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Friday, 6 May 2011

Love... Set in Paradise (Arzoo)

How important is it to have a romantic ambience to make hearts flutter in love? If you take into consideration that Usha flips for Sarju (the man she found quite irksome inside a aeroplane in Delhi) while at the beautiful valley of Srinagar, you'd seriously think that the spectacular surrounding induces the tender feelings in her. With the verdant valley, the colourful flowers, the brilliantly azure sky and the breathtaking mountains to uplight her senses, it is but a matter of time when the young lovers will serenade in Kashmir. Not to forget the blissful Dal Lake and its magical power that makes every soul see stars in their eyes. Yes, I think there is something about Kashmir that is therapeutic in terms of falling in love. And I speak because I know what Kashmir and its awesomeness can do to you...

Even if the love story that takes place in Ramanand Sagar's Arzoo is a tried and tested tale of goodness of the soul, gargantuan sacrifices, renunciation of love for friendship and ultimately realisation that togetherness and spiritual love are of utmost importance and they far supercede physical union, the 1965 romance is a stellar example of how to maximise on a great cast, a stunning locale and mindblowing songs. Not to mention the spectacular beauty that is included as a bonus. Not just Kashmir and its undulating valleys that speak volumes about natural splendidness, it is Sadhana's charm and glamour that not just floors two young males but also us. And I hear that this stunner once said in an interview that she considered herself attractive but not beautiful!! Objection!!
Sadhana's waif-like charm and delicate features compliment the beauty of Kashmir. She is like a flower, colourful and happy in love, morose yet elegant in bereavement. She infuses life in the songs picturised on her. At once she is sassy, glamorous, sexy and pretty. Her tinkling laughter and chirpy voice remind me of the twitter of birds, who wake one up as the sun's rays lighten up the sky. Her soft words match the gurgle of the serene Dal Lake. She is a woman who deserves to be loved, to be admired. Love poems aught to be dedicated to her pristine beauty.
So when Sarju cozies up to her, balming her hurt pride with the teasing yet adorable Ae nargisey mastana, bas itni shikayat hain (Hats off to Mohd Rafi's rendition, Hasrat Jaipuri's lyrics and Shankar Jaikishan's music), you can see that the young haughty girl is enjoying every bit of the adulation showered on her by the smitten man. As she sits on her horse, looking glamorous in her sweater and black tights, we can only gauge that more prettiness and love ballads will soon follow.
And follow it does, as Sarju and Usha embark on an exciting journey of love and laughter. Usha falls ill and Sarju comes to see her disguising himself as a hakeem. Naughty yet enthralling Arzoo is a tale that has gone down well with me. If not for the later excesses of melodrama and the over teary face of Rajendra Kumar, I would have called this one of the best romances. But memorable it is, for the songs, the cast, the locale and the lady. And yes, Feroze Khan, who comes across as a dashing antidote to the straight-jacketed Gopal. Khan's Ramesh is anyday much more refreshing than Gopal, who kind of stretches his misfortune a bit too far.
But then, I'm not complaining. As long as I get to hear those songs, sung while serenading in the Mughal gardens of the paradise on earth, I'm happy. Let's face it. Rajendra Kumar was darn lucky to have some of the best romantic songs picturised on him. Ae phoolon ki rani is ethereal. Then there is Aji roothkar ab, though the magic lies in the awesome rendition of Lata Mangeshkar and the blissful disposition of Sadhana. But then, when you watch the two lovers exchanging those meaningful glances in a room that is full of people, there is a kind of rush in the heart. Sadhana is pretty, Kumar is tolerably handsome and most importantly, looks totally enamoured of his lady love. There are times during their courtship when you feel why is he hiding his real identity from this innocent lady. But then if Sarju would have revealed to Usha in the very beginning that he is not Sarju of Okhla village but Gopal, a doctor from Delhi, the script would have been written otherwise. We would not have the haunting Bedardi balam tujhko, picturised on the dejected Usha, woeful for her lost lover. She has no inkling that her love has just been rescued from the brink of death. He is maimed and unable to fulfill his promise. He now considers himself unfit to be her husband. This prepares us for the second phase of the story that comes forth as Ramesh's (Feroze Khan) love for Usha. And of course, the hilarious comic subplot of Mangdu (Mehmood), Sabi and the stupid Munim (Dhumal).
Yes, Mehmood is intrinsically linked to the main plot of Arzoo, but he never hogs the limelight. He is sweet, funny and has a delightful tongue. And he is the owner of Jannat, a tidy little houseboat on the Dal, a representation of the many houseboats that stand pretty on this scenic lake. He is a messenger of love, helping Sarju get to his lover in the beginning and Usha to Gopal in the end. He is responsible for the undoing of all  misunderstandings and for all creases being ironed out, with quite a bit of help and coaxing from Gopal's sister, Sarla (Nazima). Sometimes I wondered whether Gopal would have owned up his feelings if not for the extreme reactions he faced towards the end. Why is it that Rajendra Kumar always was projected as the self-sacrificing man who lay down his own happiness for everyone on the planet? Anyways, we are not going to deliberate on that today...
Arzoo is a tale of beauty. A visual treat as well as a treat for the senses, the story is interwoven with the landscape of Kashmir. It is a story that enforces the magnanimity of kindness, the graciousness of sacrifice, the attraction of friendship, the duties of a lover and the ultimate triumph of love. But, just back from Kashmir I can just declare that Arzoo is a tale that will remain with me for the beauty it celebrates. The beauty of the leading lady. And, the beauty of a land that has gone through much...

4 comments:

  1. For me, the main attraction of Aarzoo are its songs. They are simply awesome - each one better than the next! And Sadhana, of course; I adore her. Feroze Khan is tolerable, as is Rajendra Kumar until he is involved that accident - after that, everything (not just him, but the story, the dramatisation, the acting, everything) goes madly downhill. :-(

    But I'll gladly watch it again for the songs and Sadhana!

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  2. @Dustedoff: Ya that's why I concentrated here on the songs, Sadhana and the location. They are the beauty of this film :)

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  3. @Sharmi: Another film I watched long back so I can go for a re-watch. I am not fond of Rajendra Kumar but love Sadhana and the songs of Arzoo so this should be good to catch up with :)

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  4. @Sreenath: Yes the songs are brilliant !!

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