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Sunday, October 28, 2001
Article

ON THE SANDS OF TIME — 1978
Such films are made with Junoon
M.L. Dhawan

  • IN Yash Chopra’s Trishul, Sanjeev Kumar had, for a prosperous business career, walked out on his beloved Waheeda Rehman, leaving her to bearand breed his illegitimate child. Twenty years later, Amitabh Bachchan plans an Oedipal revenge against his father — Sanjeev Kumar and succeeds in ruining his business empire and familial harmony. The scene in which Amitabh divulges the scourge of illegitimacy to his father, saying, ‘You are my illegitimate father’, and wards off the repentant man’s overtures of long overdue affection, set the screen ablaze.

    A scene from Trishul
    A scene from Trishul

  • Manich Chatterjee’s Ghar was about the impact of rape on a woman’s mind. Rekha and Vinod Mehra are happily married couple, but their life becomes a nightmare when the wife is gangraped on their way back from an nocturnal outing. The film perceived rape as a heinous crime, a psychological and physical atrocity. The sensitivity with which Rekha portrayed the trauma of a rape victim, catapulted her to dizzy heights.

  • In Raj Khosla’s Main Tulsi Tere Aangan Ki, Nutan is trapped between a good son and bad son — the former being the illegitimate son of her dead husband’s mistress — Asha Parekh. The audience liked the idea of a woman nurturing her ‘souten’s son. What gave the film a dramatic centrality were the early confrontation scenes between Nutan and Asha Parekh when the mistress pleads poignant words, ‘Mang teri sindhoor bhee tera/sub Kuchh tera kuchh nahin mera/Koi nahin Koi nahin tere sajan ki.... Main Tulsi tere aangan ki..."

 
  • In Raj Kapoor’s Satyam Shivam Sundaram, the heroine-Rupa (Zeenat Aman) is a temple singer one side of whose face is scarred by a fire, defines the true concept of beauty for all and sundry, specially her husband Rajiv (Shashi Kapoor, who mistakenly believed in the lure of superficial gloss alone. Lata Mangeshkar confesses that as she recorded ‘Bhor bhaye panghat pe, Saiyyan nikas gaye main na ladi thi, Yashomati maiyya se bole nandlala and Satyam shivam sundaram, etc, "I felt something strange happening inside me. It is as if I went into a trance." And so did the music lovers as they heard these songs.

    A scene from Satyam Shivam Sundaram
    A scene from Satyam Shivam Sundaram

  • B.R. Chopra’s Pati Patni Aur Woh provoked the audience to react to the perennial social malaise — exploitation, blackmailing and harassment of women at their place of work — the subject which other film makers dared not to touch. Hats off to Sanjeev Kumar, who even in the negative role of a flirtatious and flippant boss, was displayed excellent histrionics. Ranjeeta as the harassed ‘victim’ won kudos for her performance.

  • Muzaffar Ali’s Gaman was the story of an uneducated, landless young man (Farouque Shaikh) working as a taxi driver in Bombay — and his nostalgia for his home in a village where he left his wife — Smita Patil — who wilts and waits for his infrequent letters and remittances, singing and sighing ‘Aap ki yaad aati rahi raat bhar..’

  • Shashi Kapoor’s debut production Junoon was about the passionate but unrequited love which the Pathan Javed Khan (Shashi Kapoor) has for an Anglo-Indian girl Ruth Labadoor (Nafisa Ali). Although the film claimed to offer an authentic depiction of the Mutiny, it sidestepped any engagement with the first Indian War of Independence and opted for a colonial-sexual fantasy. Shashi Kapoor, Shabana Azmi, Jennifer Kendall Kapoor, Naseeruddin Shah, Nafisa Ali came out with power-packed performance and imbued majesty to mediocrity.

  • Vinod Khanna renounced the glitter, glamour, glory, glitz, gleam, grandeur, and gloss of Tinsel town to join the Rajnish asharam in quest of spiritual aggrandisement in this year.

  • Prakash Mehra’s Muqaddar Ka Sikandar — a multi-starrer bonanza — was a love tale about misplaced affections. Amjad Khan loved Rekha, Rekha loved Amitabh, Amitabh loved Rakhee and Rakhee loved and married Vinod Khanna. The film was a blockbuster mainly for Amitabh Bachchans’ performance in the role of an individualistic ‘anarchist’ and Rekha’s smouldering intensity as Zohra, a kothewali.

  • Saeed Akhtar Mirza’s Arvind Desai Ki Ajeeb Dastan portrayed the predicaments of Arvind Desai (Dilip Dhawan) who was the only son of a rich business tycoon. Arvind is a very harmless young man, not very different from his peers, but he has a tendency to question the values of his class. His ideas lead him to question the economic exploitation, inherent in his father’s business, and he has a guilty conscience. Dilip Dhawan, Om Puri, Rohini Hattangadi and Shriram Lagoo lived their roles to perfection.
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