सीता और गीता
If the word "romp" didn't exist before Seeta aur Geeta, it would have been coined to describe this fun, cute film. It's an age-old plot - twins separated at birth, mistaken identity, wacky hijinks ensue. What makes it stand out is its spunky, adorable star, Hema Malini.
Hema plays the dual roles of Seeta and Geeta. The demure Seeta lives in Cinderella-like circumstances, raised by a horrible aunt who steals her trust allowance from her and treats her with unspeakable cruelty. Geeta is a feisty, fiery gypsy girl who makes her living performing acrobatics for street audiences. When they accidentally trade places, Geeta falls in love with a high-class doctor (Sanjeev Kumar) and turns the tables on Seeta's greedy aunt. Meanwhile Seeta falls in love with Geeta's erstwhile street-performing partner (Dharmendra) and helps him appreciate the virtues of clean living. When the vicious brother of Seeta's awful aunt learns of the switcheroo, though, he sets a trap for her, setting up the film's climax.
Confused? It's not as much fun to explain as it is to watch. After a slow start, Seeta aur Geeta explodes into a delightfully silly wild ride, whose highlights are the frequent moments when Hema kicks ass and takes names. Most of the film's generous running time is devoted to the adorably unlikely pairing of Sanjeev's upright doctor with Hema's feisty, unpolished Geeta avatar. It was an odd choice to give Sanjeev Kumar two romantic songs with Hema ("Hawaa ke saath saath" and "Koi ladki mujhe kal raat"), while giving none to Dharmendra and Hema, a real-life couple who share such sparkling chemistry in most of their films together. Sanjeev is an extremely talented actor (he was brilliant in Silsila, for example) but a bit peculiar and nerdy as a romantic lead. Still, the pairing the doctor and Geeta is cute and sweet and great fun to watch. And by the end of the film, it does seem that some of Geeta's mischief has rubbed off on her demure sister - the film's delightful closing sequence suggests that the girls continue to take advantage of their mistaken-identity potential in some fairly naughty ways.
The songs don't represent R.D. Burman's best work but they are good enough, and it some spots they contribute to the fun. The best songs are "Zindagi hai khel" (in which Hema and Dharmendra perform their acrobat act for an appreciative crowd) and "Maine sharab pi hai" (in which Hema feigns drunkenness in order to - well, I don't want to spoil the story).
Interesting note: all of the film's principals - Hema, Dharmendra, Sanjeev, even R.D. Burman, scriptwriting pair Salim Khan and Javed Akhtar, and director Ramesh Sippy reunited a few years later to create (with Amitabh Bachchan's help) one of the biggest Bollywood mega-hit classics of all time and one of GOAT's favorite films, Sholay.