April 27, 2009

Bandini

[Aside: The current header is courtesy of the lovely Beth- thank you thank you!]

One cannot begin to speak of Bandini without first paying homage to its music. The soundtrack is one of SD Burman's finest, and accentuates the brilliant movie that may be safely called Bimal Roy's last hurrah.

Title: Bandini
Year: 1963
Cast: Nutan, Dharamendra, Ashok Kumar, Iftekhar

I approached this movie with skeptisicm- a movie so heavily lauded despite all these years past- overlauded perhaps due to the years past? But boy was I convinced otherwise.

The movie opens with female prisoners (female prisoner= bandini), entering a prison in pre-independence India, being met by the jailer, Chutti Babu, played lechorously by Iftekhar.


Inside the prison, we meet the head jailer and the prison doctor: Devendra (Dharam! smoking hot, at his beautifulest best!)- one of the older female prisoners has been diagnosed with tuberculosis (TB), and they are seeking another female inmate to volunteer as her nurse. This is a job with considerable risk- even through the 70s, TB was rampant and meant possible death.


The one prisoner to volunteer is Kalyani (Nutan), who seems to be hell bent upon taking the hardest of tasks- she is desperately seeking atonement for the crime which has landed her in prison. Kalyani works hard to cure the ailing woman, and impresses the handsome Devendra considerably.


Meanwhile we meet the first in a brilliant soundtrack, "O panchi pyare." A young imprisoned girl sings as she toils, addressing the free birds perching in the yard, comparing her own disbarrment to the bird's ability to fly. The song is a song of happiness, contrasted by the bleakness of the priso, and accompanied by some beautiful visuals.


Meanwhile, Iftekhar is smitten by Kalyani and flirts shamelessly, which she stoicly ignores.


While Kalyani tends to the TB-stricken woman, her troubles rise with the unwanted attentions of Iftekhar, the rumors of her affair with Devendra and the attraction she does sense from Devendra. In the midst of all this, there is a prison uprising, soon bought into control, and the first time we hear the guard's call "sab theek hai," (all's well)- when nothing really is quite well, in the country and within the prison.


The crisis passes, and Dr. Devenra proposes to Kalyani. She refuses, saying she is unworthy, and will not listen to reason- how can she resist that beautiful face?


Kalyani wont listen despite all the attempts of fellow-inmate Bela Bose (in a rare, beautiful role). Devendra resigns and leaves town.


Back home, Devendra looks appropriately sexy in his safari jacket, as he meets his mom.


Meanwhile, the kindly jailer coaxes Kalyani to cough up her story.


And out it comes: Kalyani was a village girl living somewhere in Bengal with her father (Raja Paranjpe playing a post master) and nephew. Kalyani meets a freedom fighter Bikash (Ashok Kumar), being house-imprisoned in her village, and falls deliriously in love with him, though he is clueless. She sings "O jogi tu aaya jabse," (She calls him a saint (jogi) since he is a self-less freedom-fighter, and sings of how she feel in love with him at first sight).


And he does propose and her father agrees to the wedding, but before that Bikash needs to go away to prison....


Months pass, and Bikash shows no sign of returning. At last, to Mukesh's "O Jaanewale Ho Sake To Laut Ke Aana" (you, who are leaving, come back home one day), Kalyani leaves home to go to town and seek Bikash out. She ends up in a nursing home, working as a servant, and attending primarily to one particular peevish patient. Kalyani's dad makes his way to town to find her, but dies in a car crash before he can make it. The same day, she realizes that her patient is Bikash's wife.


Devastated, unstable and furious, Kalyani poisons Bikash's wife in the night, and then unable to bear the guilt of her crime, gives herself up to the police in the morning.


And that's her story. The jailer, deeply sympathetic, secures judicial pardon for her and even convinces Devendra (remember him?)'s mom to accept Kalyani as her daughter in law. Kalyani is free now, and being accompanied by a female warden to Devendra's house.


The train station and the shipyard share a common waiting-house. And who should Kalyani meet there but Bikash, sick with TB himself now (good thing she knows how it nurse it, right?) Further, she is informed by Bikash's friend that Bikash only married the other woman since she was a policeman's daughter, and he could ferret secrets for the freedom movement via her.


