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8 December 2013

The Divas: Sharmila Tagore

Yes, it is a new category, and yes, it came about because I really didn't know how to slot these actresses who I like, but who wouldn't fit into the earlier ones. These were the actresses who made their entrance when glamour became an intrinsic part of an actress' arsenal. Nargis, Nutan, Meena Kumari, Waheeda Rehman, et al were beautiful, but they also had well-etched roles to play, strong characters who complemented their heroes, and their cinema was good. The division between 'commercial' and 'art' didn't affect them, since their world was (mostly) one of artistic commercial cinema. Madhubala, perhaps, was the one heroine of that era, who could also be considered 'glamorous'. Yet, even she had roles where her obvious beauty only complemented her character, instead of overwhelming it.

The new set of actresses were different. They were beautiful alright and, with the advent of colour, they were packaged very well. The coming of the musical love-story, the sort of entertaining fluffy confections that were different from the social commentaries that came before them, meant that cinema demanded a certain amount of polish and pizazz. And so we were introduced to a new breed of women who looked pretty, moved gracefully, and provided a perfect foil for their manly heroes. These were actresses who held audience interest by a fringe on their forehead, a dimpled smile, a coquettish look, or an upturned nose.

The roles were (mostly) interchangeable. Yet, the films they acted in wouldn't have been what they were without these actresses. Within the constraints of their circumscribed roles, they even displayed their acting chops. Some of the actresses in this category even worked with 'serious' filmmakers.

The best person to begin this category is Sharmila Tagore, because she, more than anyone else in this category, was the genuine crossover between two completely different styles of cinema. When she came into the Hindi film industry at the ripe old age of 20, she came with the cachet of being a Satyajit Ray discovery. She had already acted in two of the auteur's films - Apur Sansar and Devi. But her turn as the dimpled Kashmiri beauty Champa with whom Shammi Kapoor falls in love in Kashmir ki Kali did not really spark audience imagination. 
In fact, her rather stilted Hindi diction caught her a lot of flak, so much so she was ready to pack up and return to Calcutta. But with an intelligence that belied her years, she allowed herself to be moulded and repackaged as the swimsuit-clad bombshell in Shakti Samanta's An Evening in Paris. This was sex-appeal with a capital 'S'.  
 
Further, playing a double role in the film, she appeared in some rather risque costumes, a no-no as far as the industry, which strongly believed in the Devi-whore division of women characters, was concerned. She also scandalised the country by appearing on the cover of Filmfare in a bikini. (Photo: Courtesy Indiatimes.com)
The backlash was immense, and Sharmila vowed not to leave the industry without changing the 'sex-symbol' image that An Evening in Paris had given her. In between, the well-read, articulate actress went back to appear in her third Ray film Nayak, balancing her glamorous turn with some serious acting. (She would later act in two other Ray films - Aranyer Din Ratri and Seemabadha.)

Sharmila's unconventional career choices did not end there. Just when things seemed to be falling into place, she got married to Mansur Ali Khan, the Nawab of Pataudi. And defying conventional wisdom that married heroines do not do well, returned to the studios to flash her dimples for Aradhana. 
This was the beginning of a successful run at the box-office.  Again, instead of striking while the box-office iron was hot, she took off to have her son, Saif. When she returned, she showed off not only her shapely waist, but her histrionic abilities in roles as diverse as the ones in Amar Prem, Mausam, Aavishkar, etc.

In that sense, the dichotomy between the actress and the star was pretty evident. The glamorous cover girl who formed a hit pair with the reigning superstar on one hand (the Rajesh Khanna-Sharmila Tagore pair would go on to act in seven films together), and the serious, national-award winning actress on the other. As Pauline Kael, the influential film critic writing for The New Yorker, enthused, "She is exquisite, perfect (a word I don't use casually)... 

With all her nakhras and her beehive hairdo (which she refused to do without even in Anupama), she is one of my favourite actresses of that decade. Sadly, she eased out of the movies in the mid-seventies, and apart from a New Delhi Times or Virudh, appeared only in a handful of forgettable character roles that did no justice to her talent. 

