs. it gives me feeling of eternal peace. therefore i never watched manchali.

    • So nicely put!

      I saw PROFESSOR KI PADOSAN only once – and you may guess why. I just get very emotional watching Sanjeev’s movies that were made when he was very weak and frail. Same emotions overwhelm me what I watch QATL, RAHEE, BAAT BAN JAYE, and some others.

      I do love him in serious roles – especially, when he’s very restricted and intense. Things he can do with his eyes and voice only! No one compares!

      But I also enjoy him in comedies a great deal! How fantastic he is in SEETA AUR GEETA, MANORAJAN, MANCHALI, ANGOOR, and a few others! I hope one day you’d find yourself in the mood to watch these! Best wishes!

      • I can’t resist the temptation to jump in here: I adore Sanjeev Kumar in Manchali. It’s such a delightful movie, and the last couple of scenes always make me melt in a puddle. The first time I watched the movie, I remember rewinding and playing those few scenes over again and again until I’d even – inadvertently – memorised the dialogues! Love it.

        • Jumping in is highly encouraged! :)

          I totally second your feelings about MANCHALI! Love it to pieces! He’s so effortless, so funny (often, not even in direct and obvious ways), so precise with his delivery; every gesture is perfectly fitting; his voice adds such a dimension and leverage to the text! I also love those moments when Leena is unaware that he’s looking at her – his face is just precious!

          One of my favorite moments is their dialogue after the picnic – just note how his expression changes when he notices her looking at him a little differently! It takes a milisecond – yet he manages to convey the change of emotions with just a look, and what a look that is!

          MANORAJAN is right there with MANCHALI and SEETA AUR GEETA for me!

      • I agree- sloppy and shoddy slapstick did not suit him. It was sad that he was reduced to roles like those in ‘Pati Patni aur Woh’ and ‘Baat Ban Jaye’. Gosh, how awful were they!
        Though he was good in Seeta aur Geeta, Hema Malini just about managed to overshadow everyone with her brilliance in that film.
        For me, Angoor is my all time favourite Sanjeev Kumar film :-)

        • You know, I love his work in nearly all of his movies: he’s phenomenal in dramas; he’s effortless in comedies. Sorry, Simrita, I just can’t agree with you about PATI PATNI AUR WOH – I think it’s a riot! :) In fact, it’s one of his best comedic roles, in my view; he played it to perfection! Every gesture, every intonation of his voice, every look – all of it totally works for me. I don’t mind telling you that I imagined more than once what it would be like to actually be one of those girls he flirts with in the movie :)

          BAAT BAN JAYE is a little more difficult for me to watch, and the reasons are not too hard to figure: it breaks my heart to see him so frail and ill towards the end of it. I have friends who just love this movie finding it a perfect social satire and a manifest to women’s rights. I just can’t see it as such and usually just keep clear of it :(

          I know he enjoyed making comedies and was highly praised for them. ANGOOR is, perhaps, the most famous of his movies – and I just love it, too :) But if I had to choose, I’d prefer watching him in romantic roles – he could play it like no other.

          • I generally don’t take very well to movies dealing with extra marital affairs and always have problems when the wife decides to give the husband another chance. And I couldn’t understand the humour in ‘Pati, Patni aur Woh’. Sometimes, I do wonder what it would be like to get beyond the fairly obvious and look at a movie in its deeper sense- and see the various elements that make a movie, individually, like the actors, the direction, the music. I get so caught up with the story, that I can’t wrap my mind around anything else.
            With ‘Baat Ban Jaye’, I agree, SK was looking fairly aged and the strain on his face was obvious. I am not sure that I got the ‘social satire and a manifest to women’s rights’? Could you explain that a bit more please?

            • I totally get what you’re saying about getting caught up in the story so deeply and not being able to notice individual elements. Honestly, I wish I could do that :) I can’t even tell you the number of mediocre movies I sat through simply because I liked the actors in it or the music. Only on few occasions I remember holding my breath and being totally caught up in the story that I didn’t notice anything else.

              About PPAW, I have to say, I am just impressed with Sanjeev’s skills more than anything else. His perfect delivery, his timing, all the subtle gestures and modulation of his voice – they create the character that is so real and believable. Interestingly, about the same time he made GRIHAPRAVESH – did you see it? Essentially, it tells the same story (the same kid plays his son!) – but in a more dramatic and intense way. If it wasn’t for SK and his flawless acting that leaves me in awe, I would have precisely the kind of objections you mentioned in your post. But I find myself completely enthralled, and before I realize, I get emotionally involved with all the characters in this movie.

              BBJ is not among my favorites,in fact, I haven’t even seen it in its entirety. I forwarded through it and only paid attention to SK’ role. I probably can’t explain much except that one of my friends keeps trying to persuade me to watch it saying how ahead of its time the movie was, that there’s more to it that seems obvious, and all the things I mentioned before. It has the strong female character, and her quest to find a husband kinda breaks the tradition that was dominant before where the girl was always chosen by a man. Maybe, one of those days, I will get the courage to see it – then I’d be glad to tell you more :)

              • on slapping issue. it is known nutan ji slapped him under pressure of her husband. today relative said that she didn’t had much happy married life. my relative is not much into films so it was shocking.. saudagar was coming so while watching she told. and only movie of sanjeev i don’t like it namkeen. i saw it on DD1. was the slower movie even than anubhav. i feel he could have saved the sisters. the movie is too slow. the story of sanjeev taking madan ji to national award was confirmed by his son who came on radio and told this. i don’t like sanjeev ji in shatranj k khiladi because i read the story in school from there i disliked both Mirza and Mir.

