Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Shameful Classics Week: Seeta aur Raadha, sab kuch aadha aadha!

This is by far one of my favorite movies of all-time, and also probably one of the worst I've ever seen. It is total classic Rajshri Pictures circa 1970s with second-rate stars like Reeta Bhadhuri, Arun Govil (the future face of Ramanand Sagar's Ramayana), and Abha Dhulia, aided by the likes of Jagdeep. This is total 70s nonsense, and I love it to bits and pieces. I could watch this movie over and over and never get tired of it. And there is absolutely no legitimate reason to love it (aside from the music by Ravindra Jain).

NO ONE has ever seen this movie. Anytime I mention it, people ask "Oh you mean Seeta aur Geeta?"


I mean Raadha aur Seeta - the touching tale of two best friends, one feisty and wealthy, one simple and sweet. "Seeta aur Raadha - sab kuch aadha aadha" is an actual line from the movie - "Seeta and Raadha, everything half-half" ... meaning these girls share everything equally! What in the world could ever come between best friends like this?

Aww yeah. Raavan ain't got nuthin on me, man.

The credits show us the two girls spending all their time together, Raadha often resplendent in horrible 70s western-style clothes, Seeta always dressed in plain saris. At one point they meet up at the park and spin around in a circle, because that's what best friends do when they meet, don't you know?

Sorry about the titles ...

*I'm totally not even going to bother with spoilers here, because there's no chance in the world anyone is ever going to watch this movie.*

We begin our story at Raadha's hotel lobby home, where she is descending the steps like an Indian Cinderella (in a pink satin blouse w/ huge puffy sleeves vs. a ballgown).

Raadha apparently lives alone in this palace with her father (who may or may not be a grown up Dilton Doiley from Archie Comics) and her Bua (father's sister) who hovers around like Casper the Friendly Ghost.

As you can see, Raadha is very modern. How interesting it is then that her best friend would be the seedhi-saadhi Seeta, dressed in a simple sari, coming from a modest home, pausing to do a prayer before the sacred Tulsi plant before heading off to college. Isn't she sweet?

Clearly because she's such a freakin' hottie, she gets accosted by this amazing character who wants to give her a lift.

Who could ever turn this guy down? He's such a winner! Anyway, thankfully it's Raadha to the rescue! She pulls up and asks Seeta what the dude said to her. Seeta tries to say that it was nothing, but Raadha weasels the story out of her. Yay! It's time for PissedOff!Raadha to SHOW Mr. Hair that no one messes with her Seeta. She charges after him in her faboo red convertible, forces him to stop and then publicly thrashes him, saying that if he likes to give rides so much then she can give him a ride to the police station. After the guy apologizes to Seeta, she lets him go. Seeta asks if she would have really taken him to the police station, and Raadha replies that if anyone messes with her best friend, she'll take them beyond the police station, she'll take them straight to "Uparwale" i.e. God. Dang. That's friendship. (Insert theme music from Mustafa Mustafa Don't Worry Mustafa)

Raadha and Seeta arrive at college as their teacher is taking attendance (this is one of those scenes my sisters and I quote incessantly. I don't know why, but we can't stop going, "PRAMILA SOOD? (yes, miss!) RITA FERNANDES? (present, miss) RAADHA SAXENA?" "YES MISS!") -- because of the Loafer who dared to offer Seeta a ride, the girls are late. The teacher tries to ask them why, and each of them claims that it was their fault and to please excuse the other one. Awww, aren't they just cho chweet?

Ok, this is going to be annoying to the reader because there's so many fantastic and totally useless quotes in this movie. The lecture they attend that morning is about Tulsidas's Aadarsh Pati Ram i.e. the "ideal nature" of Ram as a husband. Raadha argues with Seeta after class that Ram was an ideal son, brother, king but NOT husband, for he let Seeta, who suffered 14 years of exile with him in the forest, be tried by fire for the time she spent as a captive of Ravana. As she gets all fired up, she says "Agar mein Seeta hoti thi," (If *I* were Seeta) and Seeta cuts her off, saying "Isi liye tu Seeta nahin, Raadha hai!" (that's why you're not Seeta, you're Raadha!) - har har har.

I have to mention that my sisters and I were so nuts about this movie, even the throwaway lines are ones that we still repeat to each other, like right after the Adarsh Ram scene, one of Raadha's friends says "Chalo Raadha, aaj game khelenge" (Come on Raadha, let's play a game today) and Raadha replies, "Nahin, aaj nahin, phir kabhi." (Not today, another time). There is absolutely NOTHING notable about this exchange, yet all these years later, my sisters and I still quote this at each other. The big question is WHAT GAME??? Badminton? Oh don't worry, that's a-coming.

