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ANAND (1971)- Joyous Spirits Live On

Pulls at the emotional heartstrings and touches the very soul


Anand 1971

Released on 12th March 1971, Anand is an endearing story of a terminally ill patient who brings joys in the life of complete strangers. It was both funny and tragic. It showed that despite the progress we have made thru science we still have no control on certain diseases where death is a foregone conclusion.

Anand was produced and directed by the well-known maker of social and moralistic drama exploring the lighter side of life Hrishikesh Mukherjee or Hrishida as he was fondly called. It was one of the 17 consecutive hits of Rajesh Khanna and his first collaboration with Amitabh Bachchan. That Amitabh was able to hold his own and define his character in the movie laid down the path for him to succeed as superhero after Khanna. It was a runaway hit at the box-office. T

This movie Anand, being evergreen is still viewed with rapt attention whenever it is played on TV. It is a movie of hope and joy that which we can give to others thus bringing the same in our lives, we need not know the person but we can always do a good turn nonetheless.

Dr. Bhaskar Bannerjee (Amithabh- Oncologist) is an upright doctor. Though he treats the poor for free but is distressed with all the suffering and poverty around him because of which he is unable to help the way he would like to leaving him restless and morose. One day his friend Dr. Kulkarni (Ramesh Deo) introduces him to Anand (Rajesh Khanna-majestic in this role) a terminally ill person with a rare cancer who just has 6 months to survive. The cancer – lymphosarcoma of the intestine is incurable but what takes Dr. Bhaskar aback is Anand’s full of life and cheerful act, spreading joy and happiness around, this despite knowing his chances of survival. This attitude gives life to the good Dcotor’s dull and stoic existence and an unbreakable bond of friendship is established between the two and Anand fondly calls Bhaskar – Babu Moshay (a way to address Bengali gentleman).

Bhaskar is determined to find a cure for his friend. Anand in the meantime living with the Doctor at his home as he abhors hospitals, touches lives of many people to the complete bafflement of Bhaskar. The relations he make with totally unknown people in such a way that it seems they have been friends with each other since long. Specially people like the theatre artist Issabhai (Johnny Walker- in form) and even fixes shy Babu Moshay’s love life for him.

Why he is doing all this what is his purpose, is he hiding something, this is revealed to Bhaskar-Anand’s story of unrequited love and his subsequent realization of his illness. By now Anand who had resigned to his impending death, suddenly gets the urge to live again due to all the love he is getting from everyone around him, Bhaskar is also desperate to save him but in his helplessness resorts to alternate medication and divine intervention and on his death-bed goes in the search for that magic remedy. The end scene is heart-wrenching, Anand is no more and Bhaskar comes back with a medicine and seeing everyone around crying talks to his motionless friend that he will have to live, he cannot be so selfish, after giving hope to so many people how can he leave. Suddenly in the background Anand’s voice resonates, he had taped something for the good Doctor.

These movies which touch the soul are cult classics and evergreen for all generations. Like in many movies of the time the flashback technique to describe the narrative of the story is used. The opening scene shows Dr. Bhaskar being felicitated for his best-seller book titled Anand. When he comes on the stage he starts talking about him and from there the flashback begins. Back in present time Dr.Bhaskar closes his speech with ‘Anand kabhi nahi marte’ means the joyous spirit lives on in our hearts and never dies. The songs have fantastic lyrics and though very philosophical are still very melodious and relevant. The movie pulls at the emotional heartstrings and touches the very soul, rarely do we such people around us who can make mundane lives blissful.

Anand received many awards including the best movie Filmfare Award in 1972. Though Kishore Kumar was the voice of Rajesh Khanna but in this movie Mukesh has sung the songs for him to bring out that depth of feelings within the character. ‘Kahin Door jab din dhaljaye’ being Khanna’s favorite. It is said that Khanna and Amitabh were not the first choice for the movie but in hindsight what happened, happened for the best as such masterpieces do not get made often.

– Revisited by PAWAN GUPTA

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