1972- Grahan

G01

Everyone carries baggage with him/her in life. These are the baggage of guilt which creates complexes in normal people and they act in a manner which might define their actions and relations with others. These complexes and the resultant reactions depend on the individual. What would happen if several people with similar baggage come together? Their relationship would be defined by these baggage and the reactions of them to it.

It isn’t how others would behave to my baggage but how I myself will treat and behave due to these. What if these baggage-d persons are intimately related, like spouses? Unless they are able to throw these off, and the other partner is sympathetic and understanding (not pushing it back with double load) they would not only take these baggage to their grave, but much before that they would move their relationship to it.

This is a good movie, but my opinion differs with the majority, since it had sunk without trace. The only version available anywhere seems to be recorded from the streamed broadcast of the state channel, Doordarshan, and not too clear one at that, as far as the quality of the print is concerned. May be the set top box which copied it was an old model. DD doesn’t seem to be much interested in re-telecasting or even selling these movies. I tried, but as it always happens, one way traffic, from me to them, and nothing, not even a regret “I can’t but ‘They’ can” response. Interestingly most of the DD movies have subtitles, but this one doesn’t have that, which could have helped, since the sound quality isn’t excellent either.

Though IMDb mentions A K Sinha as director, but as per the credits in the movie it is M Prabhat, of whom I couldn’t get any further information anywhere. He seems to have disappeared after this single movie, unless he is Prabhat Mukherjee, with a semi-pseudonym.

This might be one of the fore-runners in the “Art” or alternate movies genre. Why were they differentiated at that time, I don’t know. No one called a dark movie, like say Do Bigha Zameen, or Dr Kotnis Ki Amar Kahani, Neecha Nagar etc an art movie in the old era. May be at those time, there were more and more movies that were nearer to real life and hence if you try to divide, it would be difficult with many like “Sujata” or “Patita” falling half way on either side?

At later age this differentiation became easy. You have a horde of “generic hallucinating drug” and only a few Patented. Whatever had some sense became art or alternate cinema. In between of course were there existed low budget love stories out of Mills and Boons. If you have to think while watching it would be an art movie, if you left the brain behind while entering the auditorium, it is what I will stand up in queue to watch.

Obviously these ‘Art” movies or “Alternate” movies were not for the masses, who flocked to the halls to “See” something. These movies not only try to make them see but also often left with things unanswered, as in “Gone with the wind” and without any intention of a sequel “I will be back”. It wanted the viewer to See and think and may be as a result exhorted them to do in real life.

I accept that in trying to do so, a lot of movie makers went overboard, and the movies were completely dry without a hint of the juice in it. We the audience would like to have some good moments too. We don’t go to the entertainment media to only think and be bombarded with the misfortunes. These movies naturally would run to empty (or near empty) halls and consequently the distributors wouldn’t touch these with a long pole. It would run only in some morning / matinee shows in “those types” of cinema halls. I recall that there used to be one morning 9:30 or 10:00 on Sundays, for these movies. Who would watch them at those times I wonder.

If you want a movie to flop, just declare it to be an “Art” movie and that’s that. It would be advisable to link it with some government machinery say NFDC, or similar, to ensure the complete success (in failure). A lot of good movies in this decade, especially in bollywood, lost out just due to this branding.

Background

The story is by Bimal Kar, and the information available tells me that it was a serial novel in the Bengali periodical “Desh”. The movie had some gaps, due to scissoring to fit a time slot, or in original itself, I don’t know. I tried to trace the novel to fill the gaps. However it seems that it was never compiled and formed into a single book. At least none of the search were successful, including the publisher (the magazine)’s store. His other few novels, like Balika Badhu (also made into a movie) etc are available in market. It looks I have to remain with these (gaps) as afar as this one is concerned.

The literal meaning of Grahan may be,

Taking; more in the sense of acceptance, not by force but by heart.In the sense of “I take him/her as my lawfully wedded husband/wife”.

Or eclipse (which too had come from this as the mythological Rahu or Ketu takes the Sun or the Moon)

In this movie though the titles define it as the first one, but it could as well relate to the second one too. In a way it has a period of sun/ moon light then a period of suffering/ darkness (symbolizing eclipse and the dark forces).

