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Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Wish granted (Nayika Sangbad)

Before going to Mumbai, I prayed to God that I see at least one cinema star getting out of her swanky car, or walking into a posh mall, or maybe, if the sun shone really bright (with Mumbai's monsoons, that's close to impossible), Shahid Kapur taking a stroll on Bandstand (though he lives in Andheri)!! And, if Lord Almighty was indeed happy he would grant me a glimpse of Shammi Kapoor!!
News is, nothing of that sort happened. I saw no Shammi Kapoor, no SRK (though I saw his and Salman's bungalow) and no Shahid (I quite like him, you see). But, yes I witnessed Salman's guards taking his two oversized dogs for their daily walk on Bandstand! Lucky me!! If not the star himself, I was quite excited to see his canine family extensions!!
That's how I am. Imagining crazy things related to cinema. What if some day I get to meet Shammi Kapoor, or say Asha Parekh?
What would I do? What if some day I get to profile SRK or Shahid Kapur? How do I contain my excitement? What will happen if one day I meet an old Dilip Kumar who tells me that I would make a fine film actress? Outrageous my mind is, isn't it???
Well, there's no harm in dreaming, I feel. For, when you get the unexpected, it is sheer joy. There are so many young men who dream of pretty film actresses. That film actress is the princess of his kingdom. Hidden dreams and aspirations make life so much more beautiful. And when wishes are granted, the magic is manifold...
Agradoot's Nayika Sangbad is an extension of that wishful thinking. A film star accidentally lands up at a young station master's doorstep for a night. She is lost and he comes to her rescue without the benefit of the knowledge of his guest's star status. He treats her well, as any respectable man would. But situations and circumstances are such that they have to pose as husband and wife before the station master's neighbours. Slowly, the two individuals break the barriers of just aacquaintance and get drawn towards each other. When the man becomes aware of the woman's reality, like any pragmatic man, he helps her to go back to her world, full of sheen, arclights and glamour. But, love conquers all and the woman walks back to the arms of this simple man, realising that this is where her world is. Truly, a simple and tender love story Nayika Sangbad is...
What does not happen in Roman Holiday, happens here. High meets low, two worlds vastly separated from each other, come together to form a harmonious universe of love. What Princess Anna couldn't, Urmita does. She chooses to shun the life of a moviestar to return to a domesticated life with Alok. What Gregory Peck did not get, Uttam Kumar has the good fortune to settle with. The woman who he dearly loves...
Urmita's first feature film is a success and she is the new film star. While travelling to Bombay with the cast and crew of her next film, she makes the mistake of stepping down from the train in a nondescript railway station. Lost and left in the lurch, she saunters to the station master's quarters. On knocking, the door opens to reveal a shocked (and a very good looking) Alok. Feeling rather ashamed of her folly, she apologises to Alok for disturbing him thus and promises to leave by the next train. Somehow, Urmita does not look out of place in Alok's modest quarters. For, even though she is a star, her beginnings have been quite humble. She is the eldest daughter of a large family and had to take to films in order to feed her big family after the death of her father. So, understandably, her past is not full of pleasures.
Unaware of her work background, Alok is nonplussed to have Urmita as a guest (that he should be making this star absolutely comfortable). Though a tad irritated, he does try to make her stay relatively hassle free. A bachelor living alone with a man-servant, Alok is not very excited to have a woman guest who wants to stay overnight. Living on a shoestring budget, he will not even be able to give her a proper meal on this rainy night. He can let her sleep in the tiny kitchen provided she can handle the 'battalion' of cockroaches! But, when Urmita screams out of the kitchen after being tormented by the insects, he is chivalrous enough to let her sleep on his bed, and make himself comfortable on the floor (using a hardbound book as a pillow)...
But Urmita and Alok get embroiled in a more complicated situation when the next morning Alok's servant, Madhu (a very funny Jahar Ray) meets Urmita. He thinks she is Alok's wife and runs to deliver the happy news to the neighbours, Mr Lahiri (Pahari Sanyal) and his wife Roma (Anubha Gupta). The Lahiris are thrilled to bits to learn that their dear Alok has at last married a pretty damsel. They are very fond of this young man and instantly visit his wife, showering her with praises for her sweet temperament. Urmita too, feels that it is her responsibility to protect the integrity of Alok before his loving neighbours. In a false position Alok and Urmita now have to continue the charade or else both their characters would be tainted (two unmarried people spending a night together is certainly not done in 1967!).
The rest of the film shows how the two gradually fall for each other while maintaining the charade. Alok gets used to Urmita's charm and care and Urmita grows fond of Alok. She slips into the role of a homemaker with utmost ease and takes a liking towards her host. So much so that she feels responsible for his meals and his wellbeing.
But Alok is not selfish. Extremely practical, he is the one to send Urmita away when he realises who she is. A bit hurt that she lied to him, he distances himself away from the star. He feels that getting Urmita as a wife would be wishful thinking. The audience thinks so too. After all, their worlds are way apart. But the viewers keep praying so that the lovers unite. Let wishes come true, let dreams be fulfilled. Let Alok and Urmita be one...
Uttam Kumar is absolutely perfect as the amiable but pragmatic station master. With witty remarks at the tip of his tongue, he is a true gentleman (with no need of a 'reference'). His smile is sweet, his body language smart, he is the perfect foil to the dreamy Urmita. If she waltzs her way to his life in a lazy saunter, he jerks her to reality with his realistic actions. He is her real-life hero who saves her. And, the best part is that he does not expect a fee for his actions. Not even gratitude. Isn't that what true love is?
This is the first film where I saw Anjana Bhowmick as the female lead. Though not much of a looker, she has a pleasant disposition. Without Suchitra Sen's looks and Supriya Devi's glamour, you might feel that she hardly is the quintessential filmstar. But then, didn't she relate her humble past in the opening scene? I thought her dialogue delivery was a bit via rote, but overall she was quite good as Urmita. An attractive smile adds to her simplistic charm...
Nayika Sangbad has a lovely score by Hemant Kumar. Sandhya Mukherjee's Ki mishti e shokaal and Ke ei hridoy are just marvellous and so is Purna Das Baul's rustic Golemele preet koro na. The best part is that the songs are beautifully weaved into the storyline. With every passing song, you see Alok and Urmita falling more and more in love with each other...
This is a soft and sweet love story that lingers on. Couple that with the charisma of the inimitable Uttam Kumar. That's what I call wish granted...


