Sachaa Jhutha (1970)

Manmohan Desai directing, Rajesh Khanna in a double role (for which he won the Filmfare Best Actor award) with beautiful Mumtaz opposite, plus Kumari Naaz (one of my favorite actresses), a co-starring dog, and Vinod Khanna! Believe me when I say I jumped through hoops to get my hands on a working DVD of this movie. Shame on you, Shemaroo! *shakes fist in their general direction* [Begin rant: Why do they not check master DVDs before duping them a million times, why? How hard can it be? End rant.] Thank goodness for BEI.

In any case, I DID jump through hoops because…well, read the first sentence again. Was it worth it? Read on!

Bhola (Rajesh Khanna) is a simple, good-hearted village boy who just wants to get his sister Belu married and settled happily. Unfortunately, Belu (Kumari Naaz) is lame and needs crutches in order to walk, and nobody will marry her (even though she’s drop-dead gorgeous) for less than a dowry of 10,000 Rs. Bhola and Belu have a toad-like stepmother (Praveen Paul) who works poor Belu like a servant, and Bhola decides that he will go to the city to earn the money by playing music.

He sets off singing a lovely song—Kalyanji Anandji’s music is fantastic—“Meri Pyari Behenia” leaving Belu in the capable care of their dog Moti (Rexy).

In Bombay, a master jewel thief has been plaguing the city. Inspector Pradhan (Vinod Khanna) is pretty sure he knows who it is (his explanation for this deduction is pretty weak and I won’t bother with it here).

Insert philosophy:

Hmmm. Pradhan’s plan to catch Ranjit Kumar is to exploit his two biggest weaknesses: “exquisite diamonds and beautiful girls.” To that end, he puts CID officer Leela (Mumtaz) on the case.

There’s nothing quite like pimping out a fellow police officer! She will pose as a diamond heiress and make Ranjit Kumar’s acquaintance at a masquerade party being held for the rich and famous of Bombay.

Bhola happens to be outside the party venue in his band costume with his musical instruments when he is beckoned in by a party goer, who tells him everyone is waiting for him.

Inside, people seem to know him and joke with him about his “costume.” Bhola goes along with it all cheerfully although he’s a little bemused. Then Ranjit Kumar pulls up in his limousine outside.

He’s dressed as Zorro, and with the mask on nobody notices him when he enters. Surprised and thoughtful, Ranjit watches the confusion around Bhola for a while. Then Leela arrives, now in her guise as diamond heiress “Rita.” Bhola is smitten on sight by her and their introduction is quickly effected. After a song, the party breaks up and Rita dissects the evening with Pradhan.

No kidding! On his way out, Bhola is picked up by a car and driver and taken to Ranjit’s palatial mansion where he meets Ranjit sans the Zorro mask. He is astonished.

Ranjit tells him that he has cancer, and that he will pay Bhola a handsome sum to pretend to be him (I’m not clear why the cancer story is necessary or relevant but never mind). Bhola agrees, innocently, and Ranjit instructs his girlfriend Ruby (Faryal) to transform rustic villager Bhola into sophisticated city slicker Ranjit. It’s hard work, but she does it just in time for Ranjit’s birthday extranvaganza, at which Bhola will “be” Ranjit while Ranjit is occupied elsewhere with a big diamond heist.

The party buzzes in great style, with faux “Ranjit” glued to Rita’s side. Meanwhile, the real Ranjit has hit a speedbump: his latest client is really a police informant, and Inspector Pradhan and his men are waiting for him. An intense gunfight commences, with Ranjit finally escaping, though wounded by Pradhan.

While Rita entertains the party with “Karle Pyar Karle Aankhen Char”—one of my favorite Mumtaz songs ever—Ranjit grits his teeth in pain as his henchmen drive him to his hideout.

Inspector Pradhan shows up at Ranjit’s house and is astonished to see an apparently un-wounded Ranjit playing the trumpet and dancing with Rita in front of a houseful of guests, including the Commissioner of Police.

Ranjit’s men kidnap a surgeon and bring him to remove the bullet from Ranjit’s leg. The doctor says Ranjit will be laid up for a month, which does not please him one bit.

