Hare Kanch Ki Chooriyan (1967)

I was pleasantly surprised by this no-holds-barred launch vehicle for producer-director Kishore Sahu’s daughter Naina, although possibly not for the reasons he intended. It is a colorful and melodramatic soap opera of the first order, and the actors are given full scope for expressing every emotion from despair to…well, utter despair. Rarely have I enjoyed other people’s anguish so much. It is also surprisingly progressive, especially for a star daughter’s debut: she gets pregnant while unmarried, and is eventually accepted by the townspeople as a single mother! There’s even a little plug in favor of sex education.

Plus the music is superb: in addition to some pretty love songs are two Helen numbers (and she has a sizable role) and a picnic with everyone doing the twist! Happy, happy.

Ravi Mehra (Biswajeet) is the son of wealthy contractor Amarchand Mehra (DK Sapru). He attends college in Bombay with some of his childhood friends: Bipin (Shiv Kumar), Jimmy (Rajendranath), Tripathi (Asrani) and Nattu (Raj Kishore). They return to their home town during a holiday break and Ravi is instantly smitten by his friend Bipin’s next door neighbor, Mohini (Naina Sahu) at the aforementioned picnic.

Wheeeee!

He is unaware that Bipin also loves Mohini, and when Bipin realizes that Mohini is clearly more interested in Ravi he steps aside quietly. Bipin’s parents treat Mohini as a daughter too, and Mohini herself is studying at the local college where her father Kishanlal Saxena (Nasir Hussain) is a professor.

As it happens, I like Bipin better than Ravi throughout and keep wishing that Mohini had the good sense to fall for him instead. I also might as well say now too that Naina Sahu is very pretty indeed (she looks just like her father, actually, who was also very striking) but she probably should have opted for a modelling career instead of acting.

Ravi and Mohini are soon meeting clandestinely every afternoon and singing pretty songs like “Panchhi Re O Panchhi.”

Famous last words!!!!!

Ravi’s father has a business partner by the name of Malhotra, whose daughter Pushpa (Helen) they both fondly imagine married to Ravi. Pushpa fondly imagines it too, although Ravi is obviously not interested in her as anything other than a friend. When he throws a fancy dress party he invites both Pushpa and Mohini, and reassures Mohini when she is jealous.

It’s an excellent excuse for a Helen dance too (“Le Ja Dil Hai Tera”).

When it’s time for Ravi to return to Bombay for his final exams, he promises Mohini that he will return in three months and bring her green glass bangles (hare kanch ki chooriyan) for their wedding. But we have now concluded the happy portion of the film; and when Mohini faints one evening in front of the family doctor (Brahm Bhardwaj), who is examining her heart-patient mother, he makes a diagnosis which takes us from concern:

to abject despair—in less than 60 seconds!

From her pupil response and pulse rate, the good doctor determines that Mohini is three months pregnant.

Saxena is beside himself (as only Nasir Hussain can be, bless him). It turns out that Amarchand Mehra is an old enemy of his, and when he takes Mohini to confront Ravi’s parents Amarchand refuses to give his consent for a Ravi-Mohini marriage. Instead he insults Mohini, implying that she “knows” lots of boys, and is only naming Ravi because he is rich. He is really despicable.

When Saxena and Mohini reach home, her mother dies of a heart attack on learning the news. Insult to injury!

As Mohini’s pregnancy becomes obvious, she is vilified. Even Bipin’s mother Maya (Lalita Pawar), who had embraced her as a daughter and hoped to fix her marriage with Bipin, rejects her, putting a lock on the gate between their houses. Mohini holds fast to the knowledge that Ravi will return soon and everything will be okay, and to my relief her father sticks by her although he is not so sure about Ravi.

Ravi himself has been finishing his exams and dreaming of Mohini, but as he is packing up to return home his father arrives. Amarchand spins a tale that he’s had a heart attack and the doctors want him to go to America for treatment. He basically forces Ravi to accompany him (Ravi was planning to go there soon to continue his studies anyway) on the spot.

At the airport, Bipin catches up with Ravi and tries to find out what’s going on; Mehra interrupts them and pushes Ravi inside the building after Ravi manages to slip a note to Bipin to give to Mohini.

At home, Mohini is devastated to discover that Ravi has left for America to further his studies instead of coming home with her green glass bangles. Bipin gives her Ravi’s note, but feeling betrayed and hopeless, she burns it without reading it. She does the same thing to every letter Ravi sends her from America, and over the rest of her pregnancy gets very little kindness from anyone except the kind local storekeeper (Jankidas):

and dear faithful Bipin, who even asks her to marry him (to his mother’s rage). She turns him down gently with that great example of male wishful thinking: an Indian woman can only love once, she tells him.

