Eternal Spring

The delicate Orchid

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Orchids have long been a symbol of love and beauty, grown by enthusiasts for their sheer elegance and fascination. However, one need to take a few extra measures to ensure that the plant not only survives, but thrives. Most of the exotic orchids are almost impossible to keep alive, much less bring into bloom, by all except the most professional growers. Even Charles Darwin failed to cultivate quite a few of them. These live in a unique symbiotic relationship with a partner (usually a specific rare and equally difficult to survive fungus) and both are totally dependent on each other. If one doesn’t survive, the other fades and dies.

After marriage, unlike what normally women do, Nutan indulged in a wild life style, of course not the normal today’s wild life. To hunt animals one has to go to wild, since hunting of pets or Zoo animals I don’t think would have been permitted even then, when hunting wasn’t seen with Lalita Pawar glance. Though she talks of the hunting life, the facts tell it would be very short one, may be that one leopard and a few poor deers.

Of course she hadn’t been entirely good girl either, since the memoirs mentions that she, husband and Tanuja had cleaned up the whole home bar (champagne) on 4th June 1960 (she mentions first birthday after wedding). Frankly one would look askance to being drunk in that state, but may be they didn’t know till some neighbor (like in Baarish) told them.

While she basked at home, leaving the rat race behind, she, as she said, was disturbed by her mentor, the one still alive, Bimal Roy. We know after her retirement declaration Bimal made a few movies with Sadhana. Parakh in 1960 and Prem Patra in 1962. The movies, if someone watches them, were tailor made for Nutan. There were some hints too that these were conceptualized with her in mind. But her stubborn refusal to reconsider her retirement plan made him to go elsewhere. And the new one acted, in the style of Nutan, in both movies. I am mentioning style, not like. Since at a later date the moment original reconsidered her decision, she quickly vacated the field for the undisputed champ and migrated to Masala.

When Bimal came to her with the script of Bandini, she reportedly couldn’t refuse. Despite being aware, as she said herself, that if she rescinds her decision and acts with Bimalda, it would not be morally possible for her to refuse others. However I assume that she was as an artist unable to contain the talent that was pent-up within her and looking for an escape. I can’t say she was bored though, the kid was still an infant when she rejoined, must be a year or an half old. That’s the time the children never keep a mother or father either unoccupied or bored. It takes quite a few years more when they try to get rid of him/ her or at least themselves of him/her. However she had her mother to babysit for him. Anyway that would be the return for what Nutan had done with her kids (incidentally her siblings) earlier in forties.

So must be the Brain washing by Bimalda and also the people around her, must have made her to change her mind. She decided to jump back, a decision lucky for us and I consider unfortunate for her.

However as a token gesture may be, her come back movie, Soorat Aur Seerat was directed by her husband. The movie was a flop, though literatures say that the critics praised the movie (may be like Saudagar, Grahan, Kasturi..) she was going to see it happening again and again. As far as I am concerned, it is a big miss that the movie has disappeared from everywhere, at least from the market.

Though it is listed in IMDb but was it released at all? It is of course listed in the filmography of Nutan as well as Dharmendra. But search the net and you don’t find a single snap from this movie, not even the posters. It takes you to a poster of ‘Ishq par jor Nahin’ in a pose, I doubt Nutan would have agreed to, even under her husband’s baton. Of course this was Sadhana, who won’t have minded.

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There are too many discordant things about this movie.

Wiki gives a single line on it, with the IMDb data, I get that it is produced by Shobhana Samarth (Shobhana Pictures). It has K N Singh, Leela Mishra, Iftekar along with the hero, Dharmendra. Also Honey Irani is one of the main characters.Honey Irani (later Mrs Javed Akhtar, 1950 vintage) was only 12 then, that means she is a child artist (we do know she was in the beginning).

