Bed of Thorns

N8-01

As I mentioned the previous phase 1963 especially was her best year since she had replied to all her critics, and till date it is said that she has shown to the world that a wife and a mother can be the romantic heroine on screen and the audience would lap the movie on account of her.

Also in the exact opposite way, this was her worst year. And that despite having all the three movies of her hit in this year, and one of them is by which her and Bimal Roy’s name would remain in the annals of the Indian film history, after all a movie like Bandini are not made every day. Where does one get another Bimal or a Nutan to even attempt it?

Now let me see the condition at that moment. The generation was changing. The type of the directors who would be the crafts men were gone or about to go from the face of the earth.

Old Brigade

Amiya Chakraborty (1957), Guru Dutt (1964), Bimal Roy(1965) has already done their last movies, Mehboob Khan (1964), and all the old generations who had made the forties and fifties what that was all have left the industry or are about to. That is not very unnatural, since this generation had been almost self learnt and strugglers and hence knew the nuances of the whole thing. And of course after twenty years in it, the age and the strain has to take its toll.

The Bengal brigade was known for the heroine oriented movies. The flickering torch of the till then dominating brigade was then being upheld by only few,Asit Sen, Basu Bhattacharya and Hrishikesh Mukherjee (former assistants to Bimal Roy) and Basu Chatterjee (assistant in turn to Basu Bhattacharya). Even of this, Asit Sen only once in a while reached the heights of the others, Hrishikesh was on the hero oriented movies, at least for quite some time. Only the two Basus (no relation to me, they are first name Basu, would be short for Basudev – in Bengal Vasudev is written with B) analysed and made movies which reflected the women’s point of view and both were low productive to say the least. But all these four made good and enjoyable movies of golden vintage – Safar, Mili, Bawarchi, Rajnigandha etc to name a few.

This vacuum in the Bengalis is Bollywood is something baffling and only someone in the thick of it can tell the reason. It is not that they existed in mass earlier either. But there were some and they raised the bar for others to follow. After them, or during them, why no one else came in? They did exist in Bengal and quite a few of repute. Satyajit of course wasn’t going to move west, but may be some others?

Was there some sort of entry barriers put by other groups? There were some greats, Tarun Majumdar, Tapan Sinha, Ritwik Ghatak, Budhhadeb Dasgupta, Rituparna Ghosh, Mrinal Sen (he was of course a bit noir – or should I say Crimson, since he was a Red) … in fact the downfall of the Bollywood that happened in mid-sixties, the Tollywood (Bengal Cinema) could survive that till around ‘80s and after that of course by the bad-apple principle it too went down the drain. Though its destruction was not as completely as bolly-wood, still we find good enjoyable new wines being brewed there. A few of Nutan’s movies, under their baton would be enough to sustain the fact, though unfortunately all were flops. Not unexpected considering that it was the age when, if there is no adrenalin and testosterone, movies won’t earn.

The North west in the golden age had the greats, Mehboob, Asif, Sohrab Modi, Kardar,… to name a few. They went ahead with either lavish period drama or hero oriented movies. And they to perished- or the Golden era perished with all these simultaneous (almost) deaths/ retirements.

In Golden era too of course there were multitude of few movie wonders but rarely did they make a good movie. The audience almost firmly rejected their movies, the reason not always justified, but in most of the cases they were. That is anyway not very strange, since if anyone was good enough they won’t remain one film wonder. Though a few very good movie makers too went down the drain due to this audience unpredictability and some bad directors moved up.

Of the generation old, of golden brigade directors of North-west may be only Vijay and Chetan Anand and V Shantaram remained at this period.

All of them had been very selective and taking up a project just once in a while. The Industry couldn’t depend on them for their bread. In addition they would all take small budget movies with no pomp and show. The casting may be big (say Mili, Khoobsoorat) but the setting and execution will be at a small set-up, which they were habituated to of watching their mentors doing. There was a big vacuum created in the creative part of the Bollywood. And it wasn’t gradual but all of a sudden.

