Chhoti Si Baat

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Chhoti Si Baat
Chhoti Si Baat.jpg
Directed by Basu Chatterjee
Produced by B. R. Chopra
Written by Sharad Joshi, Basu Chatterjee (dialogue)
Screenplay by Basu Chatterjee
Starring Amol Palekar
Vidya Sinha
Ashok Kumar
Music by Salil Chaudhury
Cinematography K. K. Mahajan
Edited by V N Mayekar
Release dates
  • 31 December 1975 (1975-12-31)
Country India
Language Hindi

Chhoti Si Baat (Hindi: छोटी सी बात) is a 1975 Hindi romantic comedy film directed by Basu Chatterjee. The film's title means "Such a Small Thing" in Hindi. Considered one of the best Hindi comedy films of the 1970s, it is a nostalgic favourite for its quirky take on pre-hypercongestion Bombay. The film became a box office hit[1] and also earned Filmfare nominations and a Filmfare Award for Best Screenplay for Basu Chatterjee.[2] It also established Amol Palekar as having an uncommon comic talent for playing mousy characters, a role he would go on to repeat several times in his career. This movie is based on "School for Scoundrels", a 1960 British Comedy which itself was based on the "Gamesmanship" series of books by Stephen Potter.

As with other Basu Chatterjee films, moviestars have small cameos playing themselves: Dharmendra and Hema Malini (whose mother Jaya Chakravarthy helped produce the film) are in a movie-within-a-movie for the song "Janneman janneman," while Amitabh Bachchan plays himself in another scene, where he seeks advice from Ashok Kumar's character. He is dressed in costume from Zameer (1974 film), whose film poster is prominently displayed at the bus stop scenes in "Chhoti Si Baat." B.R. Chopra, is the producer for Zameer (1974 film), just as he is for "Chhoti Si Baat."


Chhoti Si Baat is a romantic comedy about a painfully shy young man Arun Pradeep (Amol Palekar), who lacks self-confidence and fails to stand up for his convictions, in the process letting all and sundry walk all over him. One fine day he comes across Prabha Narayan (Vidya Sinha) at the bus stop en route to work and it's love at first sight... for Arun that is. Lacking enough courage and unsure if his feelings are reciprocated, he pines for her from afar and follows her around, at a safe distance (or so he thinks). Prabha, fully aware of his affections, secretly relishes his discomfort, while waiting for him to make the first move.

While Arun is hopelessly stuck, in comes the suave, brash Nagesh Shastri (Asrani), a colleague of Prabha's, and emerges a serious rival for her attention. It doesn't help that he appears to be miles ahead of Arun in the "race" and is all that Arun is not: He's gregarious while Arun is shy, he's confident and boastful, while Arun is besieged with self-doubt, he's smooth, while Arun is awkward, he's street smart, while Arun's naïve, he's assertive while Arun is timid. Plus he owns a scooter and ensures that he has opportunities to offer Prabha a ride, while Arun can only look on. A gullible Arun, trying to match Nagesh with a motorbike of his own, is conned into buying a dud, further embarrassing him in front of Prabha. He seeks salvation in astrology, tarot cards, dubious godmen only to land with egg on his face.

In desperation, he finally turns to Colonel Julius Nagendranath Wilfred Singh (Ashok Kumar) of Khandala, who has made it his mission to assist those in love find their true destiny. Colonel Singh agrees to help Arun and thus begins the turnaround as Singh begins to mould Arun into a mature, confident young man through meticulously designed lesson plans, peppered with philosophy and "hands on" training. A "born-again" Arun returns to Bombay with a distinguished swagger, brimming with newly discovered self-esteem, ready to take on the world and win over Prabha.


Arun Pradeep is a timid and mousy man who is treated like a doormat by his subordinates in office. He is an orphan and lacks self confidence. One day, at the bus stop, he meets Prabha, a pretty young woman who works in another office. Arun is immediately attracted to Prabha and she knows about this, hoping that Arun would make the first move.

While Arun is in his emotional conflict, a rival, Nagesh Shastri enters. He too is attracted to Prabha and leaves no stone unturned. Nagesh is highly socialable, confident, assertive, owns a scooter and is an excellent chess and table tennis player. Nagesh makes Arun feel inadequate, frustrating the latter. Arun buys a motorcycle, but is conned into buying a dud. Arun takes recourse to fortune tellers and astrologers, only to be humiliated.

Finally, Arun learns about a rich man, Col. Julius Nagendranath Wilfred Singh, who lives in Khandala. The retired colonel is known for his worldly knowledge and experience. Arun goes up to Julius, who easily deduces Arun's problems and their underlying reasons.

Julius asks Arun to stay with him for a period of twenty days. Julius starts teaching Arun, grooming him into a confident and assertive young man. He trains Arun to study the body language of women and to deal with them as well as many tricks to get an edge over rivals. Julius becomes fond of Arun as the latter reminded himself when he was young. Julius tells Arun about how he himself had failed in his love just because lack of confidence and tells Arun not to commit that mistake.

Arun returns to the city and is able to effortlessly strike up a conversatiion with Prabha, much to Nagesh's irritation. Now a changed man, Arun becomes more commanding, causing his subordinates to respect him. Julius follows Arun to check his progress.

Arun introduces Prabha to Col. Julius and Prabha is impressed with Arun's company. Arun gains control over his life and tremendous advantage over Nagesh. Nagesh sees Col. Julius and suspects that Arun has been trained in many tricks, including one which subtly entices a girl to yield herself.

Nagesh warns Prabha of Arun's deception and tells her of the aforementioned trick. Prabha leaves for Arun's house, telling Nagesh that if Arun truly loved her, he wouldn't use that trick on her. Meanwhile, Arun intends to practice the same trick on Prabha by calling her home. Julius finds out about Arun's intent and is alarmed, saying that Arun shouldn't practice the ploy on an innocent girl. Julius rushes to Arun's home, bent on stopping him.

Prabha arrives at Arun's home, and is shocked to see everything in the room is arranged and Arun's behaviour as pertaining to the trick. Arun tries to play the trick on her, but at the last minute, he backs off. Prabha is pleased and confesses her love.

Julius and Nagesh arrive and see them together, at last. Julius praises Arun and asks Nagesh to receive training from him. Arun and Prabha get married, and go to Khandala to seek Julius's blessings. Arun sees Nagesh there, ready to receive training from Julius.

Cast and crew[edit]




All lyrics written by Yogesh, all music composed by Salil Chaudhury.

No. Title Singer(s) Length
1. "Jaaneman Jaaneman Tere Do Nayan"   K. J. Yesudas, Asha Bhosle  
2. "Na Jaane Kyon Hota Hai Yeh Zindagi Ke Saath" (Solo) Lata Mangeshkar  
3. "Na Jaane Kyon Hota Hai Yeh Zindagi Ke Saath"   Mukesh, Lata Mangeshkar  
4. "Yeh Din Kyaa Aaye"   Mukesh  

Awards & Nominations[edit]

Year Category Cast/Crew member Status
1977 Best Screenplay Basu Chatterjee[3] Won
Best Film B. R. Chopra (for B. R. Films) Nominated
Best Director Basu Chatterjee Nominated
Best Actor Amol Palekar Nominated
Best Supporting Actor Ashok Kumar Nominated
Best Performance in a Comic Role Asrani Nominated


External links[edit]