Sagai (1966)

This movie made me want to stick needles in my eyes. Every emotional excess was indulged in, and the only enjoyment to be had were the songs by Ravi and a Helen dance. Tragedy piled upon misery piled upon desperation made it difficult to watch for more than 20 to 30 minutes at a time, so it took a week (and a lot of grit and determination) for me to get through it. Why did I feel the need to get through it? I have no idea. Probably I need therapy.

In a nutshell, this is what I hated:

  • The Wretched Heroine (Rajshree) sacrifices and sacrifices and sacrifices some more (and weeps copious tears as she does, leading one strange man to “admire her courage”)
  • Every single character indulges in torrents of self-pity and competitive self-recrimination (“I felt worse” “No I felt worse” “No I felt worse” and on and on and on and on)
  • Biswajeet is a limp dishrag
  • Rajendranath’s character Hari the Beauty Expert was wasted potential; instead of being funny he was just irritating
  • The depths of despair were plumbed over and over and over again (hit by a car and crippled? just wait! the worst is yet to come!)
  • When forced to choose sides, our Hero Dishrag chooses his brand new “friend” Prem Chopra instead of the faithful (and self-sacrificing) biwi who has stood steadfastly by him through thick and thin (see bullet point above)
  • So…many…screeching and wailing violins…they were supposed to make my eyes well with tears, but succeeded in making me want to kill myself (or everyone onscreen)

Urgh. I was willing to give Biswajeet another chance, but he was just as milquetoast-y as he was in Yeh Raat Phir Na Aayegi. There will be no more chances!

He has as much personality as a photo (or dishrag) hanging on a wall, less if it’s a photo of Shammi.

It doesn’t help that he reminds me of Pee-wee Herman.

On the bright side, the songs by Ravi were beautiful, and there was a lovely Helen dance:

…I agreed to do this movie!”

Tun Tun was on screen for an amusing three minutes, trying to fit through a doorway:

And there was a little subtitle fun:

His shoes, people, he was padding his shoes to make himself taller.

If anyone tries to make you watch this, stick needles in his or her eyes and run away as fast as you can.

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27 Comments to “Sagai (1966)”

  1. ROTFLOL This makes me so glad I’m a dilletante in the waters of Hindi cinema instead of an auteur like you, Memsaab!

  2. yeah, I don’t know what compelled me to watch it all the way through. If it were a Hollywood film, I’d have ditched it halfway through. It’s an illness.

  3. Rock Haralson? Is that a Swedish WWE fighter?

  4. Ha ha. I’m that way too. Glued to the movies, good or bad. Should we go for therapy together? I never liked Biswajeet either. There are some actors who are soooo boring on screen. Bharat Bhushan, and Pradeep Kumar are others on my list. Rajendra Kumar is a bit shaky, though I don’t like him much, he’s done some super-hit films, so one can’t avoid him.

  5. hey banno, we are so alike in our dislikes (that could be a subtitle).

    Bh Bh was only likeable in Umrao Jann for me.
    Rajshree is among actresses who are in Biswajit category.

    memsaab: one mention of self-sacrifice is enough to send me over-the-wall: is this a kind of penance you have inflicted upon yourself?

  6. Amrita: She actually SAID Hudson, but the subtitler didn’t quite capture it right, which of course is a bonus for me.

    Banno: I was never this way with Hollywood films. I’ve even gotten up in theaters and walked out. But I’m compelled to watch Hindi movies all the way to the bitter end. Therapy would be much more fun with you along, for sure! And I agree re: Bharat and Pradeep, although Rajendra Kumar I can even like sometimes.

    bawa: Rajshree is growing on me the more I see her. I’m done with Biswajeet though :-) I have no idea why I sit through these maudlin irritating cry-fests. I’m like a deer caught in the headlights of an oncoming car.

  7. Poor Biswajeet :(

    He really was not too bad in BEES SAAL BAAD, IMHO.

  8. I know….if I were a movie star I don’t know if I’d be able to take all the abuse that’s heaped on them. I forgot he was in Bees Saal Baad, which I do plan to watch one of these days. Sigh. Maybe he will get another chance after all.

  9. Thank you for posting the picture of Tun Tun! She brightens up every frame of film she’s in! :D

    And that Helen picture… I would love to do a coffee table book of Helen dances, complete with lush photos of her in all her costumes. I would make a million dollars, easily.

  10. I *heart* Tun Tun too. She was sadly not in this for very long.

    Helen coffee table book! Yes, one million dollars, easily!

