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Sunday, 28 November 2010

Black sheep (Aap ki Parchhaiyan)

Running a family calls for a wee bit of diplomacy, they say. And, how true that is. For, when a man gets married, his equation with his parents and siblings undergoes a sea change. He now has a partner, who he is responsible for. The onus is on him to initiate her into the ways of his house, make her comfortable and help her become one with the family. This girl has left her beloved parents and her home and has expectations from her new relatives. She is a bit apprehensive about the new abode and is trying her best to ease into this home. She is looking upto her husband for love and understanding and her in laws for care and support.
It is here that the husband plays a big role. He should strike the right balance between his wife and his parents. He should know the correct amount of attention he should pay to his newly wed and to his old parents. Once this balance is struck by the man, the family will run ever so smoothly, with every one getting his due share of love and respect. But, when the man himself commits errors in judgement and understanding, petty quarrels will turn into big sqabbles. And, mountains will be made out a molehills...
This is the kind of mistake that Baldev makes in Aap ki Parchhaiyan, Mohan Kumar's 1964 treatise on family bonding and relationships. As the title suggests, and as hinted in the film, a newly married woman follows the example of her husband in her dealings with her new family. So, even though Rekha, the rich girl is actually a good girl all ready to make a smooth transition from a well-off girl to the dutiful daughter-in-law of a middle class family, it is her husband who balks at her attempts. Soon, misunderstandings start creeping in between her and her in-laws and she changes her stand. But, I have to say, she is not the one to blame. From the start it is Baldev's fault. He should not have interfered into her proceedings when she was getting familiar with the ways of her new home. And, later when she was the rude to her unfortunate in-laws he should have slapped some sense into her. Baldev however, does admit his fault. But then he does so when it is too late. And, I keep feeling he got away too easy...
Aap ki Parchhaiyan is a very, very good family drama, with morals that have weight even to this day. It packs in a tight story, strong performances, a superb cast and fabulous songs by Madanmohan. The film starts with Baldev Chopra (Suresh) becoming a doctor, much to the happiness of his family comprising his parents, Dinanath Chopra (Nazir Hussain) and his wife (Leela Chitnis) and his younger brother Chandramohan (Dharmendra). He loves Rekha (Shashikala), the daughter of a rich businessman (Brahm Bhardwaj), who is eager to get him as his son-in-law. With the blessings of elders, Baldev and Rekha get married. While Rekha is more than happy with her new family and eagerly participates in the household chores, Baldev always feels ashamed about Rekha having to live a life devoid of the pleasures and comforts she got in her parents' home. He instigates her to neglect her housework and her responsibilities as as homemaker, often taking her out to posh parties and outings. Rekha feels ill at ease with Baldev's behaviour and tells him so, but Baldev is a nut head and fails to recognise the goodness in Rekha. Meanwhile, on his father-in-law's advice, he sets up a medicine dispensary that does very well.
Soon Baldev's indiscretion leads Chandramohan and his mother to misunderstand Rekha. This I believe is a grave mistake that the two commit (not that they deserve their misfortunes for this). They blame the new member of the family for their son's change in attitude, little realising that she is new and has been trying hard to blend in. Why is it that most in-laws point their fingers first at the daughter-in-law for the errors that their son commit? They should recognise the black sheep of the family.
Rekha overhears their conversation and understandably, feels very bad. To make matters worse, her friend advices he to shift to another bungalow, away from Baldev's family. Initially in two minds, Rekha sees sense in this and convinces her husband to take a large bungalow on rent. Here Baldev commits another error. Instead of scolding his wife for her indiscretion, he readily agrees to move out with her. He forgets that his parents are crumbling under the debt they had incurred for his medical studies. He neglects the fact that these old people will be distraught with his decision. He also does not care about his younger brother who loves him dearly.
While Baldev and his wife spend happy days in their new home, the rest of the family see trying times. Sucked into the vortex of poverty, Chandramohan has to quit his studies. Soon Baldev and Rekha are blessed with a son. As events unfold, Dinanath loses his eyesight after a freak accident in the chemist's lab he works in. They lose their ancestral house to moneylenders and the three are forced to move into Baldev's bungalow.
Sad times continue to rule as the old couple are insulted day in and day out by Baldev and his wife. Here, Rekha is seriously poisonous with her tone and words. But then, she has been shown the wrong path by Baldev, I still feel...
Chandramohan gets a job in Calcutta and leaves Baldev's home after extracting a promise from his brother that he takes care of his parents till the time he can come and take them away with him. But, unable to bear the humiliation hurled at by his elder son and daughter-in-law, Dinanath and his ailing wife walk out into the street. Baldev, in my opinion must be severely dumb. Even when his little son, in his play mode, tries to drill some sense into him regarding his duties towards his parents, Baldev chides his son nonchalantly without gauging the gravity of the situation...
The sorrows keep multiplying for the old couple, till tragedy strikes with Dinanath's wife's death. While all this is happening Chandramohan returns from Calcutta to take his parents with him. On learning that they were driven out by Baldev's bad behaviour, he gives both his brother and his sister-in-law a sound verbal thrashing. Watch the film to know what happens next. It is engaging, trust me.
The music, as I said earlier, is great, especially Main nigahein (Mohd Rafi's silken voice is mesmerising) and Agar mujhse mohabbat hain. But the scintillating one is Yehin hain tamanna. It's teasing, naughty and extremely catchy. And, thoroughly funny when Dharmendra starts dancing...
Dharmendra is quite good as Chandramohan. His character is sufficiently idealistic and responsible, as per the requirements of the script. But what entertained me thoroughly was his comic timing, dialogues and expressions. He is a lovable smooth talker when it comes to romance and getting away after playing pranks.
The other person providing comic relief is Om Prakash, who plays the hilarious ayurvedic practitioner Vilayati Ram. His wife is equally funny. Manorama here is very different from her usual cunning self.
Nazir Hussain is spot on, as is Leela Chitnis and Shashikala. In fact, Shashikala's looks and makeup is kept separate for the two personalities that she portrays. When she is good, her look is very Indianised and homely. In the scenes when she treads the negative road, her look is a bit westernised, with modern hairstyles and makeup.
The surprise of this film is Supriya Chowdhury, originally an actress of Bengali cinema. Playing Chandramohan's sweetheart, Asha, Supriya suits the role perfectly. She is charming and elegant and is a pillar of support to her beloved. When bad times trouble him, she is always there for him no matter what. She is soft yet strong and reassures Chandramohan at every step that good will prevail. Not just her character, Supriya herself looks really good. She is tall, shapely and has beautiful eyes. Her voice is deep but extremely mellow. Though sometimes she is a bit stiff, you can comprehend that she is trying to adjust to a new ground here that runs on different sensibilities from her home turf. But notwithstanding these tiny flaws, her Asha is immaculate. She is the bliss in Aap ki Parchhaiyan that makes this drama a joyful enterprise...


  1. Nice review. Sounds like a complicated but good family drama :)

  2. @Sreenath: It's not complicated at all. Just a very nuanced approach. Watch it, I think you will like it :)

  3. @Sharmi: I am sure it's a good message for husbands like you said :)

  4. I agree with Sharmi..Nice review for a good movie

    I like the romantic just goes!

  5. @OLS: Yes the chemistry between Dharmendra and Supriya was very good. I loved the songs too. Thanks for the comment and keep reading :)