Chhote Sarkaar (1974)

I must say this was quite an unusual film…unusual for two reasons –

  • Credits listed only Sadhana and Shammi Kapoor followed by these :

I had to rewind to make sure that I hadn’t missed out on Prem Chopra/Pran/Lalita Pawar’s names. Then I paused for a while – wondering how a movie would go on for more than 2.5 hours without any of these people, will Shashikala be able to solely pull it on for that long, what would Helen’s role be? I had so many questions in my mind even before the movie started.

Honestly speaking, I had no clue as to what this movie was about. I had just seen it listed in Shammi’s filmography and had checked for it in imdb but with not much luck. And surprisingly I could never associate it with any song either. As if this curiosity was not enough, I spotted the VCD in a video store, Shammi and Sadhana, both looking so adorable on the cover, it was too much of a temptation to resist.

Chhote Sarkaar begins with Moti Babu (Shammi Kapoor) returning home from Shikaar and there is quite a big group waiting to attend to him.

After wiping away his sweat and offering him his drink, the group strikes a conversation – it’s more of a comparison, in fact, as to what a lifestyle he leads, how great he his, how classy his hobbies are and how rich he is compared to Raja, who’s good for nothing and has acquantaince with ordinary village people, who paints pictures of girls and sells the paintings to earn his livelihood and how obsessed he seems about his latest model, Kasturi (Helen).  How could two people born to a same mother be so different – while Moti is the Shaan of the haveli, Raja is a disgrace to the family! (whoa, that’s even rhyming!!!)

Moti interferes here saying that he doesn’t want to hear anything about Raja. (that’s the Moti Babu look, with his head tilted towards his left throughout the movie).

The scene then shifts to Raja’s room, who’s busy giving a final touch to his painting of Kasturi who’s in exactly the same pose, on the sofa behind him.

Gulabi (Shammi), the housemaid sees Kasturi and rushes off to Seema (Shashikala) to gossip about how shameless it’s of Kasturi to wear such cheap dresses.

Seema goes to Raja’s room. Their past unfolds as they converse – they used to study together in college and she used to be his model once upon a time, actually she was his first model ever.

Obviously, she’s very jealeous of  Kasturi and tells Raja that he should resume making her portraits.

But now that she’s married to his brother, Moti, he tells her that she’s like a mother figure to him (Bhabhi Maa ke barabar hoti hai) and can’t even think of making her paintings and selling them. She begins her tale of how lonely she is.

Moti is usually out and she is all alone, the least he could do was to give her company. She tries to seduce him and he asks her to leave. She takes that as an insult and takes a vow to take revenge. When Moti comes back home that night, she complains to him that Raja tried to rape her and Gulabi nods in support. He’s so angry about the whole thing, he almost kills Raja for it. Even Maa (Sulochna) buys the story and says she’s so ashamed of him.  Raja is then kicked out of the haveli.

He makes up his mind never to paint any woman ever. He goes to this bar in the village with some new paintings to give them over to his agent, Asit (Asit Sen) . Now that Raja has stopped painting her, Kasturi dances in the same bar to earn a living –  Main kesar kasturi .

Asit tells him that he’ll starve to death at this rate, because nobody would be interested in such paintings. It’s the beauty, youth and lust in his painting that sell (that was the exact translation).

Sad and depressed , he goes back home (now that he’s kicked out of the Haveli, he lives in the village). On his way, he sees a girl sleeping on a bench. Just as he’s about to cross her, he notices a snake sliding towards her and pulls her down from the bench. Initially, she misunderstands his intention and accuses him of trying to take advantage of the situation – a lone girl all by herself, in the middle of nowhere. But when she sees the snake herself, she’s very grateful to him for saving her life.

Radhika (Sadhana) has come from some other village and is on her way to the house where her aunt works. But she kind of gets lost and tired that she is after the journey, she falls asleep on the bench. She takes out a slip of paper containing her aunt’s address and gives it to Raja, but in a very filmy way, it starts raining all of a sudden and the address gets washed away.

The state he is in after all that happened, he doesn’t offer her any  help. He walks back home and Radhika follows him. After some persuasion he finally lets her into the house. He first instructs her to change quickly coz she’s totally drenched and he’s scared she might catch cold. Then he goes to get coffee for her from a thermos and by the time he’s back she’s fast asleep on the couch, wrapped in a towel!

She looks so beautiful, innocent and at so much peace in her sleep, that he just can’t stop himself from capturing it onto his canvas. Yes, he makes a painting of her 🙂

When he gets up the following morning, he finds her gone. Any guesses??? Radhika is Gulabi’s neice and she finds her way to the haveli next morning.

She gets the shock of her life when she sees Moti in the haveli and she is totally confused.

Through her uncle Radhika learns about all that had happened earlier between Moti and Raja. As it turns out that Uncle knows all the truth and feels sad that Raja was framed in such a way that even his Maa went against him.

She goes to meet Raja and when she learns that the painting was sold for Rs. 1000, she’s very happy for him and offers to model for him. He tells her about his dream – to earn enough money to start up a school for the village kids. She’s all the more impressed with him and decides to do all that she can to help him achieve his dream. And they both sing and dance to O jhuke jhuke naino wali aaja mere paas.

