Bahaaron Ne Mera Chaman Loot Kar . . . .

Devar (1966) is a timeless classic black and white movie based on the immortal piece of fiction, ‘Naa’ by Bangla novelist – Tarashankar Bandhyopadhyay. The pair of Dharmendra and Sharmila Tagore has given many films together but three of them are all time great classic movies having very sensitive story and long lasting impact : 1. Satyakaam, 2. Anupama and 3. Devar. While the first two had been directed by the legendary director, Hrishikesh Mukherjee, Devar was directed by Mohan Segal who has done an outstanding job by keeping the soul of the Bangla literary novel intact while making this Hindi movie. In a way, the year 1966 was a special one for this pair as well as the Hindi cinema as both Anupama and Devar released in this year itself.Devar-1966-500x500.jpgDevar means (for a married woman) husband’s younger brother. And in this movie Sharmila happens to become Dharmendra’s Bhabhi by marrying his elder cousin brother Deven Varma, thereby making Dharmendra her Devar. The story starts with two children, one small boy, Bhola and one small girl, Bhanwariya with innocent love blossoming between them. As always happens, time separates these two loving children and gives them different treatment. Bhola grows up as Shankar (Dharmendra) who keeps on hunting dangerous wild animals, keeping the memories of his childhood love and her talks. Bhanwariya, on the other hand, grows up as Madhumati (Sharmila Tagore), a beautiful but traditional girl. Shankar grows up with his somewhat older cousin, Suresh (Deven Varma) who, unlike Dharmendra, is a well-educated person. Shankar’s favourite is his gun whereas Suresh’s favourite is literature.

Story takes a turn when matrimonial proceedings starts taking place for both these boys. The proposal for Shankar is of Madhumati whereas the proposal for Suresh is of Shaanta (Shashikala). The traditional family (in the period of one century ago) does not allow the boys to see their brides in advance in order to finalise the acceptance of the proposals. However, the elders allow them to see the brides of each other as neither the family, nor these two themselves consider any difference between them. Dharmendra likes Shaanta for his elder cousin very much. However Suresh while seeing Madhumati, himself falls for her beauty. He now wants to marry Madhumati himself. So his intellectual mind generates a vicious scheme to distort these matrimonial alliances. He writes two poison-pen letters to both the families desirous of making matrimonial alliance with his family in which he maligns Shankar as well as himself so that the desired alliances fail. However when Shaanta and her family being too impressed by the personality of Shankar (not knowing that he is not very literate and just a hunter), agrees to give Shaanta’s hand to Shankar, Suresh portraying himself as a martyr and in a way of obliging all and sundry, agrees to marry Madhumati and that’s what his scheme was which becomes successful now.  On the wedding night, Shaanta comes to know the real personality of Shankar, feels cheated (as her family is quite reputed) and their relationship fails to even take off. As the details of poison-pen letters start coming out, everybody suspects Shankar for doing that. Feeling lonely and torn from within, he finds solace only through his Bhabhi, Madhumati who is very kind and understanding for her Devar. Accidentally he comes to know this fact that his Bhabhi is none else but his childhood love, Bhanwariya, only to absorb this fact in his heart for the rest of his life.

However the scenario in the family is skewed more and more against Shankar. The real culprit, Suresh keeps mum, seeing everything. However, Madhumati’s brother is a handwriting expert and one day he finds out the truth by matching the handwriting of Suresh with the poison-pen letter that had been sent to his home. Coincidentally Shankar comes to know this fact and the revelation of truth upon him leads to a fight between the brothers. In his bid to snatch the letter from Shankar, Suresh gets killed. The eye-witness to this incident is none other than Madhumati who is not ready to forgive her Devar who is now the killer of her Suhaag (husband) for her. She is hell bent upon witnessing against him in the court. The final twist in the tale leads to the emotional climax of this movie.Devar contains everything you expect in a good movie – good story, tight screenplay, good set up, beautiful photography, emotions, comedy, endearing performances, melodious music, appealing climax and a satisfactory feeling for the viewer after the movie is over. From the first frame to the last frame, the director has not left any stone unturned to make a movie par excellence.

Other than the engrossing screenplay written on the story of the literary work, the photography and other technical aspects are also up to the mark. The music given by Roshan is a very big plus points of the movie. All the songs of movie are quite good. Special mention is deserved by three. One is Lata Mangeshkar’s all time classic – Duniya Mein Aisa Kahaan Sabka Naseeb Hai. It has been pictured first on the child artist Kavita in the beginning of the movie and later on Sharmila Tagore. The other two songs are Mukesh’s immortal songs – 1. Aaya Hai Mujhe Phir Yaad Wo Zaalim Guzra Zamaana Bachpan Ka, 2. Bahaaron Ne Mera Chaman Loot Kar Khizaan Ko Ye Ilzaam Kyun De Diya Hai.Performance wise too, the movie sets new standards. Sharmila Tagore and Shashikala have delivered very good performances. Dhumal has done hilarious comedy, making the viewers laugh freely. Deven Varma got himself typed as a comedian in the seventies but in the sixties he used to get different types of roles and Devar is, by all means, his best performance in the role of the selfish, hypocrite, back-stabbing elder brother of Dharmendra. However, this movie mainly belongs to Dharmendra and I always wonder why this versatile and natural actor never got any award. Perhaps the bias of the award juries always did injustice to him. His anguish, his outburst, his naiveness, his frustration, his tender love and a subtle display of suppressed emotions, all sum up to a great performance. No Dharmendra fan should miss this movie. The supporting cast has ably supported the main protagonists.

Devar has everything to recommend itself. It is an outstanding piece of art watching which will prove an enchanting experience for both the literature lovers and the lovers of entertaining movies.

