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23 March 2015

Ijaazat (1987)

1987
Directed by: Gulzar
Music: RD Burman
Lyrics: Gulzar
Starring: Rekha, Naseeruddin Shah, Anuradha Patel, 
Shammi Kapoor, Shashi Kapoor, 
Sulabha Deshpande, Dina Pathak
Over the weekend, while we were driving, my husband played The Kronos Quartet - Songs from RD Burman's Bollywood. One of the songs they picked for this particular album was Mera kuch samaan (Asha re-rendering the song), one of my favourite songs, all the more touching for the matter-of-fact-ness of the singer's heartbreak. That brought to mind the movie it was taken from - a story of marriage and extra-marital relationships, told, unusually enough, from the viewpoint of all three of its protagonists. It is a tale of missed opportunities and regrets over paths not taken, of loving and losing someone, and how ex-lovers sometimes cross paths in ways not imagined - with consequences not quite expected. I'd liked it very much when I first saw it, but that was many many years ago, and I wondered whether it would stand a second watch.

The story begins in a quaint little railway station, the sort that dot our countryside, not very well-known expect to its residents, that often pass by too fast for us even to read their names. Rain sweeps the landscape as the train chugs into the station, as Choti yeh kahani se trails off... Mahender (Naseeruddin Shah) gets out of the train and impatiently walks towards the first class waiting room; the rainfall has become heavier, and he has a while to wait before he can set off on the next leg of his journey. Amongst the other travellers already there is a woman who, catching sight of Mahender, hurriedly hides her face behind her magazine. 
And when Mahender goes into the bathroom, she hurriedly goes outside and asks the station master whether there is a ladies' waiting room at the station. Unfortunately for her, there isn't. Meanwhile, Mahender is trying to get a change of clothes out of his suitcase when he realises that he has misplaced the keys. It is clear that Mahender is a rather impatient man.  

He decides to ask his fellow passengers if they have the same make of suitcase - perhaps their keys might fit his. But he has no luck with the family who is still in the waiting room. The helpful station master suggest that a female passenger who has just stepped outside might be able to help - her suitcase is the same as his. When Mahender saunters towards the door, he almost bumps into the lady, who is returning to the room. 
It is clear they not only just know each other. She is Sudha (Rekha), and Mahender and she were, in fact, married at one time. Sudha walks quietly past him and in the awkwardness of the moment, Mahender too walks back to his seat, without asking her for her keys. (The helpful stationmaster gets them for him.) The only other family in the room are soon gone, rescued by a family member, and as the night progresses and the rains continue unabated, Sudha and Mahender find themselves alone, marooned in the awkwardness of things left unsaid.
 
Their initial interaction is coloured by this awkwardness, making small talk about his new habit of taking no sugar in his tea, and her spectacles, about his ad campaign in Darjeeling, and her teaching music in Patna. Slowly they begin to relax, and the movie deftly cuts between their mutual past and shared present through their conversation, halting, reserved, at first, and then increasingly more searching, more intimate.

We begin to unravel the awkwardness - Mahender had been engaged to Sudha, courtesy his grandfather (Daddu - Shammi Kapoor). Not very enthused about the idea, he had managed to evade matrimony for five years, much to Sudha's mother's (Sulabha Deshpande) distress. Daddu has also run out of patience. Much to Mahender's shock, Daddu decides to present him with a fait accompli - the wedding will take place next week. At wits' end, Mahender decides to go meet Sudha at Panchgani and appeal to her good sense. This wedding has to be stopped. 
So why don't you tell Daddu, asks a pragmatic Sudha. Mahender is rather sheepish. He admits that he doesn't have the courage. His reason for not wanting to get married is that he's been in a relationship with a girl named Maya for the past two and a half years. He'd hoped that Sudha would have also found someone else in the intervening period.  After all, she's smart, independent, living away from home... And beautiful? queries Sudha dryly. 

Mahender, already feeling guilty about breaking their engagement, pleads for her understanding. A not-unsympathetic Sudha asks him to take the right action - take Maya to Daddu and plead their cause. Daddu is not a cruel man, he will understand. A relieved Mahender takes her leave and speeds towards his home - and Maya. But there, he's welcomed by the news that Maya had left for parts unknown - but she's left him a note.
Mahender tries his best to trace her, but everywhere, he is greeted by the same response to his query about whether anyone knows where she's gone: Usne kabhi bataaya hai kya? [Has she ever told anyone where she's going?] It also becomes clear to him that he doesn't know Maya as well as he thinks he does. Left with no options (none that occur to him, anyway), Mahender takes the easier of two choices - he goes back and marries Sudha. 

In the present, Mahender desperately needs a smoke, only he can't find his matches. Sudha digs into her handbag and gives him a box, much to his surprise. She used to keep matches for him, but now? Sudha smiles - he hasn't gotten over his habit of forgetting his matches, and she hasn't gotten over her habit of keeping them.  
Their conversation gets slightly acerbic as the past is unwittingly dredged up. And when Sudha says she has never asked him for anything, or even said a word, Mahender finds himself saying, almost involuntarily, Wohi toh.. kuch kaha hota... [Yes, that... if only you had said something...]Yet when Mahender cadges a drink off the station master who's come in to sneak a peg - 'to keep out the cold' , Sudha is the very image of  an annoyed wife and insists that he isn't to drink. 

