This scene, eminently forgettable to many viewers, stay etched in my mind to this day, almost 15 years since I first watched Masoom, Kapur's directorial debut and definitely one of his best treatises on the complexity of human emotions.
In fact, there are reasons galore why I keep going back to the film whenever I'm game for some tender family flick.
The film, shouldered by a stellar lead cast of Naseeruddin Shah and Shabana Azmi (I read that during the filming of Masoom the actors hardly interacted!!!), starts with a picture-perfect portrayal of a happy family. But before you know it, the happy family is faced with a storm, a sort of blast from Shah's past. (I'm not giving out the story...that would be a spoiler...do unravel the twists yourself). The supporting cast of Saeed Jaffrey and Tanuja help forwarding the plot. But I guess the child actors rule the show.
Everytime I see Rahul's vulnerable green eyes, (Jugal Hansraj...sadly he could not put them to good use as a young man), I melt. His husky, almost inaudible voice, tugs at my heart as he longs for love from Azmi. He sees his mother in her when he says, "Meri ma bhi aisi phoolon wali saree pehenti thi" much to Azmi's chagrin. And when he cuts his hand and shrieks out "Ma" to Azmi, I find myself choking without fail!
Urmila Matondkar's stable act is kind of overshadowed by her sibling, the exuberant Mini. In scenes where you find her shrieking for the fear of a puppy, playfully calling her elder sister stupid, babbling with her mouth filled with toothopaste foam and of course, the "Tayyab Ali sequence" you can't help but laugh. Not a laugh, mind you, that will make your ribs ache, but a satisfied smile signifying that innocence still exists.
Kapur's inspiration came from Erich Segal's Man, Woman and Child but the filmmaker beats the book. His film is way better. In terms of story, twists, characterisation and ending...the winner of the lot, Kapur gives us a saga that leaves you teary-eyed...with happy tears of course. Go watch it. You'll come back thinking just like me, I guarantee.
There are many winning shots in the masterpiece...the song Tujhse Naraaz Nahin Zindagi being just one of them. Because the lyrics are laden with inner meaning and interspersed with dialogues that suggest the helplessness of the father, the hapless circumstances and the longing of a 12-year-old. There is another musical jewel. Huzr Is Tarhan, stays on forever for its coquettish flavour, its flirtatious tinge.
These are but some of the reasons why Masoom, pulls me. But the biggest rationale is its year of birth. We share it. In 1983 a classic, a cinematic gem was born from Kapur's stable...a rare film that contributed towards my steady relation with celluloid. Truely, what a beginning!!!