I have read on the back cover of a novel (paperback edition) of legendary Bangla author – Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay – ‘Pooja Ke Phool Jitne Pavitra Hote Hain Us-se Bhi Zyaada Pavitra Hain Sarat Babu Ke Upanyaas’ (Sarat Babu’s novels are even more sacrosanct than the flowers used in God’s worship). After reading a number of novels penned by this legend during the first few decades of the twentieth century, I can safely endorse this statement. Reading his novels renders a pious effect to the heart and the soul of the reader.One such novel is Nishkriti which is a touching family drama full of emotions, love and family bonds. It was adapted by the director Basu Chatterjee for the Hindi movie – Apne Paraye (1980). It’s a movie which can be seen by the whole Indian family together without any hitch as this emotional and lovely family drama is sans all kinds of vulgarity and shallowness. The plot itself is great. And the efficient and interesting treatment, supported by excellent performances and melodious as well as meaningful songs makes it a memorable social movie. Doing justice to a classic literary work is not an easy job but director Basu Chatterjee has done it with finesse.The story belongs to a highly successful and well-off lawyer, Utpal Dutt who loves his younger cousin, Amol Palekar very much. His wife, Ashalata treats Amol’s wife Shabana Aazmi no less than her younger sister. The children in the family are also living as real siblings instead of cousins. The only thing is that clean-heart and naive, Amol does not take much interest in earning and is happy being dependent on his elder cousin. Things change when Utpal’s real brother, Girish Karnad comes to live with him alongwith his wife, Bharati Achrekar and son. Now this greedy and manipulative couple starts creating rifts in the family and turning the environment against Amol and Shabana. Finally Amol and Shabana leave Utpal’s home and shift to the village. However Girish sues them in the name of Utpal under false charges. Utpal remains ignorant of these developments for a long time but when he becomes aware of them, he takes such a step which is no less than a slap on the face of the conspiring Girish and Bhaarati. The family gets reunited with the return of Amol and Shabana.The screenplay of this story is full of touching and loving moments. The readers will agree that when there is love in hearts, even the anger shown is more ostentatious than real. This has been made clear through Ashalata’s anger towards her sister-in-law Shabana who is more educated, mature and sensible in comparison to her and practically runs the household all by herself despite her husband’s contributing nothing to the family income. The love shown among the children is also heart-conquering. When Amol and Shabana leave the home with their children, Ashalata’s emotions are simply tear-jerking. The movie contains several scenes which underscore the importance of family bonds and win the viewers’ hearts.The drama is utterly interesting right from the very start to the very finish. There is not a single boring scene. There is no dearth of laughs in the movie, generated through the forgetful nature of Utpal Dutt. The only thing is that the performances of certain characters including that of Bharati Achrekar are over the top. Besides, a highly successful lawyer, i.e., Utpal Dutt having a forgetful nature, is also not convincing. However these flaws do not catch the attention of the audience and for the most part of it, the movie contains a flare of naturalness.The performances are perfect. However Utpal Dutt is the show-stealer. Personally I consider the performance of debutant Ashalata as highly admirable. In fact, all, including the child artists, have done complete justice to the assigned roles. It’s a simple movie with a simple backdrop. The technical aspects are in accordance with this fact and perfectly in order. Melodious and meaningful songs are another highlight of this movie. Surprisingly, Bappi Lahiri has composed melodious music for the songs authored by Yogesh. The title song – Kaise Din Jeevan Mein Aaye has been sung by Kishore Kumar. The best song is a devotional song Shyam Rang Ranga Re which has been sung by Yesudas. A beautiful Lori – Halke Halke Aayi Chalke has been sung by Lata. An excellent duet – Gaao Mere Mann has been sung by Yesudas and Asha. The words and the compositions carry the fragrance of the Indianness and testify the greatness of the Indian music. After listening to these songs based on Indian classical Raagas, it’s hard to believe that these have been composed by Bappi Lahiri.I recommend this excellent movie to all who are interested in watching good movies made on literary works as well as those who like neat and clean, no-nonsense, natural family dramas stressing family bonds, family values and Indian traditions in a loving and touching way.
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