Raater Rajanigandha (1973)

We have an heiress Aparna, a brand new one, with trouble. Her father had recently died and she (there was no mother in the recent history) went into a complete self imposed seclusion. So much so that the manager of the empire (her father owned a few mines, along with other properties) called for a psychologist. She was certified insane and then locked in a room in her mansion. 

She was only under deep depression and not crazy, and those certificates could be arranged. The manager (Mallik) wanted to marry her and this was his trick. Not only was she locked in a room, but also as extra precaution every night she would be given drug spiked milk to keep her asleep, till woken up.

One night she managed to un-wean herself and thereby lose sleep, and escaped through the window. Taking a ride on a truck (climbing it from behind when the driver was getting relieved) she reached Calcutta. 

There while street walking or rather shop-lifting she collided onto a reporter, Uttam and promptly fainted, forcing him to take her home, but not to his bed. He forced the (unconscious) woman to take to the sofa while he insisted, to himself, in keeping his bed for self. No masculine chivalry in the Hero!

The girl had some friends in Calcutta, and also her fiancee who was in the US of A (obviously financed by her father for education there) had recently returned. But she didn’t know address of any, only broad locality, which one could guess would be next to searching for a needle in haystack. She went in the morning saying goodbye, of course after a breakfast, and returned disappointed in the evening, cancelling the goodbye, and postponing to a later date. She decided to maintain his flat as her address of correspondence, not that she expected or even wanted a letter, till she could home in on her next (address of correspondence).

We know how the boys, especially young men are vis-a-vis girls. Aparna went to the locality in search of her friend, and in fact asked a few young and not too young men. It is surprising that she wasn’t directed, with justified self-interest, into the other girl’s door steps. Which young man of a colony doesn’t know in finger tip the name and address of all the young nubile girls? This would have been a manna for them, a chance to attempt two birds with one stone, this new stranger girl, and the other, non-stranger, neighbour girl. But since this is a poor movie, I would not dwell on that.

Meanwhile her disappearance was known in the morning. Mallik, one has to appreciate, had correctly guessed her next destination, at least nearly. She couldn’t go to Dehradun (her residential college), or any of her relatives, since they would immediately call him with the information. So she must have gone to Calcutta, and that too, since her fiancee had just been back, a week or so back. Though she wasn’t told, rather her fiancee had been told that she had gone crazy to keep him away, but she might have heard through the cloud messenger and rushed there.

Mallik too rushed there and instead of newspaper of police, he used private investigation. Logical, police would have realised the false insanity and homed into him, after getting hold and interrogating her. A medical exam would have certified her sane. He was somehow acquainted to the newspaper editor where Uttam worked. The editor recommended the young and dynamic Journalist to do it, instead of the professionals. 

The deal was stuck, and the photo and the whole history of insanity was told to the investigating officer. Who obviously recognised the fugitive. In the evening now with the knowledge of her insanity, he was careful, but still he doubted the verity of Mallik’s theory and decided to wait for a day before handing her over. Soon of course the girl herself told the circumstances. 

This journalist had his own circle of friends, one of high society and other lowest, the mafia- running things like boot-legging and gambling dens even probably the extortion rings. As a boy he had run off or rather kicked out of his step-ped home and was on street for some time, till a kind man mentored him and financed his education. Whether this mafia was from his past or not isn’t known, but in the movie so many things remained so. 

With the girl at home, his friends got worried of his absence and a small “Dada” came to enquire of his health. He saw a girl, introduced as wife, and went off. Of course he didn’t believe the wife theory and thought of something more logically probable. Now with strict instruction from Uttam, Aparna kept herself hidden whenever there was a knock on door, to avoid a re-marriage or rather declaration of the first nonexistent again.

Mallik had gone for other modes too and he approached the mafia king with the photo and the story. Though the king hadn’t seen her, but later when his man, who had seen, came back, the girl was traced. The king went now to Uttam’s home, purportedly to meet his wife. But Uttam, guessing it, told that the wife had gone to her parents’ and would be back after a couple of days.

Knowing that this was no wife, and the wife (who was at home) had been put up somewhere else, the king put his men on round the clock surveillance. Uttam however tricked them and took Aparna to his grandmother’s place. The method of trick isn’t clear at least to me.

The other (rich friend) came to Uttam. Uttam asked him to come at midnight with his car, without explaining. Of course he told him not to ask questions. When he came, Uttam asked Aparna to stay at home and not to open or show herself till he came back and got into the car and the friend drove off. Obviously the surveillance followed him. Then?

How did he manage to shake them off and then even he called the mafia boss and explained the things. Surprisingly the illegal mafia was seen to be quite law abiding since they, in fact the King himself, called the police and handed Mallik over to them ! 

Anyway after this senseless act (of the director), the girl was at the grandmother’s place. Of course director realised that it couldn’t be real, since he had been introduced to be a street-boy thrown out. With grandmother of either side, caring enough to take in a strange and stranger girl for his sake, he won’t have been. Some brownie points were needed for the hero with his underworld connections. So this was a poor and destitute woman, adopted and grandmothered by Uttam.

Meanwhile Aparna’s fiance had put a full page advertisement for her. How did he know she was missing, when Mallik kept it under wraps, we don’t know. He had never visited her home, and even had he, he won’t have been told. Anyway he knew, and he had money (though probably her father’s) and he spent that in funding newspaper’s

Uttam saw that and then got hold of him and took to his fiancee. 

I won’t put any further (negative) comments on the movie, since I won’t know where to start and where to stop.