Gauri (1968)


From the DVD cover: “the saga of an Indian woman…who helps her parents before marriage, and gives her all to her husband after marriage.” I should have run screaming, right? Especially since said Indian woman is also blind (and played by Nutan)? But Mumtaz, Laxmi Chhaya and the young Sanjeev Kumar are also in the cast so I decided to take a chance. Alas! it is every bit as bad as the DVD cover promised. I had to turn the whole thing into a drinking game: Greedy manipulative father figure lies to his “sons”? Drink! Blind woman weeps helplessly at her fate? Drink! Son sacrifices his own happiness (and that of his beloved) for no good reason? Drink! Blind woman gets sight back and devotes self to fake husband who spurns her? Drink!

Drink! Drink!! Driiink!!!!

Wealthy Ram Prasad (Shivraj) lives in Banaras with his lovely but blind daughter Gauri (Nutan). He is desperate to get her married off.


To that end, he has engaged a marriage broker, but that pandit is having no luck. Nobody wants a blind woman of course, not even one as rich and beautiful as Gauri. That is, until the broker meets greedy Maniram (Om Prakash) in Agra, who is trying to get his own daughter Dhanwanti (Laxmi Chhaya) married. Maniram loves nothing as much as he loves money.


He has a nephew Sanjiv (Sanjeev Kumar) about to take his college exams. Sanjiv’s roommate and best friend is Sunil (Sunil Dutt). When Maniram refuses to pay Sanjiv’s exam fees, Sunil steps in to help out.


Sunil himself is in love with one of his classmates, the lovely Geeta (Mumtaz). Both Sunil’s mother (Leela Misra) and Geeta’s father live in Shimla, and unbeknownst to the happy couple are conspiring to arrange their marriage (they don’t know that Geeta and Sunil are already acquainted and singing songs all over the countryside).



When Sunil comes home after graduating, his mother (one bright spot in all this is that Leela Mishra isn’t a shrill harridan here!) tries to show him Geeta’s photo; but he refuses to look at it and tells her he’s already found his bride. She sends the photo with regrets back to Geeta’s father, who decides to take himself and his daughter off to Banaras, refusing to listen when Geeta pleads with him to at least meet the man that she loves.

When Sunil and his mother discover that they have been talking about the same girl, he hastens off to Banaras himself in pursuit.


But Sanjiv is not in Agra anymore. His greedy uncle Maniram has convinced him to marry Gauri by saying that the dowry he gets will enable him to get Dhanwanti married too—and he has also neglected to inform Sanjiv that she is blind.


He also tears up and throws away Sanjiv’s letter to Sunil inviting him for the wedding (I am never clear on why he doesn’t want Sunil there). They go to Banaras and Sanjiv and Gauri are married. At the end of the wedding ceremony Sanjiv discovers finally that his new wife is blind.




I fall off my chair laughing (and I’m not even drunk yet). The horror! The blue eyes! Sanjiv storms off after an argument with Maniram—Gauri’s fortune doesn’t matter to him as much as it does to his uncle. Sunil arrives the next morning in search of Geeta and bumps into Maniram at the train station. The selfish old man prevails on him for help.


At Gauri’s house, it’s a Very Sad Day. Her father is sad:


and Gauri is even sadder:


Soft-hearted Sunil is no match for these tragic pronouncements, and he agrees to go off in search of the bridegroom. He finds Sanjiv at the house of one of their college friends, and convinces him to do the right thing by Gauri. (Oh, lucky Gauri!)



Meanwhile, Gauri’s best friend Basanti (Urmila Bhatt) is outraged by Sanjiv’s behavior and says so. I am momentarily heartened by this, but then Gauri slaps her.


Aaargh! (Drink!) If I were Basanti, I might be tempted to slap Gauri back, to see if I could wake her up a little, but no.


Double aaargggghhhh! (Drink!)


I have never in my life been so happy to be interrupted by the Comic Side Plot, this time in the form of Maniram’s accountant Radheshyam (Rajendranath) and pretty Dhanwanti (although in a Criminal Waste of Laxmi, there is no song and dance for her).


Back at Gauri’s, an eye specialist has promised that he can restore Gauri’s sight; and after she receives a letter saying that Sanjiv will be coming back she agrees to have the surgery.


Geeta’s father (remember Geeta?—they are also still in Banaras) finally agrees that Geeta can get married to Sunil, and she writes him a letter.

Sanjiv and Sunil prepare to return to Banaras but decide go on a little hunting trip first. Oh no! Sanjiv falls into a waterfall gorge while being chased by an enraged elephant (yes, really).


