Let’s rewind!

TAKE YOUR PICK A scene from “Anubhav”   | Photo Credit: HINDU PHOTO ARCHIVES

If you are seeking to welcome the New Year from the warmth of quilt with a mug of coffee, we have brewed an eclectic mix of films from the 70s that have been picked from the ones featured in the column this year. All of them are available on CD and most of them can be watched on YouTube. So bring in 2017 with a whiff of nostalgia.

Amar Prem (1972)

“Amar Prem” is not about Rajesh Khanna or Anand. It is about Pushpa, a role tailor-made for Sharmila Tagore. The essence of the movie revolves around three characters –– Anand, Pushpa and a child named Nandu. Nandu is showered with affection by Pushpa, and their relationship is stunningly captured in the Lata Mangeshkar-sung ‘Bada Natkhat Hai Re Krishan Kanhaiya…’. The music by Rahul Dev Burman periodically reminds you during the course of the film that this was one of his best works. Kishore Kumar lends his voice to some soulful compositions –– ‘Kuch Toh Log Kahenge’, ‘Chingari Koi Bhadke’, ‘Yeh Kya Hua Kaise Hua’. And then ‘Raina Beeti Jaye’ by Lata leaves you craving for more.

Still from the film Amar Prem.

Still from the film Amar Prem.  

Anubhav (1971)

This was Tanuja, a much under-rated actor, at her best. This film is about Tanuja alone despite the presence of the gigantic Sanjeev Kumar. There are long spells when the versatile Sanjeev Kumar is reduced to a mere spectator as Tanuja calls the shots, literally, as an actor, and also the character of Meeta that she plays stupendously. It was marked by some exceptional songs from Geeta Dutt (“Meri Jaan Na Kaho Meri Jaan” and “Koi Chupke Se Aake) and a soulful solo by Manna Dey (“Phir Kahin Koi Phool Khila”). Music was secondary to the narrative that grows on you in a matured style that was Bhattacharya’s forte.

Roti Kapada Aur Makaan (1974)

An entertaining indictment of the government of the day, Manoj Kumar’s comment on the socialist fabric of India continues to be relevant. What he underlined in his script more than 40 years back still makes it to the election manifestos and speeches of our netas. They are still offering food, clothing and shelter to Bharat. Yes, that’s what Manoj Kumar personifies in the film. Bharat, who has graduated as an engineer, but is still waiting for a job that suits his education. Having grown up in Nehruvian India, for him his degree is his birth chart, his janmapatri.The film talks of growing discontent among the youth against the education system that promises a lot but delivers little. It hints at the tax policies that please neither the corporates nor the common man. All this still rings a bell and pulls you to revisit the film.

Muqaddar ka Sikandar (1978)

The image of Amitabh riding a motorcycle, crooning “Rote Hue Aate Hain Sabh” in the film remains etched in the memory of many cinema lovers. The film is an action packed romantic-drama with superb star cast, including Vinod Khanna, Rakhee Gulzar, Rekha and Amjad Khan. Combining the gripping screenplay by Vijay Kaul and soulful music by Kalyanji-Anandji, director Prakash Mehra produced a beautiful concoction of love, sacrifice and melodrama. The songs in the film rendered by Lata Mangeshkar, Kishore Kumar and Mohammad Rafi became a rage even before the film was released and remains popular till date.

A scene for “Muqaddar ka Sikandar”

A scene for “Muqaddar ka Sikandar”  

Achanak (1973)

With Neeraj Pandey’s “Rustom” released this year, the Nanavati case was back in public imagination.Gulzar who was trying to find a new idiom in Hindi cinema came up with a potent interpretation of the Nanavati case. Here Unlike R.K Nayyar’s rather staid and compromised version in “Yeh Rastey Hain Pyaar Ke”, Gulzar delved into the layers of the human mind and came up with a riveting moral battle between judiciary and medical science. Mounted like a thriller, the 90-minute song-less narrative goes back and forth in time as the director keeps you hungry for information.Of course, some of the technical details have become dated over the years, but “Achanak” continues to probe and provoke courtesy Gulzar’s favourite cinematographer K.Vaikunth and editor Waman Bhonsle.