Today, on her birthday, I present to you my favourite roles (in Hindi films) of one of my favourite actresses.

1. Amar Prem (1972)  
Directed by: Shakti Samanta
 Agar koi apna na hokar bhi apna lage toh usse kya kehte hain?
Amar Prem  came at a time when everyone concerned - Shakti Samanta, Rajesh Khanna, Sharmila Tagore, RD Burman - were at the height of their popularity. Remade from the Bengali original Nishipadma, director Shakti Samanta showed a deep understanding of the plight of three mismatched people, as he crafted a story of the bonds between a prostitute, a rich alcoholic, and a neglected child. The relationship between Pushpa and Anandbabu was underlined by immense restraint, a great amount of maturity, and very little judgement. (In the film, when Pushpa is hurt by continuing taunts, Anandbabu reminds her 'Sita bhi yahaan badnaam hui'.) The film had its flaws, especially in the so-convenient tying up of loose ends, but it was a satisfying journey while it lasted, and the acting chops of the leads, as well as RD Burman's fantastic score had much to do with the experience.

Amar Prem allowed Sharmila to fully exploit her talent within the commercial format. With very little dialogue (most of the film's cynical, acerbic lines were handed to Rajesh Khanna, who made the best of the opportunity), Sharmila's melancholic gaze spoke volumes

For trivia lovers: I was devastated to learn that Chingari koi bhadke was not shot on the Hooghly! It was shot in a water tank in Natraj Studios, Apparently, the authorities refused permission for the boat to pass under Howrah Bridge for fear that the crowds who would gather to have a look at the actors would cause the bridge to collapse.

2. Anupama (1966)
Directed by: Hrishikesh Mukherjee 
Main nahin chahta uske baap ki tarah apne khayalat, apne asool uspe thop doon. Ek insaan ki aazadi utni hi keemti hai jitni ek desh ki... 
And that, is the crux of the whole film. A young girl, her complicated, often conflicted relationship with her father (Tarun Bose in one of the finest roles of his career), her guilt at her birth being the cause of her mother's death, her burgeoning affection towards a young, self-respecting man, and her journey from being self-effacing and overtly shy to someone who has the courage to take her own decisions - the film traversed this, and a lot more. 

Uma is caught in the crossfire of her father's resentment over her mother's death and his guilt (only in the midst of an alcoholic haze) over his treatment of her - 'Tera qasoor kya hai?' he asks emotionally. 'Main tumse itna nafrat kyun karta hoon?' Sharmila essayed both the insecurity and the repression of her character eloquently. Like Amar Prem which came later, Uma was a mostly mute character; in fact, her first dialogue in this film comes somewhere near the middle, when she is introduced to Ashok's mother. One of her earliest roles, Sharmila showed a maturity and talent that just needed the guiding hand of a good director in order to flourish. (The bouffant hairstyle, which she had adopted in Sawan ki Ghata stayed, even though director Hrishikesh Mukherjee disapproved of it.

Interestingly, this must be one of the few films where the heroine had only one song - Kuch dil ne kaha - while the second lead had two. 

3. Satyakam (1969)
Directed by: Hrishikesh Mukherjee
Sone ke zevar banane ke liye thodi toh khot milani padti hai.   
While this was Dharmendra's film throughout (as the principled Satyapriya), Sharmila's Ranjana was an equally strong and poignant character. She, the illegitimate daughter of the manager of an erstwhile princely state, comes to Satyapriya for help when the 'prince' shows his prurient interest in her; Satyapriya, as is his wont, dithers over the propriety of having her stay the night and as a result, she is raped. When he finds out, his disgust over his own pusillanimity forces Satyapriya to marry her, which in turn leads to an estrangement with his beloved grandfather. Ranjana is not destined to be very happy, though. While Satyapriya 'did the right thing' by marrying her, he is not able to transcend his orthodox upbringing to have a conjugal relationship with a 'fallen' woman. His strong ethics and uncompromising principles also lead him deeper and deeper into penury, as he is fired from job after job.

