Bhoothnath Returns: Well-intentioned but overlong, simplistic.

Bhoothnath ReturnsA conscientious ghost decides to contest elections opposite a criminal candidate and seeks mandate from the gullible public while emphasising on how a worthy candidate shouldn’t be judged by the nature of his existence but by his scruples and merit. A dead man versus a dead conscience — fascinating premise for satire or spoof, isn’t it?

Moreover, with election fever in full swing, Bhoothnath Returns, directed by Nitesh Tiwari, could not have asked for a better timing.  The problem with this well-intentioned social drama is that it starts out as a children’s film but decides to grow up mid-way and discard its predecessor’s endearing traits to take a sanctimonious stand in a regrettably tedious manner.

Bhoothnath, modelled around The Canterville Ghost, wasn’t particularly spectacular but genuine enough to work. Its main attraction then and now — Amitabh Bachchan reprises his role with humour, wisdom, charisma and a charming approachability he seems to exclusively radiate around his knee-length co-stars.

In reciprocation, young Parth Bhalerao’s scene-stealing Akhrot matches Big B’s seasoned heft in good measure.  Playing the precocious Dharavi-dwelling kid who begins every sentence with ‘apun’ and empathises with his single working mom’s (in Usha Jadhav’s understated grace) struggle is known to produce painfully maudlin moments on celluloid but Bhalerao’s judicious energy, instinctive smarts and melting smile steer clear of tired stereotypes.

A fun bond strikes between him and Bhoothnath immediately after the latter returns to earth to wipe out his ‘can’t scare kids’ reputation in Bhoothland, which looks straight out of a European fairy tale on the outside but a typical government headquarters with a couple of witty touches inside –- signboard requesting to maintain ‘dead’ silence.

With Akhrot’s assistance, Bhoothnath redeems some of his lost glory. In exchange, he helps the impoverished Akhrot to make some money by ethically emptying out spooked under-construction buildings. Implausible as it is, the next half an hour of Bhoothnath Returns concerns itself with just that.  What could be a fine opportunity to dispense a series of goofy gimmicks and appease the kids in the audience is surprisingly snubbed to accommodate excessive sentimentality.

All this criticism is put on hold after Boman Irani promisingly enters the scene to provide Bhoothnath Returns its crooked antagonist against whom our titular ghoul decides to stand in the upcoming elections. How Bhoothnath gets a ticket to contest his underdog campaign featuring Akhrot, a bunch of slum folks and his lawyer (portrayed with flawless comic timing by Sanjay Mishra) is far more enjoyable then what follows afterwards.

Adapting a socially relevant context and well-meaning theme is commendable but confusing, when coming from a brand associated with a children’s fantasy.

Even if I overlook genre conflicts, Bhoothnath Returns doesn’t really make a strong case of what it’s trying to convey – the importance of voting wisely (something a Satyamev Jayate episode does better with facts, figures and realism) by muddling profound idealism around incoherent, ambiguous ideas treated with embarrassing simplicity.

Like I mentioned earlier on, a dead mortal taking on a dead morality is a fascinating concept that could blossom beautifully under someone like Rajkumar Hirani’s story-telling aesthetics. But Tiwari’s script and filmmaking lacks the insight, sarcasm or resolution to make an incisive commentary on the business of politics.

Whatever connect the towering Bachchan makes with his viewer is rudely disrupted to accommodate mediocre songs or misplaced sentimentalism in a prolonged slide show of poignant portraits making Bhoothnath’s return quite a drag in the end.

Stars: 2.5

This review was first published on rediff.com.

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Team Andaz Apna Apna forever!

Andaz Apna ApnaCan I look at a plate of oranges and not think about Salman Khan’s proposal jinxed by an upset tummy? Can I resist this childish urge to play football whenever I see a bunch of glasses filled with what may or may not be sherbet-e-jannat inspired by Aamir Khan’s goal-making turn? Can I ever get bored of using Andaz Apna Apna’s quips and quotes in my vocabulary?

