Story: Rajinder Singh Bedi
Music: Kamal Ahmad
Cast: Sangeeta, Nadeem, Kavita, Rahat Kazmi, Ghulam Mohiuddin.
There are few Pakistani films based on books and even fewer on good literature. For one, Razia Butt comes to mind whose pulp family discreet family romances like ‘Naila’, ‘Saiqa’ and ‘Anila’ were adapted for screen. Naseem Hijazi brought nationalism of Pakistan in the making with ‘Kaag Aur Khoon’ and now-defunct Nafdec went to film it, directed by Masood Pervaiz in 1979. However, Sangeeta must be credited and applauded for bringing landmark Rajinder Singh Bedi's ‘Ek Chadar Meli Si’ on screen as ‘Muthi Bhar Chawal’.
The making of Bedi's novel has its own story. It first went into production during early-sixties in Mumbai with Geeta Bali and Dharmendra in leads. Geeta Bali passed away and the project had to be shelved.
In 1978, Sangeeta turned the book into Muthi Bhar Chawal. Years passed and Mumbai came back in action and made ‘Ek Chadar Meli Si’ with Hema Malini and Rishi Kapoor.
And now back to Sangeeta and ‘Muthi Bhar Chawal’. Sangeeta began her film career as teenager in Rehman's Kangan. Her directorial career began within a few years with ‘Society Girl’. The dramatic script and with voluptuous dances, the film was smash hit and by late-seventies, Sangeeta took the front seat as major director. She went on to make dozens of Urdu and Punjabi films in the eighties and nineties. Her only female competing director in the field was late Shamim Ara, and together they ruled, the box office for almost twenty years.
‘Muthi Bhar Chawal’ takes place in a small East Punjab village where widowhood, like all other places, is a deadly curse. Rano is now mother grown up children. After Rano's husband passes away, she is forced by her in-laws to get married to her brother-in-law, young enough to be her son.
And the rest, as they say, you see on Lok Virsa's Mandwa silver screen on 26 November 2016. Sangeeta was able to bring out the ambience and surroundings of East Punjab village with details. She is supported here by the production effects, wardrobe, cameraman Azhar Burki exceptionally good photography and composer Kamal Ahmad good score.
‘Muthi Bhar Chawal’ won prestigious Nigar Award for Best Film (Tayyab Rizvi), Best Director, Best Actress (Sangeeta), Best editing (Z.A. Zulfi) and Best Special Performance (Ghulam Mohiuddin). By winning five awards, ‘Muthi Bhar Chawal’ became a film which had won maximum number of awards. Sangeeta is expected to join Mandwa Film Club for the event and post screening discussion.