Saiyan (1951)

It has been three months since my last film review. Meanwhile I watched a few of Madhubala films, but none could actually inspire me to write a review. Though I liked Beqasoor (1950), somehow I couldn’t gather enough enthusiasm for writing a review. Maybe someday I will.

But when I watched M Sadiq’s ‘Saiyan’, my spirits rose. Madhubala playing the title role was good and Sajjan was a surprise for me. Except for his television appearance as Betaal in the show, Vikram Aur Betaal, I never watched any of his films at all. And with that horrifying makeup and the wig, I used to get scared of him. I was just a six year old child then. So to watch a young, handsome but somewhat funny faced Sajjan was a pleasant surprise. And he acted well too.

S 2a

The film is a remake of Hollywood Western, ‘Duel in the Sun’, which was in turn based on a novel with the same name. I think the story is tailored to fit Indian audience and a few changes are also made, but the central theme is the same.
Saiyan is a good film, with good performances by the main starcast and very good music. Though the songs look like they are there just for the sake of being there, the story certainly doesn’t demand them. Still a couple of songs are really very good and are my favourites.

Let’s turn to the movie review.

S 1

Starcast –
Madhubala, Sajjan, Leela Chitnis, Ajit, Raj Mehra, Jayant, Cuckoo

Story & Dialogues –
Azm Bazidpuri

Lyrics –
Rajendra Krishan, D N Madhok, Hasrat Jaipuri

Music –

Producer and Director –
M Sadiq

The film opens with goons riding on horses, searching for Saiyan (Madhubala). One of them is a local Zameendar (?), who is ambitious about Saiyan and wants her by hook or by crook. Saiyan is too beautiful. (After all she’s Madhubala, that too of the early 50s)

S 2b
He abducts her and goes to his den.

S 3a

Fortunately Saiyan’s friends inform her father, whom she calls Bapu (Jayant). The latter reaches there in time. Before leaving the home he scrabbles a message for Saiyan, on a sheet of paper and leaves it on the bed.

Lustful Zameendar is ready for any amount in her exchange. There is an exchange of furious words between the two men.

S 4

Bapu can’t tolerate the injustice and he threatens him. Ultimately Zameendar shoots him. The latter however manages to fire a shot at Zameendar, who collapses as well. Saiyan is in deep agony, her only support is no more with her.
Distressed, Saiyan returns home to find the paper lying on the bed.

S 5
There is a message to Saiyan to leave the village and travel to Jagatpur. Their old family friend, Rani Sahiba will help her. Being a brave girl, Saiyan pulls herself together and gathers courage. She does accordingly.

She reaches her destination by a railway. Outside the railway station, she meets Vijay (Ajit), who is Rani Sahiba’s elder son. She thinks of him as a flirt. Shortly after that she realizes that he is her escort. She gets into the car. At the same time, Rajjoo (Sajjan) arrives there on a Tonga.

S 6

He clearly and openly expresses his interest for Saiyan. Saiyan dislikes him at once. His behaviour is totally indecent. Rajjoo, who’s also known as Raj or Raju, is Vijay’s younger brother.

S 7

The brothers are poles apart. Vijay is a gentleman, and his father’s favourite. Rajjoo is an impulsive, possessive, spoiled brat, who is adored by his mother. Saiyan accepts Vijay’s proposal and they reach home.

Rani Sahiba alias Thakurain (Leela Chitnis) welcomes her with love and expresses sympathy for her.

S 8

Their exact family relations are not disclosed in clear words, but Thakur Sahab (Raj Mehra) is not much happy with Saiyan. His reaction gives a rough idea about the possible connection.

S 9

His inclination to Vijay is very apparent from his other reaction in relation to the dog. While he gets irritated with the dog in the house, he instantly praises the dog after he gets to know that Vijay has brought it.

Thakur Sahab’s haveli is very big and beautiful. Rani Sahiba escorts Saiyan to her room, which incidentally adjoins Rajjoo’s room. Rajjoo is completely head over heels for Saiyan. He tries to flirt with her at every single opportunity and irritates her.

S 10

He very openly and clearly conveys his passionate attraction for her. Saiyan however doesn’t care much for him, he irritates her no end.

