Sharafat Chhod Di Maine (1976)

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Despite a silly plot filled to the brim with irresponsible adults and many creepy (as in “ewwwww” creepy) developments, I could not help but find this entertaining. As noted in my previous trivia post, the film featured all of the best dancers of the era in several very fun songs: Laxmi Chhaya, Padma Khanna, Bindu, Faryal and Jayshree T, along with the inimitable and legendary Helen (who appeared as herself, and was given a well-deserved tribute in the dialogues). Hema Malini and a very young Neetu Singh had dances too, and Madan Mohan’s music along with the plentiful eye candy—both human and inanimate—conspired to prevent me from running away screaming as I should have, in all honesty.

Warning: Post below contains many screen shots of dancing girls, so if they are not your thing you’ll need to use your scroll bar (although I must ask: how could they not be your thing?).

Rough and tough (and jobless) village boy Raju (Feroz Khan) is left disappointed when his beloved Preeta (Hema Malini) gives in to her emotionally blackmailing father (Manmohan Krishna) and marries someone else.

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So hurt is he by her betrayal that he vows henceforth to treat all women as playthings; and he leaves the village to make his way in the city. Preeta’s little sister Geeta (such a cute little girl!) chastises her; she has grown fond of Raju over time, acting as lookout while they romanced each other.

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Raju is soon befriended in the city by Kalu and Jangid (Jagdeep), a pair of rascals who introduce him to their boss, the wealthy Rai Sahab (Dev Kumar). It’s never clear to me exactly what they all do for a living, but let’s just say their doings are possibly less than legal.

Jagdeep has always been on of my favorites, but he does get on my last good nerve in this film. He has been obsessed with rats ever since one of their kin chewed up a saree he had planned to gift his girl, and she rejected him when presented with the tatters. He appears to get on Rai Sahab’s nerves too.

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Rai Sahab quickly becomes very fond of Raju, though, since he is adept at nefarious and fraudulent activities and bashing people up. Raju has developed a quirky drinking habit: he will use a glass only once, and then smash it, even if he has a whole bottle of booze to get through. It’s a not-very-subtle metaphor for the way he treats women.

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During this time we are treated to a Laxmi Chhaya dance number. How I love her and her completely spastic style! And the nightclub decor is just…well, you can see it for yourselves:

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In the meantime Preeta has given birth to a baby girl named Radha and died. Her father hands both little sister Geeta and baby Radha over to Preeta’s bereft husband to care for, and he brings them up with a lot of love and educates them per her last wishes.

Rai Sahab is getting older and wants to retire, so he gives ownership of his empire over to Raju, who takes on the title of Rai Sahab. (I want to know if the curtains are part of the deal!)

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Now a wealthy man himself, Raju spends his days and nights carousing. As the years pass, he cheats and tosses aside numerous women (this is only very vaguely shown, however, which makes it hard to take seriously; probably it’s also partly why I couldn’t hate the film).

A song in which he is seen visiting a series of kothas, all while drinking heavily and getting grayer and grayer, shows us the years passing measured against his debauchery. It is just an awesome tune (“Subha Savere“), with Meena T in the first and last pics (thanks harvey), Padma Khanna, Faryal, Bindu and Jayshree T dancing up a storm. I am more than a little covetous of their outfits, too.

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Wah! One of the best “passage of time” songs ever.

Meanwhile Geeta (Hema Malini again) grows up to look exactly like her older sister, and devotes herself to running a home for women, where unwed pregnant girls come to find shelter. Raju has contributed to at least one’s plight, too.

Geeta primly chastises them for allowing men to use them and then discard them.

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One night, in a completely random and unnecessary incident, Raju’s driver hits the widower husband of Preeta (he’s on a motorbike) and kills him. I guess we needed to get the responsible male head of the family out of the way for the scenario about to unfold.

Radha has grown up to be Neetu Singh. Yay! She is a bouncy and happy schoolgirl, in love with a college student named Shyam. At a fund-raising show for Geeta’s ashram, she performs a lively dance which her mother used to perform in the village long ago. Raju, being a generous benefactor of the ashram, is in the audience and memories flood him.

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He is completely unaware of Radha’s parentage, but tells the ashram manager that he would like to sponsor Radha’s education and further her dance training. Innocent Radha is thrilled at the opportunity, and Geeta gives her the okay to go and live with Rai Sahab, despite having never met him or even talked to him. Sigh.

Radha moves in with Raju and he is extremely happy to have her lively presence in the house.

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Oh dear. Curse that metaphor! He confides in Jangid that he wants to change his life and marry Radha in a year when she comes of age, and then he showers her with clothes, jewelry and other gifts. Radha continues to see Shyam but he is worried by her lifestyle and tries to warn her.