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The hound of the Baskervilles in Chandangarh

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle had penned several stories featuring Sherlock Holmes, the most popular detective character of the world. He had penned one full-fledged novel also featuring Holmes – The Hound of The Baskervilles which was first published in The Strand Magazine (serially) during 1901-02. This novel was the third one among the total four novels authored by Sir Conan Doyle. The theme of the novel is the murders of a family by supposedly a supernatural hound which is after the lives of the Baskerville family males at Dartmoor, a foggy small town in England. Sherlock Holmes with his sidekick – Dr. Watson resolves the mystery behind the murders. It’s said that some real life characters and real life incidents were the inspiration behind this novel which is considered a classic mystery.However, today I am reviewing not the novel but a Hindi movie whose story is an adaptation from this novel only. It’s Bees Saal Baad (1962) which is the debut movie of the chocolaty Bengali hero – Biswajeet starring opposite the ever-gorgeous and one of the most talented Bollywood heroines – Waheeda Rehman. The movie, produced by the legendary singer-cum-composer – Hemant Kumar, was a much-talked-about one when released and got popularized as a spine-chilling movie.

Since it’s the Indian version of the story, the story is set in Chandangarh, a small foggy town containing a lethal quagmire also. According to its title – Bees Saal Baad (twenty years later), it starts with the arrival of the last beacon of the victim family of landlords – Kumar Vijay Singh (Biswajeet) twenty years later than the killing of his grandfather. It’s said in the locality that the spirit of a dead girl who was raped by his grandfather, has been seeking its revenge from the males of the family and now it won’t spare the last one left, i.e., Kumar too. No sooner does Kumar arrive at Chandangarh, then attempts start on his life. On one hand, he is busy in trying to resolve this mystery; on the other, he falls in love with Radha (Waheeda Rehman), the daughter of the local physician, Ramlal (Manmohan Krishna). There are some other mysterious characters in the story, viz. Dr. Pande (Madan Puri), Mohan Babu (Sajjan), victim family’s servant – Laxman (Dev Kishan) etc. Besides, whenever Kumar wanders in the town in the night to give the murderer an opportunity to kill him (so that he can catch him), he happens to hear a mysterious song – Kahin Deep Jale Kahin Dil. A funny detective, Gopichand Jasoos (Asit Sen) has also come over there in the quest of that murderer only. In the climax, the murderer is exposed and Kumar’s life is saved.I watched this movie after reading a lot about it and its spine-chilling scene which is of a murderous paw (containing very long nails) appearing on the screen behind the prospective victim. Well, it might have been spine-chilling when the people watched it on the big screen. I did not find it scary at all while watching it on TV. In fact, there is no horror in the movie despite its being called as a famous horror movie.

Now about the script and the narrative – in my considered opinion, the screenplay writer (Dhruva Chatterjee) and the director (Biren Nag) have faltered in giving the story of the legendary author the shape of an interesting Indianized suspense thriller. They have not been able to create a freely flowing narrative which is able to keep the viewers hooked as is expected in a good suspense-thriller or murder mystery. The director has tried to cover the deficiencies of the storyline by comedy of Gopichand Jasoos and the romantic track of the young pair which contains some memorable songs. However he has succeeded in his effort only partially. Time and again the narrative starts boring the viewer when the track of the comedian detective intervenes the main track. That’s the difference between the novel of Sir Doyle and this movie. In the novel, the detective – Sherlock Holmes is the hero whereas in the movie – the last male left in the victim family is the hero.Though the mystery is good (because it is based on the classic work of the legendary author), clear hints have been given in the beginning reels itself as to who can be the murderer. Hence, if you watch the movie attentively, you can easily guess the identity of the culprit.Still, the movie is worth a watch because of the brilliant on-screen chemistry of the lead pair of Biswajeet and Waheeda Rehman as well as the great music. Chocolaty hero, Biswajeet has done pretty well in his debut movie, especially in the romantic scenes and songs. While wearing a hat, he looks quite dashing. Waheeda Rehman not only looks innocently beautiful but she has acted well too. All others have done justice to the assigned roles. Especially the performance of Dev Kishan as the domestic servant, Laxman deserves a big hand.

Producer of this movie, Hemant Kumar has composed mesmerizing songs for the movie whose lyrics have been penned by Shakeel Badayuni. Hemant Da himself have sung the songs alongwith Lata. On one hand, we have his classic songs – Beqaraar Karke Hamen Yun Na Jaaiye and Zara Nazron Se Keh Do Ji; on the other, we have Lata’s classic songs – Kahin Deep Jale Kahin Dil, Sapne Suhaane Ladakpan Ke and Aye Mohabbat Meri Duniya Mein Tera Kaam Na Tha. In fact, music is a very big face saving grace of this movie despite the fact that the songs block the flow of the mystery-based narrative.

Technically this black and white movie is quite good. Not by the script but by the light and sound effect, the director has succeeded in creating a suspenseful environment in the movie. The scenes picturized in semi-darkness are pretty impressive. Length of the movie could have been curtailed sufficiently because undue footage has been given to the character of Gopichand Jasoos and his activities. He generates less laughter more irritation.Bees Saal Baad was a box office success when released perhaps due to the music, the romance and the hype related to the so-called horror in it. If remade by a skilled suspense-movie director, this script can be converted into an outstanding suspense movie. I recommend this movie to all the fans of Waheeda Rehman and Biswajeet. The audience of murder mysteries containing melodious songs will also like it for sure.

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The melody of melancholy

imagesBollywood music has produced thousands (may be lacs) of sad songs or tragic songs which enable the listener to vent out his grief, anguish, frustration and sadness. Out of thousands of such musical gems, I have selected just a handful for this review. This list is, naturally, a subjective one according to my own choice. Readers’ may have their own different choices.

