RAM TERI GANGA MAILI (O Rama your Ganga is Tainted) was the last movie Raj kapoor directed before his death in 1988. The movie became one of Raj kapoor's biggest hit and it became the 3rd highest grosser of the 80's at the Indian box office.
Naren (Rajiv Kapoor) the son of Jeeva (Kulbushan Kharbanda) a corrupt politician is fed up of the corruption and hypocrisy of his father's ways (Naren's father and Bhagavat Chaudury (Raza Murad) are involved in a poltical campaign to cleanse the River Ganga when in reality they contribute to the contamination) he decides to go on a college trip to Gangotri to analyse the origin of dirt found in the river Ganga, his father is reluctant to let Narendra go, but he eventually allows him. On his way Narendra's grandmother asks him to bring back the fresh clean water in gangotri to her
When Narendra gets to Gangotri, he meets a young innocent lady from the Mountains by the name of Ganga (MANDAKINI), the two eventually fall in love. As per the tradition of the Mountain girls, at every full moon they can choose a groom for themselves, Ganga chooses Narendra as her love and they make love to one another
When Narendra's time at the mountain is over he returns home to Calcutta, but he tells Ganga he would return again to take her with himWhen Narendra returns home he finds out arrangements are being made for his marriage to Radha (Divya Rana) who happens to be a family friend, Narendra breaks the news to his grandmother that he has found a wife in the mountains. Unable to take the news, his grandmother collapses, when she awakes, she's more accepting and before she dies, she tells Narendra to bring Ganga to her. Narendra tells Radha about his love for Ganga and how he has to get her from the mountains, Radha informs Narendra's father Jeeva who then keeps him on surveillance and thereby is prevented from getting to Ganga.
Back in the mountains a heavily pregnant Ganga keeps awaiting Narendra's return, she gives birth to a boy and then decides to go to Calcutta to visit Narendra
While Ganga is on her way to Calcutta she experiences a huge number of difficulties, she almost gets sold in a brothel, a priest tries to rape her and when she finally boards the train to Calcutta, she gets left behind as she had left the train to feed her thirsty son
......................................................the controversial breastfeeding scene
Will Ganga make it Calcutta, will she be reunited with Narendra? What will Narendra do about his marriage to Radha?
RAM TERI GANGA MAILI, while having all the features of a typical bollywood romance story e.g. Lost love, different class background etc. is a commentary about hypocrisy, the moral and political corruption in society. The film is drenched in so much symbolism that a single watch would not be sufficient to interpert or grasp all its meaning fully. Ram teri ganga maili is gripping and hard hitting, while you might feel you're watching a romance story, it constantly hits at your heart and
draws your attention, a tad too dramatic at times but the melodrama didn't stop me enjoying it.
Mandakini gives a great performance as Ganga, and totally owns the film, i found myself immensely rooting for her character. Following the success of the film, Mandakini did many more movies, but none could compare to her role in Ram teri Ganga Maili, and such a pity that all she seems to be remembered for these days are the wet sari shots and controversial breastfeeding scenes from the movie, many believed that the success of the movie owed much to the sexy shots of Mandakini, and many feel she was exploited, however i feel the shots weren't vulgar but were artistically executed.
The songs in RAM TERI GANGA MAILI were scored by Ravindra Jain, from the soulful Ram teri ganga maili, to yara o yara
Beautiful Mandakini in the fun catchy Sun sahiba sun
the traditional Ek radha ek meera
'Tujhe bulayeh' (see video below) which sees Mandkini in a wet see through Sari, which has become an iconic and much talked about aspect of the film. It even has a pervy youtube clip, a google image search on Mandakini also shows the popularity of this scene.....................................................The hugely popular & Iconic wet sari scene
Total Score : 8/10