After the trauma of little Master Bunty’s plight in Aakhri Khat, I needed to bask in the manly warmth of Dharmendra’s strong arms and glorious Greek god looks. And Dharmendra is pretty much the only thing that got me through this nonsensical film (well, him and Sharmila’s and Mumtaz’s outfits). What a criminally stupid waste of a good cast. The story, such as it is, isn’t helped by incredibly choppy editing, which can probably be blamed on KMI since Hrishikesh Mukherjee edited the original film and I can’t imagine that he would have done such a hack job of it. Additionally, each character is totally infantile, lacking any kind of self-awareness or empathy for others; not to mention that none of them seem to have been taught that honesty is the best policy. Plus, they are all as dumb as rocks, seriously. It is pitifully easy for them to keep pulling the wool over each other’s eyes. By the end I felt like I had just spent two and half hours in a nursery school housed inside a mental institution.
Ajit (Rehman) is the villain pulling the strings, although how or why we never come to know. All I understand is that his machinations at the beginning of the film cause a man named Vishwanath to be arrested for the murder of another man named Hariram. Vishwanath doesn’t appear to mind being incarcerated for a crime he didn’t commit (?!) and he asks Ajit to please take good care of his vast business empire and his little daughter Anita. Hariram’s demise, meanwhile, is apparently enough reason for his young son Sunil to grow up hating all rich people.
Thus, fifteen or so years on, when Anita and Sunil meet and fall in love, they are on shaky ground from the get-go. And although Anita (Sharmila Tagore) has grown up into a beautiful young women, and Sunil (Dharmendra) into a beautiful young man, Ajit hasn’t aged AT ALL. Not one iota. Frolicking with the devil does pay some dividends, apparently! Lucky for him too, I guess, since he now has designs to marry the girl he has brought up (ewwww) for her money.
In any case, Sunil first lays eyes on lovely Anita posing for his friend Bharti, an artist (can anyone tell me who the actor playing Bharti is?).
He assumes that Bharti’s model is poverty-stricken, and slips her five rupees behind his friend’s back. Anita is charmed by this gesture; she is accustomed to men throwing themselves at her feet for the sake of her fortune.
Anita lives with guardian Ajit and her friend Meena (Mumtaz), who is the only person in the film with any brains at all. After Sunil gifts her a sari through Bharti, Anita begins to pursue him, pretending to be as poor as he thinks she is (although she’s not very good at it).
Fortunately for her, Sunil is no brighter than she is. She introduces Meena to him as her landlady and pretends that she lives in her own garage. She continues to pursue him with a Shammi-like fervor, even when one day Sunil confesses to her:
Their romance is facile and coy and *almost* as deep as these two roses bobbing at each other symbolically.
They never actually seem to talk to each other (she doesn’t even ask him why he hates the moneyed!). It comes as no real surprise that when Sunil finally discovers that Anita is actually very wealthy, he’s angry.
It’s a measure of how clueless all these people are when even Meena—the smart one, remember—doesn’t really get the problem.
Uhhh…no. He’s mad because she lied to him. How do Anita and pals decide to fix things? They lie some more, and lure him to a party under false pretenses, and then shanghai him into getting engaged in front of a huge crowd of friends and family! How can that possibly go wrong?
Well for one thing, a scheming Ajit recognizes Sunil’s mother (Achala Sachdev) as the wife of the man he had killed all those years ago (giving him all that dispensation on the aging front):
For another, Sunil is even angrier:
He sulks through Meena’s musical pleadings for him to forgive and forget—a very wonderful qawwali-type song, “Allah Yeh Ada.” The lyrics are hilarious, all about the stubborn traits of good-looking people. Love. In fact this middle part of the movie is the only part I truly enjoyed, and it was only for two songs and Dharmendra’s formidable talent for comedy.
Sunil decides to take some revenge: he shows up for Anita’s next party carrying a black and white cat (which Sharmila drops on the floor) and dressed in a loud brocade jacket, hijacking the proceedings with his rude behavior and bad table manners. This traumatizes Anita and a battalion of bored and disapproving gora extras, but makes me giggle helplessly.
His next trick is to bring a band of drunken louts over to Anita’s house, introducing them as his closest friends and leading them in a fabulous fake-pretend (at least on his part) drunk song, “Chhalkaaye Jaam.”
Anita, dim-witted as she is, doesn’t understand what has happened to her shareef Sunil. Meena explains:
Thank you, Meena! My point exactly! Anita makes yet another poor decision: to make Sunil jealous by flirting with her childhood friend Ramesh—who, as she well knows, is also Sunil’s sister’s fiance. Oh Anita. Now mad at Ramesh AND Anita, Sunil takes himself, his mother and his betrayed sister (and some little unidentified boy who lives with them—no idea who he is) off to live in Bombay.
Anita follows him, still trying to get others—Meena and Om Prakash’s ridiculous character Dhand—to get him back for her. But eventually she gets it right with a pretty song (“Tum Jao Kahin”), and Sunil forgives her. It’s actually quite sweet, and I forgive them *a little bit* too.
But I am exhausted by now, and Ajit hasn’t even begun his efforts to separate them yet. As it turns out, all those events from years before don’t make any more sense than all the events we’ve just been through. Apparently our present-day protagonists come by their stupidity honestly: none of their parents have any smarts either.
Do look up Laxmikant Pyarelal’s songs on YouTube, though, they are nice. And I did get some good Garam Dharam basking in.
Minor Spoiler (in case you still think you can sit through this): There is one bright spot in the story. When Sunil is told that Anita’s mother is a prostitute (I know), he doesn’t care! He still loves her and wants to marry her! Yay Sunil. But it’s a different thing altogether when he discovers that Anita’s father is his own father’s murderer. We are treated to some Dharmendra Nahiiiin! Face:
Not a good look for anybody, really, is it? End Minor Spoiler.