1967-Laat Saheb

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This is one movie I will sincerely advice a person in sense not to even try to watch. However if you are a fan of Shammi do it (any way his movies lack that). If you are a fan of Nutan, then opinions are divided, on whether to watch or not.

I wonder why people when they want to give a tribute to a person don’t do it with a flower but a thorn or something worse. This is a movie as the first screen shows dedicated to the memory of “Geeta Bali Kapoor” and I have seen the same thing happening with the heroine of this movie, when a movie called “Naseebwalla” was dedicated to her 27 years after this.

To be honest in this case at least the lady didn’t have a say, though I can’t say of “Naseebwalla” where she was in the cast. And this movie thought senseless, but is far better than the other.

It is directed by Hari Valia and thank God, he had only had 3 movies to his credit as per IMDb. Elsewhere there is mention of another movie (Coffe House too). More thankfully they were such a drain on his/producer’s resources that it took all of around five years for them to gather the pennies and have enough money to make another movie. The three sunk ones Coffee House (1957- Shammi, Geeta Bali), Vallah Kya Baat Hai (1962- Shammi, Bina Rai) and Door Nahin Manzil (1973 –Sanjeev Kumar) and I am surprised why this one Laat Saheb (1967- Shammi again with Nutan) didn’t make it four out of four.

To be honest, this was not a rarity. There had been innumerable movies of this kind, the trademark of Shammi Kapoor, Joy Mukherjee, Jeetendra etc, which had not only been saved but went on to become hit only due to music (songs). However though in this case the music was by Shankar Jaikishan it too didn’t have the grace (or melody) to save this movie. And still it is listed amongst hit. I wish I could give the credit to Nutan.

Now since I was forced to watch, let me go through the exercise so that at least I won’t have to watch it again.

Statutory Warning :

Watching this type of movies or even reading about it is injurious to (mental) health.

I have given warning enough, if any of the blog reader wants to continue, it is on his/ her own risk and for the sanity or lack of it I won’t be responsible.

Story:

There is none, If I tell that in three short sentences and the associated characters it would be enough. There is an heiress (Nutan), her estate manager (Prem Chopra) and a labour in her/their factory (Shammi Kapoor).

If one still wants to continue, let me try my best to maintain sanity. It is difficult, but I will try my utmost.

We have a nice verdant valley opening with a background voice (Seems Nutan? I have a blind ear- can’t really differentiate audio from visual) giving us a nice philosophical lecture in futility of life and exhorting us to embrace the ultimate (death). Of course we are not going to be swayed by it. And anyway that is a penal offence.

The movie starts in a dark room, with a woman, I couldn’t even recognise Lalita Pawar in the dark hut, but may be quality of print was too equally helpful in keeping her incognito. This woman is threatened by death, yes Death himself in blue.

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The death tells her that the Dussera (after 25 days as He informs) and thereafter the full moon day (65 days from Dusserra) won’t happen in his life. Now the first thing one would ask is what is the D-date? The 25th day’s Dussera, 65th day Full moon or it is in between those two days (25-90) that she (and probably he, though as we know he won’t) must look out for?

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And we somehow agree with the death and actually appreciate his patience. We can see that our man, with the type of the horse, and the way, he is riding it is a wonder that he lived to see that day (or night). However we are not yet introduced to what is he, except he is our Lalita Pawar’s son, lives in a hut in a village without electricity and has a pedigree white horse on which he rides eyeing at the village belles bathing in the spring on the way to somewhere.

Our belles though are not so much rustic, and not been conditioned to the cold water like our Mandakini (in Ram Teri Ganga Maili) had been. Though they have been instructed to take a bath in the fall, but they run away at the touch of the coldwater, giggling, and director really can’t force them to stand as if in warm shower. However the movie gives during this song us a nice tour of the scenic beauty of Uttarakhand. Shammi Kapoor – his lifestyle has already affected him and he is nearing his final figure. We can see the corpulence prominent now.

