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Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam (1962)

7.9
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 767 users  
Reviews: 13 user | 9 critic

A lowly servant, Bhootnath gets close to the wife of his employer, and narrates her story through his eyes and perspective.

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(dialogue), (novel)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Chhoti Bahu
Guru Dutt ...
Atulya Chakraborty 'Bhootnath'
Rehman ...
Chhote Sarkar
...
Jaba
Nasir Hussain ...
Suvinoy Babu (Jaba's father) (as Nazir Husein)
Dhumal ...
Bansi
D.K. Sapru ...
Chaudhary (Majhle Sarkar) (as Sapru)
Harindranath Chattopadhyay ...
Ghari Babu (as Haren Chatopadhyay)
Pratima Devi ...
Badi Bahu
Ranjit Kumari
S.N. Banerjee ...
Tanga Driver without a turban (as S.N. Bannerji)
Krishan Dhawan ...
Master Babu (as Kishen Dhawan)
Jawahar Kaul
Vikram Kapoor ...
(as Bikram Kapoor)
Mukund Banerjee ...
(as Mukund Bannerji)
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Storyline

A Zamindar neglects his wife and prefers the company of alcohol and dancing girls. The decadence of the Bangali Zamindar milieu and the raising bourgeoisie in the late 19th century, seen through the eyes of a young upward mobile rustic seeking fortune in Calcutta, and fascinated by the lady of the house... Written by Dirk Muysers <dirk.muysers@cginn.cgs.fr>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Musical

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Details

Country:

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Release Date:

June 1963 (West Germany)  »

Also Known As:

King, Queen and Slave  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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Did You Know?

Trivia

When Guru Dutt's Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam was submitted for the Oscars, the academy wrote a letter to Guru Dutt saying a woman who drinks was not a permissible taboo in their culture. See more »

Soundtracks

Bhanwara Bada Naadaan
Sung by Asha Bhosle
Music composed by Hemanta Mukherjee
Lyrics by Shakeel Badayuni
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Bibi Aur Ghulam
14 August 2010 | by (Earth) – See all my reviews

For years, Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam has been known as an inalienable asset in the history of the Hindi film industry, and not without a reason. The movie fully deserves to be called a timeless classic and its story is relevant and fascinating even today, almost half a century after its release. It is an artistic and intriguing presentation of the nature of passion and desire. Guru Dutt was a master of his craft. Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam is excellent in story, writing, execution and acting. The music is sublime, the sets are fantastic, and the movie exemplifies what true cinematographic excellence of those times was. It is shot beautifully, with a background score that enlightens the film's melancholic mood. The film is quiet, focused and balanced, and has a very subtle feel to it thanks to all these aspects. Abrar Alvi's direction is superb - he captures the atmosphere of those times with great skill, his script is marvelous, and many of his rich dialogues remain memorable even today and are often cited by lovers of Hindi cinema.

All said and done, Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam wouldn't have been what it is if not for the transcendent performance of the divine Meena Kumari. Her mesmerising beauty, grace and screen presence cannot be described in words, but to put it simply, when she was on-screen, no one else existed. Her portrayal of the tormented and deeply frustrated Chhoti Bahu is both heartfelt and artistic. Chhoti Bahu's desire to get her estranged husband's affection and become a mother and her attempts to please him by taking to alcohol only to become a fervent alcoholic herself and remain the same neglected wife, are all aptly displayed. Kumari plays the role with great mastery; her appearances in songs, like "Piya Aiso Jiya Mein" in which she dresses for her husband and particularly the seductive "Na Jao Saiyan..." are astonishing; her big, expressive and often tearful eyes, her brilliant dialogue delivery, her emotional outbursts, her breaks into anguished and sarcasm laden laughs, and ultimately her nostalgic monologue towards the end, are unforgettable.

While Kumari dominates the show utterly, one must not forget the great job done by the rest of the cast members. Guru Dutt, playing the role of the innocent Bhootnath, who later becomes Chooti Bahu's confidant and close friend, acted like only an actor acting in his own film could. Rumour had it that he was actually the one who directed the movie, simply because the movie is identified with his own style of filmmaking. This rumour was disproved by people associated with the film, but Guru Dutt, the actor, still played his role exceedingly well probably due to his involvement with the film as its producer. My most favourite scenes of his are those in which we see Bhootnath as a middle-aged architect. There is a kind of yearning and sadness in his eyes which is real and easy to relate to. Waheeda Rehman played Jaba wonderfully and her character's transformation from an arrogant and careless young lady into a suffering and loving woman was natural and convincing. Rehman, as Chhote Sarkar was restrained and effective.

As mentioned, Hemant Kumar's music for the film is great. Shakeel Badayuni wrote fantastic lyrics for the songs, and so every song has a story of its own and comes at the right places fitting the situations. Every song is very much a part of the narration and contributes to the story. Geeta Dutt and Asha Bhosle were the voices of the ladies, and did a great job. Among my favourite scenes in the movie is the one right after the "Na Jao Saiyan..." number in which Chhoti Bahu bursts out at her husband after he criticises her of becoming mad as a result of her heavy drinking, while she turns on him to reproach him for being the only reason because of which she sacrificed her basic values and all just to please him. A frequent quote in the film, that of Chhoti Bahu asserting that she is not like other landowners' wives, being much more devoted and caring, is very memorable, particularly because it's well delivered by the lady. All in all, Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam is a gem of Hindi films. It is an all-time great movie, and much of it because it has an all-time great performance by Meena Kumari.


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