Choco-Nuts from North-West

The fill-up of the gap first came from the other areas. The people had seen that the success of romantic movies and obviously would assume that the audience would lap it up. The story (or absence of it) was simple,

You have a hero and a heroine, one of them would be poor (Anari was hit so let us take that concept, may be reverse the gender once in a while) then a villain, and the family opposition (of course of the wealthy one), a lot of songs put in here and there where the hero and heroine dances around trees and bushes. The wilder the dance moves (Shammi and Joy proved it) more would be the mass appeal. In the end either they meet (Anari way) or both die (Laila Majnu end) in arms of each other.

Cyclone from South

The bigger threat came from the south and overwhelmed all. The tentacles that had been trying to grow around the industry for some time have now taken a firm root, and the whole industry was moving southwards, geographically and metamorphic-ally.

In south India the movies have only three flavours,

  • Mythological – like they tried in Nagin;
  • Period Drama – this basically Sohrab Modi excelled in. Though he is not for South, but the south Period dramas were and are to date similar to it, might even have been influenced by Modi.
  • Family Drama – A suffering wife (or any other type, woman of the house) , a usually dominant husband (may be with an affair outside) , a Mother in Law even more black than coal- who would do things only to make the heroines life miserable, whether or not anything is gained by it. And a problem, which would or at least very nearly would, the heroine to die. Based on the success of this endeavor the movie would be a tragic or non-tragic ending.

This problem, the X factor, differed a bit but all with the same overall effect. It could be an extra marital affair of husband, or a sister in law, usually brother-in-laws weren’t bad till married but once they were, they too are to be counted amongst X.

Now who or what is X isn’t important. What is important is the effect. It would cause an effect where the finger would point to the actually innocent heroine (the housewife, usually with couple of very young kids), she often would be thrown out of home, with the kids. Then on wards her travails, tears, suicide/ death would constitute the rest of the movie.

You have an angel on the earth (wife, of course being an angel she won’t resist all the punishments she has to undergo for other’s fault, the Jesus’ way) with a few angels (not necessary but often angelic, till they grow up to be devil incarnate) of her own, her husband who is bad (wife dies in the end) or misguided (likely to survive the ordeal) and an X factor.

The other two, the mythological was not saleable across India. Since in India, the mythologies are often area specific. In the brad skeleton of one mythology, the flesh would be put differently and so in the end, same one would differ from zone to zone. So if you make for one region, it would bomb in the rest. So our smart persons thought against that.

The Period drama could be attempted once in a while and would have a appeal throughout but it was a very costly and time consuming affair to attempt in mass production.

So in this condition the Bollywood was left with one after another inane ‘family Dramas’ / love stories (triangles) churned out. This was the Gold Era of Bollywood against the previous, Golden era. Some of the movie became hit and others flop. Since all the directors were equally bad (or good, if one doesn’t want to be harsh) the focus shifted to the actors. Kashmir Ki kali, Raj Kumar, Budtameez, Sangam, Ayee Milan Ki Bela, Jab jab Phhol Khiein, Arzoo list is endless, just touch the hits and you would hit a thing with a deja-vu feeling.

A choco-nut required either Joy or Shammi, the director? What would be his contribution to the box office?

A family drama/love triangle needed Rajendra Kumar, may be Manoj , later of course Jeetendra was their permanent fixture with the girls who were ready to vegetate. Vyjayanthi was in the field (or park) from the beginning, Ladki onwards, now Sadhana after change of ship joined with the new bloods, Saira, Asha, Sharmila, Mumtaj.

The virile heroes had to be matched by overtly feminine heroines, who won’t shy at showing the “feminity” to the audience, and thought the heroes ruled the roost, they gained significance as preferred consorts.

N8-02

Era Of Heroes

This is thus the start which till date continues the era of the on screen stars. The non-directing directors and use of the same curry ensured that all other things go to the back ground. The stars would be the only reason which would attract the audience to the cinema halls. It isn’t that it wasn’t there earlier, the real life love stories, say Raj and Nargis, people would go to watch in movies.

