Big B seeks revenge from Sanjeev through business

Revenge ! Revenge ! Revenge ! At a point in time during the seventies, almost every third Bollywood movie was being made on the theme of revenge. Sometimes the story was given the backdrop of banditry and sometimes that of smuggling. However the purpose remained the same in every case – settling score with and teaching a lesson to the wrongdoer(s).

Superstar Amitabh Bachchan’s makers in the real sense who only arranged the Angry Young Man tag for him – Salim-Javed wrote a brilliant drama for the extra-ordinarily popular hero which was a revenge drama coupled with a family drama, quite different from the routine revenge sagas being made like assembly line production in that period. This unrealistic yet highly impressive movie is Trishul (1978), a multi-starrer made by Gulshan Rai and directed by none other than the legendary filmmaker Yash Chopra who had left for his heavenly abode exactly five years back (21st October, 2012). I pay my tribute to him.

In Trishul (trident), our hero Vijay (Amitabh Bachchan) seeks revenge from his estranged father Raaj Kumar Gupta (Sanjeev Kumar) who had ditched his mother Shaanti (Waheeda Rehman) for the sake of marrying Kaamini (Geeta Siddharth) to get her wealth and make it big in life. He indeed makes it big in his life and becomes the biggest construction contractor of the region. He begets one son – Shekhar (Shashi Kapoor) and one daughter Babli (Poonam Dhillon) through his marriage with Kaamini. On the other hand, totally alone and resourceless Shaanti fosters her son Vijay with a lot of difficulty but teaches him only one thing – self-confidence. Vijay comes to learn that with self-confidence, one can achieve everything. And when his dying mother tells him about his father and what he had done to her, he uses this the only asset of his (self-confidence) to settle score with him. The activities of Vijay and his interaction with R.K. Gupta and his family form the bulk of the narrative and keep the audience hooked for two and a half hours in which Vijay seeks his revenge from his father by becoming his business competitor.

Right from Vijay’s setting in to seek his revenge (or his mother’s revenge) from R.K. Gupta, the complete script runs in typical Salim-Javed style of the seventies – blows and counter-blows, checks and checkmates, frequent twists in the tale happening at such a speed that the viewer does not get any time to pause and ponder over what’s being shown to him and just keeps on watching holding his breath and finally, lots of action. Most of the masaala movies starring Amitabh Bachchan were made in this style only but Trishul puts itself in a league of its own. There is a heavy dose of sentiments in the action-studded drama and it is underscored both subtly and loud that the hero is the hero because he is capable of doing anything and achieving anything purely riding on the strength of his guts and confidence. However the script is totally unreliable because the way the completely resourceless hero becomes a big construction contractor in a very short period, is possible in fiction only.

Yash Chopra has presented the very fast-paced drama on the screen with elegance. Despite lots of cinematic liberties taken in the script, the characters do not appear unreal and they are able to leave their mark on the audience. No character has been ignored in the huge star cast assembled for the movie, may it be Shashi Kapoor or Raakhee or Hema Malini or Sachin or Poonam Dhillon or Younus Parvez. Especially Raakhee emerges high through her well-written role (of Geeta, an honest employee of R.K. Gupta) in this male-dominated movie. And the narrator has very skillfully shown that Vijay and Geeta gradually come close to each other without showing any romance between them which is something highly laudable.

Amitabh Bachchan and Sanjeev Kumar are two pillars of the script and both of them have lived up to their reputation. Sanjeev has brought a typical businessman with a professional mindset alive on the screen who keeps the practical aspect of life above personal sentiments whereas Amitabh Bachchan is the popular angry young man of that era expressing his anger sometimes in a controlled way and sometimes a little bit loud. The script has given them ample moments to take on and outwit each other on the screen and they outshine each other on different occasions.

All others including the debutante Poonam Dhillon have done quite satisfactorily. Prem Chopra is the typical Bollywood villain and he has performed stylishly. The movie is studded with action and fight scenes associated with Amitabh Bachchan in that era. Today, it’s a pleasure to watch such action on the screen when the larger than life hero beats many baddies single-handedly.

The production value of the movie is according to the reputation of the banner. It’s a technically superior movie. Editing is so sharp that seldom do we get a moment to relax throughout the duration of the movie.

Music by Khayyam is not great but not bad either. Tu Mere Saath Rahega Munne, Mohabbat Bade Kaam Ki Cheez Hai, Gaapuchi Gaapuchi Gam Gam, Jaaneman Tum Kamaal Karti Ho etc. are all quite good to listen to and have also been presented on the screen very well. The title of the movie is perhaps as such because the grief in the heart of the hero (due to the injustice done to his mother) keeps on hurting him like a trident.

