Very few movies have been made in Bollywood upon the life of the Christians in India. I consider Julie (1975) and Bada Din (1998) as classics in this context. Today I am reviewing a movie which portrays the life of the middle class working Christians in India (Mumbai being the backdrop of the story) with utmost sincerity. In fact, the middle strata of the Indian society contains people from all communities and religions without any discrimination on religious ground. Their problems are almost the same. Their issues are almost the same. Their pains and pleasures are almost the same.Baton Baton Mein (1979) is the story of middle class working Christians directed by none other than Basu Chatterjee, the director who earned a name in the seventies and early eighties for making low-budget, simple, yet touching movies whose characters belong to the Indian middle class, neither living in slums, nor living in palaces (just a metaphor). Since we belong to that class only, we can easily relate to the stories told by him through his movies whose characters appear to us like ourselves only.Baaton Baaton Mein (through the talks only) has a story set in Mumbai (then Bombay). Tony (Amol Palekar) and Nancy (Tina Munim) happen to get introduced in local train while going to their respective workplaces. Nancy’s uncle Tom (David) helps them coming close to each other because he is aware of the pain in Nancy’s heart because of a broken affair with Peter (Dev Mukherjee) and hopes that Tony’s friendship will prove to be a healer for Nancy. Tony and Nancy start liking each other very much but both of them have a problematic member in his / her family. And they are the mothers. Nancy’s talkative mother (Pearl Padamsee) is so concerned about her marriage to a reasonable (earning wise) boy that she jumps to the matrimonial issues every now and then with childish enthusiasm. On the other hand, Tony’s mother (Piloo J. Wadia) is over-possessive with her son and wants him to live his life like a dependent child, doing everything by asking her only. Due to these peculiar females, how intricacies develop in the relationship of Tony and Nancy and how they are able to finally tie the sacred knot, forms the remaining part of the story which is a pleasure to watch. In between, there is a very small track of Nancy’s neighbour Henry too who loves her silently.Baaton Baaton Mein is a movie which does not lose its track even for a second. Right from the beginning to the very end, it keeps its focus on the main story without any undue digression. The narrative is very interesting, close to the real lives of the working people in metro cities (especially Mumbai) and touching, of course. The script-writer has maintained the curiosity factor quite proficiently throughout the movie and the twist in the tale leading the story to its climax is very impressive. In between the story, some songs (total four) appear but they do not block its flow. Instead they support it and being excellent, they prove to be the cherry on the delicious cake.The complete milieu of the movie is authentic. Sets are simple and sober. Costumes have been selected according to the background of the story and the characters. The scenes in the local trains as well as near the sea shore add to the natural flare of the movie. Editing is also quite good. The complete narrative is a smooth sailing with every emotion suitably placed at the perfect point.Performances are good. Except for some over the top ones (even they also do not look bad), the acting performances of the cast are natural. The favourite actor of Hrishikesh Mukherjee and Basu Chatterjee – Amol Palekar has delivered a brilliant performance. In fact, such middle class person’s role was tailor-made for him. Tina Munim was never a very good actress but the able director has made her act too. She looks quite beautiful also. Among others, the performances of Pearl Padamsee and Ranjit Chowdhury (Nancy’s brother – Sabby) are just lovable.Music of this movie is memorable. It contains only four songs three of which are duets and one is Kishore Kumar’s solo. I mention the solo song first which is very good and one of Kishore Da’s underrated songs – Kahaan Tak Ye Mann Ko Andhere Chhalenge, Udaasi Bhare Din Kabhi To Dhalenge. The other three are – the title song (Suniye . . .. Kahiye . . . ) sung by Kishore and Asha, Na Bole Tum Na Maine Kuchh Kaha (Asha and Amit Kumar) and Uthein Sab Ke Kadam Dekho Rum Pum Pum Aji Aise Geet Gaaya Karo (Lata, Amit Kumar and Pearl Padamsee). The last one is my son’s favourite. Every song composed by Rajesh Roshan is a gem. The beautiful lyrics have been penned by Yogesh and Amit Khanna. Any music lover can listen to these songs again and again without getting bored or tired.Baaton Baaton Mein may not be a great movie but it is a simple and lovable movie which has enormous repeat value. I have seen it many times and having seen once, anybody would love to watch it once again.
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