The bar where Kasturi dances closes after a police raid. Now she’s totally jobless and is finding it hard to survive. Sunder, a local goon tries to woo her but she’s so smitten by Raja that she just gives a damn to other guys. Jaggu, another goon, comes in for help and warns Sunder not to bother her any more.

Sunder, Jaggu, Kasturi

Jaggu tells her that she’s like a sister to him and she need not worry about any thing going forward. He tells her that Raja was enquiring about her. He offers her a lift to take her to Raja. Happily she goes with him, but here comes the twist. Jaggu is Moti’s aide and he takes her to Moti instead. The light in the room is so dim and Moti doesn’t face her, not all that difficult to convince her that it’s Raja. Moti tells her how much he loves her. She’s so delighted about it and everything else just follows.

She goes back home to find Raja waiting for her, and that’s when she realizes that Jaggu cheated on her and she ended up sleeping with Moti! Thank god, she realizes this fact and Raja is spared.

Cutting the long story short, Seema is expecting and the doctor says that there are some complications and she needs to be extra careful. Radhika is appointed to take good care of her. Due to the complications, Seema is admitted into a hospital. One night, finding Radhika alone at home, Moti tries to rape her.

Doctor’s manage to save only Seema, they lose her child. Kasturi, who was also expecting Moti’s child, delivers a baby boy.

Raja, on the other hand, becomes quite a famous painter. Asit and Raja decide to exhibit his work. A painting named “Naari – Tere teen Roop” (Three forms of a Woman)  is the highlight of the exhibition. Seema is quite shocked to see Radhika in all Raja’s paintings. But it gets too much for her to take when she sees the most-talked about painting, which is –

She goes back home and kicks Radhika out of the house and sends her back to her village. Exhibition is a huge success. Raja comes searching for Radhika to share the news and he finds her gone. It doesn’t take him long to figure out what had happened. He feels sorry for her because she was punished for no fault of hers. Just because she was poor and was a servant in the house, she was not in a position to fight for what is right. So he decides to groom her and present her to the society in a different way. With this in mind, off he goes to her village.

He sings this romantic number to her  Tere chehere mein hai jo baat and he brings her back in a new avataar. Radhika becomes Princess Chaand and Seema is called to felicitate her at an event but the makeover is such that Seema fails to recognize her!

While Raja is busy grooming Radhika, Moti goes to the villagers, disguised as Raja and convinces them to vacate their houses so that he can build a hotel in that land. He promises to build a colony for them and since they all look upto Raja, they agree to this proposal.

With all the attention that Radhika gets as Princess Chaand, she breaks her engagement with Raja saying she doesn’t want to ruin her life and future by getting married – Kya roz roz peena

Kasturi pleads with Moti to accept his child.  Raja overhears this conversation and is shocked to find out that Moti is responsible for all that happened to Kasturi. Just as he enters to fight for Kasturi and help her get justice, Moti shoots her dead and she falls into Raja’s arms.

Next, Raja is arrested for murdering Kasturi!  Moti then gets Kasturi’s child kidnapped and throws him off into a lake.

How mean and inhuman can Moti get? Is there any limit to the crimes that he commits? Is there anything good in store for Raja? Will Maa ever learn the truth? Will Moti ever be forgiven for all his misdeeds? What makes Radhika change so much? Will Seema ever confess her conspiracy against Raja? And will the villagers ever learn the truth that it was Moti who rendered them homeless and not Raja?

Coming back to the unusual factors –

  • Shammi playing the bad guy was a real surprise to me! No wonder there was no need for Pran and Prem. And must say that he’s done it pretty well. I wish he had done more roles like this 😉
  • Songs….A Shammi Kapoor film with just 4 songs (out of which 2 were Item numbers each picturised on Helen and Sadhana)!!!!???? Isn’t that an injustice?

I won’t rate it as Shammi’s best work – a typical 70’s masala flick, predictable plot  but entertaining enough to keep one hooked. I can’t still get over the fact that Shammi can be so mean. And must say that he has done the role pretty convincingly – I almost hated him at one point, but his expressions were so hilarious, I just couldn’t help laughing most of the time.

At some places, the characters were too loud and had such exaggerated expressions esp the first few minutes after Sadhana’s entry.

I totally enjoyed watching it, full paisa vasool material. If only Raja’s character wasn’t so bechara, laachaar, majhboor and self-sacrificing, I’m sure I would have liked the movie even better. 

It’s always more fun being the bad guy and Shammi looked like he was actually enjoying doing it. I have always loved Shammi and I love him all the more now! 😀

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19 Responses to “Chhote Sarkaar (1974)”

  1. rhean Says:

    nice and very informative writeup keep it up.

  2. dustedoff Says:

    I’ve heard of this, but have never been able to summon up the courage to see it – Shammi Kapoor (or Sadhana, for that matter) in the 70’s doesn’t appeal to me. He’d ballooned so terribly. 😦 And when you compare them to what they were like in Rajkumar (which also had such absolutely fabulous music!) – then I don’t want to see anything that might shatter my memories of the two of them acting together. But this one sounds very entertaining; I just might give it a try!