Raadha heads over to Seeta's after school for some of Seeta's widowed mummy's fabulous chai in their fabulous wood-paneled sitting room.

Raadha tells Seeta's mom not to worry because she will be the one to find Seeta's Ram for her. Famous last words, Raadha. Dun dun duuuuuuuunnnnn. They also deliver the awesomely cheesy "Seeta aur Raadha, sab kuch aadha aadha" line in this scene, when Raadha give half of her sweet to Seeta.

So anyway, Raadha talking about her finding Seeta's Ram for her leads us into meeting our fabulous hero, Shekhar! Shekhar is the son of a wealthy business owner, as evidenced by him driving up to his home in a fancy convertible. He stops to tell one of the family servants all about his badminton game, and proceeds to swat him with the racket and say another one of our favorite quotes: "Theek hai Kaka, mein ABHI (swat) aaya" (Ok Kaka, I'll be right back!). We didn't know whether to be pleased for Kaka that he had just been knighted with the racket, or upset for him that he was just swatted like a fly. (I spent a good 20 mins trying to get a screencap of this swat and gave up).


So we get the story that Shekhar is Richie Rich, and he wants to go to the forest in exile for 14 years make it in life on his own, working hard and not using his wealth and family connections. His dad is all, "Fine kid, more money for me!" and the mom is all "Just bring me a damn daughter-in-law, I'm so sick of washing your chuddis."

So off Shekhar goes to interview out of town and he's planning to stay with his good buddy Bhagwan, played by Jagdeep. Now this dude is a CHARACTER. He's obsessed with shatranj, or chess, and chooses to play against himself, complete with different voices for each side.

So of course this loony is Seeta's neighbor. And he's married to a supposed South-Indian (worst South Indian accent ever) who constantly makes dosa and says "Aiyayo". This was of course, very amusing to us Tamil Bombayites. So Bhagwan's Aiyayo, as he affectionately refers to her, tells him that he's received a letter from his friend Shekhar who is coming to town and hopes to crash with them. Way to impose, Shekhar.

So Shekhar arrives, and in an amusing mix-up, Bhagwan has gone to the station to pick him up at the same time. So guess who is over at Bhagwan's house helping his wife cook and just HAPPENS to answer the door? Of course, it's our awkwardly lovely Seeta.

She's so shy

After he realizes she is not Bhagwan's wife, he falls in lowwe with her immediately. She is everything he thinks his Mummy wants in a daughter-in-law! So in plot exposition convo w/ Bhagwan, Shekhar reveals that he has an interview for a position with his dad's own company, but doesn't want to tell anyone that he is the owner's son.

Before leaving for his interview, he of course runs into Miss Perfect Seeta praying to the Tulsi plant, because she's so damn perfect (I'm starting to get irritated. Talk about a Mary Sue!).

So Shekhar gets to the office for his interview and bumps into the Boss's daughter .... guess who??

She ends up acting like a total brat when they bump into each other, and proceeds to pretend that she's someone important when he comes in to interview. She goes through his file, commenting on all his awards with the very sassy line, "Gold Medalist ... Gold Medalist ... Gold ... to aap to Mr. Gold Medalist hai?" BURN. He totally gets her back though, by saying that to sit in her father's seat she didn't need any degrees or hard-work. BUUUURN. Luckily Mr. Saxena comes in at that moment and sends Shekhar off with the General Manager to get started. Raadha's all puffed up with indignant fury, which of course tells us that LOWWE is not far behind.

Back at home Shekhar is sharing sweets with Bhagwan & Aiyayo because of his fancy new job, and goes to give some to the neighbors too. He finds Seeta in the garden writing the crappiest emo poetry ever, "Phoolon ka jeevan thoda hai, par is ka unko khed nahin." They have a little shy love fest in the garden, where he completes her poetry and tries to give her a rose, and when she's too shy to take it, he asks her if she doesn't like flowers? And she delivers the following line in a totally dry, goofy voice, "Koun hai aisa jise phoolon se, geeton se, panchiyon se pyar na ho?" (Who is there that doesn't love flowers, songs and doves?) -- Me Seeta. That stuff is for lo-o-o-o-sers.

So then we get our first song, which is very memorable to me because I used to think it was about a Monkey taking a Bath.