  1. I've never been so eager to meet famous people, i always worry about the aftermath, say if i meet them and they turn out to be not so nice, i won't be able to enjoy their movies in the same way again, so for that reason i avoid meeting stars and don't even want to meet stars i really really admire.

  2. @Bollywooddeewana: Hmmm, nice take. I guess you are right. What if Shammi Kapoor is not that great in real life??? Scary huh?? or Asha Parekh not that spunky??? Guess I too, will settle for just the films. ha ha :)

  3. Ya, it's a cute film, tapping into human fantasy and its basic precinct: What if...?
    That Anjana looks rusty in the acting department isn't surprising considering she had just come to the film industry after a career as an air hostess.
    However, a mature performance by Uttam Kumar, the songs and the circumstantial romance more than make up for her shortcoming.
    Nice post as usual, and all the best for the next time you fly down to Bombay :)

  4. @Netdhaba: An airhostess, huh??? I can understand then why her way of talking is so rushed.
    Yes, Uttam Kumar is sooo good, especially when he says, "Apnar jonyo to dariye dariye neta hoye gelam". Ha ha
    Thank you for the comment and the good wishes :)

  5. Ok.. I just couldn't resist!!! I have been reading ur posts on Baangla films sincerely but didn't comment fearing my limited knowledge of Baangla films and music (I only recognise Suchitra Sen, Uttam Kumar, Hemanta Kumar and Geeta Dutt - from Tollywood).
    I have always been a great admirer of the language, literature and culture, apart from the melodious music, ofcourse!
    But ur posts on Baangla movies make me yearn to learn the language properly and feast upon these simple classics. Till then, I'll content myself by reading ur posts :D

  6. @Punya: Ha ha thank you so much. I wish you could see these films with subtitles. But you know, fact is that the fun is in the essence of the language. The witty repartees, the digs, the actions and the drama become all the more enjoyable because of the language. And of course, Uttam Kumar. He is incomparable. No problem, I'll keep trying to feed you on these films from time to time. :)

  7. This sounds lovely! Haven't we all dreamt of finding the most improbable romance ever?! ;D

    So far, I've had to rely on classic Hollywood for my romance fix (in Bollywood duty to family, friend, and/or something else always sidelines romance!) but looks like the Mahanayak is going to make that redundant.

    And I completely agree with Bollywooddeewana about meeting a favorite star. They may not be nasty or mean, just different from their public persona - and you'd never like them again!

  8. @Bollyviewer: Mahanayak, no wonder, continues to be the dream romantic hero for so many of us. Smart, soft and sensitive, with a mind of his own, Uttam Kumar is absolutely charismatic. Not just in this film, in all his other romances with Suchitra Sen and Supriya, he leaves an indelible impression!
    Hey, I too have agreed with Bollywooddeewana on that meeting the star thingie! But, there's no end to hoping and wishing, hain na?? ;)

  9. That sounds like such a sweet film. I love romances, and anything with Uttam Kumar in it gets my vote, everytime!

    Where on earth am I going to get the time to watch all these films?!