And as the last, and one of my favorite songs plays, "mere sajan hain us paar" (my lover is on the other side of the shore, and I am here- o boatman), sung by SD Burman himself. Kalyani must decide now- does she go to the waiting Devendra, or follow Bikash?


I have to admit, the movie made me angry initially. Nothing seems to workout for our protoganist, and there is despair in almost every shot. The impending sense of tragedy looms strong even in the happiest of songs, and it appears as of Kalyani is wilfully embracing sadness.
And yet, the reasoning behind Kalyani's choices isn't too hard to understand- SPOILER ALERT: Her independent spirit is unbreakable- rather than choose Devendra's loving kindness, she prefers to master her own destiny and Bikash's by choosing the latter and fighting for his life END OF SPOILER. That at least is understandable- she chose to fall in love with Bikash whom she hero-worshiped. Driven to crime, she chose to atone for it. Her choices are her own and she stands by them, and the movie conveys that brilliantly.

In Seema (1955), Nutan had captured the ignorance and trauma of the character beautifully, and her Kalyani seems to be an extension of that character, just more matured. The fact that she married in 1959 and gave birth to Mohinish in 1963- her personal growth is apparent on screen for us to see; both movies got her Filmfare best actor awards.


Pros:
1- Its a incredibly compelling movie- every time Nutan's character goes through a hardship, you desperately want things to work out for her, all the while knowing they wont.
2- All the actors work beautifully to highlight Nutan- the movie is tailor made for her. And yet, they fulfill themselves as well: Dhamram, Bela and Ashok are all they could be and very effective- specially Bela, who seldom got such an acting opportunity.
3- The cinematography is brilliant. Color had come to India, but not all directors could afford it. And Kamal Bose, the cinematography doesnt let us miss color for an instant- shadows and light are optimized, as are the outdoor scenes. Angle shots make the drab prison intriguing, and even bring interest to the stagy sets. The shots may remind you of Khamoshi, which he would do a few years later.
4- Bimal Roy (1909-1966) clearly died too early, at a mere 57. He gave us Parineeta, Beegha Zameen, Devdas, Yahudi, Madhumati, Sujata, Naukri- no doubt he could have given us so much more. Like Guru Dutt, a life lost too early.
5- Bandini is an important movie, for the fact that it is one of few Bollywood movies that have focused on the life in a women's prison, and attempted to bring a consciousness of rehabilitation for inmates who had done their time. Their acceptance and integration into society is at least discussed, if not fully conveyed.
6- Can enough be said about its music, its lyrics and songs? Bandini is also important for the fact that it marked almost a 6-year stand off between SD Burman and Lata, where she sings both the love songs, "O Jogi" and "More gora rang lai le,"- and continued to sing for him for years to come. As mentioned, he himself sings the brilliant "Mere Sajan," something he was known to do when he was convinced that he could find no one else to convey a song to his exact specifics. The lyrics for "O Jaane Waale" were by Shailendra, known for his sad songs of separation (his mom died when he was a child- he could never recover from the pain). However, during filming, Bimal Roy and Shalendra argued, leading the then assistant director Gulzar to come up with the rest of the lyrics- his first attempt, and a brilliant one.

Cons:
1- Dharam's love for Nutan is portrayed so delicately and adorably- I wish it had been developed more, and I wish he had more to do than this extended cameo.
2- Nutan is a brilliant actor, but she has a natural elegance that makes her scenes as a village girl hard to believe. Her inherent poise seeps through the rusticity. Despite that, her portrayal of a inmate is par excellence, her pain and misery are palpable.
3- Seriously- !!!!!SPOILER ALERT: Why would a woman choose Ashok over Dharam, blind as she she may be in love?????????? END OF SPOILER!!!!!

Notes:
1- This was Gulzar's third and last work as assistant director, before he took off on his own.
2- Dharam is called "Devendra"- the same name as Abhay in "Dev D." Coincidence?
3- Bleak as it is, Bandini gives us hope- to persist and follow our dreams, impossible as they may seem. I need that just now.