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(Does anybody know who the actor playing Shyam is? He’s very sweet and cute, and I liked him.) She tells Raju one day that she has spent the evening with Shyam and he is furious.

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I shout: RED FLAG! but am ignored. Meanwhile, Geeta finds out from one of her ashram residents that the Rai Sahab who has taken Radha in is in fact Preeta’s Raju, and despite acknowledging that probably it’s not a good place for Radha to be, she does absolutely nothing.

Another huge red flag is thrown when Radha, on receiving a pretty sari from Raju, offers to call him “Daddy.”

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She, at least, has the good sense to go and see her Aunty Geeta, and Geeta tells her the whole history between “Rai Sahab” and Radha’s late mother. Radha decides in that instant that she will marry Raju and clear her mother’s debt. Geeta apparently approves of this plan, and it doesn’t seem to occur to either of them that perhaps if Raju knew who Radha’s mother was it might creep him out as much as it’s creeping me out (but then again, maybe not).

Geeta is only galvanized into some form of action when Shyam comes and tells her that he and Radha love each other. Her main worry is still not for Radha however—in fact, she still seems to think it’s a good idea for Radha to marry Raju.

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Hindi movie psychology, thy name is bakwass. It gets better. In an attempt to talk Raju out of the marriage without actually telling him any of the facts, Geeta disguises herself as a man and goes to see him, carrying photos of his past female conquests with her (I guess by now they have all wound up at her ashram).

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Raju assumes that this impertinent fellow wants money, but “he” tells Raju to reform, or else all these women “will join hands and ruin you for life.”

What will happen next? Will any of the adults in the film get a clue? Will Radha sacrifice her love for Shyam and marry Raju? Will the ashram ladies show up and protest? Will Shyam truly become a monster? Will Raju ever get a look at undisguised Geeta, who is the exact image of his lost Preeta? If he does, will it lead to more ickiness?

To be honest, nobody with any common sense appears to even exist in the film, but as I said: there is so much to enjoy, and the story is really so very very stupid, that I couldn’t work up even a little bit of disapproval beyond a fairly mild “oh yuck.” And there were some weirdly feminist moments sprinkled throughout too, so—yay!

Tiki-decor and gorgeous Neetu!

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And my girl Helen, invited by Raju to dance at his wedding to Radha on her birthday!

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She wears an outfit that matches the tableclothes.

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33 Comments to “Sharafat Chhod Di Maine (1976)”

  1. Was Feroze trying to pull a Lolita in 70s India? Neetu looks adorable but waaaayyyy too young for him. Please, please tell me lands up with Hema (even of she is his beloved’s look-alike sis, its less yuck than her daughter) and I will go watch. :-)

  2. It’s a fun watch, and yes sense prevails in the end, although I’m not sure why (I think it was just time to wrap the whole thing up). Really the actions of all the characters throughout were just ludicrous and stupid at best, and criminal at worst, but it was FUN anyway. I feel bad about that, but I can’t change it :-D

  3. Excellent screen caps, especially number 5, not only for its obvious metaphor in the captions regarding her virtue, but more so for the bottle of Johnnie Walker you captured in the background. It’s not quite Bollywood for me until the Johnnie Walker flows and the tight slaps fly.

  4. There are many bottles of JW in this, and several tight slaps as well! So enjoy :-)

  5. LOL. I just added it to my Netflix queue and it has a *short wait* status for availability, so I hold your review responsible for the wait. ;)

  6. WOOOOW! this looks fun and creepy, my favorite kinda movie! I think i’ll have to find all of Neetu’s and the rest of the dancing ladies costumes! they’re sooo cool and funky prints, i need this!

  7. sitaji: Other people have accused me of the same thing, but I’m not buying it :-)

    Rum: I especially love Padma and Faryal’s headdresses and eye makeup! And Neetu had some cute outfits, although a couple of her shorter ones (hot pants) were shorter than her hair.

  8. over to Raju, who takes on the title of Rai Sahab

    Dread pirate Roberts, thy name is Raj Sahab :D

  9. omg this was such a funny read! I cant imagine how Hema was feeling while acting out her role- I bed she was laughing at her character as well :)

  10. Lovely review.
    I remember seeing this movie as a kid – and that is all I remember about it.
    Now that I have read the review here, I cannot help smiling.
    This is so typically a mid-70s Hindi film story.
    After reading your excellent review, I think I would like to see the movie again.

  11. Amey: All he needs is a mask :-)

    shweta: Hema didn’t look like she was having fun…although to be fair, she wasn’t in the film very much.

    raja: I’m glad you enjoyed it :-) Do see it again and let me know how you like it now!