Mahender leaves to try and get some food for both of them, and Sudha, left alone, tidies Mahender's belongings which he has scattered haphazardly all over the room. The sight of his camera brings back memories of the early days of their marriage, when they were relatively happy - several cups of tea in the morning, laughter and a shared understanding of what they mean to each other, walks on the beach... 
But their happiness is not meant to last. So far, Maya (Anuradha Patel) had only been the uneasy undercurrent to their marriage; now, two months into it, she's making her physical presence felt.
Maya had always permeated the atmosphere of the house, her invisible presence a palpable reminder to Sudha that she is not mistress of either her home or Mahender's heart. But Mahender is trying his best, and Sudha confesses that she is both possessive and selfish. Mahender pleads again for her understanding - she has successfully removed all traces of Maya from his house. If Maya pops up unexpectedly in some dusty corner, allow him some time, and he will eradicate her from there as well.  

It is around this time that Sudha comes across a few of Maya's belongings in their house - a long muffler, a woollen coat, a pair of sun glasses... she suggests that Mahender return them to Maya. An already unsettled Mahender agrees. (Maya's phone calls have just reignited his emotions, which he's been struggling to suppress.) And he even sends Maya's letters and poems back along with the rest of her belongings. 
The response, though not completely unexpected by Mahender, comes as a shock to Sudha. Maya sends them a telegram asking for the rest of her belongings... As Sudha says, Yunhi toh din raat Maya hamare saath rah rahi hain. Saamaan bhi rah jaata toh kya ho jaata? [As it is, Maya lives with us day and night; what would have happened if I'd let her belongings be?]
In a bid to get away, both from his own memories of Maya, and from Maya herself, Mahender decides to go away on his honeymoon. He and Sudha are more relaxed, more comfortable with themselves and their nascent relationship, when reality intrudes. Mahender returns from his honeymoon to the news that Maya has tried to commit suicide. Visibly shaken, he visits her in the hospital, but doesn't inform Sudha. When she finds out that Mahender is still meeting Maya, Sudha is devastated. The silences and the secrecy simmer unrestrained until finally, the cauldron boils over - with devastating effect.  
And now, years later, here they are, two people still bound by the complexities of their mutual past. 
 
Gulzar's Ijaazat was based on on a Bengali story, Jatugriha, by Subhodh Ghosh. Having read the story in Abhi Bhattacharya's house, Gulzar, intrigued by the thought of two people, their relationship severed, meeting again years later in a railway station waiting room, bought the rights to Ghosh's story, and went back and worked on his take on the same theme; the result? Ijaazat. It took three years for him to complete the story. As he tells it, he took the finished story back to Ghosh. The latter told him it wasn't the same story, but it was good. Gulzar promptly asked Ghosh if he could credit the story to him.  

A lyrical look at man-woman relationships, both inside and outside the marital bond, Ijaazat was that rare film that just observed the three protagonists without making value judgements on any of them. Ijaazat  is a story of decisions regretted, of paths taken, when 'What if? is not too silly a question to ask. When they meet years later, both Mahender and Sudha fall back into familiar patterns - there is a shared laughter and camaraderie between them, and Sudha quite easily slips into caring for Mahender again. Even though she asks him dryly at one point: Are you still like this, or is it just because I'm here?'  And Mahender confesses that everything seems familiar. 

When Sudha hurts herself in the dark, Mahender yells at her. He later apologises - Itne saal guzar gaye, lekin aadat nahin jaati. [So many years have passed, but habits remain the same.] Aadat bhi chali jaati hai, Sudha responds. Adhikaar nahin jaati. [Habits change too; rights don't.] It is obvious that one question has been haunting Sudha for years - why didn't Mahender come after her? She doesn't voice it, though. Instead, with that adhikar [right] of once having been married to him, she asks after Maya. It is that right which Maya assumes - of having loved Mahender once, of not being able to let him go, even though she has nothing against Sudha, and does, in fact, want Mahender to be happy with her. It is with that right that Mahender insists on bringing Maya home, so Sudha would know her for who she is. 

Mahender is weak, yes, but he is also honest. With both Maya, who knows that he is affianced, and with Sudha - when the engagement Mahender had prolonged for as long as he could, looks like it's going to end, it is to Sudha that he goes, to tell her what he couldn't bring himself to confess to his grandfather. When he realises that Maya had chosen this of all times to do one of her vanishing acts, it is to Sudha he reaches out. Nothing is hidden from either woman, and each act with complete knowledge of the circumstances. Which is why, when Sudha (reacting to Maya's phone call), snaps 'Why didn't you marry her then?', Mahendra pleads, 'Itna chhota toh mat karo mujhe.' He hasn't been talking to Maya or visiting her since their marriage. 
 