Does that mean he’ll never have any kids? Ruby visits him and tells him that Bhola fooled everyone, including the police. Ranjit, pleased, tells her that he’ll have to play him for a whole month while he recovers. Bhola, not knowing Ranjit’s true nature (or profession) agrees happily as long as he can see Rita.

Back in his home village, disaster has struck in the form of floods.

Tragically (well maybe not), Belu’s nasty stepmother is killed trying to retrieve her money, which is floating away. Belu and Moti set off to find Bhola in the city.

Inspector Pradhan gives Rita a truth-inducing drug to slip into Bhola’s drink, and tells her to record the subsequent confessions. But the tape machine ends up in the ocean, and she drinks some of it by mistake. They each confess their true identity and then their love for each other, and seal it with a gorgeous duet, “Yuhi Tum Mujhse Baat Karti Ho.”

When the drug wears off, neither remembers a thing and Pradhan is no closer to the truth than before. Meanwhile Belu and Moti have arrived in Bombay. In classic near-miss coincidence-heavy Desai style, she sees Bhola passing in a car and is almost run over by Pradhan who is driving behind. Ruby just happens to pull up next to them as Pradhan asks Belu what she’s doing in the middle of the road.

Hearing this, Ruby hastens off to inform Ranjit about Belu’s presence in the city. He is furious.

What will happen next? Will the police figure out that Ranjit has a lookalike? Will Belu find Bhola, or will the real Ranjit find her first? What will he do with her? What will Bhola do when he finds out what a bad guy Ranjit really is?

And, most anxiety-inducing for me, will Moti be hit by a car on the busy streets of Bombay? I fret as he runs loose and cannot pay attention to the plot.

It’s a fun film with Rajesh doing an excellent job differentiating between the two characters. Ranjit is cold and ruthless, and kind of scary; Bhola is simple and sweet without being annoyingly naive. And his chemistry with gorgeous Mumtaz as always is great. As is usual with Manmohan Desai, the end is tied up a little hastily, depriving us a bit of the big payoff promised by the beginning, but it’s still a worthy effort and well worth watching for the cast, performances, and the music. 

Some favorite shots, randomly:

They just look like they have such fun together! *Sweeeet*…

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40 Comments to “Sachaa Jhutha (1970)”

  1. OMG, this movie sounds so good. I want to see. Mumtaz looks soooo gorgeous. Thanks so much for the wonderful screencaps.

  2. yes mumtaz looked very beautiful in this film.

  3. Mumtaz=beautiful, Rajesh=beautiful, Vinod=beautiful, Kumari Naaz=beautiful.

  4. ohh my goshh! this looks great, i love that song which they use in OSO, and vinod looks sooo gorgeous! and rajesh too, i think in my masala pradesh this would feature in the state of genuine masala! kumari naaz look lovely in this, though i can stop and think that she was the bratty kid in guru dutt’s “kaagaz ke phool”

  5. RK was sooo swweeeet as Bhola before the transformation. I was hoping you’d have a screencap of him with that humongous musical instrument from his baap-dada that he carried around! Loved the film, vintage Manmohan Desai with all the right spices.

    You know me and trivia. Did you notice that at the jewel heist RK, as the old waiter, looked and acted suspiciously like Nanda’s faux father-in-law in Joroo Ka Ghulam?

  6. I remember watching this movie as a kid and I loved it, especially the song “meri pyari behaniya” and RK singing it in one of those convertibles and Naaz on her crutches trying to draw his attention to herself. That scene/song and the climax, these parts I remember distinctly, for the rest of the movie I will have to watch it again. Loved it then, hope will love it now :)

  7. Yup, lovely movie – and I must admit I kinda wished the Pradhan-Belu romance had been developed a little more! As far as I remember, this was one of Vinod Khanna’s first few films – at any rate one of the first in which he had a major non-negative role.

  8. Ohhh I love Manmohan Desai and his Cinema….was watching Dharam Veer yesterday….please post something on Naseeb one of my fav. Manmohan Desai Film…and yup U should see Chhalia (if you haven’t seen it yet)

  9. Wow! This is one of the few Desai films I haven’t seen yet, but it sounds and looks awesome. I definitely need to get my hands on it!

