If Kajol and Shahrukh together is the hook that pulled me into the world of Hindi cinema, Dharmendra and Hema Malini as a jodi was the thing that intrigued me to explore 70's Hindi films further; had they not come along, I probably wouldn't have been so driven to view as many films as I have so far.
Sharafat is the couple's second movie, released five years prior to Sholay (the film that made me a fan). It partly has a very 60's feel to it, perhaps most importantly in terms of hair style, make-up and Dharmendra's character. As I understand it, the man moved from virtuous, gentleman-like hero roles into more action-focused macho roles (perhaps entirely thanks to the influence of the classic Veeru role).
In this movie he plays Rajesh, a young college professor who notices many of his students visit a brothel. He asks the courtesan Chanda (Hema Malini) not to allow the students visiting, and she agrees, but on one condition: he must give her private lessons on the subjects he teaches at the college. He agrees, and love is naturally born of the contract, but even more important is the decency of Chanda's character; how she lost it, whether she lost it, and if she can gain it back.
I'm not sure if I ever quite took in the story or the message of Sharafat; I enjoyed the story as it was happening, but months after watching I have to look at the back of the DVD box for plot details. I guess I took the film on a more superficial level - Hema and Dharmendra look young and gorgeous, Hema performs a number of dazzling dance numbers and the film is visually a lovely watch. Their chemistry is present, but not striking here. Nevertheless, it's impressive how well Hema stands against the more experienced co-star, and acts against such legends as Ashok Kumar (who plays a crucial role in this movie).
Sharafat is one of those melodramatic movies that is neither engrossing or annoying. Mostly it's focused on the concept of decency and how society views Chanda, a prostitute, and why naturally her love with Rajesh, a respectable professor, simply will not do. Basically, the title word gets repeated so many times in the dialogue, it doesn't take a genius to figure out that sharafat = decency.
However, to everybody and anybody who enjoy Dharmendra-Hema and/or Hema Malini's dancing, it is worth at least one watch.
(Side note; I am currently simply reviewing the films I have screencaps for on my hard drive. These are not necessarily films I have seen recently, some I've not viewed for over a year. So apologies if my memories are not too fresh. Eventually I will have to move onto movies I have seen more recently - like my last viewed film, Aaja Naachle - but all with time..)