33 comments:

bollywooddeewana said...

Great review,I had to avoid the spoilers though, i've been on Bimal Roy's case recently and this is on my rental list, i so agree with the Sexy ass Safari Jacket. Such a shame Dharmendra never won any filmfare award for best actor, he did lots of great films in the 60's

dustedoff said...

I'm not a fan of sad films, but I make an exception for well-handled stuff like Bandini. This is a lovely film, and Mere saajan hain us paar always gives me gooseflesh. And I agree with you: how could anybody in their right senses choose Ashok Kumar over Dharmendra? Well, maybe all that imprisonment and angst and whatnot have taken their toll on poor Kalyani's eyesight! ;-)

JJC said...

ive heard of this film earlier but im not a nutan fan so i didnt bother, she makes e sad. but the storyline of the film s seems really appealling so might catch it sometime.

Banno said...

It's so rarely that the cinematography in Hindi films tells a story of its own. It's a really compelling watch. And 'Mora Gora Rang lai le..' is one of the best songs ever in Hindi cinema.

I agree, the story does make you feel angry at times, and I could never understand the choice of Ashok Kumar either. But, but ... I guess it's also to do with the times, the idea of selflessness, hero-worhip.

Lovely header, I feel so jealous!

celluloidrant said...

As I remember, Gulzar was born Sampooran Singh. Am curious: how is he listed in the credits of this film?

~ramsu

Bhargav Saikia said...

First of all, amazing header! Suits the blog very well :)

I need to watch these classics. And Bimal Roy's films are a must. I'll start with Guide this weekend!

AKM said...

Add to the chorus. Absolutely one of my all-time favourites, Nutan really glows. Her sheer self-control and poise are evident throughout. I agree with you about her choice, but I thought it only brought out her strength, that she wasn't about to be swayed by any pressure of a decision almost taken. The music, the ambience of old-time India ... entrancing.

And a nice review : )

Nicki said...

This is a movie that I think I will enjoy. Even though it may not have a happy ending, I would still watch it.

Beth did an awesome job with the header!

theBollywoodFan said...

I really want to see this now. Nutan's awesome, the plot seems intriguing, and yes, village belles can be very elegant ;)

Filmi Girl said...

I want to see this!! Dadamoni and Garam Dharam... mmm...!

Thank you for the lovely screencaps and review! (I read the spoilers anyway...)

bollyviewer said...

This is the first Bimal Roy movie that I remember seeing and I was quite unhappy with Nutan's choices, back then. First, things go badly for her. And then, when she does get a chance at happiness she throws it away! Doom and gloom all the way. But after watching Bimal Roy's other films, I've come to realise that he deserves all the laurels heaped on him, and then some! So one day, when I am not feeling too low, I will give Bandini a second chance and try to forgive Nutan for not choosing Dharam!

Shweta Mehrotra Gahlawat said...

Bollywoodeewana: I think his good looks came i the way perhaps- the window of time in which he gave his dramatic best was very short I think.

Dustedoff: totally agree w/ ur reaction on Mere Sajan. poor kalyani indeed.

JJC: It WAS sad while i watched, but by the climax its clear that the events in the movie are pretty much controlled by Kalyani- so we musnt pity her- she apparently likes it that way! heeh :)

Banno: totally- re: the cinematography- the man was a master. You know, I do wonder if it wouldnt have been better if Ashok and Dharam's roles would be switched- i think i'd be entirely satisfied :)Re: header- If you like, I can send you the template that Beth sent me- you just have to fill in whatever name u like!

Ramsu: He is credited as Gulzar- I dont beleive he was ever credit by his orig. name- wonder why though...parents disowned him?- hmm...

Bhargav: thanks! Guide is lovely- but so sad- i wept through it copiously :D

AKM: Thanks for the comment and thanks for visiting- i hope u stop by often! absolutely- i do understand her motivations, just dont agree with them, which is just as well :)

Nicki: Beth rocks. I'm sure u will like this one :D

Bollywoodfan: lols. i think u will appreciate this one too!

