indian cinema heritage foundation

Salaam Memsaab (1979)

  • LanguageHindi

Their musical cries fill the air around the Gateway of India, in front of the Taj Mahal Hotel and at Nariman Point, in front of the glamorous, glittering Oberoi-Sheraton Hotel, as Sunder (Asrani) and Radha (Zarina Wahab) sing their tuneful songs and perform their lively dances to entertain the entertainment-hungry millions of the huge city of Bombay. 

They are young. They are in love. And, in this work, they are always together. Their singing and dancing brings in enough money to keep body and soul together. 

Radha's requirements are simple. She dreams of marrying Sunder when they have saved up enough money so that they can live together in a small and comfortable home.

Sunder's ambitions are, however, lofty. They soar sky high. Sunder is poor, but he dreams of becoming rich and famous one day. 

And the two biggest five star-Hotels of the city become the symbol of the unattainable for Sunder. He dreams of entering them one day. He dreams of becoming a part of their luxurious, wealthy world and life. 

And Sunder meets Gopal (Ranjeet), who promises him that world, that life. 

Gopal covets Radha, and makes it easy for Sunder to fulfil a part of his ambitions by making it possible for him to enter that luxurious life and world of which he is always dreaming. In this new world Sunder meets "Memsaab" Kalpana (Mauju Bansal) the beautiful mistress of Mr. Mehra (Rehman) a big-time smuggler. 

Many things happen in rapid succession to the simple-hearted singer Sunder now, things which sizzle him, disillusion him, and cause him to question the validity of his ambitions, his roseate dreams.

Sunder learns eventually that happiness cannot be bought by money; that the luxurious life is not equivalent to contentment; and that love is greater than ambition. 

"Salaam Memsaab", in tackling these eternal questions through the destinies of Sunder and Radha, Gopal and Kalpana and Mehra makes us understand, through the vehicle of a simple song-and-dance musical romance, some of the more abiding values of life. 

For you who look at the Screen, "Salaam Memsaab" will provide lavish, robust comedy, laughter, music, song and plenty of fun. For you who look beyond the Screen, "Salaam Memsaab" through the magic of Asrani's writing and direction, will provide entertainment of a more memorable and lasting appeal.

(From the official press booklet)