Movies are generally a source of entertainment, with some carrying a social or moral message while there are movies which used to be called art movies in late 70’s and early 80’s in INDAIN CINEMA which showed the stark realities of life. Aandhi is one such movie written by Kamleshwar and directed by Gulzar.
Though India has changed a lot since then. Now those very art films are termed as contemporary and are not all depressing but also do have a funny take to them. The movies do show the ethos of the Nation at those times and can be instrumental in creating public opinion or at least validating a point of view. Aandhi was a movie of its own kind it was a political commentary on the state of affairs on the back of a very unlikely love story. It is said to have been loosely based on the life of the then Prime Minister of India Mrs. Indira Gandhi and though it was released on 13th February 1975 it was banned when emergency was proclaimed in India in June of ’75. It had many a tongues a wagging about the story of the movie, when it was released that time too it had to face many barbs before it was released with some cuts.
Aandhi which literally means a storm in Hindi, created one when it was released and may have been a cause of embarrassment to the PM. Directed by Gulzar it’s a masterpiece, it had some excellent songs, which were in sync with the goings-on on the screen, but its run on the box office was curtailed. The story is credited to Kamleshwar who was a script writer of many a social dramas and was also an Additional Director General of Doordarshan of our own national TV channel (1980-82). Though after the emergency was lifted the new regime did had it shown on National TV.
J.K. (as Sanjeev Kumar is called thru out the movie) is a manager at a prestigious hotel and saves drunk Aarti (Suchitra Sen) daughter of a politician. This is enough for them to fall in love after a few meetings and they both get married. The married bliss is disturbed when differences due to their status and her priorities as a budding politician under the aegis of her father arise and they decide to separate with JK keeping their daughter and Aarti becomes busy with her political career.
Many years later they meet again when the established politician that she was, on her campaign trail is put up in the hotel managed by her husband JK , the old memories and the suppressed feeling again come to the fore but being in public life she is hesitant to accept it in public. The opposition makes it simple for her and in the end she accepts that JK is her husband whom she left for the greater good of serving the people, after her confession at her rally she has a landslide victory and the movie ends on a happy note.
What was beautiful about the movie Aandhi was its treatment, its actors, both were fabulous expressing their repressed feelings with maturity, and rarely do we see a display of such acting from both the male and female characters. Sen and Kumar go beyond and it feels as if it is a real story unfolding in front of you.
The lilting tunes of the songs, one better than the other still invoke emotions, the all- time favorite being ‘Tere bina zindagi mein shikva’. Sanjeev Kumar received the best actor’s award and the movie received the Film critic’s award in that year’s Filmfare awards function. As mentioned those were difficult emergency times but many good movies were made during that time.
– Gulzar’s AANDHI Revisited by PAWAN GUPTA