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Saat Hindustani (1969)

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A woman awaiting surgery recalls her life as a revolutionary along with seven other countrymen.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Utpal Dutt ...
Jogender Nath
Jalal Agha ...
Shakaram Shinde
Anwar Ali ...
Ram Bhagat Sharma
Madhu ...
Shabut Shanyal
Anwar Ali Anwar
Shahnaz Vahanvaty ...
Maria (as Shahnaz)
Sukhdev ...
Comrade Azad (as Sukhdeo)
Irshad Ali ...
Surekha ...
Mrs. Ali
Prakash Thapa ...
Tax Inspector
A.K. Hangal ...
Dina Pathak ...
Mrs. J. Nath (as Dina Gandhi)
Anjali Kadam ...
Usha (as Anjali)
Mona Saxena


In post-independent India, Maria has been hospitalized in Goa and is told that she needs to have surgery. She asks the surgeon to wait until her friends join her and then recollects her life as a Satyagrahi with the Goa Liberation Struggle in order to compel the Portuguese to quit. She has telegrams sent out to six of her comrades - namely Bihar-based Anwar Ali Anwar; Maharashtra-based Shakaram Shinde; Tamil Nadu-based Mahadevan; West Bengal-based Shabut Sanyal; Punjab-based Jogender Nath; and Uttar Pradesh-based Ram Bhagat Sharma. She does not know that acrimony - on the lines of religion, caste, and language - has created divisions between not only her group but also amongst all Hindustanis. She then recollects how the six had partnered in order to hoist the Hindustani Tiranga on seven different Police Chowkis and monuments in occupied Goa and had undergone strenuous combat training. While being successful six times in their venture, the entire group ends up in custody, separated, ... Written by rAjOo (

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The love story of a nation





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(RCA Sound Recording)
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Amitabh Bachchan's debut movie. See more »


Aandhi Aaye Ki Toofan Koyee Gam Nahin
Music by J.P. Kaushik
Lyrics by Kaifi Azmi
Performed by Mahendra Kapoor
See more »

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Saat Hindustani: Amitabh Bachchan and beyond!
9 August 2010 | by (India) – See all my reviews

The whole of India would recognize Saat Hindustaani (1969) as the debut film of Amitabh Bachchan. But beyond that hardly anyone would know anything about the movie in terms of its cast, story, setting, etc because most of them (including hardcore Amitabh Bachchan fans) might have never seen this film. Though each and every film of Amitabh Bachchan repeatedly keeps playing on TV channels, I have never come across this film on the small screen ever. So had to rent a VCD which was marred by bad print and sound quality. However it conveyed the spirit of the film.

This is the one and only film of Amitabh Bachchan in Black and White. From more than 30+ films that Khwaja Ahmed Abbas directed in his career, this is the only one that got him popularity and remains tagged with his name till date. Its common knowledge how classic Westerners like 'The Magnificent Seven' or the Japanese film 'Seven Samurai' were inspirations behind Amitabh Bachchan starrer Sholay. However even 'Saat Hindustani' (Seven Indians) had traces of those films in terms of seven diverse individuals coming together to free people from foreign rule. Allegedly Saat Hindustani is loosely derived from Hollywood flick 'For Whom The Bell Tolls'(1943).

Beyond Amitabh Bachchan, the film had a lot to offer. There was an array of assorted actors and each of them, barring Utpal Dutt, were almost first timers. Utpal Dutt was the only established actor in the star cast. Saat Hindustani was a social war drama with lot of action and adventure stuffed in. It had a strong social message to convey – about national integration in a country separated by religion, caste, language and social status.

The story is about a Goan girl Maria (Shenaaz) who, on her death bed, sends postal invitations to all her revolutionary colleagues who once came together to free Goa from the Portugal rule. All of Maria's six teammates are introduced in present times. Ex-army-man Joginder Nath (Utpal Dutt) is unhappy with the partition of Punjab state. The fields that he ploughed in Punjab in morning ended up being in Haryana in the evening following the divide. Tamalian Mahadevan (Irshad Ali) who once endorsed the national language Hindi in Madras, now hates the language with changing times. He is also a harijan – meaning a person from the lower caste. Anwar Ali (Amitabh Bachchan) is an Urdu poet who believes that Hindi is too complicated. His house is burnt down as a result of the Hindi-Urdu feud. Ram Bhagat Sharma (Anwar Ali) propagates through his newspaper that anyone who doesn't support Hindi in the North Eastern (Hindi-dominated) belt will face dire consequences. Sakharam Shinde (Jalal Agha), a wandering theatre artist, hails from Maharashta where several boundary districts like Belgaum and Bidar are fighting to be integrated with the Maharashta state. (Since then till present day, Belgaum city on the Maharashtra-Karnataka boundary is still making headlines over which state it should integrate with – which makes one wonder how the issues in India have continued for decades and are still pertinent). Lastly Shabut Sanyal (Madhu) comes from Bengal.

And to think of it, all these six individuals who presently have caste, creed or racial differences, once came together to fight the Portuguese and free Goa from their rule. Goa, then, had similar conflicts like Kashmir has today. Locals from Goa had a feeling that though it was a part of India, the Indian government didn't consider them equal and fight for their rights or freedom. That's when these Seven Indians (Saat Hindustani), including Maria come together, undergo physical training and get set on a mission to host seven flags at seven prominent police stations or monuments in Goa.

The beauty of director K.A.Abbas' casting was that he made each actor play a character against his real-life region or religion. So the Bengali Utpal Dutt played a Punjabi in the film, while Malayalee actor Madhu played a Bengali character. Muslim actors Irshad Ali and Jalal Agha played South Indian and Maharashtrian characters convincingly and so did Muslim actress Shenaaz, compellingly pulling off a Christian character. Son of Hindu poet Amitabh Bachchan played a Muslim shayar, while Muslim actor Anwar Ali played a staunch Hindu (Bachchan also took his character name from Anwar Ali). Through such a casting, the director gave a subtle message on tolerance for other communities with national integration being the bigger picture.

The performances, not just by Amitabh Bachchan, but even other actors like Utpal Dutt and Jalal Agha were brilliant. Shenaaz reminds of Zeenat Aman in several frames. Madhu was low on screen presence and took a backseat. Amitabh Bachchan who went on to become the biggest superstar of Hindi cinema, which he is even today, won a National Award in this debut film of his. Saat Hindustani also won the Best Film (K.A.Abbas) and Best Lyrics (Kaifi Azmi) Award for National Integration.

The pace gets slow at times but otherwise, Saat Hindustani is an entertaining action-adventure-social-war drama. Watch it even today and you won't be disappointed. Because not much has changed in the country since then!

  • Gaurav Malani

4 of 4 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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