'Saheb Biwi Aur Ghulam' - A Longing Melodrama By Gurudutt!

A K Rao By A K Rao, 21st Aug 2012 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Reviews>Film & TV>Drama

Sahib Bibi aur Ghulam a black and white movie produced by the famous all rounder of Hindi movie world Guru Dutt is classic melodrama depicting the human relationships and the emotions attributed to them.

Emotinal Epic Of The Era!

The Hindi movie Saheb Biwi Aur Ghulam produced in 1962 is one of the best films produced by Guru Dutt under the dedicated director Abrar Alvi, who has captured some exceptionally great emotional shots in this movie to make it undoubtedly an emotional epic of that era!


The title 'Sahib Biwi aur Ghulam' is probably derived from the slang used in Hindi to denote the three faced cards of the deck, the King, the Queen and the Jack which means the Master, the Mistress and the Slave.

Story Line.

The story of this movie by Bimal Mitra, is about a daughter in law of a rich and feudal family in Bengal and about her longing for her husbands love!

The movie opens with the Village youth Bhoot Nath who is an Architect by profession and once upon a time worked for this rich family, visualizing the flash back!

Choti Bahu upon entering her husbands place after the marriage finds that her dreams have got shattered as she finds her husband with time for to spare her.

As the name suggests she is the smallest of the entire daughter in laws of the family and when she tries to tell her woes to the elder sister in laws of the family she gets blatant reply from them.

According to them the male members of Zamindar families are supposed to spend their lives in luxury with all possible vices which adds to their pride of being filthy rich and the woman are supposed to be happy with the good care being taken by the servants and for getting their materialistic wishes fulfilled!

Choti Bahu is not convinced with the idea and her longing for her husbands love makes her to arrive to a decision that she will have her rightful love from her husband by hook or crook!

She tries in many ways to distract her husband from the Dancing girls and the Alcohol and attract him towards her with all efforts of her going futile!

Bhoot Nath an Architect by profession is engaged by the household to look after their work and he gets attracted towards the beauty and charm of the Choti Bahu!

Soon he becomes a close aide to her and having listening to story decides to help her out to win her righteous love of her husband. As an attempt to please her he manages to get the so believed magical sindoor for her, which commonly believed to have the power of keeping the wife and husbands bond intact for ever!

But this attempt also gets failed! The desperate Choti bahu in the frustration to get her righteous love from her husband decides to mend her in a way her husband likes a woman to be and she consumes alcohol and dances for him like dancing girls! But instead of getting attracted her husband gets infuriated and reprimands her that such a behavior by a woman of high class Hindu family is not acceptable in the Society!

The desperate Choti bahu with nobody to understand her emotions and pain shares her grief with Bhoot Nath and thus there sets a platonic friendship between them, which is misunderstood by the family members as a scandal!

Then there comes a twist in the story, with an ending which one has to experience it on the screen to get the depth of the emotions and the feelings which other wise can't be expressed in the words!

This superb movie with such a daring theme in the story line is a real master piece by the great duo Guru Dutt and Abrar Alvi!

Meena Kumari Creates A Land Mark In Acting!

Meena Kumari as Choti bahu creates a land mark in this movie with her emotions and acting depicting the longing for her righteous love!

Her acting touches the peack in this movie and doubtlessly this is her one of the best movies of her life!

She won a Best Actress Film Fare Award for her acing in the movie!

Guru Dutt Wins Best Actor Award!

Guru Dutt had limited scope to show his talent as an actor in this movie, in spite of that he proved his mettle in acting by reaching the new heights in the acting and there by winning the Best Actor Film Fare Award for that year

Waheeda Acts As A Heart Throb!

Waheeda Rehman as Jaba a young charming girl who has been shown liking Bhoot Nath, has no big role in the movie's story line. In spite of this her action and expressions in the song: Bhanwara Bada Naadan..." as a naughty girl will never be forgotten by the audience!

Rehman Enlivens The Role Of Rich Feudal Lord!

Rehman's acting as the spoiled rich feudal lord really deserves a special comment!

He enlivens the character of Choti bahu's worshipping husband who treats her like his slave!

He leaves an impact on the audience in his negative role! He was nominated for Film Fare Award for that year.

The other actors of this movie are Sapru, Dhumaal and Nasir Hussain who have done justification to the roles given to them!


Having failed as the director in Kaagaz Ke Phool, Gurudutt wanted some one else to direct his new production and he asked Abrar Alvi to direct his new project.

This superhit movie at the box office and also with the critics typically had the Gurudutt’s feel and style, because of which many felt that the moviewas actually directed by Gurudutt only.

Gurudutt in fact never denied when asked about this and at the same time he never opposed when Abrar Alvi received Award as a best director.

