Saturday, 18 September 2010
When Anuradha Roy, an eminent radio singer, puts her musical career and aspirations in the backburner because she is keen on marrying Dr Nirmal Chaudhury for love, little did she guess that one day this firmness of her mind would cost her, her happiness. Her endless wait for her husband who is more eager to spend his days, and sometimes even nights, with ailing villagers, soon turns into a grueling exercise that eats into her very existence. Not being credited for her mute service, she fast becomes the woman who suffers silently, and occasionally smirking at her misfortune. But, her sighs are never heard. Her husband never gets to know the extent of her grudges, till of course she's pulled the last stop.
Mukherjee's earlier films are laden with imagery. And Anuradha is no different. Just after the aforesaid scene the wife opens the window to glance at the beautiful moon. In comes the sound of music being played by the villagers nearby. She enjoys the sights and the sounds. But her husband will have none of it. It's awesome how Mukherjee juxtaposes the moon with the round vision of the microbes. When Dr Chaudhury orders Anuradha to shut the window the music is disturbing him, you can feel how there is no place for her music in his life.
The storm rises when Deepak walks into Anuradha's home by default. He is everything that Anuradha would perhaps wish for in her husband. She is alarmed when Deepak tells her that he actually remembers the exact words of her old songs. Isn't that her husband's job? But, what would she do if Dr Chaudhury does even remember that his wife used to be an accomplished singer once upon a time. Before she chose to relinquish everything for the sake of this man who is now too busy to even look at her.
I love it when Mukherjee makes Anuradha strong enough to question her husband. In her own sensitive yet determined way, she makes it a point to tell him that she would now want to live life in her own terms and carry on with her music, an entity that is as important to her as her family. She rebukes him for making her false promises. And she musters up the courage to leave Dr Chaudhury for good. This is definitely the high point of the film.
Performance-wise, Balraj Sahni was incomparable. Controlled and dexterous. It's awesome how he handles the twin shades of his complex role. You start having a love-hate feeling for him soon. On one hand he is serving the villagers whole-heartedly and on the other hand he is shying away from his responsibilities towards his wife. Sahni looks quite good as Dr Nirmal Chaudhury. The last few sequences show what a brilliant actor he was. As he faces the storm in his home, he gradually realises his folly. And the turmoil is fabulously emoted by Sahni.
Ranu Mukherjee (Hemant Kumar's daughter) plays Ranu, Anuradha and Dr Chaudhury's little daughter. Her part is too entertaining to not be mentioned. Abhi Bhattacharya is adequate as usual.