This is so awesome that I penalize myself a few melodramatic scenes before I can have another drink. They aren’t long in coming. Sunil watches in horror as the rushing water takes his friend’s body away. When he returns to Banaras and tells Maniram and Ram Prasad what has happened, Ram Prasad dies of a heart attack. Gauri, still recovering from her surgery, is distraught on hearing the news of her father’s death.


Maniram uses this sage medical advice to persuade a very reluctant Sunil to take Sanjiv’s place as Gauri’s husband (he still has his eyes on her fortune). He uses guilt and fear too:


Gauri’s surgery is a success! Her eyes are the proper brown:


and the first thing she sees (as per her wish) are “Sanjiv’s” feet! She goes home to a husband who wants nothing to do with her and is gobbling up all the scenery in sight. Will her purity and goodness prevail? What about poor Geeta, still looking for her Sunil? Is there enough alcohol in the world to get me through this?

Truthfully, even without the drinking game I might have made it. It is so over-the-top ridiculous in every cliched way imaginable that it becomes hilarious. Bad acting, hackneyed dialogues, melodrama piled upon tragedy piled upon melodrama.


Okay, actually I think the drinks did help.

Edited to add a warning label, courtesy of Beth. Thanks Beth!


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63 Comments to “Gauri (1968)”

  1. Oh my, that might stretch even my melodrama tolerance beyond the endurance point. On the other hand, I am willing to watch almost anything with blind people and/or elephants in it.

    Am I wrong in assuming that the general rule for people falling down cliffs/waterfalls halfway through a Hindi movie applies here, too?

  2. How perfect that this is the entry in which I discover your incredibly useful ‘execrable Hindi movie” tag! God. This looks awful. I will avoid yaar and return to watching Shashi drunkenly do the twist.

    On a more serious note, I am not sure I entirely get the appeal of Sanjeev Kumar, as we discussed a few days ago. I wonder if there’s a seminal work I’m missing that will make everything clear to me. Also, his bangs here are hilarious.

    And the eye surgery shot is GROOOOOSS.

    • It is useful, isn’t it? I try to use it sparingly though. I don’t know if I can help you with Sanjeev as I’m not entirely sympathetic to him myself, although I do think in general (not here) he is a good actor. Try one where he’s paired with Jaya B. if you haven’t already.

      And the eye surgery—it went on and on and on, I only flogged you guys with ONE shot. Was quite disgusting and I was def. tipsy by the time it ended.

      • May I add a couple of other recommended Sanjeev Kumar films? Anokhi Raat and Manchali – very different from each other, but both good showcases for his acting.

        • Ooh yes, Manchali!!! I LOVE that movie.

          • Some more Sanjeev Kumar recommendation for Beth:

            1. Anamika (Memsaab is right)
            2. Aandhi
            3. Mausam (I stopped hating Sharmila after I saw this one….good performances by chief protagonists)
            4. Koshish
            5. Dastak
            6. Aandhi
            7. Angoor
            8. Silsila

            Will come back with more :P

          • Me too :-). He is so absolutely wonderful in that – and it’s a likable take on The Taming of the Shrew.

            I also like Shikar: he’s very good in that.

  3. I wish the warning had come before I saw this movie! It almost earned me a trip to Dr. Dey’s Psycho Clinic.

  4. Usually I look for any excuse for a beverage, but I’m oh so leary of this being one of them. Ugh, I had to go back and take another look at the surgery pic (why did I do that?!) – definitely high on the gross meter.

    • Yeah, not worth it. Find a happier excuse for a beverage. They actually showed the scalpel cutting the eye. I’ve seen it before in Jheel Ke Us Paar; I think there was an actual surgery filmed and somehow filmmakers got hold of a copy and used it willy-nilly whenever they liked. These guys used way more of the footage, and it was way more graphic than JKUP though!

      • And I think the same footage was also used in ‘Mere Jeevan Sathi’ with Rajesh Khanna, although again, not as graphic as in this film… this is quite gross.

  5. Blue eyes? Blindness cured by surgery? Maybe she had cataracts…?

    • Possibly; the ease with which her sight was fixed had me wondering why it took them so long to get around to it—they had plenty of money. But so much of melodrama would have been lost…

  6. Hey Memsaab,

    Your creativity in finding ways to get through a bad movie is inspiring! I presume your drink of choice for such a situation was Bombay gin and tonics?!

    I know you love Shammi, so I thought of you when I saw the movie poster for “Kashmir Ki Kali” on this site:

    I just ordered and received the “Parvarish” poster from the London Gallery. The NY showroom is very new, so not sure what they have. I think the posters are expensive — the quality of the paper and printing are not great, but then one shouldn’t expect it to look like a Hollywood poster anyway. And the opportunity to have a bit of India in my den was too great to pass up!! FYI.


