The unfathomable depth of childhood love

We have heard and read a lot about childhood love. And all of us were children only years back. Children do have crush on someone just like the adolescents and the youths. However what’s the depth of that love that had sprouted in childhood ? Does it survive and sustain itself when the kids are no longer the kids ? Difficult to answer, isn’t it ? I also had a crush on a girl when I was a kid and at least two girls were having a crush on me in that period (I know it as they had expressed it to me because children are more expressive than the grown-up ones). However can the childhood crushes and attachments be compared to love in adulthood ? I may be remembering my crush on that girl in the grown-up phase of my life but must those girls be remembering their crush on me later in their lives ? The likely answer is in the negative only and not in the affirmative.

However the fiction-writers and the filmmakers think differently. In romantic novels and Bollywood movies, we find that the childhood love which is pure and innocent remains intact even after years and decades when the kids in love have grown-up into a man and a woman. That love may succeed when it’s a two way traffic with complete awareness on both the sides. And it may end up as a tragedy when the things are either one-sided or the odds are not favourable to the lovers. One such tragic story of childhood love is Deedar (1951) starring Dilip Kumar, Nargis, Ashok Kumar and Nimmi in lead roles.Deedaar (sight) starts with the childhood love of Shyamu (Dilip Kumar) and Mala (Nargis). Mala is the daughter of a rich man whereas Shyamu is a poor boy whose widow mother works as a gardener for Mala’s father. Mala’s father does not take notice of the companionship and camaraderie of Shyamu and Mala and allows both the children to enjoy their time together until one day Mala gets injured during horse-riding. He then forces Shyamu’s mother to relocate and the loving kids are separated. Mala grows up into a beautiful lady who still has memories of her childhood buddy Shyamu who used to sing very well.

On the other hand, Shyamu’s misfortune appears to have no bounds when not only he loses his mother but also his vision. Thereafter a blind and orphan Shyamu is looked after by another destitute person and his little niece Champa. Gradually Champa (Nimmi) develops a love in her heart for Shyamu. Shyamu who grows up with Champa only knows her feelings but his heart still beats for his lost love Mala only. Since Champa and her uncle are also quite poor, Shyamu supports them by earning some amount through his singing ability and thus enables them (and himself too) to make both ends meet.

The twist in this love story of erstwhile kids and now adults, comes when a reputed doctor hears Shyamu’s singing and feels sorry for his blindness. He is Dr. Kishore (Ashok Kumar) who being benevolent by nature and admiring Shyamu’s singing ability very much decides to help this poor person in getting his sight back. He takes Shyamu to his place and starts preparations for the operation of his eyes. Now befriended to him, Shyamu tells him about his lost childhood love also. Dr. Kishore also tells him about his love for a girl whom he wants to marry. Needless to say that that girl is Mala only, the lost love of Shyamu.

Dr. Kishore is able to bring the sight of Shyamu back and asks him to stay with him till his marriage with Mala. However Shyamu has already recognized Mala who is in constant touch with Dr. Kishore and due to him, now with Shyamu also. Though Mala has not recognized him as her lost childhood buddy but Shyamu is extremely excited that after getting his eyes, he will get his lost love also. He does not know that Mala only is the fiancee of Dr. Kishore. On the other hand, Dr. Kishore also does not know that his fiancee only is the lost love of Shyamu. After Shyamu’s eyesight is back, the reality dawns on both these men like a lightning. A storm arrives in their lives paving the path for the final twist in the story which is not only tragic but something like a ‘believe it or not’ kind of also.I am not revealing the final twist (the climax) in the story here because it’s for the readers to find it themselves by watching this movie which is soaked in love and emotion. It’s unbelievably shocking and forces a sensitive person to ponder as to what can be the depth of love. Perhaps the depth of true love is unfathomable. And it’s very difficult to understand the thought-train and consequential actions of a true lover.In its later half, the movie presents the dilemma of a true lover who is burdened by the obligation of a person who is his rival for the lady’s love. Well, when the feelings of gratitude and love clash with each other, which one should overpower ? Personally I feel that a true lover can never be selfish and gratitude is a great virtue, a sublime trait getting rare and rare with the changing times. However the readers are free to frame their own opinion in this regard.In my review of Barfi (2012), I have highlighted this fact that you may not be able to reciprocate someone’s love for you because you may already be loving someone else. However if you can and in fact, you should acknowledge that true love. If you don’t, you are selfish and insensitive and in my opinion, unworthy to be called a sincere lover. And here lies the same issue for the hero Shyamu who still cherishes the childhood love of Mala but he is not able to acknowledge the true love of Champa for him until his heart gets broken forever and he has to take a very harsh decision for his life. Till then the sincere love of that poor girl for him, a blind person, had no meaning for him. That’s unbecoming of a person who considers himself a true lover.

The movie is quite entertaining despite its profound tone and scarcity of relief moments. The milieu is simple but the story flows very well and the curiosity factor remains active till the ending sequence.

The movie contains three love triangles. One is the main track of Shyamu, Dr. Kishore and Mala. The second love triangle can be considered as that of Shyamu, Mala and Champa. But the narrator has presented a third love triangle also which is of Shyamu, Champa and Chaudhary (Yakub). Chaudhary remains associated with Shyamu in his earning activity and loves Champa who is an inseparable part of blind Shyamu’s life but his love for her has not been given much weightage in the story.

Director Nitin Bose has handled the story very well. Plus the admirable performances have eased the director’s job. Dilip Kumar, Ashok Kumar, Nargis, Nimmi and Yakub have done complete justice to their respective characters. Child artists Master Parikshit (playing young Shyamu) and Baby Tabassum (playing young Mala) have also done very well.The movie has a great music appeal. The team of Naushad, the composer and Shakeel Badayuni, the lyricist, has prepared gems like Bachpan Ke Din Bhula DenaMeri Kahaani Bhoolne WaaleChaman Mein Reh Ke Veerana Mera Dil Hota Jaata Hai, Naseeb Dar Pe Tere Aazmane Aaya Hoon etc. and Mohammad Rafi, Lata Mangeshkar and Shamshad Begum have sung them beautifully.

I recommend this black and white movie to those who like old-fashioned sentimental dramas and love triangles. If you are fond of watching golden oldies containing melodious songs, then this black and white movie is just for you.

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About Jitendra Mathur

A Chartered Accountant with literary passion and a fondness for fine arts
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2 Responses to The unfathomable depth of childhood love

  1. dpranita583 says:

    Very memorable post.

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