Doosri Sita: Jaya Salvages Lurid Plot
As Jaya Bhaduri and Amitabh Bachchan celebrate their 46th wedding anniversary this month (3rd June), let us have a look at Doosri Sita (The Second Sita), one of Jaya Bhaduri’s lesser-known films that was released after her marriage in 1973. 
 
The film was directed by Gogi Anand and produced by BK Khanna. The music by RD Burman had only one memorable number – “Tu Jahan Mile Mujhe” (presumably shot in Mazgaon dockyard, Mumbai). Lyrics were written by Gulzar but surprisingly the other songs do not connect with you and leave little impact. Nitin Mukesh’s rendering of “Tu Jahan Mile Mujhe” is insipid and lacks rhythm and finesse.
 
Sita Wagle (Jaya Bhaduri) is in love with Ramesh (Romesh Sharma) but the latter considers her as a friend. Sita is the daughter of Ramesh’s beloved teacher (A K Hangal). When Ramesh doesn’t reciprocate her feelings, Sita is forced to marry another man who turns out to be a rogue. He not only harasses her physically and mentally but also forces her to provide sex to his friend. A highly incensed Sita ends up murdering her husband. What follows is a court case that keeps dragging because Sita refuses to open up and reveal the truth. The jail authorities discover that Sita is pregnant. Her lawyer (Simi Garewal) fights hard for her and eventually, Sita is released on parole. She delivers a baby and refuses to even touch the baby but persistent attempts by Ramesh makes her thaw. Ramesh realizes that he too is in love with her and is hopeful of securing a release for Sita so that he can marry her. But how could a movie in the mid-’70s have had a happy ending? 
 
 
The film has a supporting cast of Raza Murad, Lalita Pawar, Mohan Chotti, Kuljit, Praveen Paul and Sudhir. But let us admit it – the film is macabre and is watchable only because of its leading lady’s screen presence.
 
Not much is known about Gogi Anand except that he was related to the legendary actor Dev Anand. He was Jaya Bhaduri’s classmate in FTII. His original name was Alokmitra Anand. He also directed “Double Cross” a movie that released in 1973 and starred Rekha and Vijay (Goldie) Anand.
 
Romesh Sharma, the lead actor in Doosri Sita, was born in Gurdaspur in 1947. His father Brij Sharma was a film distributor.  Just like Gogi Anand and Jaya Bhaduri, Romesh is also an alumnus of FTII. He produced the movie “Hum” that starred Amitabh Bachchan, Kimi Katkar, Rajinikanth, Deepa Sahi, and Govinda. In the process, he became family friends with the Bachchans.
 
 
As an actor, Romesh Sharma’s oeuvre was limited – Parinay (with Shabana Azmi), The Burning Train (with Padmini Kapila) and Sajjo Rani (with Rehana Sultan). But being born with a silver spoon in his mouth, he had good innings as a film producer before he migrated to Australia in the ’90s.  He launched his son Karan Sharma in the 2005 film “Dil Jo Bhi Kahey” but the film tanked at the box office despite the presence of stalwarts like Amitabh Bachchan and Revathy. The film was directed by Romesh Sharma but had a weak script that damaged its box office prospects.
 
Doosri Sita had a limited run at the box office, thanks to the lurid plot, poor production values, and a predictable ending. It is clear that the otherwise choosy Jaya Bhaduri would have agreed to play this role only because it was helmed by her FTII colleague. Kudos to her magnanimity! It is amazing how all the FTII alumni have such strong bonding, unlike today's college students who forget their friends as soon as they finish college and enter the job market.
 
When a journalist went to meet Jaya Bhaduri-Bachchan in the ’80s to discuss and review the films that she had done, Jaya exclaimed, “27 films – is that all what I have done?” Today that number may have increased slightly but the fact is that Bollywood lost one of its charming and bubbly actresses to matrimony.  Jaya Bhaduri-Bachchan will continue to be remembered in the annals of Bollywood film history as the girl-next-door with a squeaky clean image and great acting prowess.
 
