Sargam (1950)

I was planning a film review for a while now but I just couldn’t find the time.This time the film has great music. As a number of popular Hindi films have already been reviewed by other bloggers, I always think of films that have certain attractions of their own.
But the film has so many characters that I had to watch it several times. Then only I could understand it. And I couldn’t identify some of the actors and actresses. I hope knowledgeable readers would recognize them and help me with their names.
Watching the film was fun, though it was not a great film. I will discuss the film’s positive and negative points later.

sargam poster

Sargam (1950)

Cast –
Raj Kapoor, Rehana, Om Prakash, David, Mumtaz Ali, Radha Kishan, Ram Singh, Paro, Vijaya Laxmi, Bimla Kumari, Baby Tabassum, Rattan Kumar, Kamlesh Kumari.

Music –
C Ramchandra

Screenplay –
P L Santoshi and Subodh Mukherjee

Story, Dialogues, Lyrics and Direction –
P L Santoshi

The film opens with a music concert, arranged to welcome Mr Kumar (Ram Singh), who has returned to India after a successful musical tour abroad.

sargam 01

He runs the Kumar Musical Party. The concert is arranged by Seth Roopchand (Om Prakash), who owns a big air conditioned theatre in the city.

sargam 02
One of the singers in the concert sings with weird expressions. His grimaced face looks very funny. He doesn’t even care to sing the words fully.

Bhairavi (Rehana), from the audience, asks him about it in a mocking way. The audience bursts into laughter. The singer takes it as his insult and challenges Bhairavi.

sargam 04

After understanding that Bhairavi is the daughter of Pandit Gyan Shankar, who was a great singer, the audience supports her and demands her performance.
Bhairavi obeys. She explains about the simplicity of singing and adds that singing is not a throat exercise. She exemplifies it by singing a song her father used to perform and how the same song can sound irritating and be made ugly by manipulating the tune, unnecessarily breaking the lyrics.

sargam 05

Her sister, Bageshree (Paro) sings the latter part. The song gets appreciation from the audience and everyone insists for her performance. But Bhairavi refuses with dignity. Even when Mr Kumar asks her to join his company, she refuses. The family won’t sell their talent for money, Bhairavi’s eldest sister, Asawari replies.

sargam 06
Bhairavi leaves the concert with her siblings. Furious audience demands back the ticket money and Seth Roopchand has to agree. He is very angry and decides on revenge.

Bhairavi is daughter of Pandit Gyan Shankar, who was a respectable singer. He used to work for Seth Roopchand and the latter earned a lot of money with his singing performances. Now he is no more and Seth Roopchand insists on a debt his father had once taken. He demands ten thousand rupees including interest. Bhairavi has six siblings, of which her elder sisters, Asawari (who’s name we get to know in the last five minutes of the film) and Bageshree, are of the right age to be married. After Gyan Shankar’s death, his brother, Shiv Shankar (David) looks after the siblings. He is worried about the debt and the responsibility of marrying his nieces.

Revengeful, Seth Roopchand demands his debt the next day. The scene turns into an argument.

sargam 07

The siblings make Seth Roopchand fall into a canal, the latter gets minor injuries. Red with anger, Roopchand sends a notice to them to pay off the debt, else he will expel the family and the home will be auctioned to get his money back.

sargam 14b

Bhairavi and the family are horrified at the thought.
The next we see a matrimonial bureau, where Shiv Shankar is talking to Mr Babulal (Radha Kishan) about Asawari’s marriage.

sargam 08

Babulal promises to come with the groom the next day. The proposed groom is an elderly man, Chirounjilal (or something sounding similar, and I couldn’t recognize the actor) who works with Seth Roopchand.

sargam 09

Shiv Shankar is not happy with the proposal, he is much older to her niece. But he is helpless at the moment, but is sure of rejection by his nieces.
Mr Kumar telephones Babulal for help. Kumar wants him to convince Bhairavi to work for his musical party. The latter says it’s out of scope of his services and suggests to Mr Kumar, Bhairavi as his wife to be and Kumar is thoughtful about it. At this point, one more character enters the scene.

sargam 10

She is Ginni (? Kamlesh Kumari) from Africa, who helped Kumar in Africa when he needed it. She has a fascination for India and she came to India with Kumar. He promised to marry her and she left everything behind and accompanied him.

Seth Roopchand welcomes his son, Vinod (Raj Kapoor). The latter is accompanied by his magician friend, Shyam (?), who is searching for his long lost uncle.


