Monday, February 29, 2016

Anupama 1966

Why hasn't Anupama been in the list of women-powered movies? Even though Sharmila doesn't have much dialogue delivery I felt she conveys more than Dharmendra (very strong on his own too though). No long eyelash fluttering, no twisting of sari pallu and no coy smile. Very few Hindi movies make you understand the protagonist's feelings in the right way,instead of sympathy or anger. Anupama agrees with you in the right way.

Anupama, a story of an introvert girl mostly ignored by her father and finding herself in the world. Joined by a host of emminent actors such as Dharmendra,Shashikala, David Abraham, Deven Verma etc, the movie is a discovery of relationships and of self.

Watch it for some finespun performances by Sharmila,Dharmendra and Tarun Bose as her father.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Griha Pravesh

Extra marital affairs in movies are shown with dramatic effects. A weeping wife, hysterical family members,moral value discourse and the unmissable packing of suitcase despite the wife wearing gazillion sarees and jewellery.

In Griha Pravesh ,direcetd by Basu Bhattacharya, I was looking for similar things and was happily shocked. The husband Amar is played by Sanjeev Kumar and his better half as Mansi by Sharmila Tagore. He goes astray with Sapna (Sarika).

I saw the movie some days ago and yet it lingers in my mind like an amazing dessert. All three actors did a fantastic job. Sapna was not seductive with any questionable hemlines and sparkling lipstick. In fact she looked tomboyish with her striped vests and de-glam pants. Amar's role seems to be concentrated on two aspects - his own curiosity as to why Sapna thinks beyond her age and second is, just the basic physical need of sex. Yet there are no sleazy scenes and thankfully no perfume-lingered-shirts to start a 'Who,what,why' exhibition.The attraction was 'mature' if not morally right.

At the same time,Mansi is not dumb or a doormat. In a brief intimate scene(which is at the start of the movie,thus surprising me even more) she depicts a a confident woman who knows her desires.

Mansi is practical yet a dreamer. She wishes of her own home while they manage in a dilapidated,paint peeled,rented house.She has witty replies to their state yet is vulnerable. On knowing about her husband's affair she doesn't confirm to Bollywood tradition by crying or playing blame game. The calmness with which she handles it is why such movies get side-tracked as 'non commercial' cinema.

The best part or the climax of the movie is not when they three meet at,
surprise 1 - Mansi's home,
surprise 2 - at the request of Mansi,
surprise 3 - without any shrewd plan or revenge in mind.
I was smiling at the fact that before the meeting, Mansi gets her house painted ,decorated and set up. She also gets a makeover at the beauty parlour. I'm still trying to think of the symbolism here and what it conveys. I assumed a supreme turning point where Amar realises how pretty his wife and home can be and does a volte-face on the mistress. But nah! The story surprises even in the end.

A movie which pokes in you small ,delicious ways.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Aalkkoottathil Thaniye

Aalkkoottathil Thaniye is 1984 movie about lost love,betrayal, sacrifice and moral questioning.

Rajan (Mammotty) is a village man who loves his cousin Ammukutty (Seema) but his stubborn father  Madhavan (Balan Nair) forces him to marry Nalini (Unni Mary). Nalini is an ambitious woman who wants to study further and achieve an educated status. Rajan on the other hand believes in simple living. They have come to a indifferent attitude to their marriage and live separate lives under one roof.

Years later when Rajan's father is bed ridden,the only person who makes time to look after him is Ammukutty. Inspite of his children only she is available and does so selflessly and without past grudges. In the midst of the ill father,property disputes and jealousies are shown as the norm of a middle class Malayali family. The old love of the two people and happier times are shown in glimpses.

I felt this movie also had a unique feature in Mohanlal's portrayal as a friend of Rajan. Not a friend who bird-watches with him or plans revenge plots. A character who expresses his love for a friend and of life. A friend who later chides him on leaving Ammukutty and questions on his morality.

Overall the movie is a drama which shows the state of thinking in a family. As it is with most, the husband expects a wife to perform and live in a certain way. Whether she is a good wife or a good mother is without meaning, if she is too ambitious. That she should be sacrificing and selfless is a norm to be accepted by most women is the message of the movie. How acceptable is the story in today's changing world maybe debatable. Nevertheless, Aalkkoottathil Thaniye was one of the few movies of that time where a woman protagonist is essayed in a strong, independent way rather than a crying, hollering, helpless waif.