If any readers have any information about Gogi Anand, please share the same in the "comments" column.
 
(After working in the corporate world for close to two decades, Bhagyalakshmi Seshachalam started her second career innings as a head-hunter. She is passionate about Hindi movies and loves retro music. When her family shifted to Chennai in the 80s, Bhagya had a taste of Tamil cinema too. In the long term, she plans a book on two of her favourite directors – Guru Dutt and K Balachander. She travels across the country on work and is based in Mysore.)
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    COMMENTS

    Vydehi

    2 months ago

    Thanks for the nice review Ms Seshachalam. I am based in Chennai. Can you please review 'Door Ka Rahi' 1971 movie of Kishore Kumar and also Jayaji's Piya Ka Ghar? This is a request Madam.

    Ramesh Poapt

    2 months ago

    sorry about gogi, but i did see the movie.
    excellent fact-full article!nostalgic flashback,wow!! thanks.

    Nehru & the Story of Indian Automobiles - I
    With the Indian elections over and with a resounding win for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), bashing Jawaharlal Nehru is back with much fervour. One of the points made by most anti-Nehru friends is how he and his policies strangled India’s automobile industry and how the industry (with the Hindustan Ambassador as a favourite example) came to symbolise all that was wrong with Nehruvian India. 
     
    Personally, I am hardly a fan of Nehru (or the political dynasty that followed); but I am not too sure whether the policies regarding automobile industry could have been all that different, even if any other political party, of a different hue, were in power in those post-Independence days. 
     
    Pre-Independence Automobile Industry in India 
    As a part of the British colonial empire, there was no incentive or protection available to start an automobile industry in India pre-Independence. Automobiles, mostly British, were imported into the country and the American car-makers Ford and General Motors had assembly plants in the country. In the early years, several European car-makers did ship out their cars in chassis-mechanical form, to be ‘bodied’ in India. 
     
    Building coaches of these bodies was, perhaps, the earliest automotive ‘manufacturing’ activity in India. That disappeared though, once the industry moved from coach-built cars to series production automobiles. 
     
    Though Ford Motor Company was first off the block in incorporating Ford India on 31 July 1926, the company took a while to set up its first assembly plant in Bombay, in the suburb of Bhandup, in 1931, followed a few months later by similar facilities in the port cities of Calcutta and Madras too. Before Ford got its assembly facilities going, a wealthy Calcutta-based barrister Sushil Chandra Chaudhury decided to invest in a car assembly facility, in 1927. Mr Chaudhury’s nephew, Anil Kumar Mitra, had studied automobile engineering in USA and then worked with Ford, before signing up with fledgling car-maker Graham-Paige and heading back home to Calcutta to set up the assembly facilities at 2 Rowland Road, where the Chaudhurys already had a tyre service centre, International Tyre & Motor Company. 
     
    Initially, Graham-Paige seemed to be successful, selling well as taxis because of the car’s rather compact turning circle; but the investment was considerable and, within two years, International Tyre & Motor bankrupted.  
     
    General Motors (GM), on the other hand, had a much more successful run in India. Though its assembly facility at Sewri, neighbouring the Bombay Port, was inaugurated in December 1928, series assembly began in earnest in 1929, with several of the many GM brands, including Buick, Chevrolet, Oakland, Oldsmobile and Pontiac, rolling off the lines simultaneously. 
     
    Trucks, with the GM branding, were also assembled. By the time GM overtook Ford worldwide (in 1931), the Indian market, too, was contributing to the GM’s global lead, and this was reflected by the increasing popularity of Chevrolets and Buicks in the sub-continent.
     
     
    Ford, too, did well in India. Ford Canada had the distribution rights for the British colonies and, in 1926, the first year of Ford’s direct operations in India, 4,152 Model Ts found buyers. By 1930, the number of Fords sold in India had gone up to 5,107 (all imported); by 1935, these increased to 5,444 (by now, mostly assembled) and then to 7,011, by 1940. 
     