Subhas Ghai, who would later become a big time director, was one of the protagonists in this movie. In this era he was a struggling actor (Aradhana, Taqdeer etc.), with most of the times second lead, as in this case. There seem to be only a few like Sherni (in Punjabi), and Shahar Se door, where he could have been lead protagonist, however they don’t concern me.

The movie starts with a Shloka from Shrimad Bhagavata Geeta which sets the mood for the movie,

Na tadasti prithivyaam vaa divi deveshu vaa punah
Sattwam prakritijairmuktam yadebhih syaattribhirgunaih (18.40)

It literally means that in this world or heaven, i.e. in living creatures or even among the Gods, there is no one who is by nature devoid of the three “Gunas”. The three “Guna” are part of the nature of every being, whether it is Human, or the “Deva”s.

These Three Gunas, Satvik, Tamasik and Rajasik are defined as (18.23-18.25)

The Satvik are those acts that are virtuous, well thought (not impulsive), not influenced by attachments and not done with a result in mind. It links the soul to happiness and knowledge.

Exact (almost) opposite are the tamasik – the acts made based on some delusion, not bothered of the consequences or loss/ hurt/ damage to self as well as others. 

Rajasik are- those that are done purely for pleasure (and self). Rajas is full of passion and is born out of intense desire and attachment. It goads soul to action.

It is easy to appreciate that all our acts are driven by one of these “Guna”s. The latter two are purely the property/ characteristics of the self “Aham”, the first one Satvik, is the one of the Aham as well as the inner being, since it doesn’t aim at self, the Aham.

This movie also, as I see, looks into these Gunas and the resultant conflicts within and between the protagonists. Of the four main protagonists three are having skeleton in their cupboard. The fourth one isn’t shown to have, may be because even if he had, wasn’t relevant to the story.

Protagonists

The movie is basically the interplay between the four protagonists. So before starting with the story it may be better if I jot down the “Characters” of the four as depicted in the movie. The things are sometimes spoken, but most of the times hinted. If I know someone closely, suddenly one fine day, for camera and audience, I will not start recounting his/her life history. It does happen in a number of movies, but this fortunately is not one of them. These information, could, and in this movie did, come out in casual remarks here and there, like “I still don’t understand why you did that” or may be in introduction to someone who doesn’t know. These part sentences here and there are gathered at a place to understand the persons. Like one who virtually worships another person, might tell some anecdotes to another, even his (the worshiped person’s) wife.

Vasant Chowdhury is Dr Devipada, usually in the movie referred to as “Mastarjee” the teacher, or “Professor”. He was a brilliant and acclaimed botany professor in (I assume from what is shown) Calcutta University, from where he had resigned and joined a research organisation as head scientist. His base station is in the depth of forest, cut off from any civilization, even villages. It of course has a township including a sprawling villa him. The staff quarters are not bunched at a place but are spread over miles. Domestic helps and other similar menial staff are from the local villages. There is no as such physical discomfort except almost nil social interactions. Being a hardcore scientist of course he is least bothered of it. He is middle aged, mentioned to be around 45-46 years.

He had married a much younger woman, Ramola (Nutan). Who of course must miss the civilization. But she has not really complained of that, and they are childless. How many days back they have married is not shown, but they are not newly-wed. The marriage is more of a functional, married for the sake of marriage, than that of any love. In fact the affection, which normally we see come over time, is not visible. The affection would have manifested even more, since they are alone with the only the other as sole companion. They look to be more like two disconnected persons, sharing a lodging, than a home. I don’t see any bitching to goad him into resigning and going back to Calcutta, which one could expect from a women of her age, who definitely would like the civilization, more so in this type of lonely life. And that is despite his standing and it was sure that he would be immediately given his professorship back (that was hinted, but by others, not her). She is quite passive on this subject, whether they live here or in Calcutta, it is all the same for her. In fact that looks to be her outlook to life itself, not really interested in anything. The relationship between the couple seems to be very complex and detached. Do they care for each other? If not why? It doesn’t come out till the last segment of the complex psychological analysis of the movie.