But if one looks at the number of flops the same pair generated (at least half were flops), then it makes one think again. At that time no star could make a movie hit by name, let it be Dilip, Raj, Sunil or anyone, including the heroines, Meena, Nargis, Suraiyya, Nimmi,….

People knew what they are looking for, a good and enjoyable story they haven’t seen yet and that would be ensured not by stars but the house and the director. Stars did matter but weren’t the whole ingredients that made the food saleable, it was the cook. The smart actors stuck to the production houses or opened their own, the others suffered.

Aging Superstars And Claimant of the thrones

The heroines are already pushed to secondary, filler position. So let me now see at the heroes, the ones by whose name the cinema halls will fill up.

The current breed of heroes who could and did dominate the scene were aging. Even though the male heroes expected a longer life span, even then, still most of them were now reaching forties or more. If we now look forward, it would be another 5-6 years, maximum ten, and they would start fading out as the romantic hero. The list was of course headed by seniors Raj Kapoor (1924), Dev Anand (1923), Dileep Kumar (1922), Rajendra Kumar (1929), Sunil Dutt (1929), Shammi Kapoor (1931) etc and joined by a few new comers with fathers/ God fathers like Joy Mukherjee.

The rest were the actors who knew of the impending vacancy and were in the rat race to fill it up. Each had a particular slot in mind and aimed for that. These the then ‘B’ Grade dreaming to be next superstar were the Rajesh Khanna (Rajendra Kumar Slot), Dharmendra (Sunil Dutt Slot), Shashi Kapoor, Jeetendra, Joy Mukherjee (Shammi Kapoor Slot), Sanjeev Kumar (Dileep Kumar Slot) etc. Of course the target slots were not exact, I am only looking at the predominantly what could have been their target by their initial style.

Obviously to be/retain the undisputed numero-uno they can’t share the credit of a movies success. If an established hero has to share a movie’s success then he slips in ranking. If a claimant has to share, he loses a brownie point. It is exactly what happens in any game, if you draw a match you get only one point (The other is taken by whom it doesn’t matter, as long as it is not your direct competitor) if you win it, you get 3 points but if you lose it, you get zero, and worse is if the winner is your competitor (like what happened in Anand and Namak Haram).

When it is the heroine winning it from you of course the last scenario doesn’t exist, you can get 3, 1 or zero. Though the competitor doesn’t gain, but still you drop down the ranking table.

What Happened in 1963

In the year 1963 one heroine came back from retirement, not only married but mother of a child (this time actual, not on screen).

The common sense told that the audience would look askance at it. Do you want to see your or someone else’s wife walking hand in hand , romancing, even getting into arms of another man who is not her husband? The culture didn’t permit that in fact no culture would. Even in open with her own husband might have been considered brazen, I haven’t seen my parents (of exactly her generation) doing that. Even on screen it might affect, that’s what the Pundit’s said.

After all when they see the heroine on screen (Especially on those times) the audiences desire her. This carnal part of the audience psychology, at those times Asha, Sharmila, Babita Mala, and also later Sadhana catered to, by the figure hugging dresses. The Chunri that they used to put on was only for name sake, not for the purpose. Of course if they had used them properly, how could they make audience to focus where they/ directors wanted them to focus on?

N8-03

All this was all right as far as she is unattached, at least unmarried. But once married I (audience) know I don’t stand a chance any more, the slot in her heart, that I dreamt of filling, despite all my features (dreaming doesn’t cost anything), is occupied by her husband. And to add to that she has a child of her own. Even in movies (say Chhalia), may be RK would still have tried, till she informed that she had a son? Motherhood is highly venerated profession. So the sweet dreams that we get after seeing a desirable woman on screen would be out of the window, the moment the back of the mind reminds me she is a mother now.

Why the top-guns (Raj and Dev) chose her, in that situation? No one talks of it, but I can make safe assumption.