    • sunheriyaadein Says:

      Exactly, Shammi Kapoor in the 70’s doesn’t appeal to me either. And I usually try avoiding his movies from the decade.
      But when I picked up this movie, I didn’t know which year it was from 😉
      And I was really curious about the music. Usually Shammi Kapoor’s movies are like watching Chitrahaar/Rangoli when it comes to music department- there’s a song every few minutes (and such amazing ones at that, most of the time).
      It’s definitely entertaining but like I said pretty loud at times and the climax is extremely melo-dramatic and self-sacrificing (like most of the other movies of that era). Shammi in a negative role is the most interesting thing about this film. You can give it a try for that reason alone. But otherwise you can skip it esp. when you have such fond memories of Shammi-Sadhana pairing.

  3. memsaab Says:

    Shammi was great as a smooth-talking bad guy in Mem Sahib with Meena Kumari…he so should have done more double roles! I have this but could never figure out what was going on (no subtitles)—now I might rewatch it since I will have more of a clue! Thanks (I love Shammi ALL THE TIME NO MATTER WHAT!) 🙂

    • sunheriyaadein Says:

      I haven’t seen Mem Sahib…have ordered for it but haven’t got it yet. Shammi is my first love and I’ve always adored him, but I still try to avoid his movies from the 70’s. I prefer movies from 50’s and 60’s to 70’s and I have such fond and lovely memories of “our” beloved Shammi, that I don’t want anything to change that!
      Again, having said that….I bought this movie just coz of him! (I’m contradicting myself na). It’s so hard to aviod someone when you love him so much 😉

  4. harvey Says:

    Never heard of this movie!
    “A Shammi Kapoor film with just 4 songs”
    impossible! I think that the VCD company played censor board here.
    Who is the MD by the way? S-J?
    This must have been at least some years in making! Shammi Kapoor film in 1974 is late. The fashion looks more like that of late 60s!

  5. bollyviewer Says:

    This sounds like a complete soap opera! Please tell me that Moti dies in the end, either still evil or retrieving himself by sacrificing his life for some good cause – I really couldnt bear it if a serial rapist and child-killer was forgiven in the end, to live happily ever after.

  6. sunheriyaadein Says:

    Nah…he doesn’t die! 😀

  7. bollywooddeewana Says:

    “If only Raja’s character wasn’t so bechara, laachaar, majhboor”

    Lol at that statement, what a lovely selection of words

    • sunheriyaadein Says:

      Hee hee….thanks! For a change it was the guy who was suffering here but it was too much of a suffering. And the guy in question being beloved Shammi Kapoor, I was feeling majhboor myself 😉

  8. Nasir Says:

    I don’t remember having seen this one. Thanks for the review.

  9. Sharmi Says:

    Hello,
    Shammi Kapoor and his flamboyance are so overwhelming in the 60s that it’s difficult to take his paled out version in the 70s. His wig in chote sarkar is sad…but great post on his obscure films!!! Lovely!!!

  10. puja Says:

    This is a Shammi film I haven’t acquired, & being one of his biggest fan’s I need to see this no matter how terribl it is! Where did you buy this?, i’d LOVE to see it!

    • sunheriyaadein Says:

      I had bought it in Hyderabad. I wouldnt call it a bad film. It was over the top at times and looked a little out of its time but I still enjoyed watching it. Shammi in double role, just imagine! Though he doesnt look his best here, it’s still Shammi. And seeing him do a negative role was new to me. I saw Memsahib, another movie where he has plays a negative character, much later

  11. raja Says:

    Hey, I didn’t know you had a blog!!! Nice one too – I need to visit it more often, now that we are on the same page. 😉

    I’ve seen this movie – and not too long ago so I remember it very well. The bad Shammi was indeed SO mean – and the good one SO noble and bechaara, that I felt lachaar myself throughout the movie.

    The plot kept getting more and more absurd for me – and when Moti throws the kid in the lake, that was absolutely the last straw for me.

    Like you say, it’s a dated movie – I think it could have been in the works for a few years. We all know Sadhana had her own problems as a result of which some of her movies had delayed releases (Amaanat being the most prominent of them). I think this could have been one too. It has a very late 1960s (Pagla Kahin Ka-times) feel about it.

    And it IS a loud movie – that’s another thing I didn’t like too much about it.

    • sunheriyaadein Says:

      It could have been delayed, like many other movies of hers. Yes, Shammi did totally opposite characters. Moti and Raja..Kameena vs Bechara. Moti, the name itself, always reminds me of the dog in Sachcha Jhoota.

      I love Shammi-Helen as a pair. They look great together! And though, absurd I did enjoy watching this film.
      Two movies of Shammi that I really had to struggle sitting through were Tumse Achha Kaun and Dil Tera Deewana.
      Though this was not great, it wasnt all that bad either. Or may be it’s the theory of relativity. I have seen some terrible movies, that just the normal ones appear pretty good to me 😉

      I love one song in Amanat – Door reh kar na karo baat

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