It’s one of the blockbuster movies of Big B, i.e., Amitabh Bachchan as well as the director Late Yash Chopra and renders abundant entertainment even when watched today. I wholeheartedly recommend this evergreen movie to one and all.

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An emotion-soaked saga covering two generations

Women have several virtues which men can only envy for. However jealousy and hatred towards a woman who is supposed to be own rival for a man’s love is a vice whose dominance is found more in womenfolk only. When a woman finds that her man is a prisoner of the arms of some other woman, her womanly jealousy and possessiveness can play havoc. Such a woman can be the man’s wife or the sweetheart but the status hardly affects the destructive feeling hidden within. Thus her hatred for the second woman becomes the other side of her love for the man. Sunny (1984) tells such a story only in which one woman’s wrath is directed towards another woman who has snatched her man from her.

The story covers two generations and it starts with the first, senior, generation containing Inder (Dharmendra), his wife – Gaayatri (Waheeda Rehman) and his sweetheart – Sitaara (Sharmila Tagore). Gaayatri has not been able to conceive in her conjugal life and perhaps this fact created a distance between herself and husband, i.e., Inder. Inder develops an affair with Sitaara (Sharmila Tagore) and she gets pregnant through him. Suddenly Inder dies in the crash of his private plane. And post his death only, his wife – Gaayatri comes to know of his affair with Sitaara. She also comes to know that Sitaara is carrying the child fathered by Inder in her womb.

The real story takes off from here. Burning in womanly jealousy on one hand and being concerned with the business empire and wealth of Inder with no one to inherit it on the other, Gaayatri conspires against Sitaara. She deceives her by arranging her confinement in her supervision and charge at some faraway place and then tells her that she has given birth to a dead child, carrying that child to her home and declaring it as her own. That child grows up as Sunny (Sunny Deol). Sunny has inherited not only his father’s wealth but also his father’s habits, hobbies (flying plane and listening to music) and nature. He starts the story pertaining to the second generation by falling in love with Amrita (Amrita Singh) who is a singer. Since she has been fostered by Sitaara, Sunny comes into contact with Sitaara and since the very first meeting of theirs, a motherly affection emerges between the two with the reality being unknown to both that they are actually the mother and the son.

However when the proceedings for matrimonial alliance of Sunny and Amrita start, the two ladies who had a common man in their life, come into the contact again after a long time span. Sitaara comes to know that Sunny is her son only and she begs before Gaayatri to return her son to her but Gaayatri who is still not able to forgive Sitaara for snatching away her husband, becomes even more stern and stony (without realizing the gravity of her own sin of separating a mother from her child) and creates blocks between Sitaara and Sunny. Sunny feels that her mother is not happy with his decision to marry Amrita but the truth is not limited to this fact only and there’s something more that is hidden from his knowledge. And he compels his mother, i.e., Gaayatri to reveal the truth. He gets his biological mother in the end but loses his fostering mother simultaneously.Sunny has a wafer thin storyline and in the hands of an inexperienced director, the movie would have become a mess. However, fortunately, it has been directed by Raj Khosla who has poured all his experience and expertise of filmmaking into this movie and ensured that it turns out to be an impressive emotional drama. In the post interval-session, the movie gradually gets heavy with sentiments and its pace becomes very slow. Still Raj Khosla manages to pull it off and keeps the audience glued to the screen. He is helped by the musical score in the first half and the performances in the second half. Overall, the movie is an impressive one though it compels the audience to look at the watches while heading towards its finale.

R.D. Burman’s musical score is a very big plus point of this movie. It contains gems like Aur Kya Ahd-e-Wafa Hote Hain (Asha Bhosle) and Jaane Kya Baat Hai Neend Nahin Aati (Lata Mangeshkar). I also like a very romantic song of this movie very much – Hum Aashiq Hain Mit Jaayenge Par Ishq Se Baaz Na Aayenge which has been sung by Anand Kumar.

As said earlier, the brilliant performances of the artists have helped the director in pulling the flat and not-so-strong script off as a decent movie. Seasoned actresses Waheeda Rehman and Sharmila Tagore have infused life into the sentimental story with their great performances. Waheeda especially is outstanding in her seemingly negative role. This is only the second movie of both Sunny Deol and Amrita Singh after Betaab (1983) but both have given their best shot throughout the movie. Sunny especially impresses with the different shades of his performance and proves that he’s the horse of a long race. Dharmendra is master-class in his cameo. The supporting cast is okay.Technically the movie is up to the mark. The cinematography, the art direction, the action; everything is in order. The movie has been edited well. Considering the sentimental drama being the essence of the movie, the editor could not do any better.

