Art & Culture

Happy Bhag Jayegi is a throwback to 1958's Solva Saal

Deepa Gahlot
Deepa GahlotAug 21, 2016 | 12:24

Happy Bhag Jayegi is a throwback to 1958's Solva Saal

Like the leading lady of Happy Bhag Jayegi, brides have been running away from unwanted marriages and headlong into adventure.

In Raj Khosla's romantic comedy Solva Saal (1958), Laj (Waheeda Rehman) leaves home for a good-for-nothing boyfriend. She does not land up in another country, but does have enough excitement in one night, to last a lifetime.

Solva Saal was loosely inspired by Frank Capra's It Happened One Night, and takes place in the span of a few hours.


Laj is in love with Shyam (Jagdev), and when her father (Bipin Gupta) talks of an arranged match, she agrees to elope with him that night.

Her father is planning to leave for Bangalore the next morning to meet the man's mother. He asks Laj to wake him up at five for him to catch his flight and see the groom-to-be at the airport.

Solva Saal was loosely inspired by Frank Capra’s It Happened One Night.

Laj takes a necklace of precious pearls that once belonged to her mother and meets Shyam at the station. In the train, a passenger dozing on the next berth overhears their conversation and his ears perk up.

He is a journalist, Pran Kashyap (Dev Anand) and is travelling with his photographer friend Gogi (Sunder).

Pran stops Shyam from slipping away with the necklace by pulling the chain and stopping the train, but as soon as he gets the chance, Shyam decamps with the pearls.

Laj gets off the train to follow him and Pran follows her. He saves her from being hit by a train, but an annoyed and frightened Laj does not want his help - he offers it anyway.

He takes her to a taxi stand to trace the driver who took Shyam as a passenger. The cab had dropped Shyam at a film studio, so Laj and Pran make their way there. At the studio, Shyam is flirting with an actress, Neena (Kammo), and showing off the necklace.


She tells him to sell it to a jeweller and get married with the money. Pran tells Gogi who is also at the studio to keep a look-out for Shyam, while he takes Laj to the police station.

To his surprise, Laj refuses to make a complaint and leaves, with Pran following close behind. Sorry for the distress she has caused her family, Laj jumps into the river to commit suicide. Pran rescues her and coaxes the story out of her.

Pran promises Laj that he will help her retrieve the necklace and take her back home before her father wakes up - and it is not a spoiler to reveal that after a thrilling cat-and-mouse chase at the studio, she does make it back by the skin of her teeth.

It is not a surprise either to see Laj's intended at the airport - it is Pran.

The film was very entertaining; the chemistry between the lead pair was sparkling and SD Burman's music superb - songs like Hai apna dil toh aawara, Yahi to hai woh and Mohe laaga solva saal are still a pleasure to listen.


Raj Khosla made some great movies like CID, Bambai Ka Baabu, Kaala Pani, Do Raaste to Mera Gaon Mera Desh, and is one of the most underrated directors of Hindi cinema.

Last updated: August 22, 2016 | 13:10
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