Friday, August 22, 2008

Anuradha - The movie.

Today I saw Anuradha directed  by Hrishikesh Mukerjee .It stars Leela Naidu, (who, as per the late directer Satyajit Ray  was a classic beauty)  Balraj Sahni &   Abhi Bhattacharya.The film was way ahead of  its times.I had seen this movie earlier & today it was nostalgia once more.

A doctor,Balraj Sahni  falls in love with a girl, who is  his patient, as she had  fall & is injured.She is an upcoming singer.She is the beautiful Leela Naidu.She marries him despite opposition from her  rich parents who feel that Abhi Bhattacharya, is the suited to their stature in life.

Post marriage,Leela follows her husband  to work in a village, where he treats patients. Leela toils hard.She is doing housework & attends to their small daughter.Singing which was her life, has been long forgotten. Her husband  has no time for her .He is too involved, in treating his patients.

One day ,Abhi & friends comes visiting & insists that she sing for his group of friends.She agrees & sings ! One of the best  songs in the movie..."Kaise din beete ,kaise beeti ratiya,piya jaane naa......( how does the day get wasted,how the night gets wasted, lover does not realise.....)" . When she is singing ,Abhi & friends are in rapt attention, taking in the soulful voice, while the hubby, that is the Doctor is immersed in reading a medical journal.

The wife stays with the husband & does not leave for the city where she could set the music world on fire ! Why ? Because she loves her husband more than she loves music.Maybe reel life imitated by real life...too many examples...Nargis-Sunil Dutt,Amitabh -Jaya, Mazhar Khan-Zeenat,....

There is  a feminist message ...that the husband must have some regard for the talent of the wife.Yet the message is too subtle ...will the wife continue to be a home maker though she can be someone else ? Will the husband do something so that the talented wife does not fade into oblivion ?Many of us who have to give up our jobs for any reasons whatsoever will surely identify with the character portrayed by Leela Naidu.

All were stellar actors...Balraj Sahni,Abhi Bhattacharya & David.This was Ms India...Leela Naidu's debut movie ! She looks stunning, though it is a black  & white movie.The suave Balraj Sahni, was a member of Indian People's Theatre Association & an excellent actor.It was Hrishikesh Mukherjee's creditable direction which never makes the audience feel that this  was the first  movie for Leela Naidu.

One of the first songs in the movie "Bahut din huye ...."was a story I had read in my Hindi class decades ago .It is about a princess-Phulkumari, who never laughs & then all try to make her laugh.Finally ,a funny man   makes her laugh.He is a prince & he wins her hand.So, this movie brought back school memories !

Music by Pandit Ravi Shankar is simply superb ! The songs do full justice to the fact, that the heroine of the film is a singer par excellence, who gets  lost in  the life of a house holder.Lata Mangeshkar's voice is so young & fresh ! The lyrics speak of joy,agony & the sadness of the singer who gets eclipsed completely  by the homemaker !

If this movie  was to be made today ,I am sure it would have a very different ending .

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