By this point the subtitles have disappeared and they remain absent for a half hour or so, while Mohini gives birth during a dramatic monsoon rain. Possibly the subtitler was too overcome with emotion to continue his work, as this occasion gives our veteran actors tremendous dramatic opportunities. Mohini screams in pain as her father stands at the locked gate, soaking wet and agonized, pleading with neighbor Maya for help. Maya adamantly refuses and is furious when Bipin (who is now a doctor) arrives home and immediately goes to Mohini’s aid. Inside, Bipin’s father (SN Banerjee) finally grows a pair and remonstrates passionately with her, resulting in an epiphany for Maya about the unfeeling error of her ways.

It’s all very satisfying, plus the subtitles finally return.

Maya’s change of heart and adoration of Mohini’s son ensures that the rest of the village accepts him (and Mohini) too, and as he grows he is spoiled rotten by everyone.

But the drama is not over yet, not by any means. Three years pass quickly and it is time for Ravi to return. He has continued to send letters to Mohini and, puzzled at her lack of response, he is eager to see her. The entire village turns out to greet him at the train station (except Mohini and son), including Bipin. He has something to tell Ravi, of course:

but Amarchand gets in there first.

He tells Ravi that Mohini’s child is around a year and a half in age and that Bipin is the father. Devastated, and thinking he now understands why Mohini never responded to his many letters, Ravi refuses to see Bipin the next day.

And Pushpa is still waiting in the wings, determined to marry Ravi herself and by now very envious of Mohini.

Will Ravi and Mohini discover the truth? Or will Ravi marry Pushpa as his father wants?

There is still plenty of Trauma-Drama-O-Rama (™Beth) to come!

If agony, despair and manipulation are your thing, you will love Hare Kanch Ki Chooriyan.

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71 Comments to “Hare Kanch Ki Chooriyan (1967)”

  1. Happy to see you return to blogging, and I am also happy to see that I am the first one to comment. In addition, I am also happy that you finally located a progressive movie from 1960s.

    Like the subtitler who was so overcome with emotion that he skipped subtitling, I too have skipped much of the article to look at the essentials, viz screencaps etc.

    With your thumbs up for this movie, I have begun to feel sorry for Naina Sahu who failed to get launched in Hindi movies. I suppose that the theme was too “daring” for an actress’ debut movie. She should have worked in a safe love story that pretends that boy and girl only sing and dance around trees and that is all they do.

    I will of course go through the write up after I have posted my comment.:)

    • This is the last Hindi film Gemma watched with me :( so it will be special for that alone.

      Naina Sahu was a terrible actress, poor thing, although she tried hard. But I love that she and her father “dared” to do a film with this message! And it’s chock full of my favorite character actors, all of them acting their hearts out.

  2. Bwahahahah “so overcome with emotion that he skipped subtitling!” That would explain so many things! :)

    I’m intrigued! Such fantastic movie medical skills! And Helen looks amazing.

  3. I remember seeing this during my childhood days. The heroine somehow reminded me of Sadhana post “Mera Saaya” (1966) days when she had lost a bit of her beauty to Goitre.

  4. Is this me or is Naina Sahu a dead ringer for Yukta Mukhi… with each individual feature fierce and lovely but things don’t get put together too well. She should have been a model instead.

    • I don’t know what Yukta Mukhi looks like…but yes, her features are fierce and lovely. They work well together for me most of the time, but I know others who agree with you :) She should have been a model, indeed.

  5. Good to see you back to blogging, Greta.
    And what a lovely and thoroughly enjoyable review this is.

    – “Rarely have I enjoyed other people’s anguish so much”. :-) Not without reason has the German “schadenfreude” now comfortably entrenched itself in the English dictionary. It is an extremely useful – and widely prevalent -emotion and may even partly explain why weepy movies of Dilip and Meena Kumari were popular in their time. :-)

    – Naina Sahu looks a copy of her dad. I find her dad’s looks very striking. For a person with such looks – and he was a pretty good actor too – he deserved more fame that he actually got IMO.

    – Pupil response and pulse rate are good enough for Bollywood doctors to detect pregnancy – this is already an “ahem!” moment and the director is happy to gloss over details. :-)
    (Btw, just realised, by coincidence, “ahem” = “significant” in Hindi. Anyway, as they say, in Hindi “tumhe aam khaaney se matlab hai, ya ped (pronounced “paid”) gin-ney se?”, i.e, are you interested in eating the fruit (mango) or in counting the trees?”)

