Chhoti Si Baat (Hindi: छोटी सी बात) is a 1976 Hindi romantic comedy film directed by Basu Chatterjee. The film's title means "A Small Matter" in Hindi. Considered one of the best Hindi comedy films of the 1970s, it is a nostalgic favourite for its quirky take on pre-hypercongestion Bombay. The film became a box office hit and also earned Filmfare nominations and a Filmfare Award for Best Screenplay for Basu Chatterjee.
It also established Amol Palekar as having an uncommon comic talent for playing mousy characters, a role he would go on to repeat several times in his career. As with other Basu Chatterjee films, moviestars have small cameos playing themselves: Dharmendra and Hema Malini (whose mother Jaya Chakravarthy helped produce the film) are in a movie-within-a-movie for the song Janneman Janneman, while Amitabh Bachchan plays himself in another scene, where he seeks advice from Ashok Kumar's character. He is dressed in costume from Zameer, whose film poster is prominently displayed at the bus stop scenes in Chhoti Si Baat. B.R. Chopra is the producer for Zameer, just as he is for Chhoti Si Baat.
This movie is based on "School for Scoundrels", a 1960 British Comedy which itself was based on the Gamesmanship series of books by Stephen Potter.
Chhoti Si Baat is a romantic comedy about a painfully shy young man Arun Pradeep (Amol Palekar), who lacks self-confidence and fails to stand up for his convictions, in the process letting all and sundry walk all over him. One fine day he comes across Prabha Narayan (Vidya Sinha) at the bus stop en route to work and it's love at first sight... for Arun that is. Lacking enough courage and unsure if his feelings are reciprocated, he pines for her from afar and follows her around, at a safe distance (or so he thinks). Prabha, fully aware of his affections, secretly relishes his discomfort, while waiting for him to make the first move.
While Arun is hopelessly stuck, in comes the suave, brash Nagesh Shastri (Asrani), a colleague of Prabha's, and emerges a serious rival for her attention. It doesn't help that he appears to be miles ahead of Arun in the "race" and is all that Arun is not: He's gregarious while Arun is shy, he's confident and boastful, while Arun is besieged with self-doubt, he's smooth, while Arun is awkward, he's street smart, while Arun's naïve, he's assertive while Arun is timid. Plus he owns a scooter and ensures that he has opportunities to offer Prabha a ride, while Arun can only look on. A gullible Arun, trying to match Nagesh with a motorbike of his own, is conned into buying a dud, further embarrassing him in front of Prabha. He seeks salvation in astrology, tarot cards, dubious godmen only to land with egg on his face.
In desperation, he finally turns to Colonel Julius Nagendranath Wilfred Singh (Ashok Kumar) of Khandala, who has made it his mission to assist those in love find their true destiny. Colonel Singh agrees to help Arun and thus begins the turnaround as Singh begins to mould Arun into a mature, confident young man through meticulously designed lesson plans, peppered with philosophy and "hands on" training. A "born-again" Arun returns to Bombay with a distinguished swagger, brimming with newly discovered self-esteem, ready to take on the world and win over Prabha.Amol Palekar as Arun Pradeep
Vidya Sinha as Prabha Narayan
Ashok Kumar as Colonel Julius Nagendranath Wilfred Singh
Asrani as Nagesh Shastri
Nandita Thakur as Deepa
Rajendra Nath as Maunibaba
C. S. Dubey as Gurnaam, garage owner
Komila Virk as Col. Singh's assistant
Farooque as Shorty
Manmohan as villain in song " janeman janeman"
Sujit Kumar as Villain in a song "Janeman Janeman"
Dharmendra as Guest, in a song " janeman janeman"
Hema Malini as Guest, in a song " janeman janeman"
Amitabh Bachchan as Guest appearance
All lyrics written by Yogesh; all music composed by Salil Chaudhury.