Angeekar (1966)

This is a complete crap of a movie and that made me wonder how a movie can be made so excretable? Despite a good story and relatively good actors, at least a few of them? 

I went for it since there were two or rather three good actors, Manju Dey, Bikash Roy and the towering Kamal Mitra. The director Sushil Ghosh was of course was unknown, and now watching the movie I wish he remained one.

It isn’t that the story was so completely bad. A bit predictable of course but that had some interesting twists and could have been a good movie. 

We have two rival village singers (Kabiyals), an old one and one just a bit younger (not young). If one is aware of the Kabiyals, or has seen Antony Firingi, one might know of them. In the competition, in the end, elimination round, they would go for poetic quizzing and the winner wins.

In this the younger one asked a question which the older one failed, but suddenly his (old one’s) son took the stage and responded. The younger not only conceded defeat, or rather threw his gloves by refusing to go further, against a child, but also convinced the older one, a widower and advancing in age, to hand over the son to him, for bringing up. 

He wasn’t issueless, and had a daughter. So it is predictable what would happen. But at that moment no one seemed to concentrate on that, and rather the uncle took it on him to train the young boy in Kabiyali and the classical music. 

In the landlord’s home there was a musical night, by a top Baiji (Manju Dey), where the heroes of the area too were invited, to attend (not compete of course). There Manju takes up the young man (Asim Kumar) under her tutelage.  The method (of impressing her) was too childish and affected as were most of the thing in the movie. Anyway She takes him to her Kotha, and then for some unexplainable reason, neither she does, nor the director, she stops her performances and rather takes up the training, including using her Ustaad, for the youngman.  Obviously the youngman starts winning competitions. However, it was pointed out too, that in the award receiving functions, the “My thanks to” list doesn’t include Manju, but she didn’t mind that.

The boy however isn’t blind and sees the sacrifices that Manju was doing and that she was now almost starving, to keep him well fed and to save money for his pocket and travel money for concerts.

He was offered a movie music director job. Which though clearly Manju didn’t like, he takes up, under that (Money) pretext and also since the producer (Kamal Mitra) uses his daughter as honeytrap. 

Manju isn’t taken to his new rich household under even flimsier excuse. Of course Kamal has said that he should remove all links, with the disreputed area, that could have helped.

There is a strange person Bikash Roy, without doubt rich, and one who is a bit more than attracted to Manju, but she was more than impassive towards him. They have some history, which isn’t clear in the movie. One is that he had refused to marry her. And second, she had left her home, holding his hand, and probably that hand finally led to this, though probably he didn’t lead? Now he is again behind her, he mentions that for last one and half decades he was asking for her forgiveness (and probably more) but she had not bestowed it. This relation between the lovers (at least ex) was interpreted as Buyer-seller relation and created the rift between Manju and Asim, and Asim walked out on her.

There were several instances before, when Asim asked for the identity of the man who was frequent visitor to her room. In fact Bikash too had asked of Asim. Both doubted/harboured jealousy towards other. But Manju shut both of them up, “It is none of your concern”

Asim now goes back to the glitter leaving the darkness permanently behind, which included a sick, destitute and helpless Manju. Of course not for long, the final rift started when Asim saw Bikash with Manju on the same bed. (Hey – on same bed could also be sitting and chatting, with a few feet physical separation too)

On arrival of Asim, Bikash went out, but he overheard all, and then came back, to the bed, and Manju, still sitting, but with that few feet gone. Manju now finally lets her resistance go and accepts his offer, to go and stay with him, at that some remote house, that he in fact constructed for her, with a hope that someday or other, she would forgive him.

Asim however was due for a shock. His girlfriend had managed a better than him fiancee and he now was a discarded one, in fact insulted and thrown out by Kamal.

Finding the steps suddenly end, he goes back a step down, but that too had disappeared. Champa (Manju) had already vacated the house, and as the landlord told, Kumar (Bikash Roy) came with a bag of money, paid all her creditors and took her with him. 

So he had to jump a step further back, to his uncle, and his unofficially betrothed uncle’s daughter, who at the moment was getting married to another boy in the village. They were aware of his exploits in the city. There was logically no reason that they should keep a nubile daughter at home anymore, when there were so many boys falling over each other for her hand. 

Of course to make a bad movie worse, the boy comes back in time and gets the prize (the girl), in fact Manju too was there to give the girl to him. So it is almost like Teen Devian. The boy goes around trying his luck with the women, and then comes back on rebound to the only one who would accept him, despite all !

The plot thus I found, when written in language wasn’t that bad, with proper planning it could have been a good movie. But where did it miss?

The movies, the good ones, need much more subtlety than theaters. The theater due to the distance between the audience and the back benchers, can’t totally depend on face expressions and has to be supplemented with additional gestures and dialogues, which would reach the corners and convey the tone. The movies, due to the large screens and being able to cut off the peripherals and bring only the required part on the screen, must depends more on expression, less on word and least, if nothing on gestures.

This movie, in certain portions, had gone even above theatricals and almost reached “Jatra”, the village theaters we used to watch in our childhood. Dependence on dialogues almost always doom the movie for me at least, may not be box-office though, who might like to clap and whistle.

Behaviour were really not explainable by the characters. What was the hero, Asim’s character? He refuses to go to city, leaving his uncle, aunt and Gouri (unexpressed love) behind to city, even for earning money. But a few days before this, he himself wanted to go, to overcome the abject poverty. Not giving credit to one, who made him what he was, (Champa) too shows the hero wasn’t a hero, and didn’t deserve any audience sympathy. The characters and situations too highly contradict, showing extreme immaturity in conceptualising. 

The actual relation between Kumar (Bikash) and Champa (Manju) had been hinted but not clearly brought out. That had a very major bearing in her actions. Whatever could be guessed was only by their actings. Fortunately only due to this quite a bit could be made out, but still the circumstances of his ditching her, which defined her behaviour towards him, I couldn’t find.

What ws the relation between Manju and Asim? Were they in love, separately? One not aware of the other’s feeling and hence keeping it under wrap, to avoid spoiling a relation? Neither it seems that way, nor it contradicts.  At different portions of the movie it looks different.

The directors can not leave gaps in the story, either through hints or background should be brought out.