She had gone out undisputed prima-diva into her retirement, obviously breaking lot of hearts and disappointing fans. Now that Bimal has convinced her to make a comeback, why don’t I try to use the audience’s curiosity and land up in a hit film? After all I am now on the afternoon in age, as well as the new breed are threatening me. I can at least for some time deflect the threat. Cash on, in the curiosity of people.  People would definitely like to know how she looked now, and that curiosity, across the nation (she was the beloved person of pan India then) would generate enough money to make the movie hit. And it actually happened so

But there was something they grossly miscalculated. It wasn’t really their fault. Any one in their position would have, and the whole fraternity assumed it. But what they hypothesized obviously audience was not going to listen. They lapped up all the three movies of the year as our star-heroes had expected. But what they didn’t expect happened. The audience gave the credit of the success to the romancing wife and mother. In the end it didn’t turn out the way they wanted, that the people had gone only to satisfy the curiosity how she looked after the childbirth, has she lost the glow, did she lost her figure and become fat? Or any other factor that the Pundit’s would have predicted to be the success points of the movie.

The audience came out of the hall and told that the movie is her. And that for both the movies despite her being given a safe secondary role.

Why did it happen? I assume that it was due to her ‘motherly’ romancing. Of course then no one would bother about her being motherly towards another, unless he is a jealous child. In her style of acting the motherly attitude, even towards the hero took prominence over the other type, and that’s why I don’t think anyone ever got any carnal feeling towards her what they would get towards the other heroines. I haven’t seen and I don’t assume there would be whistles in her movies. And when it is your mother on screen, obviously you don’t forego her for loving another of her child (though it is hero). Did Amitabh forego Nirupa in Deewar?

Since there was no sexual relation between her and hero, nor even hinted, why should a child bother? Even when she had gone to bed with the hero in later movies (of course after marriage), it never looked they were going to do anything naughty.Think of the song from Khandan, it is their wedding night, and she is singing a lullaby to make him sleep,

Or maybe the audience thought that since it is the husband it is automatically father figure by default and hence accepted!

In fact there may be one even more interesting factor. If my own mother is young and beautiful, and there is no father (why and how I came into existence, let us not brood upon), and she loves someone now. If her motherly eyes on me don’t change a bit despite him, would I mind? Or I would be happy at her happiness? Since I am not competing to occupy ‘his’ place I won’t be jealous. May be all these complex things played on the children in the cinema hall and they didn’t mind a bit. Also in the mother vs her man, mother gets the preference. The calculation completely misfired. The two year gap disappeared as if it wasn’t there.

How Does that Matter ?

Of course it mattered. The heroes had recommended her with fond hope to buttress their career. However the final outcome from a hit film did exactly opposite. Had these been flops, they could have shifted blame on her. 

Let us look from their angle. The current scenario is not too good for either. The young ones and Shammi style is creating problem for them. Of course one of them shouldn’t have bothered, being brother, but definitely he isn’t comfortable, since his brother’s clones too are there, taking advantage of audience leaning.

Joy Mukherjee has made taken top slot in Ek Musafir Ek Hassena, then the forte of Dev has been at the #2 position Bees Saal Baad, but not with him but Biswajit as hero. Rajendra Kumar and Shammi both till date the ‘B’ grade heroes with almost all the movies flopped are now fast rising to the top with one after another hit (Rajendra of course would not be stopped as the annals say).

They took a calculated gamble, they both needed hit movies desperately and the gamble paid. They both got a hit movie apiece. But the reason that they wanted, having a movie hit, despite the audience rejecting the heroine, back fired miserably.

In this condition, with the throne already shaken and now almost getting uprooted, they couldn’t afford any further risk. So they played safe and must have passed on the message where it matters, hit or no hit, they are not going to work with this heroine any more. That is the only explanation of having not a single movie of the pair(s) after a hit. They do after a flop, in fact after a few flops, they amicably part ways. After a hit, it could be only due to off screen activities: Dev- Surraiyya, Raj-Nargis, Dileep- Madhubala, Suraiyya, Nimmi…of which there are no hints here.

So there went the two stars, of course along with their own/ dedicated production houses, out of her life. Now let us see at the others.

