Saturday, May 7, 2011

Bollystalgia's 1st anniversary post - My favorite movie of all-time, SATTE PE SATTA (1982)

For the 1-year celebration of my venture into BollyBlogging, I thought it was time to make an attempt to review my absolute, unequivocal, all-time favorite movie (in ANY language) ... Satte Pe Satta (1982). I don't even think I will be able to sum up how much I adore this movie, which is why I'm hesitant to blog about it. There's a lot of nostalgia associated with this movie, which is one I watched over and over with my sisters. But in itself, I find the film to still have a certain quality that sets it apart from your average Bollywood fare. Of course, this was a time when original concepts still existed in Bollywood. Recently they announced the decision to remake this film with Sanjay Dutt in the lead role, and I cannot proclaim enough how HEINOUS this idea is. To remake this film is BLASPHEMY. BLASPHEMY I TELL YOU!

Anyhoo ... about Satte Pe Satta ...


Loosely based on the Hollywood musical Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Satte Pe Satta tells the story of Ravi (Amitabh Bachchan) and his six brothers:

Som (Sudhir) - high-blood pressure type, yells a lot
Mangal (Shakti Kapoor) - stutters, seems a bit ... special
Budh (Paintal) - short, goofy, often jokingly called "Buddhu" by Ravi
Guru (Kanwaljit Singh) - giant-sized but boring
Shukhar (Vikram Sahu or Indrajeet - found both names online and don't know which is accurate, but he's a snoozefest anyway so who cares?)
Shani aka Sunny (Sachin Pilgaonkar) - the youngest, cutest, sweetest and most charming/sensitive
The brothers all live on a remote farm and are completely uncivilized -- they detest bathing and eat and behave like the animals they live amongst.

(NOTE: I also don't want to compare it to the Seven Brides for Seven Brothers original, because though it takes the basic premise and many choreographic elements from it, it veers off to become it's own story completely)

(ANOTHER NOTE: If you don't have a strong stomach to handle lots of visuals of paunchy, hairy men in their underwear, you may not want to watch this movie)

Initially the brothers are completely under the dictatorship of their eldest brother Ravi, who calmly sits in a swing and relaxes while his brothers do all of the chores around the house. He also claims the largest portions of their meals and leaves little for his six brothers. All of this changes however, when the brothers, irked by Ravi's preference for their youngest brother Sunny, plan a little prank.

They tell Sunny that Ravi has issued a challenge for all of them, and the winner will be awarded a week's holiday from chores. He'll have nothing to do but lie around and drink milk and eat sweet fruits. He won't have to bathe or change his clothes. This is INCENTIVE, peoples.

All they have to do is tame the unbroken horse that Ravi has corralled on their farm. Sunny is charmed by the idea of a full week of relaxation and all the food he can eat. He falls for their trick and goes off into the corral, only to find that the horse is incredibly wild and strong. The horse attacks and almost stomps the heck out of Sunny, but then Ravi comes running in slow motion, as only Amitabh can do! He leaps over the fence and saves Sunny from the horse!

Afterwards the brothers feel terrible about their prank, especially since Sunny is still apparently unconscious. Ravi lashes out at all of them and threatens to leave the farm with Sunny since they hate their youngest brother so much.

Sunny suddenly pops up and says that he just wanted to see how much Ravi actually cares for them, and claims that beneath his steely exterior, Ravi has a soft heart when it comes to his brothers.

The other brothers also get emotional and claim that Ravi doesn't love them, and Ravi gives them a BIG GROUP HUG because, yes, of course he loves all his brothers. They are one soul in many (unwashed) bodies!

Sometime later, Ravi finds out that his friend Shekhar (Vijayendra Ghatge) is heartbroken over his former girlfriend, Sheila (Sarika). Ravi immediately storms over to the hospital where Sheila works as a nurse. He accosts the first nurse he sees and starts raging at her, saying that Shekhar can't live without her and all he talks about is "Sheila meri zindagi hai, Sheila Sheila Sheila!" (this by the way is ALL I CAN THINK ABOUT whenever anyone talks about "Sheila Ki Jawani" from Tees Maar Khan).

