Reincarnation has been a popular subject in Indian cinema. The Kamal Amrohi-directed “Mahal” (1949) and Bimal Roy’s timeless classic “Madhumati” (1958), laced with melodious music, continue to appeal to film lovers. In modern times, “Karz” (1980), starring Rishi Kapoor, Simi Garewal and Tina Munim, was a raging hit, again the subject of incarnation combined with good music contributing to the huge success of the movie.
When Basu Chatterjee, a director of repute, decided to experiment and enter the zone of reincarnation, he must have taken into account various aspects like the script and the cast. He had Sanjeev Kumar to rely upon even though the narrative did not meet the expected standards.
Basu Da was at his best in movies like “Piya Ka Ghar”, “Rajnigandha”, “Chitchor”, “Chhoti Si Baat”, “Khatta Meetha”, “Baton Baton Mein”, “Shaukeen”, all films with varied subjects but humour being the common thread. “Tumhare Liye” was a serious topic to be dealt with seriously. Basu Da did have Sanjeev Kumar and Ashok Kumar to provide the impetus but it was not to be counted among his best.
The story begins in 1905 and propels to 1978 when Gauri (Vidya Sinha) and Prakash (Sanjeev Kumar) fall in love and marry against odds. Prakash is originally expected to have Renuka (Neelam Mehra) as his life partner but he turns down the proposal . Gauri is his choice and he sticks to it.
But marriage leads to Gauri behaving in a weird manner, lost in thoughts, pining for an unseen lover. Devastated by her new found pain, Gauri takes ill and is hospitalised as her mental state deteriorates to an extent where she looks to end her life. Psychiatric treatment reveals a dark and troublesome past where Gauri and Gangadhar Upadhyay are in love with Kalawati, the present age Renuka, standing between their relationship.
Gangadhar is barred socially to interact with women since he is cursed to be a brahmachari. He breaks his celibacy by impregnating Gauri, who is compelled to consume poison by Kalwati. Shattered by the death of Gauri and their unborn child, Gangadhar too joins them in a tragic twist to the story. Time flies and Gauri and Gangadhar meet again, to fall in love, and again tie the nuptial knot.
It dawns on Gauri and Prakash that Renuka must be convinced to spare them. Only one can survive – Gauri or Renuka – to avoid a repeat of the past-birth tragedy. Once again Gauri is pregnant and once again Prakash could end up like Gangadhar.
Renuka vows to pull Prakash away from Gauri. She comes prepared to push Gauri into a suicidal mode but the story takes a different route. Prakash and Gauri must unite and leave Renuka in a state of frustration but she takes the lead in uniting them.
The contrived climax was a weak point in a narrative where Sanjeev Kumar, as Gangadhar and Prakash, is the strongest character. His restrained performance, however, managed to bring quality where Vidya Sinha tries her best to meet the standards expected of a Basu Chatterjee offering.
Music, sadly, was average despite Jaidev being the composer. He did come up with one of Lata Mangeshkar’s finest piece of melody – “Tumhe Dekhti Hoon Toh Lagta Hai Aise”. But that was all. “Tumhare Liye” was not Basu Chatterjee’s best but worth a revisit.