Bollywood Appreciation Class: Lesson 4 — Mera Saaya and Wo Kaun Thi

Ayyyy I’m back. Ignore the screaming in the background and the burning paper that keeps flying in your face. Those are my exam answer sheets, and I’d prefer it for nobody to mention them ever again. EVER.

Today will be a double feature, with two movies instead of one, which is SIX hours of pain instead of three. Pray for me, ladies and gents, I need it desperately.

Well, anyway. As we move past the fact that I did exactly what I said I would, which is disappear for a while with zero updates (#blameexamsnotme), I bring to you Bollywood Appreciation Class. Again. I swear to God. I will never end this series.

The movie: Mera Saaya, starring Sadhana and Sunil Dutt.

Right. Sunil Dutt is Thakur Rakesh Singh, a wealthy descendant of the royalty, and a famous lawyer. He goes abroad for his higher studies, and finds out that his wife is sick after a year. He rushes back home, and the movie opens with him running inside the house to embrace his wife, when she passes away in his arms. Alright, maybe not running. More like awkwardly jogging, like the unfit policemen from all other Bollywood films.

But after that, Rakesh is informed by the police that a bandit, who is a lookalike of his wife, was just apprehended recently. The police suspect foul play, but Rakesh is hell-bent on the fact that his wife passed away. I mean, he saw it with his own two eyes, didn’t he? He did not. I’m telling you. He did not.

The apprehended woman claims that she is the true wife of Thakur Rakesh, Geeta. He refuses to believe it, as he (think not, fool) thinks that his wife has died. The matter is taken to court, where the impostor (not) answers intimate questions about Rakesh very accurately, which makes everyone very suspicious. In a Bollywood-turn of events, Rakesh remembers he diary that was very important to Geeta. He inquires about it, to find that the impostor (NOT) does not have it, which cements in his mind that she is not his wife. He says that the diary would have been Geeta’s most well kept possession, and since she doesn’t know where it is, she couldn’t possibly be his wife. 1960s logic. You can’t lose a book. I wouldn’t have survived.

After this, Geeta is carted off to the mental asylum because she was declared mentally unstable. She escapes from the said asylum, and reaches Rakesh’s house, in an attempt to explain to him what has happened. Her mother had been a dacoit, and had a pair of twins. Geeta’s twin sister, Nisha, was a dacoit as well, and Geeta had hidden all of this and married Rakesh. A few nights before Rakesh came into town, Nisha had visited Geeta, and she was terribly sick. Geeta hid Nisha in her bed, and went out to get medicines, when she was kidnapped by Prem Chopra and his group of bandits, because they mistook her for Nisha. Prem Chopra arrives at the scene, and gets (accidentally) shot by police, who also conveniently arrived at the scene. With his dying breath, he informs Rakesh that Geeta is in fact the person he is currently with. They reconcile, and the movie ends with the typical fairytale twist, and they stay married happily ever after.

WHAT.

You marry and let into your home the woman you have spent the past few weeks tormenting in court, because you didn’t believe she was your wife. And now, on the word of a bandit, you have agreed to what she has been telling you over those past few weeks? This logic continues to blow my pea-sized 13-year old mind, and I am absolutely unable to wrap my head around the thinking of 1960s Bollywood.

The movie in itself was made well enough, with (to its merit) a decent amount of suspense and twists. A decent script (nah) and good acting (NAH) made it a very well made spectacle (a spectacle for sure, not particularly good).

So that’s it for Mera Saaya. Now, as I said, it is a double feature, hence we are reviewing another movie today.

Well, it may as well be the same movie, because it entails a nearly same cast, the same sort of direction, AND BASICALLY THE SAME STAR CAST. We are talking about Wo Kaun Thi, another film with Sadhana in a double role, and Prem Chopra in a more maddening (literally) part.

The protagonist is Manoj Kumar, who has recently inherited a large sum of wealth, and the will has a condition that he must be completely sane. Can you see the number of red flags? We would have been trampled by bulls till now. We see Prem Chopra introduced as his cousin, and then a lot of things happen. Way too many. This includes the marriage of Dr. Anand (Manoj Kumar) and Sadhana Twin 1 (Sadhana, LOL), and Manoj Kumar being haunted by visions of his newlywed wife in places she wasn’t, and fearing he’d gone mad. The red flags seem more obvious now.

Edit: Hi, future Agastya. I’ve been writing this article for well over a month, and now I’m really tired of staring at the Wikipedia page for these two movies, and I’m pretty sure you’re tired of this too. So I’ll speed it up a bit.

SPOILER TIME: Sadhana had a secret twin (again) who Prem Chopra met and hatched a plan with the secret twin. The twin would turn up and portray herself as Anand’s wife, psyching him out and hence, putting into question his mental stability. Prem Chopra, wanting to inherit Anand’s money, thought of this plan and put it into action. He was caught nonetheless, due to Bollywood plot armour not allowing anything to happen to the hero. Of course not. Who would think of such a thing? *glares at every novel writer ever*

I have nothing left to say, honestly. The similarity of the plots is astounding, and hence, so is my review. Torturous, painful, tiring, etc. are some words that come to mind. But you know.

WOW that’s 1033 words. Jesus Christ. That has to be the longest article for a long time. And I really hope you didn’t fall asleep halfway, and that you enjoyed! Well, that’s goodbye for now, and I PROMISE not to disappear, and to write again. See ya!

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