I haven’t been able to find an exact translation for the title, but it seems to mean something along the lines of “hen-pecked husband.” The whole concept of a hen-pecked husband irritates me beyond measure, but that rant would need an entire post by itself. In any case, the woman in this movie is fairly traditional and conservative; she does stand up for herself when appropriate, but I wouldn’t call it hen-pecking.
It’s a very sweet quirky little story about a wife who embellishes the facts of her married life in her letters home, and the subsequent complications when her parents visit. It reminded me in style of later films Katha and Kissise Na Kehna, and the married couple (Rajesh Khanna and Nanda) enjoy a very loving and equal relationship. Have I made it clear yet that I hate the title? But I do like the film.
Kalpana (Nanda) is heading off to college in Bombay, leaving behind her wealthy father Shyamlal (Om Prakash) and mother Saraswati (Achla Sachdev).
She is to stay with her uncle (Iftekhar), who manages a clothing company.
Rajesh (Rajesh Khanna) is an artist who sketches advertisements for the clothing company’s publicity firm. One day, faced with a deadline, he is uninspired until he spots Kalpana (who is visiting her uncle’s office) through a window. He quickly finishes his assignment using her as an unwitting model.
Kalpana then meets up with her friend Sudha, Sudha’s brother Deepu, and Deepu’s fiancee Beena at the Jehangir Art Gallery. They get into an altercation with a photographer who takes Kalpana’s picture—it’s clear from this that she is a relatively conservative girl. Girls from decent homes do not have their photos taken!
And indeed, when she and her uncle see the ad the next day, they are livid. Once Kalpana gets a look at Rajesh, though, she feels a lot more forgiving (hey, it IS Rajesh Khanna looking v.v. handsome). She convinces her uncle not to have him fired, and gives him a ride home. A song and lots of flirtation later, and they are in love. Rajesh is a painter (he sketches ads to make ends meet) and he lives very simply, being poor.
When Kalpana’s parents get wind of the romance from her aunt, they call her home on the pretext that her mother is ill. Once home, her father tells her that she’ll no longer be studying and that her marriage has been arranged with a well-fed local boy whose father is also wealthy. Kalpana is horrified.
She runs away, back to Bombay and Rajesh. He is initially reluctant to marry her, since he would rather have her parents’ approval and a little money saved up, but finally agrees. They are married at a registrar’s office with Sudha and Deepu as witnesses.
Shyamlal is furious and disowns her. When Kalpana tries to introduce Rajesh to her parents, he insults Rajesh without meeting him and throws her out. This makes her cousin Ramesh (Ramesh Deo) very happy, since he’s now her uncle’s only heir. Ramesh is a badmash who spends all Shyamlal’s money on gambling and nautch girls.
With just a few minor hiccups, Kalpana and Rajesh settle into happy domesticity. Then Kalpana gets an idea one day from a visiting friend.
She writes to her mother first that Rajesh has been promoted, then that they have bought a house, and then a car. None of this cuts any ice with her father, though, until they have a baby boy. After that it’s fairly easy for Saraswati to convince her husband that they should visit their daughter, son-in-law, and grandson for two days to participate in the naming ceremony.
Kalpana is horrified. She and Rajesh still live in a simple one room apartment and have little money, let alone a car! She asks her friend Sudha for help.
She rents a car and a large furnished bungalow on credit, and when Rajesh wants nothing to do with this plan, she hires a husband too—Sudha’s brother Deepu, who is engaged to marry Beena in a few days’ time.
What could possibly go wrong? Especially when Rajesh feels guilty for not supporting Kalpana and changes his mind, after her parents have already been introduced to Deepu masquerading as Rajesh.
They take him for a servant, although Shyamlal wants to know why a servant looks like a “film star.”
Even when he gets his hair cut and changes his clothes, Kalpana’s mother has reservations too.
The ensuing comic maze of deception takes us through the end of the film. Can Kalpana and Rajesh’s marriage withstand the pressure? Will her parents find out the truth? Will Ramesh the nephew throw a monkey-wrench into everything for fear of losing his inheritance?
I really liked this film; Nanda is unpopular with many, but I’ve always liked her. She is sweet without being cloying, and she and Rajesh have an easy familiarity together here that’s convincing. Rajesh has great chemistry with Om Prakash, as well. They are hilarious together as servant and master, with Rajesh constantly getting the best of poor bullying, blustering Shyamlal by charming the socks off of him. Kalyanji-Anandji’s music is melodic and fits perfectly with the spirit of the film. I loved particularly the song “Baras Gayi Re Taras Gayi,” sung by Kishore and picturized on Rajesh, who alternately pummelled Om Prakash (using him as a drum) and pressed his feet like a good servant.