Chhoti Chhoti Baatein (1965)

Last month I was fully busy with the Anil Biswas series and during the research, I came across the film. Motilal and Nadira are always acclaimed for their natural and effortless performances. I was very curious about the film and Anil da’s melodious songs were icing on the cake.
I of course liked the film. It was Motilal’s first and unfortunately the last attempt of directing a film. He also produced the film and wrote the story. Though he wasn’t financially stable, the film was his dream and he finally made it. It was very sad that he succumbed to death before its release, even before its final processing. It is said that Mukesh, who was his distant relative, tried a lot and completed the remaining processing. Anil Biswas also completed the background score hurriedly. And though the film received acclaim for acting and the offbeat theme, it wasn’t successful at the box office.

The film is about an honest man who unfortunately has no place in his family’s emotional world. His wife insults him, taunts him, his children don’t realize their responsibilities and in all nobody cares for him. Nobody respects him despite his fulfilling of all the responsibilities. In Motilal’s own words about the character, He is a man full of goodness and has an air of ineffable sadness.

CCB 01

Cast –
Motilal, Nadira, Leela Mishra, Moti Sagar, Sangeeta, Miss Manju, Mubarak, krishan Dhawan, M Kumar, S N Bannerji

Lyrics –

Music –
Anil Biswas

Writer, Producer and Director –
Moti Lal

CCB 02

The film opens in Motilal’s house in Mumbai. We meet Motilal (Motilal) and his family. It’s 9 o’ clock in the morning and Motilal is getting late for the office. He has to reach there in half an hour.

CCB 03

But his son, Suresh (Moti Sagar) doesn’t care for him at all, he has been occupying the bathroom and bathing at leisure. His wife (Leela Mishra) however takes her son’s side. Finally Motilal helps himself with cold water in the chowka (the place for washing utensils) and escapes without breakfast. It’s like a routine for him now to get late at the office. We also meet Shankar, who is his faithful servant who looks after his needs and cares for him.

CCB 04

At the breakfast table however, Motilal’s daughter, Munni (Sangeeta) wants to demand money from him for buying lipstick and face powder. She is just ignorant about the financial condition of her father. Her mother offers her money which Motilal gave her to buy coal and groceries for cooking.

CCB 05

At the office, his boss is waiting for him and he is angry as Motilal is late again. Motilal manages to reach by 10. His salary is actually just enough to make ends meet. The boss hints at his retirement and suggests to him to look for another job. He reminds him of one of his long pending assignments.
Overwhelmed by the work, Motilal returns home to see a party. His wife has also joined the crew. When he comes to know that there is no tea left for him, he covers it up saying it was anyway too late and dinner would soon be ready.

CCB 06

However, his wife gets angry with him because he didn’t join the party and he hasn’t ever liked the children. When asked about the dinner she throws tantrums and curses the servant, Shankar. She had snacks with children and won’t feel hungry so soon. Motilal covers it up again by a silly excuse. While she doesn’t give a damn to Motilal’s hunger, she doesn’t forget to feed milk to Munni’s pet cat. Motilal is so much taken for granted by his family. No one respects him though he cares for everyone.

CCB 07

Next day he gets up early and bathes in chowka, so that his children would be free to use the bathroom. But his wife doesn’t realize the real thing. She demands him some money to pay various bills. He promises to give money. At the office a surprise awaits him, but not a pleasant one! He receives a month’s notice from his boss. When he gets back home, the family has gone for a movie. After coming back, Suresh and Munni quarrel like small children for getting their favourite things.

CCB 08

At the dinner table, Motilal asks his family their wishes if they would have been wealthy. Munni says, she would have bought all the sarees from the shop, his wife wishes if she could get her favourite house and would have paid all the debt. She doesn’t forget to insult her husband by saying that she would have called someone from her mother’s place whom she could share her feelings with. Suresh would have opened a showroom displaying all the cars and would have owned many.

Motilal realizes that no-one actually needs him, nor they care for his wishes and dreams. He has no place in their emotional world. All of them are self centered with no realization of family bonds or the responsibilities. He confirms the same when nobody bothers to leave some food for him even though all are sharing the table. Disappointed and hurt Motilal helps himself just with only roti, no curry to eat with.

CCB 09

His wife hands him over an envelope that has arrived by post. Motilal thinks of it as a legal notice about the debt. He doesn’t think of opening and confirming it.

But the next morning brings him an unexpected surprise. A lawyer comes to meet him, but just misses him. However the lawyer offers him a lift in his car, not aware that he is Motilal.

CCB 10

During their conversation in the car, they get to know each other’s identity. The lawyer, Mr Girish Laal (Krishan Dhawan), takes Motilal to their office. There he breaks the news to Motilal that he’s now a millionaire. Motilal is too bewildered. But the lawyers, Girish and his father (S N Bannerji), tell him all about his cousin, Ramlal and his will.
Ramlal was believed to be dead, but he was actually in Africa and there he made a fortune. He didn’t marry and ultimately left all his money, which amounted to not less than two crores, to Motilal. When the lawyers ask him to demand any amount of money, he goes only for five hundred rupees.

