Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam
|Sahib Bibi Aur Gulam|
|Directed by||Abrar Alvi|
|Produced by||Guru Dutt|
|Written by||Abrar Alvi
|Based on||Shaheb Bibi Golam
by Bimal Mitra
|Music by||Hemant Kumar|
|Cinematography||V. K. Murthy|
|Running time||155 Minutes|
Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam (Hindi: साहिब बीबी और गुलाम) is a 1962 Indian Hindi film produced by Guru Dutt and directed by Abrar Alvi. It is based on a Bengali novel, Shaheb Bibi Golam by Bimal Mitra, and is a look into the tragic fall of the haveli-dom and feudalism in Bengal during the British Raj. The title of the movie and the story is a reference to the plot simultaneously exploring a platonic friendship between a beautiful, lonely wife (Bibi) of an aristocrat (Sahib) and a career-driven low-income part-time servant (Ghulam). The film's music is by Hemant Kumar and lyrics were by Shakeel Badayuni. Cinematography was by V. K. Murthy. The film stars Guru Dutt, Meena Kumari, Rehman, Waheeda Rehman and Nasir Hussain.
The film was a major critical and commercial success, with critics attributing it to Meena Kumari's performance as Chhoti Bahu, which is regarded as one of the best performances of Hindi cinema. It won four Filmfare Awards, including Best Movie award, was nominated for the Golden Bear at the 13th Berlin International Film Festival, and was chosen as India's official entry to the Oscars. Indiatimes Movies ranks it amongst the Top 25 Must See Bollywood Films.
Bhoothnath (Guru Dutt), a middle-age architect, wanders through the ruins of an old haveli.
There is a flashback to the end of the 19th century. The lower-class and educated Bhoothnath arrives in colonial Calcutta looking for work. He lives in the grand haveli of the Choudhurys, a family of zamindars while working beyond its compound at the Mohini Sindoor factory run by Subinay Babu, a dedicated member of the Brahmo Samaj. Subinay Babu's daughter Jaba (Waheeda Rehman) is amused by Bhoothnath whom she considers an unsophisticated rustic. Bhoothnath becomes fascinated with the goings-on in the haveli and every night observes the decadent lifestyle of the Choudhury brothers.
One night the servant, Bansi, takes Bhoothnath to meet the younger zamindar's (Rehman) wife Chhoti Bahu (Meena Kumari) who implores him to bring her Mohini Sindoor believing it will keep her unfaithful husband home. Bhoothnath is struck by her beauty and sadness and inadvertently becomes Chhoti Bahu's secret confidante. A bomb explodes in the marketplace and Bhoothnath is injured in the ensuing crossfire between freedom fighters and British soldiers. Jaba looks after him. Bhoothnath becomes a trainee architect and goes away to work on a training project.
Chhoti Bahu's repeated attempts to appease her husband fail until she becomes his drinking companion to keep him by her side. Bhoothnath returns some years later to Calcutta to find that Subinay Babu has died and that he and Jaba were betrothed as children. He returns to the haveli and is shocked to find it in partial ruins. Chhoti Bahu is now a desperate alcoholic and her husband, paralyzed. She asks Bhoothnath to accompany her to a nearby shrine to pray for her ailing husband. Their conversation is heard by the elder zamindar, Majhle Babu. He orders his henchmen to punish her for consorting with a man outside the Choudhury household. As Bhoothnath and Chhoti Bahu travel in the carriage, it is stopped. Bhoothnath is knocked unconscious and Chhoti Bahu is abducted. When he wakes up in hospital, Bhoothnath is told Chhoti Bahu has disappeared and the younger zamindar is dead. The flashback ends.
Bhoothnath's workers inform him a skeleton is found buried in the ruins of the haveli. From the jewellery on the corpse, Bhoothnath realizes it is the remains of Chhoti Bahu.
The last scene shows a nostalgic Bhoothnath riding away on a carriage with Jaba, who is now his wife. In this, the filmed version departs significantly from the novel, where Jaba and Bhoothnath do not get a happy ending.