Ranjana is given an opportunity by Mr Ladia (Tarun Bose) - get Satyapriya's signature on a document, and he will pay her Rs25000... Ranjana's distress because she knows that her her husband's principles will not let him sign that document, her anger and frustration at the burden that that has placed not only on Satyapriya, but on her and their son as well... it all finally bursts out in one anguished dialogue: Agar Kabul tumhara beta hota... Finally, in that moment, when he signs the document - for her - and she tears it - for him - that is when Satyapriya is able to completely accept her. Only, it is too late. It's a scene that stays in your mind long after you watch the film.

A 'period' film (made in the late 60s, the film is set in the pre-independence period), the delicately crafted film moves slowly, almost languorously through the arc of Dharmendra's character, and one can almost see him visibly aging and tiring of the continuous fight for truth - Sachchai angaarey ki tarah hai; haath par rakho aur haath na jale, yeh kaisa ho sakta hai?  

4. An Evening in Paris (1967)
 Directed by: Shakti Samanta
"No, thank you, Sam! Main buri hoon, sasti hoon. Lekin itni giri hui nahin hoon ki shaadi ke naam par kisi ke saath apne jazbaat ka sauda karoon."  
An entertaining cotton candy confection, it is here only because in Sharmila's Suzy, we had a 'vamp' whose self-respect was intact. While she barters her sister's life for Sam's affections (and he agrees), it is clear to her that he is only acting thus out of compulsion. While the film itself played out its tired tropes - Tu mar to nahin gayi? is the father's first question when he learns that his second daughter is alive, and *gasp* a nachnewali - the characters have enough depth to them, especially Suzy. Suzy herself though buys into this insidious opinion that her life has no value (after facing Sam's contempt and her father's disgust, what is the poor girl to do?) - Main iski laayak nahin hoon, she tells her sister, when Deepa's compassion for the sister she's never known is voiced. But Suzy definitely had more gumption than Deepa, whose professed visit to Paris is because she has been disappointed in love in India. Sigh. 

5. Aradhana (1969)
Directed by: Shakti Samanta
 
Kaahe ko roye chahe jo hoye.. safal hogi teri aradhana
This was touted as Sharmila's 'comeback' film. (She had taken off from the arc lights in order to marry her Nawab.) 'What comeback?' she is reported to have said when they asked about it. 

A film that meandered between sensitive reality and restrained melodrama (a hallmark of Shakti Samanta's earliest films),  Aradhana  chronicled the life and travails of Vandana, as she moves from being a girl in love to an unwed mother to a prisoner jailed for murder, to being validated for her sacrifices at the end of the film. Vandana is a strong character, not one to crumble under her travails. So when her dead lover's uncle and aunt refuse to acknowledge that her unborn child is his son's, she doesn't waste much time crying over it. What was even more reassuring, in terms of characterisation, is that her father doesn't blame her at all; instead, he is a huge support. Vandana sets to work to bring up her son, until circumstances intervene to make it difficult to do so. It is to Sharmila's credit that she did not shy away from playing mother to her hero. (Rajesh Khanna was not supposed to be doing a double role in the film. His role was supposed to end with Arun's death.)

Besides, the relationships in the film and the dialogues were more or less natural, as opposed to being melodramatic declamations. This was the first of her films with Rajesh Khanna, and its super success ensured that the pair would pair up with director Shakti Samanta again. 

6. Chupke Chupke (1975)
Directed by: Hrishikesh Mukherjee
Ek second mein pakde jaayenge aap...
Sulekha is so fond of her jeejaji and so sure that he can never do any wrong that her newly-wedded husband begins to feel a bit insecure. So when he comes up with a plan to fool the 'jijjaji', she agrees to help, sure that her brother-in-law will win. But she also cannot help feeling rather happy that her husband is getting the better of the whole escapade. Sulekha certainly seems to take a lot of wicked pleasure in helping him do so... 

