Khatta Meetha

No, this isn’t the Akshay Kumar starrer Priyadarshan behemoth. This is the Basu Chatterjee directed true-to-its-name sweet and sour 1978 cult classic.

Supposedly inspired from the Henry Fonda and Lucille Ball starrer Yours, Mine and Ours (1968), Khatta Meetha is the story of Homi Mistry and his four sons ,and Nargis Sethna and her three children. Both Homi and Nargis are alone, in the twilight of their lives, but still burdened by their growing, irresponsible children, who know no better than to completely depend on their respective parent, thereby making their lives miserable. At the insistence of a common friend, the two of them decide to remarry. Each other. And that’s when the fun begins.

Khatta Meetha belongs to a series of ‘feel good’ films on the now-almost-extinct Indian middle class, their hopes and aspirations, by the two stalwarts – Hrishikesh Mukherjee and Basu Chatterjee. It also represented a rare attempt of depicting the Parsee community, in the league of films like Percy (1989), Albert Pinto Ko Gussa Kyon Aata Hai (1980), Pestonjee (1988), and the more recent Being Cyrus (2005) and Little Zizou (2008).

Ashok Kumar, that institution of Hindi Cinema, sparkles in his extremely restrained but equally powerful performance as Homi Mistry. A high point of his role in the film is the face off with his son’s Father-in-law (Pradeep Kumar, who else) towards the end. His real life daughter, Preeti Ganguly gave the performance of a life time as Freni, Nargis’ neurotic daughter, who has serious relationship issues. Theater veteran Pearl Padamsee debuts as Nargis with this film.

Another strength of the film is its music. It’s so amazing that the music director (Rajesh Roshan) here is the same guy who did stuff like Kaho Naa Pyaar Hai (2000) and Koyla (1997). Here’s a gem from the film:

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