Vinod Khanna in film "Achanak".

Vinod Khanna in film "Achanak".   | Photo Credit: HINDU PHOTO ARCHIVES

Black Mail (1973)

Four decades back director Vijay Anand dealt with complexity in man-woman relationship with maturity as he gave us a film that continues to be relevant and relatable, and whose romantic charm hasn’t aged. It has characters which are damaged by circumstances or greed. The heroine is called Asha who becomes a metaphor of hope for two boys in different ways. Asha (Rakhee) loves Jeevan (Shatrughan Sinha) and believes in his borrowed poetry but one day she comes across Kailash (Dharmendra), who is not rakish, who doesn’t wear his emotions on his sleeve but when he pours his heart on paper, it is magic. Remember “Pal Pal Dil Ke Paas” and you know what Dharmendra could do with those innocent eyes and impish smile before he was locked in the He Man trap.

Dharmendra, Rakhee and Shatrughan Sinha in blockbuster movie “Blackmail”.

Dharmendra, Rakhee and Shatrughan Sinha in blockbuster movie “Blackmail”.   | Photo Credit: HINDU PHOTO ARCHIVES

Piya Ka Ghar (1972)

Jaya Bhaduri is the soul of the movie, playing her role close to perfection as the bewildered simple girl from a village who comes to a big city and adopts it gracefully. The rest of the cast, including Anil Dhawan who plays her husband Ram, delivers but Mukri stands out. His cameo livens up the narrative as he steals the scenes each time he appears on it. Three songs –– “Yeh zulf kaise hai” by Mohammad Rafi, “Yeh Jeevan Hai” by Kishore Kumar and “Piya Ka Ghar Hai Yeh” by Lata Mangeshkar –– are hummable classics from a movie that stands out for its clean entertainment.

Anil Dhawan and Jaya Bhaduri in Piya Ka Ghar.

Anil Dhawan and Jaya Bhaduri in Piya Ka Ghar.   | Photo Credit: HINDU PHOTO ARCHIVE

Kissaa Kursee Ka (1978)

The creative skirmish this year between the makers of “Udta Punjab” and Central Board of Film Certification took one back to “Kissa Kursee Ka”, the political satire which faced the ire of the government of the day. Made during the Emergency period, the satire continues to ring a bell with its potent comment on political and moral corruption. Watching the film, directed by Amrit Nahata, one realises not much has changed on the ground. The film suggests in a democracy, kingmakers wield more power than the king.

The Train (1970)

It was a thriller. Rajesh Khanna was the protagonist, a crime detective, in one of his early glimpses of versatility that established him as the first super star of Hindi cinema. The film was a good thriller. Rajesh Khanna was on the verge of sweeping the audience with his romantic image, wooing the leading lady with songs written for him belting out hits after hits with the trusted combination of lyricist Anand Bakshi, composer RD Burman and singer Kishore Kumar. This movie did not have a Kishore number but Mohammad Rafi delivered in the rare style that made him a super star among singers. A super star and one in the making contributed to give “The Train” the status of a hit.

Chalte-Chalte (1976)

Kishore Kumar’s title song in the 1976 drama directed by Sunder Dar, “Chalte chalte mere ye geet yaad rakhna” echoes in our ears though the film is long forgotten. Yes, it had the delectable Simi Garewal, way ahead of her times. It exuded oomph when the word was seldom used in polite circles. It had beautiful Nazneen too. She gave it all and left many wondering why fate treated her the way it did. It also had at least three other melodious songs, “Jaana kahan hai, pyar yahan hai”, “Pyar mein kabhi kabhi aesa ho jata hai” and “Door door tum rahe”, each of the songs important in its own way.

From the day Bappi Lahiri gave Kishore the song, there has hardly been a signing off moment in this part of the world when the song is not remembered. Be it college farewells or corporate parties or even simply musical evenings in restaurants across the country, nothing is complete without this magical moment, a time when nostalgia overtakes us all.

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Printable version | Jan 17, 2021 3:15:02 AM |

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