Singing and eyeing the girls (seemingly seeking his queen of dreams) our Jangu (Shammi Kapoor of course) reaches his work place. If we are surprised, that despite the pedigree horse he owns and rides to work, he is a poor wood cutter in a factory, whose supervisor is his maternal uncle, then we need not watch this movie. It is one of the minor surprises. We meet one of his family members (actual life) as his best friend, Kabootar Chand (Rajendra Nath) who prefers to munch peanuts and eye girls than work.

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We also meet the manager of the factory. Nothing about him need be told, if we say simply that he is Prem Chopra. It would immediately define in our mind all his acts, behavior, character, scheming to the dot, and that could never be, nor is here, wrong. Just for a change (from Aagosh) he is not a simple manager. We will be told later that he is son of the partner of the factory. This partner, though not told, must have thought it is better to close the eyes forever as soon as possible, and he did it, leaving the son (Prem Chopra) and a brother (Om Prakash) behind to carry on the work, he couldn’t or wouldn’t.
Now obviously there has to be at least another partner in a partnership firm, that is Rana (Murad) and since he is alive, he has to have at least one child, and if it is only, obviously it would be a girl, the heiress from his side. Where is she?

We come to know that when our prince (Prem Chopra) visits. She has gone back to complete what she left unfinished in 1954. Now after three years in Switzerland and one degree later, she is going to be back next day. And by the name of the airport (Bhuntar) we know that they are in Himachal Pradesh or its neighborhood. Our Prince of course has to go to receive her there, since the father on wheel chair can’t. And now we meet our heiress, as usual starting from toes the camera moves up.

Our prince has to say the old dialogue- “You have grown up so much that I couldn’t recognize you”, though it had been, as informed in the movie, only three years. Thank fully also unlike in Basant “My Foot” here there is only one “Ooo la la” not again and again to try our patience. It just doesn’t suit her, or in fact most, being forced to utter.

And of course he brought her sweetheart, darling Ronnie as she calls him, with him, he informs. He, Ronnie, too had grown up now matching her in height. We should now wonder what it is. It can’t be a man, a bird or a dog. Another man obviously her prospective beau won’t bring to create competition. The dog, can’t reach her height even if it is Great Dane or St Bernard. We soon find it is her horse, and meeting her old sweetheart, she would rather go with him, rather than with him in jeep.

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Now didn’t we know that the horse in midway will play truant and behave, not as a gentleman should towards his sweetheart? He does and is rescued by our Jangu. And for a change it is not a horse race. He was atop a tree, cutting it, whether Kalidasa style or not we are not privy to, but assuming his friend was one, we should say that even our hero was wood-cutting in the old (Kalidasa) way. The horse of course has to pass from there, and he plucks her up from the horse while the horse races back to her home to the worry and consternation of her father.

Now if the horse was anyway racing back home, and when it reached the gate it became calm, she could as well had continued? We don’t know, nor why he said that had he not picked up she would have gone down the valley and then up. The horse didn’t, did he?

After picking her up, of course when she would tell, “Now please leave my hand and let me find my feet” of course like so many times the heroes have done with the heroines, he would just drop her, on her behind, and he does. The resultant glare too is as the formula dictates.

Except the fact that despite having such a nice white horse he doesn’t use it and uses other technique to rescue the heroine, nothing is there that one didn’t have a premonition of.

Meanwhile our prince too reaches there and does the rest of the rescue act, rescuing him from the ruffian on the tree.

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Was it a stunt-woman? Since the horse riding (though it wasn’t really a truant) was quite good and expert. Of course the face won’t be shown clearly, so should have been a body double.

OK now she goes back and of course tells her rescue to Dad who wants to give a reward, till he finds the name. Oh Jangu? He does all good deeds without reward, obviously our heroine is impressed and insists on the reward. Meanwhile our hero is back home for another irritating hackneyed sequence. He has to drink the buttermilk from the earthen pot (Lord Krishna Style) and at his near escape (I thought it was the heroine who escaped near death, how he? ) his scared mother in excitement and anger has to break that pot, and he has to pout like a child.