Babulal knows Seth Roopchand’s greedy nature, and he himself is the same. He suggests to him a rich man’s daughter for Vinod. The rich man has a heart problem and he is not expected to live long, leaving his fortune of two crores to his only daughter.

sargam 11

Vinod will get it in turn after the marriage. The rich man is the King of Sarakpur, Raja Kailash Nath. Avaricious, as Roopchand is, he immediately agrees. He breaks the news to Vinod and his aunt (?). Vinod doesn’t seem to think much about it.

Meanwhile Vinod learns about the fact behind Roopchand’s injury. Angrily he visits Pandit Gyan Shankar’s home. There, Bhairavi mistakes him for her sister’s groom. I think there was a portion missing in the version that I watched. Vinod learns about the reality of his father. How he is tormenting the family and why the elder daughter is ready for the alliance.

sargam 12

He hides his real identity and promises to help the family. When Babulal arrives with Chirounjilal, the sisters decide to teach them a lesson. How can anyone suggest a man of Chirounjilal’s age to marry such a young girl, taking unfair advantage of their poverty and helpless situation.

Bhairavi along with Vinod, Munne (Mumtaz Ali) and Bageshree performs a puppet song to highlight the facts and makes Babulal and Chirounjilal realize their mistakes. Insulted, the duo leaves. The children manage to throw the duo in the canal.

sargam 14

Seth Roopchand orders Chironjilal to deposit ten thousand rupees in the locker. Vinod learns about this too. He manages to get the keys of the locker and extracts the money. Then he executes his plan. He involves his cousin (? Friend), Munne in the plan, who appears to be interested in Bageshree. Vinod arrives at the scene in disguise and gives the money to Shiv Shankar.

sargam 15

The bundle of currency notes however has Seth Roopchand’s signature on it and the latter instantly recognises it.

sargam 16

Ultimately Vinod’s disguise is exposed and Seth Roopchand blames Bhairavi for infatuating his son. But Bhairavi is innocent, as Vinod has not disclosed his real identity.
Vinod tries to clarify the matter to Bhairavi, but she is far from listening to the explanation. Vinod has cheated her, and she is in shock.

sargam 18

Finally the family is expelled from the home and all the property is auctioned. Cruel Roopchand doesn’t even allow Bhairavi to carry her father’s photo.

Bhairavi and the family catch a train and leave the city for Bhairavi’s maternal uncle. Vinod again catches her on the railway platform to say sorry, but in vain. He decides to follow her in the same train. Munne accompanies.
But Shiv Shankar has no money for tickets and they are forced to get down at the next station by the ticket checker. But destiny always has its own plans.

sargam 19

Kumar, also traveling in the same train, happens to get down at the same station and he pays off the money. Bhairavi thanks him. He invites the sisters to his company and what’s more. He asks the family to stay with him for the time being. His uncle is a respectable man in the town and he insists the family stay with him.

Vinod and Munne however miss the entire happenings. They are unaware of it, but they manage to get down at a station, only to realize that Bhairavi and the family are missing on the train. They conclude that the family must have got down at the previous station. They reach there by another train and look for a lodge.

sargam 24

Instead they land up in Daak Bungalow. The Pathan looking after the place welcomes them. They start searching for Bhairavi after disguising themselves to some extent. But again a twist awaits. They accidentally see Vinod’s father in a car. Surprised, they follow it. The car enters a palatial bungalow.

sargam 20

The bungalow belongs to Raja Kailash Nath (?), who incidentally is Kumar’s uncle. Seth Roopchand pays a visit to meet Rajaji’s daughter, whom he aspires to be his daughter in law.

sargam 21

Kailash Nath introduces her daughter, Kalawati alias Kala (Vijaya Laxmi) to Seth Roopchand.

Vinod and Munne find out about Raja Kailash Nath and his bungalow. They finally succeed in locating Bhairavi.

sargam 22

But Bhairavi refuses to talk to Vinod and asks Kumar to drive him away. Kumar in turn requests a performance from her in honour of Seth Roopchand.
The guard, Pande working there, tries to beat the duo, but Vinod and Munne succeed in running away and beating Pande instead. Pande however brags to Kumar about his daring and the fight.

sargam 23

And also adds that the nasties are staying at Daak bungalow. Bhairavi hears the conversation and feels bad about Vinod.
She visits Vinod at Daak bungalow. Pathan is angry with Vinod because he wore his clothes without his permission and adds that he would add three rupees more to the bill. Vinod lures him by offering five rupees. Pathan has to lie to Bhairavi about Vinod’s sufferings due to beating at the hands of Pande. Pathan of course agrees.
Pathan is smart enough and demands five more rupees from Bhairavi to escort her to Vinod.

sargam 25

But exposes Vinod’s drama. Bhairavi gets angry with Vinod for the fake drama. But it lasts for a minute. She is actually happy to see him. She asks him to join her for the performance in the evening. Vinod agrees.

sargam 27

The team performs the true story of Seth Roopchand, who is furious about it all. The couple, Bhairavi and Vinod however runs away on the horse. They arrive at a jungle, where after initial faux anger, Bhairavi confesses her love.

sargam 28

When Seth Roopchand comes to Vinod, Raja Kailash Nath also arrives there and recognizes him as the same lad who carried Bhairavi away with him from the stage performance.

sargam 29

He considers him a loafer. Helpless Roopchand fails to introduce Vinod as his son.

