“Babu moshai!!!zindagi aur maut to uparwale ke hath mein hai jahapanah!!ise na to aap badal sakte hain na main…Hum sab to rangmanch ki kathputliyan hain…jinki dor uparwale ki ungliyon mein bandhi hain…kab, kaun, kaisa uthega…yeh koi nahin bata sakta…ha ha ha ha ha”
These are the immortal words which captured the essence of life in such an opulent way. Released in 1970, THE Movie ushered in an era of the ‘glorious 70s’ in Bollywood which saw many a talented directors (Hrishikesh Mukherjee, Gulzar Saab, Raaj Kapoor Saab, Vijay Anand to name a few!!) catering out delicacy after delicacy for the audiences. Bollywood has never had a better period.
Amitabh, a doctor who faces turbulent questions within himself when he is faced with the dark realities of life, plays a subdued ‘Dr. Bhaskar Banerjee’ in the movie and for once, plays the character and not the star. Hrishikesh Mukherjee has always been a master of making ‘Actors’ out of ‘Stars’. Fed up with the stark questions that his profession is throwing up at him, Amitabh has compromised with life, or rather surrendered to ‘death’. In one of his scenes Amitabh delivers the punch line for his character…
“Maut…tu ek kavita hai…mujhse ek kavita ka vaada hai…milegi mujhko!!
Doobti nabjon mein jab dard ko neend aane lage..jarrd sa chehra liye chand uffak tak pahunche..
Din abhi paani mein ho…raat kinare ke kareeb..na andhera ho na ujala ho..na abhi raat, na din…jism jab kathm ho…aur rooh ko jab saans aaye…
mujhse ek kavita ka vaada hai…milegi mujhko”
Anand, on the other hand plays a terminally ill patient (He has been diagnosed with lymphosarcoma of the intestine, a gift from Hrishi da to Bollywood and god knows how many times have we heard of this disease again and again…most recently in Munnabhai), who has nothing in the life to live for, no relatives, no family. Even his love has left him and gone on to marry someone else (as it is revealed later in the movie that he leaves Delhi for Bombay, the day his heartthrob gets married) yet he enjoys each moment of his life with jest, picks his relationships, searches for his Murarilaal and makes family out of utter strangers. As he says he has two hobbies in life…chattering and eating…He laughs, and perhaps sometimes even mocks at his own death, sometimes at the inability of the doctors to save him and sometimes maybe to God almighty on his ability of involving so many people with his death.
He never shirks responsibility even for people he has just met as if they were his blood relationships…
Everyone around him knows …knows that the laughing, jolly person they see is a living dead…slowly and slowly Anand is walking towards his death but as the movie draws to its climax…every single one (including the audience) hopes and prays for a miracle to happen.
Dr. Bhaskar, a staunch atheist is now a believer and a hardened physio, he resorts even to homeopathy in the end; Isa bhai (Jhonny walker) prays to his Allah; Mother Matren (Lalita Pawar) kneels before Jesus; and Suman (Seema Deo) hopes for a miracle from Sai Baba…but as Anand had once said no one can stop him when his turn comes…he leaves. He leaves graciously!
Performance wise, Rajesh Khanna has delivered a powerhouse performance and has done full justice to the character…Amitabh though subdued and controlled…shows signs of the rebel in him…and the angry young man image in him which shall lead him to the peaks of Bollywood in days to come…add to that a string of brilliant guest appearances (Johnny Lever, Dara Singh, Durga Khote, Lalita Pawar) and you have got a dynamite of a movie.
Music by ‘Salil Choudhury’ and the beautiful lyrics by ‘Gulzar Saab’ are a different review in themselves which i don’t and admittedly won’t be able to review and do full justice to.
If you wish to feel the power of Bollywood…watch Anand 10 times on a trot…and I can bet my last piece of penny that…your eyes will betray you the whole ten times…however ‘manly’ you may be.
The movie has ‘Silence’ as a major protagonist and its use within the dialogues is superb…finally when the magnum opus draws to a close…Dr. Bhaskar says.
“Anand mara nahi…
Anand marte Nahi…”
And all one is left with is…Silence!!