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Next morning our heroine goes to meet the Prince (Manager) at his cottage, to remind him to reward Jangu, and meets his housekeeper (a deaf and dumb girl). We of course know about her extra-curricular activities, once she is with Prem Chopra. After all he is not Amitabh in Zanjeer, who would leave a girl alone. The actress in IMDb is Vandana (Sawant), not likely since the movie title shows as Vedna (introducing a new star sensation) and she remained, I think one movie sensation? The name was aptly chosen, she was a Vedana (pain) for Prem Chopra at least.

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There has to be further skirmishes. After meeting Prem and reminding him to reward Jangu, our heroine Nikki goes for a morning walk in nature. At that time our Jangu was playing Gilli-Danda with Kabootar (Rajendra Kumar) and of course he has to hit the gilli on her behind. So predictable the moment he starts the game. I only wondered when. I thought it would be in village when she comes in search of him to thank. But he was like Tiger Woods, putting the Gilli into woods hundreds of yards away, so though she didn’t have any intention to meet and thank him, they meet.

In the evening she goes for a skiing. Immediately everyone knows what would happen. Despite the physical and mathematical impossibility (she is going down the slope at full speed and he is rushing behind, though at a tangent) he manages to pull her down and save, and there is the predictable anger/abuse till she is shown the ‘Danger’. Then she had to be escorted home.

I wonder what happened to her entourage which was screaming when she was in ‘Danger’ but when she is saved they weren’t to be seen, to check on her bones and then to take her home. Of course I shouldn’t blame Prem, he wasn’t there. On the way obviously she is tired. Our hero isn’t going to carry her load (Ski and the bag) with him. In fact when she complains of his ungentlemanly behavior, he throws them down the valley as a perfect solution. After similar rude and puerile behavior – “Mom said never hold ‘other women’s hand when she asks him to help getting her up. As if he was holding her leg while he picked her up off the horse! The director obviously forgot that while putting this line on the lips of the hero. Finally they reach her home to her further thankful father.

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Meanwhile our prince isn’t quiet, he has used his uncle (Om Prakash) to send his proposal. But her father seemed to be not so keen on forcing her daughter, “It’s her choice” So the uncle tries to cheer the dispirited, by putting some spirit in him.

Two life savings and two boorish behavior was not enough to win the girl, so director though let us have another cliché clash. While in the wood factory the hero is sawing logs, the heroine turns up there to, I don’t know for what. He sprays her with wood dust. The act isn’t appreciated by anybody, least of all by Prem who immediately puts him in factory prison (some dark room of solitary confinement) for whole day.

The heroine already has more than a soft corner for him so she walks back to free him. Again don’t ask me why. She is the owner, she could have asked him to be freed. But no, she has to personally open the prison door, to find the bird has already flown away. And since till now they didn’t have a duet, together they go to the nature and sing that.

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By then it is Dussera time, and there is some competition, due to obvious risk, Lalita doesn’t want him to compete However I wonder there seem to be only one, singing and dancing. What was the risk in that, and obviously heroine joining in it, he can’t be stopped. However how the lyrics suit to occasion? Don’t wonder the whole movie is like this.

The dancing with the wolf isn’t at all appreciated by the prince and he asks the princess to come back immediately with him, back to her father’s castle away from the filth which she seemed to like. Of course the princess refuses to comply to the request of vassal.  There is some other complication, she is told by him, as per tradition, in this dance a girl holds the hand of her would be husband, if people come to know it would be a scandal. Scandal, my foot, she would have said in Basant while she falls in reverie, here too. And then she sings a song that isn’t in my DVD, but I could insert it here based on the scenario (tent, furnitures, etc). 

On the bed she keeps on recalling what has happened till then, and doesn’t seem to mind it. Our prince does and he is with whiskey and also housekeeper, Bholi, who he seemed to have left alone till then. Now the shock and the spirit does it. Jangu (Shammi) finds her weeping in village temple next morning and while trying to console her and find out what’s wrong, Nutan calls her for a walk to the forest, which of course he refuses (work is worship) and she goes back home. How come her Ronnie was there, and she dared to ride him again?

She however comes back home where Prem was with her father. Her father for a change doesn’t want to interfere.