Once a film becomes a part of one’s being it ceases to be a film; it becomes a person, a friend and a source of lifelong comfort. Rajkumar Santoshi’s 1994 laugh-raiser is one of my all-time favourites and irreversibly entrenched in my unapologetically filmi system.

When I first watched Andaz Apna Apna, I was just another school going kid developing a taste for silver screen. When I watched it again a couple of days back, I was a wary viewer who scrutinizes films for a living. Cynically speaking, two decades can be a long time, long enough to fall out of love with a film. And yet, my fondness for this screwball comedy has only gotten more unquestioning with the passage of time.

Except it’s not some nostalgic sentiment that binds me (and the manically obsessive cult of us) to AAA, which, ironically, was a non-starter at the box-office and went on to gain unprecedented popularity on the video/cable television circuit. For all its over-the-top looniness, there is a ton to appreciate about its ingenuity, timing and spontaneity.

One of the most versatile filmmakers of the 1990s, Santoshi demonstrates the extent of his creative pliability, following back-to-back gritty fare like Ghayal and Damini, with a scatter-brained drollery starring two of the biggest teen heartthrobs of that time opposite can’t-see-eye-to-eye rivals Raveena Tandon and Karisma Kapoor. Perceived as a major casting coup even in the pre-100 Crore Club era, I distinctly remember reeling in anticipation on spotting a tiny black and white picture of its mahurat day attended by its entire unit along with chief guests Dharmendra and Sachin Tendulkar.

Sadly, the scarcely promoted multi-starrer hit the marquee much too discreetly and left without a trace. In theory, AAA was headed for doom and obscurity. But, the curse of cable & video (which was eating into a large share of theatre business) proved to be a blessing in disguise. The more one came in contact with the madcap inhabitants of Santoshi’s universe and its trippy background score by Viju Shah, the more one got addicted. After all, repeat value is the virtue of every classic.

There’s no real plot to speak of: two good-for-nothing losers, Amar (Aamir), a cocky twit and Prem (Salman), a whiny goofball aim to get rich quick by wooing Raveena (Raveena/Karisma), a wealthy heiress in search of a perfect groom even as Karisma (Karisma/Raveena), her secretary cum friend instantly falls for Prem.

While the boys are busy competing for Ms Moneybags through a series of laugh-out-loud misadventures, Raveena’s crooked uncle Teja (Paresh Rawal) hatches a scheme to kidnap her father and his lookalike twin Ram Gopal Bajaj with little help from his daft co-thugs Bhalla (Shehzad) and Robert (Viju Khote). Adding to the rib-tickling confusion is fake amnesia, bungled-up kidnapping, muddled identities and Shakti Kapoor’s Crime Master Gogo with a clear-cut agenda –Aaya hoon toh kuch toh lootkar lekar jaaonga. Khandaani chor hoon main.

Right from it’s first scene, which opens with a hilarious cameo featuring Juhi Chawla (and later Govinda) to its nearly half-hour long climax, Andaz Apna Apna moves at a breathless pace and, not once, takes itself seriously.

What’s amazing is how Santoshi, in a year when David Dhawan’s Raja Babu flourished, never resorts to below-the-belt humour to extract laughs. His idea of wit is clean, clever, parodies Bollywood stereotypes and classic imagery infusing it with countless movie references and in-jokes to devise a highly unique approach to filmmaking long before director Farah Khan embraced it as her career speciality. Santoshi’s combination of imagination (Crime Master Gogo is Mogambo’s nephew), tribute (Aamir-Raveena recreating OP Nayyarish/tonga retro magic in Elo Eloji) and cheek (making light of Juhi’s persistent link-up rumours with co-star Sunny Deol) lend AAA a body of reference future filmmakers would learn from in the long run.