Raj Khosla could have arranged a regular Bollywood style climax for this movie and gone for a convenient happy ending but he has not done so and ensured that the story ends on a tragic but more convincing and more impressive note. The movie does not prove to be very entertaining but it ends by leaving a throbbing in the heart of a sentimental viewer.

Sunny was a commercial failure. However I recommend this relationship-based romantic as well as emotional drama to those who like neat and clean sentimental movies. Sunny Deol now commands a huge fan-following. I also recommend this movie to his admirers who might not have seen him much in such intense roles. It’s a showcase of his talent. Today is his birthday also. I convey him warm birthday wishes.

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Son firing crackers at father’s Guru’s residence on Diwali

Today is the festival of Diwali. On this occasion, I happen to remember a Diwali that had come eleven years ago, i.e., in 2006 when myself and my little son (who was only 3 years old then) had visited the residence of my music teacher Pandit Naaradanandji and my son had fired crackers outside his residence (at Rawatbhata, Rajasthan).


Shortly after arriving at Rawatbhata in January 2001 due to my transfer from Tarapur Atomic Power Station (Boisar, Maharashtra) to Rajasthan Atomic Power Station, I had come into contact with Naaradanandji who despite his very old age, used to teach music to the interested ones at a nominal fee. By convincing the management about his importance and utility for the employees and their wards, we (myself and some other pupils of him) had arranged a residential quarter for him in the C3B colony and in the year 2002, myself alongwith my wife and little daughter had lit lamps at his residence (C3B-24) on the Diwali day (last year I had written a blog on that).

Due to lack of students, he had left Rawatbhata in the year 2004 and returned back to his native place, Peepli (a village in the district Rajsamand of Rajasthan). He had done so without my knowledge and I had come to know about it later only which had made me sad as well as hit by guilt-complex that I could not help my Guru in his crisis time and he had to leave that way. After roundabout two years, I had succeeded in bringing him back to Rawatbhata, this time arranging another, better, quarter for him in the Anu Kiran Colony where I myself lived with my family. He was allotted quarter No. H1B-13. Now I was determined not to allow any such situation to prevail that had forced my Guru to leave the place two years back. Having been blessed with a son on 3rd November, 2003, now I visited him very regularly, taking care of his various requirements and checking his welfare with my little son also visiting him alongwith me. Mostly he accompanied me in the morning when I took tea for him in a thermos. Those days my little son used to ask me very innocently in the mornings -‘Papa, Babaji ko chaay pilaane chalen?’ (Shall we visit Babaji to offer him tea Papa?) and this gesture of my little one always touched me. While sharing tea with him at his residence, I used to sing songs to him with or without playing the harmonium (the one which he always kept with him) with my son becoming my audience. He always touched the feet of Naaradanandji with me and got his blessings.

As Diwali came near, Naaradanandji moved off for his native place to spend the festival with his family. On the Diwali day, my son who despite his tender years (only 3 years old then) was very fond of firing crackers, insisted me to fire crackers at Naaradanandji’s residence. Bowing before his urge, I took him to Naaradanandji’s residence, i.e., quarter No. H1B-13. That quarter was located in the colony in such a way that firstly, it was a separate quarter and not in any residential block containing certain number of quarters and secondly, it was not on the main road but somewhat inside with a small service lane type road and some empty area outside the main door. In the year 2002, I could light lamps at his residence, i.e., quarter No. C3B-24 because he had given a key of his quarter to me before leaving. This time he had not done so. Hence lighting lamps inside the quarter was not possible. However my son could ensure that Diwali is celebrated at my Guru’s residence too by firing different types of crackers outside his residence (in the empty space available). I lit a lamp and kept it on a small stony bench outside the gate (such sitting benches were a part of the layout of such quarters situated at the ground floor) and with the help of that my son fired a lot of crackers, enjoying himself on one hand and getting the satisfaction of celebrating Diwali at Babaji’s house on the other. We returned after some time with a lot of joy in our hearts.

Now eleven years have passed since that day. My son is going to complete 14 years of age shortly and 8 years have passed since Naaradanandji’s sad demise also. Some 3 years and a few months post his demise, his elder son also passed away underscoring this reality of life that man is just a bubble in the water of the world knowing not which moment his life is going to end.

I miss my Guru very much and my son too misses him either when he happens to see the old photographs in our albums or when all of a sudden, he recalls Naaradanandji and the time spent with him. Those two Diwalis (of 2002 and 2006) have become an inseparable part of my memories.

The link of my last yer’s relevant blog is :

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Jab Chali Thandi Hawa . . . .