Sharmila's first full-length comedy, her Sulekha seemed to be having a blast making a fool out of her brother-in-law. Joining up with her co-star of Mere Humdam Mere Dost, Anupama and Satyakam et al (and that comfort is visible on screen), they, along with Hrishikesh Mukherjee, Amitabh and Jaya served up a smile-a-minute khichdi to come up with a classic. 

(It was also the era of heavily plucked eyebrows, which did no woman any favours, in my opinion.)

7. Mausam (1975)
Directed by: Gulzar
Baap langda tha, maa paagal.  
The laconic introduction to her parents hides a world of anger.  A powerhouse performance from an actress whom many were quick to dismiss as a glamour doll, Mausam, loosely based on AJ Cronin's The Judas Tree (proving that Cronin was not just a Dev Anand favourite), told the tale of a young girl forced into prostitution, and her descent into the hell that is now her world. Sharmila had a very nuanced role to play, as both mother and daughter, and her Kajri went the range from the coarse, shrewish whore whose only experience with men have been the tawdry kind, to the girl who discovers love in her middle-aged swain only to realise that he is not looking for that either. It was one of the most realistic portrayals of the prostitute on screen, and her obscenity-spewing, cigarette-smoking, worldly-wise Kajri won her the National Award for Best Actress, and established her as a force to reckon with. She was ably supported by Sanjeev Kumar, who turned in a sensitive performance as a man ridden with guilt over the consequences of his actions of over a quarter-century ago, and his hopes of redemption now. 

(Incidentally, while the music of the film was scored by Madan Mohan, the background score was composed by Salil Choudhary.)

8. Aavishkar (1973)
Directed by: Basu Bhattacharya
Ye badi khatarnak baat hai, Amar. Kahin hum hone ke baad, hum log 'main-main' na karne lage.  
The second of Basu Bhattacharya's Amar-Mansi trilogy (the others being Anubhav and Grihapravesh), each of which explored marital relationships in urban settings, Avishkar reunited the Khanna-Tagore pairing to much critical acclaim. (The box-office did not concur.) Sharmila did away with her bouffant and false eyelashes and kohl-lined eyes to give a very natural and sensitive performance as a wife who sees familiarity breeding contempt in their marriage causing them to drift apart. Neither of them can think of a way of reclaim their past happiness, but both are quick to judge and suspect the other of infidelity.

9. Grihapravesh (1979)
Directed by Basu Bhattacharya
 
Chai ka dabba achcha hai...   
Mansi's quiet remark about her husband's mistress perhaps defines her character in Grihapravesh, the last of the trilogy on crumbling marriages. (Chai bhi achchi hai retorts Amar.) Mansi here, is the wife of accountant Amar. As he scrimps and saves so they can buy a flat of their own, life's little pleasures and experiences pass them by. Frustrations build up, and Amar becomes besotted with his colleague Sapna (Sarika), who pushes him to ask his wife for a divorce. Sure that he has met his soulmate, Amar mentions this to Mansi, whose reaction is not quite what he expected. 

Sharmila's Mansi is pragmatic, practical and she has 24 hours to find a way to save her marriage. The camera follows Mansi around as she figures out how, even as she is unsure that her tactics will work. At the end of the day, she may still lose out to her younger and more attractive rival. Sharmila imbued her character with a grace and dignity that made her Mansi an absolute delight. A languorous, slow-moving film, Grihapravesh is a film that deserves to be termed a classic.