    • I have the KKK poster, and Brahmachari and Evening in Paris (plus China Town, which I have framed)…but can’t afford to frame them and have no place left to hang them! Obsession is a curious thing :) Thanks for the link—if they are original posters (not old reprints) I think the price is pretty fair. Paper quality and printing were not great back then, but that’s part of the charm :)

  7. Good Nutan movies to watch are – Seema, Bandini, Sujatha, Chalia, Anari, Mlan (for melodious songs). Never heard of this movie! Thanks for warning us off.

    Better luck next time ie watching a real good hindi movie

  8. Drink is no option for me. I’d be puking like crazy at the end of the film.

    Didn’t Sanjiv lose his eyes in the hunting accident? That should have been what happened as per the laws of execrable woman-sacrificing Hindi movies.

  9. Oh heck, I had only seen the Sunil Dutt Mumtaz song – Dil Mera Tumhari Adayen legayi – on DD way back. I thought they were the lead actors and I wanted to see the movie. That song by itself gives a very different impression of the movie. But the first screen cap in this post says it all – watch this movie – NAHIN………………………….

  10. What a hangover you must have had…although I don’t which one would have been worse: from the movie or the drink.

    Beth, movies of Sanjeev Kumar that I like are Koshish, Dastak, Aandhi, Anamika, Mausam (but i saw it a long time ago and don’t know if it is dated), even his longish “guest” role in Parichay.

  11. I think I would have loved to watch this film with you!
    it sounds so funny!

  12. Oh, yikes. I’d seen the cast listed on the seventymm site (the guys from whom I rent DVDs) and based purely on that, had gone ahead and ordered it. Thank heavens I’m allowed to change my wishlist any time I want… off to do it now.

    Another really duh Nutan-Sanjeev Kumar film was Devi. Much angst and self-sacrifice and keeping mum and “I will worship my husband even if he’s a ****” business”. Why?!

    • Nutan seems to have done a lot of the “bharatiya nari” roles although of course she did some really good films too. Please do avoid yaar on this one though :-) Or I WILL be forced to say I told you so!

  13. *Nobody wants a blind woman of course, not even one as rich and beautiful as Gauri.*

    Are there scenes, then where the boy’s party comes to look at her and sotrm off, when they ‘discover’ that she is blind, leaivng behing sobbing Nutan and Papa?

    *Leela Mishra isn’t a shrill harridan here!*

    You should see her in Rajshri and 70s 80s films, she is always a darling. That is why Govinda named her as his favorite actress at the beginning of his career.

    Screen cap 15 & 16. Do you think the director is trying to tell us something, the way the protangonists are filmed through an angle with stuffed animals around them?

    *a Criminal Waste of Laxmi, there is no song and dance for her*

    This goes on to show that the director really didn’t know what is good for his film!

    *Maniram uses this sage medical advice to persuade a very reluctant Sunil*

    That Maniram should have become a salesman. Or is Sunil so brainless that he allows himself to be persuaded to do unsensible things?

    *the first thing she sees (as per her wish) are “Sanjiv’s” feet!*

    How did you survive this? You deserve a bravery medal or something like that.

    Thanks dustedoff for the Devi tip. Maybe memsaab is kind enough ot review that one as well.
    I’ll pay for the drinks! ;-)

  14. I do that all the time. But may I recommend Bhowani Junction when you have a bot to spare ?

  15. @ harvey:

    There is one scene at the beginning where the marriage broker tells Gauri and her father that she’s been rejected “again” and she weeps.

    I guess I’ve mostly seen Leela in 50s/60s films and she’s just awful. But will keep an open mind :) She was sweet in this.

    Maniram was quite persuasive, although all the people around him were extremely stupid and gullible.

    Will not watch Devi for all the scotch in Scotland though!!! :-)

  16. Oh, hurl. So bad on so many levels. Quick, watch a Shammi movie, clear your cinematic palate!

  17. That was my first instinct—Shammi!!!!!!

  18. OMGGGG, I hate devotional wife movies, and the fact that most of them starred Nutan as well! The warning part is absolutely necessary when watching movies like these! I love how Om Prakash makes Sunil feel guilty i should use those lines on my sister!

  19. Om Prakash’s logic in this defies…well, logic! Dreadful all the way around :)

  20. Oh my aching head! I am so hung over, just reading this review, never mind watching it.

  21. The first screen cap (showing Nutan) is so archtypically “NAHIN ! ” shot. Hilarious in its own way, even though that was not meants to be hilarious by the movie maker.

    Nutan is the original tragedy queen. She was into tragedy since mid 1950s when even Meena Kumari was doing comedy roles.

    This movie looks too insufferable.I am told that scientists have come up with a method to measure pain. I hope you will come up with a sufferability index for movies like this.