Abrar Alvi admitted that few songs were directed by Gurudutt in the movie. According to the editor of the movie Y G Chawan, it was Alvi who was sitting with him all the while for editing.

Waheeda Rehman also stated that the movie was actually directed by Abrar Alvi only, thus putting an end to one of the popular controvesrsy of that time


The music of this film by Hemant Kumar is simply great! His songs by Asha Bhonsle and Geeta Dutt are all Super hits and till the date they are as fresh as the nascent flowers!

Shakeel Badayuni did an exceptionally great job as a lyricist in this movie!
Geeta Dutt has poured out her heart in the melancholy songs which definitely upsets one's body hormones!

The songs which mesmerise and fill one's heart with joy are:

1. Bhanwara Bada Naadan Hai...
2. Meri Baat Rahi Mere Man Mein...
3. Piya Aiso Jiya Mein...

The Songs which are emotional and touches one's heart are:

1. Na Jaao Sayyan...
2. Koi Door Se Awaaz Deke...


The photography by V K Murthy deserves a special mention for creating the desired effects in the movie depicting the various moods of the story by blending the shades of black and white in appropriate proportions. A great job indeed by the great photographer V K Murthy!

Awards And Acclaims.

1962: President's Silver Medal for Best Feature Film in Hindi
1963: Berlin Film Festival: Golden Bear (Best Motion Picture): nominated
1962: Indian submission for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film
Filmfare Award for Best Movie- Guru Dutt
Filmfare Award for Best Director - Abrar Alvi
Filmfare Award for Best Cinematographer - V. K. Murthy
Filmfare Award for Best Actress - Meena Kumari
Filmfare Nomination for Best Actor - Guru Dutt
Filmfare Nomination for Best Supporting Actor - Rehman
Filmfare Nomination for Best Supporting Actress - Waheeda Rehman
Filmfare Nomination for Best Story -Bimal Mitra Bengal Film Journalists' Association Awards - Film of The Year.


This master piece by Guru Dutt is strongly recommended to one and all and the movie which runs for 152 minutes is having a clear audio sound track in Mono which gives a crystal clear sound quality to enjoy the movie, especially the Songs! The superb direction, the strong acting and rich music of this melodrama is having an haunting effect which I am sure one will experience at least for a couple of days after watching this movie. Thus in my opinion this great movie is highly recommended for one and all!

PS: The pictures used in the article have been taken from google search. I sincerely convey my thanks.

My other Reviews:

Kaagaz Ke Phool.

Koi Mil Gaya.




Abrar Alvi, Berlin Film Festival, Bhoot Nath, Bimal Mitra, Choti Bahu, Dhumal, Film Fare Award, Guru Dutt, Hemant Kumar, Longing, Meena Kumari, Melodrama, National Award, Nazir Hussain, Rehman, Saheb Biwi Aur Ghulam, Sapru, Shakeel Badayuni, V Kmurti, Waheeda Rehman, Y G Chawan

Meet the author

author avatar A K Rao
I am an Equnie Vet by profession specialised in Thoroughbreds!

Writing is my passion. Have been a free Lance Journalist and Cartoonist in late80's and early 90's in Local and National News Papers of India.
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author avatar M G Singh
22nd Aug 2012 (#)

Seen this movie. It was dam good

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author avatar A K Rao
23rd Aug 2012 (#)

Thanks Dear Madan! Yes it was an excellent movie! Indeed!

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author avatar jkalwaye
22nd Aug 2012 (#)

makes me in nostalgic memories .thank you for sharing .jk

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author avatar A K Rao
24th Aug 2012 (#)

Yes, I too have many memorable moments assocated with this movie! Thanks a lot for the lovely comment!

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author avatar Ptrikha
22nd Aug 2012 (#)

Great and an elaborate review. If the prejudice of Hollywood towards Indian movies(directed by Indian directors) had not existed, this might have even won an Oscar award. I sometimes wonder how come a boring, not so unique film like "Slumdog Millionaire" won Oscars, while better directed Indian directors' movie never win the Oscars. The bias must finish.

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author avatar A K Rao
24th Aug 2012 (#)

Thanks for the lovely comment dear Ptrikha! I fully agree with your views! There are 'n' number of Indian movies which are far far better than 'Slum Dog!' but they couldn't make to win an Academy Award!

Thanks again for everything dear Ptrikha!

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
22nd Aug 2012 (#)

Great review - you are really one of a kind in this genre, Rao! siva

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author avatar Ivyevelyn, R.S.A.
23rd Aug 2012 (#)

A very good review, Rao. Now I have to see this movie. Thank you.

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author avatar Souvik
17th Sep 2012 (#)

Very good article Raoji. Directors of these days should learn from experiments of Guru Dutt, Raj Kapoor, in the 50s and 60s and take up challenges relating to classic films based on classic literature.
Souvik Chatterji

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