Bada Din (big day) is the term in the Indian lingo for Christmas. This term was perhaps coined in the British India, by the Indian subjects of the Firangi Saheb Log who called the day celebrated by their Sahebs as Bada Din. The life of Jesus Christ is exemplary for all, Christians and non-Christians alike. He taught the world the lesson of tolerance and forgiveness. I always feel sorry when I see the Indians reducing this day of birth of the great soul to just a wine-dine-dance celebration.
Bada Din was released in 1998 starring model-turned-actor Marc Robinson and Shabana Azmi in lead roles. It is another masterpiece from Bollywood which went almost unnoticed. The highly sensitive story and its admirable treatment, the touching performances from both the leading protagonists and the highly melodious and meaningful music album; nothing worked for the movie when we talk commercially. However it happens quite frequently in Bollywood that average movies become blockbusters and masterpieces like Bada Din are not even looked upon. So nothing new.
Bada Din, as the title suggests, is having the backdrop of Christmas. However this movie is not about Christianity, it is about humanity. It’s a tale of sharing of pains and loneliness by two aggrieved persons and their exemplary joint effort of saving the life of an innocent dumb boy who unfortunately becomes eye-witness to a murder. David (Marc), the loser in life and Lilian (Shabana), the completely lonely woman, caressing her wounds given to her by life; join hands to save the life of the poor orphan boy from the murdering goons. They do not get any support from the law enforcing agencies responsible to protect the society. Hence they themselves face the might of the anti-social elements with courage and conviction and earn the virtue of saving an innocent life. During this exercise, they come close to each other (emotionally, not sexually) and share each other’s loneliness and sufferings. Two aggrieved people are more often than not, able to empathize with each other’s sorrow. And it happens to both these children of God who have found that life has given them a raw deal. Finally humanity and sensitivity triumphs and that Christmas Day becomes a Bada Din (big day) in the real sense, for the people involved in the humanitarian task.
I got fascinated to this movie because one of its song – Suno Zara had become a chartbuster at the time of its release. Despite that, neither the music of the movie, nor the movie itself could succeed commercially. But after seeing the movie, I feel that the moviemakers themselves can take heart from the message of their own movie that success in practical life is not everything the Almighty wants us to achieve. Human values and virtues have a far greater value. Being an unsuccessful good man is much better than being a successful man who is not good.
The movie shows that the relation based on sharing of common pain and suffering carries the strongest bond between persons. And that relationship, full of mutual sympathy, respect and love, need not be given a name. In the ending scene of the movie, when Shabana and Marc embrace each other, you can’t say whether this love resembles the love of mother-son, brother-sister, male-female or anything else. But one thing is certain, this love is devoid of any kind of sexuality. Yes, it’s better to feel the fragrance of love instead of searching a name for the relationship.
The movie delivers one more exemplary message which is very much practical for the innocent, law-abiding and God-fearing Indian people that never be fully dependent upon police, court or other law-enforcing agencies for the security of your life and your peace of mind. If we don’t get positive response and cooperation from these agencies (which are full of corrupt people), then should we cease to live ? No, even then we have to live with our dignity and peace of mind. It is our right. Who can ensure it then ? Ourselves only.
The technical aspects of the movie are ok. The story takes place in Kolkata and the cinematographer has ably captured the city through his camera.
Performances are nothing short of great. Shabana Azmi is one of the greatest Indian actresses and in an emotion-packed role, she is always at her very best. Bada Din showcases her abundant talent once again. This is perhaps the only movie in which the model, Marc Robinson has acted. But the director – Anjan Dutt has been able to extract an excellent performance from him in the difficult role of the frustrated singer who is nothing but a loser in his life. The other actors, Alok Nath as the gangster, Tara Deshpande as the ex-flame of David, Irrfan as the police inspector and many others as well as the actor in the role of the poor dumb boy, have done quite well.
The music of Bada Din is another very big plus point of the movie. I am surprised that this wonderful music album of Jatin-Lalit in which highly meaningful as well as beautiful words have been strung by Javed Akhtar in the melodies created by them was not a commercial success. Other than the chartbuster – Suno Zara, the other songs – Na Koi Tera Yahaan Hai Na Koi Hai Mera, Betaab Ham Aawara Ham Hain, Kehta Hai Ye Safar, Meri Aankhon Mein Tum Ho etc. are also pretty good to listen. And it is advisable to listen to them peacefully, catching the meaningful words enveloped in the melodious compositions. Only one song of this album – Oonche Neeche Parbaton Ke Saaye Mein Hai Gaon has been composed by Dilip Sen-Sameer Sen and surprisingly for me (as I don’t consider Dilip Sen-Sameer Sen as great music composers), it is par excellence and a treat to listen for the melody lovers.
I recommend this movie to all the sensitive viewers who keep humanity above everything else. This movie gives us the message of the Almighty – stand up to protect the virtue and abolish the sin; besides, share the pain and suffering of others. I sum up my review with the lines of a great Hindi poet Dr. Kunwar Bechain – Tumhaare Dil Ki Chubhan Bhi Zaroor Kam Hogi, Kisi Ke Paanv Se Kaanta Nikaal Kar Dekho (the sting in your heart will also be mitigated, just pull out the thorn pricked in someone’s foot).
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