Maryada (1971)

What IS it about Raaj Kumar? What? His acting is theatrical, he is not very handsome really (and was apparently quite weird in real life) and yet I love to watch him onscreen. Not in a “look at that godawful wig!” kind of way either, but in a “he is strangely interesting, I cannot look away” kind of way. Throw in Pran (speaking of godawful wigs), a very handsome in-his-prime Rajesh Khanna and a Helen song, and I’m in! This movie is very “masala” with its separated twins, scheming villains (Pran!), a truncated wedding, glorification of the poor and downtrodden, and plenty of Nahiiin Face. I would not call it a good movie exactly, but it is pretty solidly entertaining.

Mala Sinha plays twins Lalita and Laxmi, who are separated at birth when their poverty-stricken parents give Laxmi away to a distant relative to bring up as his own. Judging from their expressions (especially the one on the right!), these babies are completely clued in to the storyline. I shouldn’t laugh at their obvious distress, but I can’t help myself. They screech and wail right into the credits. Baby Nahiiin Face, doubled!

I suppose if they were boys the poor man may have felt more blessed and kept them both. But who knows? Incidentally, my grandfather was the youngest of nine children and he was sent off to live with relatives since his parents were too poor to support all of them. See? Life really IS like a Hindi movie!

Laxmi grows up in an idyllic Himalayan location and falls in love with Raja Babu (Raaj Kumar), a somewhat eccentric heir to a fortune who likes to wander around the countryside dressed as a villager, repairing farm machinery and singing. He lives alone, since his mother died; he is estranged from his wealthy business magnate father.

Laxmi’s adoptive father disapproves when Raja Babu approaches him for Laxmi’s hand in marriage. He thinks that they are too poor and not worthy of Raja Babu, and that their honor will be ruined if Laxmi marries Raja. This logic mostly escapes me, and apparently Laxmi also, because she runs away from home and marries Raja in a simple ceremony (or as simple as an Indian wedding ever gets, anyway).

Cut to Laxmi’s sister Lalita, who has been brought up by their real parents. It’s her wedding day too and her father is struggling to borrow money for dowry. When he fails, the groom and his father stomp off in anger—but in a total “Arrrggghhh” moment, Lalita’s father happily accepts a total stranger who comes along and offers to marry her instead.

Jeevanand (Abhi Bhattacharya) isn’t kidding when he says he’s not worthy. Halfway through the ceremony police sirens wail, and he flees.

Ha! What can Lalita’s father really say except: “Uhh…what did he do?” The police are cryptic in that regard though, and take their leave, disappointed that Jeevanand has escaped them once again. Lalita’s father expires from the shock of it all after reminding Lalita and her Ma that society shuns the poor.

The humanity! The wedding fire becomes a funeral pyre.

Lalita vows to remove the stigma of poverty (I’m quoting the subtitles here) and to that end becomes a wildly successful and famous dancing girl (in about five minutes). Hooray!

Meanwhile, Raja Babu’s avaricious cousin Pran Bahadur (Pran!) tells Raja’s estranged father about Raja’s marriage to Laxmi. Needless to say, the old guy is less than thrilled to hear that his daughter-in-law is a poor village girl.

Raja and Laxmi have had a baby boy (billed in the credits hilariously as Tiny Star Babla) and are living a life of quiet contentment. Not for long!

Raja’s father calls him to Bombay, and Pran visits Laxmi and her father in his absence. Raja tells his father to stuff it, basically, when his father threatens to disown him, and returns home—but alas! Pran has done his work well in the interim. He has told Laxmi and her father that Raja has died in an accident, and that Raja’s furious father wants to kill Laxmi and her son. More Baby Nahiiin Face.

Laxmi and her father take Munna and flee. Raja returns home to find his wife and son gone. Sad, sad, sad. Four years pass, and his father dies—and despite his threats, leaves everything to Raja—except the paltry sum of one crore, which is left to Pran.

Laxmi’s father shows up at her real mother’s house with Munna (Bunty! My Bunty!) and tells her what has happened to poor Laxmi and her little son.

He has bad news for her (and for me!).

