Sunday, 8 February 2009

Anokha Pyar (1948)

Anokha Pyar is a movie about a triangular love story. It is a very quiet movie, moving along like a placid river on sunny afternoon, with just the odd turbulence (and many, many songs) as our protagonists deal with live, the universe and Geeta's interfering maiden aunts.

The story starts on the banks of a river, where we meet Bindiya (Nalini Jaywant), a girl who sells flowers, singing happily about flowers and youth.

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Having finished her song, she comes across a handsome stranger, Ashok (Dilip Kumar). She tries to sell him some flowers, but has some difficulty as he doesn't have any money, being a not particularly successful writer. In the end, he gives her his last two Annas for some flowers.

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Just after she leaves, she is accosted by Birju who tries to get her to give him her money. Ashok tries to come to her help but is knocked out and Birju runs away never to be seen again in this movie.

Thank you for your brief but crucial appearance in this movie.
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After he regains consciousness, it turns out that he isn't able to see. Bindiya takes him to a local doctor, who cares for the poor people of the area. After a dramatic pause, caused by the doctor's need to take some medication for his serious heart condition, he can reassure Ashok that he will be able to see again, but he needs three or four days of rest and wearing a bandage. After he finds out that Ashok doesn't have any money and nowhere to stay, the doctor suggests that Ashok should stay at his house until he recovers.

The doctor is rather cute:
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Perhaps not the most sensible investement:
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We also meet Patel, a barber, and our comic relief, who is interested in Bindiya who isn't at all interested in him.

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Back at the doctor's house, his daughter Geeta (Nargis) has come home. I don't really know how here first meeting with Ashok happens, as my Dvd decided to skip right to the end of the scene, but she seems comparatively unperturbed by finding a random stranger on the living room couch. On the other hand, given her father's kindly nature this might be a not infrequent occurrence. She proceeds to play a rather lovely song on the piano.

Ashok, I think she figured that one out:
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Ashok is facinated by her voice and gets up but promptly walks into some furniture. After a little bit of banter, Geeta, who can't quite decide whether she finds him amusing or exasperating deposits him back on the couch.

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While Ashok is staying with the Doctor, he isn't exactly a model patient, insisting on getting up and endangering the furniture, but nevertheless he and Geeta come closer, and the Doctor also seems to be rather fond of the young man.

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Bindiya, on the other hand, who is also smitten with Ashok, spends her days pining for him:

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Ashok recovers from his injuries, and is very impressed with Geeta. I am afraid, this leave little hope for poor Bindiya.

Yep, he is in love:
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And I can't really blame him:
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Unaware of this fact, Bindiya sings another song this time about her love. Ashok leaves the Doctor's house, The Doctory has provided him with some money until he manages to sell his novel. He has just finished exchanging longing glances with Geeta, when Bindiya accosts him with a boquet but he more or less brushes her off.

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He then settles down in the ruins where we first met him, and sings the song Geeta sang at their first meeting, which in turn is taken up by Bindiya (yes, they do sing a lot). After they finish their song, Ashok and Bindiya have a discussion about a ghost which lives in the nearby river and is apparently rather dangerous.

It is inadvisable to model your subtitles on lolcat-captions:
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Meanwhile, the Doctor's health has taken a turn for the worse and he has called two unmarried female relatives to look after Geeta (which translates mainly into trying to get her married to a well-off decent man as soon as possible). In contrast to the unfavourable first impression one gets, the two aren't actually actively evil or even unkind, they just interfere in unfortunate moments.

They also always wear matching sarees:
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Geeta expresses her longing for Ashok in another song while he goes to see a publisher. Unfortunately, the publisher has chosen this moment to kill himself with a bullet in the brain. Even more unfortunately, Ashok temporarily takes leave of any common sense he may have had an picks up the gun.

Nahiiiiiiiiiiiiin
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So, Ashok winds up in prison on a murder charge, which Bindiya overhears. Back at the Doctor's a letter arrives which contains the publishers suicide note. He suffered from an incurable illness and had decided to end it all. The Doctor sends Geeta to see what has happened. She goes reluctantly as she doesn't want to leave her father alone. At the publishing house she hears that somebody has been arrested for the publisher's murder, and she presents the letter. Some bureaucratic hoops later, the police is convinced that the murder wasn't a murder but a suicide, and Geeta is taken to meet Ashok before he is released. She doesn't talk to him, however, as he has just fallen asleep after a sleepless night (which is very considerate, but perhaps not what he would really have wanted). When he wakes up he finds Bindiya singing outside his cell.

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There is bad news for Geeta when she comes back home: Her father has expired. Ashok continues to write his novel, which is heavily based on what happened during his stay in the Doctor's house and Bindiya continoues to sing. Ashok somehow never realises who she is singing about.

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Geeta's two aunts are determined to get her married. They first have their eye on the publisher's nephew who has taken over his uncle's publishing house. On their way back from investigating this possibility they meet Ashok. Again, my Dvd skips a bit, and I am not sure what transpires but they leave convinced that he is very well off. He also manages to drop a picture of himself, so they take it home to show to Geeta, who naturally isn't adverse to her aunts choice.

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Asho, meanwhile, has a meeting with his new publisher, which goes well, and he even gets an advance. He then goes to meet Geeta, but she has moved house since her father's death, and nobody knows her new address. Somewhat dejected he goes back to the scenic ruins where he has been staying. On the way he is spotted by Geeta's aunts who are upset to learn that he has no money. They also run into Bindiya and jump to the conclusion that she must be his wife.