And later, when he plans a trip to Kudremukh for their honeymoon, and Sudha wonders if he is not running away from someone, he tells her quietly: Main Maya se pyar karta tha - ye sach hain. Aur use bhoolne ki koshish kar raha hoon - ye sahi hain. Lekin is mein tum meri madad nahin karogi toh mere liye badi mushkil hogi. Kyunki mujhse zyaada woh tumhe yaad rehti hain. Maazi ko maazi nahin banaya toh... [That I loved Maya is true. That I'm trying to forget her is also true. But if you don't help me in doing so, it will be very, very difficult for me. Because you think of her more often than I do. If you do not let the past remain the past...] 

And that is the crux of the film - Sudha cannot forget the past because the past refuses to stay interred. And Mahender, feeling responsible for Maya, guilty about not telling Sudha anything, and struggling with all his emotions - to forget Maya, to stay true to Sudha... is caught in a whirlpool that is only partly of his own making. This was one of Naseeruddin Shah's best 'commercial' performances in those years, and Naseer played it to perfection. He was the jilted lover, the responsible husband, the man coming to terms with circumstances, an exasperated friend who nevertheless feels responsible for the woman he cared for... and finally, he is the man who hopes for a reconciliation with the woman who understood him through and through.
Sudha too, has stepped into her marriage knowing that her husband was in love with another woman. What is beautiful about this film is that she never punishes him for it. She is not asking for Maya's memories to be eradicated completely. It is just, she confesses to Mahender in one of the film's many delicate and touching moments, that she feels that everything in this house belongs to someone else - she's just sharing it. 'Poora poora apna kuch bhi nahin lagta.' [Nothing is completely mine.] (That scene cuts to the present, when Sudha is suddenly curious to see whether Mahender still has Maya's photograph in his wallet.) 

Sudha is strong, independent, mature, and understanding. But as she herself confesses to Mahender, she is also possessive and jealous and weak when it comes to him. She knows he loves Maya, but believes that he has also begun to love her. But it is when her husband attacks her self-respect, taking no account of her stated wish, that she makes an emotional, and impulsive decision to leave Mahender - one that has far-reaching consequences on three lives. And it is a decision which she regrets when she learns of its tragic aftermath years later. 
Sudha is that curious mix between traditional and 'modern' and Rekha plays her with a lot of vulnerability. She is a working woman, lives alone, shoulders the responsibility of her widowed mother. Her marriage is 'fixed' by Mahender's grandfather, and she will not break the engagement. But she exhorts Mahender to do so even though she knows that her mother will die of the shame. When Mahender comes back to her, she marries him, knowing that he loves another. She is certain that they can build a life together. Indeed, Maya is not a verboten word in their household. Sudha struggles to understand her, and her motivations, and it is only when secrets lie heavy between her and her husband that she finally snaps. 

In the end, when she leaves - again - she tells Mahender: 'Pichli baar bina pooche chali gayi thi. Is baar ijaazat de do.' She had left him once without telling him; she hopes he will give her his consent now. It is the final farewell, a symbolic severance of a relationship that was severed legally many years ago, but not emotionally until now. (Incidentally, Sudha is not the only one who seeks his 'consent'; so does Maya, when she begs for her belongings to be returned to her. When she gets them all back, she hopes he will give his consent to her burying them. And then, she will go to sleep as well. The play of words - both signifying death - is compelling:  Ek ijaazat de do bas, jab isko dafnaaoongi; Main bhi wahin so jaaoongi.

Maya is the 'other woman'. Not stereotypically so, but a child-woman, immature and impulsive, emotional and affectionate, needy and dependent. Coming from a dysfunctional background (her parents are estranged, though still married), she has seen enough to know that marriage is not for her. Yet she is inextricably drawn to Mahender, with whom she can neither live nor can she stay away. It is this need that makes her cling to him, even though she knows he is married, and leads to the last fight between Sudha and Mahender. Though she is distressed by the fact that she caused that fight, her response is to run away - from the problem, from Mahender, from herself. And eventually, when she realises just how much Mahender had come to love Sudha, she sets out to reverse Sudha's decision to move away from their lives. 
 
Anuradha Patel's (Ashok Kumar's grand-daughter) was slightly over-the-top in some of the scenes, but she brought out her character's helplessness (for all her much-vaunted independence) and desperation. Her eyes did her talking for her in many of the scenes, for they often belied what she was saying. There is a lost child in there somewhere, someone looking for perfect happiness in a flawed world, and running away when there is the least hint of commitment. 

One cannot mention Ijaazat without also mentioning two of its crew - the late cinematographer Ashok  Mehta, who painted the screen with saturated colours, and music director, RD Burman, who, along with wife Asha Bhosle, gave melody and voice to Gulzar's lyrics. (Though he is said to have been very frustrated when he saw the lyrics of Mera kuch samaan that he complained that after this, Gulzar would bring him the front page of The Times of India and ask him to set it to music!)