The third protagonist is Subhash Ghai (in Role of Sitanshu). He is Nutan’s age or may be one or two year older/ younger. Obviously very close to her, and both spend quite some time together, having free access to each other’s home. They had been thrown even closer since Professor would once in a while go to the forest depth (research spots), may be for a day or two together, leaving Nutan alone. Sitanshu was one of the students of Professor, whether he was favorite student, or not, we don’t know, but he virtually worships the professor. He too was surprised when his professor resigned and joined the forest. It wasn’t definitely for money, may be fame or professional call. When Sitanshu had applied and got the job he didn’t know that the head was his professor. But once selected and joined the job, he assumes that it was by his backing that he got the job. It seems to be a Government’s research facility and is transferable but neither he, nor his professor is interested in moving out of here. He hadn’t joined too long back, but due to the similar age he has grown quickly very close to Ramola.

The fourth protagonist is Suhasini Mulay (Sumitra), Sitanshu’s wife. They have married around three years back. Now that Sitanshu has settled down in his job, she is ready to move in, even in this godforsaken place. She has never visited here. She had left her husband alone, though not completely, in care of Ramola and the servants. Since her husband is here, for better or worse, she had absolutely no qualms of leaving the city and coming over there. In fact, the way she looks around after alighting from train, she seems to like the natural and pollution free habitat.

Grahan

The movie begins with Sitanshu preparing to go to pick his wife up from station, with the natural actions (grooming himself to make presentable), checking whether his paunch is protruding. While checking the room finally, whether it is made presentable for the feminine presence or not, he spots a Sari, which isn’t his wife’s.

He smiles and imagines at his wife’s suspicion at finding a Sari in bachelor accommodation. To tease her, he leaves it there. It seems to show that the wife is not still mature, likely at her age, and also might get jealous/suspicious, and he plans to tease her this aspect. This deliberate behavior also shows that at least at this time his heart is clean. The Sari belongs to his boss’s wife, Ramola (Nutan). While dusting the house previous evening he had sent his servant to get a cloth. Boss’s wife mistook the purpose and gave a good Sari. Later she dropped in to oversee the preparation and finding the mess, she took the job over in her hand. However she forgot to take the Sari back, and Sitanshu had put in the cupboard, to tease his wife.

G02

The jeep arrives with Ramola too in it. Ramola and Sitanshu seem to be quite free in behavior and not like Boss’s wife and subordinate. Ramola was to go to station too, but had changed her plan and wanted to dropped to the next village for some shopping. Refusing the offer of doing it on way back, “You wouldn’t like to meet her in presence of a stranger

The wife Sumitra (Suhashini) didn’t seem to be worried about the remoteness of the place and seems quite excited to live in nature. However not so much at his behavior, of praising his “Ramoladidi”. However her taunt is bypassed “Hey she is my teacher’s wife”.

The dinner is obviously hosted by Ramola. When the Professor joins and come face to face with Sumitra at Dinner table, we find that even in paradise everything isn’t heavenly. Suddenly Sumitra’s expression becomes serious.

“Did you know each other?” isn’t answered, but is obvious.

The professor looks much more collected, but the girl is extremely agitated. That they know each other comes out from the exchange, are you still living there, how is your mother, your elder sister, etc. But the contacts are broken some time back, is known too, since the mother inquired of has died five years back.

Whatever was there relation has broken off at least five years back. She, Sumitra, had been married for only 3 years. By the happenings we can guess that Nutan too isn’t too old a wife.

Things are a bit over strained, not only between two but others too. We see a hurt and accusing glance from Nutan to her husband. Obviously she wasn’t told of his past. But that is strange, since soon we would know that the two married persons were strangers in their private live, a complete disconnect. In that case why should she be bothered? He is as good as a third person singular number for her. She however seemed to keep her feelings inside herself, except those momentary lapses and becomes a bit unnaturally effusive to lighten things up. But she fails clearly.

The professor seemed to be the most at ease of all the four. The other two were confused at the state. After some time, the professor excuse himself and goes off, obviously finding his presence a bit oppressive. But that too don’t ease the situation and soon, Sumitra rudely gets up excusing herself, without practically eating anything, playing with food all the time.

G03

Obviously unhappy Sitanshu reproaches Sumitra on way back, on her behavior. Now it is disclosed that it was not she, but her sister Anjudidi with whom the professor had an affair. The next day the seriousness is disclosed during evening tea, this time at their home itself.

Sumitra doesn’t like his talking of trees and bushes any more, and admits that she is feeling jealous of RamolaDidi, undeniably beautiful, even both of them accept, and forbids him to visit their place so often.

Our Subhash (Sitanshu) isn’t a fool. He knows there might be jealousy but not that much, so soon. He follows her to the bedroom and asks her to forget the past “If he had done something to “Anjudidi” that is in past, we can’t put that on as respected person as professor.

