Monday, March 3, 2008
ANAND - 1970
Cast: Rajesh Khanna, Amitabh Bachchan, Johny Walker,Ramesh Deo, Seema, Sumitra.
Music Director: Salil Chowdhury
Director: Hrishikesh Mukherjee
Producer: Sippy N C
REVIEW - I
It is very rare for guys to shed tears after watching a movie, this movie does make you shed tears for Anand, the main protagonist played by the superstar of the 70's Rajesh Khanna.
The movie has everything going for it. Acting, direction, story, music, dialogues etc... everything is fabulous. It has drama, humor, emotions in dollops. It is a story a dying man who looks at life with a positive attitude and enjoys his time knowing fully well his disease is incurable and that he is going to die soon.
Rajesh Khanna as Anand is absolutely brilliant, this is his career-best performance , notwithstanding movies like Kati Patang, Roti, Aradhana, Amar Prem etc. You cannot think of any other actor in this role and to think Rajesh Khanna was not the original choice(Shashi Kapoor was). He makes you laugh and cry. He causes anxiety and goose bumps. Simply superb.
Amitabh Bachchan is fantastic as babumoshai( a name with which Raj Kapoor used to address the film's director Hrishikesh Mukherjee). He showed the world that the next superstar was coming, though he really "arrived" a couple of years later. The rest of the supporting cast is also brilliant be it Johhny Walker(stands out) or Ramesh Deo or Seema or Sumitra. Everyone is wonderful.
Music is the hallmark of all great hindi movies and this one has music ranking right up there, on the top. Be it "Kahin door jab din dhal jaye" or " Maine tere liye hi saath rang" or "Zindagi kaisi hai paheli".
Maverick composer Salil Chowdury comes up with an absolutely fantastic score and singers Mukhesh and Manna Dey do complete justice to his tunes.
About the director Hrishikesh Mukherjee, what can one say, he is one of the best directors ever in the Indian film history. A guy with a complete repertoire,a complete entertainer (though people consider other directors to be more entertaining, but real movie buffs will agree with me). All his movies, he has been directing movies since 1957 are worth a watch. Some are brilliant and others watchable. None of his movies can be rated as unwatchable(except maybe Jooth bole Kauwa kaate and Jhooti).
Simply put, this is one of the best Hindi movies ever made.
REVIEW - II:
Rajesh Khanna, Amitabh Bachchan, Sumita Sanyal, Ramesh Deo, Seema Deo, Lalita Pawar, Durga Khote and Johnny Walker
Gulzar, Bimal Dutt, DN Mukherjee, Hrishikesh Mukherjee
NC Sippy, Hrishikesh Mukherjee
Dr. Bhaskar Bannerjee(Amitabh Bachchan) wins the Saraswati Award for his maiden work as a novelist. Whilst accepting the award, Bhaskar reveals that the character in his novel is not fictitious but is actually based in a real person named Anand. Anand (Rajesh Khanna), who was suffering from the final stages of cancer, first came to Dr. Prakash Kulkarni (Ramesh Deo), a close friend of Bhaskar. Prakash tells Bhaskar about his reluctance to take Anand as his patient, but after meeting Anand, he was astonished that a dying man could have such a wonderful zest for life and happiness. Bhaskar despite his education and success, is a brooding, bitter and frustrated man. Anand's exuberence brings Bhaskar out of his shell and even helps a tongue tied Bhaskar win over his lady love, Renu (Sumita Sanyal). The two men becomes fast friends and Anand, an interal part of Bhaskar's life. Bhaskar tries hard to cure Anand but all his efforts are finally in vain; ultimately Anand dies, but not before leaving behind a universal message of love and happiness.
Up to Anand, though Hrishikesh Mukherjee had arrived following Anari (1959) and Anuradha (1960) and was making films round the clock, barring a stray Asli Naqli (1962), Anupama (1966), Ashirwaad (1968) and Satyakam (1969) which had their strong moments, many of his films were largely adequate and no more. Anand, however, changed all that. Dedicated to Raj Kapoor and the city of Mumbai (then Bombay), it is undoubtedly Hrishida's masterpiece, his greatest film.
Looking at a man dying of cancer but who is determined to make every moment of his remaining life happy, Anand is a bittersweet film with great compassion, a delicate balance between hope and fear, between life and death, between joy and sorrow, between humour and pathos. The moral of the story is emphasized via the recording of the hero's voice, replayed after his death as he enjoins the audience to value a large-hearted life over a merely long one.
It is said that Anand was planned with Raj Kapoor in mind. But Hrishida, a very close friend of Raj Kapoor, felt it would be too painful to see his dear friend die even if it was on screen and toyed with the idea of casting Shashi Kapoor before deciding to take on Rajesh Khanna.
Today as one views Anand, the film is unthinkable without Rajesh Khanna. Take him away and there is no film. As the selfless, boisterous, humerous non-stop chatterbox changing the lives of those around him in particular Amitabh Bachchan, or having his quiet, serious introspective moments - Khanna is nothing shot of brilliant. Anand's address of Bhaskar as 'Babumoshai' was replete with affection, warmth and had a teasing note to it. The same playfully affectionate address takes on profoundly tragic overtones when Anand's recorded message tries to comfort Bhaskar as he weeps over the death of his patient who had also become his closest friend. In Anand, Rajesh Khanna more than justified Frank Capra's immortal observation,
"Tragedy is not when actors cry. Tragedy is when audiences cry."
Indeed at the end of Anand as Amitabh sits by Khanna's dead body and as the tape recorder plays Khanna's voice, you cannot help but cry along with Amitabh. Such was the impact of Khanna's performance that apart from winning the Filmfare Award for Best Actor for the film, when Star and Style held an Essay Competition in the 1980s on 'the film where a single performace carried the film through', the top two prize winning entries wrote about Khanna in Anand ahead of even Nargis in Mother India (1957)!
Khanna aside, Anand also sees a brilliant understated performance by Amitabh Bachchan acting in only his second film. He beautifully captures the pain and frustration of a doctor who knows his science can do nothing to save a man who has become an inseperable part of his life. Bachchan won the Filmfare Best Supporting Actor for the film. Sumita Sanyal, Lalita Pawar, Ramesh and Seema Deo, Durga Khote and especially Johnny Walker lend solid support.
A major highlight of the film is Salil Choudhury's music. Each of the songs - Maine Tere Liye, Kahin Door Jab Din Dhal Jaaye, Zindagi Kaisi Hai Paheli and Jiya Lage Na are extremely well written and composed. Interestingly the three Rajesh Khanna songs are sung by Mukesh (Maine Tere Liye, Kahin Door Jab Din Dhal Jaaye) and Manna Dey (Zindagi Kaisi Hai Paheli) and not Khanna's regular voice - Kishore Kumar. But both Mukesh and Manna Dey come through strongly and make the songs their own.
Apart from the Best Actor and Supporting Actor Filmfare Awards, Anand also won the Best Picture and Best Story (Hrishida) Filmfare Awards as well as a National Award for Best Hindi Film.
Anand led to other films using the formula of endowing the central character with a terminal disease