Ijaazat is a simple story, oft told. But Gulzar's interpretation of a man and two women, bound in a relationship, is made much more complex because of the layers he brings to their characterisation. They are all flawed in various ways, and they are all incredibly human. It is rare that you both sympathise and empathise with all three characters in a triangular relationship, but Gulzar's writing makes it easy to do so. The dialogues are meaningful, poetic, but it is the silences that tug at your heartstrings. There is so much left unsaid, so much that is implied, and the actors rise to the occasion - faces and eyes do as much 'talking' as their dialogues. The film is an amazingly realistic take at human relationships, and looks at them as if through a prism - each angle reflects a different view.  

 And yes, I still found the film very, very moving. 

74 comments:

  1. The stills from this film always make me interested, and then I promptly forget about it. Thank you for the reminder.

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  2. Oh, do watch, Miranda. I'd be interested in hearing what you think about it.

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  3. I have to admit I never saw Ijaazat, because I was too young to watch it when it was released - and by then I was also so completely in love with old films, I stopped watching anything contemporary! But your review is so good, Anu, that I'm tempted... very tempted. Now to find the time.

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  4. Considering 1987 would be considered 'old' by today's standards, perhaps you can relax your time period a little, Madhu. *grin*. Seriously though, while the 80s are not a period that I would recommend unreservedly, Ijaazat is definitely worth a watch. Very nuanced, very sensitive, very realistic, very human...

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  5. Lovely review, Anu of a very beautiful film. I watched it some years back and loved it - the story, dialogues, songs and music. As you put it, a very sensitive and realistic movie - definitely one of my favourites... Now tempted to watch it again. :-)

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  6. Oh, do. I was impressed at how much I liked it when I watched it again. (I mean, it wasn't just my 'memory' of it being a good film.)

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  7. I have mixed feelings about this movie. I like the score a lot, that's what led me to watch it some 20 odd years ago.
    I liked the performances , the sensitive dialogs, a movie well made. Somehow the story, Maya, Mahendra I did not like. I also did not like the idea of Sudha touching Mahendra's feet and asking for permission after all those years. Was it her that had done something wrong ? Not really. The permission business puts him above her, as if she had wronged him. Did they get a divorce ? The movie does not explain. She married the second time without a divorce ? Why didn't Mahendra go after her when she left. Your review brought out many nuances in the movie and details I have forgotten. Yes, it is a realistic portrayal of the characters involved. Just not my cup of tea.
    However, I must say that had I not seen it, I certainly would have, because your review wants one to watch it.

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  8. I don't think she touches his feet to beg forgiveness. It is the traditional way of taking leave, isn't it? I know my friend's mother used to do that. Yes, they are divorced. Mahender gets Sudha's letter telling him she has taken steps to remove herself from Mahender's and Maya's lives, the same day that he, finally recovered from his heart attack, is planning to go bring her back. He shows the letter to Maya, which is why she leaves that night so she can convince Sudha to come back to Mahen. I think that is the time she realises how much Mahender loves Sudha, and how much he needs her.



    Mahender doesn't go to fetch Sudha because he's in hospital for a month, and later, after he is released from hospital, he needs to recuperate. By the time he feels up to travelling, the divorce notice comes up, and then Maya dies, and he's tied up with that. By then, Sudha has also left for a new place and she hasn't sent him her new address.



    I don't think anyone was blamed in this movie - not Mahen, not Maya, and certainly not Sudha. They were just three people, three good,decent people, who were caught up in a strange set of circumstances. At least, that is how I saw it. :)


    Thank you for your nice words about my review. :)

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  9. Thanks Anu for this review, it makes one want to see the film very much. I love all the actors, I like Gulzar... So I should like it!!

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  10. Thanks for filling in the gaps . As I mentioned, I had forgotten most of the details. As for touching feet to take leave, true, we do touch our elders feet, e.g mother-in-law, other elder in-laws and parents but not husband at least not in our family. That of course.is dependent on one's own culture and family and I would not question it. It is just my take on it was different. I do agree that it is a story well told.

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  11. Eh, if I'm touching my husband's feet, he'll be looking down to see if I'm going to pull it. :) So I know where you're coming from. (We don't have the habit of touching anyone's feet at any time, so I'm not used to it at all. I think the only time we do that is just before getting married, when we take the blessings of the elders in our family.)

    I just didn't see any issue with that bit; figured Sudha was rather traditional even though she was educated and independent. And your take away from the film is as valid as mine, anyway. :) How boring it would be if we all agreed on everything.

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  12. Thanks Anu. Your review brought back pleasant memories of watching this film with my wife when it was first released. It was one of the better ones that year.


    Gulzar is an accomplished poet and knows the art of making the unsaid more eloquent than what is said. He uses this quite effectively in his films.


    Not much I can add about Naseeruddin and Rekha. I have had a soft corner for Anuradha since the day I first noticed her in a TV commercial. I think she is one of the most beautiful, if not the most talented, actresses to appear on the Indian screen. Pity she never made it big.

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  13. I'm glad the memories I awakened were pleasant. :) Yes, Ijaazat was one of the better movies of the sordid 80s. There were quite a few such oases.



    She is beautiful, Anuradha, isn't she? I don't think she was very ambitious though. She made a reappearance in Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na - and looked amazing!

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  14. Nalini Ikkandath28 March 2015 at 08:00

    I watched Ijaazat when it was first released and since it contained some of my favourite people in hindi cinema, Gulzaar, Naseeruddin Shah, Rekha and even a little look in from Shashi Kapoor - of course I loved it. A rather sweet story, good photography, great music and poetry and Rekha looking gorgeous, what's not to like. Thanks for reminding me of the movie, must see it again.

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  15. Yes, do, if you have the time. I found that it retained its freshness even after more than two decades.

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  16. Jatugriha was also made into a Bengali film by Tapan Sinha with the same name. It is one of Uttam Kumar's better films. Rekha's role by done by the director's wife, Arundhati Devi. I have seen both films quite some time ago, so I cannot comment on whether the Bengali film was true to the story or not. I have to watch them now after reading your review.

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  17. That is interesting, Soumya. I didn't know there was a Bengali version of the story. Of course, Ijaazat took the bare kernel and then Gulzar made his own version; did the Bengali version stick to the original novella, I wonder?

    If you do watch both of them again, let me know? :)

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  18. Anuradha Patel . What a beautiful Talented actress she is . Especially beautiful . Can anybody recommend some other decent movies she has acted in ? Watched this movie a few days back for the very first time . The most striking part of the movie ? Music . RD Burman excels . Mera Kuch Samaan is an absolutely wonderful song . I think is was Anuradha Patel's character that really made this movie .

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  19. Do "Tu mere Samne Hai, Teri Zulfein hai Khuli.. " from Suhagan (1964) and " Mehbooba Teri Tasveer Kis Tarah Se.. " from Ishq Par Zor Nahin (1970) qualify for being called conversational songs ?

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  20. I can only think of Utsav offhand, but she doesn't have a big role there. She acted in a few forgettable films, but I don't think she was particularly ambitious to make it as a heroine either.

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  21. Just responding to a comment below. Most of Gulzar's earlier films are "inspired" from Bong-dom! Case in point...Kitaab, Kinara, and Khushboo. They're never rehashed versions though; he goes on to add his own touch. The Bengali version of Ijaazat is more understated, the biggest difference being that there is no "other woman" there. Can anyone imagine Ijaazat without Maya? A few more thoughts.

    - I've always had ambivalent feelings for this film, which is more episodic than plot-driven. Mahendra comes across as too weak a character and too unsure of himself and his love for either. He is more in awe of Sudha whereas Maya is more of a pain in the rear end for him. There's a line in the film where Mahendra, at his wit's end and not knowing how to handle Maya or the situation, tells her: "Main tujhe Sudha ke hawaale kar deta hun." The ménage à trois implication is apparent. Even if it had led to that, I suspect Gulzar [and ONLY Gulzar] was capable of pulling it off without making it appear revolting!

    - Just what is one supposed to do when one is unwittingly attracted to another person while being trapped in a dull but not unhappy marriage? Check out David Lean's "Brief Encounter". It was made in 1945, back in the days when the prohibition code prevented any display of overt physical intimacy and all the actors had to fall back on was their craft.



    - This is just a personal opinion. But in real life, Rekha is probably closer to the Maya character, whereas Anuradha Patel is more like Sudha. It takes truly accomplished actors to portray a role reversal here!

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  22. Hi Obelix, I agree with you about Gulzar's inspirations. What I like about him is that he always acknowledges the roots of his stories. And as you say, his version is never a 'copy'. In the interview which I linked, he mentions how he only took the basic plot point from the original story. The Bengali version must have stuck to the novella quite closely - Ijaazat, on the other hand, was Gulzar's version of 'what must have happened' when two ex-lovers meet. In fact, he says (in the interview) that he took his story to the original author, who read it and said it wasn't his story but it was good. :)

    Mahendra is a weak man - like so many men (and women). He is completely conflict-averse, and that is what leads to a whole lot of problems. I agree with you that he is somewhat in awe of Sudha; she does come across as more grounded, more mature than him.

    It is interesting that you thought of a ménage à trois during that scene - for me, it seemed like taking a recalcitrant child to its mother. Because Maya is a willful child, who doesn't think about the consequences of her actions.

    Thanks for the recommendation of Brief Encounter; it sounds interesting. And made during the Hays Code days? Now I'm curious. :) I'll see if I can catch it.

    P.S. Agree with you about the role reversal. So true.

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  23. I have a confession to make. I brought in that “menage-a-trois” angle only to drive home a point in the following sentence….the fact that only Gulzar could have pulled it off. It was never really apparent in the movie. :) About Sudha….grounded she is. In some ways, Sudha reminds me of the character portrayed by Hema Malini in Khushboo. Remember Master Raju’s instruction to his father Jeetu? “Jhat se maa bol dena, nahi to paani nahi deti hai!” One has to watch the film to truly enjoy the moment. And near the end when Hema delivers her punchline to Jeetu.