He is old and ill, and leaves Munna in his grandmother’s care. She writes to Lalita—still making lots of money as a dancer in the city—asking her to come home.

Raja now discovers that Laxmi had left him because she thought he was dead, and he begins to get an inkling that his cousin Pran is possibly not the supportive and caring relative that he’d thought him to be. Pran is furious at being left (mostly) out of his uncle’s will, and he’s blowing up what he did inherit on drinking and other types of debauchery. You know what that means when Helen is in the credits!

She performs the lively and energetic “Dil Ka Lena Dena” with Raaj Kumar. It’s oodles of fun fun fun! How I love her.

Raja lets Pran know in that bristling-hackles kind of way that men do, that he knows what Pran has done to him. On his way home from the club, Raja is attacked—but someone comes to his rescue! And that same someone, Rajan (Rajesh Khanna), afterwards refuses any kind of reward for saving Raja’s life, saying that one only needs as much as he can eat.

Rajendranath is introduced at this point as Rajan’s nephew (!) in a thankfully very limited Comic Side Plot, although I’m always happy to see him.

Rajan needs a job, and has decided to go to Coorg in search of one. Coincidentally, Coorg is where Lalita’s mother lives, and Lalita is heading home to help her care for little Munna; and Coorg is also where Raja Babu decides to begin his search for Laxmi while managing his father’s business, which is headquartered there.

All three end up on the same train, Rajan and Raja in the same compartment, where they happily renew their acquaintance.

At one station, Rajan gets off to get some food and almost misses the train—running, he manages to get on board in Lalita’s compartment. Mistaking him for staff bringing her food she had ordered, she thinks his attitude impertinent and begins quarreling with him. He lets her eat his food, and leaves her at the next station, where she discovers her mistake.

Meanwhile, Raja Babu has thought of a plan:

He asks Rajan to take his place as Raj Bahadur while he makes his way to Coorg from the next stop, searching for Laxmi in the villages along the way. Rajan agrees, and meets Lalita again when they finally arrive in Coorg (a song commences, with some nice yodeling by Kishore).

It doesn’t take them long to fall in love, although Rajan is now posing as Raja Babu and cannot tell Lalita the truth. Lalita’s Ma tells her about her twin sister Laxmi, and Munna happily accepts Lalita as his mother. Meanwhile, the real Raja Babu is wandering the countryside looking for Laxmi while selling caged birds, and he unknowingly befriends little Munna as well.

Lalita and her Ma are in disagreement on a major point though: Ma considers Lalita married, despite her groom’s disappearance halfway through the wedding. Women participating in their own forms of oppression (or their daughter’s, as the case may be) is a real annoyance for me. What kind of mother would wish this kind of thing on her daughter?

Happily, Lalita herself pushes back: she considers herself still single and thus eligible to marry. And when she tells Rajan about her ill-fated wedding, he agrees with her and still wants to marry her.

But when Ma discovers Lalita’s suitor’s identity, she has a trump card. Ma knows something Lalita and Rajan don’t: Raja Babu is married! When Lalita confronts Rajan with this information, he keeps silent out of loyalty to his friend and Lalita’s heart is broken into chhoti chhoti pieces. And in Bombay, Pran has not given up on his plan to kill Raja Babu.

What will happen when the real Raja Babu finally arrives in Coorg? Will he survive his murderous cousin’s plotting? Will Rajan survive it?! Will he and Lalita ever be able to marry? What has happened to the criminal she originally “married”? Is Laxmi really dead? Will Raja Babu discover that his new friend Munna is really his son? Here’s a hint (in honor of Karan Bali’s comment below):

There is a LOT of plot in this film, such as it is. It’s very contrived and even nonsensical in places; but the cast and pretty locations make it fun to watch. I haven’t seen that much of Mala Sinha, and what I have seen hasn’t ever left much of an impression, but I love her feisty Lalita here. She has good chemistry with both Raaj Kumar and Rajesh Khanna, and the two men are cute together too—their bromance is kind of sweet and funny. Pran is his usual capable self (his villainous “tic” in this one is flicking his lit cigarette in and out of his mouth) as well. I adore him when he’s all drunk and debauched!

