9 comments on “Sister (1941)

  1. I adore both Nalini Jaywant and Meena. Meena was such a fabulous actress, she was so expressive. I can watch her in ANY film.

    Nalini too. She was amazingly beautiful. I have never seen such lovely large eyes!

    Thank you for these clips.

  2. You’re welcome,. Ava. I agree about Meena’s acting. It is amazing that she could be so expressive even at the age of eight! And they both were beautiful.

  3. My net connection is going through a bad phase right now, as a result of which I can’t even see which videos you’ve inserted, Richard, let alone watch them. :-( But the idea of Baby Meena and Nalini Jaywant is enough for me – this goes on my list of ‘should watch’ films, despite that somewhat creepy-sounding behaviour on the part of Sheikh Mukhtar’s character.

    But as long as it turns out ‘uplifting’ and ‘sweet’ by the end, that’s well and good.

  4. Richard,
    Thanks a lot for this excellent review. My fascination is for Anil Biswas’s music. I was aware of two songs from the movie Tore kajra lagaun main rani and Preet nahi jane balam more bhole. It seems some more songs are also equally melodious. Therefore, if not for the theme, for the music this enters my list of to-be-watched movies.

    I have seen KL Saigal’s My Sister, again with wonderful music. I do not recall if it involved obsessive attachment to the sister to be labelled with incest motif. One problem is our tendency to put a Freudian label to many of the common themes in our movies (I am not making any comment about Sister). I have seen ‘homo-erotic’ phrase being used in the context of almost all the films having two male stars who are friends in the movie. By this standard, most of the Indian films can be said to have Oedipus Complex motif.

    Coming back to Anil Biswas, it is interesting to note that a Bengali became the main pillar in Bombay as a counterpoise to Bengal/ New Theatre’s RC Boral and Pankaj Mullick. Though he could not compose any song for KL Saigal because of contractual problems, even though their careers overlapped for over a decade, he did have major role in promoting Surendra, the Bombay’s Saigal. Besides being immensely talented, he also had wonderful vintage singers like his sister Parul Ghosh, Amirbai Karnataki, Waheedan , Bibbo etc. What an era for music, the 1940s!

  5. I have a theory about sibling relationships. Those of close ages who grow up together are not sexually attracted to each other. Possibly an evolutionary tendency since it is not good for survival in the long run for future generations. On the other hand there are sort of window periods during which certain attachments and other things take place like mother bonding ( famous experiments of Konrad Lorenz when ducks followed him as if he was their mother), vision, speech and so on. My theory is that is why we have so many pardesi songs. When the right time comes, a stranger is more attractive than those with whom one grows up.
    About bonding with other males, it seems quote common in India since the society has been fairly segregated. I am sure that it is common among females too though it may be changing in cities. Just letting myself go, may be it is all hot air or some thing I read somewhere.

  6. Madhu, I’ve taken a few days to answer the comments here. I hope that you’ve gotten the videos to work by now! Anyway, you should have this film on your “should watch” list! :) But I think anyone should become more motivated to do so after hearing some of this beautiful music…

    Which brings me to AK’s comment. Yes, the ’40s were a great era for music. That has become my favorite decade for Hindi film music, by far. I wouldn’t sneeze at the much-recognized Golden Age of ’50s to ’60s, either, but I have fallen for the ’40s.

    But I don’t really know all that much (yet) about the background of these musical directors, or where many of them they stood in comparison to one another, so thanks for the extra information here and there.

    Oh, and I do agree about people’s tendency to read too much “Freudian” stuff into many of these films.

    Swarup, thanks for the link in your first comment, but I am still having trouble making those connections…

    Re.”Those of close ages who grow up together are not sexually attracted to each other”… I think/hope that those who are farther apart in age aren’t either! :)

    You have a nice idea re. the “Paredesi” songs, but I have noticed quite a few other films about people looking back with longing at their childhood sweethearts – and then reuniting with them years or decades later, with much initial joy but varying results. (BTW, I call it the “Anmol Ghadi experience”… I had a real-life experience not too long ago that I jokingly compared to that – but it ended worse than Anmol Ghadi. But let’s not get into that.) Anyway, that seems to me to be completely opposite the “Pardesi” idea, but just as common.

    And regarding male bonding and female bonding… Wow, I have actually seen some intense female bonding in some of these old films. I’ve also seen people on YouTube alluding to the lesbian content in some scenes. I think there was one vintage film I saw that consciously suggested lesbian interaction, which was Sunehre Din, in the interactions between Nigar Sultana and Rehana. I even read somewhere that there was some scandal around that film’s “lesbian act.” (Though Rehana’s character was just bisexual, falling for Raj Kapoor, etc. Nigar’s might have been another matter… ) But elsewhere, I think people just read more of this stuff into the films than was intended, because they’re coming from a more modern (and maybe more western) context… More than was intended and more than is necessary. :)

  7. Loved the film and your review. It’s a real pleasure to watch Meena Kumari – at any stage of her life! And Nalini Jaywant is charming as well! Great music as well.

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