    – Is it meaningful to dwell on why Mohini would not bother to read even a single letter written to her by Ravi? Of course she wouldn’t!

    – Love the screenshots with Nazir Hussain. This is vintage Nazir. :-)

    – LOL at the subs disappearing. When the emotions are in full flow, the subtitles can actually be a distraction. You are supposed to soak yourself in the emotions of the characters, not look for mundane things like translations of what they are saying. :-)

    – The song “panchhi re o panchhi” is probably the best-known song of the movie, though I’ve heard the picnic song too a few times. Off now to youtube to check out Helen’s numbers.

    Thanks, Greta. Lovely review. As usual.

    And the fact that this was the last movie Gemma watched with you does make it special. God bless her!

    • Not only did he detect pregnancy through pulse and pupils, he knew exactly HOW pregnant she was. “She is three months pregnant!” I howled.

      The songs are all very lovely indeed. “Kahan Chala Re” is the other Helen number, and I know I’m in the minority on Sharda but I like her voice and it fit Helen nicely too.

  6. Just realised I’ve heard the title song too many times. I’ve never really known how it starts. It’s on youtube as “dhani chunri pahen”. It’s a really lovely song by Asha Bhosle.

    Have also heard Sharda’s “kahan chala re” a few times before without knowing it was from this movie.

    Looks like this movie’s songs were quite popular.

  7. I remember this movie as being very terrible. Trust you to dig it out and present it as the most progressive movie of the 60s! ;-)
    hardly anybody at home left the movie in the middle, except our mom, but there I made an exception! Maybe thus I missed on all the progressive themes!
    Glad to have you BACK!

    • It’s not terrible, it’s HISTRIONIC :) And it is progressive! I always loved soaps as a girl, watched General Hospital for twenty-plus years before I finally grew out of it.

    • Me too! I remember watching this on Doordarshan as a kid, and hating it. But I’ve always been so conscientious, I couldn’t leave a film midway… so I was the only one in the family who sat through it all. And I guess I did miss all the progressiveness of it! All I remembered was Biswajeet (whom I don’t like), Naina Sahu (whom I didn’t think pretty, and who couldn’t act to save her life), and much rain.

      A refreshingly different take on the film, Greta. You almost manage to make me want to give it another shot!

      • Probably as a kid you would miss the societal implications :) Part of the reason it struck me so much is of course because I have the lens of perspective! It is good fun if you are in the mood for lots of hilarious angst, otherwise pick another one.

      • dustedoff, it is funny how we both have the same experiences with DD movies, only that I left it mid way. I didn’t know that she was the daughter of that Kishore shahu, just knew that she ws the daughter of the director!
        Awful, awful!
        But mr. shahu must have thought if he makes Lalita Pawar accept an unmarried mother the society would do it as well. good thinking put to bad practice!

        • I guess it’s all a question of having grown up around the same time, in the same country. It’s only when you’ve been a kid in 80s India can you understand the need to sit, from 5:00 PM on a Sunday afternoon, even watching those coloured stripes across the screen, then seeing the DD logo come whirling in… and watching Vikram aur Vaitaal until the 5:45 movie began – which, by the way, we saw no matter how ghastly it was. :-D

  8. I remember finding this terribly weepy, when I saw this back in my childhood. And I think there were other 60s and 70s films with the same/similar storyline because I seem to remember several similar films turning up on TV back in the 80s – or maybe this one film just multiplied in my memory!

    Naina Sahu seems to remind everyone of someone new! I confused her with Faryal till very recently – probably because of the fringe and the high cheekbones.

  9. Oh my dear Lord!!!! I think the best thing about the movie is its name- I somehow find it extremely romantic! Other than that, anything romantic/dramatic with Biswaejeet is categorically horrific to me! You should come down to CA and we should watch bad horror films together :)

  10. Progressive movie, story line is much ahead of its times.
    in the nineties we saw kya kehna being applauded as if it was the first film dealing with such type pf storyline.

    kishore sahu was a regular in most of the devanand films from 1950-1971 hare rama hare krishna.

    memsaab, atlast you got it right!
    i mean you should prmote movies from 1961-1985…i keep repeating .
    those were the best times for good-non vulgar cinema.

  11. Gosh, Helen doesn’t half look beautiful in that screenshot. Thank you kindly for sharing – brightened up my evening.

    ‘Rarely have I enjoyed other people’s anguish so much.’

    In a perfect world that would be on the back of the DVD case…

    • She was gorgeous, and such a she-cat in this :) Loved it.

      Perhaps I should try to find work as the dvd synopsis writer? Think Shameroo et al would hire me?

