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Monday, 23 January 2012

Forgiveness comes naturally (Bahurani)

This is a typical family masala entertainer that sails smoothly because of its easy story and good performances. Yes, the melodrama, the conniving, the songs, the twists, the dances are all in place. But what stands out in this 1963 film is how a woman hold court throughout. A feisty heroine helps her husband come into his own through the light of erudition. She does all the good deeds despite the thorns strewn in the way. She does not dither, does not take the easy path and yes, she is rewarded in the end. T Prakash Rao's Bahurani, is a sweet family drama about love, devotion, family bonding, relationships and forgiveness. And what's a win-win situation here is that all the melodrama is restrained. It never flies over the roof!

Mala Sinha plays the pivotal role of a rich landlord's daughter-in-law and she is mighty good in it. She is beautiful, has a pleasing personality, but when push comes to shove, she can become a tigress. The landlord (Nazir Hussain) is impressed by the fact that she has the guts to call a spade a spade and decides to get her married to his younger son, Vikram (Feroze Khan is dashing but a tad unexploited in this wicked role), a tyrant on the loose. But his wife, Rajeshwari (Lalita Pawar and her range of emotions are just awesome), berates him for choosing a nondescript medicine vendor's daughter for her son, and instead tells him to marry Padma to Raghu, the elder son. That sounds splendid. But the only fact is that Raghu is a tad mad, if you allow me to say so. No, he is not deranged, it is just that he has failed to grow up to be a mature individual in the absence of the love and care of a mother (Rajeshwari is his step-mom who did not treat him so well in his baby days). He is not educated, plays with toys even now and is blindly dependent on his Dai Ma (Pratima Devi). He talks with a lisp of a kid and his actions are juvenile; they often invite whiplashes from Vikram, his cruel younger brother.
In the song Tital ke ghar mein tital (music by C Ramchandra is good; and I think this singer sounds like Hemant Kumar), you can witness the innocence of Raghu, whose childhood has refused to leave him. It's as if a child's mind is trapped in the body of a full-bodied young man. And kudos to the Guru Dutt for taking a role so removed from his popular image. He does a great job!
When the wedding ceremony is taking place, Padma's father balks and tries to stop the marriage because he realises that this is nothing but ruin for his daughter. But Padma insists that the marriage be completed and that she be taken to her in-laws. Plenty of preaching here! On reaching her rich new home, she is given a cold shoulder by her mother-in-law. Very soon, she learns why Raghu is the way he is, and discovers that certain elements have plotted against him so that he never matures into the person who his father will be proud of.
Thus, Padma takes the onus on herself to set matters right. Though she feels stirrings in her heart when Raghu is too close to her, she maintains a steady head so that she succumbs to no physical weakness. (Given that the director does delve into the physical aspect of a marriage so early into the plot, he should have played with it in details when Raghu does become a MAN! After all, it's always good to see Guru Dutt romancing pretty young things! He had a certain charisma that is inexplicable) There is a song here that is noteworthy. Balma anari mann bhaye is musical, melodious and sheer classic.
Anyways, so Padma tutors Raghu and helps him learn his lessons. Initially he is temperamental and distracted but soon, we can see him engrossed in very serious and severe books! Padma's job is half-done. Raghu has gained the tag of erudition, he dresses like a normal man and talks like one, too.
But his self-confidence is still at an all time low. And there is also the case of who will win the property of the landlord. Rajeshwari wants everything for her son, Vikram. Vikram, the greedy one, is busy burning a big hole in the privy with his wayward ways. What I really found strange was why the director would cast a wonderful actor like Shyama in such a miniscule role of Chanda? So utterly wasted! That part of the film, pertaining to Chanda and her clan, is a bit dragged I must mention...
So, a whole lot of things happen before happy re-union of the family members. Fights, quarrels, misunderstandings, greed, deceit and mud-slinger... Then there is renunciation of titles, hard work to earn daily meals and a happy conjugal life of a husband and wife. Watch Bahurani to unravel all the drama.
What I did not get was how suddenly Vikram changes his stance! Also, while they show him hungering for the money of his father and the least upset about his death, they also show tears in his eyes when the landlord passes away. That should have been better elucidated...
But all in all, Bahurani was a good film with compelling performances and great music. Mala Sinha ruled the show and Guru Dutt and Lalita Pawar were fabulous. Enough reasons why I sat through this one...

14 comments:

  1. hey - wasnt there another movie like this with Jeetendra, Hema Malini and Vijendra Ghatge..

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  2. *shudder* This was awful, Sharmi! But then, Mala Sinha is not one of my favourites. :))
    (And so says a person who sat and watched Nagin - and enjoyed it, despite everything! Go figure!)

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  3. @Anu, Sharmi: My opinion of this film was somewhere between those of yours! Too melodramatic, I thought - but I do like Guru Dutt, and Mala Sinha was pretty, even if a little OTT with the melodrama. And I have a special liking for one song, Umr hui tumse mile:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZtMK5pHLHWU

    At any rate, I liked Bahurani far better than Jyoti - now that was awful.

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  4. @Rahul: Yes I've seen that one, too. Was way more melodramatic!!

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  5. @Rahul: Yes, yes, checked now. It was Jyoti indeed. In fact a Bengali one like this is also there!

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  6. Replies
    1. If I say 'Good' my taste in movies would be suspect. If I say 'bad' it wouldn't be quite true. Shall I just say "It was different."? LOL

      Seriously? It's in the "It's so bad it's good" category. Nice if you like snakes and fantasy and can more than suspend disbelief and overlook plot holes the size of the Grand Canyon. I mean, don't look for logic, and I think it's fine.

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    2. hahahhahaha... funny!! But I'am a bit wary about watching Nagin because it stars Pradip Kumar, an actor who I don't think much of. And he was scrawny that time!! So worse :(

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    3. Uff! Not that 'Nagin' - that's in the 'Avoid, yaar' class. Listen to the songs on YouTube or something. Hemantda's music is excellent. This Nagin was from the 70s - Jeetendra, Reena Roy, Sunil Dutt and a host of others, whose only job is to get killed by snake bite. :)

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    4. Oooooo.... haha, the cast only sounds so bad... Avoid, ekdum!!

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  7. @Dustedoff: Yes Madhu, the music did not disappoint. Was really good!

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  8. @Sharmi: Seems to be an interesting movie though a bit melodramatic. I like both Mala Sinha and Guru Dutt so it should be an interesting watch. Isn't the story very similar to Beta (Anil Kapoor, Madhuri) which itself was a remake of a Tamil movie?

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  9. @Sreenath: No no, Beta was different but the outline might sound similar.

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