CCB 11

The day proves lucky! He even gets the long pending assignment from the company. He immediately returns to the office and resigns from the job. He comes back home with a lot of gifts for his family.

CCB 13

Suresh and company are about to go to watch a movie. But Motilal firmly orders them to stay back. Then he announces that he has fulfilled all the wishes of the entire family. Suresh thinks his father has turned crazy and he calls for a doctor who’s Motilal’s friend. On his arrival Motilal tells them all, the entire story of his cousin, Ramlal. However he hides the fact that Ramlal is dead. Motilal further adds that he’s leaving soon to meet Ramlal.

CCB 14

Suddenly his family members start behaving properly with him. The next day Advocate Girish Laal hands over the documents to the family in Motilal’s presence and immediately Motilal leaves his house.
He is of course not traveling abroad but his faithful servant has his train ticket to Kolkata. But Motilal forgets to take his train ticket as he leaves in a hurry.
When a ticket checker, Rajendra (Satish Kumar), asks Motilal for his ticket he realizes that he not only has forgotten the ticket but he is on the wrong train too. But the checker has a keen eye, he instantly recognizes Motilal as a gentleman.

CCB 15

He advises that his own village Chandanpur would be a perfect place for Motilal to get peace of mind and rest. It’s a small village, away from the city crowd with nature’s beauty and good villagers.
Motilal agrees to it. Rajendra hands him his ticket to Chandanpur.
After getting down at the station, they travel by a Tonga to Mr Choudhari (M Kumar).

CCB 16

Mr Choudhari is a respected personality in Chandanpur and he offers homes on rent.
When Motilal wishes to pay a rent for a big house at 100/- rupees per month, Choudhari and his daughter Radha (Manju) are surprised.

CCB 17

They think it a little weird. Motilal expresses his wish to live in a big house, and that he can now afford it. But they are even more surprised when Motilal pays for an entire year in advance. Radha and Rajendra help Motilal move into the rented house.

CCB 18

Choudhari was in need of money and he thinks of Motilal as God sent to pay rupees 1200/- up front. Though originally wealthy, now the family has nothing much to depend on and is in a bad financial situation. Radha studies in the final year in a medical college in Delhi and it was difficult to pay for the final exam. Now she can pay the fees and appear for the exam. Radha and her father are very grateful to Motilal.

CCB 19

But Motilal waves off the thought by saying it’s all God’s grace that he was sent to Radha’s village on that day. It was all God’s plan and he himself was just a medium.
Motilal is a kind, caring gentleman, who’s ready to offer help to anyone. On his very first day, he helps a farmer regain his bullocks by paying his debt. Getting back home, he realises that he has nothing to eat, no grocery at all. But Radha sends him dinner and solves the problem. Motilal is pleasantly surprised with the helpful behaviour of Radha and Thakur (Mubarak). The latter is Rajendra’s uncle and Motilal’s neighbour. Thakur helps him bring heavy goods from the market and offers him his Tonga for free. He is the owner of the Tonga and takes no fare from Motilal. He also invites Motilal to play chess whenever he feels like it. Motilal hasn’t experienced such bonding even with his family members.

CCB 20

Next morning, Choudhari and Radha visit the home. Radha brings with her a maid (who’s known as Bhiku’s mother) to cook and to look after the home. Mr Choudhari also invites him for the Janmashtami festival to take place at his house.
Motilal strolls along the lake and remembers his young days when he used to swim well. But due to old age, he can’t swim well and starts sinking in the water. Fortunately a boatman nearby rescues him.

CCB 21

In the boat, we meet Shanta (Nadira) who offers him food and is friendly with him. She appreciates his simplicity. She is a beautiful young lady and is not so happy with her life. She sings a beautiful song to express her feelings and her thinking about the ways of the world. Nothing is said about her past in the film, the song carries the responsibility entirely for building her personality.

CCB 22

Shanta drops Motilal on the banks of the lake where they formally introduce each other. Shanta is a painter and she requests Motilal to wait for her till she returns. But thunderstorms strike by surprise and she has to wind up her painting and rush back to the village. Motilal perhaps hurts his shoulder /elbow in the process.

CCB 23

Shanta lives in Chandanpur with her sister and brother-in-law, Seth (Nissar). The latter is a nasty, lecherous creature, who has his lusty eyes on Shanta. He accompanies Shanta when she wishes to visit Motilal. On the way he tries to molest Shanta, who protests. Fortunately Thakur reaches there and saves Shanta.

CCB 24

Motilal soon starts helping the villagers. He orders a tractor for ploughing the farms, when the bullocks fell sick. He also allows Shanta to teach children in his house. All the villagers start respecting him a lot.

CCB 25

But all good things come to an end. There always are disruptive people.
Motilal also faces problems, and one of the problems ………..

