‘Behind every great man (or every successful man), there is a woman’ is a well-known quote. It may not be universally true and there have been successful men without any woman behind them. However it is to be agreed that this quote has substance and it applies to most of the successful and great males. Though it is equally applicable to females too because I have seen several females who are successful in their public / professional / otherwise active life as having their husbands standing behind them like a rock-solid support, mainly it refers to the females standing behind great males only (perhaps due to the social set-up especially in India and all over the world in general in which the gentlemen are putting their efforts in specific fields of work, leaving it to the ladies to take care of the household which encompass those males too). And definitely, those (fortunate) males are able to capitalize on their talent and zeal and climb up great heights in their lives who have dedicated females (mostly their wives / sweethearts) behind them. Anuradha (1960) tells a touching story of such a dedicated wife only who stands by her husband and thereby proves to be a silent ‘n’ invisible but invaluable help in his endeavours.The movie tells the story of Anuradha Roy (Leela Naidu), the daughter of a rich businessman and a budding singer in her own right who falls in love with Dr. Nirmal Chaudhary (Balraaj Saahni). She refuses to marry the London-return suitable boy (chosen by her father for her), Deepak (Abhi Bhattacharya) and gets married to Nirmal against the will of her father. Putting a premium on her marital life, she bids adieu to her career as a singer and as per the will and the need of her husband, moves from the city life to a distant village, Nandgaon. Dr. Nirmal keeps on running his clinic, serving the poor and continuing with his research work alongside that. Anuradha begets a daughter through her marriage but the girl who once was a noted radio-singer and a girl grown-up amidst riches and luxuries, is now reduced to a homemaker, doing all the household chores herself. Her loneliness increases day-by-day and so is her frustration with her life. However she does not allow that to get better of her duties as a wife. Nirmal, on the other hand, is unaware of the inner status of his wife because she is never complaining and he is too busy in his own work to notice that himself.
One day, Deepak comes across the husband-wife duo when he and his female-companion meet an accident and are brought to Dr. Nirmal at Nandgaon. Despite his limited resources, Nirmal successfully accomplishes a sophisticated plastic surgery on the lady which has got severely injured. However while living in the household of Nirmal and Anuradha, Deepak gradually comes to know of Anuradha’s frustration and stuffiness. He instigates her to leave Nirmal and move back to the city to pursue her passion for music. Once made up her mind for that, Anuradha apprises of this decision of hers to Nirmal and then only Nirmal comes to know what has been going on within his wife for the past many years. However due to the visit of some high profile people from the field of medicine to his house that evening, he requests her to stay for one more night and leave the next morning. What happens that evening leads to the very emotional ending of this movie.Whether it’s Shivaji the Great whose inspiration was his mother Jeejabaai or Mahatma Gandhi who got relentless support from his spouse Kasturba throughout his life or Munshi Premchand who always found his (second) wife Shivraani Devi standing by him every moment of his poverty-stricken life; the great men of the world were mostly blessed by the inspiration or moral support of the women who loved them and who supported them with as much devotion as involved in the worship of God. I still remember telling my (now lost) sweetheart several years ago – ‘You know that behind every successful man, there is a woman’ and then she had asked with utmost innocence – ‘Can I not stand behind you ?’ If only she could and she had, I also would have been a truly successful person in my life. If only … Aah !Coming back to the movie, written by Sachin Bhowmick and directed by the legendary film director Hrishikesh Mukherjee, this movie is a heart-conqueror all the way. How simple and straight life-stories become complex when coming across human nature and sentiments can be known and understood by watching this movie. This movie was much ahead of its time. And quite contrary to the so-called feminism, it handles the issue of a woman’s own aspirations and her role in her man’s life with utmost maturity.In my considered opinion, the way a woman can stand behind her man, propelling him towards success (and sometimes greatness), the same way a man also can. It’s the patriarchal set-up which demands the woman only to sacrifice her own talent, her own ambitions and her own passion for the sake of the man. Why can’t it be vice-versa ? Though I find many high profile women praising their husbands for supporting them in pursuing their talent or passion, I strongly feel that their husbands are so well-off and already so much successful in their own lives that it’s no big deal for them to support their wives’ passion for something (by supporting them monetarily and morally). I have yet to find an illustration where the man has sacrificed his own career or passion for the sake of that of his wife.The complete setting of the movie is realistic. Every frame of this black and white movie is just like a beautiful picture. Dialogues written by eminent Hindi author Rajinder Singh Bedi are impressive and all the technical aspects including editing and background score all quite in order.
Debutant heroine Leela Naidu was counted among the ten most beautiful women of the world in her era. Her beauty is nothing short of a knock-out drug for the males. In addition to looking very pretty, she has performed well too. Skilled actors Balraaj Saahni and Abhi Bhattacharya have delivered admirable performances as always expected of them.Music composed by the legendary Sitar maestro Pandit Ravi Shankar is a very big plus point of Anuradha with the touching lyrics being penned by Shailendra. Bahut Din Huye Taaron Ke Desh Mein is a memorable song by Mahendra Kapoor whereas Sunn Mere Laal Yun Na Ho Behaal is a touching song by Manna Dey. However it’s the female songs in the enchanting voice of Lata Mangeshkar which put the music of this movie in a class of its own. Saanvre Saanvre Kaahe Mose Kare Jorajori, Jaane Kaise Sapno Mein Kho Gayi Ankhiyaan, Kaise Din Beete Kaise Beeti Ratiyaan and Haaye Re Woh Din Kyun Na Aaye are invaluable gems sung by Lata. The songs of this movie are a treat for those who love the songs based on classical Raagas of Hindustani Sangeet.
The climax of this movie makes both the hero and the heroine realize the significance of the wife in the husband’s life and proves to be an eye-opener for not only both of them but also the audience. It emphatically underscores that it takes a woman of extra-ordinary inner strength and patience to make her man cross the bound of the ordinary and enter the horizon of the extra-ordinary.
Anuradha is a timeless classic. Truly a masterpiece. It had won the national award for the best movie in 1960 and also got nominated for the Golden Bear Award in the Berlin International Film Festival in 1961. No lover of quality cinema should miss it.
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