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Chhoti Si Baat (1975)

| Comedy, Romance
Arun (Amol Palekar) is a shy accountant in Bombay who dreams of romancing Prabha (Vidya Sinha), but never gets past following her around without managing to actually speak up. While Arun ... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Ashok Kumar ...
Col. Julius Nagendranath Wilfred Singh
Vidya Sinha ...
Prabha Narayan
Amol Palekar ...
Arun Pradeep
...
Nagesh Shastri
Nandita Thakur ...
Deepa
Rajan Haksar
Ashim Kumar
Devendra Khandelwal ...
(as Devendra)
Baba Majgoakar
Noni Ganguly
C.S. Dubey ...
Gurnaam (Garage owner)
Amol Sen
R.S. Chopra
Sudarshan Sahni
Milon Mukerji
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Storyline

Arun (Amol Palekar) is a shy accountant in Bombay who dreams of romancing Prabha (Vidya Sinha), but never gets past following her around without managing to actually speak up. While Arun twiddles his thumbs, suave Nagesh (Asrani) steps into the picture and turns on the heat, prompting Arun to take "love coaching" from "romance specialist" Julius Nagendranath (Ashok Kumar) to win Prabha back. One of the funniest Hindi films of the 70s - is a nostalgic favourite for its quirky take on pre-hypercongestion Bombay. The film established Amol Palekar as having an uncommon comic talent for playing mousy characters, a role he would repeat several times in his career. Written by Joyojeet Pal

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Comedy | Romance

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A Little Affair  »

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Trivia

The film established Amol Palekar as having an uncommon comic talent for playing mousy characters, a role he would go on to repeat several times in his career. See more »

Connections

References Zameer (1975) See more »

Soundtracks

na jaane kyon hota hai yeh zindagi ke saath
Sung by Lata Mangeshkar
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User Reviews

 
A Mini Masterpiece
7 May 2007 | by (India) – See all my reviews

What we have here is a slice of the life narrative which is dominated by an exciting battle of wits between two suitors over a girl. Amol Palekar plays Arun, a diffident simpleton who likes a girl from a neighboring office but isn't able to profess his adoration for his object of affection and attention. They meet in the most mundane circumstances- on the bus while on the way to their respective offices. On some days, he follows her and on some days, she notices. Is she interested in him? Is she playing the mind games? How can one be certain? The problem of the girl's inexplicable behavior (in Arun's mind) is further increased by the entry of a third factor- a glib talking, over smart and overbearing character of Asrani who happens to be a colleague of Prabha and is therefore, ostensibly at an advantage. And yes, he is a keen enthusiast in two sports- Chess and Table Tennis, whereas Arun sucks at both those disciplines. Oh, and Asrani also has a lime green Lambretta which Arun is envious of.

In the first act itself, there ensues a battle of wits between Arun and Asrani. While Arun's motives in winning over Prabha are pretty unambiguous, Asrani's motivations are not that apparent to the audience. We are left guessing whether he is really trying to woo Prabha or is he just a compulsive flirt with a big mouth and terrible etiquettes? But those very vices seem to be helping him in the beginning. He emerges as a roadblock in Arun's journey of love and in a memorable dream sequence, several of which are used very innovatively throughout the film, Arun imagines himself murdering him and then facing the jury proudly after his belligerent deed. However, that's just one of Arun's many daydreams. In reality, he is unable to express his feelings of love for Prabha. Whener she's around, he gets tongue tied. A Beatles Song most accurately describes his psychology at that point of time

"I want to tell you. My head is filled with things to say. When you're here, all those words they seem to slip away"

That Harrison Song from 1967's legendary 'Revolver' album, perfectly captures Arun's inner torment and turmoil in the first half of the film. Disillusioned and disappointed with his repeated failures in the war of love, he turns to astrology and divine intervention but no avail God helps those who help themselves. Therefore, he decides to seek help and finds that in the form of Col. JNW Singh of Khandala, a confident, worldly wise, old man who is said to have the best advise for everyone who come to seek it and the advise is available on various topics- love, career, tax planning, etc. He takes a special interest in Arun's case, the reason for which is revealed later.

Under Col. Singh's tutelage, Arun learns the art of courtship. Through a complex training process comprising body language courses, table etiquettes, chess and table tennis apart from of course the mandatory knowledge about the birds and the bees and the wondrous art of deciphering the intentions of womankind by the wave of her hand, the curled smile on her lips, the placement of her feet, the position of her face and purse, the movements of her fingers, the contact of her eyes, her laughter, her touch, the color of her mascara, the size of her earrings, the strength of her handshake, the tone of her voice, etc. etc.

After all this, Arun returns back to Mumbai a changed man. He is accompanied by his mentor, Col. Singh, who wants to check on his progress. The new Arun has a leap in his stride, a mild confidence about his countenance and knowledge of his new craft. Slowly, he starts turning the tables on Asrani and uses his own tricks against Asrani himself much to the secret glee of Prabha, who by this time, seems to have developed an affection of her own in Arun. They enjoy spending time together. Then, one day he calls her to his place. What are his intentions? Does he really love her or can it be that….? No, Prabha decides to go and find out for herself the truth about Arun's character. What happens in the end? Does Arun trick Prabha or do we get a happy ending? And where does Asrani fit into the scheme of things? The situations are so believable and the characters are so relatable that this film is an instant favorite of mine. The technique used is brilliant. The use of voice overs, flash backs and flash forwards are innovatively used. And the songs…they are mind blowing…most rendered soulfully by Yesudas- 'Jaaneman- Jaaneman', ' Yeh Din' and the beautiful and haunting, 'Na Jaane Kyun'. Amol Palekar excels in a role tailor made for him. Asrani gives an effortless performance. Vidya Sinha is adequate. Ashok Kumar is brilliant in his depiction of one of the most memorable characters- Julius Nagendranath Wilfred Singh.

A thoroughly entertaining film and one that can be watched again and again, CSB is my favourite Basu Chatterjee film, followed closely by Rajanigandha- which is worthy of being hailed a classic too and is on certain levels, even more masterful than Choti Si Baat as Rajanigandha looks at the matters of love through the eyes of a woman and touches a point even deeper in our psychology.


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When are we ever going to see this kind of simple movies again ? kaustubh81
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