love in Simla (1960) – temper and two-timing in Simla

The one scene that I really liked in ‘Love in Simla‘ (1960) is the one with Sonia’s temper tantrum when she’s had enough of her aunt and her cousin Sheela pulling her down, and dismissing her looks and her ability to ever find someone to love her. She flings herself around, she cries, she screams though ineffectively, while the others laugh at her. It was so much like a typical teenage tantrum in any house.

Even though Sonia is treated badly by her aunt and cousin, she is indulged by her uncle and grandmother, and so though she lacks confidence, she doesn’t really have low self-esteem. It was refreshing to see a heroine like that, not too hung up on proprieties or sacrifice, and quite willing to fight to win her bet that she will get Sheela’s fiance Dev to fall in love with her. When she woos Dev, she is teasing, demanding, and mischievous.

Even when she does a turn-around and agrees to stop meeting Dev, to allow Sheela to win him back, she does not make you cringe, but is believable as an essentially honorable girl. There are two scenes where each of the girl begs for her love. Sheela touches Sonia’s feet, saying she has lost, and asking her to give her back Dev. Sonia touches Dev’s feet, asking him to forget her, and go back to Sheela. R K Nayyer choses to film both the scenes in a room with the lights off, hiding their humiliation not only from the other, but also from us, the audience.

But what makes the film belie the independent spirit of Sonia is Dev’sΒ  vacillation between the two cousins. He is Sheela’s fiance, but loses no time in starting a flirtation with Sonia, and for a long time, two times the girls rather obviously. This however invites no reprimands from either the girls or their elders. The girls don’t question him at all on his cheating, only fight with each other to win him. A little sad, that!

19 comments

  1. What a great post! I loved how confident Sonia became in her courtship of Dev, and I definitely had some gripes that Dev was only too happy to ditch Sheila for songs with Sonia. They don’t call him out on that, but the main thing is the wonderful introduction of Sadhana as a fashionable ingenue for the screen!

    • Rum, Sadhana is so, so beautiful. I love her smile. She’s one of my favourites. I loved the way she got her famous ‘Sadhana’ cut in this film. At the hands of the formidable Durga Khote, no less.πŸ™‚

  2. Yes, Dev isn’t quite the prize catch he’s made out to be! But it is nice to see a more realistic “hero” sometimes, especially when it is Joy. ;D I love this film, so it hurts me to admit that this is the kernel of most of Ekta Kapoor’s “woman-centric” soaps – several women fighting over some undeserving guy!

    • True, bollyviewer, I guess you can call Dev realistic. I know one does vacillate between ‘loves’ when young, it’s just that he’s never made accountable for it.πŸ™‚ Hadn’t thought of the Ekta Kapoor angle. I guess because I haven’t seen many of her soaps. But bang on!

  3. What irked me about this film was that it seemed to vacillate between two camps – on whether looks matter, or not. I thought a large part of the Sadhana character’s disagreement with her cousin was about that – the cousin thought looks were everything, which Sonia (rightly, in my opinion) thought was dumb and superficial. It seems to go against the grain, then, for Sonia to win Dev only when she’s had a makeover and is looking all glamour doll…

    • Yes, it’s a pretty confused film. Made watchable only because of the lovely songs, and Sadhana who looks lovely and is a treat to watch, and surprisingly, even Joy Mukherjee who does pretty well.

  4. Aaah, nice! I like that you have actually observed the symbolism that underlines the scenes with the lights off.

    As for the film, I’d watched it again after Sony had just launched ‘Jassi’. Glasses, they’re your ticket to geek.

    Btw, are you on Twitter?

  5. I, thanks. Glasses can be geek, or then sure-shot, middle age.πŸ™‚

    I am on Twitter, but use it only to link to my blog posts. Am no good at pithy stat updates.πŸ™‚

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