Blogadda Who are you reading today?

Visit to discover Indian blogs

Monday, 11 October 2010

Drama galore (Zindagi)

The best thing about Ramanand Sagar's Zindagi is Vyajyanthimala. Not only is she ravishing and dances like a dream, she actually makes you sit up and take note of her histrionic skills. She is utterly believable as the sensible Beena who reasons with her mother that acting as a profession needn't be slighted at. When she is loathe to barter her love for the sake of easy money, you really feel like lauding her wholeheartedly. She is brave, honest, hardworking and extremely lovable.
Till the time she makes the misjudgement of promising her husband and his father that she will never meet the man who is nothing but a well wisher. Silly as the ground of this promise is, she also loses her admirable persona as she silently accepts the accusations pummeled at her by her foolish husband. She weeps and laments in her mother's house, praying day in and day out to be reunited with the man, who in my eye, needs nothing but rude remonstrances. But then, Zindagi would have been different if I were to play my tricks...
This 1964 family drama is very long, with tedious and redundant ending, but the reason why I like it because somewhere at the back of my mind I knew from the very beginning that the cast will not disappoint. And they don't. Predictable as it may sound, the film starts happily, followed by loads of problems and miscommunications and then ending in a halcyon manner. So, I go to sleep happy that all is well.
Beena (Vyajayanthimala) takes up a job of an actress (a profession respected women those days did not get into) against the better judgement of her mother (Leela Chitnis). There she is trained by Gopal (Raj Kumar), the man who she sees as a mentor, but who soon starts adoring her secretly. Ratanlal (Hiralal), the patron of the drama company also eyes her lustfully (something that this young woman senses in the first meeting itself), resulting in Beena treating him with disinterest. This angers the malicious Ratanlal. He orders local goons to abduct her. While they are at it, Beena's screams attract Rajan (Rajendra Kumar) who is lazing nearby on his motorcycle with his dog, Honey (this German Shephard is too endearing). Rajan rescues the damsel in distress and love blooms (that's a given). A lovely song is sung by Rajan (the music by Shankar Jaikishan is very good) called Pehley miley the sapno mein (Mohd Rafi of course) appreciating Beena's beauty and charm. While they promise true love and companionship to each other, the match is opposed by Raibahadur Gangasaran (Prithviraj Kapoor, ah! I loved him), Rajan's father, because of the lack of propriety of Beena's trade. Though he relents to his son's wishes to meet Beena, he treats her in a condescending manner when she comes to do so. He offers her a hefty price to abandon Rajan. Beena, a sensible woman that she is, does not keep quiet. She makes it clear that her love is not for sale and walks off. Later she decides to leave Rajan because the status barriers are too high. Here I feel there is a similarity between her and Anarkali, the character of the doomed courtesan she is portraying in a drama. When she sings Hum pyar ka sauda kartey hain ek baar you almost feel it sounds like Pyar kiya to darna kya in the happy version and Mohabbat ki jhoothi kahani pe roye in the sad. Here the music directors combined both the feels of the songs from Mughal-e-Azam in one catchy number.
The Raibahadur also suspects her relation with Gopal to be a bit more than professional. But, he ultimately agrees to the match after hearing that Beena is ready to sacrifice her love for the sake of the old father's wishes. The only catch is that she should not keep any contacts with Gopal after her marriage. I find this ridiculous. The seeds for future troubles is sown with Beena agreeing to severe all ties with Gopal.
I felt that she should have made her stance clear that very instant. Why would a woman, who is true in all her dealings, be subject to such ludicrous adjustments.
The couple is married and happy. But, not for long. The fluke murder of Ratanlal by one of his goons called Banke (Jeevan) and Beena being forced to spend a night in Gopal's home creates a gargantuan misunderstanding. Gopal is suspected for murdering Ratanlal (as he, in a hotheaded argument with the victim, sweared to do so) and no one else but Beena can prove that he is innocent. Her testimonial in the court (the Raibahadur is a jury member for the same case) acquits Gopal but wreaks havoc on Beena and Rajan's home. This is where the film starts troubling me.
Rajan, who declared his unending love for Beena, starts despising her in one instant. How is that possible? That means his love is seriously shallow and not worth pining for. And, that's exactly what Beena does. She blames herself for her misfortune. Wrong, very wrong. The sad phase of her life goes on for a long, long time, before the cloud is cleared. And when she should have slapped some sense into her husband for treating her so shoddily, she makes me gasp by running into his arms all too happily. Gosh!! What just happened to the strong woman...
And yes, that earthquake could have been done away with. It just stretches the film nonsensically.
There is another good aspect about Zindagi. The pairing of Mehmood and Helen (she plays a typical village belle) is a sheer delight. Helen looks so pretty and is naturally ebullient. Mehmood is as usual funny and makes Dhumal's life hell. I think the Ghungarwa mora song, picturised on Helen and Mehmood, is the best track in the film.
Prithviraj Kapoor is as always booming. He plays Raibahadur Gangasaran with his signature flamboyance and makes mince meat of both Rajendra Kumar and Raj Kumar in terms of acting. His thundering voice, his theatrical dialogue delivery, everything's a treat. You might think I'm partial towards this grand old Kapoor. You wouldn't say so if you see him carrying Rajendra Kumar singlehandedly up the stairs of his palace! Bravo...


  1. I have this DVD in my collection but am yet to see it. Will give it a try :)

  2. @Sreenath: I think you can give this a try. Good songs, lovely Vyajayanthimala and awesome Prithviraj can be a welcome change :)