A cute fairy-tale of a movie, elevated by the presence of Sanjeev Kumar and Shashi Kapoor.
Durga Devi (Nadira) is a rich widow with a stepdaughter, Shanti (Vidya Sinha), and a daughter, Roopa (Moushumi Chatterjee). She treats Shanti like a servant and is so ill-tempered that she can’t keep an actual servant around for very long. So long-suffering, patient Shanti is perpetually left with all the work.
Roopa on the other hand is adored by her mother and takes her wealth and beauty for granted, and is somewhat spoiled. Durga Devi wants to get Roopa married soon, but her brother Makhanlal (Madan Puri)—motivated by greed—has plans to marry Roopa off to his son Chander when he gets out of jail in six months. He sabotages every offer that comes Roopa’s way. This includes an offer from a wealthy businessman, Ratanlal (Shreeram Lagoo). Ratanlal got his start in business with the help of his former employer, Durga Devi’s deceased husband Amir Chand. After years abroad making his fortune, he has returned to India; and he’s made inquiries about his benefactor. He is told about Shanti and Roopa and wants his sons to marry them. Makhanlal nips this in the bud:
In addition to his own insulting reception, Ratanlal witnesses the shabby treatment of Shanti, and returns home determined to do right by Amir Chand’s daughters. He asks his sons Ram (Sanjeev Kumar) and Laxman (Shashi Kapoor) to get married to the girls and to teach Durga Devi a lesson. Of course (being good sons) they agree immediately and vow to bring the girls home as their wives only with Durga Devi and Makhanlal’s consent. They formulate their plan: Ram will pose as a servant and get work in Durga Devi’s house to court Shanti, and Laxman will woo Roopa as a Maharajah’s son.
Laxman sets himself up as the Prince in a hotel run by his friend Jagdish (Asrani) and his wife Leela, who coincidentally went to school with Roopa.
Leela and Roopa are both now members of the “Ladies’ Club.” She agrees to help Laxman in his plan to ensnare Roopa. He is settled in the Maharajah Suite which features such amenities as:
Meanwhile, Durga Devi has given Makhanlal the task of finding her a new servant. Fortuitously, he comes across Ram who maneuvers him into offering him the job. Ram is not exactly what they expected in a servant but they decide to put up with his eccentric ways since it’s so hard to find good help these days. He is smitten immediately with Shanti, although he and Roopa don’t hit it off so well:
Over the next weeks and months, he ingratiates himself into the household. Shanti falls in love with him, and Durga begins to rely on his advice. Across town Laxman is making headway with Roopa as well. With Leela’s help, he has impressed her with his wealth and sophistication (not to forget his killer good looks!) and she is now in love with him. He sees that she has a good heart but is spoiled and entitled. Makhanlal and his devious wife are furious but helpless as they are outwitted time and again by Ram and Laxman. We are treated to a lovely song (“Mujhe Chhoo Rahi Hain”) and dance around the trees with Laxman and Roopa:
The brothers run into each other at Durga’s house and strangely, only communicate through whistles. Another good song (“Ek Mahal Ma Chham Chham”) and we are at the Intermission.
The second half of the film is devoted to the wedding and the aftermath. Ram and Shanti leave after they are “insulted” by Laxman, who tells them that Shanti is the lesser of the two sisters. They go home to Ratanlal, where Shanti is astonished to discover that her new husband is rich and is warmly welcomed as the new bahu. Laxman has a way to go though, before he can tame Roopa and be sure that she loves him and not his money.
He stages a drama whereby he is revealed to be poor, not the rich son of a king. He begins to come home every night to Durga and Roopa drunk and abusive, and he also steals some jewelry to buy more booze. Durga asks Makhanlal to intervene and help her get rid of Laxman, and invites him and his wife to move into the house with them. Laxman picks a fight with Makhanlal and Durga, and gives Roopa an ultimatum—him or them. This seemed to me somewhat unfair, since Roopa is now under the impression that he is a drunken good-for-nothing and her choosing to stay behind made more sense to me than her going with him would have (another culture gap, I guess!). But little does Roopa know that her husband, as bad as he appears, is far better than what lies in store.
Because Chander (Ranjeet) has been sprung from the big house:
What will happen next? Will Roopa and Durga be rescued from the clutches of Makhanlal and family? Will Roopa ever see Laxman again? Watch Swayamvar to find out! Nadira is wonderfully haughty as Durga Devi, and Vidya Sinha and Moushumi Chatterjee do full justice to their parts. Rajesh Roshan’s songs are tuneful and blend well into the story, too. The movie really sparkles, however, thanks to Sanjeev Kumar as the mischievous Ram and Shashi Kapoor as the proud Laxman.