Reviews

2 ReviewsOrdered By: Date
Sargam (1979)
5/10
Hokum Schmokum
12 January 2003
The music is the main reason why I watched this film. Whenever Laxmikant-Pyarelal composed music, they always took careful consideration of the plot outline of the film. That may not seem like a big deal but it is when there are few music directors in Bollywood who dont have even the faintest idea of what the film that they are producing music for is about. As Rishi Kapoor plays a dafli-wala (drum-beater) in the movie, the music includes a lot of drum sounds. And as Jaya Pradha plays a mute girl who adores traditional Indian dancing, there are classical elements in the music too. Mohammed Rafi and Lata Mangeshkar excel in the songs they sing. My particular faves are "Mujhe mat roko mujhe gaane do (Do not stop me, Let me sing)", "Ham to chale pardes, hum to pardesi hogaye (We have become foreigners)", and "Dafliwale dafli baja! Main naachoon tu nachaa (Beat the drum and make me dance)".

The plot is pure hokum schmokum. Almost everything is thrown into the plot- evil stepmothers, illnesses, deaths, poverty, unrequited love etc. This is Jaya Pradha's Bollywood debut and she does not utter a single word. Just as well because her Hindi accent probably would have been a bit rough at this early stage in her career (she is originally from the South). In the 1970's and 80's, the Hindi film industry often made films where a disabled character would by some form of miracle be cured by the end of the plot (Amar Akbar Anthony and a more recent example being Koyla). But it's nice to see that Jaya's character remains mute in the happy ending. It enhances the director's message that she is not really disabled, after all, she is capable of expressing herself.

A very ordinary film this but made watchable by the melodious music and the lead pair (Jaya and Rishi Kapoor).
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1/10
Severe Indigestion!
3 May 2001
The film is severely awful and is demeaning to rape victims. On the surface, it may be a daring film about rape but if you dig beneath the surface, what lies is a not-so-positive message about rape. Aishwarya the rape victim is shown to be a helpless victim who cannot cope all because she is a WOMAN. She needs a MAN to help her. When the society makes jibes about her and throws comments at her, she does not stand up for herself. It is all left to Anil Kapoor to do all the talking while Aishwarya does all the crying.

The director (Satish Kaushik) went down the wrong path by portraying a rape victim as weak and submissive. What would have been more effective is portraying a strong woman who rebels against her enemies in a courageous way. The director is famous for being chauvinistic. His films are usually full of weak women but he tries to hide them in controversial roles. He needs to learn that just because the role is controversial, it does not mean that the character herself is strong.

The most degrading scene in the film is when Aishwarya 'cleans' herself after just being raped. She does it to please her father who thinks that she is now dirty. Though it is commendable that Shah shows the stigma against rape victims in such a stark light, what he does not show us is whether Ash's father was wrong for making his daughter do such a thing. Thus we are left with a confusing message about rape.

The comedy too is not needed in a strong subject film like this. Even more so, the comedy is simply not funny. Ash is wooden in her role while Anil Kapoor does nothing but shout. The music is mediocre except for the title track, which is beautifully picturised (the only bright point of this film). Sonali Bendre's role is disappointing and pointless. Overall, what could have been a great movie to remember ends up being an awful mish-mash that will give some viewers severe indigestion.
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