    LOL, that screenshot of VK in blackface and a dacoit outfit is hilarious!

  10. I will need to rewatch OSO just so I can identify the scene/song from this! :-) Loved the music. Agree with Madhu that the Pradhan-Belu romance further developed would have been DIVINE, but alas they ran out of time.

    I had to watch the end twice to fully appreciate it; I really was worried that Moti was going to be killed, if not by traffic then by a villainous type and it interfered with my enjoyment the first time.

    Toonfactory, I have seen Naseeb and Chhalia (one of the few Raj Kapoor films I actually liked)…and actually recently got my hands on Mard, which I know many people find abysmal, but I can’t wait to watch it :-P

  11. I want a truth-inducing drug!! I could use it on certain people at certain times! :-D

  12. OMG the truth-inducing drug thing was hilarious. Inspectors Jagdish and Mehta were secretly in love with each other, so Pradhan gave them the drug, they confessed their love for each other, and then completely forgot about it when the drug wore off (which was in, like, five minutes). Bizarre!

  13. I love this movie! Even though I’ve always thought it a lesser MD work, there are just so many classic moments here, most of them captured in OSO. Oh, I need to see this movie and then see OSO again.

  14. Loved the truth-inducing drug as well. And how Vinod the Cop was all “ahh latest technology in crime solving!”. How we wish. :)

    I liked this movie enough, fun Desai-type masala, but not enough Vinod for me. Though I did adore the way his storyline ended. So cute!

  15. Amrita, I’m thinking OSO needs to be watched again and soon myself :-) It wasn’t as symbolism-heavy and gut-wrenching as some of MD’s other films, but I kind of liked the lighter hand here.

    Veracious: Vinod really was all over his modern technology. I just loved the scene I mentioned above where he spiked Jagdish and Mehta’s drinks to get them to confess their love for one another. SO mischievous.

  16. It’s the song Dhoom Taana: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gXPoZBMydAU (2:11)

    Let me guess – Ranjit Singh gets away with his deceit, and Bhola ends up getting killed. In fact, this was the inspiration for the re-make of “Don.” ;)
    (j/k)

  17. Shammi’s Chinatown had a similar setup too…

    Thanks for the link :-)

  18. I’ve seen “Karle Pyar Karle Aankhen Char” on YouTube and was completely charmed–no wonder it’s one of your favorites! Mumtaz really does look like she’s having a fabulous time in this one.

  19. “lose your motility”?

    Where exactly does he get shot?

    ~r

  20. Recently while working with the creative team of a Film Based Channel….where we were collecting Trashy but Funny scenes from Mard & Toofan…trust me they have some serious funny scenes..wont spoil the fun by telling them here…U watch’em and then we’ll discuss…But trust me they have some hilarious moments

  21. Everyone looks beautiful here, especially Vinod Khanna! But why does poor Naaz look so bleached? Doesnt she get any color through out the movie? Anyway, beautiful people + truth serum = must watch!

  22. ajnabi: She’s beautiful!

    Ramsu: Exactly! I’m glad you got that, I thought I might be the only one to find it funny :-)

    toonfactory: Yes, I can’t wait to see Mard.

    bollyviewer: The color throughout the film was really bad. It was that Gevacolor film which did not age well at all. Plus, Naaz is pretty fair to begin with. She didn’t look bleached or made up to be “whiter” at all.

  23. Wow, it looks like one of the better ( read reasonably logical) movies from Manmohan Desai.

    By the way, is it only one Rajesh Khanna who sings all the songs, or both Rajesh Khanna’s take turns singing ?

  24. I guess it’s logical if you can believe someone unrelated to you can look EXACTLY like you :-)

    Only the “good” Rajesh sings.

  25. Super Star Rajesh Khanna had dominated the silver screen in indian cinema and created history by doling out super hits of his era. He will always be remembered as king of romance. Starting his career with Sippy’s flick ‘Raj’, the actor was treated as god in those days. The songs in his movies are still fresh in the minds of many of us. This movie has given new life to Manomohan Desai’s direction and after than he has directed one more movie Roti in 1974 with Super Star Rajesh Khanna which has also become super star hit.