Safar (1970)
Directed by: Asit Sen
Maanga toh thoda sa pyaar maanga, zara sa vishwas. Tumne sab kuch diya hai, Shekhar, vishwas nahin diya. 
A refreshingly non-melodramatic fare considering the plot, Safar was also rather well-acted, even though if it did suffer from 'the curse of the second half'TM. Sharmila is Neela, a woman caught between two men - Avinash (Rajesh Khanna), dying from cancer, and Shekhar (Feroz Khan), who, loving his wife to the point of obsession (see Jo tumko ho pasand  for explanation), is insecure about Avinash's presence his wife's life. (The question arises: who is more controlling here? Avinash for playing God with Neela's life? Or Shekhar, whose jealousy consumes him from the inside?) It is a thankless role (and an underdeveloped one) for all she had to do was to look sadly at one or the other, but Sharmila did try to rise beyond the script. Co-stars Rajesh Khanna and Feroz Khan fared better as far as characterisation went, with Feroz's Shekhar being more human in his jealousy and insecurity than even Avinash, who seemed to have the God complex.

(I think blogger Aspi should trademark that phrase. I'd originally seen this phrase on fellow-blogger bollyviewer's blog and poached it from there without knowing its origins.)

26 comments:

  1. Sharmila is one of those actresses I didn't properly appreciate at first. As you mentioned several times, even in movies where she is the ostensible primary protagonist, her characters are often given more "looks" than lines. The first few movies I saw her in (Amar Prem, Aradhana, Aa Gale Lag Jaa) probably fit in that category. For me, it took seeing in her more animated roles (Raja Rani, Aavishkar, Chupke Chupke) to see the depth of thought and understanding she could bring to a character. I think one of my biggest annoyances with her trademark melancholic heroines (even if I like them well enough) is that they stifled her exceptional sense of humor. Chupke Chupke is probably her most humor-driven role, I would guess, but my favorite example of her ability to find the humor in the smallest exchange is in the song Han To Main Kya (Raja Rani, 1973) and the accompanying scene: http://youtu.be/L6UbDhmDPHo.

    Thanks for the role/film recommendations. I already had Anupama and Mausam high on my list. But it's good to know that Satyakam and Safar (neither of which I had heard much of anything good about) are worth seeing for Sharmila's characterization alone.


    ~Miranda

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  2. Miranda, yes, she had an extremely good sense of comedy, which, unfortunately, was not utilised at all. But you can see little glimpses - in Amar Prem for instance, where she balanced her tear-filled eyes with some really ironic smiles; or in Aradhana, where her coy shyness is broken often by the sheer laughter that rises up to the surface...

    Safar meanders to a long-drawn out end, but is worth it for both Feroz Khan and Sharmila, even though Rajesh Khanna did a good job as well. But, oh, Satyakam - I'm surprised you haven't heard anything good about it. I would not hesitate to call it Hrishikesh Mukherjee's best film; it was certainly his favourite. It is the darkest in tone of all his films, and it is obvious that the subject was very close to his heart. Watch it not just for Sharmila. Watch it for Dharmendra, who, with this one film, proved he had the talent, even it went largely unutilised. Watch it for a young Sanjeev Kumar as well, and for David. Watch it for a great plot, great casting, great acting, and great direction. Yes, it is that good.

    Thanks for the link to the Raja Rani song. I have only seen the songs from the film, not the film itself. I should watch it.

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  3. Anu Warrior. You have now sold me on Satyakam :) And yes, Raja Rani is very worth seeing. It's a lot more socially progressive than one might guess from its plot description, and the song picturizations are all remarkably character/personality driven. I never like Rajesh and Sharmila together more than I do in this film. They just sparkle. I don't know if it's just that I'm biased (I love it dearly) but it's one of my favorite Hindi films period, and I'm always surprised that it hasn't gotten more attention.

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  4. *grin* Yes, do watch Satyakam. I would be very interested in knowing what you think of it.



    And you have sold me on Raja Rani. I must confess that reading the plot didn't make me yearn to watch it, but sometimes, the plot as written, has nothing to do with the film. I see that it is avaiable on YouTube. Will put it on my to-watch list. Thanks for the heads-up.