First of all, I sincerely thank my friend and elder Mr. Thomas Dhavala for inspiring me to write a review of this emotional love story of the sixties which is still remembered for its great songs. Do Badan (1966) was the first movie seen by me on the big screen in Kolkata (then Calcutta) after moving to this metro city in 1988. I went to watch it with a lot of expectation because I was (and still am) very much impressed by its melodious and touching songs. And Do Badan lived upto my expectations.indexKarva Chauth, the festival of the Indian (mainly Hindu) ladies fasting for the long life of their husbands is celebrated every year. Now what’s marriage ? Does the marriage of a male and female happen through rituals or legal procedure only ? My answer is – No. The marriage, in the real sense, happens in the hearts of a male and a female. I am writing a sentence in the Urdu language – JIS-SE MOHABBAT HOTI HAI, USI SE VAABASTAGI HOTI HAI AUR YE VAABASTAGI HI SHAADI HAI (you are linked to whom you love and this link itself is marriage). The hearts of a man and a woman can be married despite the non-performance of rituals (or legal formality). Do Badan is the story of such a pair only which could not tie the sacred knot in the eyes of the society but the love that had evolved in them for each other was eternal, transcending the limits of the bodies with merger of the souls.posterDo Badan (two bodies) tells the story of college-mates turned lovers – Asha (Asha Parekh) and Vikas (Manoj Kumar). The difference between the statuses of Asha’s rich father and poor and orphan Vikas becomes an insurmountable wall in the path of their union. Vikas leaves Asha to earn money and become worthy in the eyes of her father to ask for her hand in marriage but his rival for Asha’s love, Ashwini (Pran) arranges an accident to get rid of him. Vikas survives but loses his eye-sight. Kind-hearted Dr. Anjali (Simi Grewal) serves him. On the other hand, Asha gets married to Ashwini under the wrong impression that Vikas is dead in the accident. However she is not able to love him like a wife as her emotions have died with Vikas. The twist in the tale comes when she sees Vikas singing in a party. What happens thereafter is very touching and the movie finally reaches its tragic climax, leaving a throbbing in the hearts of the viewers.

An acclaimed expert in directing suspense thrillers, Raj Khosla has excelled in the field of emotions too with Do Badan. The movie is quite interesting and the curiosity of the viewer has been well-maintained by the narrator. Despite Bollywood style twists and cinematic liberties in the narrative, the viewer is nowhere let down. Cinematography is good and the bright colours provide a cooling experience to the viewer’s eyes. Technically and production value wise, the movie is up to the mark. The length of the movie is also quite ok according to the norms of the sixties.

The lead pair was never considered a great performer. However in this emotion-packed movie, both have done well. Asha Parekh never got accolades for her performance but she was quite pretty and the thing for which I admire her is that she was able to develop good on-screen chemistry with every hero and that made up for her average acting. Manoj Kumar has also acted properly. The greatest ever villain of Bollywood, Pran has delivered a knock-out performance again. However the surprise packet of this movie is Simi Grewal who is simply lovable in the role of a kind-hearted lady doctor. She had won the Filmfare award for the best supporting actress for her performance in this movie. Today (17th October) is her birthday. I convey her my warm wishes.

The music of Do Badan is just marvellous with all the songs being memorable ones. The emotional lyrics of Shakeel Badayuni have been melodiously composed by Ravi. It contains three gems of Mohammed Rafi – Raha Gardishon Mein Har Dum, Naseeb Mein Jiske Jo Likha Tha and Bhari Duniya Mein Aakhir Dil Ko Samjhane Kahaan Jaayen. It has Lata’s great sad song – Lo Aa Gayi Unki Yaad. It contains Asha’s teasing song – Matt Jaiyo Naukariya Chhod Ke. And above all, it contains – Jab Chali Thandi Hawa which is undoubtedly one of Asha’s most popular songs, a real classic in terms of the tune as well as in terms of the instrumental music in which tender words have been strung like fragrant flowers in a beautiful garland. This unforgettable song links the natural phenomena with human emotions in the most impressive manner.

I had watched Do Badan in the Liberty Cinema situated at Girish Park, Kolkata (then Calcutta) on 14th October, 1988 and I am unfortunate that I am yet to watch it for the second time since then (though I watch the videos of its songs on internet). This touching love story is a treat to watch for the people liking emotional love stories and its great songs render it a repeat value for sure.