She isn’t however ready to forget and forgive “If it was your sister you won’t have said this”

What he had done, isn’t what we call crudely “Use and throw” but even worse. This being a family scandal, he wasn’t aware but now he has to be told.

Her sister was a brilliant student, with scholarship she had got admission in the university. There she fell in love with Professor, who was at that time a post doctoral fellow and also her guide. They would do research together and dream of going, of course to the US of A. Their affair was known to all and also that they would soon marry.

Then something happened, Anju fell sick and Professor stopped coming. What she was sick of Sumitra didn’t know. (Obviously nothing serious, or fatal, assuming she is still alive). However that created a scandal in the colony and forced them to relocate. Obviously this cowardly ditching of a girl, just since she was sick, and could be probably a burden on him, who can forgive? He might be a brilliant scientist and educator But as a human being he lacked a lot. And her hate for him is well deserved.

However our Vasant doesn’t seem that heartless. At night Nutan asks him to forgive and reinstate a driver who in drunk state had damaged a jeep, probably since he had cried at her feet. He tells that if he or someone else, is ready to pay for the damage, he would consider that. The episode is small, but it brings out something other than his humane-ness which Sumitra said doesn’t exist. The behavior of the two towards each other told that there is a care for each other, hidden, deep in heart, but there is some big obstacle for them to break and let the fount free.

Of course we also come of know of the second skeleton. Nutan had an affair too. The boy was Vasant’s friend, and probably the affair was known to Vasant. That boy, Vasant told, had become almost like a Sanyasi now (ditched by her?). At night while he sleeps she can’t (aided by his snores? May be) and goes into a reverie.

She runs to a river bank, and makes a hole in sand which fill up with water. In that water she finds the reflection of a boy. I assume her boyfriend. Then suddenly she stirs the water and splashing the water on her face she looks up smiling, and her reverie breaks. What is the significance of the dream I couldn’t get. Is it that it was the past and she had destroyed and is looking at a happy future? Or it is exactly the opposite, the Person is still deep inside her heart and she can’t forget of him? But clearly she is in a lot of pain, due to past or present I am not sure.

She hasn’t yet forgotten him, that is sure, but had she foregone the attachment, (Sangam/ Dil Ek Mandir type)  or still that bond and an ache remained in her heart (Gumrah Type)? I am not very sure that the ache on her face (that’s there unmistakably) was due to that bond which never matured into a permanent one, or for the bond she wants to form afresh but the past baggage, isn’t allowing her, and him, to forget and start afresh.

One thing is known that her husband knew of the affair, and she knew that he knows. Now how she can be sure that though he has forgiven, he would forget that too? In that condition she can’t make the move first, but would melt the moment he does, which he doesn’t. That would create the barrier on her side to make the association to move to next level. Is this what our novelist meant, or the directors and actors wanted to express?

G04

There is another allegorical tale too. We have been shown once, and she tells later, that she gets that nightmare often. She is staring down a long endless flight of stairs she had to descend down, with heavy suitcases in her right hand she starts descending there are all the frightening sounds around and she screams and wakes up. What does that mean? I assume that it is allegorical descend to the depth (hell) with the baggage (of past)?

These are the complexities when one is forced to think of, makes a movie unsuccessful. The complexities exist in good movies too, but that could be told in simple words, or that may be made complicated. Sometimes, as in this movie, the collaging was done, i.e. bringing back flashes of past in parts. Where Bandini had been simple, the whole flashback was single episode, here it comes in small sequences. Corresponding to the subject, agreed, but then it makes me to join them to understand the whole of the past.

Next morning there is more trouble, professor is out on tour. Nutan walks to Subhash’s home, where she meets Suhasini, Though invited by her to come in, Nutan declines and starts going back. Subhash who was at home, accompanies her (to the displeasure of his wife) and that is clear to Nutan too, and she even mentions that to Subhash, but what to do about it, she leaves that to Subhash to decide. Why she doesn’t forbid him to come, giving the prime place to wife’s wishes? Is it that the she too likes his company, and not willing to forego that? It is not forcing the issue, but at least an advice, which she doesn’t?

