I have a great regard for the Bollywood film director of the sixties, seventies and early eighties – Raghunath Jhalani. He has not been a high profile or very famous film director. But this underrated film director has directed very impressive and entertaining movies viz. Aaya Saawan Jhoom Ke (1969), Anamika (1973), Uljhan (1975), Be-reham (1980) etc. Today I am reviewing a romantic social drama directed by him on a novel theme (considering the trend going on in Bollywood those days). It’s Badaltey Rishtey (1978) starring Jeetendra, Rishi Kapoor and Reena Roy.Badalte Rishte (changing relations) has taken up two very important issues from the viewpoint of Indian society. Both have been relevant since ages, were relevant at the time of the release of this movie four decades back and they are relevant even today.
The first one is a girl’s devotion after she is married to someone other than the person she has been in love with. Right from the movies of the black and white era to Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam in 1999, the thing underscored is – once the girl is married, she had better respect the wedlock and the sanctity of the husband-wife relationship (unless, of course, her husband is a bad person). Continuing to love her ex-beau and longing to live with him even after getting married to someone, is not desirable for the Indian girls. I appreciate this view with the addition that it is equally applicable to the boys too. Nothing is permanent in this world, then why should we expect the relations to be the same throughout the life when enough water might have flown down the river ?
The second one is the superstitions prevalent in the Indian society, especially among the Indian women. There is little doubt that even the highly educated Indians have been utterly superstitious, believing in illogical things and believing in what the astrologers foretell about them. The situation is not very bright in this regard even today. Especially the Indian females have been vulnerable to the talks of the astrologers making them apprehensive of their future or the future of their beloveds.The story of Badalte Rishte covers both the abovesaid issues. It’s a story based on triangular relationship and set in Simla. Saavitri (Reena Roy) loves Manohar (Rishi Kapoor) but a professor of astrology (A.K. Hangal) tells her that once she gets married, her husband will die within 40 days of her marriage. The additional thing told to her is that if she marries again, her second marriage will be a long-lasting and joyful one. Believing it, she marries Saagar (Jeetendra) who proposes her. Now Savitri starts counting the 40 days period after which she is supposed to become a widow and free to marry Manohar, her first love. Here comes the twist in the tale.
Manohar approaches the post-marriage home of Saavitri and not only befriends her husband – Saagar but also wins the confidence of her in-laws. However Savitri is shocked like anything when he reveals his hitherto covered face which is of a greedy blackmailer who does not want her love but the money of her rich husband. He not only attempts on Saagar’s life but also threatens Savitri to trap her unmarried sister-in-law in his fake love if she refuses to obey him. These developments set up a very interesting climax in which Saagar comes to know of the facts on the 40th day of their marriage (which, according to the astrologer’s forecast, is going to be the last day of his life). The ending scene of the movie is again twisty and leaves a long-lasting impact on the viewers.In my reviews of Anamika and Uljhan, I had praised the director – Raghunath Jhalani for mixing mystery with social drama and rom-com with a high degree of finesse. He has done it again in Badalte Rishte. Manohar’s unexpectedly entering the Sasuraal (in-law’s house) of Saavitri and then blackmailing her alongwith aiming at her husband’s life inserts an element of suspense in this family drama which follows the romantic track of Manohar and Saavitri. He has made the narrative very very interesting for the audience in which all the three tracks – romance, family drama and suspense follow one after another and keep the viewer hooked.Both the messages of the movie – start life afresh with the wedding moment leaving your past behind as well as not to rely the forecasts blindly – are laudable and impressively conveyed. The screenplay has been skillfully written and aptly directed.
Among the three main protagonists, Rishi Kapoor takes the cake both in looks as well as acting performance. This was the first role of his career containing grey shades and he has delivered a stunning performance. He looks quite charming in the initial reels and equally hateable in the later reels. Jeetendra and Reena Roy are just okay. The supporting cast has done well.Heart-winning music composed by Laxmikant Pyarelaal is the icing on the cake with the beautiful lyrics coming from the pen of Anjaan. Three songs are especially mentionable – Meri Saanson Ko Jo Mehka Rahi Hai Ye Pehle Pyar Ki Khushboo, Woh Woh Na Rahe Jinke Liye Hum The Beqaraar and the title track – Na Jaane Kaise Pal Mein Badal Jaate Hain Ye Duniya Ke Badalte Rishte. Singers like Rafi, Kishore, Mahendra Kapoor, Lata and Suman Kalyanpur have given their voices for the various songs.Technically the movie is up to the mark. The cinematographer has captured the beauty of Simla quite proficiently. The movie is not unduly long also. In fact, romance, comedy, music, emotions, suspense; all the ingredients of an entertaining movie have been intermixed in such a way that the length is not at all felt by the watcher. The editor of this movie – B. Prasad had won the Filmfare award for the best editor for this movie.I wholeheartedly recommend this forgotten social drama of the seventies to all the movie buffs. Just start watching this movie and then the director won’t allow you to leave the drama in-between and make you stick to your seat till the finish.
My final words – it’s said that change is the only permanent thing in the world. It’s true to a great extent. Male-female relations do change with the changes arriving in the lives of the people involved and if the change is desirable, let it occur. After all, human life is dynamic, not static.
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