Director had a big problem now, the things seemed to be getting sorted out too easily how to stretch the movie? It was just halfway through. So there comes a big tiger (real) and roars. There runs in a mother, who had left her child on the other side of the valley, where the tiger is, obviously she doesn’t want herself to be tiger meal, and wants Shammi to become instead. He obliges and challenges the tiger. Obviously we know who would win. Only the dead tiger seems to be breathing comfortably and the crouching tiger seems to be rather sitting on back than crouching for a jump. But those are small things for this type of movie.

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Meanwhile our Kabootar hasn’t been idle. Though our hero asked him to accompany him, but he thought otherwise and like a messenger pigeons, he had been spreading the enws far and wide. Starting with Nutan, sho strangely didn’t hear the roar, but once she heard the news, she took a rifle (she fortunately seemed to be carrying it at least then) and rushed in the jeep to rescue Jangu (not the child of course). Then our pigeron flew on to the village. And obviously this was the risky period (Dussera already over) and Lalita went with the whole village to the rescue of her son. Now assured of safety, in numbers, Rajendranath accompanied. Of course as in any movie they would reach only after everything is sorted to director’s satisfaction. With remonstration from both- your life isn’t your own (any more by one, and wasn’t ever by other) and a series of clichés.
And while only six days of his life is left, he prefers (of course he doesn’t know of his approaching end) to romance and sing songs.

It was becoming difficult to stretch the movie. After all what they can do, the heroine is won, even tiger is killed. Last episode do or die might be only fifteen minutes and there is at least another half an hour to spend before that.

So first some time for emotional scene between mother and son. But it was becoming too heavy, so immediately followed by comedy between Rajendranath and his girlfriend. Was she so catty? Her name is Indira Billi the title tells me – a popular actress of Punjabi movies as the web tells me and then some hot song, to the limit she could,

Some planning by our Prem Chopra, to kill some time, and some more cliché romance (I don’t mind she looks lovely now fully dressed).

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And while our Munshiji (Om Prakash) goes to manage Shammi Kapoor through Lalita pawar, Premnath manages Nutan through her father. The two persons that the two youngsters can’t oppose on face.

Interestingly when Nutan confesses his love for Jangu, despite the doubt, whether she would be able to live with an illiterate, jungle-man, he doesn’t much oppose (“After all it’s you who have to spend life with him , not me” … “however think it over before making a hasty decision else later you would blame me” – a very rare dialogue in movie !)

Of course there is a trouble- the marriage has to be done on full moon day- as per astrologer- the last day of Shammi Kapoor as declared by Death himself.

But though Nutan could manage her father Shammi can’t and he promises his mother to break the alliance. After all there has to be something to pull the movie for another half an hour. Luckily for Director, Shammi meets Bholi (the deaf girl) again weeping and while consoling her, is caught in the act by Nutan. For a change she has faith on him and doesn’t suspect, though she is perplexed when he doesn’t respond to her and walks off. Why not go to Lalita and ask?

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Mean while there is pain for Prem too, our Vedna tells him, what we knew was to happen, the reason of India’s population trouble, he is going to be a father, and the mother wants him to give a legal status to the child. Of course he can’t. He throws her out, and then to ensure the things reach logical end, follows her with a revolver.

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It is good that he did, since despite we knew she was going to commit suicide, he obviously not having seen so many movies didn’t know. Nor did he that just before she throws herself off the cliff, the hero would save her.

Unfortunately cameras were no so common then, else he could have taken a compromising snap. But still people believe him. It was simple. Shammi carried her to a hut, which Prem put on fire, and in the melee the two were caught together. The doctor attending obviously told she is going to be mother. And it explained why Shammi misbehaved with Nutan, and why Nutan, even his mother doesn’t believe his innocence.

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But of course there is a way. Shammi pulls both the women to the temple and calls Pandit to marry them, and instead she ties a Rakhi on him, shutting all suspicions. With a Rakhi tied, it is too sacred relation established, to think anything else exist. Of course meanwhile the heroine had agreed to her father’s original proposal, though he doesn’t look too excited about it.

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Rest of course is predictable, the marriage of our prince and princess, where the villain (Jangu) comes in with the Pain (Vedna). The girl for a change becomes active and tears off the flower decoration off the groom, making her intentions and the dumb voice audible.

