BLAST FROM THE PAST Columns

Kasauti (1974)

A scene from Kasauti.   | Photo Credit: 26dfrKasauti1

Amitabh Bachchan and Hema Malini did not quite appeal as a hit pair on the screen. Hema and Dharmendra appeared at ease with each other, Rishi Kapoor and Neetu Singh brought the crowds in a drove, Bachchan struck a fine rapport with the likes of Zeenat Aman and Parveen Babi, not to forget some fine movies with Jaya Bhaduri. But Bachchan and Hema came together for the first time in “Kasauti”, the script certainly not doing justice to the two stars of that period.

The plot was ordinary. A typical formulae film with the heroine in distress, saved by a taxi driver, and the narration struggling to keep pace with the director’s desire to race through. For Bachchan and Hema Malini, this was a time when they commanded a dedicated and huge following, what with a legend like Pran making every effort to contribute to the success of the film with a fine portrayal of Pyarelal, a good-hearted Nepali criminal.

Pran’s presence those days added importance to the cast of the film. His versatility was a forte . He could amazingly slip into any role. This was not a tailor-made role but Pran, without indulging in histrionics, comes up with a restrained and yet appealing performance. His sporadic appearances in the movie just about lift the spirit and direction of the story where Hema Malini, a lady always in trouble, remains the central character.

It was not a movie that belonged to the genre of hits of the day. It was hardly a movie that demanded acting skills of the high order. But Bachchan, Hema Malini and Pran were big names of the industry. Yet, the story was a letdown even though they did strive to salvage it with their star presence.

Picking Ramesh Deo as a villain was hardly going to help. The red-head bad man Hira, a smuggler in the story and always looking to snare young girls, was a role that did not fit him. He returns to the screen in patches but makes little impact. Neither do veterans Abhi Bhattacharya, as a scheming criminal, and Bharat Bhushan, as the ailing husband of Neeta (Sonia Sahni), a friend of Seema, played by Hema Malini.

Seema is a girl living with her mother (Sulochana). Poverty mocks at them even as they are exploited by an alcoholic Satyen Kappu. Seema’s mother works hard to keep the kitchen running even as she looks to contribute. She comes into contact with Neeta, finds work, but flees after Hira molests her and is saved by Amit, a graduate who takes to driving a taxi. Amit and Seema sing a few songs, fall in love and decide to marry.

Trouble visits Seema when her foster father casts an evil eye on her and she hurts him in trying to protect herself. Seema spends a brief period in jail on charges of assaulting her stepfather. On being released from prison, she is forced to relocate when Amit’s father objects to their marriage and her mother is jailed for having murdered Seema’s step father.

Calcutta beckons Seema where she makes fame and money with a drama company. The story brings her into contact with Neeta and her husband. The ailing husband dies, Neeta consumes poison and Seema finds herself alone before Amit and Pyarelal find her. The predictable end sees Amit saving Seema from the clutches of Hira with Pyarelal happily singing “Hum Bolega To Bologe Ki Bolta Hai.’ If the movie did not flop it was mainly because the fans were eager to watch Bachchan and Hema Malini as the lead pair. The movie, with the exception of Pran’s cameo, had little to offer really. The story and the music turned out to be a huge disappointment.

Genre: Social drama

Director: Arabind Sen

Cast: Hemal Malini, Amitabh Bachchan, Pran, Sonia Sahni, Mac Mohan, Vijay Sharma, Ramesh Deo, Sulochana Latkar, Bipin Gupta, D.K.Sapru, Murad, Abhi Bhattacharya, Satyendra Kapoor, Mohan Choti, Bharat Bhushan

Story and screenplay: Suhrid Kar

Dialogues: Satish Bhatnagar

Lyrics: Varma Malik, Indivar, Anand Bakshi

Music director: Kalyanji-Anandji

Box office status: Hit

Trivia: Hema Malini and Amitabh Bachchan came together first time in this movie

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Printable version | May 5, 2021 8:15:36 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/cinema/cinema-columns/blast-from-the-past-kasauti-1974/article6725099.ece

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