Interestingly all the three movies, were her personal milestones (not career wise). Despite all the attempts – Hamari Beti, Chhabili and Soorat Aur Seerat , all under this banner- seem to have disappeared without trace from the face of the earth. Assuming after the acrimonious family divorce, the banner was with Tanuja and Sobhana, so probably the prints as well as the rights would be with them, or now Tanuja. Didn’t any of the recording houses ever contact them? Or they forgot of this production house existence?

So I will continue with my (habitual) wild guess. What we have here?

A heroine (Nutan), and a Hero (Dharmender). The suspect K N Singh could be villain, but he had been in positive characters too. For example in Manzil he was a tough but not bad father. Then we have a Child (Honey Irani) could be Nutan’s after all if she could be before marriage a mother of around 5 (Chhalia) then after another three year and a legal child later why not a mother of 12?

A potential Mother In law (Leela Mishra), a Police Inspector (Iftekar)- he had graduated from a Robber to a police/public presecutor/judge from end 50s onwards. Even in Bandini he was a lawman, not outlaw, though with dubious character, but that could be expected from his past (his days as villain).

The movie name “Soorat Aur Seerat” means the Looks and the Character. Normally of the male, is it hero’s?

It music director and lyricists are top class (Roshan, Shailendra), but no hit songs are known. Only two audios available on net, though four songs are listed,

  • Bahut Diya dene wale (Mukseh)
  • Geet Mere Sulaye Jagaye Tujhe (Lata)
  • Garaj Ho to Nalkhre dikhati hai Biwi (Asha)
  • Jaise Court Mein hakim Ki chale re kalam (again Asha)

Two songs, the first two, are available in audio format in net.

The second is a lullaby type, but it is the heroine soothing probably the hero, not the child, say like the Khandan song (Tumhi Meri Mandir).

The end of the song is “When my voice doesn’t reach you, my heart-beat will sing this song to you” and also somewhere in between “My voice would always give you company and guide you in this complex world” – it seems to indicate that the script decided to get rid of the heroine in the end. Did that tragic end made the movie crash?

And the first song “The God has given a lot, but you must learn to be within the limit of it”

Do these two songs indicate “Gaban” with a tragic ending and a suffering upright wife? It has a good probability and fits other characters. Dharmendra could perfectly fit the role of a corrupted government clerk.

The second interesting aspect would be , who was Shadow directing? Rajnish was a green horn, I can’t expect him to know the nuances to really direct a whole movie without a proper expert to guide. He would be on the chair, move batons, but someone else must be helping him out, who was it- new mother (Nutan) or old mother (Shobhana) ? Anyway the credits don’t indicate anything, and none of the two ever hinted of it, or at least I don’t recall them talking of the movie.

Unlike Chhabili or lighthouse, no pictures exist in web, not even posters. No one talks of it. Let me stop the guess here.

We now start 1963, where she had three hit movies, with three sets of actors.

  • Bandini of Bimal Roy with Ashok and Dharmendra– purely heroine oriented movie,
  • TGKS– of Dev Anand, with himself as hero.
  • Dil Hi to hai – from B L Rawal (who would have another hit later, with her, in Dil Ne phir yad Kiya) with Raj Kapoor.

So we have the three top heroes churning out hits. If we for a moment combine the two periods of her dominance, i.e. look from 1959 to 1963 as a single stage, the situation would be

  • 4 moviesAnari, Chhalia, Kanhaiya, Dil Hi To Hai – With Raj Kapoor , all hits (first being the top grosser of the year)
  • Two With Dev AnandManzil and TGKS, both hits.
  • Two with DharmendraSoorat Aur Seerat and Bandini, the second hit, first flop.
  • One with ShammiBasant – hit.
  • One with Sunil DuttSujata – hit
  • One with a new comer – Kaysee Mehra Chhabili- flop
  • (And we can add a hero, Ashok Kumar, Bandini.)

So we have now eleven movies of which a staggering 9 are hits. Two are flops and strangely the flops are of that order that they are untraceable., both these flops are under Sobhana Samarth banner, and likely, I would say more than likely, both had Rajnish connections.

