The Tribune - Spectrum

Sunday, November 11, 2001

When romance rubbed shoulders with realism
M. L. Dhawan

IN Basu Bhattacharya’s Sparsh, Naseeruddin Shah, a blind principal of a school for the blind, falls in love with Shabana Azmi, a young widow whose interest in school is just charitable. They get engaged. Shah’s apprehension that Shabana is acting more out of sympathy than love threatens to scuttle their impending marriage. Their friends help them overcome their pain and pride. With groping hands and blinking eyes, Shah brought the anguish of a blind man alive.

Shatrughan Sinha in Kala Pathar
Shatrughan Sinha in Kala Pathar

Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s Golmaal was a rollicking comedy about mistaken identities. Ram Prasad (Amol Palekar) is an accountant whose boss forces him to keep a semblance of a moustache. Hell breakes loose when Ram is once spotted sans a moustache by his boss. Ram pretends that he has a twin — Laxman. The boss appoints Laxman as his daughter’s teacher. Ram’s efforts to keep up the game of deceit lead to hilarious situations.

K. Vishwanath’s Sargam was a remake of his Telegu hit Siri Siri Muvva. Jayaprada made her debut as a classical dancer who loves dafli player, Rishi Kapoor. They pass through many trials and tribulations before they are united in holy matrimony. Songs like Dafli wale dafli bajja, Koyal boli duniyan doli, Parbat ke uss paar mesmerised the masses.


Yash Chopra’s Noorie was a romantic and tragic tale of an innocent girl, Poonam Dhillon, who lives in the lap of nature. Her love for Farouque Shaikh is thwarted by anger, greed, rivalry and jealousy. She commits suicide to preserve her chastity. Character actor Manmohan Krishan directed the film with finesse. Aaja rey O mere dilbar aaja, Chori chori koi aaye, rendered by Lata Mangeshkar, lent grace and grandeur to the protagonist’s performance and personality.

In the Sanjeev Kumar — Jaya Bhaduri starrer Naukar, Lalita Pawar treats her niece Jaya Bhaduri as a domestic help. Sanjeev Kumar treats his servant Mehmood like a friend. They swap their positions when Sanjeev Kumar, a widower, comes to the house of Lalita Pawar to see her daughter. Masquerading as a servant, Sanjeev rejects the daughter of the host and falls in love with the simple, Jaya who was rich in qualities of head and heart. Jaya bagged the Filmfare Best Actress Award for her role.

In Manmohan Desai’s Suhaag, Amjad Khan, an outlaw, deserts his wife Nirupa Roy. His devoted and dedicated wife unfailingly observes karva chauth. On one such occasion, while she is gazing at the moon, her husband on the run from the police, comes there. She is overjoyed when she sees him. In order to escape from the police, the unscrupulous husband takes her hostage at gunpoint.

Vinod Pande’s Ek Baar Phir was a daring story of a woman — Deepti Naval — who discovers that she has nothing in common with her husband, Suresh Oberoi, a film star. She decides to follow her interests. The film depicts how she resolves her dilemma when confronted with a choice between her desires and her duty as a Hindu wife. It was a film in which the wife was shown as some one who is determined to make something of herself and her life.

Mrinal Sen’s Parshuram which won a silver award at the 11th Moscow International Film festival, is the story of a farmer who, driven by poverty, comes to Calcutta with an axe on his shoulders. He is haunted by his past encounter with a tiger. He lives in an imaginary utopian world of heroic deeds. The film ends with a scene in which he is brandishing his axe against darkness and poverty.

In Yash Chopra’s Kala Pathar, the wall of coal mine caves in and there is a deluge. Vijay (Amitabh Bachchan) is a court-martialled merchant navy officer who had abandoned his ship during a storm. He works as a miner, trying to forget his past. Mangal (Shatrughan Sinha), a runaway dacoit, masquerades as a miner. Raj Malhotra (Shashi Kapoor), an engineer, knows the scheme of his employer that will endanger the lives of mine workers. Vijay and Raj survive after rescuing many workers, Mangal atones by sacrificing his life for the sake of his fellow miners. The film turned out to be a clarion-call for ensuring the safety and security of mine workers.

K.A. Abbas’s The Naxalites was a political drama about the Naxalite Movement. The reasons why the youth joined the movement were portrayed through images of rape, torture, corruption etc. Smita Patil walking to the gallows in the last scene flashes disdain. With this role she emblazoned herself on the mindscape of the audience. This role made her a star.

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