The whole party arrives at Seth Roopchand’s town. Raja Kailash Nath and Kala are confused about Vinod, when they see Vinod’s photo with Shyam.

sargam 30

They guess who would be Vinod. But Seth Roopchand diplomatically doesn’t answer.
Meanwhile Kumar buys Pandit Gyan Shankar’s home for twenty five thousand rupees. He returns it back to Bhairavi. Her family is very happy, but Pandit Shiv Shankar is against Bhairavi’s affinity for Vinod. She is in dismay. Kumar’s attraction for Bhairavi grows more with time and finally he decides to marry her.

sargam 32

But Ginni is obviously against it. Kumar has been planning a foreign tour of his musical party and invites Raja Kailash Nath and Kala as well. Babulal proposes Kumar’s marriage on the boat itself.

Vinod is thinking about a plan to meet Bhairavi and marry her. He decides to take help of his magician friend, Shyam. Shyam promises to help him. He needs a big theater for his show and meets Seth Roopchand for the same. There he comes across a big surprise!

sargam 33

Why is Shyam so surprised? Would he be able to help Vinod? Would Ginni stop Kumar from marrying Bhairavi? And what about Seth Roopchand who wants Vinod to marry Kala?

Sounds interesting! Isn’t it?
The basic plot of the story has the potential of a full fledged comedy film. But somehow, to make the things complicated and funnier, Santoshi has added too many characters. The comedy character like Chiroujilal seems unnecessary. The film fails to capture the attention of the audience. We don’t get a lot of things the first time . This is a big disadvantage. The characters keep on coming on screen, some of whom are not properly introduced. I couldn’t find who Munne was? Vinod’s cousin perhaps. One needs to watch the film several times to understand the characters and their relationship with each other.
The climax and the film after the parties get on with the boat journey appear too lengthy. Though finally Santoshi succeeds to make everything fall in place, it’s all too predictable. It’s too much of a coincidence that the boat gets caught in a storm and reaches Africa. Because if it wouldn’t have been Africa, the story wouldn’t have ended. But of course, it’s a film and all the Hindi films are full of coincidences.
Another thing, why Pandit Gyan Shankar has seven children? Just because he is a singer and Indian classical music has seven notes! The children are named after Indian classical ragas, but except Bhairavi, Bageshree, Asawari (her name is mentioned in the last song, Mombasa Mombasa. Otherwise at least I never heard anyone calling her by name throughout the movie) and Deepak, the names of other siblings remain unknown. Such an unnecessary team of characters. Some of them, like Bimla, have no dialogues at all. While others have just one or two.
I have heard that Santoshi was fond of numerous characters in his films. I think it was quite true too! And to offer a fair chance to all, the love story between the two main leads somewhat suffers.

sargam 26

I mean there are not many romantic scenes between them. Most of the footage is devoted to solving their problems and their reunion ends abruptly.
But the main surprise for me was Raj Kapoor. I have always felt that Raj Kapoor outside RK banner is totally a different personality. For once he actually acts real, he is not RK, but he is Vinod. He is handsome, charming, and totally in his character. Vinod is rebellious, he stands against his father when he realizes the injustice. Rehana is average, but she looks good. Rehana and Paro’s characters are strong too, they try to oppose Seth Roopchand’s plans. But financially weak, their fight doesn’t withstand. Om Prakash is natural as usual. His cruel, manipulative, greedy father is at times funny too! He even accepts his son’s rebellious attitude, when he fears of loosing Kala’s wealth. Finally he accepts Bhairavi, but still his greedy nature persists. There is no clear mention of the debt, Pandit Gyan Shankar has! Perhaps the missing portion of the movie, cleared away the part. Other characters do their job satisfactorily. Radha Kisan’s Babulal is funny, and after matchmaking for a long time, he finally finds wife for himself. But how he gets attracted to Asawari and how she accepts him is not clear. The Climax song winds up all the things speedily.