If you are a fan of the actors involved (or want to see more of them), you could do worse than Maryada.

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94 Comments to “Maryada (1971)”

  1. >If you are a fan of the actors involved (or want to see more of them), you could do worse than Maryada.

    Rajkumar *sigh*. I really love him, inspite of his theatrical manners. Actually some of his older films like ‘godaan’ are so wonderful where he is quite restrained and good – the silent sufferer.
    Loved him in Pakeezah too.

    Mala Sinha! Love her as much as Asha Parekh :-D

    In short. yes I would see it for the actors. :-)

    • I think I’ve mostly seen Mala in pretty weepy self-pitying roles, which most of you know by now I cannot cannot ABIDE. But when she’s feisty she is lots of fun!

      And actually Raaj Kumar was pretty restrained acting-wise in this. I think I love him too.

  2. OMG i dont understand this plotline for once in my life!

    • Well that could be my fault :) although for clarity’s sake I left out another sub-plot (doubling as a CSP too) about Raja Babu’s father’s business managers (Asit Sen and Jankidas) who were embezzling money from the business.

      It didn’t help that all the characters had names that sounded exactly the same either :)

  3. alas i’ll have to watch it for my favorite Raaj Kumar, i think whats attractive about him is that SEXY VOICE! *SWOOOON* i love it, its just so enunciated and wonderful which is why i loved Heer Ranjha when he used that voice in verse dialogues!
    Did Rajesh have a big role in this? AWWW

    • Rajesh only showed up about halfway through, but when he got there he was in it for the long haul :) He and Raaj Kumar had some great dialogues which even to my ignorant ears sounded like an exchange of poetic philosophizing! You should see it, it’s actually pretty good timepass if you just let go of the need to understand what’s going on.

  4. Raaj Kumar did have something about him, But I hate his screen mannerisms. In 50’s movies he is very restrained and lookable. I like him in Dil apna aur preet parayi.
    As for Mala Sinha, hmmm….
    I just hate it, when she plays nathkhat gaon ki chori roles!
    But in movies like Pyaasa, Dhool ka Phool and Gumrah she is good!
    Rajesh Khanna is always good!

    The movie sounds to have enough plot for two or three Hindi movies. One and half lost husbands, separated twins, a nautch girl, pran! wow!
    I knew this song till now only for its “chupke se dil dayde”

    Thanks for the review

    • As I said…LOTS of plot. I even left some of it out! The songs were nice, nothing earth-shattering (although I did love Helen’s dance).

    • Oh yes! Dil Apna Aur Preet Parayi.

      How could I have forgotten one of my favourite films with both Raj Kumar *and* Meena Kumari.
      They did the *unsaid love* thing very very well.

      • “They did the *unsaid love* thing very very well”

        Although at times I got angry with RK’s mom character. In all it was a lovely film. I liked even Nadira’s character in the movie, whom I could understand very well.

  5. Hmm, this story makes no sense whatsoever and two out of the three stars in it (Mala Sinha and Rajesh Khanna) generally make me feel deathly ill.


    PS – that screenshot of Helen… holy mother of God! If I ever get my face chewed off by crocodiles thanks to my no goodnik husband and BFF, that’s the pic I’m showing the doc.

    • LOL! I did a lot of rewinding, thinking I must have missed something, only to discover that no…the plot point I was confused about HAD come out of nowhere. But it was good fun and I think you might even like it—Mala was not annoying and Rajesh was still young and not too “mannerism”-heavy yet.

      Helen is a BABE. I srsly want to come back as her in my next life.

  6. wow, seems like a pretty complicated plot!! Tiny Star Babla is cute! Did the credits show any names for the Twin Tiny Stars??

    • I actually suspect that Tiny Star Babla played the twins too. The only shot of two of them could have been camera trickery, and they all looked very alike. Kinda bald, big eyes scrunched up in distress, big open wailing mouth. Wait, I’ve just described all babies.

  7. Thank you, thank you! I thought you’d had enough of RK (the Superstar, I mean) and wouldn’t be reviewing his movies anymore. This is probably more a Raaj Kumar movie than a RK movie–but the superstar was at his peak here and even a guest appearance would have been a big deal.