Since Talat Mahmood has sung so many excellent sad songs that one review may not be enough to accomodate even them alone, I have taken only a few of Talat’s sad songs, leaving others.

I have not included certain great sad songs like Koi Hota Jisko Apna (Mere Apne – 1971), Guzra Hua Zamaana (Shirin Farhad – 1956), Teri Yaad Dil Se Bhulane Chala Hoon (Hariyali Aur Rasta – 1962) and Jaane Kahaan Gaye Woh Din (Mera Naam Joker – 1970) in this review because they have been covered in my review of top twenty Hindi songs. I have also not included Ghazals in this article because they will be considered in a separate article on Hindi movie Ghazals.

Here is my list of top twenty sad songs from Bollywood movies :

1. Agar Dil Hamaara Sheeshe Ke Badle Patthar Ka Hota (Ek Kunwari Ek Kunwara – 1973) : This sad song is one of Kishore Kumar’s rare gems which was penned by Prakash Mehra, composed by Kalyanji Anandji and picturized on Rakesh Roshan. The lyric is so beautiful and touching that it has to be my numero uno sad song. However it can be considered a philosophical song too, depending upon how we perceive it.

2. Haan Deewaana Hoon Main (Saranga – 1960) : This song of Mukesh is very close to my heart and I myself love to sing it. Picturized on Sudesh Kumar, penned by Bharat Vyas and composed by Sardar Malik (Anu Malik’s father).

3. Sham-E-Gham Ki Kasam (Foot Path – 1953) : Talat Mahmood’s great song, penned by Ali Sardar Zafri and composed by Khayyam. Picturized on Dilip Kumar.

4. Jab Dil Hi Toot Gaya Hum Jee Ke Kya Karenge (Shahjehan – 1946) : The classic sad song of K.L. Saigal, picturized on himself only, penned by Majrooh and composed by Naushad.

5. Hasrat Hi Rahi Humse Bhi Kabhi Koi Pyar Karta (Bombay Ka Chor – 1962) : Kishore Kumar’s moving song which is very close to my heart. Picturized on Kishore himself, penned by Rajender Krishan and composed by Ravi.

6. Swapna Jhare Phool Se, Meet Chubhe Shool Se (Nai Umar Ki Nai Fasal – 1965) : This classic literary lyric penned by the great Hindi poet, Gopal Das Neeraj is better known by the words – Kaarvaan Guzar Gaya Gubaar Dekhte Rahe. Composed by Roshan, sung by Rafi and picturized on Rajeev.

7. Ek Hasrat Thi Ki Aanchal Ka Mujhe Pyar Mile (Zindagi Aur Toofan – 1975) : Another great literary Hindi lyric which has been authored by a less known Hindi poet – Ram Avtar Tyagi. Sung by Mukesh, composed by Laxmikant Pyarelal and picturized on Saazid Khan.

8. Zubaan Pe Dard Bhari Daastaan Chali Aayi (Maryada – 1971) : Mukesh’s classic sad song, picturized on Rajesh Khann, penned by Anand Bakshi and composed by Kalyanji Anandji.

9. Khizaan Ke Phool Pe Aati Kabhi Bahaar Nahin (Do Raaste – 1969) : Another classic song picturized on Rajesh Khanna but this time sung by Kishore Kumar. Penned by Anand Bakshi again but composed by Laxmikant Pyarelal.

10. Jeena Hamko Raas Na Aaya (Raat Aur Din – 1967) : Lata’s touching sad song with painful words penned by Shailendra strung in the composition of Shankar Jaikishan. It’s been picturized on Nargis.

11. Meri Yaad Mein Tum Na Aansoo Bahaana (Madhosh – 1951) : Talat Mahmood’s classic sad song penned by Raja Mehndi Ali Khan, composed by Madan Mohan and picturized on Manhar Desai.

12. Dil Ka Khilona Haay Toot Gaya (Goonj Uthi Shehnai – 1959) : Lata’s great sad song, picturized on Ameeta, penned by Bharat Vyas and composed by Vasant Desai.

13. Jaane Woh Kaise Log The Jinke Pyar Ko Pyar Mila (Pyaasa-1957) : A classic sad song of Hemant Kumar which I myself love to sing. Penned by Saahir Ludhiyanvi, composed by S.D. Burman and picturized on Guru Dutt.

14. Teri Duniya Mein Jeene Se To Behtar Hai Ki Mar Jaayen (House No. 44 – 1955) : Another classic sad song by the same team of lyricist, composer and singer. It’s picturized on Dev Anand.

15. Badnaam Na Ho Jaaye Mohabbat Ka Fasaana (Shaheed – 1948) : A classic song sung by Surinder Kaur and picturized on Kamini Kaushal. It’s been penned by Raja Mehndi Ali Khan and composed by Ghulam Haider.

16. Is Bhari Duniya Mein Koi Bhi Hamaara Na Hua (Bharosa – 1963) : A memorable Ghazal by Rafi, soaked in the melancholy of a lonely person . Penned by Rajender Krishan, composed by Ravi and picturized on Guru Dutt.

17. Aa Ja Meri Barbaad Mohabbat Ke Sahaare (Anmol Ghadi – 1946) : A classic sad song of Noor Jehan, picturized on herself only. Penned by Tanveer Naqvi and composed by Naushad.

18. Jise Tu Kabool Kar Le Woh Sada Kahaan Se Laaoon (Devdas – 1955) : Lata’s song, picturized on Vyjayanthimala (singing for Dilip Kumar) is so meaningful that it’s a treat for the poetry lovers. It’s been authored by Saahir and composed by S.D. Burman.