Stalking, the other way round:
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When her aunts break the news to Geeta, that Ashok is married, she uses the opportunity to express her heartbreak in a song. The aunts meanwhile, have settled on the publisher's nephew as a suitable husband for Geeta and the two get engaged fairly swiftly.

I can see why the guy doesn't have any objections:
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Meanwhile, Ashok's novel has been published and has been very successful which makes his publisher very happy, which makes him quite unique among the main protagonists so far.

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Ashok has rented the Doctor's old house to be better able to pine for his lost love, engaging in depressed piano playing and neglecting poor Bindiya who has fallen ill with all the pining she has been doing. When he finds out that she is unwell he does make sure she gets the what she needs, but that cues more soulful pining in the shape of another song:

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Pining I
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Pining II
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As Ashok's book is so successful, his publisher decides that a celebration is in order, and he insists that his fiance should come, too. When Ashok gets up to give a speech he finds himself confronted with her accusatory look (of course, the poor dear doesn't know that he was chosen as a groom and rejected because of his alleged marriage) and he is so shocked to see her that he faints. For some reason, maybe because she is a doctor's daughter, Geeta is send in with a glass of water, and they have a painful conversation in which they at least manage to work out that he isn't married. Only of course now she is engaged.

She is quite scary here:
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Of course, what better way to deal with ones feelings in this situation, than to sing:
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Meanwhile, Geeta's fiance, who bought her father's house, which Ashok now rents, has been asked by hear aunts to make sure that she will be able to live in her old house after the marriage. However, His tenant refuses to leave the house, as this was where he fell in love. Geeta's fiance realises that the woman Ashok loves is no other than Geeta, so he sends her aunts a letter breaking off the engagement, but omitting any explanation as to why:

You really also need to be more explicit:
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Ashok goes off to the scenic ruins to do some more pining. This time, however, he is joined in his song by the newly not any longer engaged Geeta. Their happy reunion is somewhat marred by the fact that Ashok, who is at times a bit clumsy, ends up in the river.

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Ooops
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The next day, he is too ill to meet Geeta again, and as he is from time to time more than a little clueless, he decides to send Bindiya to convey his apologies.

Oh, Ashok, really, this isn't a good idea:
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It takes Geeta all of about five minutes to work out what the matter with Bindiya is, and then she decides that she should give up Ashok for Bindiya:

The fateful meeting:
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What will happen next? Will Ashok meekly marry the woman he doesn't love because Geeta wants him to? What will her aunts do? Will this further complication lead to more songs?

I would wholeheartedly recommend the movie for a rainy afternoon if it came in a better quality print. The Dvd I had didn't only skip, it was on occasion so dark, that it started to resemble an audio play, which is a shame with a movie that provides this much eye candy. When I could see the three leads, they all looked really good. The plot does meander rather, but it meanders pleasantly, never really becoming overly melodramatic. The comic relief is bearable, though there is rather more of it than I have managed, mostly to do with people failing to pay the poor guy. Ashok at times seems to be his own worst enemy in a scatter-brained fashion, but he actually manages to become successful after he lost the love of his live rather than growing stubble and succumbing to the lure of alcohol, which made a refreshing change. And while some of the misunderstandings could have been resolved with a bit more communication, the lack thereof wasn't too outrageous.

8 comments:

Bollyviewer said...

This one reminded me of another Dilip triangle Babul where Nargis played the poor girl and poor Dilip had two women in love with him but got neither. So I abandoned it early on! Does he get at least one girl here?

antarra said...

Oh yes, he does get a girl here. This really is fairly stress-free viewing compared to the two other Nargis and Dilip movies I have seen, Deedar and Mela.

memsaabstory said...

If it's at all like Deedar I will have to run screaming...so depressing! ;-) But if not, then maybe I'll give it a try. I love Nalini Jaywant, actually.

Shweta Mehrotra Gahlawat said...

oh dear lord! i always have a v hard time sitting through dilip's movies(so sad usually), but I do love the other 2. Reading about it is easier than watching it :D

antarra said...

Memsaab -- It is not at all like Deedar. In fact, apart from the inherit melancholy of a love triangle (one person just isn't going to get what they wan't) this isn't depressing. And Nalini is very cute. I think I have only seen her in Nau Bahar otherwise.

Shweta Mehrotra Gahlawat -- I like his stuff, not too much, but then I don't mind being made sad from time to time. This isn't too sad, but has Dvd-issues.

Desultoryreij said...

I've had enough of depressing Dilip Kumar/ Nargis movies: Mela, Deedar, Babul, Andaz, Jogan.

I can understand that you do not want to spoil the ending for other, but I'd like to know the ending for this movie before trying to hunt it down.

Here's my email address: amaya_haruka_sorariko@yahoo.com. Also I'd appreciate it if you'd inform me of other Dilip Kumar/Nargis films- (I thought I'd seen them all) Thanks.

Vidur Sury said...

I too saw the film. I liked it except for Nalini Jaywant's sad ending. Could you please direct me to some site where VCD/DVD Mela is available? Anokha Pyaar has nice songs too and I was excited to know that legendary singer Amirbai Karnataki Ji was one of the aunts here.

Sazzad Qadir said...

Nalini Jayant's BINDIYA stole the show though she had to sing even on a jail-wall...