Sooryavansham (1999)

April 27, 2009 at 11:55 pm Leave a comment

Directed by: Satyanarayana E.V.V. (Say that five times fast)
Starring: Amitabh Bachchan, Soundarya, Jayasudha, Anupam Kher, Mukesh Rishi, Shivaji Satham, Bindu, Kader Khan


Oh Amitabh, Amitabh, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways…1…2. What’s that? Thou art portraying two roles? That of the father and son? Oh, just A father and son. Right, I’m cool with that. And…as the son…we’re expected to believe you’re in your early thirties, I presume? Well…erm…okay, I suppose for you…I can extend my suspension of disbelief to a phenomenal level never before seen in this or any universe…

Let’s start with the song ‘Sooryavansham’. It’s not particularly striking as any sort of amazing tune. But…it gets stuck in your head. Really, a week after first watching this, I found myself yelling ‘Sooryavanshammm!’ whenever something dramatic happened. I dropped a bowl…’Sooryavanshammm!’ I lost my French homework ‘Sooryavanshammm!’ A friend is about to make me sit through a Sanjay Dutt movie…’Sooryavanshammm!’ Anyway, the first character we meet is Thakur Bhanu Pratap Singh (Amitabh Bachchan). He’s a rich and magnanimous man in the local village, seeing that everyone is well and taken care of. He gives gifts to the poor, and is viewed as one of the most respectable figures to the locals.

Then we meet…Heera Singh (Amitabh Bachchan) and are expected to believe he’s in his late 20’s or early 30’s. Remember that suspension of disbelief I mentioned earlier? Poor Heera is treated as a servant in his father’s home, and is not allowed to pose in family portraits or address his father as ‘father’. And why? Because he can’t read…er…didn’t finish school. Amitabh does a good job making Heera a like-able character, despite his illiteracy. I immediately found myself pitying him.

Thakur has a desire to construct a free hospital for the village, but I suppose he can’t afford to…because he doesn’t…he just talks about it. As he is speaking to a servant (or secretary, something like that) a man runs up to Thakur weeping about his daughter being unable to marry in the ensuing week because her honor has been besmirched by the evil Kevda Thakur (Mukesh Rishi.)


Look closely, for those are the thick eyebrows of evil. Evil I say!

Kevda is the girl’s mother’s master…but her mother was sick that day, so she went into work for her. That’s when Kevda got his hands on her…She manages to escape, but Kevda tells the police she stole from him. She gets thrown into jail…and it’s up to Thakur to save the day. He gets the girl out of jail, but not before giving an angry lecture to the new police inspector. Since Thakur basically has the power of a high court in the village, he sends Kevda to jail for a bit. Since Kevda’s rich and from an affluent family…he gets out pretty quickly…but he also vows revenge on Thakur and his family. Didn’t see that one coming…


Man, those villainous eyebrows. They just get me every time…

Heera’s elder brother tells him that some important guests are to arrive soon and he is to clean the guesthouse. When Heera discusses this with his friend, Dharmendra (Anupam Kher), they encounter a herd of goats blocking the road. They try to clear the animals away, but just then a car pulls up…and this is when we meet Radha (Soundarya), and her uncle…Major Ranjit Singh (Kader Khan).. Radha yells at Heera and Dharmendra to hurry up and get out of the way…

Of course, Radha and Ranjit just happen to be the special guests that Heera is supposed to see to. Radha treats Heera horribly until she finds out that he is actually the youngest son of Thakur. But don’t get her wrong, she’s just treating him like that because his friend gave her and her uncle the wrong directions to the guesthouse earlier and cost them at least half an hour on the road. She’s really a nice girl, especially when she finds out who Heera is.

Dharmendra is rather silly, and seems to believe his is a scholar…constantly gushing about his ability to speak English (he knows how to say ‘mineral water’ and ‘laundry’…) He doesn’t like being talked down to, and when Major Ranjit sends him to iron clothes…Dharmendra tells Ranjit that the laundryman was drunk and ended up accidentally dropping hot coals all over his pants and shirts. Not that this is relevant to the plot, but I love Anupam Kher and figured at least one of his antics in Sooryavansham was worth mentioning.

He didn’t really burn the clothes, he gave them to a beggar and pretended to be the master of the guesthouse. Major Ranjit just happens to encounter said beggar…anyway, I said I’d only mention one of his antics, so I won’t continue…but still…if you don’t like drama, Sooryavansham is worth watching for Anupam Kher alone…luckily it’s good for other reasons too, or I wouldn’t be reviewing it.vlcsnap-64378

That night Radha hears Heera singing, (Dil Mere Tu Deewana Hai, I believe it means something along the lines of ‘My heart is crazy’, though I could be radically off on the translation…I know very little Hindi.) She follows the sound of his voice and watches him sing.


The next day, Radha’s parents arrive. When Radha tells Heera to grab their bags, her father (Shivaji Satam) asks why she gave orders to Thakur’s son as if he were a servant. He asks Heera to give him the bags, and asks if Heera is going to attend the function for the engagement of Heera’s sister and his son the next day. Heera doesn’t reply…he wasn’t invited.

Radha asks Dharmendra what Heera is treated like a servant and not allowed to appear before his father, and of course we find out the story. As a child, Heera always made poor grades (and was beaten for it.) Heera only really went to school to be with Gauri (Rachana Banerjee), Thakur’s friend’s daughter who’s parents died in a car accident. Heera loved Gauri…but one day when a teacher hit Gauri, Heera took action and defended her. He then fled the school with her and accidentally lost his books in a river when he tripped. Heera began to hate school altogether and decided he didn’t want to go anymore…so both Heera and Gauri got older, but Thakur sent Gauri away so her education would not be effected by Heera’s presence. Gauri would return every so often and Heera would be overjoyed. When his family decided to set a marriage date for Gauri and Heera, Gauri angrily informs Heera that she hates him because he is stupid and illiterate…and will kill herself if she is forced to wed him. So Heera breaks off the engagement, and his father refuses to see him as his son anymore…

Radha decides that she has fallen in love with Heera because he is so kind and selfless, and asks him to marry her. At first Heera refuses, but eventually agrees.


Afterwards is a really nice musical number complete with wet saris and drums!


Meanwhile, Kevda has decided to arrange a match between Radha and his son. Of course Radha wants to marry Heera still, and her mother angrily keeps her in her home until the wedding date. Radha writes a letter to Heera informing him that if he does not save her and marry her, then she will kill herself. So Heera comes to the rescue on a motorcycle and they get married…this is the final straw for Thakur, and he disowns Heera…Heera refuses his inheritance however, because he doesn’t want anything but to be acknowledged as his father’s son…

Heera and Radha decided to make a life together…and then…well, you’ll have to find out for yourself. I really did enjoy this movie, and the music was pleasant enough. It flows, as far as the plot is concerned. I’ve seen far worse…so my final rating is 7 out of 10 bindis. It would be more, but who does Amitabh think he’s kidding? The man’s too old to play Heera, and he damn well knew it when he took on the role…though I frankly can’t picture anyone ELSE playing Heera, so I forgive him.


Entry filed under: 5 and more Bindis, Film Reviews, Hindi, Languages. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

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