19. Aye Mere Dil Kahin Aur Chal (Daag – 1952) : Talat Mahmood’s classic sad song which I myself love to sing for the audience. It’s penned by Shailendra, composed by Shankar-Jaikishan and picturized on Dilip Kumar.

20. Aankh Hai Bhari Bhari Aur Tum Musuraane Ki Baat Karte Ho (Tumse Achchha Kaun Hai – 2002) : A very beautiful and touching lyric penned by Sameer, composed by Nadeem Shravan and picturized on Nakul Kapoor. The voice is of Kumar Sanu. In the album it is available in the female voice too (of Alka Yagnik).

In addition to these, the following sad songs are also very dear to me :

1. Yaara Seeli Seeli Birha Ki Raat Ka Jalna (Lekin – 1991) : Lata’s unforgettable sad song, picturized on Dimple Kapadia, penned by Gulzaar and composed by Hridaynath Mangeshkar. .

2. Dekhi Zamaane Ki Yaari, Bichhade Sabhi Baari Baari (Kaagaz Ke Phool – 1959) : A great sad song (can be considered a philosophical song too) of Rafi, picturized on Guru Dutt. S.D. Burman has touchingly composed the highly meaningful and hard-hitting lyric of Kaifi Aazmi.

3. Humko Tumhaare Ishq Ne Kya Kya Bana Diya (Ek Musafir Ek Hasina – 1962) : Rafi’s touching sad song, picturized on Joy Mukherjee (singing for Saadhna). O.P. Nayyar has composed the lyric of Shevan Rizvi.

4. Mann Re Tu Hi Bata Kya Gaaoon (Humrahi – 1963) : A great sad song of Lata, picturized on Jamuna. Shankar Jaikishan has composed the emotional lyric of Shailendra.

5. Main To Tum Sang Nain Mila Ke Haar Gayi Sajna (Man Mauji – 1962) : Another gem of Lata, picturized on Saadhna. Madan Mohan has composed the highly melodious tune for the lyric of Rajender Krishan.

6. Aanchal Mein Saja Lena Kaliyan Zulfon Mein Sitare Bhar Lena (Phir Wohi Dil Laya Hoon – 1963) : A sad song sung by Joy Mukherjee for Asha Parekh on the screen which is always able to make my eyes wet due to the emotional words embedded in it. Sung by Rafi, penned by Majrooh and composed by O.P. Nayyar.

7. Kiska Rasta Dekhe Aye Dil Aye Saudai (Joshila – 1973) : Kishore Da’s classic sad song picturized on Dev Anand. Pancham Da (R.D. Burman) has composed the lyric of Saahir.

8. Mere Naina Saawan Bhaadon Phir Bhi Mera Mann Pyaasa (Mehbooba – 1976) : A classic song in the Raag Shivranjani sung by both Kishore (for Rajesh Khanna) and Lata (for Hema Malini). R.D. Burman has prepared the composition for the lyric of Anand Bakshi.

9. Jaayen To Jaayen Kahaan (Taxi Driver – 1954) : Sachin Da (S.D. Burman) composed this tear-jerking lyric of Saahir in a composition based on Rabindra Sangeet which went on to become an all time great song of Talat Mahmood (sung for Dev Anand on the screen).

10.  Tujhe Yaad Na Meri Aayi Kisi Se Ab Kya Kehna (Kuchh Kuchh Hota Hai – 1998) : Jatin Lalit composed such a tear-jerking tune of this song penned by Sameer which whenever I watch on the screen (being performed by Kajol), I am seldom able to control my emotions. It has been sung by Alka Yagnik, Udit Naarayan and Manpreet Akhtar.

11. Laakhon Taare Aasmaan Mein (Hariyali Aur Rasta – 1962) : An emotional duet of Lata and Mukesh, picturized on Mala Sinha and Manoj Kumar, penned by Hasrat Jaipuri and composed by Shankar Jaikishan.

12. Poochho Na Kaise Maine Rainn Bitaai (Meri Soorat Teri Aankhen – 1963) : A classic song of Manna Dey, performed on the screen by Ashok Kumar. Shailendra’s lyric has been composed by Sachin Da (S.D. Burman) in Raag Ahir Bhairav.

13. Mohabbat Ki Jhoothi Kahaani Pe Roye (Mughal-E-Azam – 1960) : Lata’s classic sad song, sung for Madhubala which has been composed by Naushad and the credit of the lyric goes to Shakeel Badayuni.

14. Dil Todne Wale Tujhe Dil Dhoondh Raha Hai (Son of India – 1962) : A classic sad duet of Lata and Rafi, picturized on Kum Kum and Kamaljeet, penned by Shakeel Badayuni and composed by Naushad.

15. Jaane Kya Dhoondhti Rehti Hain Yeh Aankhen Mujhmein (Shola Aur Shabnam – 1961) : Rafi’s touching sad song which Dharmendra sings on the screen for Tarla. Khayyam has composed the lyric of Kaifi Aazmi.

16. Aansoo Bhari Hain Ye Jeevan Ki Raahen, Koi Unse Keh De Hamen Bhool Jaayen (Parvarish – 1958) : Mukesh’s memorable sad song, picturized on Raj Kapoor. Hasrat Jaipuri’s lyric has been composed by Dattaram.

17. Taqdeer Ka Fasaana Jaa Ke Kise Sunaayen (Sehra – 1963) : A great sad song of Rafi, sung for Prashant. Hasrat’s lyric has been composed by Ramlal.

18. Do Hanson Ka Joda Bichhad Gayo Re (Ganga Jumna – 1962) : A tear-jerking sad song sung by and picturized on Vyjayanthimala, penned by Shakeel Badayuni and composed by Naushad.