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  5. I do like Sharmila Tagore a lot. Even when the film in question isn't one of my favourites (and that, I have to admit, applies to a fair number of the films she did with Rajesh Khanna - somehow, while I admire Amar Prem, Safar and Aradhana, I find them all in their own way too depressing in places to be able to watch again and again). But give me a Chupke-Chupke or an Anupama any day (yes, I like the latter a lot despite its unhappiness), and it's all bliss for me.

    One thing I particularly like about Sharmila is that she didn't shy away from playing lead women who didn't lead 'exemplary' lives. For instance, despite being an 'achche ghar ki ladki', her character in both Yakeen as well as Aradhana does sleep with the hero without being married to him...

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  6. Ooh, I loved the nakhra, the aristocratic bearing of this lady. Who else could be the wife of the delectable Nawab of Pataudi but her!

    These are her good films. But I would not shy away from listing the movies where she just existed to lend glamour to the film. I love her as eye-candy as well.

    She was good in Dooriyan as well, with Uttam Kumar. The movie with the gorgeous song - zindagi, mere ghar aana.

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  7. Aradhana wasn't depressing! :) Was it? What you say about her taking on the 'iffy' roles is very true. Even in the cringe-worthy Aa Gale Lag Jaa, she didn't spend her time moaning and beating her breast about her izzat being looted after the hypothermia-rape. Or in Farar, where she answers her husband's insecurities about her old lover. She brought a maturity to even the most conventional roles. I really do like her, nakhras and all!

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  8. Ava, I'm with you. Sharmila was very easy on the eye, and I'd much rather watch her on screen as compared to quite a few of her contemporaries.

    Dooriyan! I missed Dooriyan! That was also a good role! Loved the song as well. Thanks for bringing that back to memory.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7aPdnrGizYY

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  9. You were out of action for sometime Anu, but now you seem to have come back with a vengeance. Oh! please do not feel offended, the problem is I am having a tough time keeping up with you. Whew! I hardly finish with one of your posts and I see another update in my inbox, HA! HA!, what's more you choose topics which interest me. Sharmila is definitely one of them. You know there was this Bengali film kolonkito nayok featuring Uttam Kumar and Aparna Sen, when this film was remade in Hindi by Shakti Samanta, my mum's friend told her that Sharmila did a far better job than Aparna Sen, The Hindi film was Charitraheen starring Sanjeev Kumar and Sharmila. We saw the Hindi film first and true we were bowled over by Sharmila's performance, particularly at the end. We later saw the Bengali film on TV and yes Aparna Sen paled in comparison. Like I said in my blog when Sharmila wasn't worrying about her hairdo, and makeup she could come up with a mind blowing performance.

    In Anupama for instance she was the perfect foil with her expressive eyes to my father's aggressive character. As I mentioned in my blog I have discovered this you tube tool Tube Chop, I have chopped off a scene from Anupama from You Tube, it is just 26 seconds long just take a look and you will see what I mean.she reacts in just the right way to my father's anger her expression is commendable.

    http://www.tubechop.com/watch/1725029

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  10. Hey, hey, I've had only two posts this month with a five day difference between them. (The one on the copying doesn't count.) *grin* No worries about being offended, though.



    I can well imagine that Sharmila was better than Aparna Sen. Aparna has never struck me as being a good actress, and Sharmila, when she wanted to, could be a great one. She was very good in Anupama, wasn't she? That film belonged to her and your father. I should think that was one of his best roles, if not the best.



    I watched that clip - yes, she really essayed the frightened, neglected young girl very well.

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  11. Yes you are right Anupama was a role of a lifetime for my father.

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  12. He was fabulous in that role. You hated him for the way he behaved, but it was difficult not to feel a sneaking sympathy for him at the same time. That is such a hard act to pull off.

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  13. Anu, you are evil! I've just spent several hours rewatching Satyakam thanks to you. :( I remember disliking Dharam's character a lot when I watched it last time. This time, I thought his obsession with 'truth' and 'principles' was either self-flagellation or simply obsessive-compulsive disorder. But he is superb acting-wise and eye-candy-wise. And so is Sharmila. It was, overall, a way more interesting film than I remembered. So thanks for inspiring me to re-watch.