    In fact, in the WW-II years, 1940 to 1946, Ford assembled and delivered as many as 114,485 defence vehicles to the Allied forces in India from its three assembly plants!     
     
    Surprisingly, just one other car assembly set-up came up in the 1930s, that of Addison in Madras, to assemble British Wolseleys, a logical move as Addison was already the dealer for Wolseleys, Morris and Riley, amongst others. Incidentally, most of the British car-makers did not need to set up assembly facilities, as the market was, in a sense, a captive one for them. It also was not in their nature to do so—Austin preferred licensing production elsewhere and Morris Motors did not have a Ford-style assembly line until 1934! 
     
    For the Americans, shipping complete cars all the way from USA was expensive. Ford was, as well, a pioneer in transplanting the assembly line and in international thinking with the Model-T, opening plants in Canada and the UK as long back as in 1911, where Model-Ts were assembled from knocked-down kits. GM, sure enough, learnt quickly.
      
    The failure of the first Indian car-assembling venture, that of International Tyre & Motor to make the Graham-Paige cars, may have been a deterrent for many Indian entrepreneurs looking to invest in the car-making business in the 1930s. At the same time, the Great Depression, by wiping out two-thirds of the car-makers across the globe, may have also played a role. 
     
    Yet, it is interesting to note that it was in 1930 that Japan’s fledgling car industry had made a very modest start with the manufacture of all of 500-odd units! 
     
    Though exact numbers are not available for car sales for pre-Independence India, it has been estimated that about 17,000 cars were sold in the Indian subcontinent in the calendar year 1930. A plausible figure, given that in 1950—the first officially available statistics—sales of cars in a divided-and-significantly-impoverished India totalled all of 14,688 units.
     
    One theory on why car-assembling ventures never took off in pre-Independence India, is that Indian business houses just did not have the confidence to take on such capital-intensive projects with the British ‘masters’ around, and that it was changes in the political environment that, finally, got the Indian businessmen to seriously start thinking of automobile production. By 1940, the writing was on the wall—the beginning of the end of British imperialism and the dawn of a new order and a new era in Indian industry. 
     
    Make in India, Then
     
    Business houses like the Birlas and the Walchands, as well as the Tatas, were the first movers to perceive business opportunities in automobiles. Walchand Hirachand Doshi saw opportunities in shipping as well as construction of aircrafts. 
     
    In fact, Hindustan Aircraft in Bangalore (which later became Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, HAL) was born out of a chance meeting between an American aircraft executive and Walchand Hirachand on a flight to the US in 1939. 
     
    Mr Walchand’s visit was for a possible collaboration with one of the American ‘Big Three’ for the manufacture of cars. His first stop was at General Motors; but then GM already had its assembly set-up in Bombay. An audience with Henry Ford, it seems, went well. Mr Ford asked him to speak to the Ford Motors’ Canadian division, which was handling the British Commonwealth markets, including India; but Ford had three successful assembly operations going on in India, so Walchand Hirachand then knocked at the doors of Chrysler Corporation. Chrysler Corporation and Walchand Hirachand signed up in 1940. 
     

    With WW-II intervening, car production was set aside for the War effort, as Chrysler Corporation concentrated on the manufacturing of the famous Sherman tanks and Dodge made the engines for the Boeing B-29 Superfortress and military trucks. Walchand Hirachand, in the meantime, incorporated his car company, Premier Automobiles Limited, in 1941. Then he had to wait patiently, till the War came to an end. 
     
    It was a somewhat similar story with the Birlas. Hindustan Motors was incorporated in 1942, at the tiny Gujarat port town of Okha. The War and the consequent diversion of efforts into the production of war material had all the car majors busy—Birla and Hindustan Motors had to wait, too. 
     
    Other industrial groups also saw opportunities and automotive enthusiast JRD Tata decided to get the Tata group to incorporate Tata Engineering & Locomotive Company Limited (TELCO) in 1945, with plans to make locomotives and vehicles. In Ludhiana, a company called Mahindra & Mohammed was incorporated in 1945 to trade in steel. 
     