Filmigirl: lols- yup, i can never resist peeking when i read reviews/books either :) dhamar looks really really adorable [heart]

Bollyviewer: Definitely: as "the end" cam on, initially i was shocked and angry- and then figured kalyani probably just needed to manage her man and feel in control of her life for once- ah well :) it would have been nice if she had kept her chin up for the earlier part of the movie though- :)

bollywoodfoodclub said...

Thanks for reviewing this so well! I loved being reminded of the film and your screen caps were great. I LOVED that tune "O panchi pyare." And you ask, "Why would a woman choose Ashok over Dharam, blind as she she may be in love??????????" Girl, I'd choose Ashok, I think he's got a great face, very interesting to look at. Love it! And wasn't Ahok's freedom fighter character coerced into marrying the evil poisoned wife for political reasons? I thought that was how it went, but it's been a while since I've seen this.

All the best!
Sita-ji

Shweta Mehrotra Gahlawat said...

Sitaji! I am with u on the Panchi Pyare song totally. Yup, that's exactly how it went; I guess I was just nevercharmed by Ashok Kumar's looks- he always struck me as a benevolent grand-uncle, v huggable, but cant relate when he plays male lead. One day I shall wake up to it of course- baby steps :D

bollywoodfoodclub said...

Baby step off! He's mine! ;)
Didn't you find him a bit hot in Parineeta? Filmi Gilr's blog has some nice screen caps:

http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://pics.livejournal.com/filmi_girl/pic/003fra64&imgrefurl=http://filmi-girl.livejournal.com/165335.html&usg=__how_SEPjjnkAUscKarTNFzS24FM=&h=436&w=550&sz=33&hl=en&start=2&um=1&tbnid=b4_Pdq-mqv6koM:&tbnh=105&tbnw=133&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dashok%2Bkumar%2Bin%2Bparineeta%26hl%3Den%26rls%3Dcom.microsoft:en-us%26sa%3DN%26um%3D1

All the best!
Sita-ji

Shweta Mehrotra Gahlawat said...

Sitaji: Lols. Dont worry, the conversion wont be so drastic :) Like I said, I admire Ashok, but cant see the romantic lead in him- even in Parineeta :S Meena was amazing though- smiley- more like what I wish she'd always be.

apadiya said...

Good movie but I was absolutely totally pissed at the ending - Bimal Roy, for all his emphathy for the female lead, turning her into nothing but the Adarsh Bharatiya Doormat? Ugh!
Then I thought this is his way of saying the heart has a logic all its own and it refuses to follow cold logic.

But there is a Dharmendra interview/rediff article (or a filmfare article) you can google for which clearly states that everyone (from Dharmendra to Bimal Roy) wanted Nutan to go with the Doctor. It was the script writer who stuck to his guns. :)

Shweta Mehrotra Gahlawat said...

Apadiya: Thank you for the article! I was appalled at the way it ended, but it made sense after sometime of thinking. with the doctor, she would have subconsciously always felt obliged for this "uplifting" of her. In the case of the freedom fighter, she would always have the upper hand, for she would rescue him from illness! though it isn't explicit in the movie, i wonder if in a real situation, this fact alone might push her to decide against the doctor :)

apadiya said...

But she is NOT controlling. She is sacrificing herself. It is not at all about her. It is about the whims and fancies and comfort of Ashok Kumar - who let us remember - never did explain to her that he was already married (even if for a noble cause) and never did a single thing for her. Despite all this, she still sacrifices herself. Urgh!

Shweta Mehrotra Gahlawat said...

Apadiya: lols- guess it was wishful thinking on my part! but maybe she is deluding herself that way- and maybe in her case ignorance is bliss? As much as I play devil's advocate, you know I definitely agree- leaving the doc was super dumb :)

apadiya said...

My point was our mutual initial feeling may be the "right" one, that even Bimal Roy DID NOT like the ending so the separate justifications that we came up with is not necessary. The ending IS emotionally wrong! :)

http://www.rediff.com/entertai/2002/feb/28dinesh.htm

There was some talk of Nutan deciding to opt for Dharmendra in the climax; but it didn't fructify.

Dharmendra also said same thing in a filmfare interview: Bimal Roy kept trying to persuade the scriptwriter to change the ending

Shweta Mehrotra Gahlawat said...

Apadiya: I have to admit- this really makes me appreciate Bimal as a person.

bawa said...

I also had the feeling on my latest rewatching that perhaps she really did care for Ashok Kumar, but later on everyone around was pressurizing her into marrying Dharmendra: maybe her own feelings were not that clear?
In one sense, the choice of Dharmender is also imposed, i.e. how can you resist such a handsome, well-educated guy, who is willing to marry a murderess?
So maybe I was being conventional in that sense.

As for the songs, one cannot begin to describe their brilliance and poignancy.

Hasn't anyone mentioned Asha's absolutely stunning rendering of "Abke baras behj bhaiya ko babul": my heart absolutely breaks everytime I hear that song.

yves said...

Hello again Shweta,
(first hello was on my blog, in answer to your comment there)

The other questions I wanted to ask you are: what do you think of my justification of Kalyani's choice? If you're interested, I've discussed it even at more length on Bollywhat: http://www.bollywhat-forum.com/index.php?topic=4696.msg380102#msg380102)
also, about your "serious" con n°3 don't you think it's possible for a woman to choose an older suffering man than a young and healthy one?
Finally, what do you think of the sacrificial motif? Do you think this was something Bimal Roay was consciously exploring?
cheers,
yves

yves said...

Hi again Shweta,
I have to come back and add this, after having read in the commentaries above that Bimal Roy himself disliked the ending, and had to submit to the story writer's whim.
The story-writer was 100% right to have stuck to his choice. Making the film end with Kalyani leaving with the doctor is poor artisticically, morally and psychologically. She has all the good reasons to go with him! He's handsome, reserved, honest, delicate... But going with him would be an ordinary, standard ending which would tell us nothing about the drama in Kalyani's soul. Here, after all, I'll just paste what I had put in Bollywhat, this way you can discuss my point of view here directly.

- As for the ending, the question lies in Kalyani's character. Choosing Deven (Dharmendra) would have meant for her deciding to abolish her past, something which the carefully constructed scenario presents as a temptation, but which the heroine refuses. So it's both logic and necessary that she chooses Bikash, and it's strangely a matter of chance too, because she couldn't have imagined the coincidence of meeting Bikash at the harbour. So the question really transforms itself into: why did the director (or story writer, if Bimal Roy was indeed obliged to follow him!) choose to make Kalyani and Bikash meet at the end? Wouldn't it have been more satisfying to have shown Kalyani slowly forget her past, and find happiness with the doctor? I believe Bimal Roy wanted to dramatize Kalyani's moral character completely: and this drama is more complete if we see her actually confronted with the ordeal of having to choose between these two options: a love based on forgiveness and pity, or a love based on a rather more selfish happiness? Because of course, even if choosing Deven before having met Bikash at the harbour was not "a love based on a rather selfish happiness", it becomes that once Kalyani sees Bikash again! Before seeing Bikash, going with Deven was not a real "choice", it was a natural slope, a reasonable (and pleasurable) decision which nobody could blame her for taking. But this changes once she is confronted to the two men, and then the two options face one another in her mind, and the nature of the Deven course changes in front of the possibility of the Bikash course. Going with Deven becomes leaving Bikash, whom she now knows has been forced to marry that other woman. And even if her crime will forever remain somewhere in their story, she killed because she thought he had deceived her. Having now realised he hadn't, she has a sort of debt towards him. And this debt fuses with the renewal of her love for him, so she chooses him, in spite of all the difficulties (social and psychological) which she must know will be theirs. Perhaps she chooses him to fight against these difficulties, to be there by his side, and because she cannot contemplate any kind of future where her sense ofl duty would reproach her with not having done what was right.

Shweta Mehrotra Gahlawat said...

Yves: Thank you for your thoughtful comments. Re: my con#3- I have issues with her choosing Ashok over Dharam- and this is, because I personally find Dharam more romantically appealing in the movie than Ashok. While I can understand and empathize with your point of view regarding the root of Kalyani's choices, I also wonder if her NOT choosing Deven is because she may simply want to be with her true love- while Deven always professed his love for, she only seems to have loved Bikash. Additionally, agreeing to marry Deven might mean always having to recognize his benevolence in accepting her- and she may not want to live with that. Lastly, Kalyani has been a victim of circumstance for a large part of her life- loving Bikash and choosing to go back to him in the end are 2 of her few independent choices, and I'd like to believe that she was choosing independence and going by the desires of her heart in doing so.