  26. this movie is excellent i never seen , i like this movie very much , rajesh khanna my favorite actor and also vinod khanna , iwish to see it again and again i do not stop to see it .

  27. I recently watched this for the second time and still enjoyed it so much. Mumtaz stunning as ever in orange!

  28. how did they train the dog?

  29. Rajesh Khanna doing those drumsticks was borrowed in ‘Om Shanti Om’ (2007).

  30. Truth serum – I loved it (so Harry Potterish, before Harry Potter, I thought), but unable to watch this movie in its entirety even in 2009, sighh!. Weary of Pyaari Behaniya and Yunhi tum (they always showed these on Chhaya Geet/Chitrahaar).
    But Mumu! Vinod Khanna and RK in prime time! Naaz! Faryal!

  31. I watched the film based on memsaab’s recommendation, and it was pretty paisa vasool. Also I found a good print! Rajesh, Mumtaz looked fab., but I gasped with delight at young Vinod Khanna! And in the end he marries Naaz (and his mother loves Naaz too) – somehow I cared more for this happy ending. But the real STAR is Moti! Oh, how I loved Moti, worried about him/her, poor thing faced so many perils, and really had everything figured out way before the clueless humans did. And it was Moti who provided conclusive evidence for the grand finale! The songs are great, the various serums are hilarious, Rajesh as a bad guy is great, but Bhola’s naivete is a bit much! And he hugs bad Rajesh in the end!!! With a name like Bhola, I should have been warned.

  32. Excellent movie

  33. i love rajesh khanna as bhola very much! Rk My love is to yo

  34. Saw this movie last nite as part of my revisiting all Rejash Khanna movie marathon. Did see this when I was in school so did not remember much. Really a good movie. Fast paced, beautiful cast with lovely songs and RK, Oh My, just loved him as Ranjit , looks georgeous and very dashing, dressed really beautifully, specially the white pants. Read somewhere that some director said Rajesh Khanna could not do action. I thought he was quite good in those fight scenes at the end and the one in which he gets injured. May be I am biased :)

    Had to come here to read your review (it is a must visit after every hindi movie these days) and that comment about VK ‘There’s nothing quite like pimping out a fellow police officer!’ just cracked me up. Did not notice the ‘motility’ subtitle, nust go back and rewatch!

  35. Great chemistry between kaka & mumtaz. Crazy costumes, lovely music, pleasing photography – a typical fun film, eminently enjoyable.

    A blockbuster in kaka’s superb career.

  36. A big big thank you for bringing this movie to my attention. I had simply noted the name when you had posted the review so that i could read it after I have seen it. I finally managed to get a Shemaroo DVD (Shame on you Shemaroo) on my recent visit to India and watched the movie last night. It was an amazing experience. Apart from watching all the beautiful actors as you have rightly pointed out, it sort of became a trip down childhood as I remember hearing most of these songs on Vividh Bharati (Radio). Meri pyarri behaniya is a very popular Kishore songs but i was surprised that so many other melodious songs i had heard before were actually from this movie. I simply can’t describe how much i enjoyed the movie. Yep it did have its usual Man Mohan Desai madness. I too was worried about Moti having an accident! My Shemaroo DVD jumped in places resulting in disjointed scenes (obviously they have cut scenes) but since it is a MMD movie one could easily follow what was happening although it did annoy me. Needless to say I will be watching this movie again some time soon. Rajesh Khanna really did a good job in both the roles.

  37. The most entertaining movie ever, anywhere. It started m life long love affair with RK and Mumtaz. They are the cutest couple in celluloid history. The Indian Ken and Barbi. Wonderful songs and a charming performance by RK. And my favorite of all the Dog. He was amazing. Two of my favorite scenes: I love how Mumtaz is a secret agnt and as soon as she is asked to sing a song ,dunya mien pyar ho ko sub ke zarorat hi, she drops the coy act and starts shacking her booty and second when the dog identifies the jotha Rajesh in the trial scene . Priceless!

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