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Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam (1962) - (Movies To See Before You Die - Drama)

07 May, 2014 | Movies To See Before You Die / Drama

Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam

One of the most appreciated and cherished, tragic love saga of Hindi Cinema is this timeless classic released in 1962, produced by Guru Dutt and directed by Abrar Alvi featuring the elegant beauty Meena Kumari in a memorable role. Based on a Bengali novel titled, Shaheb Bibi Golam by Bimal Mitra, the Black & White film is about the time when feudalism was being abolished in India and the big feudal lords and their huge mansions, all became the victims of this changing era widely.
As suggested by the title, it revolves around the close but non-physical relationship between a beautiful lonely Bibi(wife) of a wealthy Sahib (lord) and her innocent looking Ghulam (servant) who narrates the story from his own perspective after a few years. A poor & shy, part time servant, Bhootnath finds himself close to the gorgeous lady as she needs a person to share her inner conflicts, frustrations and the desire to love. Being ignored by her arrogant husband repeatedly, she becomes a desperate alcoholic and has a burning urge to be understood or to be cared for. And since the role had many elements close to Meena Kumari’s personal life too, it perhaps helped her in giving one of the best performances of Hindi Cinema till date, acknowledged both by the viewers and the critics together without any exception.
In fact, the mesmerizing beauty Meena Kumari playing the unsatisfied and ignored Chhoti Bahu, graced the screen like very few actresses have been able to and her presence is simply indescribable in words whispering those impressively written dialogues in a soft seductive tone. And that is the reason, SAHIB BIBI AUR GHULAM is still remembered just for the irreplaceable Meena Kumari and her divine presence alone before anything else, unarguably.
Sahib Bibi Aur GhulamIn more honest words, its only when one somehow manages to get his or her eyes off the immensely blessed actress emoting on the screen, that the other artistic achievements of the film get noticed by a charmed viewer. Like its enigmatic atmosphere of the bygone era, expressive dialogues, remarkable cinematography, extraordinary picturisation of its well-composed (written) songs and all the other great performers interacting with the Chhoti Bahu. To name the contributors, Guru Dutt, plays it real well as the shy Bhootnath (along with being a producer), Waheeda Rehman looks quite natural & great in her transforming character and Rehman performs just perfectly as the self-centered Chhote Sarkar suiting the script requirements.
Shot beautifully with a great background score the film transforms the viewer into a different time period altogether. And that is the reason it won four Filmfare Awards, including Best Movie, Best Director, Best Actress and Best Cinematography along with being India's official entry to the Oscars in 1962. Interestingly as per the IMDB trivia, after the official submission to the OSCARSs, the academy also wrote a letter to the producer Guru Dutt, saying that a woman who drinks is not any permissible taboo in their culture.
Having its own set of controversies, many still believe that the film was actually directed by Guru Dutt himself and not by Abrar Alvi. However the maestro never claimed the same, not even after Abrar Alvi was awarded the Filmfare Award for the Best Director. However it’s an admissible fact that the film did have a typical Guru Dutt feel written all over it evidently. Music, featuring some haunting compositions and great lyrics, contributed a lot in its overall dejected feel and who can forget Meena Kumari singing “Na Jao Saiyan…….”, looking straight into the camera talking with her big expressive eyes so sensitively.
In short, no must-watch list of Hindi Cinema is complete without SAHIB BIBI AUR GHULAM and the film is a perfect example of those times when they used to make epics straight from the heart and not just projects eyeing at the box office window. So do watch it at the earliest if you haven’t seen it yet and try to live that nostalgic golden era of Hindi Cinema when the eyes used to do the talking, poetry conveyed the feelings and just the looks could seduce the viewer without any deliberate skin show or cheap camera movements.
A must watch and highly recommended timeless golden classic of Indian cinema from a team of maestros excelling in their individual fields, you just cannot afford to miss this.
Directed By Abrar Alvi
Starring : Meena Kumari, Guru Dutt, Waheeda Rehman, Rehman, Nasir Hussain and more.
Music by Hemant Kumar
Lyrics by Shakeel Badayuni.

Tags : Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam (1962), Movies To See Before You Die Drama. Hindi Films Classics, Must Watch Movies List by Bobby Sing at bobbytalkscinema.com, Worth Watching Films List by Bobby Sing, Not To Be Missed Indian Classics from the Golden Era, Guru Dutt, Meena Kumari, Abrar Alvi, Hemant Kumar.
07 May 2014 / Comment ( 2 )
prakash bhatia

Hi Bobbyji,
What a film! I saw it when I was 12 years old and that too in the first row of Regal cinema Delhi.The last scene of the film has always haunted me till date,though I have seen it thrice after that.

Your description of Meenaji and her divine performance in this film is perfect. I personally feel it was Meenaji\'s best performance ever. What a performance from our most underrated actor Rehman sahab. I do\'nt know whether Guru Dutt sahab directed it or not but about one thing I am quite sure that songs were picturised by him. The songs have typical Guru Dutt stamp. For the first time he approached Hemantda instead of Sachinda and Hemantda was taken aback by his offer. This suggests Dutt sahab\'s confidence in Hemantda for music in this film.

You are perfectly right about cinematography.Only people of Murthy sahab\'s calibre can create great cinema. I bow my head with respect to the genius team of Sahib Bibi aur Ghulam.

Bobby Sing

Hi Prakash Ji,
Yes you are very right about the songs and it surely is a true masterpiece of Indian Cinema without any doubt.
I hope this article introduces the film to many youngsters who might not be aware of its sheer genius and they watch it soon to treat themselves with the work of such blessed masters at the earliest.


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