The film has a very promising beginning. Though it was good, I was disappointed with the ending. I request the readers to share their thoughts about it.

Highlights of the Film –
Of course Motilal. He is extremely natural. It seems he actually lives the character. The story, also written by Motilal, does sound different. Offbeat.
Then there are supporting characters who do their jobs nicely.
Though it was a commercial film, it does look like an art film. Simple story, believable characters, no filmy loudness, no melodrama.
I was happy to watch subtle hints of attraction between Shanta and advocate Girish Laal. Similarly a budding love between Suresh and Radha is also aptly portrayed.
The film also endorses remarriage of the widow, which is still considered a bold step.
Music by Anil Biswas is excellent, so is the background score. My favourites are Kuchh Aur Zamana Kehta Hai, Zindagi Ka Ajab Fasana Hai. I was disappointed not to find the song, Zindagi Khwab Hai in the movie. Mori Bali Re Umariya, though presented in the context of Radha and Lord Krishna, it actually also refers to Radha’s own life.

Negative points –
I don’t think the film is about the mature friendship between two people, as it’s always portrayed on the net. Though it does talk about it, that’s not the central idea of the film in my opinion.
The only character which is very well written and strongly built is that of Motilal. I have no idea if the characters like his family members could really exist. I don’t mean they are outrageously unbelievable, but are a bit over the top. Nadira’s character is very abstract, she gets only a song to portray it. She has no scope for acting. The role could have been better than that.
And the end was shocking. I wasn’t expecting it. It doesn’t end the story. But I think Motilal wanted to end it on that note.

Verdict –
A must watch for Motilal, no matter if you are his fan or not. It’s a good film. If you haven’t seen a movie with a meaning, for a long time, definitely go for it. And do share your opinions about it.

(Image Courtesy – Lehren Retro)

You can watch the film 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.

12 Replies to “Chhoti Chhoti Baatein (1965)”

  1. A nice review of the film. Reading your review the film appears to be interesting. Will watch it very soon. Yes the songs were familiar.


    1. Thank you Venkataramanji.
      Yes, the film is certainly interesting and good, except perhaps the ending. But that’s my opinion.
      Please share your views when you watch it. The link is there in the post at the end.
      God knows why your comment always lands up in the pending folder!


  2. I watched this many years back, so have forgotten most of it, but I do recall liking the way it was set up – and it was refreshing to see the romantic angle between the characters of Nadira and Krishan Dhawan. And of course Kuchh aur zamaana kehta hai: matchless.


  3. Anup ji ,
    Nicely reviewed . 👌👌👌
    It creates enough curiosity for watching the movie .
    U have nicely presented the story .
    All screenshots r gr8 .

    I agree with U what U have mentioned in negative points .

    Well , about the ending …
    I remember having watched this movie on DD .
    I too didn’t like the sad ending . ( It is nt good to reveal the end here … )

    Anil Da has given gr8 tunes in his very last movie . ( Yes , that reminds me , I have nt yet given comments on Anil Da series part 2 , 3 ,4 … I will do that soon .)

    Meena Kapoor’s कुछ और ज़माना कहता हैं is excellent .

    Anup ji ,
    Thnx for a nice review of a good movie .


    1. Thank you for the appreciation and as usual encouragement.
      Yes, the ending was a little disappointment for me.
      A man good at heart, helping other should not face such a kind of fate.
      And, thanks for not revealing the end.

      I will wait for your comments on the earlier posts.


  4. Anup ji,
    Fantastic review.
    I remember it for the great song “Kuch aur zamana kehta hai”.
    Motilal was a great actor. This movie reminds me about another of his excellent movie “Parakh: which also had great songs.
    Looks an interesting movie to watch apart from the ending as you mentioned but I have seen innumerous movies with happy ending but disappointing throughout, so will definitely give it a try.:-)


  5. Wonder why they left out the most poignant song. At least they could have played the last part of the song :

    चंद दिन था बसेरा हमारा यहाँ
    हम भी मेहमान थे, घर तो उस पार था,
    हमसफ़र एक दिन तो बिछड़ना ही था,
    अलविदा अलविदा अलविदा अलविदा

    Anup ji, another feather in your cap – an excellent review. It was almost like watching the Film, minus the ending, of course. Kudos!

    With warm regards



  6. the link you shared is invalid, reading your review makes me really want to watch this movie. Please share another link if possible.


    1. Mr Khan,
      Welcome to the blog.
      I checked the link in the post. It’s no longer working. I tried again on YouTube, but unfortunately couldn’t get the full movie. May be someone would upload it again. I’ll look for it and change the link. Thanx for pointing out the inoperable link.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

A Mixed Bag

Science, Literature, Sports n more ............

Evergreen Indian film music

Great film music and great music directors

Rekha's Sousaphone

"Geet, beet, bajao baaja!"


The spice of life

Songs Of Yore

A Journey Through Golden Era Of Hindi Film Music

%d bloggers like this: