Bollywood has presented several memorable Christian characters in different movies. Who can forget Mrs. D’sa of Anari (1959) ? However full-fledged movies on the life of the Christians in India have been very few. Today while wishing all of my friends a merry Christmas, I am reviewing a memorable Hindi movie based on the story of a Christian girl and titled after her name only. It’s Julie (1975) which is now considered a classic.
The story belongs to a very noble and simple Christian girl in the title role who is, in fact, an Anglo-Indian, living with her alcoholic father and a stern and stubborn mother. She also has a younger sister and brother. She falls in love with the brother of her best friend, Shashi who is a Hindu (Bengali Brahmin). Once given her heart to him, she gets physically intimate with him and becomes pregnant. However her lover is proved to be a coward and instead of standing by her, he flees from the town. Julie’s mother does not want her to marry a non-Christian and is willing to marry her to a known Christian boy, Richard (who loves Julie). Lonely and suffocating within her, Julie suffers everything alone but when her mother decides to send her newly born baby to an orphanage and gets ready to leave India forever, the agony becomes just too much for her. Still she is not offensive or complaining to anyone except her fate. However, Shashi’s father who is a mature person, comes to know of the facts and sets everything right for her.The story is much more touching and appealing on the screen as compared with the plot described supra. The director, K.S. Sethumadhavan and the screenplay writer, Chakrapani have ably presented the story of the Malayalam novel penned by Pamman which has been adapted for the movie. The innocence and noble-heartedness of Julie is the biggest strength of this movie. Julie has loved Shashi from the core of her heart and despite himself ditching her, she has no issues against either himself or anyone else. She is such a golden-hearted girl who is ready to suffer herself to any extent but not ready to hurt anybody else. She forgives anybody and everybody. The romantic encounters of Julie and Shashi, the character of Julie’s best friend and Shashi’s sister Usha and finally the performance of Shashi’s father in the climax, everything is impressive and heart-warming. The audience effortlessly start sympathizing with Julie while flowing with the narrative and that’s the achievement of the moviemaker.The title role has been played by Kannada actress Lakshmi who had played the same role in the Malayalam movie – Chattakkari (1974) made on this novel prior to doing the Hindi version. She has delivered a towering performance less through her dialogues, more through her eyes and body-language. Her innocent beauty has added to the strength of her performance. Dashing hero, Vikram as the coward and weak-hearted lover of Julie is also admirable. However even better performances have been delivered by Utpal Dutt as Shashi’s father, Rita Bhaduri as Usha and above all, Nadira as Julie’s domineering mother. Jalal Agha as Richard, Sridevi (being child artist) as Julie’s sister and Om Prakash as her alcoholic father have also done well.
Julie is a rare movie made on the life of the Anglo-Indians and the portrayal is quite lively and realistic. The storyteller has not allowed any type of lethargy to creep in the emotional story and maintained the momentum in the drama running on the screen. Technically and production value wise also, it is up to the mark. The only thing I did not like is the subtle bias against the community being shown vis-a-vis the Hindus (however it can’t be picked up at a glance).
Rajesh Roshan has composed memorable music for the lyrics of Anand Bakshi. My favourite song from this movie is – Ye Raatein Nayi Purani (Lata). Other songs – Bhool Gaya Sab Kuchh (Kishore-Lata), Dil Kya Kare Jab Kisi Se Kisi Ko Pyar Ho Jaaye (Kishore) and the English song – My Heart Is Beating (Preeti Sagar) are also memorable and people still listen to them in a nostalgic way.Julie definitely deserves to be considered a classic movie on the life of the Anglo-Indians. An utterly human story which cannot be forgotten easily. Very touching indeed which haunts long after it is over. If you like emotional and romantic musicals, then don’t miss to meet Julie.
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I have an anecdote related to this film. I was perhaps about 2 years old when my grandmother came visiting us, and Julie‘s songs were hugely popular at the time. My grandmother (who was a very devout Christian lady) was singing hymns to me, when I interrupted her with a request: “Dadi, Julie picture ka gaana gaao!” My dadi was horrified and took my mother to task for allowing me to listen to film songs (she disapproved very strongly of cinema). I don’t know what her reaction would have been had she known what Julie was all about!
Hearty thanks Madhulika Ji for the esteemed visit and sharing of your childhood memory.
The review of Julie brought back fond memories- A movie that clicked in the original Malayalam and Hindi. However, when the same was remade recently once gain in Malayalam by Director Sethumadhavan’s son it bombed. Perhaps, it had less relevance today. The youngsters of today are not knave to get pregnant, with so many choices for birth prevention.
I appreciate yours views Rajeev Ji. Hearty thanks.
I watched this movie, when I was in middle school. Most of my relatives/ family friends criticised this act of my parents. But my parents view was different. They explained, that this movie is a great message for girls. Girls should know the after effects of their steps in life. At the same time they should learn- what’s wrong and right.
It was a wonderful movie and I loved its songs.
Hearty thanks Rekha Ji. You must have watched it on Doordarshan in that period (just like me).
I watched in the movie hall.
Oh ! Lucky you are !