    I remember Pran and Raaj Kumar vaguely from my childhood–I liked them then, Pran especially. But from the youtube clips I see these days, both Raaj Kumar and Mala Sinha look like they are afflicted with Down’s syndrome (I’m not going to be politically correct. I’m living in Europe this year and here we can get away with stuff like this.) I’ll have to see a movie where they do their stuff to get that picture out of my mind.
    Too bad it’s Mala Sinha who picturizes one of my favorite songs–“Aap ki nazaron mein samjha” from Anpadh. Madhubala would have been just so perfect.

    • Where did you get that idea? :) I will write about whatever and whoever I watch, and I’m certainly not done watching the Superstar!

      Pran was one of my earliest favorites. He is pure and simply a legend of Hindi cinema. And I’m seriously beginning to adore Raaj Kumar, in much the same way. He is one quirky guy, and I can really respect that!

      • >He is one quirky guy, and I can really respect that!

        Zigzatly! I love the fact that he made it a point to live life his
        own way.
        If this is the movie I think it is, I do remember thinking the
        RK-RK chemistry sizzled more than the hero-heroine one. :)

    • You r great again on reviewing Super Star Rajesh Khanna’s movie Maryada and thanks memsaab. Maryada was one of the super hit movie during 1971 because of Super Star Rajesh Khanna.

      Super Star Rajesh Khanna evoked a type of hysteria in India that only Elvis and the Beatles did in the West. The receptivity to his persona was due to the actor’s exuberant presence on screen. The masses felt a type of “deliverance” to a higher and better level through his films. They were elevated and taken forward. They wanted this progress; to cast off the “static” patterns of the past. There was no mere identification with Super Star Khanna. He broke all previous success barriers without a godfather or godmother to guide him or shower their favouritism to him. He did it alone and so was called “superstar” for the same reason. Super Star Rajesh Khanna in the eyes of the Indian cinema-goer was taking movies ahead in quantam leaps. Wherever he took them, they would follow. This was a celluolid utopia no one had experienced before or since. As an actor, he broke out of orbit to become a “superstar” and lead. Rajesh Khanna delivered the cinema from a usual place, and ended “where they lived well” to the other, “but we lived better”. Until another breaks his unforgettable groundbreaking precedent of euphoric conditions, he is still ’the pride of the nation” and the “national superstar.”

      One more request from Memsaab. Like Last year on Super Star Rajesh Khanna’s Birthday which is falling on 29th December, 2009 to bring out beautiful article on him.

  8. “Raja and Laxmi have had a baby boy (billed in the credits hilariously as Tiny Star Babla)”

    I love your reviews. One of the reasons I stayed away from Bolly for so long was that there was no one to show me the humor in it all!

    • I don’t know what it says about me, that that is the kind of stuff which engages me. I think I’m better off not knowing :-)

      • Bolly is very engaging. *I* just had it all wrong. I’m listening to “Zuban ki dard” right now and there is too much gorgeousness to bear. And as if that was not enought great 50’s furniture. Some of these Bolly numbers literally have me transfixed.

        • I meant that a credit for “Tiny Star Babla” engages me. Most people would probably not notice such a thing, let alone eagerly retain it, waiting and watching on the edge of her seat for Tiny Star Babla to appear.

          But yes, there is much to enjoy in the Bolly. SO MUCH. I feel I have only scratched the surface.

  9. Thank you Memsaab for a hilarious masala ride through this movie – really made my lunch time and had me cracking all the way! I hope my colleagues don’t think that I ha have lost my mind! I do not like Mala Sinha – period. So i consider that I have seen this movie merely by reading your post which i am sure is much more interesting than the movie itself. The plot is so long – wonder if it was a Gowarikar epic and 4 hrs long? Chuckling

    • I will say that the plot moved along quickly though. There wasn’t a lot of time wasted on, say, a CSP that just repeated itself in an endless loop. That really helped keep me going through all the twists and turns! :) Poor Mala. She is taking a beating here!

