Thursday, 13 January 2011

Majhli Didi (1967)


Day Two in my Dharmendra countdown amrking his return to his silver screen with Yamla Pagla Deewana leads me to this rather obscure Hrishikesh Mukherjee film

Life is a struggle for little Kishen (Sachin) and his mother (Leela Chitnis) after years of ill health and struggles, she succumbs to death

Kishen is sent to live with his mother's sister Kadambini (Lalita Pawar) who wastes no time in making him feel like an outsider

Kishen finds solace and love in the arms of Heman Didi (Meena Kumari), his aunt's sister in law.
Heman didi is a warm figure who has happens to have more backbone than her spineless husband Bipinchandra (Dharmendra)

When his brother Mr Navin who is married to Kishen's aunt tries to swindle the poor out of their land, Hemdidi stands up and testifies in court against her in laws

When Kadambini who's so over the top annoying and just that little bit extra notices Kishen's growing bond to Hem Didi, she starts giving Hem Didi and Kishen a hard time (but in a rather Meena Kumari paisa Vasool way) Hem Didi takes none of her stinking attitude and puts her in her place
Yes you tell her Hem Didi!!!

With no support from anyone over her affection and kindness towards Kishen plus constant bickering from Kadambini as well as her spineless husband refusal to stick up for her. Hem Didi out of frustration ends up acting cold towards Kishen and drives him away from her

Will Kishen and Hem Didi's relationship ever be rekindled?

Overall a quiet and quite watchable drama, the film's supposedly based on a Sharat Chandra Chatterji novel 'Mejho Didi', it also seems to be one of Hrishikesh Mukherjee's lesser known films and no surprise why, as story wise there's nothing special here and there are way too much familiar tropes e.g. Wicked aunty, maltreated poor boy, In law rivalry etc.

What makes this film worth the price in my opinion is Meena Kumari as Hem Didi who wasn't afraid to assert herself just when she needs to, her character here won't be coerced into doing what she doesn't feel like even if that means overruling her husband, but of course she's made all weepy towards a melodramatic ending or perhaps because the makers thought the USP if you have Meena in your movie is crying. Still though i'd recommend this mostly for Mena kumari lovers like myself and perhaps for the songs or maybe if you read the novel


This screen cap pretty much sums up Dharmendra in this movie

I watched this for my Dharmendra special but seems this movie was a Meena Kuamri show all the way as he rarely had much to do and had very little screen time
I had no idea Sachin was a child actor until i saw this and he was good, not as annoying as your typical filmi kid

Adorable kiddie Sarika
Little Sarika makes an appearance too


Lovely songs from Hemant Kumar on here, most of the tracks had a sombre feel to them umariya bin khevat in particular and Nadiyon ki (woh mera gaon) my favourite of the whole bunch is a lovely riddle type song 'main lal lal' with Meena Kumari and very young Sarika, i tried uploading it with subs but the dvd kept acting up so i guess only hindi speakers would enjoy the fun riddles in the song

Paisa Vasool Rating: 5/10

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16 comments:

dustedoff said...

Heh! That Dharmendra screen shot of what you thought his role in the movie was like, is priceless. :-) He does look rather weak-willed.

By the way, Sachin acts as one of the children in Brahmachari. He also is there in Jewel Thief.

Sharmi Ghosh Dastidar said...

You know I have seen the old Bengali version of this film. It's brilliant and stars some of the greats of classical Bengali cinema, namely Kanan Devi (she used to sing in her own voice in films), Tulsi Chakraborty, Jahar Ganguli and Nripati Chatterjee. You cannot find it in the stores now but that one is actually the best version of the Sarat Chandra classic.

"THE BARD WHO DOESNT HAVE TO TRY TOO HARD" said...

hadnt heard of tis flick till read ur reivew..Dharmendra luks so stylish in d pic u've put up :)..n Sachin n Sarika are cute as well ;)nice 2 read abt it!!

bollywooddeewana said...