Unfortunately for Ravi, he's not talking to Sheila. The feisty nurse he's chosen to attack is Indu (Hema Malini), who slaps him across the face and walks away. Sheila has overheard the entire episode though, and she tells Ravi that she's changed her mind about Shekhar and asks where to find him.

Ravi's all in a daze though, because Indu's slapped LOOOOWE into his heart. He tries to apologize to her and win her heart by sending her a watermelon, because these guys know squat about wooing. He also tries low-level stalking, but Indu sends her gurkha after him.

He even fakes injuries to get her to come to the farmhouse, which confuses the brothers ... but Ravi tells them that if he gets married that his wife will be like a maid for all of them (EW Ravi. NO). Eventually, Ravi figures out what he has to do ... and WOW, does he clean up well! It only takes one song to sucker her in ...

Sucks to be you Indu. Too bad you thought Ravi only had one younger brother. After their registered marriage (at which the clerk gives Ravi a Nirodh!!! When I was little the elders in my house tried to tell me it was soap. I totally KNEW it wasn't.)

Ravi brings Indu to their farmhouse, where they walk right into a gigantic, messy fight between all the brothers.

Indu is taken aback, but she's a tough cookie. She takes one look at the state of the farmhouse and gets right to work. Okay, even as a little girl I was always a bit disturbed that the GIRL is immediately put in charge of the kitchen and cooking. But ok, I know, it was different times and Indian culture is still primarily patriarchal. It's not okay in my books though, so I inwardly rage a bit when Indu starts cooking and cleaning on her freaking wedding day.

It doesn't go so well when dinner is served though. The boys attack the food as they normally do and Indu is horrified by their animal-like behavior. She freaks out, and the brothers turn to Ravi and say "I thought you said you were bringing a maid home for us?" ... UH OH. Indu is PISSED.

Ravi tries to calm her down but she goes off on him, saying how she quit her job and left the city for him, and this is how he repays her? Ravi tells her how they've all grown up without their parents, so they have never learned social skills or right from wrong. All the brothers eventually go and apologize, using Sunny's sincere and charming power of speech to win Indu over. She ends up forgiving all of them and even Ravi for lying to her, which sort of sucks. Ugh, why am I finding things I don't like about this movie that I LOVE BEYOND WORDS? I hate when that happens.

Let's talk instead about how Hema Malini delivers her absolute worst performance of all time in this scene. Her sobbing and delivery of the lines "Tumne achcha nahin kiya Ravi! Tumne mujhe dhoka diya. Mera dil thoda!" are sooo bad, it's one of my favorite dialogues to mimic. But my god, does she ever look gorgeous delivering them, so who cares!

Soooo ... after everyone is all nicey-nicey again, Indu becomes the new Commander-in-Chief of the house. She steals all of their clothes to wash them, makes the boys bathe, and they plan a picnic. She even wears a khaki uniform and inspects all of them. Last minute, Ravi fakes the stomachache to end all stomachaches so that he and Indu can FINALLY get some farmhouse to themselves (pow-chicka-pow-pow).

Enjoy this hilarious scene where the brothers wake up to find their clothes missing, and Hema Malini comes and forces them to come out and bathe. Love the music and the various items the guys use to hide their chaddis:

The boys go off to the beach for their picnic, where they encounter ...

GIRLS! Seven girls to be exact. No you read that right. There's an extra girl who happens to be a wealthy heiress. Her name is Seema (Ranjeeta Kaur), and she's confined to a wheelchair. Her friends are Asha (Asha Sachdev), Aradhana (Aradhana), Prema (Prema Narayan), Madhu (Madhu Malhotra), Shobini (Shobini Singh) and Rajini (Rajini). They are hired by Seema's loving, caring uncle Ranjit Singh (Amjad Khan! WOOT!) to protect her and entertain her. Seema has her own harem! Unfortunately the girls were a bit busy frolicking at the beach to stop Mac Mohan from almost running Seema over with a boulder. Our six brothers save Seema from the attack, and they all become friends.

