The film is a remake of the Malayalam film "Chattakari" and tells the story of Julie (Lakshmi), the oldest daughter in a dsyfunctional anglo-indian family living in
I’ve never seen an Indian film about anglo-indians before which brought a somewhat interesting angle. The mother is constantly telling her children to not mix with or behave like the locals (Indians, Brahmins, etc.) and seems preoccupied with “keeping up with the joneses” in the anglo-indian community.
But really, that was a very small part of the film which is overall painfully long and full of boring scenes. Parts of the plot are not explained well which left me having zero sympathy for the characters and not giving a damn, frankly. The characters often react bizarrely to things and I thought Lakshmi’s acting was overly nervous throughout. There’s lots of WTF moments here!
So after what felt like eons of pointless scenes, Julie becomes smitten by Shashi, her friend Usha’s newly-returned older brother. The only thing I can think of when hearing that name is Shashi Kapoor, and this Shashi is certainly no cutie!
She ends up sleeping with him in a creepy “no means yes” scene/song and later finds herself pregnant (surprise!). We’re not sure how much later because big chunks of time pass in the film with absolutely no warning or explanation. When she goes to tell her lover of the bad news, she finds that his whole family has apparently moved and deserted the home. No explanation!
What happens next was completely and utterly INSANE. Julie breaks down and tells her mother she is pregnant. Predictably, her mother freaks out and decides that Julie is going to visit an auntie with the hopes of getting an abortion. The two leave and tell the rest of the family that Julie is going away to go get a job because they can’t support her anymore. The auntie then convinces Julie’s mom that abortion is a sin and the mother decides that Julie is going to stay there until she gives birth and then give the baby up in an orphanage.
Like, seriously. So Julie stays alone and hidden away at this aunty's house in order to save her family and community from the disgrace, apparently. When the mom returns after leaving Julie, she tells the family “oh Julie found a job so I left her there. Oh, and she can’t come back until she can get vacation time which will be in 7-8 months.” Ha! To add more icing on the cake, Julie’s father becomes terribly sick and dies. No one tells Julie of course; she doesn’t find out until her mother comes to visit her again after the baby is born, at which time the mom decides to add more salt to the wound by admitting to Julie that “your dad missed you a lot while on his deathbed.” Then there is a scene of copious tears where Julie is forced to leave her baby against her wishes and begs her mom for forgiveness. Gah.
Next, Shashi inexplicably returns suddenly, hears the news from Julie, and says he’ll be a good guy and marry her! But alas, more complications again when Shashi’s mom, an orthodox Brahmin, in hate of Julie and her Christian ways, decides to slyly tell her that marrying Shashi will make Usha unmarriable. But all is well again when Shashi’s sensible dad adopts the baby into their family and introduces it to Julie’s family while giving a lecture on how people shouldn’t get all worked up over religious or communal differences. Everyone is happy happy!
This film has lots of positive reviews online which I can only assume are written by people who saw it back in the 70s and are overly nostalgic and forgot about its obvious crappiness.
So now that that’s out of the way…here's some things I enjoyed:
Julie’s family are Christian anglo-indians, so they have a lit-up picture of Jesus Christ and a nativity scene in their house, and a party has a Christmas tree (so reminiscent of the one in Kaho Naa Pyaar Hai- is hanging balloons on Christmas trees an Indian trend?)!
In contrast, Usha's mother is an ultra-orthodox Brahmin Hindu who hates everything about Christians.
And SRIDEVI!!!! She is so young here! At first I thought "omg, was this her first film" but no- according to IMDB.com she had already been in around 30 films before this one... a veteran already! :)
Instead of us seeing Julie visibly pregnant, we first see this picture as the camera pans over to her pained expression! :D
And the instigator of this whole mess! ;)
And now for some healthy Laxmi pix-spamming!