    With India’s independence, and only after things stabilised, that the business of car-making and assembly was, once again, considered. By 1948, Mahindra & Mohammed had become Mahindra & Mahindra, as business partner Ghulam Mohammed left for Pakistan to become Pakistan’s first finance minister. Hindustan Motors migrated to West Bengal in 1948 and set up a factory in a town called Uttarpara, some 15km north of Calcutta.
     
    Premier Automobiles was first off the block getting its factory in the Bombay suburb of Kurla up and running by 1949, when the first set of Dodge, Plymouth and DeSoto badged cars rolled off the lines, along with the first batch of trucks with Dodge, Fargo and DeSoto branding (Fargo being the brand for trucks sold by the Plymouth dealers).
     
    The same year, the assembly lines began rolling at Hindustan Motors as the company cleverly signed two deals, one with American car-maker Studebaker, and the other with British manufacturer Morris Motors. Hindustan Motors began its Morris assembly operations with the Morris Ten, launched in India as the Hindustan 10 in 1949. The 10 was replaced with the ‘Baby’ Hindustan (Morris Minor), and complemented that with the slightly bigger Hindustan Fourteen (the Morris Oxford). The Fourteen was replaced by the Hindustan Landmaster (the Morris Oxford Series II), which, in turn, was replaced, in 1957, by the Ambassador (the Morris Oxford Series III). In 1959, when the Oxford Series III was replaced by an all-new car, the tooling of the Series III was shipped to India… the Ambassador remained in production until 2014. 
     
     
     
    Not unlike Hindustan Motors, Premier Automobiles, too, had two tie-ups: one with Chrysler, the other with Fiat of Italy. Initially, completely built up Fiat 500C Topolinos and 1100s were imported and sold. 
     
    Then they moved to assembling the two-door 500C and the all-new 1100 in 1954. Until 1965, as Fiat in Italy kept updating the 1100 with cosmetic upgrades, the Premier-assembled Fiats in India too kept getting facelifts. In 1965, Premier introduced the Fiat 1100 D, or Delight. This was the Italian Fiat 1100D from 1962. The tooling was shipped out to India in 1966, and, like the Ambassador, the Fiat 1100D remained in production from 1966… to 2000!
     
     
    In the meantime, TELCO went into the business of manufacturing trucks in a factory in Jamshedpur, after it inked a technical collaboration with Daimler-Benz, from Germany, in 1954. A prominent importer in Calcutta, Dewar’s Garage also waded into the assembly business, bolting together and selling British brands such as Singers and Rovers. 
     
    Mahindra & Mahindra signed up with Willys to assemble the Willys Jeep CJ3B, under licence in India, in a factory in north Bombay; this was sold as the brand ‘Mahindra Jeep’.
     
    Madras, too, had its fair share of automotive assembling action. Entrepreneur Raghunandan Saran set up an assembly plant in Madras to assemble Austin cars, naming the company Ashok Motors. Starting operations in 1948, Ashok Motors assembled and sold the Austin A40 from 1949. The Austin A30 was also considered but, apart from receiving a prototype in 1953, no progress was made on this, as Leyland trucks became the focus.     
     
    (Part 2 of this article will be published next week)
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    COMMENTS

    Jatinder

    2 months ago

    Fabuous article, giving the right historical perspective on Indian automobile seen. I am aprticularly glad that there is a picture of Landmaster car, the forerunner of the Ambassador car. Most people have forgotten the Landmaster, that it existed, just as people have forgotten the Standard car made in Madras those days, which some people preferred to buy because it was low, so a lower CG for safety, and it had a smaller turnaround circle. This fact was demonstrated by a rich businessman in Punjab when he bought the Standard car and was asked what is special. Old-timers would recall that the Standard car was used in the famous car-race between Dilip Kumar and Manoj Kumar in the film Aadmi (1968) - Dr. J.V. Yakhmi

    govind wattal

    2 months ago

    Sir Mirza Ismail and and Sir M Visvesvaraya wanted to start a Joint Venture with Chrysler Corporation but were stymied by the British.

    https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bengaluru/the-statesman/articleshow/66296400.cms

    Meenal Mamdani

    2 months ago

    Thanks. You have done us all a great service by not just defending the policies of the govt at the time but also providing the background information.