Shweta Mehrotra Gahlawat said...

Bawa: I am so sorry for not having responded sooner! "Abke baras behj bhaiya ko babul" is absolutely lovely, and I only have one excuse for not mentioning it in great detail- when SD Burman sings a song, I am so enraptured by it that I am blind to all others, despite their beauty. "O manjhi" does that to me :)

yves said...

Shweta,
You say that you find Dharmendra "more romantically appealing" than Ashok: who wouldn't? But I wonder whether the interest of that ending doesn't precisely lie in a questioning of that type of reaction. Isn't Bollywood (and Hollywood) too often based on the appeal of appearances? And wouldn't we be the first to criticize human relations which would be based on appearances, and not on real feelings and events? Yet we do it very often.
Now, who knows whether Bandini doesn't want us to question our unquestioned romanticism? I know this sounds a little theoretical, but good films (and works of art, in general) contain intentions which we don't always notice at first. And Kalyani seems to be just that kind of deflector: she doesn't fit with the expected and natural attitudes based on normality and worldly wisdom: she chooses to risk contamination when accepting to look after the TB patient; she doesn’t refuse to take the note to Bikash in spite of the danger; she refuses the handsome doctor, and leaves with the derelict Bikash. For me, as I’ve said, she’s a sort of saint, a Christ-like figure who isn’t concerned about the ways of the world, but about those of the Kingdom of love, where the little and the poor are the Father’s cherished ones. And our “romantic” attitudes (I don’t exclude myself) are too often self-oriented, desire-oriented, nature-oriented, whereas the true Christian attitude neglects the beauty and the fulfilment of the self in favour of the love of the rejected. Two loves, but the first is limited by our personal and social norms, whereas the other one is open to realities which transcend them.

bawa said...

Yves,
You have put what I felt about Kalyani's choice, but was unable to convey in words, very clearly.

S D Burman's singing is beautiful but it always fills me with a great pool of sadness..I think it would even if he sang a happy song: its just the nature of his voice, and then of course, all his songs are sung at sad points of the story (at least as far as I can remember).

raja said...

Hi, this is raja (a regular at memsaab's blog).

Just popped over here after seeing Bandini. Have always wanted to see this movie and finally got to see it today.

Agree with your review - one hell of a movie.

Have also read the comments and would like to add my 2 cents.

I find myself agreeing with Yves and Bawa above.

To understand Nutan's choice we need to recognise the strength of her character. It was anything but shallow. Going with Dharam would have been inconsistent with the character she portrays throughout the movie.

The easy way out for Nutan would have been to go with Dharam and make a clean break with her past.

But she is made of sterner stuff than that.

All along she has been a fighter. She has seen grief and pain, losing her brother, her love, tolerating abuse. She has seen it all - and still come out strong.

She is very much a woman of her own mind. And not dependent on anybody's support. Dharam would have "supported" her but she really did not ask for his "support". It was he who was keen on marrying her.

One very important thing to realise is why she fell in love with Ashok in the first place. It was not just because it was Ashok, it was because she was an idealist and madly in love with her country. That is why she placed Ashok on such a pedestal. And then, when she realised that he had given her up only in the cause of the country - and was now terminally ill with nobody to look after him - what was she supposed to do? Abandon him? A lesser person may have done that but not this character.

I think the scriptwriter got it spot on. Bimal Roy and everybody else may have wanted the Dharam-Nutan ending but this was the one where the character shows her final "character".

A lot of comments are around "she is sacrificing her happiness by choosing Ashok".

I don't agree. Each person's view on happiness is different. With Dharam she would have been a trophy wife. With Ashok, she has purpose in her life again. And that would be more fulfilling for her and therefore give her more happiness (as defined by her).

I must admit that for a moment I was also disappointed that she did not go with Dharam. But only for a moment. The strength of her character gets magnified manifold with her decision to go with Ashok.

raja said...