With this fiasco obviously the others on top were not going to take the risk. Rajendra could have tried, but he had already burnt his fingers earlier. In a 1959 movie, Dhool Ka Phool, the heroine had taken the cake. Now if one like Mala Sinha could do it, in this stage can the reigning superstar afford to be belittled by a woman? What about the male ego? He took the call, and he was right as the future would tell, in a movie with him in a powerful positive role, with two young hero-heroine, heartthrob of the day romancing, the vamp hijacked the movie, or in fact the audience presented it to her.

All other claimants of the thrones obviously won’t look at the path their elders feared to tread. They knew the equations and agreed to the theory whole heartedly. Unlike the superstars, who selected their heroines, these however didn’t have that much of say. So their refusal to work with a particular artist would be known, and to justify they gave some flimsy excuses (Age gap etc).

Nutan was left with only few types of people who agreed to work against her,

  • The people who had confidence on their own capability and in their way they were great actors and self-effacing and also great people as humane. In fact the real great people, rarely have the ego, the ego comes in when a person is a bit less than what he/she wants the world to know of. It was the one and only Sunil Dutt, who didn’t bother whether the movie is remembered for him or her. He had his own estimate of self, he never entered the rat race and kept on giving good picture, whether hero oriented (Mujhe Jeene Do- where a strong heroine Waheeda couldn’t match him) or heroine oriented (Sujata where he completely self-effaced himself)
  • The strugglers who wanted to use her as a stepping stone to move up.
  • The Eastern productions, whenever they, now rarely, ventured in Bollywood. And like the old timers, it was their call on actors and the hero, even a superstar, had to listen to them. Otherwise they may walk out to work with the directors who are hanging on their words.

She was now in a condition where no top actors, except Sunil, would be ready to work with her, and consequently all the production houses that were loyal to these stars, would keep that “Teen haath Door – three yards apart” which she told back then in 1957 to “Dev Anand” in Baarish from her.

The Bed of Poisonous Thorns.

If one thinks her travails were over then it is wrong. This was a very small part of it. She could have reconsidered her decision and gone back into retirement again. Now Bimal Roy won’t be there to pull her back into action.

Unfortunately she had, in my opinion, already made the huge irrevocable personal mistake by reconsidering her decision to come out of retirement in 1962 and would be paying for it, may be till her end.

Let me look at the background, once upon a time a production company was formed. It was a family owned company and was named as Shobhana Pictures. The shareholding pattern isn’t fully known What I know is that equal shares were held by the mother (Shobhana) and the two actress daughters (Nutan and Tanuja) and a part of share was held by Grand Mother Rattan Bai. Since we know Nutan held 30% so I assume that Rattan Bai must have had the left out, token 10%.

This production house had produced three movies, all the three at milestone events and should all have been hits if not then, now at a later date due to the historical significance but the conditions show that they had been either a very bad flops or may be some other things are there for them not to be available in market.

The first movie was introduction of Nutan as a heroine (her first ever movie, simply missing from radar, is Nal Damayanti of 1945). In this second movie (Hamari Beti), the producer, director and one of the lead actors was Shobhana. Then came the second movie of the house (or home?) Chhabili where the second daughter Tanuja was introduced. Again it has its own “collector’s” importance.

  • It was the first movie of Tanuja as adult actor.
  • Last movie of Nutan as the things stood then,
  • To top it all there were songs played back by Nutan, and at least one duet with Hemant “Lehron pe lehar” was a hit, at least I have heard it in my childhood in Radios. Of course then I didn’t know that the singer was Nutan. Interestingly this duet version has disappeared from Youtube, recently when I tried, the link was broken. This movie too was produced, directed and acted by Shobhana.

The third and last movie produced was the comeback movie of Nutan, “Soorat Aur Seerat” and since it was directed by Rajnish, it would again be very significant for the fans.