Someone please explain to me why she is watering the plants in the rain? What a goofball. Also, I think in addition to the no wet Govinda rule, there should be a NO WET ARUN GOVIL RULE. Please.

So Raadha & Shekhar run into each other again because of his working for her father (love the Autorickshaw driver that demands "Char Rupey Aashey Payshey" - WTH?) and again he very kindly and respectfully insults her. And then Shekhar & Seeta's dorky romance in the front yard around the Tulsi plant continues.

I'm not sure if it's possible to have LESS chemistry.

So the Scooby Gang goes shopping and while Bhagwan starts a hilarious game of chess with a storekeeper, Seeta admires a gorgeous pink saree, which Shekhar notes in his Harriet the Spy notebook. Of course he decides to buy it for her, because he LOWWES her y'all.

Raadha runs into Shekhar again, at the country club, and sort of barks at him to play badminton with her. He of course beats her, which normally I'd be annoyed at the guy beating the girl thing, but she's such a brat in this that you actually enjoy her defeat.

Oh Shekhar, you are so BA. You can play badminton! Raadha certainly thinks so, because in the process of being pwned, she falls for him! Soon after, Shekhar is heading home after picking up Seeta's sari and Raadha drives by in her red roadster and offers him a ride. Unfortunately the sari package falls down in the car during the ride, and he gets all of his items except for the sari when leaving. Oh noooooeeees!

During the ride Shekhar starts waxing poetic about how he didn't expect to meet someone "speshul" in a new city so quickly, and Raadha assumes he's talking about her, so she's all in lowwwe. She goes home and runs up to stare at herself in the mirror, because that's what one does when one is in love (although if you watch the 1993 travesty Sahibaan, you will learn that you clean your house in the middle of the night when you are in love). Note: Raadha's hair has spontaneously grown to waist-length because of her LOWWE.

So of course after Radha gets home one of her house-elves finds the package in the car and gives it to her. She opens it up and finds the most EPIC LOVE NOTE OF ALL TIME.

 I'm surprised he didn't dot his i's with hearts like Ken from Toy Story 3.

Shekhar calls to find his missing package (heh heh, you see what I did tharrr?), and Raadha starts saying how nice his choice is. Oops. Shekhar starts to tell her that it's a mistake, but gets called away by work stuff. Oh cruel fate.

So Shekhar buys Seeta another sari, and guess what happens next?

Irony!!! So they reveal to each other that the sari was a "gift of love" and are indignant with each other for not telling them sooner. For some reason they decide not to wear the gorgeous matching saris for their "college program" that evening, and wear these total 70s saris instead.

The clever eye will note that the psychadelic background during their performance appears to be the SAME one in Dharmendra's dream bedroom in the title song from Dream Girl!!! Will wonders never cease?

So both girls try to meet up with Shekhar after the show, but alas, he is called away by work! Seeta's all pissed and uses the hanging up laundry in his face move to show his displeasure, because she's passive-agressive you see. Not so perfect anymore! (the real joy in this scene is seeing how the "terrace background with the sky" is actually painted on to a wall, as evidenced by a visible corner!):

A few more missed opportunities for the friends to figure out what's going on happen, and I'm starting to sing The Boy is Mine in my head. Shekhar's dad comes to visit and he and Raadha's dad are big-time buddies. Raadha's dad Dilton Doiley brings Shekhar's dad home, and Raadha gets all excited being domestic for show:

I've tried this tactic, it doesn't work.

I must mention that Raadha's love does wonders for her hair follicles, because now her hair is down to her butt.

So it's Raadha's birthday now, and she's having her Super Sweet 16 birthday party and tells Seeta that "HE" is coming. Flash to the party, and Seeta's not there (some best friend! Harrumph.) but Shekhar arrives with a red rose bouquet (nice Shekhar, with the mixed signals). Raadha goes to give him one, and he tries to protest, so she asks him "Don't you like flowers?" and he flashes back to Seeta saying "Koun hai aisa jise phoolon se, geeton se, panchiyon se pyar na ho?" and then he's in some zombie dream state and channels Yesudas to sing the only song from this movie that can really be considered a hit:

It turns out Seeta missed the party because she rushed off to the hospital with Aiyayo, who turns out to be preggers. Ok, that's nice and all Seeta, but um, she is just your neighbor and your mom is there with her. Raadha is your BEST FRIEND WHOSE LOVE YOU ARE ABOUT TO STEAL. She comes late and Raadha tells her all about how he sang the song of emo love to her. Jeez girls, don't you ask the freakin' name of the guy your best friend is in luuurve with? Note: Raadha's lowwwe not only makes her hair grow, it makes her wear saris instead of those goofy frocks she was wearing previously.

