|Directed by||Govind Saraiya|
|Cinematography||Nariman A. Irani|
The film was based on Saraswatichandra, a Gujarati novel, by Govardhanram Madhavram Tripathi, set in 19th-century feudalism in India. It also won the National Film Awards in the Best Cinematography and Best Music Director categories.
Saraswati Chandra tells the story of a young aristocrat, Saraswatichandra, whose marriage has been fixed with Kumud (Nutan), an educated girl from a rich family. Saraswati decides to cancel the engagement and writes to Kumud to inform her. However, she replies and soon the two keep on exchanging letters. Saraswati decides to defy the customs and pays a visit to his fiancée. The two serenade and a short-lived romance takes place. Saraswati returns home after promising Kumud and her family that he will come back. However, on his return a family feud takes place and Saraswati writes to Kumud that he is not able to marry her. This triggers a series of misunderstandings, which end up in Kumud's marriage to a rich but illiterate suitor named Pramad (Ramesh Deo). She is forced to marry because of family pressure. But as soon as she joins her husband at his palace, he quickly disdains her for nautch girls, and hardly hides his double life, asking her not to comment on his "weakness".
Meanwhile, Saraswati, having forsaken his home, has been roaming the country, certainly not very far away, because he reaches Pramad's mansion and is found sleeping by the pool there one morning. His presence is made known to Kumud's father in-law, who despises his son's cheap life, and adopts Saraswati as his secretary. Of course the two former lovers meet, but Kumud is adamant about her duties, and staunchly stands up for religious traditions. Saraswati witnesses her anguished life and tries to reach out to her, but she objects: why does he interfere in their lives? She is “bahot khush” (very happy)! Nevertheless, things change, because Pramad’s behaviour is more and more openly flirtatious, and Saraswati’s presence lasts longer and longer! But as Kumud has decided to follow her duties as a married woman, she requests Saraswatichandra to stay away from her personal life and asks him to leave her in-law's house. Saraswati, who thinks of not causing more emotional trouble to Kumud, who is already going through a hard time, decides to leave. On his way he is caught by dacoits and left for dead in the sun. A group of holy men spot him and take him away to their hermitage where he starts leading the life of a recluse.
Things darken for Kumud. She’s chased away from Pramad’s mansion after one of his mistresses lays her hand on a fragment of her former lover’s letters. This gives Pramad the pretext he’s been looking for: she must go back to her mother. The blackmail works well, because if she says he’s been unfaithful, he shows the letter to everyone. Nevertheless, her dignified attitude has earned her the friendship of women in her in-laws’ household, and they reveal to Pramad’s parents that he has chased his wife out of lust and selfishness. These chase him away and he vows he will die, but will never come back to his house. After leaving her in-laws' house, a disheartened Kumud takes advantage of a halt on her way back, and tries to drown in the river. But she doesn’t die, and is retrieved by some holy women on the bank. They take her to the same temple where Saraswati is trying to atone for his sins. So they meet again!
Last episode: the two lovers are face to face for one more time. Firstly, Kumud cannot believe she’s bumped into him again, but submits to her fate, and accepts the senior sister’s advice that she has to do something for Saraswati. The latter, on the other hand, has a mission to fulfill: told by the guru that Pramad is dead, he will have to break the news to Kumud. A (very static) meeting is organised: after having realised that their fate has again brought them together, they admit that they are made for each other, and love starts developing. But Kumud doesn’t know she’s a widow, and still hangs on to the hope that she might change her husband, and that her life will continue at her in-laws once she gets back there.
When Saraswati reluctantly tells her, he faces a new Kumud, who must now embrace the widow’s status. The film ends with Saraswati accepting Kumud's request of marrying her younger sister, Kusum.
- Nutan as Kumud Sundari
- Manish as Saraswati Chandra / Navin Chander
- Vijaya Choudhury as Kusum
- Ramesh Deo as Pramad
- Sulochana Latkar as Kumud's mother
- B. M. Vyas as Kumud's grandfather
- Seema Deo as Alak
- Jeevan Kala
- S.B. Nayampalli as Pramad's father
- Sulochana Chatterjee as Pramad's mother
- Babu Raje
- Dulari as Saraswati Chandra's step-mother
- Shivraj as Saraswati Chandra's father
- Praveen Paul as Kumud's aunt
|1||"Chandan Sa Badan"||Mukesh||03:57|
|2||"Chandan Sa Badan"||Lata Mangeshkar||03:24|
|3||"Chhod De Saari Duniya"||Lata Mangeshkar||04:28|
|4||"Hamne Apna Sab Kuch Khoya"||Mukesh||04:45|
|5||"Main To Bhool Chali Babul Ka Des"||Lata Mangeshkar||04:15|
|6||"Phool Tumhe Bheja Hai Khat Mein"||Lata Mangeshkar, Mukesh||04:25|
|7||"Sau Saal Pahle Ki Baat"||Mahendra Kapoor||03:37|
|8||"Wada Humse Kiya Dil Kisi Ko Diya"||Mubarak Begum||04:14|
Awards and recognition
- 1969, National Film Awards
- 1969, Filmfare Best Dialogue Award, Ali Raza