Technically, AAA is far from spectacular and wears a tacky, substandard look. Call me a blind fangirl but I believe it only adds to the conviction of Amar (Bandar ke sar pe tarbooz) and Prem’s (Circus ka retired bandar) verbal banter. Dialogues, penned by Santoshi and Dilip Shukla, of course, are its most enduring aspect. It’s practically the most quoted film since Ramesh Sippy’s Sholay.

Have you ever tried posting one of its many hilarious lines on Twitter or Facebook? Within seconds, you’ll be inundated with some more memorable quotes. The Andaz Apna Apna phenomenon is infectious, indescribable and endless. Truth be told, I’ve made so many friends thanks to my unwavering enthusiasm for this film.

Back in 2003 when YouTube didn’t exist and I had to rely purely on my memory to write a column on why I love AAA, that’s when I realised the extent of its impact on my being. I didn’t paraphrase the dialogues word to word but an overwhelming number of readers understood and connected to me with their amusing recollection of Vasco Da Gama’s gun and Gogoji’s ghagra.

All these words and props would be half as effective if the actors wouldn’t be in sync with the tone of Santoshi’s joke. AAA depends on its cast to feel comfortably foolish. And Aamir’s inflated smugness, Karisma’s dim-witted zeal, Rawal’s chameleon brilliance, Kapoor’s waggish vehemence, Raveena’s energetic huffing-puffing and an unaffected, sportingly wimpy Salman at his career best conveys it in heaps.

Andaz Apna ApnaIt’s not the sort of cinema that aspires to change life but in the last 20 years, Amar-Prem’s incessant stockpile of tomfoolery has *never* failed to lift my spirits or transform a dull hour into a dazzling one.

I don’t even need to watch the entire film, just the sight of Aamir woefully wolfing down a plateful of kalimirch ke ladoo or Salman and Shakti Kapoor’s weapon-free/punch-free climatic fight or the sound of Paresh Rawal’s ardent claim, “Teja main hoon. Mark idhar hai!” is enough to prompt delighted cries of ‘Haila’ and ‘Ooimaa.’

This Guest Column was first published in Absolute India in March 2014.

You may also want to read:
Like to see a sequel to Sholay, Andaz Apna Apna?

 

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Bollywood retro at its hilarious best!

Everyone celebrates the finest films, the soaring highs and the best works of an artist of cinema. But there’s something inexplicably attractive about its trippy exaggerations and unabashed absurdities that may appear terrible at the time of release but amusing in hindsight.

Likewise, some of our most beloved imagery doesn’t always last the test of time and changing aesthetics making it harder for us to see what made us appreciate such cheesiness in the first place.

Irrespective of which side the coin falls, the upshot of retro is, by and large, funny.

One of my favourite things is to mine for such outlandish Bollywood history. It’s an endless treasure out there.  Meanwhile, here are my ten handpicked retro gems just for you.

amrish puri iraadaAmrish Skywalker!
Wonder what George Lucas would have to say about one of Bollywood’s greatest villains channelling Star Wars antagonist Darth Vader with that light saber in hand from a little known film named Iraada?

Can you imagine the Amrish Puri saying something to the effect “Main tumhara baap hoon, Lakhan” in that monumental baritone? Bet that’s a sick twist even Subhash Ghai didn’t see coming.

raaj kumar dil-ka-rajaJaani bana Jeetu and, er, John Abraham!
Known to let his words speak louder than his action, Raaj Kumar contradicts his legendary reputation by flaunting his, um, physique (?) at every given chance in Dil Ka Raja, where he plays a double role.

Following his sun ‘n’ sand rendezvous with Leela Chandavarkar (24 years his junior) that could put Karan Johar’s Dostana to shame (interestingly Dil Ka Raja was released in the same year KJo was born –1972), the duo breaks into a Jeetendra-inspired jig to tickle the audience.  Traumatise is more like it.

