Monday, February 15, 2010

Saudagar (1973) - starring Amitabh Bachchan and Nutan - about human relations and selfish nature

Saudagar released in the 1973 is a poignant tale of human failings, especially those of greed and unfaithfulness. It starred the unlikely combination of a very young Amitabh BAchchan and a much older Nutan. It also introduced a new face to Indian cinema, that of Padma Khanna who later on went to do many negative roles. It was one of Nutan’s last leading roles.

Moti (Amitabh Bachchan) is a ‘gur’ (jaggery) trader who used to trade the seasonal Khajur (date nectar) gur. He has a flourishing trade and people from nearby and even far off villages flock to his humble stall. His business associate in this venture is Majubhi (Nutan) a widow who does the actual job of preparing the Gur while Moti scaled the long date trees to retrieve the nectar. One day on a visit to a nearby village he comes upon Phoolbanu (Padma Khanna) and is besotted by her beauty. He asks her father for her hand in marriage. Phoolbanu’s father asks for a certain amount as “Haqmehr” (bride price). However Moti does not have the requisite amount.

Moti goes out on a limb to save money for his marriage. He gets a diabolical idea and decides to marry Majubhi so that he does not have to pay her money to prepare gur, thus helping him save more of his income. Unaware of Moti’s real intentions a surprised Majubhi agrees to the proposal. The two get married and Majubhi starts preparing Gur for Moti as his wife. The Gur made by her is a huge hit and Moti is able to make a substantial profit after the end of the season. As soon as he has enough money for the Mehr he divorces a surprised and bewildered Majubhi. Soon thereafter he marries Phoolbanu. The two settle down to domestic bliss till such time that the Gur season arrives and then their heaven falls apart.

Moti knows no other trade than collecting date nectar and Phoolbanu is the spoilt child of her father who does not know how to prepare Gur. The Gur prepared by her fail to pass muster and soon Moti starts losing customers. His business, his reputation, his dreams-all of it starts going downhill. An angry and poor Moti is not what Phoolbanu wants and she leaves. Majubhi by this time has gotten married to a widower by the name of Majhi who is a fish trader. The end of the season finds a defeated and crestfallen Moti approaching Majubhi to make Gur for him. At first Majubhi refuses, still hurt by the way Moti used her and then dropped her. However her husband, Majhi convinces her to prepare Gur for Moti one last time. Does she agree? And what happens to Moti-has he learnt his lesson? The climax of the film answers all these questions.


Directed by: Sudhendu Roy
Writing credits:
Narendranath Mitra story
Sudhendu Roy screenplay
P.L. Santoshi dialogue

Starring: Amitabh Bachchan, Nutan, Padma Khanna, Murad, Leela Mishra, Dev Kishan, Jugnu, V. Gopal, C.S. Dubey

Produced by
Ajit Kumar Barjatya .... associate producer
Kamal Kumar Barjatya associate producer
Rajkumar Barjatya .... associate producer
Tarachand Barjatya .... producer

Original Music by: Ravindra Jain
Cinematography by Dilip Ranjan Mukhopadhyay
Film Editing by Mukhtar Ahmed
Art Direction by Sudhendu Roy

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