Chhoti Si Baat – literally meaning ‘A Small Issue/Matter’. Considered to be one of the best comedy films of 1970s, this film is directed by Basu Chatterjee. Few minutes into the movie, we feel ‘Oh, this is about people like us only and so relatable’. It is indeed a perfect celebration of being ‘ordinary‘.

If we go by the film’s title, it happens to be a simple and light-hearted movie. And it actually is! Free from any form of negativity and violence, this is a film that ideally represents a common man’s dilemma and hesitation when he falls in love, that too ‘at first sight’.

Arun Pradeep (played by Amol Palekar) is a shy and timid young man. A regular office-goer, he lacks self-confidence and allows people to freely walk over him. On a random day while on his way to work, he comes across a beautiful young girl Prabha (played by Vidya Sinha), waiting for the bus. Eventually, the bus stand became their meeting point, though none of them acknowledged each other’s presence.

Arun’s love for Prabha is such that he ends up following her to work every day and resultantly he himself reaches his office quite late. It is worth noting, Amol Palekar plays Arun in such a decent way that he doesn’t let him appear as creepy. Probably this is the reason, Prabha being completely aware about his daily stalking, she is not annoyed with his actions. In fact she too seems to have developed feelings for him. Like any other girl her age, she finds comfort in her colleague Deepa (Nandita Thakur) and enjoys sharing every single detail regarding Arun. 

One fine day, Prabha lands up at Arun’s office in the pretext of work, (actually frightening Arun) and this is how their friendship blossoms. 

Now comes Nagesh (Asrani), the funny villain of the movie. He tries all he can to keep Prabha away from Arun. If that’s not possible, he ends up accompanying Arun and Prabha wherever they go. In terms of personality traits, Nagesh and Arun are poles apart. Nagesh is quite confident, street-smart and outgoing (completely opposite of Arun).

In his attempt to woo Prabha, he tries to be like Nagesh and buys a second-hand bike. However, it turns out to be a fraudulent deal. With time he realizes that his efforts are not leading him anywhere, he resorts to seeking help from palmists and tarot card readers. When everything gets ruled out, he gets to know about Rtd Colonel Julius Nagendranath Wilfred Singh (Ashok Kumar) who can be aptly described as a love-guru of those times. Arun spends few weeks under Colonel’s guidance at Khandala and he ends up turning Arun into a mature and much confident man, ready to rule the world, both professionally and personally. 

Here Prabha’s love and affection keeps growing in Arun’s absence. Upon Arun’s arrival in Mumbai, a series of events lead Prabha and Arun to finally confess about their feelings to each other. Of course, Colonel Singh played a major role in their love story, however, at the end, it is Arun’s honesty and integrity that wins Prabha’s heart.

We can say, apart from Amol Palekar, Vidya Sinha and Ashok Kumar’s brilliance in terms of acting, it also highlights Asrani’s comical role as being class apart. Its soothing music and perfect display of a common man’s lifestyle only add to its realist aspect. 

What makes us think and reflect later about the movie is the fact that how love and romance has changed over the years. Not sure if it has evolved, however, it has definitely lost its innocence. Shine and glitter have taken over and led to a 360° change. It makes us believe that this is not just another rom-com, it is an eye-opener in the sense that love is beyond our online social media digital world. 

The way Arun took a break from his work for few weeks just to learn how to win Prabha’s love, we cannot imagine anybody doing the same in today’s time when there is cut throat competition and ‘quick love‘ is readily available on various XYZ apps. 

The definition of love will keep getting refashioned. This is 2020, seasons and years will keep changing. Who knows which version of love we get to witness in 2040! Hope it is not the stronger genre of the existing digital language of love. Fingers crossed!

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