      • Shemaroo et al don’t deserve you, Greta. On the other hand, you could get a job with them and then infiltrate them a la one of those lady spies… and then maybe smuggle out lots of un-Shemarooed films for all of us!

      • I would like to know the helen songs from this movie. Could u pls write the first line of the songs if it is not too much of an ask?

        I remember hearing the kanchi ki choodiyan song on radio – All India Radio also known as Vividh Bharati used to have a late night program “bhoole bisrey geet” ie old time songs – i heard this song on this program. was not too impressed with the song.

        Didn’t know anything about the movie. thanks for enlightening me !

        I have seen the first half of Mera Gaon Mera Desh. Can’t wait to see the remaining half tonight! Just stopped with the first Lakshmi Chaya song (wish i could have continued but it was already late last night!)

  12. Haha! Trust you make a movie sound so interesting. It took me back to the time when the movie released. In those days we had something on the radio to promote movies which had snippets of dialogue, some one narrating the salient points of the plot, songs etc. It used to be very entertaining.

    Like Madhu, I saw this movie on Doordarshan (God Bless It) much later and like you, was torn between liking it for the girl so spunkily going ahead with her pregnancy and disliking it for the drawn out misery.

    • I was really so pleasantly surprised by the message that I decided just to enjoy the misery—which was also made easier because it was Nasir and Lalita, and Biswajeet reached emoting…heights? depths? heretofore unseen by me.

  13. Good to see you back!!!

    Brave of you to watch a movie with a title like this. I would have conveniently stayed away. :)

    Doesn’t Naina Sahu resembles Kimi Katkar in the screencap?

  14. I really liked the movie when I saw it on video in my youth. I think it was during this movie that my Dad told me about the Lata / Shankar & Jaikishen feud and saga with Sharda. This movie always reminds me of my Dad as he loved the songs. Ahhhh great memories.

  15. Is it just me or does Sahu look a lot like Sadhana in that first screen cap of yours :O

    oh, and welcome back!

  16. I’m mesmerized by the quartet of Biswajit photos at the end – such agony, such despair! He was a great actor, no?

    8-D

  17. LOL at Biswajeet’s anguish style (those 4 telling pictures).

    I might be the rare one, because I don’t really mind him. Perhaps because first impressions are lasting and I thought he was fine in Bees Saal baad and Kohra.

    • You know, he is growing on me. I can’t quite embrace him as a hero, he looks too much like PeeWee Herman to me, but he has an elfin charm sometimes which makes me not mind him.

  18. A Helen song to pep up everyone!

    Helen Number from “Mehmaan”. Asha’s vocals are amazing. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iv2Pcfx7Wik

  19. “with that great example of male wishful thinking”

    Memsaab you are one in a million! Very happy to see you back :)

  20. Great to see you back in full flow @Memsaab.
    Though I’d heard the songs, I had not actually watched this movie. From the name this one promised to be a good old tear-jerker. Your analysis has only confirmed it. Too bad ‘Green glass Bangles’ could not do it for Naina. From your description of her acting, it sounds like she’s made of glass herself.

    • More like nails on a chalkboard a la Priya Rajvansh, poor thing. But otherwise quite endlessly entertaining—I never got bored, and boring is the worst crime of all :D

  21. A bit off the subject, but I always enjoy reading the reminiscences of watching movies on tv, with ones’ family. I vividly remember when certain films debuted on American television in the 60’s, not in most cases because I actually saw them myself (our parents made us go to bed quite early) but because kids at school the next day would be avidly talking about what they’d seen the night before. I remember the excited “buzz” after Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds” was aired… how thrilled the girls were for Elvis in “Viva Las Vegas”. Even in high school in the late 70’s, there was talk about “Prudence and the Pill”, the thought of Deborah Kerr and David Niven discussing birth control was still mildly shocking. One I did see was Patty Duke and Anne Bancroft in “The Miracle Worker” We tuned in to it, not knowing what it was Helen Keller was feeling her was down a dark hallway, and my grandmother who was babysitting us, thought it was a horror film and said “no, scary stuff!” She quicky became engrossed in it however, and let us stay up long past our bedtime to see it all. Sorry to go on so long, but Thank you for letting me share the memories!

    • I so agree…love reading how people remember things from childhood/teen years. I used to come home from school (high school) around 3:30 in the afternoon and park myself in front of the tv until dinner, because there was a channel which aired “old” films from 4-6. I saw a lot of movies I never would have otherwise. Looking back, I am amazed at the variety of things they showed, from Vincent Price to Shirley MacLaine musicals to old war classics. I got a great Hollywood education in those years, even if my homework remained unfinished :)

  22. Its good entertaining film.

  23. Hare Kanch Ki Chooriyan has such lovely melodies! My favourite is Panchhi Re O Panchhi. Wish I could watch the movie. Thank you for your wonderful review!

