There are times when one feels in need of an emotional catharsis. One just wants to get away from it all, go to a quiet corner and make sure no one else realizes why is it that you are shedding them by the bucketful. You don’t want any sympathy, any onlookers, just want to be by yourself. In such situations thanks to cultural biases against men shedding tears (they even made a movie based on this called “Boys don’t cry” I think in ’99 or 00, showing the bias exists in the West as well), I put on a movie like Aashirwad , Khamoshi, Pyaasa or Amar Prem to allow myself the liberty of lachrymosity without having to explain why it is happening.
Hrishikesh Mukherjee, one of the great Bimal Roy’s protégés , started life as an Editor and moved to becoming one of the most outstanding Directors in Bollywood. He did return to his first love for Rajinder Singh Bedi’s Hindi Film Debut, Dastak, (and amazingly worked as an Editor, picking up a Filmfare as well) but remained a master storyteller.
Aashirwad remains a tour de force. A story brilliantly told. Just a fabulous, masterly acting performance by the great Ashok Kumar, the first Superstar in India who was mobbed so often after Kismet (the very first movie in Bollywood to gross ₹1 crore), the cops had to come and break up the traffic jams due to the crowds.
Who else had the guts to take on antihero characters despite all the success and fame? Who would have agreed to do Pyaare in Meri Soorat Teri Aankhen or do a Victoria 203? Or the Jewel Thief role?
His oeuvre was too vast and varied and he pretty much owns the movie. The character fits him like a glove. He is just magnificent and utterly believable as Jogi Thakur. Sumita Sanyal, Sanjeev Kumar, Veena, Harindranath Chattopadhyay and a few others including Padma Khanna provide the accompaniment. Sanjeev Kumar’s talent is barely challenged. Sumita Sanyal to me is the actress who had the talent to become the Director’s Actress, but Bollywood wanted a different materiel I suppose.
I won’t dwell on the movie except to say Gulzar and Vasant Desai, two geniuses (wrong usage of the plural in the classical sense, but accepted now, so I will let it pass) give us a very memorable score.
The song could not have been sung by anyone else but Manna Dey . Only he has the vocal range and class to pull off this seemingly straightforward song (try singing it, you’ll realize). https://youtu.be/KbhwaNm09oY
I usually shed 50 ml at this song and will proceed to do it. I suppose no one will notice today.
Stay safe, folks, stay healthy and happy. Enjoy the weekend. The winter is now well and truly upon us.