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Geeta Mera Naam (1974)
: Sadhana, Sunil Dutt, Feroz Khan, Helen, Ramesh Deo, Achala Sachdev
Director: Sadhana Nayyar
Music: Laxmikant Pyarelal
Nutshell: Sadhana tucks into her swansong, from an idea her husband had that is 70s Masala of epic proportions. 

A lone mother taking her four little kids out to the local mela just can’t be a good idea especially as in almost all Bollywood movies, the mela serves as a backdrop for little brothers and sisters and mothers and fathers to be separated by strange twists of fate. This time the trip to the mela is no different as in moments one of the tots goes amiss and then a posse of local dacoits raid the scene causing untold havoc and in this whirlwind of confusion the poor old woman in fleeing the scene with her daughters, passes out in the forest leaving one infant to fend for herself.

 Years pass and one by one we are introduced to the scattered children, all grown up by now. One of the kids has turned into kingpin villain of the underworld, crime king Johnny who has an underground lair that was clearly the inspiration for the Austin Powers films complete with seats for his multinational criminal guests that at the lethal touch of a button empty their human contents into a pool of bubbling acid, turning them moments later into perfectly chilling wax effigies.

 Apart from being dangerously schizophrenic, Johnny also displays his dementia by cradling a furry cuddly toy ape that never leaves his side. He is obsessed by his toy ape reminding him as it does of the fateful day that he was separated from his doting mother and siblings at the fair. For relaxation Johnny indulges in sessions of bondage and masochism, employing a leather clad heavy to lash him until he has welts all over his back.

 We also learn that another of the young separated siblings has become an up and coming upright police inspector-cum-geek while the daughter has turned into a beautiful young voluntary teacher working at a primary school but her adopted parents are just counting the days when they can start cashing in on her beauty by turning her over to the highest bidder. When a sleazy suitor pays her parents and attempts to rape her, she manages to turn the tables on her attacker but he is mystifyingly killed by Johnny who also had a score to settle with the creep.

 Poor mild mannered Sadhana is arrested for murder and led away to the prison cell, but as she gets locked up a dead ringer of hers though a modernized version is seen being released after a stint for some petty crimes. Therefore, in a short space of a few minutes we have been introduced to the four separated siblings and now we must wait for the next two hours or so for the plot (fate) to bring them back together in the unlikeliest of manners.

 This magnificent slice of cheese has a plot as old and stale as the hills but Sadhana directs with such verve and aplomb that she has managed to turn her magnum opus into one of the truly great cult classics of the era. Geeta Mera Naam was designed as a vehicle for Sadhana’s talents by her husband R.K Nayyar who came up with the inspired storyline. To save on costs, Sadhana, whose career as a leading lady had flagged into near obscurity, was given the job as director as well as being the star of the show with a screen hogging double-role purpose built just for her. Miraculously, the totally unpredictable public lapped it up and Geeta Mera Naam went on to become one of the year’s big money earners providing Sadhana with a fitting end to what had been a very distinguished career in which she featured in some of the finest films of the 60’s.

 Sunil Dutt threatens to steal the show as Johnny but Sadhana is the focus of the limelight. There are some hit songs composed by Laxmikant Pyarelal that certainly helped propel the film to its Silver Jubilee status. Geeta Mera Naam is a brilliant slice of Bollywood Hokum and a weird and wonderful farewell to an all-time great actress, Sadhana, plus, you don't just earn a "cult classic" reputation for nothing.


May 01, 2021 by Omar Khan

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