Amanush (1975) is a very popular, commercially successful and critically acclaimed movie made in both Hindi and Bengali. Directed by Shakti Samanta, this movie is based on Shaktipada Rajguru’s story -‘Naya Basat‘. The pillar of Indian cinema in general and Bengali cinema in particular – Uttam Kumar played the lead role in it with the ever gorgeous Sharmila Tagore, another gift to Indian cinema from Bengal, being cast opposite him.We all criticize, discard, scorn and sometimes hate the drunkards. But why does an otherwise normal person turn into a drunkard ? Seldom we ponder over this question. Drinking is bad but as they say, ‘I drink to forget my sorrow’ (Gham Bhulaane Ke Liye Peeta Hoon), sometimes a drunkard requires genuine sympathy and understanding(if not love) to return to his normal self. Change the circumstances, changes the person. Amanush (non-human being or beast) underscores this fact.The Amanush of this movie who generates both fear and hatred at the same time in the onlookers, is an alcoholic Madhusudan Chaudhary (Uttam Kumar) whose alcoholism and weird activities are visible to all but not the mountain of grief hidden in his heart. He was in love with Lekha (Sharmila Tagore) but an intricate conspiracy masterminded by Mahim Ghoshal (Utpal Dutt) against him destroyed everything for him, making his life no better than hell for him. The severest pinch for him is the lack of understanding on the part of his sweetheart Lekha. If only she understood him correctly ! But . . .! Alas !
But as they say, times change. Day follows night and primavera follows autumn. Living in complete dark, Madhusudan’s life gets a ray of sunshine when a sensitive cop Bhuvan Roy (Anil Chatterjee) comes across him. He tries to trace the origins of the alcoholism and the weird behaviour of Madhusudan and then finally reaches the truth which had turned a Maanush (human-being) into an Amaanush (beast). Things change for Madhusudan, Lekha comes to understand him correctly and the baddie is finally served right.
All of a sudden, I have got a flash of lightning in my heart that the super hit movie of Sunil Shetty and Ajay Devgan – Dilwale (1994) is also based on the same theme only with Ajay Devgan in the role akin to that of Uttam Kumar in Amanush. However contrary to formula-studded Dilwale, Amanush is a far better and much more sensitive movie especially the Bengali version.Director Shakti Saamanta has handled the admirable story well but still his direction leaves something to be desired in the Hindi version. The grief and stuffiness in the heart of the protagonist is revealed to the audience more through the stellar performance of the actor (Uttam Kumar) and less through the script and the direction.The movie is quite entertaining and gripping and that’s one good reason for its huge commercial success. The story flows well mostly in the flashback and thoroughly entertains the audience. There’s no boredom at any place though there are no relief moments also in the serious storyline.On one hand, I like Bhuvan Roy’s sympathetic and understanding attitude towards the aggrieved and misunderstood hero, on the other, I dislike Lekha’s easily misunderstanding him and turning her back to him. If you love someone, you have to learn to trust him / her also. Even when the whole world seems to be against him / her, he / she should feel that at least you are on his / her side, you are understanding him / her, your shoulder is there for resting own head and shedding tears. Else your love is nothing but hollow, a fair weather friend. It’s difficult to correctly understand someone, misunderstanding is always easy but unfortunately, most of us prefer to choose this easy path.The movie is soaked in Bengali culture and environment and all the technical aspects appear to be in more or less in order. Mostly shot in the Sunderbans, the movie renders a different flavour, pleasantly different I must say. The milieu is in sync with the story and the characters.The biggest asset of this movie is Uttam Kumar whose towering performance makes it watchable for all. Sharmila Tagore fits the bill of the heroine very well. Another brilliant performance in the movie is of Utpal Dutt in the role of the villain. Anil Chatterjee has also done satisfactorily as the sympathetic cop. The supporting cast is well in place.Shyamal Mitra’s music is very good. Kishore Kumar’s popular sad song – Dil Aisa Kisi Ne Mera Toda (which is the title track) is the highlight of this movie. Kal Ke Apne Na Jaane Kyun Ho Gaye Aaj Paraaye and Gham Ki Dawa To Pyar Hai (both by Asha Bhosle) and Na Poochho Koi Hamen Zahar Kyun Pee Liya (by Kishore) are also quite good. The meaningful lyrics of these songs have been penned by Indeevar.
So many convicts in Indian jails are not actually criminals. Some may be victim of adverse circumstances and some may be totally innocent and wronged by others. Can’t we have sensitive cops like Bhuvan Roy who give importance to reading the language of their tears and then trying to wipe them ?
© Copyrights reserved