Vijay and Saiyan get attracted to each other. But Vijay is too shy to express his feelings to Saiyan. And later he has to repent for the mistake. He is not rebellious and cares for his parents. He is the only ray of hope for Thakur Sahab. On the other hand, Raj irritates Saiyan a good deal. She takes dislike for him, but slowly falls prey to his charm.

Vijay and Raj both are in love with Saiyan. Saiyan initially gets attracted to Vijay, but later Raj manages to impress her. Rather she has no other option but to get attracted to him.

S 14

Saiyan is in a dilemma, whom should she follow? Vijay who is a religious gentleman, or Raj who’s passion for her is uncontrolled.
Vijay never tries to freely express himself to her. Once he tries to do so, but Thakur Sahab catches Saiyan and Vijay in a romantic conversation.

S 11

He strictly warns Vijay to be away from Saiyan. Obedient, as Vijay is, he follows his father’s instructions. Thakur Sahab even finalizes to annonce Vijay’s engagement a couple of days later in a party. Vijay tries to protest but in vain. Thakur Sahab plans Vijay’s marriage to Rai Sahab’s daughter, Nirmala.
Thakur Sahab also makes Saiyan aware of her insignificant place in his big palacial haweli. He tries to show her place in the scheme of things mentioning her poverty and warns her off.

S 12

Saiyan finally chooses Raj. He is an expert sharpshooter and Saiyan learns to shoot. They get close to each other still further. Even when Vijay tries to call her back to him, she can’t do so. Raj’s support makes her feel safer.

S 13

In the party however Raj plays a mischief and Rai Sahab chooses him for marriage instead of Vijay. Furious Thakur Sahab forces him to accept the proposal. Raj declares his love for Saiyan and rejects Nirmala.
Thakur Sahab suddenly takes a decision and announces Saiyan’s marriage with his debtor, Aatmaram. He not only clears off his debt, but offers him Rs. 5000/- for the marriage. The latter is an aged man, very much older for Saiyan. Thakur Sahab feels he’s treating the root cause of the main problem. But Rajjoo openly opposes to the proposal.

S 15

Saiyan however accepts her destiny and prepares herself for the marriage. She tells Rajjoo so. The latter however gets more furious than ever. Saiyan is afraid of his reaction.

S 16

Rajjoo decides to stop the ceremony. He goes to Aatmaram and advises against the marriage. After a furious exchange of words, Rajjoo fires a shot at Aatmaram, who dies then and there.

S 17

The story takes a serious turn. Rajjoo is now a criminal.

What’s Saiyan’s destiny? Will Thakur Sahab and Rani Sahiba be able to bear the shock? What about Vijay? And will Rajjoo be punished for the crime?

Plus points and negative points –

In all it was a good movie that must have done good (if not very well) at the box office. Even though it’s not very great, it’s certainly watchable. Madhubala fans like me would certainly enjoy it. Madhubala not only looks beautiful but proves herself in a tomboyish role. She is brave, confident, yet cares for family values. Even after playing such a strong and different role in relatively early part of her career, she was considered only a beautiful Venus of Hindi films. She was undoubtedly a talented actress.

As I’ve said already, the film was a remake of an American Western, that was controversial due to some of its intimate scenes between the lead actors. For Indian audience, the film has been well modified and other necessary changes are also made to suit Indian culture. And for a change it’s not a typical Hindi film melodrama, but with a little difference. At least the story must have appealed as a fresh change in 1951.

The characters are all real up to some extent, a father respecting his elder responsible, caring son, a mother adoring her spoiled son, helping him out even after he commits a murder ( I don’t know about that), a brother who is ready to sacrifice his love for the family, a son who knows his mother’s weaknesses and is sure of her support, and a carefree, beautiful, poor girl who knows she’s the centre of all the havoc and feels guilty about it, she gets attracted to a man’s irresistible charm, but never supports his crime.

All the characters are well written, well executed and well portrayed. I particularly liked Madhubala, Sajjan and Leela Chitnis. The latter has excellenly shown different shades of a mother. Ajit has really no scope for his acting skills. He hardly has any particular best scene to his credit. As I said Sajjan was a surprise package at least for me. Only obstacle was his somewhat funny face, his facial expressions sometimes make you laugh when you’re not supposed to.

