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Anand August 10, 2007

Posted by Sai in Hindi, Movies, Reviews.
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This 1970 film was one of my favorites growing up (and it still is). The brilliant Hrishikesh Mukherjee (Abhimaan, Guddi, Chalte Chalte, Satyakam, Golmaal) creates a memorable film with an outstanding screenplay that he co-wrote with the help of writer Bimal Dutt (Anupama, Buddha Mil Gaya, Mili) and Gulzar (credited for the superbly written dialogue).

Dr Bhaskar (Amitabh Bachchan) is a taciturn, contemplative individual who takes his life and profession seriously. Into his life walks Anand (Rajesh Khanna), a terminally-ill patient who wants to spend the last days of his life away from his loved ones as he cannot bear to see them in pain. Despite knowing about his condition, Anand, true to his name, lives his life cheerfully and brings joy to those around him. He brings about a change in Bhaskar, making him realize that pain and suffering can coexist with happiness. The endearing spirit of Anand touches many in a short while and when the inevitable happens in the unforgettable climax, it is hard to control your emotions.

Rajesh Khanna was born for this role. I am not a big fan of his but in this film, he is undeniably charismatic. He breathes life into the character of Anand and makes him believable and charming. Without him, the film would surely have been a little less appealing. Amitabh Bachchan, before he became a superstar, gets a very good supporting role and he is first-rate as well. Ramesh Deo (Prakash/Dr. Kulkarni) and Seema Deo (Suman/Mrs. Kulkarni) are well cast and their performances are etched in my mind. Lalita Pawar (Matron D’Sa), Dara Singh (Papaji) and Johnny Walker (Issabhai Suratwala) get small parts and do well. Sumitra Sanyal (Renu) is passable.

The soundtrack scored by Salil Chowdhary has four splendidly tuned numbers that are beautifully written (Gulzar, Yogesh) and delightfully rendered (by Mukesh, Lata and Manna Dey) – all gems in my opinion. It would be hard to pick one favorite, but if it has to be done, the nostalgic Maine Tere Liye would be my choice, closely followed by the introspective Kahin Door Jab.

This film was apparently inspired by Mukherjee’s good friend, the inimitable showman, Raj Kapoor, to whom this film is dedicated. Arguably his best film, Mukherjee treats this movie humorously without losing focus on the emotions or the message, which are dealt with subtlety. One can hardly imagine that a story about a terminally-ill man in his last days can be so much fun and at the same time extremely positive and uplifting. In a world full of unsatisfied people bothered about petty issues, this was also among the experiences that helped me obtain a “larger perspective of life” (as my brother puts it).

Though the terminally-ill protagonist has been milked to death in numerous melodramatic ventures across most Indian languages, this poignant film couldn’t be matched. Even Mukherjee fell short when he repeated this theme with the Jaya Bhaduri-Amitabh Bachchan starrer Mili. Similarly, the formula of one person changing/touching the lives of those around him/her for the better has also been repeatedly explored to a larger extent over the years in various settings, including Mukherjee’s own Bawarchi and Khubsoorat.

If you haven’t seen this classic, watch it as soon as you can. If you have seen it already, it might be time to watch it again.

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Comments»

1. Vikas - August 10, 2007

Spot on..This is a true gem.. Each and every scene in the movie is so well etched and performed. Easily one of the best Hindi movies made till date and definitely in my top 5. Wish we had more people like Hrishi da…


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