  22. That first screen-cap of yours is how I looked after watching the movie! I got it for the cast and because the story synopsis sounded interesting. Should have known better. The unusually high melodrama content though, had a mesmerising effect on me. I couldnt look away from the scenery bashing and ended up looking like Nutan in the first screen cap – horror personified at the realisation that I’d seen the whole movie! What a criminal waste of beautiful Sanjeev (he was good looking for such a brief period) Sunil Dutt and Mumtaz.

  23. Plese tell me that Sanjeev returns towards the end of the movie and everyone is reunited with their respective spouses/love interests. I hope it does not end with Gauri’s death.

    I think i it ws during the making of this flick that Sanjeev made an indecent proposal to Nutan and was slapped in return.

  24. Ava -Well Ava, the slap might have happened at the point when all the actors realised what a rotten movie they had made. Could have been frustration!!!

  25. No, I think Sanjeev Kumar got the slap from Nutan on the behest of her husband on the sets of Devi.

  26. How sad, we aren’t going to get an equally funny reveiw of Devi!
    Have a heart!

  27. Sanjeev was quite the character, it seems! So devoted to his Ma, and obsessed with Hema, and apparently also a bit of a perv!

    The best part about that first screencap is that Nutan is reacting to Om Prakash’s pronouncement that her sari catching fire (with her in it!) is bad luck for her HUSBAND. Never mind that she was the one on fire! Sigh.

  28. *The best part about that first screencap is that Nutan is reacting to Om Prakash’s pronouncement that her sari catching fire (with her in it!) is bad luck for her HUSBAND. Never mind that she was the one on fire! Sigh.*

    I sometimes ask myself, how did the actresses who played such roles feel, when they had to enact such absurd scenes. Nutan was an intelligent woman. It must have been an insult for her sensibility.
    And still…
    Anyway it is an insult for our sensibility! :-)
    And still…

    *Sanjeev was quite the character, it seems!*
    So there seems to be quite a list of his favs.
    Aruna Irani, Nutan, Hema Malini, ……………. Jayshree T. (Fill in the blanks or finish the series)

    *also a bit of a perv*
    Do you think so?
    I mean Jaya Bhaduri was quite chums with him. I can’t imagine she being friendly with anybody, who had a whiff of perv on him!
    But maybe you mean it differently.

  29. I wonder that myself, especially about Nutan—she didn’t seem like an idiot, but certainly she played them a lot.

    I don’t know if Sanjeev was a perv, truly—although if he propositioned Nutan he must have been somewhat of one! I doubt that she was giving off “come hither” signals or anything. Who knows? But he certainly had scores of females throwing themselves at him with little success (at least in the marriage dept.)…

  30. The version, which made the rounds was supposedly that he and Nutan had an affair and when her husband came to know of it, he was not satisified with her breaking up the realtionship with Sanjeev but also slap him in front of everybody if she wanted to return back. Hence this drastic step.
    But as I said, this is what the gossip columns wrote.

  31. I beleive Sulakshana Pandit was in love with him but he wasnt. She never got married I beleive…

  32. Oh ok so it was Devi. My memory needed this jog.

    But do tell what happened in the end, did Sanjeev return or did Nutan die?

    • SPOILER!
      Okay here you go (to spare you from having to sit through it—don’t read this if you plan to flog yourself with the film!): Sanjeev returns, only to think that Sunil and Gauri have fallen in love. Much more melodrama and self-sacrificing ensues, and poor Mumtaz is entangled in it all as well since she misunderstands the situation too. Eventually it is all worked out though :)

  33. You know, I am actually tempted to see this now.

  34. bluelotus: Never heard about Sulakshana Pandit, so one more to the list.

    off to read dil ki rani

  35. it is disheartening to note that an outstanding actor of sanjeev ‘s caliber is booked for such insignificant roles.Funnily this film was a remake of a tamil film by name shanthi directed by mr was a successful film because probably the lead role though difficult was done by sivaji and tamil audience like these melodramas.
    Coming to comments on nutan,i can not beleive anything.however a close friend of mine from karnataka had his uncle in bollywood who was a reliable source for many
    gossips and he confirmed that nutan was an exceptionally upright woman with dignity
    and entire industry respected her.she was happily married and she did slap skr and a couple of other top actors who made for skr,his affairs with sulakshanapandit,t.jayasree,arunairani were true but as for hemaji his was an onesided love affair which ended up skr taking up to drinking like meenakumari.Hema’s
    affair was only for a brief period with jeethu before marriage and she was unlike most of her other colleagues who had string of affairs.I appreciate you for not only watching a worthless film and getting quite a good response for a review over it.this speaks volumes of your ability to offer lovely commentary.keep it up pl.rgds
    j natarajan

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