Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Movie Review: Abhimaan

The 1973 Hindi film Abhimaan follows the life of playback singer Subhir Kumar (Amitabh Bachchan) is a very famous singer and he has lots of adoring female fans who sit by the radio and just drown in the soul of his voice whenever his songs are played. Out of all his admirers, the only he pays attention to is Chithra (Bindu) whom he flirts with often at the annoyance of his agent Chandru (Asrani). One day, Subhir receives a letter from his aunt (Durga Khote) who raised him when he was small. He runs to her house for a meeting. There he encounters and falls in love with Uma Devi (Jaya Bachchan), who is his aunt's granddaughter. Uma Devi is also a talented singer and after their marriage, he decides that he will sing with Uma now on.

A film producer approaches Subhir to request Uma to sing for the lead heroine in a film. Subhir happily accepts and Uma reluctantly obliges to sing on her own. Offers pour in and Uma's star begins to shine brighter than her husband's. Subhir is then consumed by jealousy as his own stardom begins to fade. Subir's vain personality is shown in his conversational scenes with Chithra and in the manner he swaggers on the stage at his concert. His forceful and straightforward personality also means that he cuts short to the chase and gets Uma to admit that she likes him without pretending that he has no idea.

The crumbling marriage is shown in subtle ways. Subhir is signing a fan's book but while doing so, his wife enters the room. The fan then snatches her book from Subhir who hasn't completed what he was writing and runs away to Uma. His hurt is visible because he is so used to adoration from female fans that he doesn't even expect their adoration to wane. He is annoyed by their over-the-top declarations of love and compliments, but once they stop pestering him, it bothers him. The movie begins with "Meet Na Mila Re Mann Ka" and most people who are shown enjoying his music are females.

In the honeymoon period of their marriage, Subhir often looks at his wife affectionately in the morning when she wakes him up. But the morning after the autograph incident, the attitude changes. When Uma wakes her husband up in her usual jovial morning mood, she is met with a cold response from him. For a woman whose life revolves around the love of her life companion, the cold gesture has a devastating effect. Thus a chain of events is set in motion where the marriage detoriates even further.

Amitabh Bachchan's portrayal is such that one can feel the pain of his character. Potentially, the character of a jealous and moody husband could have been very unlikable. He acts well in the scenes where he realises that his wife is becoming more popular than him that you feel that you can understand his predicament. Jaya Bachchan is simply excellent. She moves from being a new bride to a victim of shock with ease. Jaya and Amitabh have a nice onscreen chemistry. They look cute in the song, "Loote Koi Mann Ka Nagar", where they exchange flirtatious glances while singing in the film studio.

Revisit Abhimaan and see how movies should be made with conviction. It is a perfect movie to be watched on a rainy day, when there is nothing else to do.

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