19. Ye Duniya Ye Mehfil Mere Kaam Ki Nahin (Heer Raanjha – 1970) : Rafi’s classic sad song, sung for Raaj Kumar, penned by Kaifi Aazmi and composed by Madan Mohan.

20. Teri Duniya Mein Dil Lagta Nahin, Wapas Bula Le (Baaware Nain – 1950) : A touching song of singer Mukesh and performer Raj Kapoor which I am ready to listen to any number of times. It’s penned by Kidar Sharma and composed by Roshan.

21. Kajre Ki Baati Ansuvan Ke Tel Mein, Aali Main Haar Gayi Aankhiyan Ke Khel Mein (Sawan Ko Aane Do – 1979) : A sad duet sung by Sulakshana Pandit and Yesudas whose words penned by Maya Govind carry high literary value. Rajkamal is the music director and Zarina Wahab and Arun Govil have performed it on the screen.

22. Koi Ye Kaise Bataaye Ki Woh Tanha Kyon Hai (Arth – 1982) : A very painful nazm penned by Kaifi Aazmi and sung and composed by Jagjit Singh, picturized on Raj Kiran who sings it for Shabana Aazmi.

23. Pyar Mujhse Jo Kiya Tumne To Kya Paaogi (Saath Saath – 1982) : A sad song which Farooq Sheikh sings for Deepti Naval. Jagjit Singh gives him the playback for the song authored by Javed Akhtar and composed by Kuldeep Singh.

24. Tere Dard Se Dil Aabaad Raha, Kuchh Bhool Gaye Kuchh Yaad Raha (Deewana – 1992) : A touching sad song sung by Kumar Sanu for Rishi Kapoor in the movie, penned by Sameer and composed by Nadeem Shravan.

25. Jiyen To Jiyen Kaise Bin Aapke (Saajan – 1991) : This sad song has been sung by Pankaj Ud-haas (for himself) and S.P. Balasubrahmanium (for Salmaan Khan), Kumar Sanu (for Sanjay Dutt) and Anuradha Paudwal (for Madhuri Dixit). Nadeem Shravan has composed the lyric of Faiz Anwar.

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A saga of family bonds and sacrifice

Shashi Kapoor left for his heavenly abode on 04.12.2017. This review is dedicated to him. May his soul rest in peace. indexThe great Indian tradition embedding family values, has always kept love and family bonds on a high pedestal. And the litmus test of your love for your family is to be ready to sacrifice self-interest. Baseraa (nest) is an excellent movie released in 1981, underscoring the importance of sacrifice. The movie is by no means outdated or something giving an air of imposing self-sacrifice upon some member of the family for the sake of false family pride etc. It is an outstanding movie in which there is no villain. Only the fate is the villain which plays with the members of a family in which everybody loves everybody and keeps the happiness of the whole family above his or her self-interest.baseraa-1981-200x275The story plot is different and just very very good. A happy housewife and mother of a son, Raakhee gets lunatic and has to go to the asylum. In order to take care of her small kid, her father gets her younger sister, Rekha who is a widow, married to her husband, Shashi Kapoor. She also begets a son and the family though happy in general amongst abundant love between its members, is always feeling a pinch that the original lady of the house is spending her life in the asylum. The happiness of the family increases with the now grown-up elder son, Raj Kiran being engaged to a nice girl, Poonam Dhillon. Yet the pinch because of Raakhee’s condition, exists in hearts of the family members The real plot of the story takes shape when after a gap of 14 years, Raakhee becomes normal. The psychiatrist treating her is of the opinion that she should get her house and her family as if nothing has changed over these 14 years as any setback because of the changed status of things and relationships may give her mind an undesirable jolt, reverting her back to lunacy. Now the family which loves Raakhee very much, tries its best to hide the changed scenario within the family and the household, from her. In this process, everyone suffers, her sister Rekha and her small child being the biggest sufferers. However when Raakhee comes to know the real status of things, she feels that she is the barrier between her family and its permanent happiness. And she takes a big self-sacrificial decision to keep the happiness of her family intact.GetPoster.aspxThe beauty of this movie is that the narrative flows naturally without any undue dragging at any spot. The director, Ramesh Talwar has demonstrated his better sense by not allowing anything going over the top and keeping all the sequences upto their optimum length only. He has used flash backs quite admirably to explain the things. However he has not shown any haste in expanding the real story and taken his time in patiently unfolding the minute details of the family and the happiness within. It is an emotional family drama which flows nicely and maintains the curiosity of the viewer throughout. The plot of the movie does not need a baddy. So all the characters are quite noble whose hearts are brimming with kindness and love. All the same, they look flesh and blood human beings and not like the creatures coming from some other planet. This normalcy of all the characters is the strength of the movie. Despite being an emotional drama, the movie provides enough moments of relief and light feeling.83224-Baseraa (1981)All the three main protagonists of the story have given excellent performances. I consider Shashi Kapoor as the most under-rated actor of the Kapoor clan of Bollywood who despite being a very good actor, never got the praise he deserved. He has given a natural performance as the family head, restless to do justice to all the members of his family which include his two wives who are sisters. Raakhee has delivered a fine performance in the difficult role assigned to her (her real life husband Gulzar has written the screenplay, dialogues and lyrics of this movie). However the show-stealer is Rekha who has delivered a mesmerizing performance. She is visible in the movie in many forms – a naughty younger sister and a teasing sister-in-law, a responsible housewife who loves her sister’s son not less than her own son, an affectionate and sensitive mother and finally a sacrificing wife and sister who is ready to personally suffer to any extent if her suffering is the condition for her elder sister’s normalcy. She has showcased her abundant talent in each of these forms. The other characters – Poonam Dhillon, Raj Kiran and the child artist (who appears to be the childhood version of the now well-known model cum actor, Jas Arora) have also done exceedingly well in their respective roles.Art-350The music does not have any chartbusters to its credit. However all the songs are quite good to listen and the lyrics are quite meaningful. I will mention two songs here – 1. the title song – Jahaan Pe Savera Ho, Wahin Pe Basera Ho, 2. Aaungi Ek Din, Aaj Jaaun ? which has been pictured on naughty Rekha on the first conjugal night of her sister and brother-in-law after their wedding.