    I’ll end with an anecdote about Gulzar. A friend in Bombay used to pass by his house daily during her early morning run. But she never met the man. Then about a year back, she finds herself seated a row behind him at Prithvi Theatres watching the staging of one of his plays [Kharashein if I recall correctly]. During the break, she saunters into the book stall and is engrossed in browsing through the collection, when she finds herself bang next to a kurta pajama clad gentleman perusing a book of poems. Gulzar again! The moment was too good to pass. She pokes him none too gently on the shoulder. The man turns to look, irritation writ on his face. She looks him in the eye for a second, then in all humility says: “Jitna bhi samajh mein aata hai, bahut achcha lagta hai!”. Silence ensues for a second or two before irritation turns into hearty laughter. The man then playfully pats her on the head and gives her a warm hug.

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  24. Ah, thank heavens. :) I was wondering whether I had been missing something there. That anecdote about Gulzar was very nice; it does bring 'celebrities' down into the human realm. Thank you for sharing.

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  25. Excellent review! Loved this film to the core! Songs penned by Gulzar are gems to cherish! My personal favorite is "Katra Katra".Rekha was just superb in essaying her character. Naseer had infused flesh and blood in his character and made it credible.Some scenes,especially between Rekha and Naseer were deeply moving.Their meeting in the waiting-room reminded me the climax scene of 'Kora Kagaz'.But loved the end specially ***Spoiler*** When Shashi Kapoor enters the scene and his reaction about their relationship,which again reminds me (sorry!) of a scene between him and Amitabh in "Kabhie-Kabhie" when Amitabh asks what will be his reaction when he learns that his wife has a past and Shashi's candid answer shocks him. **Spoiler ends*** One of Gulzar's masterpiece,it remains my all time favorite after 'Kinara','Mere Apne' and 'Khushboo'

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  26. Thank you, coolone. :) It's a beautiful film, isn't it?

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  27. I don't think British films were subjected to Hays code. Remember the scene in "The History Boys" when Scripps and Posner enact the final scene from "Brief Encounter". I think that had more real reference to Noel Coward's play in a way.

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  28. I am a bit late in the day, joining this discussion on qawwalis. A couple of them worth listening
    are 'Isharon ko agar samjho' from Dharma and 'Phir tumhari yaad aayi' from Rustam Sohrab

    Krishnan

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  29. 'Maula saleem chisti' from 'Garam Hawa' is also an excellent one.

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  30. I didn't know that the British films were exempt from the code. I wonder how they showed it this side of the Atlantic then.

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  31. Sorry for the delayed reply, Krishnan. I love Phir tumhari yaad aayi ae sanam! I hadn't heard the other song (from Dharma) until now, so thank you for introducing me to a new old song.

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  32. I completely forgot Garam Hawa even had a qawwali! Thanks for reminding me.

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  33. The Manna Dey song 'Kehni hai ek baat hamein is desh ke pehredaron se' is also a nice song, sung with
    a good tempo.

    Can you do a list of songs on humanity and brotherhood ? Kavi Pradeep has written quite a few on this
    subject, other than his patriotic ones.

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  34. I'm not sure I've heard that song. I don't seem to recollect it based on the title. Should put a search for it and listen to it.

    Humanity and brotherhood? Hmm, that's a thought, I guess. Let me think about it. :) The songs I pick have to appeal to me for me to make a list of them.

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  35. To kick start the list, let me give you two songs

    - Dekh tere sansaar ki halat kya ho gayi bhagwan
    - Insaan ka insaan se ho bhaichara yahi paigam hamara

    This is the song from Talaq that I was referring to
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nr4PQ7NZkpk

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  36. Am I going to be in your bad books for not liking Insaan ka insaan se ho bhaichara very much?

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  37. Not at all. I will look forward to your list.
    Did you like the Talaq song ?

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  38. I don't know how I missed this one - Taqat watan ki humse hai from Prem Pujari.

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  39. The song from Talaq sounds much like the communist party's protest songs. :)

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  40. Yes, I know about the single-trolley shot they used for the song.

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  41. There are plenty of them out there that I haven't even covered, and some of them are the pop patriotic variety. The ones I always associate with patriotism are on my list.

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  42. It was extremely unfortunate that Sahir had a fall-out with SD Burman , after Pyaasa. Such a great Jodi they were. Do you have any plans to do a list on famous jodis - MD-lyricist, romantic pairs ...

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  43. A great write up on probably the most beautiful actress to grace the world of Hindi cinema. Her dazzling smile
    was enough to light up all our 'Dil ki battiyan'. Her photoshoot for the 'Life ' magazine produced some really
    awesome photographs.
    Her love affair with Dilip Kumar probably started to unravel when her father denied her permission to leave
    the city for the shooting of Naya Daur ( she was the first choice for the heroine ). Apparently resulted in a court case with Dilip Kumar giving 'gawah'i against his lady-love.
    Is it true that in Mughal-e-Azam , Dilip Kumar slapped her so hard in one of the scenes that the whole unit was left stunned ? He apparently took out all his frustration of their failed-love in that one slap

    Her makeup could not totally cover up the fact that she was very ill during the movie.
    Whenever I think of Mughal-e-Azam, I cannot but be reminded of the daylight robbery when SJ won the filmfare award for music that year for 'Dil apna preet parayi' . It still rankles when I think that Naushad lost in spite of composing some truly outstanding songs to complement K Asif's effort. The feather scene ( which you have mentioned elsewhere in the blog ) with Bade Ghulam Ali Khan singing 'Prem Jogan ban ke' was one of the highlights, for me.

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  44. Great compilation of songs. Anecdotes were also very interesting. Maybe you should've put the anecdote
    on 'Evening in Paris' in Punjabi as narrated by Shammi :) Seems to have been his favourite anecdote too- have
    heard him narrate this in many interviews. His interview as part of the 'Movie Mahal' series was nice.
    The whole series of interviews are available on YouTube
    Only Shammi can pull off a song like that - wearing a bathrobe and doing calisthenics in a helicopter :)
    A great example of Rafi 'throwing his voice' for Shammi
    The Jawanian Mast mast song was a superb choice. Great music to go with his moves
    My favourite song from Kashmir ki Kali was 'Deewana hua badal' . The pace of the song and Shammi swaying to the music was just perfect. I can listen to this song in a repeat loop and not get bored.
    Janam janam ka saath was also a fabulous song. But, by this time his excesses during the post-Geeta Bali
    period started showing on his face and waist.

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  45. Sorry, continuing the same post - I think that verse is in the female version of the song, if i am not mistaken, not the Talat version

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  46. One song of PBS - "Kalangalil aval vasantham" picturised on Gemini Ganesan is on top of my list of favourite Tamil songs. The combination of Kannadasan's lyrics PBS' voice and Viswanathan Ramamurthy's music is sheer magic ! Sorry about digressing from the subject of your post .

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  47. Urvashi, thank you for the kind words. I agree with you about the ambivalence. I think I also took my cue from Dilip Kumar's expressions. : )

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  48. Urvashi, you are right. My mistake - the verse I penned is from the female version.

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  49. I have a vague recollection of having listened to that song! :) In the past years, my listening to Tamil songs has lessened quite a bit. So the immediate recollection that I have with Hindi songs is not there anymore.


    (No worries about digressing from my post. I do that all the time. *grin)

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  50. I posted a Youtube link to a Malayalam song on your 'My Story' page. My Malayalam is not as good as it should be - born in Chennai, spent many years in Delhi and now back to Chennai. Are you aware of any site which can translate that song to English ? And thanks for your permission to digress :)

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  51. Thanks for letting me know, Krishnan. For some reason, Disqus doesn't let me know of comments on my Pages, and I end up seeing them only when I go to Blogger's comments page. So my replies are not usually on time.



    I'm not aware of any site that translates lyrics into English. Some bloggers do with odd songs here and there, but I've never seen a site dedicated to just translating song lyrics, whether Hindi, Malayalam or Tamil or indeed, any other language.


    And just for future reference, you can post the link here as well; if we are having a 'conversation', then it is perfectly okay for it to go off into tangents, like conversations do in real life. :)

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  52. The Haqeeqat song that you mentioned towards the end of Talat's biography - shouldn't that be 'Hoke majboor mujhe'. The 'Main yeh sochkar' song from the same movie must be one of Rafi's slowest songs but what a beautiful use of the violin .
    I wonder how many songs there would be with 4 or more famous singers in them - perhaps enough for you to come out with a list :)

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  53. I don't understand - I mentioned Madan Mohan giving him Hoke majboor chala along with the other singers. And I never mentioned Main yeh sochkar at all...

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  54. Shouldn't the Haqeeqat song be 'Hoke Majboor mujhe ' ?

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  55. Isn't that what I wrote? I'm still wondering what you are talking about. The only time I mentioned Haqeeqat was in my intro to the songs, and there, I wrote: Madan Mohan pitched for Talat for Jahan Ara and gave him the haunting Hoke majboor chala alongside his friends and peers, Mohammed Rafi and Manna Dey, and newcomer Bhupinder in Haqeeqat (both in 1964), Talat's career never quite recovered.

    So what is your question again?

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  56. And the reference to "Main yeh sochkar" was just me taking the conversation in a different direction :) A slow but beautiful song. Almost as though Rafi was lingering on each word while singing it . I wonder how many songs are out there where the violin is so prominent - "sansaar hai ek nadiya" is another one that I can recall

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  57. Yeah, I figured that out - eventually. :)



    Yes, it is a beautiful song.

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  58. Night time is when I can relax and browse your blog postings :) It is almost 3 am as I write this comment.

    Let me add one more song to this collection - Yeh raat yeh fizaayen from Batwara. . I was actually listening to this song on YouTube when it struck me that you may have a word play blog on the word 'raat'. So here I am.

    Did you violate your rule on no 8 ? raat seems to be the 3rd word .

    For a change, I see some 70s songs in your list. Annadata was a nice feel-good movie with some nice songs
    including that one that you've in the list. Song no 2 and 4 are also my favourites.