  10. Mala Sinha was one of the most hyper and melodramatic-till-it-hurts actress except for a few films here and there and was pretty much unbearable even if a hugely popular heroine for over 20 years! A lot of people close to Guru Dutt told me how how he would constantly be after her to TONE IT DOWN in Pyaasa and Baharen Phir Bhi Aayengi! Sadly, he died before Baharen Phir Bhi Aayengi was complete and Mala was allowed a free hand in the climax where her character is not only going mad but having a heart attack as well! Having so much to work with, she simply goes berserk. Memsaab, you must see this just for the climax!

    • LOL!!!!! That explains a LOT about this one too :D Have added a screen shot in honor of your comment, Karan!

      I saw Baharen Phir Bhi Aayengi a long time ago, and I remember that the end was just insane although I didn’t remember that it was thanks to Mala Sinha. Now I have to watch it again, at least that part.

      • memsaab, am honoured and the screen shot is spot on! :) I remember Tanuja telling me that she, Rehman and Dharmendra just couldn’t stop laughing once Mala began her Osar winnning theatrics in BPBA’s clomax. In fact, even now when you see the film, it looks as if Rehman is smirking in that scene and he’s meant to be silently in love with her in the film! :)

    • The problem with Mala Sinha was that her face looked atrocious when twisted up with her interpretation of the extreme suffering look. On the other hand she looked just gorgeous when she smiled, pranced about and was being generally happy, teasing and exuberant. I wonder if she could make out the difference when she saw her movies.

  11. I like Raj Kumar. He was perfect for Hindi cinema, good voice, good expressions, a nice personality. I remember this movie, lots of twists and turns and nice songs as well.

  12. re

    Rajesh Khanna is a real super star of valour because he has never succumbed to the dictatorship of success. He is a naturally determined, but especailly talented, phenomenon. In his considerable career span, he has found and conveyed with rarefied exatness the mythological point where the latitudes of interpretaion and the longitudes of creation meet. For this he is a singular cinematic presence. His portrayals make you feel like he has effaced the debt we may owe to the dead and the unborn. That is why when we gaze into the nocturnal midheaven, we see the Pleiades, the blue moon and the constellation dedicated to Rajesh Khanna himself. It is called “Superstar” and as Ovid wrote in the Metamorphoses; those transformed into celestial bodies will shine brilliantly into infinity.

  13. I never understood Raj Kumar’s appeal. The man is just…odd. My Mom tells me that he’s distantly related, but please don’t hold that against me.:-)

    Given your fascination for the man, you should watch “Ek Se Badhkar Ek” where he gets to cavort with both Sharmila Tagore and Helen. Please watch, so I don’t have to.:-D

    • I will forgive you if you can supply me with more gossip on him!!! And maybe one or two of his “Raj Kumar colourful Blouses”! Ha!

      I will look for Ek Se Badhkar Ek. Sharmila AND Helen! I’m there!

      • Apparently Raaj Kumar was not only an eccentric but also had a funny sense of humour. One of the mags reported that on the sets of a movie he remarked to Leena Chandravarkar about her mother “Gudiya is Budiya ko ghar mein chod kar
        aana” . Those who understand hindi will get the rhyme bet ‘
        gudiya and budiya. Roughly translates as “beautiful doll (gudiya) leave this old woman ie her mom (budiya) at home and come

        • And that is sense of humour?

        • And that is sense of humour? I would say he was making a pass at her!

          • Apprently he was tired of her mom
            interfering with the scene or leena’s dress (what ever).
            It was his droll way of expressing
            displeasure at the delay it was causing!

        • Ha ha! He sounds like he had a great sense of humor. Another story I just heard about him is that Mithun Chakraborty approached him one day in a new shirt that he wanted his opinion on (RK being the style icon that he was, I guess!); RK looked at him and then told his assistant to go and buy a hundred yards of the same material so that he could replace all his curtains!

  14. Mala Sinha is simply, “Intolerable Cruelty”. Didn’t even have pretty face to hide her lack of talent. Only redeeming feature about her were huge natural stinger shaped ti*ts.

  15. My bewilderment at this movie plot can be pithily summed up by this sentence:

    “Beta Duryodhan, yeh sab kya ho raha hai?”