The movie contains many emotionally appealing scenes. However the scene between Raakhee and Poonam Dhillon leading to the climax of the movie is the soul of this movie. I am not detailing it. It’s better to watch the movie to feel its impact.

The technical aspects of the movie are perfect. The director and the editor have not allowed the movie to be unduly long. It’s crisp and not loaded heavily with emotions. It’s a tear-jerker, yet everything is kept under control to make the things appear realistic.

All in all, Baseraa is a good emotional family drama which reminds us of the great Indian tradition of family values in which the happiness of the family is the numero uno interest of all its members. The movie is very interesting and has a high entertainment value.

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Justice delayed and denied

In 1996, I lost a case in the consumers’ court at Sirohi (Rajasthan) when everything of the case (including the truth) was on my side. Then I realized the difference between thoughts and reality. Getting justice is a Herculean task in our country for a commoner when the judges, the lawyers and who not, are partisan and sold out. My pain was a smaller one, yet I am able to empathize with the much bigger pain of Sabrina Lall whose sister Jessica was shot dead in a pub in 1999 when she refused to serve drink to the son of a powerful man and she did not get justice for years.

Justice delayed is justice denied. In our country, justice is delayed only to deny it. When the people at all levels and in all avenues have sold their souls to the devil, who can buy justice for the poor, the helpless and the ordinary ? While reviewing No One Killed Jessica (2011), I will not elaborate the story of this movie which is based on the real life incident of Jessica Lall murder case. The moviemaker has quite diplomatically displayed a disclaimer that all the scenes of this movie should not be taken as similar to the real life ones (he too must be scared of the powerful ones involved in this case). The moviemaker asserts in that disclaimer that this movie is a mix of facts and fiction. Let me clarify that his statement is correct with the demarcation of facts and fiction into the two halves of the movie.

The first half is perfectly based on facts and that’s why very impressive. The pain and helplessness of Jessica’s family members is heart-tearing for any viewer. The rot in the system alongwith the commoner finally bowing before the might of the money and the muscle has been portrayed quite realistically. I was spellbound while going through the pre-interval session which clearly establishes that a sizable chunk of our countrymen (both the educated ones and otherwise) can be put into two major categories – the cowards and the greedy. And also that the people going for perjury are not at all scared to do that.

The post-interval part is nothing but fiction and that too shown with superficiality which is not at all impressive. It is shown that the media is all powerful in our country now. True but at the same time, the media itself is selfish and hungry for TRPs and SMSes. The so-called committed mediapersons pay attention to any issue only for the sake of their careers and the name and the fame (if not money) and not for the sake of ensuring justice to any victim. It’s clearly evident from the character of the foul-mouthed journalist, Rani Mukherjee. Why does the media get active only when the victim has been denied justice ? Why not earlier ? Only to extract the maximum benefit out of the victim’s grief and atrocity, isn’t it ? The media starts making a (motivated) noise in favour of justice when the tears of the victimizeds are dried up.

The moviemaker has quite superfluously shown the PM and the President (then) from behind and tried to infuse an element of reality in the post-interval drama which does not click at all. The over-enthusiastic journalist seems to be obsessed with the syndrome of oneupmanship and she does not seem to realize a penny of the pain the deceased’s sister and her parents have undergone. While talking to Sabrina Lall, she shows off as if by raising up this issue again, she is obliging the dead victim and her family.

I am strictly against the use of expletives as I had mentioned in my review of Lamhaa (2010) too. Does reality mean foul-mouthing only ? This movie is one step forward in the way it shows (well-educated) females using the expletives. What purpose does it serve ? Only the moviemaker can tell.

The director and the cinematographer have portrayed the reality of Delhi with perfection. Yes, Delhi is like that only. But I feel that the same culture and the same attitude have spread to almost all the cities, like a contagious disease. Music and technical aspects of this movie are ok. Performance wise talking, only two characters are unnatural – the defense lawyer (over the top) and the accused’s mother (ridiculous). Rest all have done admirably well. The stand out performances have come from the actors performing Jessica’s parents. Their display of the painstruck, helpless and desperate parents of the deceased is heart-moving. The tallest performance has been of Vidya Balan who has displayed through her body language; the grief, the anguish and the frustration of Sabrina Lall with utmost reality.

This movie was said to be the comeback movie of Rani Mukherjee before its release. However I doubt if this movie brought any benefit to her in any manner. Not only her age is clearly visible on her face, she is overweight too and the flawed character developed for her does not seem to do her any favour. She has performed well though. Years back, in Bichchhoo (2000) she had played a swearing lady. Now she has done the same thing again but to no benefit to her career.

Given the meaty real life plot, No One Killed Jessica could have been a great movie but courtesy the deficiencies on the part of the writer and the director, it has been reduced to a regular Bollywood potboiler with a hurried and impactless climax.

Still I recommend this movie to one and all because doing something is always better than doing nothing. At least, the effort to make a movie on this plot should be lauded. In our country, injustice is the most common phenomena. When this movie was released,  the case of Rupam Pathak had become a headline news who, after suffering the trauma of rape by an MLA from Bihar for many years, had finally stabbed him to death. Despite being the victim herself, she got beaten, arrested, tried and ultimately sentenced for life by a CBI court.  Is she likely to ever get justice from our legal system ? Perhaps not.