    P S SHANKAR

    2 months ago

    Excellent article. It is great to learn about India's automobile industry history. Fascinating. Thanks to the author for the thorough research.

    Bonding Bharat in Nehruvian Colours
    I had resolved to pen a few things about the radio industry but when I sat down to writing this column on 27 May 2019, the gravity of the date being the 55th death anniversary of Jawaharlal Nehru made me change my track. I was struck by the fact that the visionary architect of modern India had been the source of inspiration for the Hindi cinema with his idea of socialism and if our films still provide stories of humanitarian understanding, much of the credit must go to the great statesman. I felt a homage to this humanitarian leader was justified for his exemplary upholding of the democratic values of freedom, equality and justice that influenced Hindi filmdom for a long time.
     
    I accept that the many of the Hindi screen tales can be sordid, indecent or even ludicrous: yet it is irrefutable that they have constantly spread the message of love, friendship and harmony. Hindi films have shaped not just ideals of peaceful co-existence but also our morality, language, fashion and life styles that are generally acknowledged as “Hindustaaniyat” (Indianness). 
     
    Our constitution makers acknowledged the composite culture for India and if millions are practicing secularism in their daily lives today, it is in a large measure due to the overriding impact of Nehru’s benevolent spirit on our films. 
     
    Nehru’s gift of secular democracy was a much needed adhesive for national survival since India had a divergent culture of multifarious languages, life styles, customs and practices. 
     
    While none can deny the contribution of patriotic countrymen, , one has to nevertheless admit that Hindi films have helped unite this nation more than anything else and if the concept of one nation is still alive, it is thanks to enormous contributions by the Nehruvian brand of cinema.
     
    Despite foolish decrees of religious leaders, irresponsible and acerbic barbs of political bosses as well as legacies of religious and communal conflicts, Hindi films have retained sanity to spread ideals of universal brotherhood. 
     
    From mediocre to sublime and avant-garde, Hindi films have steadfastly preached the need to live together and the message from “Dharamputra”, “Seema”, “Godaan”, “Garam Coat” to “Lagaan”, “Bajrangi Bhaijaan” and “Chak De India” is that irrespective of cultural and religious differences, we are one and hatred or killing are not tenets of any religion.
     
     
    According to economic and political analyst Surendra Modi, “The kind of gigantic monetary and social upheavals that India has undergone since independence could have been catastrophic for any other country but Nehruvian ethics ensured India’s progress was inclusive and safe for all.” 
     
    Despite its spectacular diversity, Indian secularism has endured only because of common citizens but the roots of faith and goodwill have been well nourished by several on screen characters like Sher Khan (“Zanjeer”), Harnam Singh (“Roti Kapda Aur Makaan”), Mrs. D’Sa (“Anari”) and Bharat (“Upkaar”) that castigate the rigid caste system and evil dogma with great ferocity. Author Shashi Tharoor says, “Nehru will be remembered for not abandoning vast sections of society” in India’s quest for economic progress and our worst of Hindi pot boilers vindicate that Nehruvian vision of inclusivity embraced everyone.
     
     
    As the nation’s conscience keeper, Nehru stood for an India that honoured every religion, caste, ethnicity and language. But if his “unity in diversity” became the most sacred tenet of independent India, it is all thanks to the stirring lyrics of our film songs. 
     
