Love and marriage are two very significant issues in the life of human-beings. As far as love is concerned, it may happen at any stage of a person’s life. It is said that love just happens, not deliberately accomplished (Pyaar Kiya Nahin Jaata, Ho Jaata Hai). Hence whatever is your age or situation, if you are destined to fall in love with someone of opposite sex, you can’t do anything about it. You may not express your love to him or her but love for him or her is bound to exist in your heart.
But marriage ? Marriage is an altogether different business. Why ? Because marriage involves commitment, marriage calls for shouldering responsibility and marriage means a life-long association with the spouse. It is much more than love and hence marriage cannot just happen. It is to be carried out deliberately after investing a lot of thought in the decision. That’s why, when a male or a female is past his / her reasonable age to enter into wedlock, the decision to marry someone is not that easy even when the concerned person is in love. You may be an eligible bachelor or an eligible maiden but if your age does not entitle you to be called a boy or a girl, then ? It’s difficult to take the decision to marry especially in the Indian society. And when there is love and that too one-sided, the issue becomes too ticklish to handle. Naturally, nothing can be decided in haste as the question that poses affects the whole life lying ahead.Prem Vivah (1979) is a family drama that deals with this issue. As the title suggests, the story involves both love (Prem) and marriage (Vivaah). I had seen this movie decades back on Doordarshan and though I found the narrative as burdened with sentiments, I liked the theme and its mature treatment on the screen. Starring Asha Parekh, Utpal Dutt, Bindiya Goswami and Mithun Chakraborty; this movie highlights the problems of those who could not marry during their youth.The story deals with the life of four characters only. Asha Parekh and Bindiya Goswami are two unmarried sisters. Bindiya is quite young whereas Asha is well past her marriageable age. Their parents being dead long back, Asha has been more like a mother to Bindiya than her elder sister and for the sake of fostering her only, she had neglected the issue of her own marriage. Now Bindiya herself has attained marriageable age and she is in love with an eligible bachelor Mithun Chakraborty. The twist in the tale comes with the entry of a mature-age bachelor Utpal Dutt.Utpal Dutt who is almost double the age of Bindiya Goswami, comes across her and falls for her charms. However he is under a false impression that Bindiya also loves him whereas the fact is that Bindiya only respects him. Through Bindiya, he is introduced to her elder sister Asha Parekh. Now with his regularly meeting the sisters renders an impression to them that he is in love with Asha. Asha also starts liking him and dreaming to marry him when her younger sister ties the sacred knot with her beau.
Misunderstandings continue and when the truth dawns upon the characters of this story, the issue has become too complicated to handle. Since Mithun Chakraborty has to move abroad after marrying Bindiya who is ambivalent due to being concerned for her elder sister; it’s Utpal only who has to take a compromising decision to cope with this cruel jest that destiny has cracked on them, especially him.Personally I believe and almost everybody will agree to it that if at all one has to marry, he / she should ensure that the marriage takes place at an appropriate age. However now the trend is that people continue to remain unmarried till they are in their thirties. Well, late marriages bring many problems with them but the other side of the picture is equally important. Since a majority of marriages in India are more or less a gamble with life (one may win, one may lose), if someone waits for Mr. Right or Miss Right, there is no harm because bachelorhood is a much better option than remaining unhappy after marriage and longing restlessly to break free from its shackles.
The second issue is the love emerging for someone who is much younger or much older in age. In this movie, mainly the complication is due to Utpal Dutt’s attraction for a much younger Bindiya Goswami who cannot guess in the wildest of her dreams that Utpal visits their family for the sake of his love for her only and always remains under the impression that his feelings are for her elder sister who belongs to his age-group. Well, in my humble opinion, in such a situation, the concerned people should not allow any communication gap to creep in and give rise to misunderstandings. Communication gap is a highly undesirable thing when it comes to relationships. Straightforward talks should take place and everything should be clarified without a hitch, else things can go from bad to worse only.The movie has been directed by Basu Chatterjee very well but being a serious movie, it’s not the cup of tea of those who watch movies for fun. There remains an undercurrent of tension in the later half of the movie and this tension makes the movie burdensome. Only those who are able to relate to any of the characters and the situations shown, may find themselves as engrossed. Though the curiosity regarding the climax remains, it is more or less a forgone conclusion.
The narrative has been lifted by the admirable performances of the lead actors. All the four principal artists have delivered mature performances as per the demand of the story.
This is a movie made with a modest budget and technically it is all right. It’s not too long also which is good considering the theme and the narrative.
Music by Laxmikant Pyarelaal with the lyrics of Anand Bakshi is okay. The best song is the title track sung by Shailendra Singh and Anuradha Paudwaal.
All in all, Prem Vivah deals with a significant issue but does not offer any solution. Even when a person (male or female) remains unmarried till his / her forties, the age does not affect the tender feelings for someone which may emerge at any stage of life as human-beings are bound to love because they need love for them too. However marriage may be performed as a compromise with life. In my view, the challenge which is much bigger than making this compromise, is to love the person whom you have married without love. It may prove to be a Herculean task but it is mandatory if the marital life is to survive.
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