However with three out of three flops obviously the production company was in a deep financial trouble. Of course till Chhabili nothing had really mattered, since the money earned could have paid off to the debtors. Who has earned was not important, like we have seen in the movie “Sone Ki Chidiya”

But after the split (i.e Nutan marrying Rajnish, I assume not under very supportive family condition) the next flop, Soorat Aur Seerat, as per record Nutan refused to bear, the whole. She was OK with her share of 30% but no more. We can assume the rest 70% was under control of mother (10% of Rattan Bai, Her own 30% and Tanuja’s 30%). It just makes one wonder how the company was formed in the beginning itself? Since after first movie onwards or may be even for that one movie (the amount of pressure and successive movies she had to act in in that age might indicate the desperate condition) the finances were by one. But let me not delve into that.

I will go with the statements available in public made by Nutan, some court noting I could get (I don’t know it looks to be very rare, was it in camera? Normally court proceedings are available on net, but not this. I have seen a lot of legal proceedings on net, even of 1950s so it can’t be that digitization hasn’t been done of the era) and leave the judgement part.

Dec 16- 1964

“In her deposition Nutan said that every pie invested in Shobhana Pictures was from her earnings.She also said that Tanuja,her younger sister,was earning…. When the compromise talks had failed,Nutan had orally told her mother that she (the mother) had forged her signature.She said this in the heat of the moment.”

I don’t know how many times I would have been in court or I would have pulled my wife/ daughter/ son to court if all these oral statements in anger become a legally challengeable. Nutan had not put this thing in writing or in her case file, only oral during the shout/ scream contest?

“When I went to court against my mother everyone maligned me, they said how could Nutan do this to her mother. Strange nobody stopped to think, how could my mother do this to her daughter?”

Then in the Stardust article of  1972, back then (I think I am violating copyright) so I will reword, 

Nutan told Sobhana that she was ready to pay her share of the tax demand. But the other partners too must bear their parts. Logical, since she claimed anyway what property they owned were from her earnings.  But shobhana won’t have anything to do with this proposal and told the whole should be borne by Nutan. All logic fell into deaf ears.

Nutan reportedly asked to sell off at least the common properties but even that was not agreed upon. And that was when the tax department has served notice threatening to seize her house and belongings to settle the debt. There was no effect of this either on Sobhana, as if she didn’t care of it. “It was as if I was a nobody to her, and what befell me would mean absolutely nothing to her”

An effort to get public sympathy by Nutan? Perfectly possible of course, also Shobhana would have her own version on this issue.  

However Shobhana Samarth (In an Interview)- “I didn’t give any dowry to any of my daughters. Instead I gave an apartment to each of them at the time of marriage, so that if the marriage turns sour, they won’t be on roads

Interesting statement on two accounts. If the marriage turns sour, she wasn’t going to help them find their feet. And I assume at least the eldest one, since it was in that context this interview was published.

Secondly it indirectly tells that of all the earnings made till then Nutan was given only one apartment to call her own. Rest were either joint or may be the family (i.e. mothers)? Even if it was joint, the above statement of Nutan tells that most of it was under her Mother’s control. May be a few parts were her, where too some encroachment was done by this same mother. Obviously I don’t understand her trying to guard the de-facto daughter’s property, though she had it in her own name, as the brood of eggs, not to be disturbed? Even at the cost of whatever happens to the daughter or her family?

Nutan was then a new wife and also the mother of an infant. The husband was a retired person. I don’t know his own earnings or vocations then, but it can’t be significant, at least significant enough to maintain the lifestyle that Nutan must have by then become used to. The Pundits had already written off the wife cum mother. She knew that she wasn’t beautiful, unfortunately we (the audience) didn’t know that she wasn’t. Probably in the back of the mind she knew that the earnings that she would make even if she gets a few movies more won’t be enough to keep the dogs at bay and sooner or later her property (the apartment given in dowry) would be sealed and sold by Tax Authorities.

She was aware that there are properties, which are probably bought by her earnings of Seema, Paying Guest, Anari,… if a few of them were sold, which she had pleaded to be, at least in the interview she said so, then at least her roof would be saved?

What would I or you do in that situation?

Somehow it makes one feel that Shobhana really hated Rajnish, was it because of him marrying her? And was ready to do anything to harm him, even at the cost of her own daughter, or she wanted the marriage to collapse so that she has the daughter back with “See I told you not to”?

