Iconic Hindi movie ‘Amar Prem’ turns 50

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Amar Prem’s Anand hated tears however he ensured that the viewers went house weeping buckets

Amar Prem’s Anand hated tears however he ensured that the viewers went house weeping buckets

‘Who could make flowers bloom in a backyard that’s destroyed by spring?’ This reflective line written by Anand Bakshi for a track in Shakti Samanta’s Amar Prem (1972) actually makes the track and the movie immortal. It has been 50 years since Anand Bakshi and R.D. Burman stoked a spark that continues to gentle 1,000,000 hearts. Younger ladies nonetheless anticipate the elusive Shyam as a dreamy evening uncoils. We nonetheless quote ‘Kuchh toh log kahenge’ each time we do one thing unconventional, and we hum ‘Ye kya hua’ when life springs its surprises on us.

Coming of age

Based mostly on a Bibhutibhushan Bandopadhyay story ‘Heeng Kochuri’ and tailored from Arabinda Mukherjee’s Bengali movie Nishi Padma (1970), the innocence that marks the Bangla model stays intact within the Hindi movie, as Shakti Samanta requested Arabinda to write down the screenplay for it.

We see a forbidden house from the eyes of a kid. For me, the abiding picture of the movie is when Nandu, seeking his soccer, crouches on his knees and peeks from beneath a curtain right into a room the place a courtesan is honing her dance strikes for the night. Later, he asks Pushpa, the golded-hearted courtesan, what sort of individuals come to satisfy her: “Are they your brothers?”

The bond between Pushpa and Nandu finds expression in ‘Bada natkhat hai re Krishna kanhaiyya’, composed in raag Khamaj, a track that made a mark solely after Pancham’s father S.D. Burman requested him to redo the tune to replicate the prostitute’s sorrow that she can’t be a mom. And Lata too sang it with intense emotionality.

Rajesh Khanna and Om Prakash in a scene from the Hindi film Amar Prem.

Rajesh Khanna and Om Prakash in a scene from the Hindi movie Amar Prem.
| Photograph Credit score: THE HINDU ARCHIVES

This chaste method to the prostitute’s character permeates the love story as properly, the pyara rishta (lovely relationship), as Anand describes the platonic bond between him and Pushpa. It displays in Sharmila Tagore’s eyes, which unleash a seductive storm in ‘Chingari Koi Bhadke,’ and in Rajesh Khanna’s gaze that’s all the time playful, typically rakish.

In ‘Chingari’, the lighting and the silhouette of Howrah Bridge within the background forged a fascinating spell; few individuals know that the track was shot inside Mumbai’s Natraj Studios like the remainder of the movie.

Anand is slotted right into a facet act, however Khanna is aware of methods to depart an enduring impression. A person who’s emotionally scarred however hates tears, he expresses the duality with charming precision in a job that was performed by Uttam Kumar within the Bangla model.

Khanna’s light nod and magical blink had been sufficient to arouse the lots. He used his type memorably in scenes just like the one the place he exhibits Madan Puri, the pimp who bought Pushpa into the flesh commerce, out of her room. After Dilip Kumar’s flip in Devdas, that is one other memorable function of a gentleman alcoholic.

Problematic as cinema

Nevertheless, the cinematic layering across the Nandu-Pushpa story stays problematic. The way in which Pushpa is within the movie because the epitome of womanhood irks, however that was how Hindi cinema handled the so-called ‘fallen ladies’ in that period.

We’ve seen variants of Pushpa in Pyaasa, Devdas, and, after all, Pakeezah, which had been launched in the identical 12 months. B.R. Ishara’s very totally different Chetna (1970) was only a minor blip within the mainstream universe that wished its heroine to be the legendary Sita, sacrificing herself and her happiness to satisfy social norms.

In Amar Prem, there’s a line within the track ‘Kuchh toh log kahenge’ that goes “Sita bhi yahan badnam hui (even Sita was disgraced by this world)”. Later within the story, an artist is proven amassing soil from exterior the brothel to create an idol of Durga, a long-time custom in Bengal. In one other scene, Pushpa and ladies like her are in comparison with the Ganga, which cleanses all rubbish that flows into it.

Rose-tinted glasses

Apparently, highly effective real-life characters like Gangubai, on whom Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s new movie is predicated, had been difficult the established order even then, however cinema opted as a substitute to romanticise intercourse work.

A scene from Kati Patang.

A scene from Kati Patang.
| Photograph Credit score: The Hindu Archives

This perspective comes by in every of the movies in Samanta’s trilogy of Aradhana, Kati Patang, and Amar Prem. Though Pushpa walks out of an abusive marriage, when her offensive husband dies, she breaks her bangles to indicate grief and widowhood. Although Anand is in a dysfunctional marriage, Pushpa doesn’t consider an enduring relationship with him as a result of she is totally conscious that she is a social outcast. Curiously, Anand accepts this logic and strikes out. When he returns on the finish, it’s at hand her over to her foster son.

A Pushpa who tries to kill herself at first as a result of she sees no different possibility is seen taking up a dishwasher’s job in the direction of the top. The screenwriter saddles the protagonist with each doable tragedy in order that he can squeeze dry the viewers’s tear ducts. Anand might need hated tears however he doesn’t appear to have minded making the viewers cry!

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