At Nutan’s home Subhash is not in a hurry to go back home, and stays till dark, chatting on tea table at lawn. Some things that come out are

  • Sumitra had a miscarriage after first year of marriage.
  • Subhash was the famous student of the class, not in studies but in notoriety. He was good student but also the ringleader of the gang.
  • Professor was so dedicated and forgetful that often at night, deep in his studies, he would miss the closing time and would be locked in the library. Later he would have to be rescued late in the night.
  • But when in classroom, he would be a terror.

When Sitanshu recounts of professor, and tells he is a strange person, “you must be aware, at home he must be like that”,Nutan’s expression tells clearly that they are too apart to know that much of each other, and she isn’t happy about it, and rather misses it, as I read the ache.

Of course Nutan had another agenda in mind and she got the opportunity. She quizzes Subhash to find out what was wrong between his wife and professor. First he tries to avoid, but is later force to tell. However he could only tell how much he knew and that too he had diluted it in his professor’s favor.

G05

Next day (maybe) is Holi and nothing is OK on that day. Nutan is in extreme stress after the previous evening’s information. Her behavious with Vasant clearly shows her mental condition. So is at other home, Suhashini had a quite ugly fight with Subhash, since she refused to go for “Holi Milan” at Professor’s place.

Subhash after the club house Milan, comes late at night walking, intoxicated with Bhang, to professor’s place. Nutan is awake and walking in the compound. Prefessor is already asleep, she tells. Subhash (Sitanshu) pour’s his heart to her. His wife’s hate for the professor which he considers unjustified to be carried for so long and this hate culminating in the dislike for Nutan, he obviously considers taking things a bit too far. Nutan makes out there had been a domestic disturbance and could only helplessly listen, overcome with her own problem. Finally he walks away (to his home) and Nutan too comes to bed.

G06

Nutan too slowly goes back to her bed. She is sleeping alone, outside, while Vasant is in bed room.

Again an allegorical sequence, showing the way relationship is going- a Jeep with the three, she, Subhash and Suhashini is speeding down the road at high speed. She is extremely happy, Suhashini is extremely serious and Subhash is in between. While on the way the trunks they were carrying with them fall down the jeep as they speed through.

With that she gets up disturbed. And almost in trance she comes out of the bed and walks out of the house. Was it that she realized that she was creating a trouble in Subhash’s life, to dispose of her baggage?

G07

Again a human and caring face of Vasant is shown. He had seen his wife is not in bed, and had followed her. Now very tenderly and protectively he takes her back to bed. It looks that he cares but he too is unable to throw the baggage off.

But he had made a decision now. Next morning he goes to Sitanshu’s home, after Sitanshu has gone to club, whether deliberately or by luck isn’t shown, but he definitely would like to have a tete-a-tete with his wife. Not really in a war, he sits and made her sit, and asks whether she had told all to Sitanshu, of what happened between him and Anju. Though she denies, but there are clear indications when he asks whether he told Sitanshu that he broke the wedding with her sister due to her sickness. Vasant now knows the reason of Nutan’s behavior of last few days. He takes a deep breath and gets up, saying she, in her hate had left him with no choice, and he had to tell all to Nutan now. He has certain responsibilities and he has to fulfill them, he too has to protect his home.

He gives a moral to her “All this mess is created only by you, the moment you have come, you have started looking at all with so much hate that it poisoned everything. What pain is inside you, you never kept and just took as revenge on outside. That’s why you never had sympathy on others or even regret for your acts. People should learn to have some patience to absorb, you didn’t. Only one can destroy himself, no one else can do it.

Sumitra looked strangely horrified at this, “After this do you expect her to have any respect for you ever?”

Vasant tells that he is old enough and could realize how far apart they have moved. In fact, he tells, they never had the relation that they should have had. For that he blames himself “It had always been something wrong with me, that I could never made other happy” Even if Nutan could never forgive him for it, or that she even leaves him, but he has certain responsibilities and he can’t see her suffer like this. Sitanshu might however apply for a transfer, he tells her, and he would ensure it is immediately granted.

At night, under moonlight, on tea table he opens up finally to Nutan, of his past. He was the younger son of a family, the elder brother was poorly employed, with wife and kids. He was doing his teaching job as well as post-doctoral research since that ensured a steady income in family as well as it satisfied his own urge (Research).

