Did he sign too many films too early?

Sanjog

I watched this movie and wondered: how the hell did Amitabh Bachchan ever become a megastar?

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Okay his first movie was interesting (Saat Hindustani) and his second was a must-watch (Anand) though more for main star Rajesh Khanna than AB, but the next three I’ve watched for this Retrospective (Pyar Ki Khani, Parwana and this one) have almost put me off persisting with this project.

It’s not really the Big B that I remember, but then I suppose I was more familiar with his late 70s and 80s movies. But that’s not to dismiss that this film – 1972’s Sanjog – is almost unwatchable. Even for a fan.

Sanjog

What happens in the movie?

Mohan (Amitabh) falls in love with a poor girl, Asha (Mala Sinha), and marries her. When his parents find out they – or rather his mother – manipulate things in such a way that Mohan is led to believe that Asha drowned in an accident.

Sanjog

He moves on with his life and marries Seema (Aurna Irani) and has a child. Meanwhile the estranged Asha also has a child and raises him as a single mum.

A few years later, with his parents having passed and his uncle having embezzled their fortune, Mohan works as a poor clerk in a government office. His new boss turns out to be none-other than Asha.

Sanjog

Asha wants to rekindle some kind of relationship, although it’s never clear what she has in mind because she is aware that he is remarried, and actually attempts to befriend his wife Seema. However her father Shiv (Madan Puri) is bent on revenge.

He frames Mohan for corruption. Mohan almost loses his job, Seema finds out about his relationship with Asha, office busy-body and single dad Mansukh (Johnny Walker) stirs the pot like an a very effective Iago in all but maliciousness, and Seema finds a mined hill to go kill herself on.

Sanjog

Asha manages to find the suicidal self-sacrificial wife with the skill of a magnet seeking out a needle in a haystack, saves her life, gets herself killed instead, and for good measure donates her eyes to the suddenly blind Seema in an incredibly convoluted sequences of utterly inexplicable events, in a frantic third act that’s totally out of step with the rest of the plodding movie.

What’s bad?

The entire story is both incomprehensible and barely believable. The coincidences are ridiculous – although admittedly that’s par for the course in Bollywood, but the characters’ motivations make no sense at all.

Sanjog

It’s also pretty chauvinistic in the way both women are so dedicated to the subservience of their husband, even though one is his boss and the other is effectively being cheated on. Frankly you don’t feel any empathy for any of the characters in this movie.

Okay, so Asha as a self-made woman, who is strong and independent, and pretty smart, could be considered a role-model, but ultimately her character simply fails to fulfil its potential, in every sense.

What’s good?

Gosh I’ve been staring at the flashing cursor for a good few minutes wondering what to write in this section and I can’t think of anything. I guess the best thing I can say is that I will never have to watch this movie again.

Sanjog

Amitabh in this movie

Well he’s finally starting to develop his trademark hairstyle by this movie – the one we all tried to copy, although in some scenes it’s way too greasy here! His thick-framed dad-spectacles are also laughable, although some of his shirts are pretty cool. LOL.

He puts in a competent performance, if not necessarily the passionate one you might be expecting. He also plays a particularly timid character here, so only his incredible screen presence gives the role any flesh at all, but plainly not enough.

Should you watch it?

Seriously don’t bother. Just don’t.

If you want a similar story about love-lost in a vicious love triangle, Silsila, produced a decade later, would be the one to watch. We’ll get to that Amitabh classic at some point in this series – if I can stick with this after watching Sanjog!

Rating 1/10

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