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  59. I'm flattered. :)


    This was the word with which I began this series, so my self-imposed restrictions weren't, well, so restrictive. Therefore, I felt completely entitled to using that song. :) :) It was only with the later words that I became more stringent with my criteria.

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  60. Raaton ko jab neend ud jaaye...... Bolo kya kiya jaaye..... Anu ke blog pad liye jaaye, Haan pad liye jaayen.
    What a nice topic and nice songs. I absolutely love raat bhar ka hai and raaton ke sataye ghane. I had heard raaton ko jab, but never seen the video, what a fun song, better in picturisation. Will have to see Mem Didi.
    Tanuja grows up right in front of you in the song, from almost a girl to her usual looks of early 60s.

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  61. I have not seen the film, but your lovely review makes me want to. :) Thank you, Anu.

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  62. That's a lovely parody. :)

    I don't think I've heard either song, at least not from the title. Haven't had a chance to click the link but will do so tomorrow. Thanks, Neeru.

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  63. Please do, Ava, and tell me if you like it as much. Thank you for the kind words.

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  64. Anu, I stumbled across your blog today and find it extremely interesting. I've been sitting and reading it non-stop for 4 continuous hours now, putting aside everything I ought to be doing :).
    This one almost made me cry. I know it's been sometime now but I'm still sorry for your loss. I don't know how y'all bore it but this is the reason I've decided never to get home a dog.

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  65. Ck, welcome to my blog. Your first comment made me smile so widely I'm afraid I've cracked my face permanently. :) Thank you.

    Thank you also for the kind words. Yes, we still miss him very much. He was truly a wonderful dog.

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  66. I'm still at it. And have recommended your blog my to my sis and BIL as something that has to be read :)
    In fact it's been a long time that I have read anything as written which manages to be witty, entertaining and thought provoking all at the same time. Thanks for writing so well Anu, if your blog were a book I'd say it was UNPUTDOWNABLE ;)

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  67. I must say that your comment made not just my day but probably my entire week and month. I'm both flattered and humbled.

    Thank you! I'm so glad you enjoy my writing.

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  68. LOL, love your comment on why Lata's rendition of the song lacked any feeling. I wonder why BB had a penchant for playing all sad and whiny characters. It was a given thing that something horrible would happen to a character if BB was playing it :))

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  69. I finally got the time to actually read the original story and watch Ijaazat and Jatugriha. Both films have kept the kernel of the story and have embellished the points which were unstated or understated in the book.
    First, the similarities. Both films deal with the brief meeting in a station waiting room of an estranged couple. They share some bittersweet moments from the past and then move on to their destinations.
    Now the differences. Ijaazat flits between the present and flashbacks as does the original story. Jatugriha has a more linear structure. It depicts the already discordant life of Satadal (Uttam Kumar) and Madhuri (Arundhati Devi) and culminates with the waiting room scene. The reason for estrangement is also different in the movies. The original story does not really spell out the reason, just briefly mentioning that the marriage turned sour.It does mention that Madhuri could not bear any children. Jatugriha makes this the main reason for the estrangement. Ijaazat takes the jealousy route. Although Sudha is all noble about it it's plain she is jealous. Maya is an irritating character. I feel Gulzar chose her because he could then write lovely poetic dialogs for her.
    In the original story both Satadal and Madhuri get remarried. In Ijaazat only Sudha does. In Jatugriha Madhuri remarries but Satadal's marital status is not mentioned.
    There is a scene towards the end of the original story when Satadal, in a moment of weakness, holds Madhuri's hands and implores her to answer whether she still has fond memories of him. I cringed when I read this part. I'm glad both directors had the good sense to not include it in their films. In Jatugriha, after both Satadal and Madhuri have taken their seats in their respective trains (which are coincidentally right opposite each other) Madhuri, who is traveling alone, blurts out - Can't we get back together? It is apparent that she says this knowing fully well that they cannot.
    The last scene in Jatugriha is very well done although it is taken from the story. Satadal and Madhuri have been drinking tea in the waiting room. A long shot shows the two trains starting to move in opposite directions. Meanwhile the service attendant in the waiting room picks up their cups, washes them and hangs them separately on a rack.

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  70. True, so true. About BB, I mean. He was such a rona-dhona creature!

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  71. Yes, Gulzar mentioned how his telling of the story veered from the original. In that interview I linked to, the original author had taken a look at Gulzar's script and said 'It is very good, but this is not my story.'

    The similarities and differences between the two films was very interesting to read. Thank you for taking the time to come back and write it down.

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  72. Ravindra Sharma4 July 2015 at 10:01

    Anu Warrier,
    Interesting write-up on Talat. However, among N Dutta's compositions I'd rather pick Talat's 'Ashkon Ne Jo Paya Hai Woh Geeton Mein Diya Hai" from Chandi Ki Deewar (1964 movie).

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  73. Thank you for the kind words, Mr Sharma. As for the N Dutta composition, we are spoilt for choice; I picked one, you posted another. And since they are good songs, let's enjoy both. :)

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