SYNOPSIS - DAAG
("STIGMA")

  1. (SONG: HUM AUR TUM) Sonia (Sharmila Tagore) and Sunil (Rajesh Khanna) are in love. They don't want to split tomorrow, though they must go home. Sunil jests about how difficult it is to find new ways to say "I love you."  

  2. Sunil gets the job he's applied for at Kapoor Industries. He goes to tell Sonia; his method of getting her attention arouses suspicions in her aunt and uncle Khanna. Khanna teases his wife, saying some Romeo is out to get her. She figures out that the "whistler" is calling for Sonia, and frets that Sonia's wild ways will corrupt her own two daughters. Later, Sunil comes to the house to ask Khanna for Sonia's hand in marriage. After some misunderstandings, Khanna gives his qualified blessings, saying the person who will decide on such matters — his wife — is currently out of the house. Sunil runs into her on the way out and tells her that his happiness lies in her hands. She comes in, and is ill pleased to learn that Sunil has asked for Sonia's hand. She's just arranged Sonia's engagement to her aunt's son, a man who Khanna says looks like a fugitive in some warrant notice in the post office. His wife vows that Sonia will only marry this man, as to do otherwise would set a bad example for their own daughters. Sonia passionately declares that she will only marry Sunil (SONG: CHAHE MAA RUTHE YA BABA).

  3. Sunil and Sonia are married, with her uncle's blessings. They take off to Kullu, where Kapoor Industries is located.

  4. The boss isn't around at the Kapoors' household, but Dheeraj Kapoor, the headman's son, offers them a warm if slightly suspect welcome. Sunil turns down his offer of whiskey; Sonia declines refreshments. After they depart to their bedroom, Dheeraj salivates over Sonia. His friends warn him that she doesn't look the type to cheat on her husband. Dheeraj confidently assures them that money can buy anything.  

  5. After a passionate night, Sonia wakes Sunil so he won't be late for work. He meets the boss, who asks his son Dheeraj to be sure to get 50,000 Rs. from the safe before coming in to the office. Sonia realizes Sunil has forgotten his wallet, and anticipates a funny episode. Meanwhile, Dheeraj is succumbing to his baser instincts. He goes into Sonia's bedroom to access the safe, and attacks her. Sunil returns in the nick of time, but in the ensuiing brawl, Dheeraj is killed.

  6. In court, Sunil stands no chance against the Kapoor's wealth and influence. The Kapoors' lawyer paints a picture of Sunil as a greedy man overwhelmed at the opportunity to steal from the Kapoors' safe. As evidence, he cites the money found scattered all over the floor after the murder. He argues that Dheeraj interrupted a theft in progress and was slain while attempting to stop Sunil. Sunil is sentenced to prison. Afterward, Sonia tearfully vows to wait for him forever.

  7. On the way to the prison, Sunil attacks a convict who implies that Sonia will shortly forget him in the arms of another lover. The brawl somehow causes an accident in which, according to the next day's papers, all the passengers are killed. Sonia goes into a decline. The doctor tells her uncle that Sonia is pregnant. Her aunt becomes hysterical at the news, predicting scandal and mayhem. Khanna argues that it is their duty to help Sonia, and if she won't do it, he'll find some other place for himself and his niece. Hearing this, Sonia flees.

  8. (SONG: HAWAA CHALE KAISE) Sonia teaches at a school in the mountains. Her son is five years old now. Alas, the school board has discovered her past, and most of the members feel they cannot risk their school's reputation by keeping her on. Only two members argue in her defense; one, Chandni (Raakhee), heatedly protests that they all have secrets in their past; would they like to be judged by them? She feels that every human deserves forgiveness. But her arguments do not sway the board. They decide to fire Sonia. Chandni asks Sonia to come live with her as a companion: "My husband is rarely home, and I get lonely." Sonia gratefully accepts.