Music –
The biggest attraction for me was its music. C Ramchandra has composed western and Indian classical based compositions with equal finesse. He excels in Main Hoon Ek Khalasi (a rock n roll song), and Chhed Sakhi Sargam (a Indian classical based song) as well. The film is full of songs, and all have a situation. Except, the song, Mombasa Mombasa (which is not very bad either), all others are fabulous. The song however gets screened at the climax and the couples decide about their future in the last dialogues of the song. The song is actually a very brilliant idea of winding up the long climax. As Santoshi was the story writer, lyricist and director himself, he could manage it very smoothly and effectively. The song makes no sense if you just hear it, it will be enjoyable only if you watch the full film. The other songs are good too.
The association between Lata Mangeshkar and Chitalkar was getting stronger day by day, and Lata is excellent in all the songs. Chitalkar himself sings for Raj Kapoor, though Rafi also gets a share in a song. Saraswati Rane also gives a very good support in both the duets, she is offered. In short, music is the strongest department of the film.

The Verdict –
You can skip the film and enjoy the songs. The songs are visually appealing too, so video jukebox is the best answer. I couldn’t find it. But here’s a link for audio jukebox.
But if you have patience to watch it repeatedly to get the facts correct, all the best.

You can watch the movie here.

Disclaimer –
Mehfil Mein Meri, claims no credit for any image, screenshots or songs posted on this site. Images on this blog are posted to make the text interesting. The images and screenshots are the copyright of their original owners. The song links are shared from YouTube, only for the listening convenience of music lovers. The copyright of these songs rests with the respective owners, producers and music companies.

10 Replies to “Sargam (1950)”

  1. It’s been a while since I watched this one, so I’d forgotten most of it (I think part of that has to do with it being a forgettable film. ;-)) But the music is really good, some really lovely songs there. Thanks for the review, Anupji.


  2. Anup ji ,
    The screenshots nd the story narrated by U gav me a feel as if I m watching the movie .
    Very nice presentation !

    The artist playing Kailash Nath is Niranjan Sharma . ( Another gr8 film blog , memsaabstory .com has a folio ” artist gallery” from where U can identify many of the unknown चेहरे)

    Yes … Raj Kapoor was impressive .. as till then he had nt typecasted himself as the Indian अवतार of Charlie Chaplin – सीधासाधा भोलाभाला राजू !!!

    C. Ramchandra – Lata …. A gr8 combo ..
    But my favourite is ” जब दिलको सतावे गम , तू छेड सखी सरगम ”

    I liked the analysis U hv come up with , after the story .
    Nd one can find answers to some of the bold – typed questions mentioned by U , in the song U hv added मोंबासा मोंबासा

    Overall , a nice post .
    Njoyed thoroughly .

    Dr . Saheb , take care of yourself .

    My best wishes to U nd all the readers of महफिलमें मेरी
    ” Stay safe , stay blessed . ”

    Let’s fight nd pray together to defeat this nightmare of ….

    गमकी अँधेरी रातमें दिलको न बेकरार कर
    सुबह ज़रुर आएगी , सुबह का इंतज़ार कर

    Pramod Godbole .


    1. Let’s fight nd pray together to defeat this nightmare of ….
      गमकी अँधेरी रातमें दिलको न बेकरार कर
      सुबह ज़रुर आएगी , सुबह का इंतज़ार कर

      Yes, subah zarur aayegi.
      Thanks for the appreciation Pramod ji.
      And special thanks for identifying the actor who played Kailash Nath.

      I appeal to all the readers,
      Stay at home, stay safe.

      We will defeat the corona pandemic.


  3. Anup,
    Several films of C Ramchandra of that period had very convoluted story line, such as this film and ‘Sagaai’. In this film you must have noticed two special things. The sisters are named after classical Ragas to underscore their lineage, and in ‘Tinak tin tani’ one demonstrates the melodious style of singing, and the other singer exaggerates vocal acrobatics to caricature that style of singing by some musicians. That was the point of this song.


    1. Thanks AKji for visiting and commenting.
      I’ve mentioned both the things in the review. But I think your description of vocal acrobatics sounds much more accurate than mine.
      Thank you.


  4. When we saw this movie on DD way back, we liked it. It’s crazy, unconnected, but not as bad as not to give a one time watch. Just as I can watch Rohit Shetty’s “Golmaal” series (not his other movies mind you), why not “Sargam”. Besides it has great songs.


    1. It’s not bad at all. But at least I couldn’t get many things in first watching. And it’s full of characters. It creates confusion. Though it’s very funny and enjoyable at times, in all it was average for me.
      But sings are superb, one of C Ramchandra’s best.


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