Reccos: Anand

This was written by me in June 2009.

Director: Hrishikesh Mukherjee
Cast: Rajesh Khanna, Amitabh Bachchan, Sumita Sanyal, Ramesh Deo, Lalita Pawar, Durga Khote

Anand is the story of Anand (Rajesh Khanna), a terminally ill patient with just a few months to live, who believes in living life to the fullest and making every one happy. He becomes good friends with his doctor Bhaskar Bannerjee (Amitabh Bachchan), who is bitter and frustrated with all the poverty and suffering that he sees. Anand’s exuberance for life and his happiness in the face of adversity changes Bhaskar and teaches him to value life. Anand also helps him win over his lady love, Renu (Sumita Sanyal).

The movie is filled with one great scene after another. Some of the scenes stay etched in your memory forever like the one where Anand yells out Murali Lal and meets JaiChand (Johnny Walker) and his explanation about friendship as transmission of signals or Anand’s interactions with the stern but motherly matron (Lalita Pawar), the climax where Bhaskar returns to find his friend dead and wants him to talk only to hear his recorded voice say a theatrical dialogue about life and ending in loud laughter. Anand calling Bhaskar as Babu Moshai is itself filled with affection, banter and teasing.

Dialogues by Gulzar are excellent and the movie has some of the greatest lines you will ever come across in a movie like ‘Lymphosarcoma of the intestine, wah wah! kya bimaari hai, bimaari ho to aisi, warna na ho!’, ‘Zindagi aur maut uparwale ke haath hai jahapana, jise na aap badalsakte hai na main. Hum sab to rangmanch ki katputlia hai, jiski door uparwale ke haath bandhi hai Kab kaun kaise uthega ye koi nahin jaanta ha ha ha’, ‘Yahan kahan? Yeh kya dadi vadi badadi, Shah Jahan ki tarah? Pehchana nahin ?!? Bhool gaye bachchu!! Qutb Minar pe beer pilakar out kardiya tha’, ‘Anand mara nahi. Anand marte nahi’ and the memorable ‘Babumoshai, Zindagi Badi Honi Chahiye, Lambi Nahin’.

The music by Salil Choudhary is very good and the movie has some great songs like ‘Zindagi Kaisi Hai’, and ‘Kai Door Jab Din’ which were written by Yogesh and ‘Maine Tere Liye’ written by Gulzar. The songs are beautifully picturized and there are no dances involved. The movie is mostly set indoors or on sets and the cinematography just involves using a camera and letting the characters tell a great story.

Rajesh Khanna gives his career best performance as Anand and is exceptional in every scene whether he is being talkative, pensive, jovial or friendly with complete strangers. It is one of the best performances of all time in Hindi Cinema. Amitabh Bachchan gives a brilliant performance as the brooding doctor and heralds the emergence of an great actor. Sumita Sanyal, Ramesh Deo, Seema Deo, Lalita Pawar, Durga khote all deliver great supporting performances. Johnny Walker, Dara Singh and Asit Sen give memorable cameos.

Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s direction is excellent and this is his best movie. The movie doesn’t boast of any great technical finesse or great camera angles but it has a great soul. It even has a bit of a faulty screenplay as the story is narrated by Dr.Bhaskar to an audience that is gathered to award him for his book on Anand. Yet it is a simple, heart touching story with great endearing characters brought to life by great natural performances from the whole cast.

Anand won the National Award for Best Film in Hindi and it also won six filmfare awards which included Best Movie, Best Actor Award (Rajesh Khanna), Best Supporting Actor Award (Amitabh Bachchan), Best Story (Hrishikesh Mukherjee), Best Dialogue (Gulzar) and Best Editing (Hrishikesh Mukherjee). Anand is one of the best Hindi movies of all time.

Rating: 4.5 / 5 (Brilliant)

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