But sooooomeone is trying to kill Seema! Who could it be? Well there's no mystery there - you learn immediately that it's Seema's Uncle Ranjit Singh that's trying to kill her to get access to her moolah. He indulges in your typical villanous behavior by thrashing Mac Mohan, drinking, smoking and getting massages from Kalpana Iyer.

So anyway, the girls invited the boys to a Red Cross Fundraiser dance when they all met at the beach, and they're all WOO HOO! But Indu isn't having it. She says she can't send them to the Red Cross party with their current behavior the way it is and embarrass herself. So the boys (with all their charm) ask her to teach them how to act with the girls they like, bringing on the faaaaabulous number "Jhukake Sar Ko Pucho" in which Hema ROCKS THE HOUSE:

This is immediately followed by what is in my opinion the COOLEST PARTY EVER. Seriously, I want to be at this party SO BAD. Yes, lots of the choreography bits are copied directly from Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, but it's adapted so well into this crazy, campy scene that I don't care. Seema seems to feel the same. She launches into a dream sequence in which she is prancing about all by herself. Seema is weird.

So the boys are all mooning over the girls one night, unable to sleep. They're crazy in luuuuurve. Ravi decides the best thing to do to get them to concentrate again is to kidnap the girls at night and bring them to the farmhouse. Brilliant idea, Ravi. However, it does lead to one of the most brilliant songs in R.D. Burman's repertoire - a cult classic!

So now Seema and all the girls are at the farmhouse - which Indu has re-colonized and she decides to play Dorm Mother to all of them until they can safely return to Seema's house. The girls are rather enjoying being there though ... they get to flirt with their boyfriends!

Seema's Uncle Ranjit is still plotting away though ... and he's enlisting the help of one eeeeevil dude who just out of jail. Eeeeeevil dude's name is Babu (Amitabh Bachchan), and he just so happens to look exactly like Ravi, except for his gray/blue eyes! Babu gets his own theme music which I used to sing to my friend Chirag whenever he wore blue contacts.

Ranjit invites Ravi over to his place one day for drinks in order to find out everything he can about his life, his brothers and the farmhouse. This results in one of my favorite Amitabh scenes EVER - the "Daaru Peene Se Liver Kharab Ho Jaata Hai" scene:

As Ravi leaves, he is assaulted by the evil henchmen. In fact, he's driving home and ends up surrounded by cars and a truck. I get really nervous whenever I'm surrounded by trucks on the road because of this scene. I call it "having a Satte Pe Satta moment" ... the henchman take Ravi to Seema's Uncle's villain's lair (HOLLA!) in a cave and hold him hostage there so Babu can put on brown contacts and take his place at home. Of course this gives us the creepy scene where Amitabh has one brown and one blue contact one, which they totally tried to copy in Baazigar but was nowhere NEAR as awesome!

So Babu takes his place at the farmhouse, where he is nervous and uncomfortable amongst the affectionate members of Ravi's family. Also, this is an eeeeevil villain with morals ... he refuses to touch Ravi's wife Indu, particularly when he finds out that she's got a bun in the oven.

But Babu's got a job to do -- murdering Seema! The day he decides to go for it, Seema screams to see him coming after her with a knife. Indu and the girls hear her screaming and come to her aid, and Seema runs into Indu's arms. Read that again. Seema RUNS INTO INDU'S ARMS. Yes, she was so afraid that she overcame her inability to walk and ran! It was a psychological block! The brothers, who also heard the screaming, come and tell Indu that Ravi must have used the knife to scare Seema into using her legs.

Ravi/Babu is a HERO. They all decide to celebrate in this fashion:

Finally on Karva Chauth, Babu decides he cannot deceive the people that have called him a saint, hero and angel anymore. He tells them all the truth, and resolves to help them reunite with Ravi.

That means it's time for all the guys to head for Seema's Uncle's mountain lair.

