The Millionairess; review of a classic of Sophia Loren

By Naeem Asgher Tarar

sophia
Auur phir wou Hansi khushi rehnay lagay’, after this line, which was written in urdu, its translation in English appeared on the screen, followed by the concluding sound of loud drum beating, which was an integral part of any vintage movie. So the movie ends here!

‘The Millionairess’ was released on 18th October 1960. The main cast includes Sophia Loren and Peter Sellers. The story runs smoothly, without any plot hassle. Story and characters of film, not just provide the entertainment, which was promised in the posters, but also some philosophical daily life lessons, which one has to grab accordingly as it may suits his need, or can leave them wherever they lies and just stick to the entertainment part.

Epifania Parerga (Sophia Loren), was a spoiled child of a millionaire father, who died and left all these riches and wealth to her only daughter, in a legal will drafted by their family lawyer. The character of Epifania reveals an admitted truth, that countless treasures when are mixed with low mental and social education, they play havoc. After the death of her father, she was naturally deprived of the person, who previously was not just an economical suppoter of her, but a counselor too. Having very little experience she fell for a muscular macho tennis player Alastair. Before dying Epifania’s father directed a point regarding the selection of her husband, and that point was actually a condition which at all costs was to be fulfilled by the person who was to be her husband. The condition was to take 500 pounds and then convert into 15000 ponds within three months. Ephifania, out of love, which she had developed for the tennis player Alastair, applied to a method of which her father had never approved of if he was alive today. She asked him to invest the 500 pounds in one of her company, and then few days later she returned him 15000, labelling it as pure profit. Eh Labour of love!

Since, the tennis player was muscular and handsome, it was obvious he had a lot of admirers, less of same sex and many of opposite sex. Ephifania and Alastair may have tried, but their marriage was unable to sustain for a long period. Due to adultery committed by Alastair and Ephifania’s less understanding of a social life led them to a divorce. Ephifania lived a life which has never seen a hardship of any kind, numerous attendants were at hand to perform any service they are asked for, and this has made Ephifania a girl with no domestic understanding. She knows how to order rudely, with her neck straight up, but not how to perform the tasks which sought her assistance.

The divorce effected her, and she decided to commit suicide. she attempted but proved abortive. Then the shrewd family lawyer Julius Sagamore, suggested her to undergo therapy. He himself arranged a session with the noted psychiatrist Adrian Bond. Adrian tried to impress her, in which apparently he seemed successful, but on one occasion he used disrespectful words for his father and detested him. Ephifania without any haste pushed him into the Thames, and angrily told him to never come after her. Obviously that was a very foolish thing, to degrade someone’s father and that too in front of him. Anyways the psychiatrist had his fill and left.

While Ephifania was on Thames, she after throwing Julius in it, faked as if she has hurt her right shoulder. Her loud shrieks and moans attracted attention of a Hindu doctor who was from Bombay. Finally the protagonist!
After helping the psychiatrist out of the water, he attended to Ephifania in a nearby shop cum room of a fisherman. Ephifania tried to lure him with her silk like body, and tried everything amorous possible at that time, but to no avail. Doctor Kabir took her like a patient, who is in need of a first aid. Ephfania even tried to impress him with her immense wealth, but doctor Kabir disregarded everything. He was actually a selfless man, working in a small clinic and helping the patients almost free of cost.
Doctor Kabir’s indifference to her wealth and beauty, made a deep mark on Ephifania’s heart and she lost it to him.
When everything goes in vain, and Ephifania founds herself hapless against the doctor. She purchased a large property and built a very modern and well equipped hospital for doctor Kabir, to take its charge. Again doctor was impervious to this and refused to take charge. Now, finally Ephifania in clear words expressed her love and proposed him. Doctor always concealed it but due to their more often interaction he has developed some feelings too, he appearing half hearted told him about a condition which his mother put, on her deathbed for the bride of his son. The prospective bride has to live for three months only having thirty five shilling, and rest of the need to be met with any kind of work she undertakes. Ephifania resent merrily to this condition and tells him about the condition of her father. To convert five hundred pounds into fifteen thousand pounds. Doctor resisted that he has no head for economical activities or things which involves money, but Ephifania leave five hundred pounds in his clinic.

During these three months Ephifania did a job at an Italian pasta factory, by exploiting the owner who was doing work with illegal number of labourers to boost his sale. She stayed with them and helped them to increase the production, by introducing modern techniques. While on the other hand, Kabir gave away all the five hundred pounds and did nothing to meet the condition of her father. Finally when they met after three months, Ephifania told him that she lived according to the condition his mother asked to be fulfilled by the bride. In response Doctor told him about his giving away of all money, which offended Ephifania and she left with rude remarks about the Doctor.

Ephifania, who was not too heartbroken, decided to fire each of her employ from the job and to sell all of her wealth and property and live her remaining life in a Tibetan monastery.

Sagamore was alarmed and shocked by this decision of her mistress. He to avoid such a massive non sense promised the employs to do everything in his power to keep away Ephifania from doing any such atrocity. He rushed to Kabir’s clinic and with dreary voice told him about the decision of Ephifania. Doctor hurried to the reception which was given by Ephifania to all the employs to bid them good bye. Sagmore at the spot sold medical experiment papers of Doctor for thirty thousand pounds, and after keeping fifteen thousand for himself gave the rest fifteen to the Doctor. Now Doctor has also fulfilled the condition, and stands equal to to the Ephifania. They both exchanged pleasantries and then after their kiss…..’Auur phir woh Hansi khushii rehnay lagay.’