  16. OMG! I’m going to have nightmares after seeing those new screenshots of Mala Sinha. *shudder*

  17. I am so impressed with your ability to follow the story of this movie – I can’t usually follow the story of a Hindi movie of this type with half as many plotlines, not to mention twins and a third baby who looks exactly like them!
    Re: Raaj Kumar – my answer about him is — testosterone!! from the first time I noticed him, which was in Neel Kamal, I was really interested in how I responded to him. I agree he’s not so much to look at but he broadcasts Something on a fairly low strong frequency. Low like a bass note, or activating a lower-down chakra, if that way of classifying our responses works for you — anyhow I think that that’s it myself. If he were a bullfrog he’d have the best mating call.
    And thanks from me too to Memsaab’s readers who chime in with such precious information about these actors, their lives, and their place in Indian culture.

    • As I said, I had to rewind a fair amount to see what I’d forgotten or missed. There was a whole lot going on, but hey—it never got boring!

      I agree with you re: Raaj Kumar and his pheromones. Or whatever they are. And from what I’ve read (interviews, etc.) he was a very confident and self-assured person, despite being decidedly odd. Or maybe because of it, who knows? I figure for me it’s one “eccentric” person responding to another!!!

      I will never see Mala Sinha the same way again, for sure :D

      • I agree with you both on the sex appeal. There was a certain self-assured manliness he exuded. But why was he odd–just because of the clothes and the old car? Because he did his own thing and to hell with the rest? Rajesh Khanna was a terrible dresser too and somewhat odd but no one calls him eccentric–just narcissitic.
        My favorite eccentric is Kishore. I’d readily marry him but I figure he wasn’t the marrying kind–he just needed his space and back then marriage was the done thing so he did it a few times.
        Like you I like them different.

  18. I think Raaj Kumar is very good looking:

    There’s something quite “gangster-ish” about him. His son isn’t bad looking either: …he looks a bit like Shiney Ahuja.

    • Oh, his son IS very handsome! Although looking like Shiney Ahuja probably isn’t such a good thing these days :)

    • Wikipedia has this to say about Puru Raaj Kumar:
      “Despite some good breaks Puru never made his niche in Hindi films, wild party animal that he was. Driving home drunk after one such party, Puru drove over and killed several sleeping pavement dwellers for which he was arrested but later, the court mysteriously set aside his conviction.”

      • :-O It’s the same with Salman Khan! These idiot celebrities shouldn’t get away with such serious crime! If attitudes towards the lives of all innocent people and actions taken towards certain criminals doesn’t change, India will always be a third world country!

  19. That last screencap reminds me why I cant stand Mala Sinha – after Parvarish (where she was pretty normal) I had forgotten!

    And whatever Raj Kumar transmits, its usually at the same wavelength as my remote’s FF button. :-D My Mom claims that nobody could climb a staircase with more style than he. Guess I am just not from the staircase generation.

    • I LOVE your mom’s observation!! It is a new category of appreciation to me, and I also can get it – a man climbing a staircase, especially briskly, is potentially a very pleasing sight!

    • Ahhahahahahaaa! Same wavelength as your FF button.

      I am with Virginia and your mom on this one though :D LOL Virginia @ “briskly”…

      *falls off chair laughing*

  20. As much as a Bollywood buff as I am – and I can take it like the best of them, seriously – that plot did not make any sense to me – after a re-read too.. :)

    And Mala Sinha – cannot make any comments to top Karan Bali’s comment. Who, by the way, should provide us all with more behind the scenes gossip.

    Seriously FUN times …lol :)

    • Well, it could be my fault, although I’ve read my post through a few times and don’t know that I could simplify it any further. I did leave quite a few things out too!

      And yes, Karan wins the prize for gossip and humor on this one. I seriously will never see Mala the same way again. So much for neutrality!

  21. Oh god, this was so much fun!!! When I sat down to watch the movie, all I knew was that it had Rajesh Khanna and a song : Chupke se dil de de (Courtesy : A cassette titled “Hits of Rajesh Khanna” in my dad’s collection)
    Quite a confusing plot and had no subtitles (had watched it on tv when I was around 14yrs old, add to it the fact that I couldnt follow the language then). But anything for Rajesh Khanna!!! Though not at all a great story, it was still a fun watch. A typical multi-starrer, I mean tri-starrer, multi-plot masala flick.
    I love your reviews no matter how the movie is. As always, this was a pleasure too. And the comments section was really amazing and informative and hilarious.