So Raadha's family has figured out between the hair and the saris that she's in love, so her dad decides to talk to Shekhar about hooking them up. Oddly, before the talk, Mr. Saxena's in his office admiring a ring in a box. Perhaps he is also dreaming about marrying Shekhar? Anyway, Shekhar has to finally admit to Mr. Saxena that he loves someone else and can't marry Raadha. Mr. Saxena is horrified and goes home all sad and disappointed. When he tells Raadha, she gets MAD.

She goes flying off to Shekhar's office to tell him off for leading her on, and delivers one of my favorite lines EVER: "Kyun Likhata ... with love from Shekhar?"

There are lots of close ups on people's eyes from here on out:

She's SAD and ANGRY. I would be too if someone did that to my eyebrows.

So she goes to Seeta's to share her woes, but Seeta's all "Screw you, my man's coming over! Come worship him with me!"

Seeta thinks it will be so funny if Raadha answers the door when "He" (as they continue to refer to these dudes) comes, so she does and Ravindra Jain starts singing to narrate what's happening.

So Raadha and Shekhar pretend to be meeting for the first time. Seeta insists that Raadha comes out with them, and Raadha being a glutton for punishment, decides to further humiliate herself by going along. We then get the Pathos version of the Man Meet song - which is a lot of Raadha walking around angsting and looking at herself in mirrors.

The best part is when somehow from at least a few feet away she manages to project her tears onto one of the mirrors for this fabulously emo shot:

BTW I love pathos versions of songs. The best one ever was the sad version of Tirchi Topiwale. I seriously thought it was so beautiful. Then my sisters and I started coming up with our own, like "Eena Meena Deeka" with sad violins, and "Mera Naam Tha Chin Chin Choo". Ok I know, we're weird.

Unfortunately the rest of the movie is a lot of angst and song narration, as Raadha asks Shekhar to never tell Seeta that he was the "HE" she was telling her about:

And because Raadha is such a glutton for punishment great friend, she insists that Seeta's baaraat must come to her house, and arranges for fancy decorations and the works. She even makes them a special sign out of her rich girl's Lite Brite set:

So the wedding is all fabulous and fancy, and Raadha stands around a lot looking sad and teary, and I guess you're supposed to feel sorry for her and think what an amazing martyr she is, but I'm just thinking, Girl, He's Just Not That Into You. Get over it.

I really, honestly have no idea why we loved this movie so much. There is absolutely no content here. But I suppose when you are 4 or 5 years old, you can't imagine a tragedy greater than falling in love with the same guy as your nerdy, middle-class best friend and then LOSING him to her. And at that age I used to mistake pounds of make-up for beauty and thought OMG Raadha is so much prettier, why does he like Seeta? See, I didn't realize that good looks (though we are speaking relatively here) are no match for the powers of a submissive, docile, domestic girl in a sari who prays to a Tulsi plant. Men are still chauvinistic jerks that like these kind of girls because it makes them feel manly to have to care for a fragile, sweet girl. Maybe Raadha wouldn't have lost Shekhar if she hadn't let him see her without her butt-length wig. And in the frocks!

But seriously, I don't know if one can have a more shameful favorite movie than this crap from the back of the Rajshri vault. And yet, I could watch it again right now. If for nothing else, then for the pretty pink sari, which after all these years I am still searching for. Let me know if you find it, because I WANT it. I might even write myself a note, "With love from Shekhar."


  1. this is the BEST KIND of shameless classic! LOVE THIS POST :)

  2. Don't know how I ever came to this blog but absolutely LOVED reading your post! My sides were in stitches as I was reading your awesomely accurate description of these (we call them the no name movies) from 70-90 era jewels. LOL!
    Thank you for the entertainment and I will be coming back to read your blog often :)

  3. Thanks for checking it out! This still goes down in history as one of my favorite movies! :-)

  4. Fabulous Blog. Actually movies from that era were having greater impact than that from today's.Its okay,I mean way of dressing and the other stuff (including plot) changes hugely with time, but movies did have their impact that time. Isnt it?

  5. I love old classic and we too sisters give weird comments. And are shooed away for those nasty comments. I really enjoyed the story narrrated by you. Good job girls.

  6. Abha Dhulia acts in various Hindi TV serials as on-screen Mom of various young actors. Thanks for this interesting article :)

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