- Meena Kumari as Chhoti Bahu
- Guru Dutt as Atulya Chakraborty 'Bhootnath'
- Rehman as Chhote Sarkar
- Waheeda Rehman as Jaba
- Nazir Hussain as Subinay Babu (Jaba's father)
- Dhumal as Bansi
- D.K. Sapru as Chaudhary (Majhle Sarkar)
- Harindranath Chattopadhyay as Ghari Babu
|Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam|
|Soundtrack album by Hemant Kumar|
|Hemant Kumar chronology|
|"Saakhiya Aaj Mujhe Neend Nahin Aayegi"||Asha Bhosle||Minoo Mumtaz|
|"Meri Jaan O Meri Jaan"||Asha Bhosle|
|"Piya Aiso Jiya Mein Samaaye Gayo Re"||Geeta Dutt||Meena Kumari|
|"Na Jao Saiyan Chhudaake Baiyan"||Geeta Dutt||Meena Kumari, Rehman|
|"Koi Door Se Aawaaz De Chale Aao"||Geeta Dutt||Meena Kumari|
|"Bhanwara Bada Naadaan"||Asha Bhosle||Guru Dutt, Waheeda Rehman|
|"Meri Baat Rahi Mere Man Mein"||Asha Bhosle||Waheeda Rehman|
Besides being a commercial success, the film was a huge critical success. To quote the review featured in The Times of India dated 24 June 1962:
|“||The well-knit screenplay, achieving an effective balance between the various characters and emotional phases, provides a neat dramatic pattern. It appears to be a specially successful job considering the verbosity and digressiveness of the novel of Mr. Bimal Mitra who, though often brilliant, writes in a highly disorderly way.||”|
Upperstall.com commented, "Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam is a romantic and somewhat nostalgic tale of a bygone era. The film is a magnificent and sombre work with heightened atmosphere, rich dialogues, haunting cinematography, extraordinary song picturizations and brilliant performances." It also praised Meena Kumari's performance: "While each of the performances are spot on, if there is one person who is the heart and soul of the film, it is Meena Kumari. Her portrayal of Chhoti Bahu is perhaps the greatest performance ever seen on the Indian Screen. The sequence where Chhoti Bahu dresses for her husband singing Piya Aiso Jiya Main is a poignant exploration of a woman's expectations and sexual desire. And later on when she has become a desperate alcoholic, you cannot help but cry with her in the sequence where she pleads with her husband to stay with her and then angrily turns on him to tell him how she has prostituted her basic values and morals to please him. However the common factors between the actress's life and Chhoti Bahu are too dramatic to be merely coincidental - The estranged marital relationship, the taking of alcohol, turning towards younger male company, the craving to be understood and loved - all elements evident in Meena Kumari's own life."
Awards and nominations
- 1962: President's Silver Medal for Best Feature Film in Hindi
- 1963: Berlin Film Festival: Golden Bear (Best Motion Picture): nominated
- 1962: Indian submission for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film
- Filmfare Award for Best Movie - Guru Dutt
- Filmfare Award for Best Director - Abrar Alvi
- Filmfare Award for Best Cinematographer - V. K. Murthy
- Filmfare Award for Best Actress - Meena Kumari
- Filmfare Nomination for Best Actor - Guru Dutt
- Filmfare Nomination for Best Supporting Actor - Rehman
- Filmfare Nomination for Best Supporting Actress - Waheeda Rehman
- Filmfare Nomination for Best Story -Bimal Mitra
- Bengal Film Journalists' Association Awards - Film of The Year.
The controversy about who directed Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam has increased over the years. Since the film is characteristic of Guru Dutt's feel and style, it is difficult to think that he did not direct the film. However, Dutt never denied Abrar Alvi's role in the film nor did he make any counter claims when Alvi won the Filmfare Award for Best Director for the film. Alvi has stated that Dutt did direct the songs but not the film in its entirety. The editor, Y.G. Chawan, says that it was Alvi who sat with him. "Abrar worked so hard on that film but he never got any credit. People say it was produced by Guru Dutt so it had to be Guru Dutt's film." Waheeda Rehman, one of the film's stars, also confirmed that it was Alvi, not Dutt, who directed it.
- "Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam 1962". The Hindu. Aug 30, 2008.
- Sahib Bibi Aur Gulam Upperstall.
- Margaret Herrick Library, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
- 25 Must See Bollywood Movies - Special Features-Indiatimes - Movies Indiatimes.
- "10th National Film Awards". International Film Festival of India. Retrieved September 9, 2011.
- awards Internet Movie Database.
- 1st Filmfare Awards 1953
- 'Nobody really knows what happened on October 10' Rediff.com Movies, October 11, 2004.