    • I definitely could not have followed this without subtitles. But I enjoyed the movie too, really. It was just jam-packed full of events, never a dull moment!

      And I think you readers and your comments are the very BEST thing about this blog :D I learn something new every single day, and get lots of laughs too.

  22. One reason why it has got so much plot is that after Rajesh Khanna became a hot property after Aradhana, they had to increase his part in the story as well, give him more songs and dialogues and such. And maybe the director just didn’t want to have these loose ends lying around. Quite uncommon for a hindi film director, though! ;-)
    After Tezaab became a hit, Madhuri Dixit’s role in Tridev became bigger!

  23. I thought Mala Sinha looked nice in “Ankhen”. (with Dharmendra). No?

    • I also find Mala Sinha good-looking! She had a beautiful face.

    • She really looked nice in her skirts, that gaudy pinkish gown… and pants, even those bright yellow skin-fits in ‘Milti hai zindagi mein…’. Comparatively she looked dowdy in sarees and salwar-kameez suits. Pity she didn’t do more of these ‘western’ type roles. She mostly looked nice in Night in London too, in similar attire.

  24. I don’t find her either ugly or beautiful. She can look quite striking at times, and ordinary at others. I don’t need her (or any other actor or actress) to be beautiful in order to appreciate her, but there isn’t anything about her that particularly endears her to me either. I mostly just feel “meh” about her (although now of course I will be on the lookout for her spiraling out of control in the histrionics dept., which could result in my becoming one of her biggest fans).

  25. Oh thank you, thank you :-) I feel the same about Raaj Kumar, he has a tremendous amount of that something called screen presence I guess, compels watching.

    And Rajesh of course, need I say more :-) So sweet. Especially in that “Gussa itna haseen hain toh pyaar kaisa hoga” number. I think the film is dedicated to his (Rajesh’s) father who died during its making and the director Arabind Sen had all kinds of nice things to say about how professional Rajesh was in terms of working while going through all that.

    Raj Kumar and Rajesh’s chemistry was indeed interesting as others have pointed out above. Another one of my favorites which has them both is of course Chetan Anand’s “Kudrat”. An RK forum expert wrote this about the two of them during the making of Maryada. Apparently Raaj Kumar came up with the line: “Kabhi kabhi ghar ke chiragon se bhi aag lag jati hai” (Rough translation: ‘Sometimes an ember from the hearth can also cause a [big] fire’) and waited for a response to it from the rest of the crew. Rajesh came up with: “Phir bhi log chirag jalana bund toh nahin kar dete” (Rough trans.: ‘However, people do not stop lighting a fire at home, do they?’). Raaj K was so pleased that he had this included in the film and said them himself :-)

    About Mala Sinha, am sorry she’s caught so much flack! Despite those ghastly screen caps at the end, she did look very pretty here in her sane sister avatar. I recall reading that once all the actors were polled on whom they thought was the hottest heroine and Mala won by a long chalk :-) In this context, Mala herself has a little anecdote on ‘Maryada’.

    “Her Maryada hero Rajesh Khanna was really naughty and always playing pranks. “We were shooting the song ‘Chup ke se dil de de …’ in Filmalaya Studios, I was all dressed to kill with a plunging neckline and on my way to the set I heard a piercing wolf-whistle. I turned back to lash out in anger and there I saw Rajesh sitting under a tree telling me mischievously, ‘My compliments!’. My anger just evaporated,” she recalls.”

    Here’s the link to the above–it has all kinds of other interesting stuff on her.

    Thanks again Memsaab :-)

    • Lovely information you have added as always, my Guru for all things Rajesh! :) You can see that Raaj Kumar and Rajesh are enjoying their exchanges of dialogue, and feeding off each other. It’s lovely.