It was much clearer in the same interview. Nutan tells that her mother’s lawyers tore her to pieces, though her own lawyers were constrained by her (though we don’t know whether they followed it or not) – they even linked her husband to a woman, who was Nutan’s secretary…. how could she allow it?

This was the time she was living in hell and add to that the Sanjeev episode. I can only sympathise with her and just shudder at what she was going through.

There are so many things told of her relation with her husband, I personally don’t believe it was that bad, it could be strained, it does happen in married life, one simple statement of her in the same interview sums up about her Sanjeev Scandal “He was so kind and gentle and loyal and I know he believed in me. And that’s all I needed isn’t it? That my husband trusted me?

May be that’s why she survived? And he must be the one to move her to the religion? Who knows? “He taught me to look at the things in a detached manner to avoid the pains”?

Anyway she won both the cases, personal against Sanjeev, who never bothered her again and legal against mother. The court agreed that she was right.

But at what cost?

Her own happiness, peace, the life of relaxation with a child and husband?

An interesting part is the covering note of that article “Nutan was very happy after reading the article and personally thanked the editorial team. But that must have been before her husband had read it. Since when the magazine tried to contact for a followup, Nutan won’t pick up, Rajnish would and would not permit the interview. 

It is interesting because of a simple fact, she had showered praise on her husband and placed all the blame elsewhere. There is not a single statement criticize him. Then why did he put the censor?

This is one factor had been always taken as the proof of his suspicious, overbearing and dominating to the point of strangling attitude. Agreed it might look like that. But why did he do it consequent to this article, which not only showed his wife as the person in white, but himself as, well next to Him. This interview was done in his absence, and may be without his knowledge (as the censor seem to indicate?) 

If I look at it from another angle, it might be just the opposite of what is projected. The actual will lie in between. He is a military person, where these type of internal matters are not talked of it in public. That is even if it is in support of him, but it is in opposition of some of the members of the establishment. Hence he had court-martialled Nutan or at least put her in solitary (at least as far as media is concerned?) confinement?

It also gives me a hint of the reason behind her career progress. In this 1972 Stardust she mentions “I and my husband have paid off every penny of all the debtors and from last June (i.e. 1971?) We are finally free of debts.”

If we look at her career from the 1964 to 1971, when whatever she earned were for paying back the creditors, we now could realize the reason of the movies she had selected (forced to?) Just for the money to feed the creditors then.

This further raises a question. If she had the properties in her name (at least the majority) she would have sold them off, to get rid of the creditors, rather than slaving for those seven years? This one fact (finally we are free of debt from last June onwards) can’t be a lie? 

Another interesting fact too comes up. The interviewer asks, When Shobhana was now contrite and wants to make up, why Nutan had refused to have anything to do with her. To which Nutan says that after whatever she had done, all the bonds are broken and she wants to stay with her small family in the small home she is left with, never to have anything to do with them.

Logical from Nutan’s side. But why didn’t the contrite mother at least now sold some property to get the daughter rid of the slavery? 

Of the twenty or so movies,  a staggering 10 were the family drama from south. Though she said that she chose the movies that had a meaty role for her. In these movies, agreed, the angelic wife has always a meaty role, now whether that is fresh or rotten is to be debated. Fortunately for us, all were not that bad and unfortunately that were countered by a few bad ‘family drama’s which seemed to have percolated elsewhere by then.

This could have been the time where she would have been churning out one after another masterpiece or in in contrary she could have been happy at home, a content housewife with may be scores of children like what she said in “Sone Ki Chidia” which obviously in the current financial situation they couldn’t afford.

The fate had ordained otherwise and everything went against her and against us. Her exceptional talent was the main culprit, and then the schemes and activities of her near and dear as well as the industry persons, all went with a single intent, finish her. That she survived is another exceptional act by her.

 

One thought on “Bed of Thorns”

  1. Who…who can ever, ever, finish off Nutan ? The one and only supergirl, superactress, super woman Nutan ? Nutan is forever and ever…..

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