  9. Chandni's daughter Pinky shows Sonia's son Rinku all the many toys her father has bought her. She says she'll ask her dad to get him some too. During a game later, she assigns toys to represent their families, but when she tells him that one will represent his father, he admits that he does not have one. Sonia is moved to tears: "The one thing I can't give him is a father." Chandni gently asks her why she doesn't consider remarrying. Sonia says, "A woman loves only once, not time and time again." Chandni allows that might be true, but "at least you would give your son a father." Later, Chandni's husband appears. Gasp! It's Sunil! But he calls himself "Sudhir." He meets Rinku and promises to take him on safari in his jeep. Then Sonia spots him. Overwhelmed, she excuses herself. Later, Rinku tells Sonia all about Pinky's daddy, and how he's going to do all this neat stuff with Rinku. "If my dad were alive, would he love me so much?" he asks his mother.

  10. (SONG: JAB BHI JI CHAHE) Sudhir stops Sonia from leaving with Rinku. "You won't go," he tells her. Sonia: "Who are you to stop me?" Sunil: "I'm your husband." Sonia: "My husband is dead. God snatched him away from me." Sudhir: "Don't talk like that. I'm alive." Sonia: "You're not alive for me, but for those who have good fortune. And what do you lack now? You have a child, a wife, wealth, a home —.everything!" Sunil: "Listen to me!" Sonia: "No need. I see everything. While I sat with your memory clutched to my breast, you forgot it all. All the love, all the promises, your Sonia — you forgot it all." Sudhir: "I forgot nothing. I remember it all. When we parted, the tears in your eyes — as the police drew me away from you, I felt as though we were parting for ever. I wondered if we would ever meet again." He begins to tell her what happened to him.

  11. Flashback to the crash: Sunil survived, but he was still handcuffed to another man. They headed down the slope to the water. He asked if the man could swim; he said yes. So they freed themselves (quite ingeniously), but while "I waited there, the man never appeared. Maybe he couldn't swim, and lied to save my life. I can't tell you what effect his sacrifice had on me. But my disgrace was yet on my wrist." So he headed to a blacksmith's to get it off. Afterwards, he went to Khanna's, where Sonia's uncle told him that Sonia had disappeared, pregnant with his child, in a near-maddened state. Chased by the police that Khanna's wife alerted, Sunil set off to find her. "I began to search for you everywhere like a man possessed." In his searches, he encountered Chandni, a woman whose father was plagued by heart troubles. He helped them back to their house from the train station, and realized that their home was a perfect hiding place in which to wait out the police searches. Meanwhile, he got sucked into their own troubles: Chandni had been impregnated and abandoned by a rogue, and her father could not die easily knowing he left her to a life of censure and despair. Sunil struck a private bargain with Chandni: before the world and her father, they would pretend to be married. But never would they actually wed: it would be an understanding, a compromise between the two of them, so her child would have a name and escape social ostracization. When Chandni tried to tell him the story of what happened to her, he stopped her: "I don't want to know. Nor should you try to learn about my past."

  12. Present day: Sudhir tells Sonia that "I've never touched her, from that day forward. What are you thinking?" Sonia: "I'm wondering why so many people under this roof have stories about their pasts. Did they pen them by themselves? If not, why am I being punished like this?" Sudhir: "It's done; I'm free now." Sonia: "You're not free. You gave your name to Pinky and Chandni; you gave them honor. She helped you out. Now you want to disgrace her?" Sudhir: "But I love you, Sonia." Sonia: "So where will you take me? The police know you're alive. They'll snatch you away. I don't want to be widowed again." Sudhir: "I don't want to lose you either. But if you want me to remain here, you must stay as well." Sonia agrees (SONG: NI MAINU YAAR MANNA NI).

  13. Chandni's father, Deewan, proposes Sudhir's name for the mayorship. Deewan's friend, Inspector Singh, shows up and thinks he recognizes Sudhir. He calls headquarters to request the file on the Dheeraj Kapoor murder. Meanwhile, Chandni has become discontented with her relationship with Sudhir. She asks her father if she can accompany him to Haridwar to pray for something special, since she has heard that everything one asks for there will be granted.