      I have nothing against poor Mala, but she WAS insane towards the end and I only learned here that it’s a trademark of sorts for her. I kind of look forward to seeing more of it (I know, there is something vitally wrong with me)…

  26. Thanks again Memsaab for another great review.

    Superstar birthday looming soon. I am waiting for something special?

    • I’m glad you enjoyed it Radzi…but please remember that I didn’t even do anything special for Shammi’s birthday and don’t take it personally if it doesn’t happen :) I am dependent on inspiration for such things, which believe me is not usually cooperative! :D

  27. Raaj kumar;s only plus point was his slow, unhurried style of dialogue delivery. No facial expressions whatsoever.

    In Maryada, kaka makes an appearance a good 30 mins after the film starts, but settles down well after that. Mala sinha somehow to be looked too old for kaka, like nanda.

    During the shooting, kaka’s father passed away, but kaka took just a half day’s break & reported on the sets.

    And people say he was unprofessional!.

  28. I have to agree that the more I get back to the 60s-70s movies thanks to your amazing reviews, the more I fall in love with them. It is not just the absense of senseless violence, but the scripts are so varied and so strong, the actors really had something to work with and of course the music.

    I had to go buy Maryada after reading your fantastic review.

    1. Because I was already warned about the twists in the plot, I did not have any trouble following it and to be honest, this was not as twisted as I expected it to be as compared to some others. In fact I thought the story was presented quite efficiently.
    2. The script did a neat job of getting all facts clear and out of the way right at the beginning so that once Rajesh arrived on the screen, we were free to enjoy him with all his charisma and charm. His role is really not the most important in the script but boy, does he look handsome (specially in whites). And even though Mala Sinha looks older than him, Rajesh seems to have really good rapport with these older-looking ladies making them fall for him ( Nanda, Sadhana). He is also so good at comedy too, that bit with the escaped madman is hilarious,should have persued that more.
    3. Helen and her dance moves are just amazing. She was moving her body 40 years ago with moves we are trying to learn in our Zumba classes today and not even the instructor can do them half as well. And Raj Kumar does hold his own with her. No not as good as Shammi but then Shammi was in whole another dance universe!
    4. Raj Kumar has a whole lot better dress sense than Rajesh, except when he tries to be a villager which makes him look almost ridiculous. Even in Kudrat, Raj Kumar’s suits look more elegant than Rajesh’s though Rajesh looks delicious as always to this fan.
    5. And finally that comment about Mala Sinha going berserk in the climax of other movie, has me falling out of my chair laughing every time I read it. Really need more of these stories, we really have so little backstories from those days!
    6. This movie is not listed in your alphabetical index, wonder why, google search got me to the review.

  29. Though Rajesh Khanna was superstar by then it was Raaj Kumar who was most sought after actor those days so he got most interesting role and dialogues (for obvious reason) in the film. Why did Rajesh Khanna select this film I don’t know and that too in his prime.

  30. The most excellent song in Maryada is Zuban pe dard bhari dastaan sung by Mukesh and filmed on Rajesh Khanna

  31. I love, love love your reviews. Reviews & comments after make me laugh, shake head & enjoy the ride.

    Rajesh khanna was much better actor than others. While he was alive, I hope he knew about the legions of fans he had. Too bad thee Hindi Cinema / directors fail to use his full potential.

  32. I’ll never forget Maryada for the simple fact that the first time i watched it , I howled with laughter at all the continuity errors.

    In short, they must have fleshed the film out post1960s and added more scenes with Kaka-ji (rajesh khanna ji) in, as he’d become a superstar by now. I checked with my Mum re this suspicion (He goes from looking very raw to a bit more seasoned within minutes sometimes, depending on song-scene-song structure, etc) and she told me that the film took 5 years or so to complete; she went from being in college to being married by the time the film was released! (this is a fact)

    This also explains why the kishore numbers sound so different and vibey, compared to the earlier mukesh and rafi based songs.

    in fairness, it’s not a bad film, but it’s not an amazing film either. All the other points, re the convoluted plot and sub plots are absolutely valid, and make more sense when you consider the length of time taken to finish it. This in itself was quite commonplace back then. I can remember watching Desh Premee when that came out on video, and even as a kid thinking that some of the film looked a bit odd.

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