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LADIES ONLY

Sagar Movitone (1939)

Director: Sarvottam Sadami

Music and Choreography: Anupam Gatak

Cast: Sabita Devi, Surendra, Bibbo, Prabha, Bhudo Advani, Harish, Pandey, Krishnakumari, Gulzar, Sunalina Devi, Kaushalya.

Plot: This is the story of three women, from different cultures and walks of life, who meet in Bombay.

Sarjojini (Sabita Devi), a college grad, has arrived from Gujarat to begin a career in journalism…Asha (Bibbo), a spirted young Punjabi gal and aspiring singer, hails from a family of privilege…and Chhaya (Prabha), from Bengal, comes from a poor family, but is highly educated.

The three meet in a railway station and, thanks to a multilingual porter named Jairam (Bhudo Advani), they manage to strike up a friendship. The girls think it would be a great idea, since they are all new to the area, if they got an apartment together and hired Jairam as their servant.

Once they are settled in, Sarojini takes a job as editor of the “women’s section” of the newspaper, while Chhaya takes a teaching position at a local school…then there is Asha, simply on an extended vacation, who meets and falls in love with their neighbor, a civil engineer named Satish (Surendranath)… though Satish, while friendly, seem oblivious to her charms.

Things were going well for all three until Sarojini writes an editorial — a tirade against men and their mistreatment of women and children — which has some of the newspaper’s male readers up in arms. Sarojini’s boss (Pandey), unhappy with the reaction the article has received, tells her she must tone-it down or get out. She chooses neither option and is fired.

 

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Meanhile, Chhaya is having troubles of her own. She has a class of rowdy kids who are making life miserable, and she begins to wonder if she is cut out for teaching. Along comes Harish (Harish), the older brother of a student at the school, who sympathizes with her. The two eventually fall in love, but Chhaya’s timidity keeps her from telling her room-mates about Harish, and when he shows up at their apartment one day, she refuses to acknowledge him, breaking his heart.

 

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Harish, unidentified child actress, and Prabha in LADIES ONLY

 

Sarojini, having turned her efforts towards public service, is helping to open up an ashram for women and children and chooses Satish to design the building. Things between Asha and Sarojini become complicated when it appears that Sarojini is spending too much time with Satish.

 

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When Asha worries that she is losing Satish to Sarojini, the two women have a violent quarrel. Asha, Sarojini and Chhaya then confront Satish to find out why it seems he has turned the two friends into rivals for his heart.

Satish is flabbergasted, not understanding what the heck is going on… and just then another woman enters the apartment…it is Satish’s wife, returned from an extended trip! And she demands to know who are these three women!