The story also strictly focuses the central theme, it has no side plots, no comic characters, no unnecessary melodrama (we are used to it anyway). The director has also succeeded in keeping it crisp, interesting. The dream sequence is particularly a nice concept to depict Saiyan’s dilemma. Saiyan is singing in front of Vijay, who’s sitting like a sage in penance with his eyes closed. Whereas Rajjoo captures her attention at the earliest opportunity. Saiyan’s imagination of the two brothers and their behaviour is really conveyed effectively through the song.

I can safely say, a kind of suspense hovers around till the end. I was very curious about the end as I wasn’t aware of the Hollywood original when I first watched it. I was disappointed with the ending, though the original film also has the same ending. I was a bit taken aback by Madhubala’s reaction in the end. I certainly wasn’t expecting it.

I am a bit confused about the exact period the film is set in. Thakur Sahab’s haveli is so big, but there is no electricity. Also Rani Sahiba’s mention of visiting the lake for bathing. Are there no bathrooms in the house? or maybe she likes swimming!

All things considered I think it’s a good movie to watch.

Music –
The songs of the movie were one of the most lucrative attractions for me. All the songs are good, including the dance number by Cuckoo, sung by Shamshad Begum. Sajjad has obviously offered all the main songs to Lata Mangeshkar and all the songs are good. Barring the song, picturised as a dream sequence, the other songs have no exact situation. My personal favourites include, Hawa Mein Dil Dole (which is perhaps one of the few happy songs, Sajjad composed for Lata Mangeshkar) and Kali Kali Raat Re. The latter has a magnificent melody, a lilting tune that lingers for a long time.
Khayalon Mein Tum Ho has a very interesting orchestration and use of chorus is also different. Its tune is catchy too. Sajjad had faith only in Lata Mangeshkar and he hardly cared for any other female playback singer. I’ve no idea, why was he so fascinated with sad songs? In addition, he tended to use similar tunes for some of the songs.
Rafi’s joyous ‘Us Paar Is Deewar Ke’ is good too. One of the few (? The Only) songs picturised on Sajjan.

The film is dedicated to the talented dance director Krishna Kumar, who also choreographed for Saiyan. The choreography is good of course. I think he must have expired during the making of the film, and hence the film is dedicated to his fond memories.

Trivia saiyan

Verdict –
Certainly a good watch for everybody. Must watch for Madhubala fans.

You can watch the movie here.

Disclaimer –
Mehfil Mein Meri, claims no credit for any image, screenshot 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.

8 Replies to “Saiyan (1951)”

  1. Kali kali raat… is Lata’s personal favorite.
    I have witnessed live concert where she had sung this. Initial comment is missing here. She told she was singing the song for herself, audience might like it or not.


  2. Glad you liked this one! I saw it a couple of years back too, and liked it – though I never got around to reviewing it. Madhubala was well cast in this role, and Sajjan was excellent.

    By the way, to answer that question about if Us paar is deewaar ke is Sajjan’s only song; no. He has also acted in some other films as a leading man, and there are several songs picturised on him – for instance in the 1955 film Do Dulhe.


    1. Yes, Saiyan is a good movie and Madhubala has done a good job.
      BTW, what was your reaction when you watched it for the first time? I mean did you like the ending?
      And, thank you for answering my question about Sajjan. I am not aware of any of his other films as a main lead.
      I should look for his other films.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I didn’t like the tragedy of the ending, but the way the film was going, it did seem an appropriate sort of way for it to end. It was a little un-Hindi film like, actually: too much high drama for Hindi cinema. Oddly enough, when I saw Saiyyan, I hadn’t realized it was based on Duel in the Sun – and I have seen that film, years ago as a child. And I hated the end! (Perhaps because I had grown up on Hindi cinema and only knew happily-ever-after endings). 🙂


        1. “It was a little un-Hindi film like, actually: too much high drama for Hindi cinema.”

          I totally agree. About the long end scene, I wasn’t suprised with what Madhubala does immediately after reaching the destination. But the way she she reacts after his reaction (Can’t say anything more here) was shocking, rather unbelievable.
          So I was shocked, but after I saw the original movie with the same ending, I was like OMG!

          Liked by 1 person

  3. Anupji, I was not aware of this movie. For me the best part of the movie I think is Rafi’s song Us Paar Iss Deewar Ke. Reminded me of Apni To Har aah Ek Toofan hain from Kala Bazaar! Enjoyed the review and the songs!


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