There will be lots of dishoom-dishoom, and lots of chants from the brothers and Babu while Ravi goes postal on the bad guys!!!

Things I unconditionally love about this movie:
  • THE SONGS!!!! OMG, the songs are amazing! The 80s bongos, R.D. Burman's throaty touches in "Pyar Humen Kis Mod Pe" and "Jhukake Sar Ko", Asha Bhosle's dulcet tones, Kishore Kumar's crooning ... Ahhh! So many memories and just CLASSIC tunes.
  • The way the brothers (and their girlfriends) are color-coded!
    • Som = Yellow
    • Mangal = Bronze/Gold
    • Budh = Green
    • Guru = Pink or Purple
    • Shukhar = Blue
    • Sunny = Red

    • The small moments of humour and directorial insertions
      • Som's screaminess
      • Mangal's stutter
      • Budh's one-liners, i.e. "Ab ghoomo chaddi mein!"
      • Budh trying to hit Som w/ the mandolin in Jhukake Sar Ko Poocho
      • Sunny's expressions and inflections
      • Sunny causing all that havoc in the bar fight scene to get doodh
      • EPIC dialogues that will always be firmly placed in my brain
        • ♥♥♥ SUNNY!!!! Sachin Pilgaonkar is adorable and charming and amazing! ♥♥♥
        • The way poor Som just can't get it right in Jhukake Sar Ko Poocho
          • The nonsense chant CHAIN KULIKI MEIN KULIKI CHAAAAIIIIN!
          • Everything Amitabh! His slo-mo rescue of Sunny and holding back the wild horse, his dreamy, debonair look in Dilbar Mere, his expressions in Pariyon Ka Mela Hai, his lanky awkwardness, how much he reminded me of Abhishek!!! Or is the other way around?
            • Hema Malini's Indu - she's very no-nonsense, take no prisoners, awesome. Except for the cleaning and cooking thing ... but at least she cooks w/ BAMF cookware like this!
              • Why is it that I can never hate Amjad, even when he's the bad guy? He's my favorite cuddly uncle!
              • Okay admittedly not funny, but when I was little I thought it was hilarious that Budh was too small to carry his girl when they were kidnapping them, so he had to drag her by the hair. 
                • The way they hint at a Babu-Seema romance! LOL! 
                  • The multiple choice of couples for my sister and I to choose from when we "enacted" scenes and songs from this movie, which we were wont to do. I usually was Rajni and paired myself with Sunny. Originally my sister chose Aradhana and paired herself with Som. Then she later switched herself to Prema Narayan.
                  There's so much more that I cannot capture in words about this film. I will NEVER stop loving this film to bits and pieces. And I feel that I can never do it justice by blogging about it, because I'm completely unable to even convey my love for it properly. I think it's always difficult to sum up your favorite film, but it's even more so when a particular movie has been your favorite since you first saw it at age 5. Just imagine me doing the heart symbol in reference to my feelings for this movie ... it's the best I can do to express how I feel.


                    1. I remember watching this film when I was younger with my siblings (I have 5 sisters.)

                      I haven't watched it since then I don't think and couldn't remember much until you said "SEVEN girls" and I thought, but why does Seema get left out? Then I remembered all about Babu!

                      Happy 1 year anniversary!

                    2. Omg, this is one of my all time favs as well! I've watching it countless times ever since I was a little girl. I so want a ride in their cool jeep! Great post!!


                    3. Indu: (Slaps head). Ohfo, 'i love you,' itni jaldi nahin re, baba...

                    4. Want-to-watch! (and never heard of before...)

                    5. Congratulations on your anniversary!! I love this blog so I hope there wil be many more such ocassions! Also thank you for the tip - I´ve never heard about this film before, not it´s going to my list of films I have to watch.

                    6. Wow... what an epic post... some films just worm their way into your heart, and clearly this one has done that for you. I've watched 'Satte Pe Satta' once and really enjoyed it, but of course missed so many of these lovely little details... now I can't wait to watch again. Congrats on your anniversary!