14 September 2014 | jmathur_swayamprabha
Seven brides for seven brothers
Satte Pe Satta (1982) is the Indian remake of Hollywood movie - Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954) directed by Stanley Donen and starring Howard Keel in the lead role (of the eldest of the seven brothers). It's a romantic movie showing a family of seven brothers. When the eldest brother is able to find a bride for himself, he has to do it for his six younger brothers too. Sippy Films used this story to make Hindi movie Satte Pe Satta (playing card no. 7 thrown on the opponent player's playing card no. 7) starring Amitabh Bachchan in the lead role of the eldest brother. Besides, while writing the script of this Bollywood version of the Hollywood movie, they introduced a look-alike of the eldest brother also so that Amitabh Bachchan who was on the peak of his popularity those days could play a double role in the movie.
The title of the movie has been kept as such because of the prominence of number 7 in the movie (seven are the brothers and thereby seven brides of them also appear), else the story has nothing to do with any playing card game. It's an entertaining movie using the theme of the Hollywood movie and adding Bollywoodish formulae viz. look-alike, a conspiracy to usurp property and fight in the climax.
The seven brothers of this movie are orphans whose names have been kept after the names of the days of a week. Well, it was the easiest way to christen themselves as there are seven days in a week. When someone asks them what they would have done had they been more than seven, they reply that in that condition, they would have christened themselves after the names of the months of a calendar year viz. January, February, March etc. So these seven brothers are named as Ravi (Amitabh Bachchan), Som (Sudhir), Mangal (Shakti Kapoor), Budh (Paintal), Guru (Kanwaljeet Singh), Shukra (Vimal Saahu) and Shani (Sachin). The eldest one, i.e., is somewhat educated and sophisticated whereas the other six are completely uneducated and uncivilized. Ravi rules them and takes work from them like bonded labourers.
The straight day-to-day life of these brothers has been going on monotonously for years. They live in their house situated in a jungle without shaving or taking a bath or dressing up properly. Quarrels are frequent among them. Only Ravi maintains contact with the outside world and when he's in the house, he keeps on bossing them. The still water of their combined life is stirred by Ravi's encounter with Indu (Hema Maalini). After initial difficulty, Ravi is able to win Indu's heart and marries her. But when Indu comes to his house as his bride, she's taken aback by the look of her husband's household and his younger brothers. She decides to civilize them and become their instructor for this purpose. However the sight of Ravi's happy married life with Indu has created romance in the hearts of the other six brothers too. They find their brides among the friends of Indu. On one side, Ravi sets on the mission of bringing the marital happiness in his brothers' lives, on the other, a criminal conspiracy comes into existence.
Indu's wheel-chair bound friend Seema (Ranjeeta) is an orphan whose uncle Ranjit (Amjad Khan) is having an eye on her wealth and he wants to kill Seema to usurp that. For this purpose, he hires the services of ex-jailbird Baabu (Amitabh Bachchan in double role). When he comes to know that Baabu is the look-alike of Ravi, he kidnaps Ravi and sends Baabu to his home whereas Seema is spending time with her friend Indu and her marital family. Baabu enters the household impersonating Ravi. The conclusion of the story is anybody's guess.
While the first part of the movie is a lift from Seven Brides for Seven Brothers and full of comic, romantic and emotional moments, the second part is nothing but another Bollywoodish plot of a villain's evil design to usurp a heroine's property. Quite naturally, it's the first one which is more important and serves ample entertainment to the audience. All the same, courtesy Amitabh Bachchan's comic timing and a scene specially written for this purpose, the second half has also become an entertaining one. Director Raj N. Sippy has handled the script very well and done a decent job.
The movie features a plethora of male-female actors. Actors like Saarika and Vijayendra Ghaatage are also there in guest appearances. All including Hema Maalini and Ranjeeta have done well. It's painful to see a highly talented actor like Kanwaljeet Singh doing a side role in this movie. But ultimately the movie belongs to Amitabh Bachchan. He has got maximum screen time in his double role and he has delivered admirable performances in both the roles. Especially as Ravi, his performance is terrific and despite being known as an action hero, he has generated a treasure of laughs for the audience through his performance in that role.
Satte Pe Satta carries immense repeat value and can be seen many times. It was a huge commercial hit when released and can prove its worth even today if re-released. It's a big treat for not just the fans of Amitabh Bachchan but all the movie buffs.