it sets your senses in a whirl: Satte Pe Satta

one: I first saw Seven Brides for Seven Brothers a few years ago with my friend Luci, who was raised on the movie and whose family is completely nuts about it (and I'm not saying anything here that Luci wouldn't say herself). They were gracious enough to invite me (and my dog) to Thanksgiving, the first Thanksgiving after my parents retired and moved out of state, and after the big meal we all sank into giant cushy chairs in the living room and watched this, with Luci, her sister, and her sister's husband reciting all the lines by heart. It was great. Somehow their enthusiasm lodged a lot of the lyrics and finer points of this great cinematic work into my head, and to this day I can easily be prompted to burst into "goin' courtin', goin' courtin'." And am slightly afraid of packs of red-haired dancers.
two: Abby, my usual Bollywood-watching companion, and for this one too, is also a long-time fan of the SBSB (hey! it works for American movies too!), so we were both thrilled when t-HYPE brought this Hindi remake to our attention.
three: I am generally a big fan of the older American movie musicals (or on stage), with their spontaneous song and cheerily cardboard sets.
four: Howard Keel, with his big, blustering presence and booming voice, makes a delightful head of household who can run his brothers but has no clue what to do around a woman.
five: A boy named Gideon and a girl named Dorcas (played by one Julie Newmar, too!). Dorcas?
six: I read somewhere four of the brothers were actually dancers from the New York City Ballet, which would explain the fights look so...pretty.
seven: The whole Sabin/Sobbin' Women thing bothers me to my very core. I'm not sure if the whole "go grab the women you like and bring them back to your house" plot is entirely tongue-in-cheek. If it is, I've missed the subtletly. If it's not, I'll enjoy my righteous indignation.

ek: Luci doesn't know what she's missing, especially with the addition of the criminal look-alike.
do: Abby and I laughed a lot. A lot.
teen: Some of what I like about the older American movie musicals is, of course, found in spades in many a Bollywood movie, much to my delight. I forget what I was watching when I had that realization, but it made me really happy.

chaar: Amitabh Bachchan, with his big, blustering presence and booming voice, makes a delightful head of household who can run his brothers but has no clue what to do around a woman. And a meancing, if eye-liner-ed, criminal too.

paanch: An evil uncle played by an almost unrecognizably haggard and puffy Amjad Khan! Whither Gabbar Singh? For everyone who was raised on Sholay, answer me this: is it funny to see Jai and Gabbar in other roles, especially being all drunkenly buddy-buddy?
chhe: Shakti Kapoor! Shakti Kapoor! In a burlap bag!
saat: The kidnapping plot is still really troubling, even thirty years later. A few days after I saw this, I read the statistic that nine out of ten murdered women in India are killed by their husbands. I know that statistic and this movie aren't terribly closely related, but they're all part of a big, swirling pack of issues that I don't know nearly enough about.

And two more random points:
Amitabh's facial expression here made me laugh uncontrollably and I rewound to see it several times.

I was startled to find that somehow Shakti Kapoor managed to look eerily like Alan Rickman

and that bothers me, because Alan Rickman is yumsicle (although a good 75% of that is in his voice, which Shakti just ain't got).

You can watch Satte Pe Satta online at

Aside: It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown is on and it is every bit as good as I remember.


babasko said…
now this IS a great post and i´m glad i could wait for it ;-)

its been ages that i saw SBSB but i remember it being really funny. and thanx to your great post (did i say that it was great?) Satte Pe Satta goes straight to my must-shop-immediately list :-D
Katrin said…
Thanks for the great post - it sums up perfectly what I thought while watching the film :D
The charity ball scene is probably one of the funniest things I know. Every time I see it I can't stop laughing ... :D
Maja said…

I said it on t-HYPE's blog and I'll say it again here - I have to see this movie. And SBSB too, I haven't actually seen that one either ...
ggop said…
Great post. OMG and you are so sharp! I never ever thought of the resemblance between old Shakti Kapoor and Alan Rickman. Is the song in the charity ball "Dilbar mere"?
Aparna said…
Great post...a worthy result of a long wait...:)
I loved SPS, esp the song where Hema teaches the brothers how to woo a girl....
I would never, ever have guessed that Shakti Kapoor could remind me of Alan Rickman, who is one of my top pre-Bollywood FPMBFs, 'cause Shakti Kapoor is, well, you know. And the resemblance was only in that one scene - I think the song is when all the brothers were sitting around being sad because they were in lurve, so I guess right before they go abductin' (that's not as catchy as "goin' courtin'," is it?

And I'm glad everyone liked the post! I don't think I did the movie justice. It's really funny, and I'm sure it's even better when you know what the songs are saying (damn you, lack of subtitles!).
Emily - that is a difficult decision indeed. I choose SBSB because of the insanely fun time I have had watching it - which means that if I can get a bunch of people to learn all the SPS songs and pile into my living room and we all sing along, it could tie.

But it is hard to give up on the eyeliner and knife dream. Maybe if we watch SBSB carefully enough, we'll notice some appropriate substitutes. They say the mark of a classic is that you can find something new in it every time you see it....
Anonymous said…
You did a pretty good job Beth. This film has too much insanity to cover in less than a 12-page paper.

No mention of the magic knife though?! You've got to mention the magic knife!
Anonymous said…
Hey Beth, this film sounds crazy - I look forward to seeing it soon. I also regret to inform you that you've been tagged. It's a bit of lame tag, I must confess - more details on my blog.
Luci said…
Beth - In my effort to entertain YOU by trying to find your blog via a crazy search string on, I ended up finding this post, which has (of course) greatly entertained ME. I'm so glad you enjoyed watching SBSB with my crazy family. In return, I feel it is only right to watch the Bollywood version with you sometime soon. Yay!

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