Sunday, December 13, 2009
Of disconnected relationships & intriguing dynamics
When I was expressing my views about Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna in one of my previous posts, I kept thinking about a few other movies that belong to the same genre and deal with human relationships in a much more touching and intricate manner. Oh no, I'm not talking about the new-age cult movies like Murder, Jism, Zeher, and the likes. These do not appeal to my sense(s) and sensibility(ies).
I am thinking of movies like Silsila (but of course!!), Masoom, Arth, Sahib Biwi aur Ghulam, Ijaazat, and Charulatha (Satyajit Ray's amazing depiction of Rabindranath Tagore's story). Why was I reminded of these movies particularly? Because all of them displayed the same deftness in handling tricky themes and portraying delicate issues. You just have to open your eyes, let your mind take in all that's happening around you, notice the kind of relationship(s) shared by men and women in our culturally evolving society, and you'll see what I mean.
Silsila, I must say, was too bold for the early '80s but the makers couldn't keep at it till the end. They couldn't risk letting two marriages break and had to backtrack from uniting the lovers, for fear of ostracism. The path which Big B's movie was reluctant to tread, junior Bachchan's film ventures into, successfully too. Twenty-five years is too long a gap for the society to remain the same - and stick to the same moral code of conduct.
More than Silsila, I have always found Arth to be much more fascinating for the way the makers dealt with the thin line between friendship and love, and carefully walked the movie on a double-edged sword without letting the people involved slip even once. Arth brings to the fore the beautiful friendship between an understanding male friend called Raj and our protagonist Pooja. It's his constant support that helps her re-invent herself and re-evaluate her relationship with her cheating spouse. The movie ends leaving Raj and Pooja as friends, without entangling them in a web of another relationship. And therein lies the beauty of the movie that fascinates me still.
Masoom, on the other hand, intensifies the struggle of the wife by bringing a child into the picture. You sympathize with the woman but you also hate her stubbornness at times as your heart aches for the little boy. I remember watching this movie when I was quite young and felt it was totally unfair that the woman has to deal with the reality of her husband's fling, besides shouldering an additional burden of letting his illegitimate son walk into her happy home uninvited, throwing her world upside down and reminding her of the infidelity and the injustice every minute of her life. I always felt Shabana was justified in fighting for her rights.
I still keep wondering how the movie would end had the roles been reversed, and the husband had to deal with his wife's brief affair, and the resultant child. Smirk! Smirk!! I think it would probably have been a disastrous experiment - both for the makers and the audience as well! Not many people would accept Waheeda's illegitimate child in Kabhi Kabhi and Big B's role as her husband in the movie is a perfect reflection of the general male attitude (of the '80s).
My all-time favorite Ijaazat (what a movie!), however, delves much deeper into relationships and tries to understand the psyche of the human mind. Here the wife has a lot more to deal with - not only her husband's mood swings and fond memories of his ex, but also understand and sympathise with the girlfriend's obsession with her husband. Phew! I tried understanding how she manages to do it with the same sane (?) spirit. Isn't it the same movie where the whole story unwinds and rewinds in the waiting room of a railway station? A metaphor to indicate life coming to a halt briefly and then taking a newer route? Or maybe it's about life getting stuck at the crossroads, I guess!
These are all delicate themes, with delicately woven plots, intriguing dynamics, and deeper psychological insights. And so are our relationships. With each and everyone around us. As I notice with a heavy heart the number of marriages failing around me and relationships turning sore, I am constantly reminded of these amazing movies and the lessons they teach us.