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Main Zindagi Ka Saath Nibhaata Chala Gaya …

Hum Dono (1961) is a classic and one of the most popular movies of the evergreen hero – Dev Anand. Originally it’s a black and white movie. However it’s colour version was also released in 2011. In addition to the story and the treatment, the immortal lyrics of Saahir Ludhiyanvi and the music composition of Jaidev for them make it an unforgettable movie.Written by Dev Anand’s younger brother – Vijay Anand and directed by Amarjeet, Hum Dono is a movie of a lifetime. It’s studded with sentiments, melody, curiosity and touching performances of the lead characters – Dev, Sadhana and Nanda. Dev Anand is in a double role with different get-ups for both the roles. Dashing, as he always was (in his youth), Dev has made this movie an unforgettable one for his fans and for those also who are not his fans.Hum Dono (both of us) starts with the poverty of Anand (Dev Anand) which threatens to snatch the love of his life, Meeta (Saadhana) from him. He joins army, leaving his widow mother (Leela Chitnis) behind who is taken care of by Meeta now. On the war front, he happens to meet – Major Varma (Dev’s double role) who is his look alike but for the difference of the mustache and the ever-present cigar in his lips. The twist in the tale comes with the return of Anand to his home but with the sad news of Major Varma’s death in the war which he has to break to his wife, Ruma (Nanda). Due to similar looks, Ruma mistakes him for Major Varma, her husband and seeing her emotions, Anand is not able to gather courage for breaking the sad news to her. On the other hand, Meeta who has left her parental home to take care of his mother (now dead) misunderstands him. How Anand is able to resolve this fix and the movie reaches its happy ending, is a treat to watch.Hum Dono starts in a highly romantic mood with the song – Abhi Na Jaao Chhod Kar Ki Dil Abhi Bhara Nahin but soon the serious tone of the movie overtakes the romance. The song – Main Zindagi Ka Saath Nibhata Chala Gaya and thereafter, Kabhi Khud Pe Kabhi Haalaat Pe Rona Aaya carries the sadness in the heart of Anand to the hearts of the audience. I am sure, several viewers may find themselves able to identify with the song – Main Zindagi Ka Saath Nibhaata Chala Gaya (just like me). But we are also able to see the importance of Zinda Dili or ability to laugh in adversity and grief through the character of Major Varma. Ultimately, if you have to live and drink the poison of life, why not do it with smiles and laughs ? After the twist in the narrative, the emotions of the aggrieved wife of Major Varma, Ruma are also felt by the audience and that’s how we are able to empathize with kind-hearted Anand who is finding himself unable to break an innocent heart, i.e., the heart of Ruma. The director has done an outstanding job. It’s a movie which appeals right from the start to the finish. And that’s what a classic is all about.Jaidev’s music (alongwith Saahir’s lyrics) is the biggest asset of Hum Dono. All the songs are immortal, may it be Lata’s most popular devotional song – Allah Tero Naam or the classic romantic duet of Rafi and Asha – Abhi Na Jaao Chhod Kar Ki Dil Abhi Bhara Nahin. But my favourites are Rafi’s gems – Main Zindagi Ka Saath Nibhaata Chala Gaya and Kabhi Khud Pe Kabhi Haalaat Pe Rona Aaya. The latter is, in fact, a Ghazal.Technically the movie is perfect. The black and white environment is able to exasperate the gloom of the narrative properly. There is no boredom, no undue dragging and no nonsense (coincidences of the main story can’t be considered as something out of sense). Cinematography is brilliant. The picturization of the song – Main Zindagi Ka Saath Nibhaata Chala Gaya is an example of innovative thinking.Dev Anand has marvelled in double role and it is easily one of his finest performances. His different expressions for both the characters in the song – Kabhi Khud Pe Kabhi Haalaat Pe Rona Aaya is something unforgettable. Saadhana and Nanda have done exceedingly well. Leela Chitnis  is also perfect as Anand’s mother.While paying my tribute to Dev Anand on his sixth death anniversary, I recommend this outstanding movie to all and sundry. Hum Dono is a treat to watch. A standing example of quality cinema produced by Bollywood.

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Idealistic journalism ! Fearless journalism !

The late seventies saw the emergence of Sikh militancy in Punjab. Innocents started paying the price of selfish politics in the form of their lives. Bloodshed became the order of the day. The dirty game of blaming, buck-passing and mud-slinging kept on going from different political and administrative ends with none seeming to be caring for the innocents being trampled and forced to live under terror. But !

But there were certain fearless and committed journalists who raised the voice of the masses against that terrorism.

One such fearless journalist was Lala Jagat Narain, a veteran journalist, a freedom fighter, a true patriot who kept on writing against the terrorist activities of different militant groups especially the dreaded militant leader Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale through the various newspapers published under the Hind Samachar Group of Newspapers, the Punjab Kesari being the most prominent of them. He paid the price of his fearless journalism through his life when he was shot dead on 09.09.1981. But could his death put the torch of his crusade against terrorism off ? No! After his death, his son Ramesh Chander kept the torch of fearless journalism lit up and he followed the footsteps of his great father, laying down his life in the hands of the terrorists on 12.05.1984.

The sacrifice of the brave son following that of his great father, moved Hindi novelist Surendra Mohan Pathak deep within as he had also created a journalist hero, portraying him as an absolute idealist, keeping the ideals of journalism above everything and never fearing any threat or any danger while following them.

