Sargam (1979)

May 30, 2009 at 5:53 am 1 comment

Directed by: K. Vishwanath

Starring: Jayapradha, Rishi Kapoor


This is a Hindi remake of a Telugu film (Siri Siri Muvva), according to the dubious source known as ‘Wikipedia’ and the more valid source known as IMDB. Both films star Jayapradha, and might I just say…she was a marvelous dancer. At the time that Sargam was made, she couldn’t speak much Hindi…but that wasn’t really called for anyway, as her character is conveniently mute. And with Asrani in this, I knew it would be at least decent…

A field, trees, animals, and Hema (Jayapradha). The wind blows, and Hema places a hand to the side of her mouth, as if to whistle. She makes no sound, and receives only the continuous gales of wind in reply…she pulls out two anklets(?) bedecked with bells, smiles, and tosses them into the air. They freeze, and emblazoned upon the screen in yellow text is the word ‘Sargam’. This time when she ‘whistles’, flocks of birds respond, and she seems overcome with joy. She straps the anklets on and runs to and fro, as Raju (Rishi Kapoor) appears coming over a hill. Hema has begun to dance to the tunes of the bells and the birds…so Raju sneaks up on her and beats his drum. The credits roll.

I rather expected a cute sort of dance to play while the credits appeared on the screen, but all I got were pictures of the characters in mid-action, rather like a slide reel. Oh well. It’s a nice song anyway.

Hema has taken her step-sister, Champa’s (Rajni Sharma) trinkets, the bell-anklets we saw her playing with earlier. Everyone at the house is in an uproar, because Champa can’t have her dance lessons without them. Champa’s dance teacher (G. Asrani) can’t really give her any lessons without them. Hema’s stepmother, Savitri (Shashikala) is pretty upset, because she was already forbade to even touch them! Hema arrives on the scene, and her father covers for her, saying that they were broken and she took them to get repaired. But Savitri isn’t so easily convinced, because as we all know…evil step-mothers are psychics…vlcsnap-267628

And what does Hema’s father do? He says ‘Savitri!’ When she threatens to cut off Hema’s legs…that’s about it. What a great dad.

While Champa dances inside, Hema is forced to stomp her feet in mud outside doing her chores…but as the music plays…her smile grows, and her mind wonders to a world where she is dancing as well…

When the song ends, her fantasy continues, and Champa’s dance teacher confesses to her father that he had seen him dance as a youth, and from that moment on was inspired to become a teacher. Their father has a cane, and was seen earlier teaching schoolchildren, this is the first instant in which a bit of his past is revealed…apparently he lost his leg in an accident. The teacher claims that Hema shall indeed excel in dance as her father did, because she is a true goddess of the art…while Champa is more like a child…and then Savitri arrives on the scene, angry that he would say such a thing…this isn’t Hema’s fantasy, but a memory. This was the day Savitri bitterly decided that Hema would no longer receive dance lessons.vlcsnap-272379

Back to the present, Hema’s stepbrother has just read the newspaper and discovered an opportunity for Champa to play the heroine in a film…and through her, he’ll be able to become famous. As if on cue, Hema’s father has some sort of asthmatic attack…she tries to bring her step-mother and step-brother to help him, but they misinterpret her signs of distress as signs of jealousy that Champa is going to be the heroine in a film…mind you, it was impossible for her to overhear, but they don’t seem very bright anyway…so they just ignore her. But he doesn’t die, so don’t worry. Enough of this drama…it’s time for Holly!vlcsnap-281674

This is a matter of opinion, but I believe only two actors ever really looked perfect for Rafi’s voice…The first is Sanjeev Kumar (the greatest actor the world has ever or will ever know) and Rishi Kapoor…and he is so marvelously cheerful in this dance that you just have to tap your feet (or in my case…dance like an idiot in my bedroom because nobody else can see me, and therefore it shall always remain a dark secret between me, my readers, and my mother when she comes in without knocking one day.)

Hema takes Champa’s anklets again and dances outside. Cue a musical number with her and Raju, only to be ended as Savitri catches her outside and burns her ankle as punishment. vlcsnap-1380089

Hema’s father decides he has to marry her off to protect her from her stepmother…meanwhile a letter arrives in the mail for Champa. She can get the role if she has 10,000 rupees to spare. So where are they going to get the money? There’s an ad in the newspaper for social services that helps poor young girls get wedded to well-off men, and they’ll pay all the costs…so why not get Hema married, and take 10,000 for ‘wedding expenses’? Hema’s dad finds out about a wedding plan without his consent, and demands that Hema is allowed to meet her possible groom and decide, his name is Prakash (Shakti Kapoor.)

Raju congratulates Hema, and asks to perform at her wedding. He also asks that she doesn’t finalize the date until he returns from his trip to town. His plan is to sing and earn money to buy Hema a pair of silver anklets. On his trip he encounters a woman who’s husband is trying to make her into a prostitute, and ends up defending her from him. But what happens next? That’s up to you to find out.

This movie wasn’t bad…it was good. But it wasn’t great. I’d say to give it a pass unless you’re a big fan of Jayapradha and Rishi Kapoor. Or if you’re a bit obsessed with Asrani  (like myself.) I’ll give it 6 out of 10 bindis. I really struggled to watch this for some reason, and almost feel bad about it…but I know there are a good deal of people out there who would probably enjoy it immensely.


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

Do Ankhen Barah Haath (1957) Teen Batti Chaar Raasta (1953)

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. bollywooddeewana  |  May 30, 2009 at 5:59 pm

    I’ve long been curious about this movie as some have touted it as one of Jaya Prada’s best, as i’m a big fan i guess i’ll check it out plus the music seems to be really good. I’ll come back with my thoughts when i see it


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