    Unlike the hypocritical utterances of politicians, phenomenal poetic renditions like “Insaan Bano” (“Baiju Bawra”), “Pyaar Ki Raah Dikha Duniya Ko” (“Lambe Haath”) to “Allah Tero Naam, Ishwar Tero Naam” (“Hum Dono”) and “Zindagi Hai Kya Sun Meri Jaan” (“Asli Naqli”) strengthened not just our secular framework but also inspired the “Ganga – Jamuni” tehzeeb (composite culture) wherein goodness and humanism are ranked higher than religious and communal practices. 
     
     
    Recovering from the traumatic grief of the partition, Nehru’s compassion motivated millions to give up violence while also encouraging film makers to exhibit the common thread of our shared heritage. Providing a universal colour to festivals like Eid, Raakhee, Holi, Diwali and Christmas, our films helped improve the trust quotient in civil society while also weaving a fabric of good will and harmony.  
     
    Nehru’s nationalism was synonymous with secularism whereby everyone, irrespective of caste, creed, colour, belief or religion was accepted as equal. Inspired by the Nehruvian philosophy, Hindi filmdom consistently spoke for the ostracized or marginalised citizenry with its exposition of feudal landlords (“Saheb Biwi Aur Ghulam”) or the helplessness of labour class (“Do Bigha Zameen”), while also pleading justice for physically and mentally challenged (“Dosti”, “Shor” to “Taare Zameen Par”) as well as farmers’ distress (“Mother India” and “Gunga Jamuna”).
     
     
    In a way, Hindi cinema pioneered several praiseworthy initiatives too that apart from advocating inter-caste betrothals (“Julie”) also ranged from denouncing child marriage to raising a voice for widow remarriage (“Prem Rog”) while also trouncing untouchability (“Achoot Kanya”) and exploitation of child labour (“Boot Polish”), orphans (“Sujata”) and prostitutes (“Pakeezah”).
     
    It would take several pages to list out the whole battery of film makers and artistes who were inspired by the iconic leader and incorporated Nehruvian legacy in their creations. The composite culture of filmdom enthused Hindus like HS Rawail and B.R. Chopra in depicting authentic Muslim culture in films (“Mere Mehboob” & “Nikaah”) and Muslim artistes (Naushad, Shakeel Badayuni and Mohammad Rafi) to create the profoundest bhajans for Hindus! Our political class needs to learn a lot from sublime artistes like Dilip Kumar, Dev Anand, Raj Kapoor and Sunil Dutt as well as Mohammed Rafi, Asha Bhosle, Sahir, Shailendra and Khayyam who rose beyond labels of caste, community and religion by being human! 
     
    If they could excel with Nehruvian philosophy, couldn’t politicians too work wonders with our development if they discarded their petty prejudices against the noble leader? It is pertinent to note that Jesus Christ was crucified for all the wrong reasons yet he ‘lives’ and hence, attempts at tarnishing Nehru will only make him live eternally. And who knows, someday, somewhere a gifted film maker might even validate Nehru’s legacy on screen forever! 
     
    (Deepak Mahaan is a well-known Documentary Film Maker, Writer and Commentator)
     
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    COMMENTS

    Bapoo Malcolm

    2 months ago

    MAhaan Musings are really MAAHAN. More to come? We need them in this atmosphere of tension and hatred. Back to happier times of idealism and love. I have my own story on the bogus Sanjay Gandhi "Maruti". Not the Suzuki implant used as a face saver. Am talking of the one that was sent to the Ahmednagar test track in a truck, from Gurgaon, and approved after a couple of laps; ones that apparantly no one remembers. The one lemon over which Kushwant sing sang songs. "How come you are not in jail?", my father would ask me during the Emergency, I being a severe critic of the so-called people's car.

    gcmbinty

    2 months ago

    Such articles must be read by each member of the Nehru-Gandhi family again and again to educate themselves about Bonding Bharat in Nehruvian Colours. They will feel the necessity of their being on the political scene of India, and to thwart the challenges of being secular. Secular means following the policy of the middle path taking in all from the extreme right and extreme left of the political make up. Also, the NehruGandhi family must interact behind the scene with the commoners to understand the path of middle lane.

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