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Love, killing, rebirth and prevalence of justice

By reading the title of this review, the name of the movie which flashes in the minds of the new generation viewers is Farha Khan’s blockbuster movie – Om Shanti Om (2007) because the story of OSO contained love, killing, rebirth and prevalence of justice by booking of the culprit in the next incarnation of the victims. While acknowledging the entertainment value of OSO, I opine that it was overhyped and the out of proportion commercial success that it got was more due to hype and less due to its quality. It completely lacked originality, borrowing several scenes from different movies and lifting the climax straightaway from Bimal Roy’s classic movie – Madhumati (1958). Today I am reviewing an old movie which contained all the above mentioned ingredients but which is leagues ahead of Om Shanti Om in terms of plot, its treatment and music. This multi-starrer movie is Kudrat (1981) whose story revolves around its heroine – Hema Malini who has turned 69 today.Kudrat (nature) starts with the arrival of Chandramukhi (Hema Malini) with her parents to Shimla and to the pleasant surprise of her parents, an old friend of her mother has also come over there with her young son, Dr. Naresh (Vinod Khanna) who is a psychiatrist. Naresh and Chandramukhi become friends and Naresh silently starts feeling love for Chandramukhi in his heart. However a trouble starts taking place with Chandramukhi. She starts experiencing nightmares. A dream that frequently occurs to her is her chasing someone and then getting entangled in the hanging roots of a huge banyan tree. Further, she finds many places and people as quite familiar to her though she has never been to Shimla before (except when she was just an infant as told by her parents). Besides, she gets fascinated to the public prosecutor in the city court – Mohan (Rajesh Khanna) and in a state of something like seizure, she starts calling Mohan as Maadho and herself as Paaro. As she is undergoing fits time and again, it’s a challenge for her friend, Naresh to correctly diagnose her problem and then cure it.

Naresh uses hypnotism and makes Chandramukhi to revisit the bygone phase of her life. However by default, in that hypnotic state of hers, Chandramukhi reaches back to her previous birth when she was Paaro and was in love with Maadho (now Mohan in this incarnation). Maadho’s sister, Satto (Aruna Irani) was her best friend and she was living happily with her father (Satyen Kappu) in a nearby village. Through this experiment and talking to Satto who is still alive, Naresh comes to know that she was raped and killed by someone. Besides, her beau, Maadho had died even before her death. Knowing that Mohan is none else but Maadho of the previous incarnation, Naresh seeks his help to cure Chandramukhi (who was Maadho’s sweetheart Paaro in that birth). By meeting Chandramukhi frequently, Mohan feels himself as in love with her despite the fact that he is supposed to marry Karuna (Priya Rajvansh) who is a lawyer and the daughter of Mohan’s godfather, Chaudhary Janak Singh (Raaj Kumar). When Mohan invites Chandramukhi and Naresh to a party thrown by Chaudhary Janak Singh (Raaj Kumar), she gets frightened like anything to see him and runs away with a terrible shriek.

Now Mohan and Naresh alongwith Satto who is still alive, starts digging the buried past related to Maadho’s death and Paaro’s going missing. By hypnotizing Chandramukhi again, they now know a lot about the crime and the culprit. But the problem is how to prove the guilt after so many years. There’s a dismissed (and drunkard) police constable (Keshto Mukherjee) still alive who knows something significant about Paaro’s death because her aggrieved father had lodged an FIR in the local police station for her disappearance and her dead body was never found. Satto, Mohan and Naresh also seek the help of a holy man (Raj Mehra) who tells some relevant things to them with the help of Bhrigu Samhita (the holy code supposed to have been written by the great sage, Bhrigu Maharaaj).

Mohan gets the case of Paaro’s disappearance reopened and files a criminal suit in the local court against the supposed culprit on the basis of the evidences and the witnesses avaiable with him. After a gripping court-room drama and many twists in the story, justice finally prevails and the love-birds of the previous birth get united in this birth.This brilliant and intriguing story would have got messed up in the hands of an inefficient director. However fortunately, it was directed by one of the most proficient and respected directors of Indian cinema, Chetan Anand (the elder brother of Dev Anand and Vijay Anand) who has handled very well not only the intricate script but also the high profile star cast. He has done justice to the roles of all the actors including Raaj Kumar, Hema Malini, Rajesh Khanna, Vinod Khanna and Priya Rajvansh and presented the story on the screen in the most interesting manner.

Right from beginning, the wire of suspense starts enveloping the viewer and releases him / her only when the movie is over. The mystery first gets folded and thereafter unfolded on a layer-by-layer basis and keeps the viewer as thoroughly engrossed.The seasoned director has not shown any hurry in compacting the story and taken his time in spreading its threads and developing its characters. Hence the story moves a bit slowly in the beginning reels but it is to be admitted that it does not bore even in that phase. And once the story picks up speed, the spectator is spellbound for the remaining duration of it. Even when the suspense regarding the nightmares of Paaro is revealed and the culprit is known to the audience, another suspense regarding the missing dead body and proving of the guilt in the court remains and therefore, the viewer cannot afford to leave the movie at any point.Alongwith suspense, there is a good dose of romance also in the movie which gets enhanced by the melodious songs composed by R.D. Burman and penned by seasoned lyricists like Anand Bakshi, Majrooh Sultaanpuri and Qateel Shifai. Hamen Tumse Pyar Kitna Ye Hum Nahin Jaante, Tune O Rangeele Kaisa Jaadu Kiya, Dukh Sukh Ki Har Ek Maala Kudrat Hi Piroti Hai, Saawan Nahin Bhaadon Nahin etc. are all very good songs. I will mention my two favourites from this album – 1. Chhodo Sanam Kaahe Ka Gham Hanste Raho Khilte Raho (sung by Kishore Kumar and Annette) which is a foot-tapper, 2. Sajti Hai Yun Hi Mehfil Rang Yun Hi Dhalne Do (sung by Asha Bhosle) which is a soulful song and should be listened to peacefully.

