Ek Chaddar Maili See

Rajinder Singh Bedi was a big name in Indian Film industry. He belonged to the period when films were dominated by UrduNorth Indians  were at the helm of Hindustani film industry. Almost all the heroes were from North and heroines from South and Bengal. Story dialogues were loaded with Persian words. I bet if most of Indians except from North India followed any of the dialogues. Even these days the humor shows make fun of those dialogues by trivializing them for simple and cheap babbling. They are not at fault either because those were the times when communication was not so fast and good and individual languages flowered uncontaminated. Today’s world is erasing many cultures and synthesizing a hybrid culture which belongs to and does not belong to anyone at the same time.

Bedi wrote the dialogues for many big league movies of the yore and produced many of them. But first of all, he was a Punjabi writer and wrote many novels. Of these was one called “Ik Chaddar Adhorani” which mirrored the Punjabi culture and society mores of that time in the villages of Punjab. There was a custom in those days according to which if the husband of a woman died, she married the younger brother of deceased in a ceremony in which she will put a white chaddar on his brother-in-law. This was done to keep the woman in the same family and provide protection to children from the first marriage. Otherwise her life was doomed. As can be assumed woman was forced into this alliance by the mother in laws.

The novel was turned into a movie which cast Hema malini as the woman whose husband is killed by suspecting brothers of a girl who was raped in an Inn attached to a temple. The Rano which was the central character played by Hema Malini was beaten by her husband daily as he came home inebriated after work. There is nothing surprising in such characters in rural areas. The women themselves begin to like this. After her husbands death she is forced to marry her brother in law whom previously she treated as her child because of his being 10 years younger. The pubescent daughter becomes very zealous of his mother and uncles marriage and even tries to end her life.

Hema malini herself described her role as most demanding and difficult. Everyone excelled in their roles be it Kulbhusan Kharbanda, as Hema Malini’s husband, Rishi Kapoor who played the younger brother of Kulbhushan Kharbanda and whose shoulders the responsibility of the widowed Hema Malini and her children falls , Hangal as blind father in law , the only one in the family who has soft corner towards the Hema but is helpless against his wife and Dina Pathak as the tormenting mother in law who blames her Bahu for every wrong happening to the family.

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2 thoughts on “Ek Chaddar Maili See

  1. Charu says:

    ‘Ek chadar maili si’ was indeed a beautiful movie.
    The emotional turmoil was well manifested.
    It takes time for people to accept and become cormfortable with what life chooses for them . But when they do, they find peace.

    Another master piece by Rajinder Singh Bedi was a movie called ‘Dastak’. It starred Sajeev Kumar and Rehana Sultan. The movie was unconventional yet profound. It explore cultural cultural-nuances and notions like ‘Ek chadar maili si’ did. However, the backdrop and setting was way too different.

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