Saturday, December 10, 2011

Dillagi (1978)


dillagi_meeting

Dharmendra and Hema Malini as professors in an all girls’ college, with a playful Dharmendra sprouting exotic Sanskrit poetry that border on the erotic, and an upright Hema teaching the girls Chemistry, literally adopting all its dryness and lack of fun. Sounds like fun? Basu Chatterjee’s little known 1977 film (and understandably so) is an interesting idea treated in a mundane manner, that many of the times, borders on the inane. Despite that there is a certain charm in watching the two stalwart actors (a couple in real life too) rise above the script at many instances and creating some genuine laughs by the sheer strength of their performances.

A simple premise (like almost all of Basu Chatterjee’s other films) of how an independent and well settled working woman, who is about to cross the acceptable marriageable age, is wooed by a charming man who she absolutely detests in the beginning- Dillagi is a kind of film that you would not mind watching on a Sunday afternoon while it plays on TV- nothing less, nothing more. Actually, when I come to think of it, I don’t really recall any other Hindi movie that has a setting like this (except maybe a terrible Anil Kapoor-Karishma Kapoor- Juhi Chawla film Andaaz which also talks about romance in high school). The movie has a host of side actors (either as students or as fellow professors of the star pair), and like all other light-hearted films of that time also stars Asrani (as Hema’s brother). The songs by Rajesh Roshan are nice, and ‘Main Kaun saa geet sunaaoon’ is the pick of the lot.


One thing about the film is pretty clear- it looks like one which was agreed upon by Dharmendra and Hema just to spend some quality time together while making of the film. The production values aren’t that great and Dharmendra looks quite jaded in many of the scenes. Basu Chatterjee perhaps wanted to create something on the lines of Chupke Chupke, but falls well short in terms of the entertainment and engagement quotient of the narrative. The first half is packed with intended humor (which many people won’t find as humorous), while the second half focuses on the romance between the two protagonists. I liked the simplistic second half more endearing. However the finale fight sequence is so shoddily done that it seems to be a sequence out of a low-budget B-grade movie.

Parting note: Harmless ‘almost’ fun. All in all, it is an average film that deserves a watch only because of its lead actors. It’s the kind during which you can attend to an errand for a few minutes and you won’t miss much…

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