  12. Thanks Memsaab for the lovely pictures of Hema Malini. Other than that, it was a real joy to read your post but the film? Naaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahin!

  13. “It is just an awesome tune (”Subha Savere“), with Meena T in the first and last pics (thanks harvey), Padma Khanna, Faryal, Bindu and Jayshree T dancing up a storm.”

    To harvey: Are you sure? It looks to me that Meena T plays the last two women (the dancer and the old lady) Even though it appears the two woman are interacting with each other, we don’t actually clearly see the two women have physical contact with each other in one frame despite them being in the same scene (made possible with the help of camera trickery and editing)…?

  14. By the way, who’s the woman in the fifth screencap?

  15. “Hindi movie psychology, thy name is bakwass.”

    I love that – and it’s sooo true! You’re awesome, memsaab. :-)

    Despite all the bakwaas, though, I think I want to see this. Just can’t resist the combination of so many of my favourite actresses.

  16. A film full of all the wow dancers, how much better can it get? Even with all the psycho bakwass, I’m dying to know the end.

    And aren’t those curtains cool? They’d be perfect for my work room.

  17. Yes, Yes… I second FilmiINdia… Who is she? Looks like Zeenie…

  18. Anonymous: The whole film was a series of screen caps :-) It’s a lot of fun, really.

    FiLMiNDiA: They look exactly alike to me, LOL! Were they twins? Seriously. I don’t know who the actress in the 5th screen cap is; she was playing the Rani of Something-Or-Other, and she was one of Raju’s first “conquests” to be discarded, poor thing. I loved her “I Dream of Jeannie” outfit though.

    dustedoff: Yes, it is so true :-) But it’s a fun film, I recommend it for a fun few hours of viewing. Cannot be taken seriously, but I don’t think that was its intent, anyway.

    Banno: The bakwass is so silly that it doesn’t affect one’s enjoyment (or at least it didn’t mine). Lots of female goodness, and there really WAS some feminism thrown in there occasionally too!

    Southie: Maybe someone else will be able to identify her, but it’s not Zeenat. She’s very cute though!

  19. 3, yes three!!!! nominations! Greta, your Bollywood knowledge is going to be much in demand so get out your Indian gladrags and be ready…:))

    we might even see a Big Bollywood Dance number in the ceremony?

  20. LOL bawa, I am so excited. I never watch the Oscars but I guess I will be this year. Maybe I’ll even put on a sari for them!

  21. O today is my day, I get an ackonwledgement on memsaab’s review! Wow! :-)
    but just to be doubted at by filmi India :-( and that also not only once but twice ;-(((
    There is soem difference betwenn them in their eyes. Jayshree has ‘livelier’ eyes, I would say. one thing is for sure, the last dancer is Jayshree T and the madam is Meena T

    BTW the storyline reminds of some victorian or similar era novel. Don’t ask me which, they were my youth vice!

  22. harvey: The second one is my fault, I should have deleted it but have been too busy/lazy.

    But I believe you :-)

  23. Whoops. Didn’t realise that I posted the same comment twice. I thought I was editing it. Memsaab, it’s best that you delete the first one – I don’t want to sound mean. Harvey – no hard feelings? :-P

  24. memsaab believes in me!
    memsaab believes in me!
    memsaab believes in me!
    :-))

    FiLMiNDiA: of course no hard feelings. It shows your scientific inclination to doubt things
    :-))

  25. BTW why does Hema have to dress like a man to show Feroz the fotos of his past ‘conquests’?

    Sorry for asking questions, after all this is a hndi film.

  26. Why did Hema do anything she did at the end? It’s a classic example of awful writing: forcing characters to act uncharacteristically (or unrealistically, in this case) in order to force the ending wanted…it was very baaaaaaaaaaad.

  27. Harvey,

    Coz Geeta looks exactly like Preeta and Raju will recognise her if she doesnt disguise herself. I havent watched the film but I guess thats the logic.(not that Hindi films have any)

  28. Just to let you all know that the lady in the 5th screencap is Sonia Sahni.

  29. You mean to say that “Sharaafat” and “Sharaafat Chhod di Maine” are two different movies ? And that the song “Sharaafat chhod di maine” is from “Sharaafat” and not from ‘Sharaafat chhod di maine” ?

    All these days, I thought that there was only one movie called “Sharaafat chhod di maine” and the song mentioned above was its title song. But it turns out that I was wrong.

    How very confusing. (: Or may be it is as “logical” as the story lines of such movies.

  30. can u pls say dat do helen got a song in dis film or not….n if theres any song of helen..so cn u pls write da songs name and siner..if u can so it wil b a great help in collecting da helen songs…so pls infrm me…thnx

  31. Hello All,

    Is there any possibility to find the video of Helen’s song on the net. Thank you.

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