The cinematographer has able captured the beauty of Shimla and the picturesque scenes are a treat for the eyes. Besides, since the flash back (pertaining to the previous birth of the lead characters) belongs to the British rule in India, the milieu of that period has been very impressively brought alive on the screen for which the art director deserves a pat.

Chetan Anand has given all the principal actors ample opportunity to show their talent. Hema Malini and Vinod Khanna have emerged as the best performers. Raaj Kumar could not fully get rid of his mannerisms. Rajesh Khanna and Priya Rajvansh have disappointed. The court-room scenes have gone unnecessarily over the top due to Priya’s unnatural performance. Aruna Irani, Deven Varma, Keshto Mukherjee, Satyen Kappu etc. have impressed in their supporting roles.

Summing up, this reincarnation based drama is a spellbinding musical suspense thriller with a good dose of romance. While conveying my heartfelt birthday wishes to the evergreen dream-girl Hema Malini, I recommend this highly entertaining movie to both the suspense thriller audience and the romantic movie audience.

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When does a girl become a puzzle for a boy ?

A boy and a girl of very young age become friends. They walk together, talk together, laugh together and play all kinds of tricks and nuisances according to their age. Nowhere they feel any gender difference between them. However one fine day, the boy feels that the girl has changed. She is no longer frank and free with him and shying away from him. The boy tries his level best to figure out the change in the attitude and behaviour of the girl towards him and sort this issue out but cannot. The girl has suddenly become a puzzle (PAHELI) for him. Can you tell him – why ? Watch Paheli (1977) to understand this puzzle.Paheli (puzzle) is a movie from the flag-bearers of simplicity in Hindi cinema – Rajshri banner and true to their tradition (maintained in that period), they have made this story with a rural backdrop and selected teenager newcomers to play the principal roles. It’s a lovely movie which touches the the chords in the romantic hearts again and again throughout its duration.

Montu (Satyajeet) is a schoolgoing teenager who lives with his widower father, Brij Mohan (Nitin Sethi) in the city. During summer vacation, he visits the village with his friends which is actually the hometown of his family and where his grandmother (Durga Khote) resides. There he happens to meet two teenager girls – Gauri (Nameeta Chandra) and Champa (Poornima Jayaraam). Firstly, the girls play mischiefs on him and his friends but soon thereafter he gets friendly with them, especially with Gauri and when his friends return to the city after a couple of days, he doesn’t go with them because he has started enjoying the village life, the love of his grandma and most importantly the company of Gauri. The twosome (Montu and Gauri) keeps on wandering about the village, the fields and all the nearby places. Innocent love has blossomed in their hearts but they being yet to grow-up, are not able to perceive it that way. They only know that they like to be with each other, eat together, sing together, laugh together and play together. Montu comes to know that being an orphan, Gauri is not comfortable in her home and gets a discriminatory treatment from her fostering aunt (Deena Pathak) as against her cousin sisters. He also happens to meet some golden-hearted people like Balraam (Arun Govil), his sweetheart Kanak (Abha Dhuliya) who is the daughter of the Vaidya (Ayurvedic physician) of the nearby village and his aged and widow mother (Leela Mishra). After having a very nice vacation, Montu returns to the city with a promise made to his grandma as well as Gauri to come again next year.

Comes the next year and Montu is again in the village to spend his vacation. However despite the village being the same, there is a lot of change visible to and felt by him. The biggest change is the behaviour of Gauri. The girl who was after him like anything, teasing him, playing tricks on him, laughing with him, singing and dancing with him in the rain, showing him everything in the village and the nearby locations, bringing water-chestnuts for him to eat (because he is too fond of them) and doing what not for him; is shying away from him. Whenever he visits her, she does not come before him and talk to him. Why ? Asks his heart. The teenager girl has become a puzzle for this confused boy. He comes to know that Gauri’s close friend – Champa has got married and now a groom is being searched for Gauri too. He is hurt less by this fact that Gauri may be married to someone, more by her maintaining distance from him. Feeling lonely and painstruck in his heart, Montu decides to go back to the city, never to return. When he is about to leave, Gauri arrives to bid farewell to him with his favourite water-chestnuts as a parting gift. And suddenly, the puzzle behind Gauri’s seemingly strange behaviour gets resolved before Montu. And after that, he gets the biggest and the most pleasant surprise of his life from his grandma.