She has come back after the marriage, wild life and motherhood. The change is visible. She has lost her slightly plump appearance (Despite the hourglass figure, she was a bit chubby looking). This is not unexpected, the motherhood robs the women of the additional fat from everywhere, during and after, till the kid is big enough to stop bothering mom.

She is now slim and trim, though not to the level of 1950s, and beautiful in another way. Her beauty now is in her ladylike demeanour. On the way she has now lost her childishness. She could still tease, romance, she is beautiful enough to shed 7 to 8 years and look in early twenties, but not the teenager anymore. She can’t play the college girl of Paying Guest now. Though on second thought, maybe she could? No one tried on this. She had acted like young village belle several times at a later date, and quite convincingly, not as an eyesore.

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The beauty is in the eyes of the beholder as the bard said. And it is not only the handful of fans, the whole audience accepted that the wife and mother was still beautiful enough and young enough to romance on screen and they would love her doing that. Of course off screen was a big no from her countless fans that existed back then and has disappeared, might even from the face of the earth by now. The box office too informed that clearly through a regular stream of hits and super hits.

The marriage and motherhood has brought in a bit of natural responsibility in her. That could be seen in her behaviour on screen. The playing prank or teasing the hero is still on but with a bit of maturity, not the childish pranks. It never hurt the sensibility of the viewer, why a woman who looks that age is behaving like this.

There could be a simple explanation. Again my personal opinion, she was a natural actor (or should I now start saying person and not actor?), what she felt like inside her, she did it on screen. So when she played pranks, it not only suited her mental state at that time (or say age), but it also transformed her demeanour, face, to seem of that age.

There is another factor too. And that is, when a movie is of NI (Nutan Index) 8 or above, people really didn’t look at her face, or they looked of course but didn’t disseminate it to think of her age. What she played at, it just looked it was that.

And the third factor, after this she did gradually age, no doubt of it. But she really didn’t look the age even when say she was mid to late forties, almost say up to around 1987/88 or so. I don’t know it was layer’s or make up, but her skin looked smooth up to a long time, but definitely not botox. It wasn’t there then in fashion, as far as I know.

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I will just look at the last one (1989) Mujrim, at her skin. It is unblemished. The age is created by the pale skin, white hair and some oily thing on skin? If I imagine and put a bit make up, she would be in mid thirties. Such a criminal wastage of rarest resource.

I will come back to the 1963. Though it is really a wastage of time to discuss these movies, widely disseminated everywhere.

Bandini of course is considered to be one of the greatest movies ever made.

It is not only from the angle of the superb act by the lead protagonist, after watching the movie we can understand why Bimal, might have hounded her, for playing the role, no other actress of bollywood, dead or alive could have done justice to it. While writing on this part, I found that I was going over the ceiling, so I decided I will muse on Bandini later, in detail, here it simply can’t suffice as a part of another subject.

The greatest thing of the movie is not only Nutan, but the making and conceptualization. The movie has moved with the main protagonist Kalyani and since it is a flashback, the information were of the happenings where she was physically present. All other things where she wasn’t, are not brought in, only how they came to affect her are brought out as her experience. Not a single scene in the movie is of what she hasn’t experienced. Ashok Kumar is in house arrest? She was eves dropping to give him the letter when she finds of it. Who is Ashok Kumar? She finds from the office gossip when she comes to serve breakfast to her father. It had to be like that since it was her memoirs that the Jailor (Tarun) was reading. But then how many times we see that happening in other movies? Even something like Ashok’s marriage and the circumstances we come to know at the end, when his man-Friday tells her, in brief.

I didn’t see any behaviour of ‘since the script says’ rather than ‘I would have done that in his/her position’. Sujata too had been similar, maybe I will talk of both together later (if I remember and catch the current train of thought again)

If one looks at the movie (Bandini) it has a very long story, and not too simple one. But presented in an excellent way and it never looks as if the story is either stretched or over speeded. Compare with Basant, where a much simpler story had been messed up.