  14. While Chandni and Deewan are away, Sudhir and Sonia shall play: on a drive, Sudhir stops the car to reiterate his love for his wife (SONG: MERE DIL MEIN AAJ KYA HAI).  Later, a storm hits, forcing the couple to stay out at the farm with the children. There, they reconsummate their love. The next morning, Sudhir decides to tell Chandni everything, but Sonia cautions him that he will only hurt Pinky. He asks her for a little more time, in which he can find a way to break the news with minimum negative impact.

  15. Chandni returns home to discover the house is empty. A servant tells her that the family has stayed out at the farm, so she goes to find them. She discovers evidence that Sudhir and Sonia have slept together, and lambastes Sonia for deceiving her. "You're a low woman. If you have a shred of decency, you'll leave before Sudhir comes back."

  16. Sudhir wins the mayorship, and Inspector Singh tricks him into providing fingerprints. Sudhir returns home intoxicated, and is astonished by Chandni's slurs against Sonia. Sudhir: "Don't insult her!" Chandni: "What? A woman you've known for two days ranks higher than one you've known for five years?" Sudhir: "Don't forget that I've only given you my name." Chandni: "I know, but I'm human, not stone! I love you. I'm beautiful and young; what's in Sonia that I lack?" Sudhir: "Sonia's my wife, Chandni."

  17. Chandni goes to the train station and begs Sonia's forgiveness. Sonia admits that in Chandni's place, she would have done the same thing. Chandni tells her she knows everything, and begs her not to go, explaining that Sudhir will follow her, and that will mean a life of disgrace for Pinky and herself. "Can't we share our pain? You love each other. You're his wife; I'm just called it. Stay and live as you were; you with the actual right, and I with society's recognition. If you go I'll lose everything. I don't want more than I have already. I promise, I'll never come between you two. Please forgive me for what I said this morning." Sonia agrees to return.

  18. Inspector Singh gets the fingerprint report back from forensics and discovers that Sudhir is a positive match for Sunil. His underling cautions him to move carefully, since Sudhir is now the mayor, and quite wealthy. Singh bemoans his decision: "I'm torn between duty and friendship [to Deewan]."

  19. At the mayoral inauguration, Sunil makes a pretty speech about how he's no one and nothing, and tomorrow there will be someone else in his place. His sentiments are brutally underlined by the arrival of Singh, who has come to arrest him. Deewan refuses to believe the charges, so Singh points to Sonia as proof: "This woman is Sunil's wife!" Sonia denies it: "The police may be fooled, and the law may be fooled, but a wife can't be. My husband died five years ago. I'm a widow." Sunil hesitates a bit too long for this viewer's taste before telling Sonia that her sacrifice is not necessary. "Stop. You're not a widow, you're a wife, and I'm alive. I received the sentence, but you endured the punishment...Today, before everyone, I'll say that I am Sunil Kohli and you are my wife. I was innocent then and I'm innocent now. And if to save your wife is a crime, then they can hang me for it." 

  20. At the new trial (though why there should be a new trial is never made clear), the judge who presides is the lawyer who argued against Sunil before. (Lovely conflict of interest, no?) Sunil makes a speech about how he should have gone ahead and served his sentence, because he's been paying twofold ever since. The prosecutor shoots back that Sunil took advantage of the town, and most especially Deewan and Chandni, and has been enjoying their wealth for the last five years. Sunil, he says, is a liar, a hypocrite, and a fraud. This incenses Chandni, who begs to take the stand. She tells the court that the motive of greed doesn't make sense in regards to Sunil, since in five years he never showed any interest in Deewan's wealth. Furthermore, it's likely that Dheeraj Kapoor did try to rape Sonia, since Chandni herself was a victim of his misogynism. She recounts how he offered marriage to her, and then, when she became pregnant, discarded her. "No woman wants to disgrace herself before society, but I'm doing it because Sunil is innocent. I couldn't forgive myself if I remained quiet." In light of these revelations, the judge dismisses the case against Sunil, declaring him a free man. Sonia then invites Chandni to return home with them, because, as she reminds Sunil, "Rinku is yours, don't forget." Isn't that nice. Happy platonic-menage-a-trois ever after. Credits.
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