Bahu Begum (1967)

  |  Comedy, Drama, Romance

Bahu Begum (1967) Poster

On the day of her marriage, the bride goes missing. She ends up in a brothel, compelling her wealthy husband to pretend that all is well to keep the family's honor intact.

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3 August 2013 | jmathur_swayamprabha
| Hum Intezaar Karenge Tera Qayaamat Tak ...
Zeenat (Meena Kumari) is the at the nucleus of the story of Bahu Begum whose father is an impoverished erstwhile Nawaab Mirza Sultan (Sapru) who becomes too glad to receive a matrimonial alliance proposal for his daughter from Nawaab Sikandar Mirza (Ashok Kumar) who is also an erstwhile ruler but financially well off. The thing that he does not know that Zeenat is in love with Yusuf (Pradeep Kumar) who is an orphan and his guardian is his greedy maternal uncle Meer Qurbaan Ali (Baalam) who doesn't want Yusuf's marriage to take place because that will snatch the custodianship of his property from him. Zeenat remains under a false impression that she would be married to Yusuf only who is intentionally sent outstation by his maternal uncle at that time. When the marriage procession of the groom's side (Baaraat) arrives at her place, then only she comes to know that her would-be groom is not Yusuf but Sikandar Mirza. She runs away from the house when the Qaazi (Muslim priest in the marriage) was going through the customs of the Nikaah (Muslim marriage). Since in Nikaah, both the bride and the groom are asked whether this marriage is acceptable (Qabool) to them, it is asked from Zeenat also who is supposed to be behind the curtain. A false impression is given to the Qaazi and the groom (Dulha) that the marriage is acceptable to the bride but actually she has run away from the house with the help of her close friend Bilqees (Zeb Rehmaan).

When Zeenat's father comes to know the truth, he sends the empty sedan to groom's house so that the bride's runaway story remains hidden from the public eyes. At his home, Sikandar Mirza, the groom and his younger sister Suraiya (Naaz) who is too eager to welcome her sister-in-law (Bhaabhi) are shocked to see that there is nobody in the sedan which was supposed to bring the bride in it. To protect their family honour, they do not allow any outsider to know the truth and it is told to the others that the bride is sick. On the other side, when the runaway bride, i.e., Zeenat is not able to meet her beau Yusuf (because he has been sent outstation by his conspiring maternal uncle), she returns home only to be discarded by her hurt father. Her misfortune takes her to a Kotha (bawdy-house) but thereafter destiny brings her to that place only which is supposed to be her in-law's house, i.e., the residence of Sikandar Mirza who alongwith his sister Suraiya is pleasantly surprised to see that the bride or the Bahu Begum has finally come to her destination. Her arrival is a great sigh of relief for them and now they pleasantly show the Bahu Begum to the outsiders (females only due to the tradition of Muslim ladies' remaining behind the veil in the presence of the males not belonging to them).

But Zeenat tells Sikandar Mirza that when the marriage was being accomplished by the Qaazi from his side she was not present at the place behind the curtain and she had not given her consent for the marriage as per the custom of the Nikaah and therefore, she is not his wife as per the law and the religion. However she adds that she will never leave him because his honour as well as the honour of his family is too important for her to take any such step and she will remain the Bahu Begum of the household for the rest of her life. Sikandar, being a thorough gentleman and a nice person, is happy with this small consolation too and does not impose himself upon her as a husband. Suraiya is married off under the stewardship of her Bhaabhi, i.e., Zeenat, the highly respected Bahu Begum of the house. But the story gets another twist when Yusuf returns from outstation and comes to know that he has become a victim of his maternal uncle's conspiracy against him. Deeply hurt to know that his sweetheart has been married to another person but not able to accept the reality, he approaches Zeenat at the house of Sikandar Mirza. Zeenat tells him that though her marriage was not carried out in the complete sense and therefore she is unmarried in the eyes of the law and the religion, yet he should forget her as she will never compromise with the honour of Sikandar for the sake of her own pleasure. Their talks are overheard by Sikandar and then he makes a great sacrifice to unite the lovers and ensure that they live happily together without the world's knowing the truth.

With the help of the meaningful and touching lyrics of Saahir and Majrooh, Roshan has prepared memorable music for the movie. The best song of the album, in my view, is Hum Intezaar Karenge Tera Qayaamat Tak, Khuda Kare Ki Qayaamat Ho Aur Tu Aaye (sung jointly by Rafi and Asha) but the other songs are no less than one another.

Performance wise talking, the best performer is undoubtedly Ashok Kumar who could dare to play a romantic lead at the age of 56 years. Meena Kumari and Pradeep Kumar alongwith others are so-so. Johnny Walker has done good comedy. A character-artist of that era – Musharraf has also generated laughs for the audience. Leela Mishra has also done well in the supporting role of the heroine's Bua (father's sister) taking care of the household and her young unmarried niece, i.e., Zeenat.

All in all, Bahu Begum is a decent watch which will definitely appeal to the lovers of golden oldies. It renders the pleasure of nostalgia, no doubt.

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Comedy | Drama | Romance

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