"Sharmilee" is also about the hero's journey and how 'fate'
reveals to him the unreliability of matters of the heart and the true
' just ness' of 'traditional' institutions. Which is basically the underlying
message of the love story track in every Bollywood film (and has strong
ties with Hindu texts like the Mahabarata).
In many ways the hero is a reflection of the Bollywood audience's
fascination and desire for the Westernized twin Kamini played by fashionable
starlet Raakhee who wears revealing bathing suits, silver lamè
pantsuits and upswept bouffant hairstyles. The Hero is infatuated like
the audience with the glitz, novelty, and glamour the ultra hip attitudes
of the West present. The hero though is shown that what he took for love
is nothing but an illusion. In "Sharmilee" the Hero is literally
shown that his love for Kamini is an illusion (the hero sees what he
takes to be a ghost of Kamini, who is actually Kanchan in disguise).
The film ends in harmony with the wishes of society met. The hero and
true heroine, Kamini (the traditional sister) overcome the whims of mere
love to make the 'right' choice. Fate intervenes to guide the hero down
the correct 'socially correct' path. Everybody ends up happy, except
for the Westernized girl, who ends up dead. All is well in Bollywood.
It is interesting to note that young Indian woman flocked
to the theaters to watch the female stars of the time, like
and Zeenat Aman,
to see what new Western fashions, hairstyle, and make-up they
were wearing. Often the new styles seen in films became the
fashion rage on the street.
"Sharmilee" is also full of classic music by S.D.
Burman sung by Kishore Kumar, Asha Bhonsle, and Lata Mangeshkar.
The songs, 'O Meri Sharmilee', 'Khilte Jain Gul Yahan' and the
Lata-Kishore duet 'Aaj Madhosh Hua' were chart toppers. The
film also was a huge hit and was instrumental in making Bengali
actress Raakhee a big star in Bollywood.