  24. Hi Greta,
    Saw this movie some time back. Remember the title song and also panchchi re.. Regarding pregnancy and pulse rate, it is possible. Just the part where they say she is pregnant. My mum told me this while watching Main chup Rahungi. And I found two articles. One is from the newspaper The hindu, an esteemed newpaper in Chennai. And another item where a reader says the Chinese medicine-man can also detect pregnancy in such a manner.

    http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:dDMEs8ta4PsJ:www.hinduonnet.com/folio/fo0010/00100490.htm+old+Indian+tradition+detecting+pregnancy+by+pulse&cd=4&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=au&client=firefox-a&source=www.google.com.au

    http://ritemail.blogspot.com/2007/06/signs-of-pregnancy.html

    of course, the filmi people put a bit of fact plus some fiction, don’t they? But there were quite a few things I learnt from movies about traditiions and customs too. And how they differ from north to South where it is like two different countries sometimes.
    I enjoy your blogs like everyone else and have connected to other blogs from your links. Lot of old movie buffs out there. Hurray for all of you!

  25. madamji

    please confirm the name of naina sahu`s mother’s name (7th screen cap -shows her photo), whether she is “SUMATHI GUPTE”. One more name for your artiste gallery.

  26. Thank you, thank you, thank you- so, so, so much- for the seven reviews that I sat reading tonight. I was bugged and depressed, but now I have an ache in my tummy. In a totally wonderful way! You made me laugh so much!
    thanks.

  27. This is the classic movie I would say, Completely entertaining movie to watch with family
    I watched this movie long time back and I liked it
    Nice to hear about it

  28. Mohini’s father has the same role in Aradhana when Sharmila Tagore’s character gets pregnant and the father Rajesh Khanna dies and his relatives refuse to believe the story. Same acting, same theme..guess Hindi movie goers aren’t tired easily :-)

  29. I recall watching this movie on TV as EVA has pointed out. Vividh Bharati used to have 15-minute advertisements about films where one could liisten to a voice narrating a story till a point and then enticing the listener to watch the movie on theatre. It was called ‘Radio publicity’ then. So sad, this sort of advertising has stopped now. But the narration was too good that you were compelled to watch the movie.

    Greta, I agree that Naina Sahu would have made a great model but how can you blame her acting ? After all, it was her first movie, right ? But then, it fails me that Naina never got a break from any of her dad’s friends notably Dev Anand. Also, Naina simply vanished from the scene after 1967. She later resurfaced in an article by Bharati Pradhan with oblique references because one of her brothers was involved in a “Shiney Ahuja” kind of rape incident.

    I guess Naina must have married and settled down. May be her father did not want her to get involved in the dirty world of films.

    But I am amazed that the bloggers could fish out the resemblance of this movie with “Aradhana” and “Kya Kehana”.

    Hats off to Kishore Sahu for portraying the father as someone who stood by his daughter. Otherwise, typical movies will show the heroine committing suicide and ending up in a brothel. Think of Jayalalitha and Major Chandrakant where the former commits suicide when in a similar predicament.

  30. Naina sahu also acted in movie called ‘pushpanjali’ opp. Sanjay khan, had popular song sham dhale jamuna kinare.

  31. Hi Memsaab,

    I am a longtime reader and fan of your blog. Just want to thank you for re-introducing me to my own country’s cinema and giving me a new way to appreciate it, yes even THIS movie!!

    Btw, there has been a new version of this movie called “kya Kehna” with Preity Zinta who is a better actress (yes, its not a tall order) and a better ending! I would love to hear your take on it!

  32. Oh all this was so informative – and entertaining. Stumbled upon it when researching a bit about ..yes……the-no-punch-in-him hero Biswajit – it’s his birthday today (as well as Raj Kapoor’s and Shyam Benegal’s) and we are playing the song “Panchhi re..” on our radio program tomorrow morning along with other songs for the other actors’ birthdays (incl. Dilip Kumar who turned 91 on 11/12).

    I love the way you write because that’s the way I think but can’t put in words.

    “Ohhhhhh GODDDDD!” :-) Such utter despair. That was the best!!

    (Hard to believe it was so TERRIBLE to become pregnant in those days if you were not married. Not quite 50 yrs ago).

    I love Priety too, those cute dimples.

    Hope you will write about “Sunghursh” at some point. I hv seen it long ago, but can’t remember a thing. all I remember is Dilip looked handosme and Vyjayanthi beautiful. I must watch it again.

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