While there he came close to Anjali (Vaishaly), a post graduate student. She was attracted of his brain and must have thought that this horse was going to win the race. Her family too was in favor of this match. Vasant painted her as a person who wanted to reach the top, whereas he had his own shackles to meet her expectations. Vasant doesn’t blame her for that, but himself, bringing his Satvik Gunas to the fore. “It was my weakness that I could never bring the feelings in her that a girl should have for her lover

When she saw that he won’t be able to meet her expectations, she slowly started avoiding him and mix with rich, but not “genius” students, of course nearer her age too. However our Vasant had become habituated of her and would, despite clear denigration in presence of her other boyfriends, she had started moving with others then, go to her.

Slowly she started avoiding him completely and when he went to her home, she won’t be there. That’s when he met Sumitra, and Sumitra started attaching her to him. At that time she was around 16 or so, and Devipada  (Professor) was 32 (So it was around 14 years back from this incident). Whenever he would come, Sumitra not only be with him like a shadow but exhort him to come again and even went to parks to give him company, “since sister isn’t there”.

That’s when we get a flash back of Nutan’s past, when Vasant says of the infatuations of the age. She too had that episode with the boy. He would try to talk of the subject (literature for her, botany for Sumitra) she wasn’t interested in but would listen without getting it in, just for the company.

G08

Here is something I am unable to comprehend. The young man she is attracted to and is reciprocated, who is he? She is dependent on them, but how, the history isn’t brought out. The only hint I get is when the brother tells “You have given her shelter and now trying to take advantage of that

His brother is firm. He tells that a girl like her can’t become one of the family (Bahu). If he insists, he will commit suicide. That threat is always the ultimate one can give.

She is in love, but he had other activities too, social activities? But since there is no future for them together, he brings a proxy, Devipada, whom finally she marries and settles down. This part of the movie looks a bit abnormal and hurriedly made. Unless I have missed quite some portion of the movie here.

There meeting was encouraged by her ex-lover. Once when she was unwell, and he was away, Devipada (Vasant) had cared for her. But she looked almost like a live-in. In that case why Devipada went for her, he had been shown a decent person, before and even now. He won’t poach on his friend’s girlfriend.

Anyway now back to the Devipada – Anjali – Sumitra story. One fine day Sumitra comes to Devipada’s flat and explodes a bomb. Anjali had been sick for some time then now Sumitra told him that she was actually pregnant. Her mother suspected him (Devipada) and Anju won’t say anything of it, she would weep silently. The meaning was clear, and Devi exploded. It’s not possible, he declares. I assume he never had a relation with her, and likely too, she won’t let one, not of ‘class’. However his explosion convinces Sumitra that he was innocent, and seemed to be happy of it. Somehow Sumitra manages to convince him not to have a confrontation.

After that too, Sumitra keeps on meeting her, and finally out of anger at their family, and may be Sumitra’s encouragement, he enters into a physical relation with Sumitra. Sumitra doesn’t repent it though and isn’t defensive or accusive about it.  

Later Devipada comes to know that what Sumitra said was a lie. Anju had only a stomach TB and not pregnancy and he throws Sumitra out of house and life.

What Sumitra had done was for her love, he reasoned later, she really loved him and to get him had lied, but what he did was not pardonable.

This was his baggage. “How could I fall for her childish manipulations? At that age any girl would have a complex, my sister is better than me, and would try, for her self-esteem, grab her sister’s favorite toy. She did that. She was a kid, only 16, but I wasn’t, I was 30 plus.

Now all the baggage lost, time for reconciliation. Now Nutan understands the state of Vasant and knows that it was she who should have taken the lead since the weight of guilt was more on him. However it wasn’t late, and she takes him inside.  At bed, after some initial hesitations, she again takes the lead. May be she isn’t sure of whether he takes the things (her old affair) against her. In male dominated society, women are always at receiving end in these cases. But it looks to be not held against her by Vasant, and it looks that he never did. He too hesitantly, may be afraid of rebuff as she was, takes the risk. The impenetrable dam between them breaks, and sans their baggage, they finally accept each other, in heart. 

G09

However there are certain questions to be pondered (at least I do), 

What was the relation between Sitanshu and Ramola?

Sitanshu writes to his wife that “I could never call her Bhabhi, sister in law, and thought it better to call her Didi, elder sister”

However once Nutan (Ramola) tells him “Would you never get away from your Guru-Patni mentality towards me?” Did she want to be something more? She was a lonely woman, the husband was but not there. There is a chance they might not be even physically intimate either, since both were having some guilt inside them to hide, and that messes up things further.

