Today is Shikshak Divas (Teacher’s Day), the birthday of the greatest teacher of modern India – Dr. Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan. 5th September comes every year and gets celebrated in the Indian (state-owned) schools as Shikshak Divas. I don’t know how many teachers actually give importance to it, leave aside the students. Anyway, during my student life, I had always paid my greatest regards to the teachers who truly deserved it and I have already written an independent post on this day, paying my tribute to an ideal teacher – Shri Surendra Kumar Mishra who had taught me English during my schooling. Now I am reviewing a Bollywood movie which tells the story of the tenure of an ideal teacher (lecturer) in a college. It’s Imtihan (1974).Imtihaan (test) is the story of Pramod (Vinod Khanna) who is the son of a rich businessman but leaves his parental house for the sake of his ideals and joins as the lecturer of History in a college. Now the interactions of the idealistic but smart lecturer, Pramod start with the students of various types. While teaching in the college, he falls in love with Madhu (Tanuja) who is the handicapped daughter of the college-principal (Abhi Bhattacharya). However the involvement of a student – Rita (Bindu) with him, creates a love-triangle. When Rita comes to know that Pramod loves Madhu, she is burnt like anything with jealousy. And as William Shakespeare has said – hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, Rita tries to settle her score with Pramod, seeking the help of the college-bully, Rakesh (I don’t know which actor has played this role) who is involved in many other unlawful activities in the college and has dragged many other students also in that quagmire of crime. Rita and Rakesh frame Pramod under the charge of molesting Rita. Now it’s a test of life for the idealist Pramod who always teaches his students never to lose hope and stand up with courage before the adversities. How Pramod gets through this toughest test (Imtihaan) of his life, forms the remaining part of the story.Imtihaan is not a great movie but it’s an admirable one. All kinds of Bollywoodish formulae are there to entertain the front-benchers and the balcony audience alike. It’s a cocktail of idealism, romance, comedy, sex and action which is successful in its primary objective of entertaining the spectators of all types. However, by default perhaps, the moviemaker has rendered a great message also – don’t bow before the odds and never lose hope in adverse times, just face everything with courage and conviction. Kishore Kumar’s immortal song – Ruk Jaana Nahin Tu Kahin Haar Ke, Kaanton Pe Chal Ke Milenge Saaye Bahaar Ke (don’t stop anywhere accepting your defeat, you will reach the shadows of primavera by treading the thorny paths) is there to remind this message again and again.The movie is damn interesting without any boredom anywhere. Since it is based on college life, there is a plethora of characters as students and teachers. Director Madan Sinha has not bothered to make the movie look realistic from any angle. The college, the teachers, the students, the activities; all are 99% filmy. But the thing is, everything entertains. And ultimately, we watch the movies for the sake of entertainment only. The discussion between Pramod and Rita regarding sex in ancient India, is impressive. The teasing sequence (of Rita by the male students) is entertaining for the teenage students and the front-benchers.The director has been able to exasperate romance quite prominently in this campus-based movie through the decent interactions of Pramod and Madhu. The way Pramod encourages Madhu to restart her life and take-up her hobby of painting again, is quite inspiring. When Madhu, on the other hand, inspires Pramod (after he is framed under the false charge of molesting Rita) not to resign and accept the false stigma for his life and instead, do something to prove his innocence, it is also morale-boosting for the audience in addition to the hero.The ending scene is also heart-warming when Pramod, after proving his innocence, is leaving the college as well as the town and taking leave from all, then Madhu rushes towards him and stumbles only to be held by Pramod in his arms and thereafter both move together towards the horizon with Madhu’s father watching the scene with tears (of joy) in his eyes.
Laxmikant Pyarelal have composed good music, using the lyrics of Majrooh Sultaanpuri. Other than Ruk Jaana Nahin …, Roz Shaam Aati Thi and Dekho Idhar Bhi Jaan-e-Tamanna are also impressive.
Vinod Khanna has delivered a mature performance as the spectacles-wearing college lecturer who is always positive in his approach, believes in encouraging others, stays firm on his ideals and considers the students as his younger brothers and sisters. Tanuja has done pretty well in the role of the depressed (since her ex-beau had suddenly died) as well as the handicapped girl. Her on-screen chemistry with Vinod Khanna is heart-conquering. Bindu has been the famous vamp of the sixties and the seventies and she does not disappoint in the same role. All others have performed according to the requirements of the assigned roles.Technically the movie is ok. The length is also perfect since there is no boredom at all. The art-director and the cinematographer have been able to create the collegiate environment on the screen.It’s said in our ancient scriptures that the Guru (teacher) has to set and follow extremely high standards for his conduct because he is an idol for the Shishyas (students) which they adore and emulate. Imtihaan, by default, has underscored this dictum. I had seen this movie first in theatre and thereafter on TV and on the Teacher’s Day (5th September), I wholeheartedly recommend this formula-based, yet inspiring movie to all the movie-buffs. The lyrics of the song – Ruk Jaana Nahin are still echoing in my mind – Saathi Na Kaaravaan Hai, Ye Tera Imtihaan Hai, Yun Hi Chala Chal Dil Ke Sahaare, Karti Hai Manzil Tujhko Ishaare …
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