Maut Ki Express, Madam X
If you thought Shah Rukh Khan took tooooooooo long to die in Shakti: The Power, you HAVE to see the you-might-get-a-heart-attack-laughing hilarious Rekha vehicle, Madam X.  Rekha 1 fires more than twenty bullets in Rekha 2’s gut but the latter doesn’t kick the bucket until she’s recited her character’s catchphrase, “Hum hain maut ki woh Express. Duniya jisse kehti hai Madam X.

It takes special skill to conceal all that amazing talent and ham like a possessed woman in a film where she dresses up like a Russian Czarina meets Diwali kandeel.

rekha-madam-xSpare a thought for the detailing, please. Good Rekha sports a peacock motif on her costume while evil Rekha dons a furious Dragon.

Ab Tak Bees!
asha-parekh-sajan
I’ve taken every single appearance of Asha Parekh in the 1969 romance, Sajan co-starring Manoj Kumar to study the journey of a typical heroine in our movies.

Single, confused, coy, irritated, two solo dances, demure, sentimental, seductive, girl-next-door, melodramatic, guilty, sacrificing, married—the end.

And if that wasn’t laborious enough just look at the effort the pretty yesteryear star put in her twenty different hairdos.

gaai aur goriMoo!
When someone said, “a picture is worth a thousand words,” they probably were reacting to the poster of Gaai Aur Gori.

Gaze, grasp and guffaw.

How to die like a sex symbol!
100 Days is quite a fun watch even after learning the suspense. Here’s why.

So Jackie Shroff points the revolver at Moon Moon Sen’s face in a bid to threaten her even as she keeps wailing something about him being a traitor of the nation in a typically Moon Moon tone. Though he’s directed the gun at her head, the bullet goes off and lands in her tummy. (Yes, yes, he didn’t shoot her, the blue-eyed baddie at the back did.)

What’s seriously comical is:

A) Moon Moon Sen’s worst reaction ever after being shot. She simply throws her hands at the back and lets out an orgasmic aaaaaaah.

100-daysB) And any logically hurt human being’s impulsive reaction will be to grab the wounded spot instead of stretching like a just woken up Yash Chopra heroine in her introduction scene.

Patti-waale shayar!

There’s a reason why we address our actors as “hero.”

anil kapoor tezaabDude jumped off the terrace of a multistoried building to prove his love to Madhuri Dixit in Tezaab.  And before the lady could sing Ek, Do, Teen, Anil Kapoor’s already posing like Kate Winslet in Titanic wearing his bandage like an ‘Heart of the Ocean’ necklace.

How jhakaaas is that?

Bushy Charisma!
And the Anil Kapoor award for Eyebrows of 1991 goes to Karisma Kapoor in Prem Qaidi.

jaya pradha singhasanToday, of course, the actress is a picture of sleek sophistication but there was a time her profuse brows took up more screen space than co-star Harish.

Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown!
Put on those dark shades unless you want to be blinded by bling.

If Bappi Lahiri ever started a jewellery line, Jaya Pradha in Singhasan would make an excellent brand ambassador, what say you? (Interestingly, he composed the songs of this 1986 Padamalaya production.)

3 Idiots

jangal-main-mangalBack in 1972, a 50-something Pran teamed up with newbies Kiran Kumar and Narendra Nath to play a college student in the youth caper, Jangal Mein Mangal.

Aamir Khan’s 40 something engineering genius in 3 Idiots doesn’t seem all that improbable now, does it?

While Pran had already acquired the reputation of the classic villain, Kiran Kumar and Narendra Nath would go on to make a career playing spiteful characters on the big screen.

This article was first published on rediff.com

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Ankhon Dekhi: Haunting brilliance!

A still from Ankhon DekhiVery few films concern themselves with questions. Most of them are too eager to provide inspiration or make statements. But in Rajat Kapoor’s Ankhon Dekhi, curiosity is what drives its premise and suspension of disbelief is entirely abandoned.

Far removed from the business of make-believe and rose-tinted imagery, Kapoor’s film is a fascinating and fleshed-out experiment conducted through an episodic account of Bauji’s (Sanjay Mishra) whimsical, inquiring idiosyncrasies founded on ‘seeing is believing.’

Even though it’s set in an authentic neighbourhood of Old Delhi — one we never see in the movies, one I’ve never ventured into even after all these years of passing through the fringes – Ankhon Dekhi brought back memories of R K Narayan’s Malgudi. The quirk, the simplicity, the realism, the humaneness bore likeness to the beloved fictional town of literary realm.

Backdrop (production design by Meenal Agarwal) here works in significant capacity; it’s not just a means to visually communicate the milieu Ankhon Dekhi is centred around, but its crammed interiors, neglected walls, lived-in spaces, comfortable corners stroke the scenes with personality, texture and, most importantly, life.

What I connected to most is, how Bauji’s journey of inner realisations, isn’t defined by a singular goal. In fact, it’s never clear at all. Like the time he reminds his unsought huddle of followers in an exasperated tone how he’s still figuring out the course of his individual path to guide them any better.

Wild impulses not wisdom influence his actions. People like Bauji, especially when spotted with philosophy-spewing placards on the street, are easy to ridicule, grab attention or Instagram about. Kapoor treats them with value and provides a comprehensive context through his sprawling household filled up by a boisterous wife (Seema Pahwa), kids, younger brother (Rajat Kapoor) and his family.

It’s not some grand epiphany that changes the course of his mundane existence but an ordinary incident where he discovers his prejudice was unwarranted and the reality of his presumption is rather agreeable.

Weighed down by domestic responsibilities, the sensitive, soft-spoken Bauji is yet to hit the stage where he’s ready to relax or explore the circle of life. Yet in that one reckless moment he decides to relate truth on the basis of experience come what may. What follows from such obstinacy is alternately anti-establishment, silly, sad, triumphant, witty and disconcerting.

For all its existentialism crisis, Ankhon Dekhi’s heart lies in Kapoor’s affectionate depiction of humdrum living, the tender father-daughter relationship between Bauji and Rita (Maya Sarao), the unspoken attachment between him and his estranged brother and the concerned anxiety of his rock solid wife.

There are times when the narrative fumbles to accommodate another eccentric interruption or skip a few chapters unexplained to hastily progress. But Kapoor’s absorbing creation about an affable nonconformist and the repercussions of his behaviour on his family/fans conceal these faults.  This is aided by a spontaneous show of uncomplicated humour and Sagar Desai’s mellifluous score penned in Varun Grover’s vivid ink.

A still from Ankhon DekhiEvery single protagonist — Pahwa, Kapoor, Sarao, Brijendra Kala, Panditji’s son, Maths teacher, owner of a gambling den among a horde of others — leaves a lasting impression in Bauji’s surreal slice of life even if Ankhon Dekhi is never really about them. And yet, by the end of it, I believe I know these characters close enough to reckon where they come from, what could be their story.

Needless to say, Ankhon Dekhi’s real star is the man radiating perceptive restraint behind those big, searching, envisaging eyes. Sanjay Mishra portrays a well-meaning fool like a visionary, a scientist, an enigma. Maybe he’s just an escapist, a mad man, a deception but I’ll go with what my eyes saw — brilliance. Haunting brilliance.

Discerning viewer, witness it you must.

Stars: 4

This review was first published on rediff.com 

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Meera: Gulzar’s Divine Romance

A still from Meera.Main aatma hoon shareer nahi.  Main bhavna hoon, kissi samaaj ka vichaar nahi. Main premi hoon, premika hoon, keval prem naam ki jogan. Kissi sambandh ki kadi nahi, kisi parivar ki khunti se bandhi sankal nahi. ”

It’s the 16th century yet Gulzar’s Meera refuses to bow down to the constraints of social expectations and gender-based designations. When she’s derided for failing to bear a child and fulfilling her wifely duties in the name of dharma, an unyielding Meera utters the aforementioned lines asserting how her individuality isn’t a slave to norms and pre-set ideas of dictated commitment and devotion.

Meera is in love, hopelessly, irrevocably but the recipient of her ardour is no mere mortal – Mere toh girdhar gopal doosro na koi.  As a gullible little girl, she believed her mom when she said playfully pointed out at Lord Krishna’s idol as her dulha.

When I first watched Meera on Doordarshan, I could relate to her fixation. I harboured it too. Krishna is one of the most tangible, most vivacious of all Hindu deities. And his adventures in Amar Chitra Katha comics fed my temporary infatuation resulting in a liking for freshly churned butter, swings, peacocks and his beloved bansuri (flute). I read about his most dedicated devotee too and liked her enough to buy a Meerabai doll from Red Fort’s Meena Bazaar.

Over the years and multiple viewings of Gulzar’s relatively unsung 1979 creation, essayed by a sublime Hema Malini, I have come to regard it as one of my favourites from Hindi cinema’s most intuitive writer and filmmaker. His understanding of the divine saint/poet is so deep-seated it’s as though they’ve met before, perhaps in a secret waiting room created by a time warp.

A still from Meera.Even though it’s a period setting, the treatment is visibly modern. Gulzar’s depiction of a typical afternoon in the life of the royal Rathod family (Sreeram Lagoo, Dina Pathak) and children (Vidya Sinha, Hema Malini, Dinesh Thakur) is not too different from the warm, candid camaraderie of Khubsoorat’s living room, also written by him.

Is it accurate? Unlikely but it sure challenges the rigid reproduction of history. All through Meera, Gulzar opts for an episodic narrative, which breaks her story from her life as a Princess in Medta to her days in Chittor after marrying Rana Bhojraj (Vinod Khanna) for reasons of politics and honour.

Unable to accept a union she did not seek, Meera reserves her allegiance for her beloved Krishna.  At first amused, Bhojraj is increasingly envious of his divine competition. There’s a delicate moment between the two when Bhojraj asks, “Krishna se kya rishta hai tumhara?” “Jo swami ke saath hona chahiye,” she replies. “Aur hamse?” he probes further. “Aap toh mere Rana hain.” It’s a window to their arrangement, where there’s space for care and consideration but no chance of consummation.

Vinod Khanna, who was in a rush to renounce Bollywood and find peace in spiritual guru Osho’s teachings, teased Gulzar how he could relate with Meera’s character more than his own. But the actor is exceptional in conveying the predicament of a husband (originally offered to Amitabh Bachchan) who is a complex mix of umbrage and sympathy.

A still from Meera.Films about spiritual objective tend to be slow and sombre but Gulzar’s Meera is not so much from a mythological point of view.

Instead it strives to reconstruct a bygone age in history while highlighting the human face of Rajput pride and its harsh compulsions. He’s equally adept at showcasing the opulent lifestyle of Rajasthan with Bhanu Athaiya’s splendorous colour palette displayed in beautiful kurta kanchli, gotta pati embellished lehariyas, jadau jewellery, colourful saafas and suits. I always found Ashutosh Gowarikar’s Jodhaa Akbar to be hugely derivative of Meera in terms of aesthetics.

At any time, the intricacy of thought and evolution is what leads to progression in society and through Meera’s radiant logic on emotions, vegetarianism and religion or Emperor Akbar (Amjad Khan)’s secular appeal as he constantly reiterates the need to be identified as an Indian not an invader from Samarkhand, Gulzar attempts to achieve it credibly.

“Would it be wrong to say that inspired by Meera’s life, I have set her to my own tune?” he once said.

His focus is on chronicling the metamorphosis of a Princess who renounces a life full of privilege and riches.  She doesn’t let any obstacle stand in the way of her exemplary bhav of bhakti once she’s set free by the iktaara presented by Sant Raidas (A K Hangal).