  10. @Dustedoff: Exactly!!! So many good films and so little time!!! Gosh I need to make two clones of myself so that I can fit in more movies!!! How does that sound???

  11. Followed by another blog? ;-)

  12. @Dustedoff: That was funny...Ya maybe another any one of the clones!! ;)

  13. I always thought I was crazy coz I keep dreaming about meeting my favourite stars. It feels so gud to have company! :-)
    I haven't seen much of Uttam Kumar but would love to do that. We all share the same dilemma, don't we??? So many good films to watch and no time at all.
    I love romances too esp when it' so beautifully narrated. Would love to get hold of this film.
    I haven't seen any Anjana Bhowmick movie but have seen her daughters in few serials on tv. They both (Nilanjana and Chandana) look very pretty.
    @ dustedoff : Great idea!

  14. @Sunheriyaadein: Other good films starring Anjana Bhowmick are Chiriakhana and Chowringhee. Yes, her daughters are pretty but they cannot emote like her. Uttam Kumar is the best part about this film and he makes it so much more enjoyable. Truly a Mahanayak.
    I swear Archana, God knows what I'll do if I get to meet my favourite stars someday!! I think I'll faint with excitement!!!

  15. @Sharmi: So, please never stay in Mumbai.
    God knows, Shammi Kapoor/Shahid Kapoor/SRK will cause a massive traffic snarl by default when you faint, god forbid, behind the wheel after spotting one of them in the next car :)

  16. @ Sharmi : I wish there wan an option to like comments here...Luv ur comment. I keep imagining that I wud faint too if I ever come across Shammi Kapoor.

  17. @Dwaipayan: But won't that be a spectacle? I, a minion, shall hold a city and the stars to ransom!!!

  18. @Sunheriyaadein: ha ha Archana, you are too sweet to say so. I just watched Junglee, for the nth time in the afternoon. How can you not faint when you see such a gorgeous man!! His co-stars (the women I mean) were so damn lucky. I think, and I am so sure, that I would have married him if I was born that time! (My husband won't like the sound of this, ha ha!!) ;)

  19. Found this on YAY!!! :D

    Do you have any more recommendations for old Bengali romantic films - preferably with Uttam-Suchitra in the lead? I am ordering DVDs from Induna and would like to get as many of them in one go as I can!

    1. I would suggest you Saptapadi...Chawa Pawa...Surjotoron...Bipasha...Har mana Har...Noborag...Harano Sur...and Alo amar Alo...

  20. @Bollyviewer: Great, enjoy it!!
    And do call for Harano Sur, Pothey Holo Deri, Chawa Pawa, Dewa Newa (with Tanuja), Agniparikhha, Bipasha and Saptapadi. These are the masterpieces starring the two greats. I think that should do for two weekends :)

  21. I already have those. More recommendations please!!! :D

  22. @Bollyviewer: Okie, then try some of Uttam Kumar's lighthearted comedies such as Chhadmabeshi (Bengali of Chupke Chupke), Mouchak and Dhanni Meye. Also see Shobhar Uporey (Bengali of Kala Pani) and Chiriakhana (Uttam is Byomkesh Bakshi here). And you musn't miss Nayak :)

  23. Of course I have Nayak - it was the first Uttam Kumar Bengali film I ever saw! :D Thanks for all those recos. Am off to order them.

    Doesn't Soumitra Chatterji have some nice romances/comedies? I only know about his films with Satyajit Ray and Saat Paake Bandha (the original of Kora Kaagaz).

  24. @Bollyviewer: See Teen Bhuboner Parey (with Tanuja), Baksha Badal (with Aparna Sen), Basanta Bilap (aparna sen), Jhinder Bandi, Akash Kusum and Kinu Gowalar Goli. Enjoy :)

  25. Thanks, Sharmi! My sis is off to India. All these are going on her to-buy list, from where they will eventually come to me - hopefully soon... :D

  26. Never was a film so poorly made, with bad screenplay, editing and patchy dialogues, that I loved so much. And Anjana Bhowmick - don't know who thought she could act - but man, have I admired a movie star so much for just one movie. Ditto about the bonding between her and Uttam Kumar. All in all, the movie has been an antidote to everything bitter that happens in everyday life, ever since I first saw it.

  27. Thanks for nice story of nayika sangbad; nice loving story with excellent(heart touching) songs by Sandhya Mukherjee! Great are the days of 60s & 70s!