Hi, this is raja (a regular at memsaab's blog).

Just popped over here after seeing Bandini. Have always wanted to see this movie and finally got to see it today.

Agree with your review - one hell of a movie.

Have also read the comments and would like to add my 2 cents.

I find myself agreeing with Yves and Bawa above.

To understand Nutan's choice we need to recognise the strength of her character. It was anything but shallow. Going with Dharam would have been inconsistent with the character she portrays throughout the movie.

The easy way out for Nutan would have been to go with Dharam and make a clean break with her past.

But she is made of sterner stuff than that.

All along she has been a fighter. She has seen grief and pain, losing her brother, her love, tolerating abuse. She has seen it all - and still come out strong.

She is very much a woman of her own mind. And not dependent on anybody's support. Dharam would have "supported" her but she really did not ask for his "support". It was he who was keen on marrying her.

One very important thing to realise is why she fell in love with Ashok in the first place. It was not just because it was Ashok, it was because she was an idealist and madly in love with her country. That is why she placed Ashok on such a pedestal. And then, when she realised that he had given her up only in the cause of the country - and was now terminally ill with nobody to look after him - what was she supposed to do? Abandon him?

A lesser person may have done that but not this character.

I think the scriptwriter got it spot on. Bimal Roy and everybody else may have wanted the Dharam-Nutan ending but this was the one where the character shows her final "character".

A lot of comments here are around "she is sacrificing her happiness by choosing Ashok".

I don't agree. Each person's view on happiness is different. With Dharam she would have been a trophy wife. With Ashok, she has purpose in her life again. And that would be more fulfilling for her and therefore give her more happiness (as defined by her).

I must admit that for a moment I was also disappointed that she did not go with Dharam. But only for a moment. The strength of her character gets magnified manifold with her decision to go with Ashok.

Raja Swaminathan said...

Hi, this is raja (a regular at memsaab's blog).

Just popped over here after seeing Bandini. Have always wanted to see this movie and finally got to see it today.

Agree with your review - one hell of a movie.

Have also read the comments and would like to add my 2 cents.

I find myself agreeing with Yves and Bawa above.

To understand Nutan's choice we need to recognise the strength of her character. It was anything but shallow. Going with Dharam would have been inconsistent with the character she portrays throughout the movie.

The easy way out for Nutan would have been to go with Dharam and make a clean break with her past.

But she is made of sterner stuff than that.

All along she has been a fighter. She has seen grief and pain, losing her brother, her love, tolerating abuse. She has seen it all - and still come out strong.

She is very much a woman of her own mind. And not dependent on anybody's support. Dharam would have "supported" her but she really did not ask for his "support". It was he who was keen on marrying her.

One very important thing to realise is why she fell in love with Ashok in the first place. It was not just because it was Ashok, it was because she was an idealist and madly in love with her country. That is why she placed Ashok on such a pedestal. And then, when she realised that he had given her up only in the cause of the country - and was now terminally ill with nobody to look after him - what was she supposed to do? Abandon him?

A lesser person may have done that but not this character.

I think the scriptwriter got it spot on. Bimal Roy and everybody else may have wanted the Dharam-Nutan ending but this was the one where the character shows her final "character".

A lot of comments here are around "she is sacrificing her happiness by choosing Ashok".

I don't agree. Each person's view on happiness is different. With Dharam she would have been a trophy wife. With Ashok, she has purpose in her life again. And that would be more fulfilling for her and therefore give her more happiness (as defined by her).

I must admit that for a moment I was also disappointed that she did not go with Dharam. But only for a moment. The strength of her character gets magnified manifold with her decision to go with Ashok.

Shweta Mehrotra Gahlawat said...

Hi Raja! thank you so much for stopping by- return soon! Of course I have seen your comments on Memsaab's blog.

I do agree w/ your reasoning, with maybe slight deviations. I think w/ Dharam ultimately she'd be beholden to him for elevating her social status, with him being her savior. Not wanting that, by being w/ Ashok she'd ultimately be his healer, his savior. So yeah, I do see the sense of the script. And oh the songs!