  11. Lol! Now I wonder where the padding went.

    And you must see Bees Saal Baad. That and Kohra which is Rebecca in Hindi.

  12. Hmm..this sounds like a S.Indian movie – I can think of several, which were just this lachrymose…it would take some serious bribing for me to see something like this! Good for you…

    M

  13. this seems a lot like muqaddar ka sikander, a movie that makes me want to pie-face all characters, coz they are soo darn sacrificial! they should be lambs if they wanna be sacrificed!!! helen looks gorgeous though, and i usually like rajendranath in anything!

  14. Amrita: Okay *throws up hands in despair* I will sit through more Biswajeet.

    M: Lachrymose is the PERFECT word for this.

    Rum: Lambs wouldn’t be this self-pitying! Rajendranath was just lost in this mess. He tried, I’ll give him that.

  15. Ugghhh…I remember seeing this one as a kid, and hating every minute of it. But this was back in the good ol’ days when India had only one TV channel, and that showed one Hindi movie every Sunday at 5:45, so we felt dutybound to watch it, no matter how masochistic that may have felt in hindsight. Along with stuff like Shikari (Ajit) and Fauji (don’t remember who), Sagaai was one of those utterly forgettable flicks.
    I’m not a Biswajeet fan either, but he acted in some movies that had awesome music: Kohra, Bees Saal Baad, Kismat, Mere Sanam…

  16. This one had nice music too, I think Ravi might be one of my favorite music directors (close competition with Roshan though—the oldest one, not Rajesh).

    I’ll listen to the music still, but I’ll never sit through watching it again! :-)

  17. Ah, Roshan’s one of my favourites too – brilliant! And Madan Mohan. And Salil Choudhary. And Ravi, of course. And SDB. And RDB. No wonder I swear by old film music! ;-)

  18. It’s much better than most of the stuff being churned out in the last two or three years. Urgh, I sound like an old fuddy-duddy! :-)

  19. LOL

    I would have shot them if I could!

    But yes, I did see this movie many moons ago while in school and as someone mentioned on DD(TV) – that time being the only channel then.

    There was another horrendous one, which you must see :) if you can. It had Rajshree and Jeetendra, though she marries some one else and all that sacrificial nonsense in that too! No, not Geet Gaaya Patharon Ne… Will get back when I recall. Just so you can kill me! LOL

    But I like Rajashree. She acted in a few duds! But her potential wasn’t fully realized like Tanuja.

    I feel Tanuja is another one who never got her dues. And she was great in all those B and C grade movies like Ek Paheli (good) and Aaja Sanam (oof) and Wahan Ke Log (with Pradeep Kumar!) and A movie with Dara Singh called Rustom (I think).

    Yes, I like Ravi too. Some of the music he composed has that haunting quality, lingering on for a while.

  20. The first film I saw Rajshree in was Brahmachari and I so wanted Mumtaz to be opposite Shammi instead of her. But I’ve seen her in enough films now that I agree—she was a good actress and was feisty enough that I quite like her. Even in this dreadful mess she was the least offensive.

    I love Tanuja. Need to see those B movies :-)

    • Rah, rah, I too wanted Mumu to be paired off with Shammi. But Rajashree is okay – those eyes, those tresses.
      Tanujaan! Impish, I really want to see `Gustakhi Maaf’, never understood what was going on in the movie when I watched it as a youngster, except lots of funny stuff. First there was Nutan and then along came Tanuja to wipe off the tears. Hated her roles in Pavitra Paapi and Khuddaar.
      As for the engagement at hand, we loved singing, `Is tarah toda mera dil, kya mera dil dil na thaa’ in our crying-est voices (the Monday after a Sunday viewing on DD) and burst out laughing. It’s a song from this movie, I hope.

  21. As much as i love Rajshri (a heck of a lot), I religiously avoid anything with Biswajeet in it [aagh] This does sound like a awful role for her- she was always much better being happy and cute. I will learn from your sacrifice and avoid the movie :D

  22. Yes, pleaase do Shweta! It will make me feel that those hours of nausea were not completely in vain ;-)

  23. My one and only Biswajeet redeeming moment is the “Kajra Mohabbat Wala” song from Kismet (1968) where both Biswajeet and Babita are in drag. It’s one of the best 60s O.P. Nayyar classics! :)

  24. were do you get old indian movies from?

  25. I get them mostly from Nehaflix.com, although I rent them and buy them in various other places too (in India esp.)…

  26. i want all songs wherein rajshri has acted

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