@ dusted off Indeed taht screen cap sums him up in this film...lol I didn't notice Sachin in Jewel Thief but i shall keep my eyes out next time and Bramachari is one of those movies waiting to be watched

@ Sharmi I had no idea there was a Bengali version, so what did the bengali's do that made it so much better than this one as i wasn't too excited by the story

@ The Bard Yup, the Kids are cute and Sarika did retain a lot of her childhood looks to adulthood

Richard S. said...

I was thinking while reading this review that I must see this film for Meena Kumari and Lalita Pawar - what a fantastic argument that must have been! But then, after reading Sharmi's comment, I realized that I really must see the Bengali version!

Though it's hard for me to imagine Kanan Devi acting in a film without singing... I have watched many Kanan Devi clips without subs just to hear that beautiful voice. (And also to see that beautiful face... I think I've seen just about all of Street Singer (1938) at this point. And most of Jawab... Kanan Devi is my favorite female singing star from the era before Noor Jehan.)

Meena's one of my absolute favorite actresses, but it's not hard to find Meena Kumari films. But an older Kanan Devi playing a role that was also played by Meena... That must be very interesting!

bollywooddeewana said...

@ Richard S Indeed that argument between meena and Lalita was one of the amjor highlights for me..lol

I had no idea about Kanan Devi wasa playback singer till you mentioned it. Storywise there ain't much but if you do watch the Bengali one, let me know how great it is, as i found this hindi version rather dull

harvey said...

I always thought majhli Didi is one of those weepy films, for which meena was so famous for.
But good to know she acted in films, where she stood up for herself!
Never even thought that this film is by Hrishikesh Mukherjee!
Sarika was a good child artiste. You should watch Aashirwaad, where she has a good role and Aashirwaad is also a good show case for Dadamoni's talent. I just loved Harindranath Chattopadhyay in that film!

bollywooddeewana said...

@ Harvey Indeed Harvey that was certainly the major highlight of this film. Thanks for the aashirwad tip off, i'll definitely pick up Aashirwad next time i go dvd shopping i think it won Dada Moni an award too and it has that famous railway rap song

Anonymous said...

Bollywooddeewana,

This website is a heritage site of universal significance. I am from India and have seen many of these movies you have written about. But the sheer delight of reminiscing the plots of the movies I have seen and the many details that you have captured and highlighted here, makes for hours of joy. I am not an expert to commend you for your work. I am just a humble fan who wishes to thank you.

Truti

bollywooddeewana said...

Thank you so much for your very kind and encouraging words Truti, comments like yours makes blogging all the more encouraging. Thank you once more, your words are very much appreciated

bollywooddeewana said...

@ Anonymous I consider Hrishida a legend too, but this is by no means amongst his finest work in my opinion

Punya said...

Oh why why why! why did they pair Meena Kumari with Dharmendra? I cringe seeing them together. He makes her look bad beside him! (I know its not his fault and by the late 60s Meena Kumari had puffed up quite considerably) It pains me to see her in her later films. But atleast this one is a B&W. And coz I have read the novel, I am eager to watch my fav. lady in such a strong role.

PS - Have been searching this one for quite sometime. B4U movies keeps telecasting it but at 8 in the morning!!!

bollywooddeewana said...

@ Punya i actually like them together, though i have to say their jodi is not my favourite, LOL at B4U transmitting it at 8 in the morning, i got a dvd of the movie from eros, as a fan it might be worth adding to your collection but honestly there really isn't anything special about this one but as you've read the book, you might find it a whole lot interesting than i did

Punya said...

And finally I watched it! I liked it. Specially the scenes with Meena Kumari and Lalita Pawar in the same frame. Those were sooo good. Before this, I just couldn't imagine in my dreams a movie where Meena Kumari sticks up against Lalita Pawar!!! But those scenes were sheer delight. True, there is nothing new in the story and its a weepy every second scene. But then, anything with Meena Kumari is god for me.

Punya said...

*good

bollywooddeewana said...

@ Punya glad you enjoyed it, and like you I'd watch anything for Meena Kumari