Parwana (1971)

August 21, 2014 07:24 pm | Updated 07:24 pm IST - New Delhi

A scene from "Parwana"

A scene from "Parwana"

Unrequited love is the soul of the story. The man is in love but not the lady. For she loves someone else! Love at first sight and love stemming from hatred have been subjects that Indian cinema has dealt over a period of time. The innocent attraction of childhood has also been treated as root of love in adolescence.

Movie makers have never been short of plots that have created hits. This was a sinister machination of a person who refuses to accept the fact that he can’t posses his love of life because she has fallen for another man. Amitabh Bachchan, Navin Nischol and Yogeeta Bali form the trio around which this thriller revolves but sadly it made little impact on the audience.

It was among the early films that featured Bachchan, Nischol and Yogeeta. Nischol, despite getting three songs to his credit, played the secondary role to Bachchan, who shone even in a negative role. It was indeed a daring act by Bachchan to have accepted the role that showed his character in the movie in a poor and defeatist mode. He was in the nascent stage of his career and faced the threat of being branded.

True, Nischal was a central figure in the story but he did not have the stature to carry the film on his shoulders alone. Yogeeta was not a known name and much depended on how the audience accepted the cast. Bachchan was quoted, “It was an intelligent screenplay and my role had many shades but unfortunately, the film didn’t do well.”

Om Prakash and Lalita Pawar made up the cast with Shatrughan Sinha in a guest appearance, as defence lawyer late into the movie when Rajesh (Nischol) faces a murder charge. The success of the story depended on the plot weaved by Madhusudan. It was intriguing no doubt but lacked the compelling impact of a “Kohra”, “Bees Saal Baad” or a “Kanoon”. The handling of the subject remained deft but there was a clear disconnect with the audience because it lacked the pace.

Bachchan is Kumar Sen, a maverick who can paint, sculpt, and scheme when the situation challenges. It is astonishing that an artist of such repertoire is not able to express his love to Asha (Yogeeta). Asha also fails to handle his infatuation when he finally confesses his love. It becomes tricky because Asha is besotted with Rajesh, a wealthy tea estate owner. Asha’s uncle Ashok Verma (Om Prakash) becomes the central character in the love triangle and later a victim when he is found strangled in his house.

It is here that the plot deviates, picks up pace and challenges the viewer’s intelligence to spot the killer. The line of investigation leads to Rajesh as the culprit. Fingers point to Kumar too as one gets enough indications of his involvement. He books a ticket by train to Calcutta, asks a pilot friend to post a letter from Bangalore and impersonates a tea agent to set up a meeting with Rajesh. It is an effort to confirm his involvement. But the suspense remains on how the conspiracy to murder is accomplished.

Here, the sequence that forms Kumar’s journey to finish off the elderly Verma leaves the audience stunned. He boards a train, only to de-board at the next station within the same city; he commits the crime, takes a plane to another city to board the same train when it reaches that city. He occupies the same coupe and travels to the destination of the train. A perfect plot because the investigators are unable to unravel the mystery. Framed for Verma’s murder, Rajesh is reconciled to his destiny when Kumar’s conscious is shaken following a visit by Asha. The realisation that Asha shall not be his even after Rajesh is condemned to spend his life behind bars brings about a change in Kumar. He confesses and ends his life and the movie by shooting himself.

Bachchan demonstrates ample skills to give early indications of his later year dominance in the film industry. It is his movie as much as Madhusudan’s for envisaging a brilliant plot. Madan Mohan’s music also contributed a few chartbusters, notably the Rafi-Asha duet “Jis Din Se Maine Tumko Dekha Hai” and Kishore Kumar’s “Simti Si Sharmaai Si”…….It was a pity the movie failed at the box office.

Genre : Romantic thriller

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