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“Anand” (1971, Movie Review)

The story of the film unfolds through the diary entries of Dr. Bhaskar Banerjee (played by Amitabh Bachchan), a thirty-year-old cancer specialist who is already distressed by the amount of deaths he’s seen in his career as a cancer specialist doctor. His own sense of futility — “Oh, God! Such frightening helplessness of mine. I cannot cure any of the patients suffering from this terminal disease Cancer!”

Bhaskar is the logical choice to host Anand (Rajesh Khanna), a friend of his friend Dr Prakash (played by Ramesh Deo) to depict the melodrama played by Amitabh Bachchan and Rajesh Khanna in the story. Anand wants to tour Bombay, the maximum city he has heard about a lot. Anand talks non-stop, joking with friends and strangers alike. Such relentless cheerfulness would normally irritate a man who is quite reserved and quiet such as Bhaskar. But, Bhaskar sees the melancholy .. sadness behind Anand’s permanent grin and cheerfulness. The scene where Anand expresses his desire to live longer .. but saddened by his helplessness that he is unable to do so .. as he sings the song .. ‘Kahin Door Jab Din ..’ sung by playback singer Mukesh .. is wonderfully pictured. Bhaskar watches Anand .. from his hiding .. so that Anand cannot see him. Watch this scene .. and you will be as much moved as I am whenever I watch it ..

While the most obvious message in the movie is ‘live each day to the fullest’ .. a more interesting theme relates to how healthy people are supposed to interact with the terminally ill or even with those not as healthy as they are. Anand knows he’s dying, yet he chooses to remain upbeat. He would rather have fun while he is here, and he wants his friends to be happy when they are with him.

The relatively small cast of the movie delivers great performances, particularly .. the way they react to Anand’s terminal sickness. Bhaskar’s beloved, Renu (played by Sumita Sanyal) is rock steady while Dr Prakash’s wife, Suman (played by his real-life partner Seema Deo), loses her courage and breaks down inconsolably.

This movie ‘Anand’.. in a way .. introduced Amitabh Bachchan’s angry man image to the film-going audience through his forthcoming films such as ‘Namak Haram’ and many more. It is rumored that .. after the movie ‘Namak Haram’ .. Superstar Rajesh Khanna refused to act along with Amitabh Bachchan in any same movie.

I have watched this movie several times.

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About Raman Ramamurthy

I am a Management consultant, an avid reader, play Lawn tennis in my leisure time and love Music. Presently, I am settled in India along with my wife and my son.

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