A. Saptrishi Films' BETI NO. 1, directed by T. Rama Rao, is a social with ample doses of comedy. Durga Devi (Aroona Irani) is a wealthy woman with three sons ? Ram (Ashok Saraf), Laxman (Laxmikant Berde) and Bharat (Govinda). The first two sons have fathered only daughters, which has infuriated Durga Devi to such an extent that she has packed her daughters-in-law to their parent's homes.
Durga Devi's dominance on her entire family is total. Even her husband Dashrath (Prem Chopra) obediently submits to every whim and fancy of his wife.
Durga Devi is confident that her youngest son, Bharat, will definitely bear a grand-son for her. Bharat falls in love with Priya (Rambha), which results in their marriage. Bharat has a detective-friend Mulayamchand (Johny Lever), who happens to be a next-door neighbour of his.
Co-incidentally, Bharat and Mulayamchand's wives become pregnant at the same time and both are admitted to the same maternity ward in adjoining rooms. Meanwhile, Durga Devi suffers a heart attack and she too is admitted to the same hospital. Mulayamchand's wife gives birth to a baby-boy and out of sheer joy, he brings over the infant to Bharat.
Around the same time, Dashrath arrives on the scene and takes away the child from Bharat. Upon seeing that the infant is a male, he jumps with joy and takes the child to Durga Devi, who in turn is overjoyed and recovers miraculously.
Soon enough, Bharat too fathers a child, but it's a daughter. Being next-door neighbours, Bharat and Mulayamchand decide to keep exchanging their progenies as and when necessary. But the truth is exposed one day?
The subject of BETI NO. 1 reminds one of those social entertainers made in the 1960s. However, what goes against the film are four factors:-
* The treatment is relatively old-fashioned. The story-telling lacks finesse and the viewer is forced to feel that he is watching a dated film;
* Although the basic idea is engaging, the villain's track and the action scenes in the climax seem totally unwarranted;
* The songs are a major hindrance and hardly contribute towards moving the story ahead. They have been added without valid situations;
* Lack of hype. Also, the pre-release publicity campaign has been far from impressive, which gives the film a routine look.
The plus points are few, but not enough to save the film. The scenes between Govinda and Johny Lever keep you in splits at some places. Viju Shah's music has two okay numbers ? 'Tune Jo Liya Mera Chumma' and 'Mehfil Ta Sajdi'. Dialogues are well penned at places. Cinematography is mediocre.
Aroona Irani is very loud. This performance may work at small centres though. One has witnessed the on-screen chemistry between Govinda and Johny Lever in several films and this time too, the duo enact their parts with ease.
Rambha ought to take care of her weight. She looks fat and even her performance is lacklustre. Prem Chopra leaves a mark in the climax. Ashok Saraf, Laxmikant Berde and Mohan Joshi are typecast.
On the whole, BETI NO. 1 will find very few takers at the box-office. Also, the pirated video cassettes and VCDs of the film have been in circulation before the theatrical release, which will mar its business at the ticket window.