Aroma of Ideals versus Harsh Reality of Life

Ansoo Ban Gaye Phool is a movie produced in 1969 by Ashok Kumar’s real life brother, Anoop Kumar and directed by Satyen Bose who has directed numerous good movies for Rajshri and other banners too. Before I start the review, let me admit that this is not an outstanding movie and it’s the deficiency of the writer-director duo that it could not convert a great plot into a great movie. The movie is, all the same, a good one and appeals in parts.

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The plot revolves around Ashok Kumar, the principal of a college, being a man of principles in his life and career, very firm on his ideals and never scared of calling a spade a spade. He and his doctor wife, Nirupa Roy have lost their only son long back and now to them, the students of the college only are like their own children. Ashok Kumar comes across a carefree but talented and self-made student of the college, Deb Mukherjee who is an orphan. Ashok Kumar guides and inspires him to become a man of ideals and principles in his life. However Ashok Kumar himself is framed in corruption charges by the corrupt owner of the college with the help of Ashok Kumar’s younger brother Anoop Kumar (in the film also, he is his younger brother). Being backstabbed by his own brother, Ashok Kumar feels disenchanted with his ideals and upon release from jail after his sentence is over, he resorts to unlawful activities with the help of his trusted old buddy Pran and his wife Helen. He stays away from his wife Nirupa Roy who has not left the path of piety and rightness. But one day he is stunned to see his beloved student, Deb Mukherjee on the other side of the things, in a police inspector’s uniform. Deb catches Pran and Helen for their unlawful activities without being aware of the master brain behind them. Seeing his comrades arrested, Ashok Kumar’s man of ideals sleeping within him for the past many years. wakes up and he surrenders to Deb, confessing his crimes. Deb is taken aback to see his role model and mentor as a criminal and he performs his duty of arresting him amidst tears. The ending scene justifies the title of the movie too – Aansoo Ban Gaye Phool (tears turned into flowers).The story is very impressive and engrossing till the interval. However it lets down after the interval when Ashok Kumar chooses the wrong path after completing his prison sentence. There is around half an hour duration in the movie which not only bores but makes the viewer feel that he is watching a poorly made movie. Again the movie catches the viewer in a bit prolonged climax and leaves a lasting impression on his heart when the words – ‘The End’ appear on the screen.

The movie makes an impressive beginning with the first scene itself underscoring the honesty, ethical values, firmness and rightness of Ashok Kumar. The first half an hour of the movie contains laughs also through the innocent activities and gestures of Deb Mukherjee. The song picturised on him and others in the election campaign for the student association post – Ab Chaahe Kisi Se Pyar Karo, Inko Vote Do – is very much entertaining to listen to and to watch as well. The scene picturised on Ashok Kumar and Deb Mukherjee when Deb Mukherjee spends a night in Ashok Kumar’s house after a violent encounter with the college bully, leading to his arrest and release on the security of Ashok Kumar, is in my opinion, one of the best Bollywood scenes related to teacher-student interaction. That scene left an indelible impression upon my heart and I consider that as the essence of this movie. One more scene which is very impressive and touching is the scene of Ashok Kumar’s staging a scene showing him in proximity of Helen, to repel his pious wife Nirupa Roy from him because now their paths take opposite directions.

The movie mainly belongs to Ashok Kumar and he, right from as the idealist education-man in the first half to a harsh criminal in the second half, has delivered excellently; carrying the whole movie on his shoulders. Saying something about this legend of Bollywood who was a like a school of acting, will be like showing lamps to the sun. Another protagonist in the movie is Deb Mukherjee, a confused youth, who does not understand which path he should adopt in his life until Ashok Kumar scolds him for his confusion and shows him the way. In the first half, he is charming and lovable, enjoying in the college and romancing with the pretty heroine, Alka. In the second half, he has not got much footage but the climax gives him a chance to showcase his talent and mettle which he exploits to the optimum.

The character of Pran as Ashok Kumar’s jolly-nature buddy who is never hesitant to do the wrong things for money, has been very well developed. They are very close friends despite the fact that Ashok Kumar is highly righteous and honest as against the ‘do it for money’ type Pran and their chemistry is hilarious with Pran making a different mark with his mannerisms. The character of Helen as Pran’s wife is also very well crafted. It was a big surprise for the audience to see Helen clad in a saari in that time of the sixties. She is shown as completely dedicated to her husband, supporting him in every hour and every activity of life. The role of Nirupa Roy as the kind-hearted doctor who sticks to the right path even after her husband’s wrong arrest and consequential disenchantment with virtues, is also well-designed. All these three have done exceedingly well. Alka, who is in romantic lead with Deb Mukherjee has nothing much to do except to look pretty, sing two romantic songs, marry the hero and then disappear from the screen like a drop of water in the hot son. Her disappearance act in the last one hour of the movie depicts imbalance in the script (or perhaps the moviemaker’s helplessness in getting her dates for shooting).

The music of the movie composed by Laxmikant Pyarelal is good. It contains only four songs out of which I have already praised – Ab Chaahe Kisi Se Pyar Karo, Inko Vote do. Jaane Kaisa Hai Mera Deewana is a great romantic song and my all time favourite. The technical aspects are more or less okay.

Bollywood’s big filmmaker Yash Chopra made a movie, Mashaal in 1984, one and a half decades later than the making of this movie, starring Dilip Kumar, Anil Kapoor and Rati Agnihotri. His effort seems to be a remake of Aansoo Ban Gaye Phool with Dilip Kumar in the role of Ashok Kumar and Anil Kapoor in the role of Deb Mukherjee.

The significance of this movie can be understood through two points : 1. The confusion of the youth as to which path to choose in their lives when the heart supports the ideals but the brains draws attention to the corruption rampant in the society and the plight of the honest, 2. The re-emergence of ideals in an originally idealistic person who has digressed from his path due to bad experiences. I believe that a good man always remains a good man from within. The harsh reality of life and the bad odour of the wrong path cannot suppress the fragrance of his goodness and virtues for ever. A day always comes when the ray of goodness flashes out in the open from the thick darkness of the evil which had taken over him.

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About Jitendra Mathur

A Chartered Accountant with literary passion and a fondness for fine arts
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