Once again Murad tries to come to rescue of his daughter. And once again I don’t know why he carried his rifle to the marriage ceremony. Did he know? But then we don’t know why Nutan did in that tiger episode. May be the father daughter duo always keep the gun with them? Prem Chopra would keep his pistol is understood and he preempts his would be father in law.

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He runs away with his bride in Ronnie. I don’t know why Ronnie didn’t try to protect his sweetheart, but he rather kept on helping her would be husband, whom technically he should be jealous of.

And we have our white rider who would follow. If you have a horse so do I. If yours is well bred so is mine. In the end I don’t know why, Prem carries his bride to the suicide spot. I assume not to commit suicide with her, like in the end of “Dil Ne Phir Yad Kiya” when Dharmendra in body and Nutan in soul go down the valley. But like all unexplainable things this too happened.

Of course the whole village follows including Lalita Pawar and is in the point of combat, of course below the hill to catch the falling man. And remember it is the full moon day and the death is once more there to remind Lalita who keeps on mouthing dialogues to entreat him, and only gets a deathly laugh, “The line of fate can’t be changed. Today is his last day. That is the order from Boss”

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What’s New-

The rakhi tying episode: Innovative way for the deaf and dumb to prove the hero innocent. Rakhi is too sacred thing to be doubted.

Heroine’s father– Throughout in support of the daughter, never interfering in her choice of groom. He is cautious but never interfering, not even giving his own opinion.

What’s Good: Nutan in one of the sweetest in colour, especially in second half.

What’s bad: everything else.

In Nutshell:

No story, full of clichés and quite immature episodes.

See it Shammi’s fans since you are habituated of all this.

Nutan’s fans- warning:

Not much scope for acting. In such a senseless movie of course you don’t expect one. And as far as the natural acting is concerned, it just happens.

But if you want to bask in her loveliness (As Balraj Sahni said in Sone Ki Chidia), then maybe you should watch it, at least second half.

First half she tries to change her image. She is in sleeveless and figure hugging clothes. Almost bobbed hair (No she didn’t trim, but packed up the hair above and left only the bob sized tail behind). She tried to look sexy, however she wasn’t able to go to the extremes, for example no low-neck, nor the shape revealing fitting up there, which the contemporaries were doing. Also the cloth on chest remained and didn’t go to neck only.

Despite all these modesty, she was a bit not too comfortable. The laughs, smiles, acts looked a bit strained.

But the moment she was in her dress, she glowed. It isn’t only the bridal dress, whenever she is in her natural dress and let hair loose, she is demure and sweet.  That isn’t only in this movie but in many, if not all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3 thoughts on “1967-Laat Saheb”

  1. Hi Somak,
    Thanks for this interesting review… I didn’t read everything as you repeatedly say the movie is such a bad one. But you’re right, I enjoyed the lady in her white dress. The colours seem rather saturated though, don’t they?

    1. Read the intro and conclusion first. If you feel confident after that then only body. Else just glance through photos.

  2. The movie.. not worth it, for any one having an iota of sense. It makes one, if thinking, how the hell this can happen. But then I remind myself it is a Shammi Kapoor movie, and that keeps the brain calm. The whole movie is expectedly a mess.

    I could watch since she looked quite lovely, after this she had the sign of age in Milan etc, may be accelerated, since as she said she was unwell. Must be the strain. However strangely she was lovely in B&W Saraswati-chandra. Did her features suit the B&W better?
    What I assume is with minimal make-up her features looked better. Whenever she had been colored up (most of the color movies have a habit of doing that) it didn’t suit. In Anurag too she looked lovely, since there the role demanded no make-up.

    I think what suited her was the matt (non-shiny) skin, and no Rouge, as natural the skin left the better. This automatically was addressed in B&W. But that is your field, not mine.

    The color bias I assume may be more due to the prints. The T series doesn’t do the color correction well. Most of their prints I have seen this. But unfortunately this movie I could get after some search, and only from this house. It is not only color but even lighting too. Some time I have to improve the brightness from the snaps to make it proper. The editor I am using now is just basic, not as powerful and simple as the old and discontinued microsoft photo-editor.

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