This lovely and touching movie tells that during puberty, girls get mature faster than boys. They come to understand the male-female attraction and the importance of their union through the sacred knot much earlier than the boys. And that’s why girlish shyness comes to fore when there is attraction linked to the opposite sex in the heart of the girl concerned. The boy may not be able to understand it if they are of the same age group.Well, this movie was made in 1977, i.e., four decades back. In those days, even Doordarshan was available in only a few villages of India. Today, in this era of cable TV and internet, the male-female attraction and their sexual union is known to the children pretty soon and the boys are more knowledgeable in this regard. Hence the plot of the movie is not relevant in today’s scenario. The movie was relevant in its period because the girls used to understand these things through the physical changes in them as well as the things coming to their notice in the rural milieu they were in (like mating in the animals and in the birds). Nature used to be their teacher in this regard.  Whenever the girl concerned used to get a tender feel or a special liking for some boy in her heart, she understood the indication of the nature and the shyness used to appear spontaneously in her gestures and interactions with / references to that boy. This movie is to be watched, understood and felt in this perspective only.

The movie has a very simple milieu but the beauty of the mother nature has been portrayed in such a way that any nature-loving spectator may start wishing to settle down in the village shown in the movie. The art director and the cinematographer have done a great job. The production value is modest but the aesthetic value is very high. The characters of the story are as simple as the various locations shown. Simplicity is the norm maintained throughout the movie.

The screenplay is not well-knitted. Many incidents and characters (viz. Balraam, his mother, his sweetheart etc.) are not linked to the main track. The apparent reason is the wafer-thin storyline and to fill the time duration, additional characters and the events linked to them seem to have been inserted in the narrative. But still the movie is interesting and it’s to the director’s credit that he has converted even the superfluous characters and the episodes related to them into highly impressive ones. The characters have their own stories and problems but the emotional connections do not allow their individual issues to remain exclusively theirs. When you love someone from the core of your heart, how can his problems and pains remain his only and how can your problems and pains remain yours only ? Even the smallest character in the movie is able to leave his / her mark. The over the top and unnatural characters of Gauri’s cousin sisters dilute naturalness in the scenes but they create a lot of laughs for the viewer. The movie contains healthy comedy alongwith a good dose of sentiments and (untold and indirect) romance.

The artistes have been chosen quite wisely. All have next door looks and appear to be out of the real life people around us. Many characters including the heroine are debutantes. But these newcomers alongwith the hero – Satyajeet and seasoned character artistes like Leela Mishra, Durga Khote and Deena Pathak have delivered natural performances. They look ordinary but win hearts. A newcomer boy – Arun Govil (who has played Balraam) later on carved a niche for himself in the world of Indian cinema and television. With his boyish looks, he is more attractive than the obese hero. It’s the writer’s brilliance that even the obesity of the hero has been made a part of the screenplay (the heroine teases him by calling Motu or a fat person instead of calling him Montu).

Blind lyricist-cum-composer, Ravindra Jain has prepared ear-soothing songs for the movie which contain the fragrance of the Indian soil as well as the Indian culture. The songs have been admirably sung by Hemlata, Suresh Wadkar, Chandrani Mukherjee etc. The best song is – Sona Kare Jhilmil Jhilmil, Roopa Kare Kaise Khilkhil which the hero and his female friends sing while enjoying the downpour from the sky.

Paheli is by no means an outstanding or some great movie but it’s a touching and lovable movie whose characters are heart-conquering. Indian villages are no longer the ones as shown in the old movies of Rajshri banner. However the simplicity, innocence and cleanliness in hearts shown in them is something to cherish forever. Virtues of life and family values are also there to adopt and preserve for the generation next. If you love simplicity and Indian villages, watch Paheli and lose your heart out to its characters.

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One man army known as Amitabh Bachchan

Amitabh Bachchan has been, beyond any doubt, the biggest entertainer of the Indian cine-world with the durability that no star of Hindi movies could ever match. He remained on top for around two decades and still in his seventies, he is more popular than several much younger stars of Hindi movies which is an achievement that few could match. He has turned 75 today (11th October, 2017).

AB always believed in moving ahead and molding himself with the changing times and it’s this flexibility that made him so durable that still stories are written around him, keeping him at the nucleus of the movie concerned. He has always been humble, never arrogant; a quality which his critics also have to acknowledge and admire.