              • No, I haven’t seen ‘Grihpravesh’. But Wikipedia tells me that it is the third in Basu Bhattacharya’s trilogy on marital discord, the first being ‘Anubhav’. Since I really liked the way the husband- wife relationship was explored in ‘Anubhav’, I might just watch ‘Grihpravesh’.
                About BBJ, the reason why I asked was because I didn’t find it a novelty in any way. Or because I saw it really long ago I could be quite mistaken. Yes, it had a strong female character who wants to take her own decisions. Yes, I laughed through the first half hour of the film, as she went through a string of guys. But I had problems with how SK, the hero, finally ‘domesticated’ the girl, Zeenat Aman.
                But, I think that is essentially an Indian film problem, that the climax always does leave you with wanting more or strangely dis-satisfied. They tend to be sanctimonious, and unnecessarily long.

                • Yes, GRIHAPRAVESH is the final part of the trilogy that you mentioned (the second movie AVISHKAAR I am not a fan of: Sharmila was good but I didn’t like Rajesh); in fact, it’s my favorite – for Sanjeev’s acting, if nothing else. It’s so honest, true, and realistic – one has to wonder how it was possible for an actor who never married to give such an insightful and precise characterization. Ironically, I read, that Basu Bhattacharya himself was not the ideal husband; he was known to be violent and cruel to his wife. Sad and appalling – but he was an exceptional director.

                  I am glad you decided to watch GP – and while you may cringe at some of the scenes (given your view on husband-wife relationship and issues of infidelity), I believe you’ll be impressed and captivated. I’d be interested to know your opinion of it :)

                  One lighthearted aspect of watching GRIHAPRAVESH for me comes from the fact that Sarika plays Sanjeev’s “woh” here – that fact that was the topic of conversations between them during filming. It’s funny because Sarika (as a child actor) previously starred with him in several movies and even played his son on a couple of occasions (she even was his granddaughter!). They were good friends in real life despite the age difference, and she credited Sanjeev (and Basu) with teaching her about acting and life.

                  And I totally second your sentiment about the (anti)climax in BBJ – and (most of)other Indian movies. That’s why I often just focus on my favorite scenes and songs without watching the ending every time :)

    • You must, you must! He’s wonderful in it. And just generally a good, light-hearted film that really appealed to me. Come back and tell us what you thought of it. :-)

      • Wat, I think I have watched it- but aeons ago. Tell me does it have a dialogue, ‘How far Dehradun?’- because if, yes, I was very little and my Dad made me watch the movie for this one dialogue. I was not amused- then.
        I vaguely remember that movie being about a rich woman hiring Sanjeev Kumar to be her husband or some such? I think I will (re) watch it, since it comes highly recommended and yes, will tell you all about it! :-)

        • That’s the one! That particular dialogue is no big deal, but I like the film overall. Not because it’s a comedy – I think it’s really more a Hindi Taming of the Shrew – but because Sanjeev Kumar is so good, and his chemistry with Leena Chandavarkar is good.

  16. Hi DO, came across these links while looking for Mala Sinha & Dilip Kumar films together (and realizing they haven’t done any, came close to doing a project together in Ram & Shyam but didn’t materialize)

    If you feel alright sharing it, you can publish the comment.

    It’s about the slapping incident http://www.pinkvilla.com/entertainment/nostalgia/344716/flashback-friday-famous-bollywood-fights-bygone-era which led me to this http://www.letstalkaboutbollywood.com/article-lady-nutan-123811442.html and Memsab’s Stardust scan https://memsaabstory.files.wordpress.com/2010/02/nutan1.pdf

    • Of those three links, the only site I wasn’t familiar with was PinkVilla – and somehow I’d missed the post on both Greta’s blog as well as Yves’s. All seem to go with the same version, though what my friend told me about the truth was something quite different – and it was rather sad.

      • You know, I came across PINKVILLA a few times in my searches; it has some old articles and gossip – nothing really outstanding but enough to provide a curious inquirer with a starting point.

        I read those articles and Nutan’s interviews – like I’ve mentioned before, she was a little too harsh and unkind to SK but she had her reasons, I believe. In one interview, she re-called the slapping quite calmly, even saying that she cooled down quickly and they were able to finish shooting a love scene after it. SK, obviously, didn’t like talking about it and seemed uncomfortable if anyone mentioned the incident; however, some of his friends alleged that Nutan was the true love of his life.

        So, like we’ve discussed before, the reasons were deeper – and more sad that the gossip and media would like us to believe…

  17. actually, it is said he secretly loved jaya bhaduri but could never voice it because she was in a relationship w/ amitabh. if you watch most of his movies, there’s some trace oh a tidbit or reference to a movie he did w/ jaya…. publicly it is known he was rejected by hema but he never let anyone know about jaya since she was married and he had a bad expereince w/ married woman nutan who publicly slapped him.

    • i meant his references to jaya were in most of his movies after 1973…. i find it interesting that eventhough they were eachother’s favorite costars, they never did a real romantic duet together other than the folksong pallo latke in nauker. perhaps he refused to do one w/ her since he was heartbroken.

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