    A small correction: " Satyapriya, as is his wont, dithers over the propriety of having her stay the night and as a result, she is raped." She stays several nights in his camp. Its only when he realises that he is very attracted to her, and that she reciprocates, that he wants her gone. He knows he cannot marry her, and does not want to be tempted into any other kind of relationship. So, when her sort-of-father comes to drag her away, he does nothing to stop him except mouthing platitudes about how she can stay and he will help her find a husband. I loved how Sharmila makes it clear that if he hasn't the guts to marry her, he should back off! Like Devdas, he realises too late how much he loves her. And I like to think that its his guilt over what his indecision cost her that keeps them apart, rather than his own orthodox upbringing.

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  14. Sounds like I need to order Satyakam soon . . . as long as it comes with an extra tall bottle of wine. When Dharmendra is plays "flawed" and tragic, one must numb the pain of it somehow. :)

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  15. Ha! I'm glad, woman! Heard from Dustedoff that you are in India. I turned purple and green with envy.



    And I agree with you about Dharam's character - I hated him. I liked Sanjeev Kumar's take in that, actually .

    I also know Sharmila is there before - but it is when she asks to stay *that* night, and he woffles like a blighted rabbit that she is pulled away to the lech. And I think it is both - his guilt over his own actions that night, and the fact that she is *now* a 'fallen' woman, having been raped. I mean, she is not deserving of a happy life, is she? Sadly, I still know men like that. :(



    But I'm glad you watched it again, *and* liked it! I thought it was a fantastic film for developing the complexities of character the way it did. Dharam can rightly claim it as his best role, it certainly is his favourite.

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  16. Yes, you should, you should. I would suggest a nice warm Cointreau while you watch. Better than wine, in my opinion. :)

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  17. Oh, I do find Aradhana depressing. Not as much as Safar or Amar Prem, but still. Rajesh Khanna looked so handsome cleanshaven and in his uniform, he shouldn't have died! :-D

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  18. Oh, how true! He did carry off that uniform so well. (Tangentially, what's with uniforms that make so many men look better than they are?)

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  19. Sharmila is one of my favorites as well. In her bikini photo she looks better than most current actresses, probably it is her regal demeanor. These 60's Indians ought to be ashamed of themselves, creating a backlash over something so trivial (& good looking) :) Probably their real complaint (like most cases) was that she was dressed (un) only in a studio; and not in their homes :) Must be those crybaby males from your earlier post :)

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  20. *grin* Stop drooling. Did you read the post, or did the pictures make you so gobsmacked that you stopped with that? :)

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  21. God knows. But put almost anyone in a well-fitted uniform (or even a black bandgala), and they seem to invariably look better.

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  22. Excellent post! Sharmila Tagore is one of my favorite actresses.I started liking her after watching 'Apur
    sansar'.Almost all the films you have mentioned above are my faves except Safar (1970) mainly because of
    Feroze's character(same with Rajesh Khanna in Aapki kasam),who distrusts his wife. Mausam (1975) is my all time favorite for Sharmila and Sanjeev's performance, MadanMohan's score and Gulzar's masterful direction.
    Nice allusion to fringe (Sadhana),dimpled smile (Sharmila Tagore),upturned nose(Mumtaz), coquettish look (Nutan?)
    P.S.-Had a hard time logging into disqus :(

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  23. Yeah, you wanted to get off the theatre seat and haul Feroz one! I know everyone said he had a great role, but oh, the character was such a whiny nutcase that I wished Sharmila had looked him in the eye and said, 'That's it.', and packed her bags and gone.



    You have all the allusions right,except the last. :) I was thinking of Asha Parekh. She did that very well.

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  24. I thought the point of my post was that Sharmila was not one-dimensional. :) Thank you for the compliment, though.

    Yes, please do watch Avishkar and Grihapravesh. Well, Anubhav as well, but that stars Tanuja and Sanjeev Kumar.

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