It really has two love stories, one the reason of her being there and the other what happens afterwards, Packing both, each a full length movie in its whole right, into one, and keeping all the story unbroken together needs a master story teller. The way it has been presented, like a delicious wine, to be enjoyed in sips, it needed something beyond, an Exceptional conceptualizer and an exceptional protagonist. The protagonist has to help the story by talking in seconds what the normal movie takes minutes to inform. When they came together, it didn’t have any other choice than becoming a masterpiece.

Just for an example, when she tells of the circumstances of her childhood and her brother till his death, it might be only a minute or so. But with the expressions and the ultimate breakdown, we can see in front of our eyes what had actually happened.

This movie again confirms that Nutan is the Mother lover. She had been mother in this movie to first her father (we don’t know her relation with her brother, but being the woman of the home, after the mother’s death I can’t negate it), Ashok Kumar, the child cousin who is reared with them, patient in the jail hospital, in fact even up to certain extent Dharmendra. Since every time, like the proverbial ideal mother, she had sacrificed her interest, wants, and happiness for the other (Child).

Acts can be silent but the face, the slight body movements were never silent in the movie, they spoke and brought tears, which she rarely shed in the movie, not even at her father’ s death, to the audience. This soundless and tearless weeping has the capacity to flood the auditoriums, which the loud and affected ones, she was later forced to do, don’t. That’s where the actual director and a person on director’s seat for the cash differ.

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The second Movie of this year was the second hit in the list Tere Ghar ke Saamne with her old flame (on screen) and the industries heart throb Dev Anand. Exactly opposite to the previous one, it was a frothy – devoid of any logic – romantic movie immortalized by its songs. Do not watch the movie to make a sense about it. Just enjoy Nutan’s presence and bask in that and add the songs to it.

It is a as I said, frothy romance. Unlike the previous one, this is a simple story stretched to fill the time period of two hours plus, the bollywood duration. But at least I didn’t mind it, more stretching means more of Nutan, and the box office data shows the audience of that time too thought like this.

There are two warring rich. Both have purchased adjacent plots and want to build the best, or at least better than the other’s house in these plots. They go to the best architect firm, and obviously select the same architect and the same design. This architect, the hero, is the son of one wealthy, and during the course, unknowingly falls for the daughter of the other. When he comes to know, it is late and he is head over heels, and equally reciprocated by her, in the victory memorial, (Qutub Minar) they make the winning move,

Now how to hide his identity from the girl and then unite the families so that they can is the story. The music is the Dev Family permanent, the great S D Burman, and he created a number of memorable songs for the movie.

Even in this movie there is a song of frolicking and teasing the hero. But it just looks normal, and not as if some on in late twenties acting as teenager. She simply carries it, on her delicate shoulders, as she did the movie.

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I some time get a doubt, genuine, was she limited to the ‘Males’ or both genders? For example, in most of the movies, we watch out for her, rarely concentrating on Raj or Dev unless of course forced, due to her absence from screen. Is it opposite with the fairer gender of the audience? Must be most probably so. Do they wait for when Nutan goes out of screen and Dev appears back, opposite of us? 

The third movie in this period and to make it 3/3 in hit count was “Dil Hi To Hai” with Raj Kapoor. After a master piece, a sense-less romance now we have another box-office hit in a typical masala movie (obviously masala are senseless and hence again not one for the critics).

Obviously it was a Raj Kapoor’s movie by the script, but then the previous one TGKS was Dev Anand’s.

The story is practically the same old oft repeated, we have seen it in Aagosh or Munimji, the child replacement by a scheming woman. The child (after growing up of course) falls for the same girl as the replacement did. Then usual dog-fight and then winner takes all principle. The winner gets the girl and the property. Of course not to mention that it is double property, his righteous own and the girl’s. The girl obviously is an heiress, the only child of another wealthy. Otherwise why all these eligible and ineligible bachelors would run after her? Only for beauty? Even then, even in movies it didn’t happen.

To give it the credit, it isn’t carbon copy but has a bit of twist, most of it is in the beginning.

