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Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Jurmana (1979)

Very few directors could spin an engrossing tale like Hrishikesh Mukherjee. Especially with incidents  that on hindsight appear inconsequential. Like in Jurmana (1979), a juvenile challenge between two friends changes the course of lives for so many near them. It reveals character flaws, misunderstandings and ultimately you have to wait up and see what happens in the end. This is the mark of a great story teller, which Mukherjee undoubtedly was.
He also created the most unique characters for Amitabh Bachchan. I feel Bachchan got to toy with a veritable array of personas only in Mukherjee's films. Even in Jurmana, the actor gets to portray a challenging role. He puts his heart and soul into Inder and makes him easy to hate first and eventually fit for pardon. Grey to the hilt, Inder turns out way too interesting to neglect.
Inder Saxena (Amitabh Bachchan) is a rich businessman, disillusioned with women courtesy a cruel
act by the woman who he was once supposed to marry. Treating women like commodities, when Inder first notices Rama (Rakhee) in the quiet lanes of Pratapgarh, he only wants to bed her. Despite being warned by his childhood buddy Prashant (Vinod Mehra) that she is made of sterner stuff, he tries every trick up his sleeve to melt her heart. What Inder does not realise is that the girl actually falls in love with him never suspecting his lecherously odious intention.

A miscalculated move and a terrible misunderstanding between Rama and her old father, played by Shreeram Lagoo, leads to terrible results for the girl. She is forced to leave her home and fend for herself. Rescued from the clutches of death by a kind stranger (Asrani's supporting role is refreshing) she has to hide her identity for no fault of hers. Redemption comes towards the end though but after a lot of hardships and sadness. But every incident is tied together so intricately by the writer, Bimal Dutta, that you cannot abandon these characters midway without knowing the denouement.
Mukherjee's tales are simple and they resonate with everyday values and sentiments. That is why probably even in the way the characters look, it reminds you of people you witness around you every day. For instance, Rama is your girl next door. She is the daughter of a poor retired teacher and her mannerisms and clothes bear testimony to that. Her hopes and aspirations are not lofty and hence maybe, when she sees this handsome man approaching her earnestly she falls into the love trap, little realising that he might be taking advantage of her gullibility. In the song, Sawan ke jhoole, a stunning piece of work by RD Burman and Lata Mangeshkar, you can see she is in the throes of love. And you also have a sense of foreboding that her hopes will be soon dashed. But when the blinds are lifted, there is nothing that will make her brook nonsense. She goes away to make a mark through her talent. She doesn't mince words when rebuking the two men who spoiled her life. But here is a woman in love who also doesn't hold too strong a grudge when she learns that her lover has indeed become a better man.

Prashant's character is a tad weak here. I keep wondering why he doesn't profess his love before Rama despite knowing that she likes and respects him. If you love someone you got to tell her. And then, he commits the mistake of mistrusting her and foolishly taking her father to Inder's house where Rama goes there for a clandestine meeting. I would say he is as much to be blamed for the misunderstanding as Inder. Even when he knew that Inder was loquacious and misleading why didn't he warm Rama from the beginning. What kind of man would enter into a bet with his wicked friend if he harbours love for the girl whom that friend is eyeing. That was totally weak. It's only fair that Prashant doesn't get the girl in the end because he did nothing to deserve her. He never swept her away with his passion, a prerequisite of a lover. He kept being a mute spectator.
The best character was etched for Amitabh Bachchan. Inder starts off as a flirt, a womaniser with an insatiable urge to bed pretty women. The moment his need is met he treats them with utter disdain. We see how he talks to Dolly after his fancy night is over. He thinks woman just love money. That's what makes him lure Rama with the material riches. But the moment he realises that money won't click his bait this time, he changes the rules of the game. There was a slight discrepancy in the way the director shows Inder's feelings changing. According to what he says towards the end, he had started feeling for Rama as she sang that lovely song for him. But just after that meeting he tells his friend to court defeat as he would be soon bedding Rama. If was already in love with the girl, why would he talk about her in that fashion. But nevertheless, Inder's personality graph is interesting. Especially in the way Bachchan portrays him. In the aforementioned song, you can see his lips curl up wickedly as he lecherously looks at Rama. The same guy runs from pillar to post to convince her to return to her father. If love comes calling, nothing can hinder a beautiful change... Perhaps that's what this movie tries to tell.   



6 comments:

  1. Sold. :-) This sounds very interesting. I'm going to try and see it today itself if I can. Thanks for the review, Sharmi.

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  2. @Madhu: Yesss... and free on Youtube!! yayyy....
    P.S. thank God you still visit this space.. I thought you thought that I'm no more!! ;)

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  3. I was very busy the past few days, and then I got distracted because when I went to find this movie on Youtube, I saw Shaque instead, and remembered several people telling me to watch it if I liked Vinod Khanna - so I watched that instead. Then managed to finish watching Jurmana yesterday. And liked it. Thanks for recommending this, Sharmi! Good watch. :-)

    Oh, yes. I do visit all the blogs on my blog roll, everyday. I take blogs off my blog roll only if I realize people have completely stopped, or have at least stopped appealing to me. ;-)

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    1. @Madhu: Shaque!!! That's a fantastic film!! It's on youtube? Yayyyyy!!

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  4. Replies
    1. Watched it longgg time back.. time to do it again!

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