During his heyday, AB was so much popular with so much positive energy flowing in and spreading out of his personality that he was able to pull the movies on the box office all alone, demonstrating himself as bigger than several other aspects of the movie including the story, thus gaining the title of Big B. For many such movies made during a decade spanning from the mid seventies to the mid eighties, he was one man army, capable of winning the battle of the box office on his own. One such movie starring him is Khuddar (1982).

Khuddaar (a man of self-respect) is the story of three brothers the eldest of whom is Hari (Sanjeev Kumar) who loves his motherless younger brothers very much but his wife Seema (Tanuja) does not like them and therefore, does not want them to live in her house. When Hari moves out for some time to study law, she expels both of them from the house. Now these two hapless and resourceless lads have to struggle to survive in this cruel world.

The elder of the two grows up as Govind (Amitabh Bachchan) who is fondly called as Chhotu Ustaad by all and sundry (very few people know his real name) and Rajesh (Vinod Mehra) fondly called as Raaja. Now Govind aka Chhotu Ustaad makes it the aim of his life to enable Rajesh aka Raaja to climb the heights of success and prosperity in his life. He works hard as a taxi driver to earn enough money for this purpose, cherishing his dream to see his younger brother to become big in his life. But!

But Rajesh gets spoiled due to bad company. And a baddie Bansi (Prem Chopra) takes advantage of this spoilage of his. Though Rajesh is able to get married to Manju (Bindiya Goswami), the daughter of a rich businessman Mr. Varma (Pinchoo Kapoor), he leaves his brother’s house and moves to his in-laws’ place. Now Govind is heartbroken only to find some solace from the family of Rahim Chacha (A.K. Hangal) who has stood by him and Rajesh since their childhood days and Mary (Parveen Baabi), the love of his life.

As destiny has its own way, one day Mr. Varma, the father-in-law of Rajesh is murdered and Govind is arrested for this murder. When he is brought in the courtroom for the trial, both himself and the person sitting on the chair of the judge are startled like anything to see each other. Why ? Because the judge is none else but Hari only, the elder brother of Govind and Rajesh. Needless to say that Hari resigns from his post of the judge to act as the defense counsel of his younger brother and finally succeeds in unmasking the real culprit and getting Govind exonerated after the courtroom drama.Khuddaar is a highly entertaining movie. And it can be properly enjoyed by watching it on the screen and not just by going through the few paras written by me above. It’s gripping for the audience right from the word ‘go’ to the ending scene. Writer Kader Khan has written a spicy script for this movie and director Ravi Tandon has very proficiently brought it on the screen. There is little boredom in this movie. It’s entertainment only which soaks every minute of its duration which is a little less than three hours.Its biggest USP and the biggest ingredient of the entertainment embedded in it is Amitabh Bachchan only. Though the movie features stars like Sanjeev Kumar, Tanuja, Parveen Baabi, Vinod Mehra, Bindiya Goswami etc., finally it’s AB only who turns this ordinary script into an extra-ordinary movie which none can regret after watching. AB has shown every colour of his acting talent in this movie – comedy, emotion, action and what not! His comic timing is so perfect that even the seasoned comedians may be envious of that. Despite getting able support from all others, he has carried the entire movie on his shoulders. The title is meant for his character only and he only is the heart and soul of this movie. I doubt whether any other hero would have been able to do justice to the role of Govind aka Chhotu Ustaad which appears to be tailor-made for Big B.Rajesh Roshan has prepared very good music for Khuddaar whose songs are very popular even today. Angrezi Mein Kehte Hain Ki I Love You, Mach Gaya Shor Saari Nagari Re, Hatt Ja Baajoo Nahin To Uda Doonga, Disco 82 etc. are fondly listened to and hummed by the music lovers of today’s generation also. Disco 82 was prepared keeping in view the year of release of this movie, i.e., 1982 but it thrills and moves the listener’s feet even in 2017. In addition to the songs mentioned supra, the album contains one inspiring song – Oonche Neeche Raaste Aur Manzil Teri Door as well as one emotional song – Maa Ka Pyar Behan Ka Pyar also.Technically the movie is perfect in all the respects and despite its excessive length, the editing job has been done so skilfully that the grip of the narrative on the audience is seldom loosened. Despite the predictability of the story, the viewer keeps on watching and enjoying the happenings on the screen without burdening his mind. There is no song which irritates by appearing in-between because it becomes a part of the smooth flow of the story only.Khuddaar was a commercial success and rightly so because it’s like a spicy dish with no spice being high or low than required in quantum. The mix of the regular entertainment formulae is the optimum here and there is a balance in all the aspects of the story. I advise all the movie buffs to watch it without any prejudice and allow themselves to be entertained by the one and only Amitabh Bachchan.

I wish him many many happy returns of the day.

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