Here we have a Nawab, whose wife, after a few miscarriages and finally one successful ones, is told by some astrologers to send the infant off otherwise… He sends the infant to his sister’s (who is of course poor, and of course Manorama), for five years, as the astrologer told. Manorama too, incidentally has a child of similar age. On the designated day, she abandons the original child in some railway platform and plants her own in his place. The abandoned prince is found by Lila Chitnis a poor woman and brought up to become a poor but celebrated Radio Singer. The other planted son of course has to be Pran. There is another richer Nawab, Khan Bahadur (Nasir Hussain), a very close friend of the first one Nawab Jallauddin (Hari Shivdasani) in case of people who don’t know – but can mis-guess from Shivdasani- he was not the father of Sadhana but of Babita, and uncle of Sadhana.

Of course now everything is predictable. Khan Bahadur has to have only one child. Since the other has a boy, his would have to be girl. Both friends would want their children to marry each other. She being young and beautiful (when it is Nutan) and wealthy, both, the villain (the family choice) and the hero Radio Singer are after her affections. Technically he is Radio Singer but since it was told, somewhere in the movie, that he is jobless and hence on streets, so may be street singer would be correct terminology (Singer on streets).

Rest is predictable and meaningless- the hero goes in disguise (like Munimji) and becomes heroine’s music teacher, and then the usual confusion, interference of hero into the life of the poor villain (and that too at the time of his wedding). For a change, may be the first time, RK has become physical, he has those “Dishum Dishum” with Pran, and then finally…

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There are a few beautiful songs in it, one classical by Manna Dey
“Laga Chunri mein daag” –
My cloth is stained how to hide that, how do I go home in this condition? How do I explain it to my parents?
And then two beautiful Nutan songs in it,
“Tum Agar Mujhko…”
And then of course the

In the combined period, if we see she had a staggering 9 hits out of 11 that she featured in. All the movies, whether hero oriented or heroine, were having an indelible Nutan trademark through which they would be remembered in future.

This phase was in continuance of the previous phase and most successful phase of her career as well as personal life. She had almost all the movies as hits, a loving husband and a real non-screen child. She had replied to the skepticism of the people of whether a married woman and that too with a child can make a comeback. That too in a romantic heroine’s role, make love to other men (not her real life husband), frolic with them and still win audience’s heart. The box office data, the audience reactions and also identifying two out and out hero backed movies with heroines gave a fitting reply to all who doubted.

But how many realized that in this period the nail, the only one, in her coffin was put? I don’t think anyone did, not even her.

3 thoughts on “Eternal Spring”

  1. I was interested to read about Rajnish Behl directing Soorat aur seerat, a lots movie: first it’s really funny to see the husband actually direct his wife whom he had just allowed to go back to the movies: like a lover! Then it is disturbing/interesting that the movie is completely lost: could it be that the same lover wanted to keep the film for himself??
    Lots of nice thoughts otherwise. Of course girls would want to wait for Nutan to disappear from the screen and hope to see their beloved Dev appear: it’s only natural! In fact I remember some people in other blogs praise Dev and pay only lip service to our heroine!

  2. Lyrics as I mentioned seem to indicate again a motherly wife so Rajnish won’t have been worried his wife mothering another (grown up) child – Dharmendra .
    What I suspect- is whether this was booked as part of court ? The tax-hounds do lot of crazy things. This becomes strong- since all the movies I (nad may be all fans) are desparately searching for have released, OK accepted were flops- but all are from Sobhana Pictures- which was under tax net- and controversy was which partner to pay.
    So first court would attach all properties of “Sobhana Pictures” and then ask the owners to pay or else- in that pay or else did every one forgot to get the properties released ?
    Or they deliberately didn’t since these didn’t carry any value (for them) and if the court (or Tax) takes them, they have to pay just that much less to them?
    I searched for court proceedings- it could have been in camera, since there is no listing . Usual court proceedings are available on net- except the private, in camera things, here being a high profile, court might have gone for it.
    And it would be sad- since the tax or any other won’t maintain the prints and would have been completely destroyed by now.

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