This journalist hero is Sunil Kumar Chakravarty who is employed with a national daily – Blast which is published from the fictitious metropolitan city known as Rajnagar. His investigative ventures are known as Sunil Series novels authored by S.M. Pathak. Perhaps as a tribute to Ramesh Chander, Mr. Pathak wrote a novel under this series whose title is Main Begunaah Hoon (I am innocent) which was first published in November 1984.This novel, highlighting the ideals of fearless journalism, is the 90th venture of Mr. Pathak’s idealist hero who lauds the high values of journalism nurtured by Ramesh Chander and his father Lala Jagat Narain in his spirited statement delivered to the managing editor of Blast when the story of this novel heads for its climax.

I had read this novel for the first time more than two decades back but when I read it again recently, I startled to contrast the storyline with the recent developments in the Indian political scenario. This novel features an emerging politician Satyendra Parashar who is apparently trying to clean the corrupt politics of the union territory of Rajnagar. He has been a popular film actor and using his popularity as a means to rise in politics, he is moving ahead with his mission to bring about clean and effective governance by winning the election of the metropolitan council of Rajnagar, defeating the present corrupt chief metropolitan councillor and his corrupt team.

The present CMC is Kishori Laal who is hand-in-glove with the local gangster Sohan Laal Joshi. This politician-criminal combo is looting the city and mocking the law and order situation, with the life becoming hell for the commoners. Suddenly Satyendra Parashar appears like a glittering comet in the sky of the local politics, putting a genuine threat to the dominance of this combo.

Taking the threat of Satyendra Parashar to his flourishing political career seriously, Kishori Laal frames him in the murder of Natasha Puri, a cabaret dancer in Sapna, a night-club owned by Sohan Laal Joshi, in order to clip the wings of this emerging energetic and idealistic politician and his declared mission to free the union territory of Rajnagar from crime and corruption.

The cops involved in investigation of the murder of Natasha Puri are sold out in the hands of the culprits and instead of doing their real duty, strengthening the hands of the guilty only. Sunil feels that though the impassioned supporters of the emerging politician who has been arrested under the charge of Natasha’s murder, are trying to keep the mission alive, the position of their political outfit – Janata Jaagruti Dal has got weakened now and the morale of the ruling corrupt party has got reinvigorated. He gets some hints that Parashar is innocent and has been framed to spoil his political career and nip his political outfit in the bud.

Now our idealist hero starts investigating the case with his evergreen zeal but no sooner does he commence his job than obstacles start propping up in his path. Witnesses and evidences to the crime are eliminated, threats are issued to him, attacks are made on his life and above all, he is constantly misguided by certain people whom he trusts.

The owner and chief editor of Blast – Mr. B.K. Malik has never treated Sunil as his employee and  always considered him as his son. His presence always acts as a constant motivator for Sunil, never allowing his morale to go down. But the trouble is that presently he is abroad and in his absence, his son Rajendra is taking care of the affairs of the newspaper. Rajendra’s approach to the whole issue is confusing and fishy.

Despite constant appearance of hurdles in his path as well as digressing from the correct path due to misguidance, Sunil digs this case deeper and deeper. It’s a Herculean task for him to find any concrete evidence in support of Parashar’s innocence or the guilt of the masterminds behind the curtain. However with the help of his never-say-die spirit, Sunil finally unmasks the masterminds and proves the innocence of Parashar. The good finally wins against the evil but the novel ends on a tragic note.

In the beginning, Main Begunaah Hoon refers to the unexpected political success of N.T. Rama Rao and his newly launched political party in Andhra Pradesh in 1983 and cites this example to highlight the political ambition of Satyendra Parashar who is also an actor-turned-politician like Mr. Rama Rao. However after three decades of its publication, I feel that the character of Parashar can be contrasted with that of Arvind Kejriwal and the Janata Jaagruti Dal of Parashar can be contrasted with Kejriwal’s political outfit – Aam Aadmi Party. The way Parashar vows to eliminate corruption and bring about good governance for the masses, I am amazed to see the striking similarity of that with the gestures and declarations of Mr. Kejriwal in Delhi, prior to and post his unprecedented success in the Delhi assembly polls. This way, this seemingly not-so-great novel has become extra-ordinary when viewed in the light of fearless journalism on one hand and idealistic politics on the other with real life instances available to corroborate the things spelled out in it.

The novel is a crime-thriller in the pure sense and it is very interesting despite the flaw that the culprits are either in the knowledge of the reader or they can be guessed by him. Having inspired (or carried away) by the real life incidents like the murder of Ramesh Chander and the political success of N.T. Rama Rao, the author appears to have written the novel sans a strong plot and that’s why it cannot be called an excellent whodunit or crime-thriller. But the tassels of idealism attached to the story (which is a specialty of the pen of Mr. Pathak for his Sunil Series novels) make it worth reading and keeping in memory. Anybody who has even the slightest faith in the high moral values like truth, justice and patriotism, is sure to feel upbeat after reading this novel though its end leaves a throbbing in a sensitive heart.

The language (Hindi) used is simple, nevertheless impressive. The novel maintains a profound tone throughout and is devoid of humour. But this fact has not impaired its readability. Inspiring and eye-opening dialogues are the highlight of this novel. The author maintains that though one flower makes no garland, still somebody with noble thoughts can make a beginning for the desirable change and that modest beginning can go a long way in reforming the society in the times to come.

The theme of Indian English writer Chetan Bhagat’s novel – Revolution 2020 also contains an element of idealistic journalism. However I found this long forgotten Hindi novel as leagues ahead of that much publicized English novel of the overhyped celebrity author.

Since I have been an idealist at least during my childhood, adolescence and youth, I like this novel very much and I recommend it to all those who believe that idealism can survive despite all kinds of negative things seen around.

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