After a very long time I watched a Hindi film on TV, Kati Patang (Guideless Kite) based on Gulshan Nanda’s novel. This is the second film from Rajesh Khanna- Shakti Samanta team, the first being Aaradhana which propelled Rajesh Khanna to super stardom.
Madhavi (Asha Parekh) runs away on the eve of her marriage, to elope with her boyfriend Kailash (Prem Chopra). Soon Madhavi discovers that Kailash is a gold digger, dejected she comes back to home. She finds her uncle has passed away due to the cancelled marriage. In turn of events, Madhavi pretends to be Poonam (Naaz), the daughter in law of Diwan who is now widowed. Poonam has entrusted Madhavi with her child. All this happens in first 15 minutes of the film.
The Diwans welcome their estranged daughter in law. Kamal Sinha (Rajesh Khanna), friend of Shekhar,the husband of widowed Poonam falls in love with her. What is interesting is the portrayal of widows in the film. In a country like India even today widows are considered to be inauspicious and not included in functions like wedding and idea of widow remarriage is still frowned upon.
Kudos to Shakti Samanta for taking upon a bold subject like widow remarriage. Here is Kamal (Rajesh Khanna) who treats the widower as a normal person, there is no sympathy for Madhavi, and instead he has empathy and respect for her which blossoms in to love.
Things get interesting when Kailash re-enters Madhavi’s life and she is implicated in a murder case.
Like in most Samanta films music is one of the highlights of the movie.Samanta is one of the few directors who had the right sense to place songs at the right intervals, with each song taking forward the story. My personal favourite is Jis Gali Main Tera Ghar, it captures the emotions of both people who are in love, but cannot declare or express their love.
Asha Parekh for me was always an average actor, in this film to she does not bring anything to table, but she keeps her melodrama to bare minimum, and it was good on Samanta’s part to bring back Sharmila Tagore in Amar Prem.
Prem Chopra as Kailas is brilliant, playing the negative character without any gimmicks or buffoonery. He gives you chills and you are wondering what he will do next.
To write about Kati Patang without mentioning the music would be unfair.R.D. Burman and Anand Bakshi gives us one of the best Hindi OST of all times, be it Yeh Jo Mohabbat Hai, the Holi song or the item number Mera Naam Hai Shabnam picturised on Bindu each song adds charm to the story in its own way.
Shakti Samanta weaves a mature romance between two people who are betrayed in love earlier. He handles the romance between them accurately, it is very rare to see such love stories in Bollywood where both the characters are important to the story.
Kati Patang is a film which has all the elements of an entertaining film, even after so many years it does not feel outdated. Special mention to Shakti Samanta who does not resort to clichés or melodramatic scenes to tell his story.