The month of Saawan (or Shraawan) according to the Indian calendar which is symbolic of the rainy season, is running. Bhaadon (or Bhaadrapad) is also a rainy month like Saawan. However whenever there is any talk of rain, the name coming to lips is Saawan only. There have been several memorable rain songs in Hindi movies. One such song is Saawan Ke Jhoole Pade, Tum Chale Aao (the swings in the month of Saawan have been installed, you come please). This beautiful song sung by Lata Mangeshkar in the classical Raag Pahaadi is in Hindi movie Jurmana (1979) which I am reviewing today. This love triangle stars Amitabh Bachchan, Raakhee Gulzaar and Vinod Mehra in lead roles.The nucleus of the story of Jurmana (fine / penalty) is a simple small town girl – Ramaa (Raakhee) who lives with her widower father – Dayashankar Sharma (Dr. Shreeraam Laagoo) who is a retired teacher and now facing health problems with his eyesight getting dim day-by-day. They are financially weak but believe in simple living and high thinking, following the Indian ideals of life. Prakash (Vinod Mehra) is a simple youth like them only who silently loves Ramaa. He keeps on visiting them regularly and taking care of Dayashankar. Their peaceful lives get disturbed just like the stirring in the silent water of a lake by the dropping of a stone in the same. This is because of the entry of Inder (Amitabh Bachchan) who has been a student of Dayashankar years back (or at least he claims so) and is an old buddy of Prakash. Inder is now a rich businessman and due to some bitter experience with a girl in the past, looks upon every girl as a sex-object only. Whenever he comes into contact with some girl, he immediately starts wooing her only to take her to his bed. He has come to their town because of a construction project of him and as soon as he sees Ramaa, he falls for her and starts making his evil designs to bring her to his bedroom. Prakash who not only loves Ramaa in his heart but also knows her piety and idealistic way of living very well, enters into a bet with Inder that his bad intentions will not succeed with Ramaa. He also cautions Ramaa and her father in this regard. However Ramaa who is too impressed by Inder, gets trapped by him. However before any undesirable thing could happen, Dayashankar and Prakash reach Inder’s house where Ramaa has visited by lying to her father. Completely shocked Dayashankar is not able to tolerate his daughter’s act and her lying to him and he asserts that he will never be able to forgive her because she has broken his trust as well as his heart.Now, heartbroken Ramaa who is not able to convince her father that she has not done anything against his teachings and the morals of life they have always believed in, leaves for some unknown destination. She is robbed in the train and by losing her money, becomes completely helpless. A kind-hearted station master (Asrani) gives shelter to her, treating her as his sister. The train in which she was travelling, meets an accident and it is known to all that she has died in that accident. Now she starts singing on radio under the fake name of Sudha. On the other side, Dayashankar and Prakash keep stones on their hearts, accepting the fact of Ramaa’s death but Inder who had unknowingly fallen in love with her and is now genuinely repenting for ruining the happy home of her and her father, is not ready to accept it. He starts searching for her under a firm belief that she is alive. Due to this emotional shock, Dayashankar has completely lost his eyesight and has become blind. Inder asks Prakash to take him to a house owned by him at another place and ensure his peaceful living and proper medical treatment. This fact is kept hidden from Dayashankar that Inder only is behind this arrangement. Prakash lives with Dayashankar and takes care of him whereas Inder keeps on searching for Ramaa. Finally he finds her. Now all the four principal characters of this story alongwith a close friend of Ramaa – Laila (Farida Jalaal) re-assemble at that place. Prakash convinces Dayashankar to forgive Ramaa and arrange her marriage with Inder whom she loves. However Laila who has always been aware of Prakash’s feelings towards Ramaa, conveys this fact to Inder that Prakash has always loved Ramaa without expressing it to her. After some emotional tension and drama involving the threesome, the story reaches its expected conclusion.Let me assert it frankly that this movie is much below the standard of director Hrishikesh Mukherjee who has presented gems like Anari (1959), Anuradha (1960), Anupama (1966), Satyakaam (1969), Anand (1970), Abhimaan (1973), Chupke Chupke (1975) and Golmaal (1978). This is because of the weak script. Though Hrishi Da has directed the movie pretty well, it could not become a memorable one. The climax and the pre-climax events appear to have been executed in somewhat haste. Some more footage to the emotional quotient of the relationship among Ramaa, Inder and Prakash would have made the movie a more appealing one. The characters of Prakash and Dayashankar are well-developed but the character of Ramaa has not been given proper scope to develop fully and that of Inder is a bit sketchy. The movie is not bad all the same.I am able to relate to the character of Prakash who is such a silent lover that he perceives his happiness in the happiness of his sweetheart only and does not want or expect anything in return for his love for her. However the decision taken by Ramaa in the end as to who should be her life-partner (although she is not shown vividly as taking this decision) is not very logical. It’s more prudent to marry who loves you instead of marrying whom you love. Preity Zinta, Saif Ali Khan and Chandrachoor Singh starrer Kya Kehna (2000) had a more logical ending from this viewpoint. Anyway heart does not act according to common logic. Besides, myself being a male, may not be able to understand how the females think and feel.Made with a low budget, the movie presents the story in a simple milieu. Both the art director and the cinematographer have taken care of maintaining simplicity throughout. It’s not unduly long but as I have asserted supra that some additional length giving space for the sentiments of the three protagonists of the story would have been better. Background score is in order. Dialogs are also apt.
R.D. Burman’s music is admirable. In addition to Saawan Ke Jhoole Pade, Chhoti Si Ek Kali Khili Thi and Aye Sakhi Raadhike Baawari Ho Gayi are also very good and spread the fragrance of Indian soil and Indian classical music. Anand Bakshi has written the beautiful lyrics of these songs.
Performance wise talking, the way Gulzaar has always been able to extract the best out of the actor Jeetendra, the same way Hrishikesh Mukherjee has always been able to extract the best out of the actor Amitabh Bachchan. Despite the half-baked role, AB has done well. Ditto for Raakhee whose character (around which the story revolves in the true sense) has not been given ample footage and scope. Dr. Shreeraam Laagoo, Asrani, Farida Jalaal, A.K. Hangal, Keshto Mukherjee, Manju Asrani etc. have done complete justice to the assigned roles. The best performer, in my view, is Vinod Mehra.Summing up, Jurmana is not an excellent movie but it is definitely a decent watch. Considering the music appeal as well as the star appeal (AB and Raakhee) being its additional plus points, the movie buffs liking emotional dramas will definitely find this simple movie as their cup of tea.
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