What about Sitanshu? Did he covert his Guru’s wife? Of all the protagonists, it was only he who didn’t have a skeleton in his cupboard, only Sari. Did he covet the owner of that? I suspect he did. Assuming that he understood his role, there were certain symbolism that seem to indicate that his attraction wasn’t pure platonic.

This is some interesting exchange (between Sitanshu and Ramola) almost self contradictory,

  • S: You need not give so much respect to her by calling her “Aap- thou”
  • R: So what that won’t hurt the respect for you will it?
  • S: But still, in relation you need not.
  • R: So I will remain the “Guru Patni” forever for you?
  • S: Not that, but you need not give (us) so much respect.
  • R: Still, I have to take care (consider?) of these things. Exact translation of “Mujhe to Dhyan rakhna hi padega” is difficult.

Is there a hidden agenda of Sitanshu, and was put firmly in place by Ramola? Her face suddenly becomes a bit detached and firm and his face falls. Was it a warning to both? I must respect some norms and so must you?

G10

I will not go overboard in praise. It has certain lacunae. But I don’t know it is for incompleteness of the movie or due to the incomplete version I have (about 15-16 minutes difference between the official length of the movie and my copy.

The main movie flow is maintained but there is a critical subplot, of Nutan’s past. Somehow that is not covered well. The past is covered in term of a few reflections. But who was she and what was her relation with her lover I couldn’t make out. She might be an orphan or destitute. But how and why isn’t brought out. His elder brother is firm, I won’t accept a girl like her to be a “Bahu” in my family. Why? For that we have to know how she landed up in the family. We are only told that the lover was her “Guardian” and he obviously wanted to be permanent one which the elder brother objected to.

Certain other gaps too were not clear. Nutan tells (the same lover) “For you I am one of the things, but for me you are the only”

The things are not “other girls”, it means the boy was in some other activity. Social service (Vasant later tells that he is leading a Sanyasi life)? It isn’t made clear there. It might or might not have a bearing in the tale, but once the subject is put some clarity should have been there.

I don’t know whether the full version had this. All these needed only a minute or two with these actors to clarify, no need lengthy flashbacks or monologues were necessary. So my judgement is reserved.

Suhashini Mulay had fit the role. Though not perfect. She couldn’t really bring the hate/ aversion on her face that she had, at least she said, felt towards Vasant.

Subhash Ghai didn’t have much scope, he was the fourth in list of importance. But he had been not an eyesore in the role given. He could have been a quite good actor, I wonder why he didn’t get much chance and had to move up the ladder (into direction). There had been much worse but successful actors at that time.

Vasant had been good and to the role, except what I felt is the first meeting. He should not have been so composed assuming that it was his ex he was meeting, who had broken under quite acrimonious condition. Except that he had been more of less OK. He could express effectively the soft corner he had inside, and the attempts to keep a mask on that.

It is a good movie but not for common audience, due to one error. The complexity is brought by Nutan. Her background if instead of collages brought in as a single episode towards the end, it would have been a story told in a simpler way, and the may be the common men too would have understood. The disconnected collages joining at least for me, took some effort, and still whether I could really interpret the way the novelist meant? . 

Trivia:

It has one song on back ground, sung by one of the greatest artists, who had refused to sing in bollywood. He is the second and last person to be given the title of Sura Sagar –  the ocean of melody –  (Jagmohan) the first one was Punkaj Mullick. I don’t know whether they took permission or not. I assume that they did.

The song is “Tum mere saamne Aya na Karo” – Suhashini is listening the vinyl on record player when Vasanta arrives for the final showdown.

G11

Don’t come in front of me, the pain I am hiding in my heart, please don’t let it grow further. Exactly suits the mood.

In fact this movie had another exceptional thing, the back ground music. Not too surprisingly, since quite a bit of it seems to be the work of Pt Hariprasad Chaurasia and his flute had been mesmeric in bringing out the mood, whether it was of hurt, departure (Biraha) or Milan (in the end with another exceptional classical by Vani Jayram played on background when our two main protagonists accept each other) bringing out the message,

“Bikhre tare phir mile man ke..” the scattered stars of the heart meet once again and form the music of life.

G12

One thought on “1972- Grahan”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *