Iconic Hindi film Amar Prem turns 50

Amar Prem’s Anand hated tears but made sure the audience went home crying with buckets

immortal loveAnand hated the tears but made sure the audience went home crying with buckets

‘Who can bloom in a garden destroyed by spring?’ This reflective line penned by Anand Bakshi for a song by Shakti Samanta immortal love (1972) really immortalizes the song and the film. It has been 50 years since Anand Bakshi and RD Burman lit a spark that lights up millions of hearts. Young women still wait for the elusive Shyam as a dreamy night unfolds. We quote ‘Kuch to log kahenge’ whenever we do something unconventional, and we hum ‘Yeh kya hua’ when life surprises us.

being young

Based on Bibhutibhushan Bandyopadhyay’s story ‘Asafoetida Kochuri’ and adapted from Bengali film by Aurobindo Mukherjee Nishi Padma (1970), the innocence that marks the Bengali version is retained in the Hindi film, as Shakti Samanta asked Aurobinda to write the screenplay for it.

We see a forbidden place through the eyes of a child. For me, the film’s enduring image is when Nandu, in search of his football, bends on his knees and peers from under a curtain into a room where a prostitute is honing his dance moves for the evening. Later, he asks Pushpa, the gold-heart prostitute, what kind of people come to visit her: “Are they your brothers?”

The bond between Pushpa and Nandu finds expression in ‘Bada Natkhat Hai Re Krishna Kanhaiya’, a song composed in the raga Khamaj, which prompted Pancham’s father, SD Burman to redo the tune to reflect the prostitute’s grief. Said that which she could not do. a mother And Lata has also sung it with great emotion.

Rajesh Khanna and Om Prakash in a scene from a Hindi movie immortal love.
, Photo Credit: The Hindu Archives

This pious attitude towards the character of the prostitute is also pervasive in the love story, Pyara Rishta (Beautiful Relationship), as Anand describes the platonic bond between her and Pushpa. This is reflected in the eyes of Sharmila Tagore, who kicks up a seductive storm in ‘Chingari Koi Bhadke’, and in the eyes of Rajesh Khanna who is always playful, sometimes rakish.

In ‘Chingari’, the light and silhouette of Howrah Bridge in the background mesmerizes; Not many know that the song was shot inside Natraj Studios in Mumbai like the rest of the film.

Anand has been cast in a side act, but Khanna knows how to leave a lasting impression. A man who is emotionally frightened but hates to tears, he conveys duality with charming accuracy in a role that Uttam Kumar played in the Bengali version.

Khanna’s gentle nod and magical blinks were enough to wake up the masses. He uses his style memorably in scenes such as the one he shows Madan Puri, who sells pimp Pushpa into the prostitution, out of his room. This is another memorable role of a gentleman drunkard, after Dilip Kumar’s turn in Devdas.

problematic as cinema

However, there remains a problem at the cinematic level surrounding the Nandu-Pushpa story. The way Pushpa is the epitome of femininity in the film is disturbing, but Hindi cinema treated the so called ‘gir gayi women’ in that era.

We have seen variants of Pushpa thirsty, Devdas, and of course, PakeezahWhich was released in the same year. BR Ishara’s Very Different Consciousness (1970) was just a minor setback in the mainstream universe, which wanted its heroine to be the mythical Sita, sacrificing herself and her own happiness to meet social norms.

In immortal loveThere is a line in the song ‘Kuch To Log Kahenge’ which reads “Sita bhi yahan badnaam hui (Even Sita was humiliated by this world)”. Later in the story, an artist is shown collecting clay from outside a brothel to build a long-standing Durga idol in Bengal. In another scene, Pushpa and women like her are compared to the Ganges, which cleans all the garbage that flows into it.

rose colored glasses

Interestingly, powerful real-life characters like Gangubai, on whom Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s new film is based, were challenging the status quo even then, but cinema chose instead to romanticize sex work.

A view of a kite kite.

a view of cut kite, , Photo Credit: The Hindu Archives

This attitude comes through in every film in Samanta’s trilogy. worship, cut kiteAnd immortal love, Even though Pushpa walks out of an abusive marriage, when her aggressive husband dies, she breaks her bangles to represent grief and widowhood. Though Anand is in a failed marriage, Pushpa does not think of a permanent relationship with him as she is fully aware that he is a social outcast. Curiously, Anand accepts this argument and walks out. When he finally returns, he is to be handed over to his foster son.

A Pushpa who tries to kill herself at first as she doesn’t see any other option, is finally seen taking up the job of a dishwasher. The screenwriter torments the hero with every possible tragedy so that he can drain the tear ducts of the audience. Anand might have hated tears, but he doesn’t seem to want to make the audience cry!