She’s mocked, slighted, humiliated, ridiculed at every step, especially by her snooty sister-in-law (Sudha Chopra) and family priest (Om Shiv Puri), for her perceived insolence but “Baala’s bairaagan” Meera has witnessed the existence of a celestial realm, which makes everything around her insignificant, inconsequential. Thankfully, the villainy is understated, there’s no attempt to amplify the troublemakers or non-believers with a dramatic background score

A still from Meera.Her soul is filled with infinite happiness when she seeks her lord. And till she suppresses her essence under the baggage of relationships and gold, she suffers in misery.

And Vani Jairam’s trance-inducing rendition of Meera’s popular bhajans against Pandit Ravi Shankar’s masterful score resonate the sentiments of a pious soul befittingly. Jaago bansiwale, Ranaji mein toh Govind, Baala mein bairaagan, Jo tum todo piya and Mere toh girdhar gopal are the ones I cherish the most. The divine fervour they emanate is intensely peaceful and soothing.

Lata Mangeshkar was the obvious choice for the soundtrack but since she had just completed a private album on the same for her brother, Hridaynath, she declined the project fearing clash of interests. Gulzar knew most composers wouldn’t accept the film fearing they’ll offend the grand diva of playback singing and approached maestro Pandit Ravi Shankar by flying all the way to New York City. After convincing him, they both finalised on singer Vani Jairam who went on to win the Filmfare trophy for her golden contribution to Meera.

What I love most about Meera is how Gulzar doesn’t intellectualise the premise rather makes it as accessible as possible.

A still from Meera.Even the miracle elements of Meera’s legend honours their vague source but leave their authenticity as a matter of belief. Did Tansen and Akbar really dress up like civilians to meet her? Did she really survive a bowl of poison.

His poetic narrative is concerned with the making of a saint. The Gulzar stamp is unmistakable in the scene where Meera goes to see Sant Raidas and the word play that follows after she introduces herself. “Main hoon toh Meera kyon? Aur Meera ho toh main kaun?” So profound, so simple.

Moreover, only Gulzar can think of giving Akbar a line like “moong ki dal ke baghaar mein heeng ka tadka bahut acha lagta hai” and pull it off too. But it’s the commonplace details done right that elevate good to great.

Meera is as much his triumph as it’s Hema Malini’s.

They had previously worked on the critically acclaimed Khushboo and Kinara, two of her best performances. As the beatific face of a divine romance, shot lovingly by K Vaikunth’s camera, the actress exudes exquisite grace, poise and calm. Gulzar recognises its innate presence in her being and brings it forth flawlessly.

In the beginning, she barely utters a word and mutely observes the frantic developments but her silence expresses her internal disquiet in conforming.

One can tell it’s only helped in hurrying her detachment from domestic life. In a century when a life other than being someone’s something was unthinkable, she eventually emerges as a resilient, fearless, outspoken, transparent, independent and indiscriminating woman.

A still from Meera.Despite such a magnificent delivery, the Dream Girl lost out to Jaya Bachchan in Nauker.

At a time when angry young man reigned supreme, the delicacy of Meera was lost on viewers looking for gyaan-free masala. But Meera couldn’t care less, she was not playing to the gallery — Main sanware ke rang rachi.  Saj, singaar, bandh pag ghungroo lok laaj taj naachi.

This article was first published on rediff.com.

Also read:
LamheHero | Daddy | Kora Kagaz | Khamoshi | Awaara | Qurbaani | Half Ticket | Khel Khel Mein | Shakti | Gharonda | Junglee | Johny Mera Naam | Khamosh | Ittefaq | Lal Patthar | Chashme Buddoor | Umrao Jaan | Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak | Sikander | Ram Aur Shyam | Teesri Manzil | Mili | Yaadein | Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa| Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron| Aag | Chaudhvin Ka Chand | New Delhi | Taxi Driver
 

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