Sawan Bhadon (1970)
Starring: Navin Nischol, Rekha
Rekha isn’t/wasn’t a classic beauty. She is certainly not ugly either, but her face is definitely what one would call unique. I’ve heard her described by some as ‘cat-like’ and others as ‘just plain creepy’. I think ‘lovely’ might be a decent descriptive term in a fashion, but ‘elegant’ definitely sums her up in my mind. She became quite famous for this particular movie in Bollywood. She’d already had an acting career, but Sawan Bhadon really gave her a jump-start into fame. (I have a theory that she is also a vampire…because the woman DOES NOT AGE.)
Intro: Kaleidoscope. That’s it. It’s fine…though not very original in my opinion. It seems like something people always do with a movie intro if they want to look ‘artsy’. But with the jazzy music in the background, this really just gives you an impression of a fun film.
Vikram (Navin Nischol) has been away from home for five years, and is returning soon because his father has passed away. His uncles are worried that he’ll want every penny accounted for at the house, and his stepmother is indignant that the boy might even possibly consider asking such a thing. Nobody seems to want to fetch him from the airport, so the chauffeur is left to the task. At the airport, I believe I caught sight of a boom mic up a the top or something of the sort…what do you think?
Vikram arrives, and the chauffeur drives him home-but on the way, what’s this?! Thugs with axes? Don’t worry, Vikram can handle them. After all, in India…all young businessmen are trained to defend themselves, should the event occur that a group of angry thugs headed by Ranjeet ever attack. Fight well, young Vikram…in your forest green suit.
As the men do battle, nearby village women catch sight of the kerfuffle…they all want to run away, except for Chanda (Rekha) who motivates them all to go beat the living daylights out of the thugs. They succeed in running the guys off, but not before Chanda accidentally breaks a pot on the chauffeur’s head. Logically, he’s a bit miffed about this…but she’s even angrier that her pot is broken, and demands for it to be replaced. Vikram obligingly tells her that he’ll buy them all brass pots.
When Chanda is about to leave, she finds a choker on the ground…and when she goes home, she yells at her brother. Apparently he was the leader of the bandits. Her mother defends him, of course. He agrees that he was there, and if he sees Vikram again…he’ll kill him. He blames Vikram’s family (since they’re the village landlords) for his own poverty, and believes Vikram to be the reason he’s a pauper. And that’s when his mother lays in to him, and beats him with a stick.
Vikram arrives home, and his stepmother seems all to glad to see him…as well as his ‘modern stepsister’, Dolly. Cue party scene. Cue seizure-dancing. Cue smoke-filled room. And finally…cue musical number. It’s a cute song, but Vikram just isn’t enjoying himself. I guess seeing his little sister dance around with a bunch of men in a pink sequin-covered skimpy outfit doesn’t help.
It’s pretty much a predictable story all around. Vikram’s family only wants his money, and he falls in love with Chanda. I’d go on in detail, but you can pretty much guess where this is all going. If this had been my first Rekha film, I don’t know if I really would have been fervent to watch more. The acting was decent. The songs good. It was all ‘good’, but that’s the most I’m willing to give this film. I’d say it’s 6 out of 10 bindis, tops.