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Ankhiyon Ke Jharokhon Se : ‘Love Story’ By Erich Segal

Its been exactly 40 years and 40 days since ‘Love Story’ was first published. The publication of this novel was more of an afterthought than a piece of original literary work. The movie ‘Love Story’ whose screenplay was written by Erich Segal, was later adapted it into a novel which would serve as a pre-cursor to the movie and help in promoting the film. Hence, the novel came out on 14th Feb, 1970 while the movie released later, in December of the same year.

The book went on to become a best-seller and the movie too was a huge hit, and some lines from the movie have achieved so much popularity that they are oft repeated in quotes and romantic write-ups, one of them being ‘Love means never having to say sorry’. Although Erich Segal went on to write quite a few novels like ‘Oliver’s Story’ [which was a sequel to ‘Love Story’], ‘Class’ and ‘Doctors’ ; but none of them could match upto the success and fame of ‘Love Story’. This is a book for keeps, the romance is so beautifully portrayed and with so much innocence and honesty.

As most of us have read the book or know the story, I shall not delve much into it. I would just like to pay a small tribute to writer, Erich Segal, who passed away earlier this year, on 17th Jan. It was a huge loss to the literary world. And people who have been affected by the book, directly or indirectly, must have sent a small wish up there; may his soul rest in peace.

Coming back to the post, when Rajshri Films decided to adapt the book into movie, Ankhiyon Ke Jharokhon Se was born. Keeping the tradition of family entertainers, this movie too matched the innocence and honest depiction of love. Sachin and Ranjeeta in lead roles excelled. And so did Madan Puri in a small cameo as Arun’s dad. But the movie truly belonged to Sachin and Ravindra Jain; Sachin for his mature performance and Ravindra Jain for his wonderful music and lyrics.

With the backdrop of a college, the movie starts with a tiff/competition between Arun and Lily. This went on to become a formula for a whole lot of movies, where the guy-gal are up in arms against each other in first half hour and then coyly in love soon after they get to know each other well. Even to this day, movies have this formulaic approach.

Anyways, Arun is an extrovert guy with playful nature, and he is smart and intelligent. He happens to be rich and that also brings in a bit of arrogance. While Lily is a girl from a modest family, and they live with limited resources. When Lily tops the class, it hurts Arun’s ego as he was the previous topper and now stands second in class; and this ego leads to the boy-gang ragging Lily with reference to her Christian background and lack of knowledge in Hindi literature.

Arun pushes her into a contest of sorts, in Hindi; that’s when Lily matches wits with him in a doha duel where she chants dohas of Kabir and Rahim. The war of words, or should I say dohas is perfectly pitched where Lily makes Arun realise that arrogance is not a good quality and Arun ends the contest by saying that she should accept his friendship in all humility.

But this is just the beginning of the love story. Everything runs smoothly until the couple decide to marry. Arun informs his rich dad about his love interest, which has to now surmount cultural and religious differences. When Madan Puri visits Lily’s house, I was scared it would be a repeat of the ‘Bobby’ scene of Pran embarrassing Premnath by talking of his riches, social status and cultural barriers. But this movie being a Rajshri Films, no such drama happens.

This is one of the most crucial and differentiating turning point in the novel ‘Love Story’. While In the novel, Oliver’s dad does not approve of the marriage ; Arun’s dad  is more than happy to go with his son’s choice. This juncture also marks the difference between the book and the movie. In the book, Oliver’s dad disowns him. Oliver and Jennifer get married and settle down. But their days of hardship have just begun. When they decide to start a family and are unable to, they visit a doc who diagnoses Jennifer’s condition.

But in the movie, when all things are running smoothly Lily suddenly takes to bed. She had fallen ill before too, but no one knew the severity of her suffering. She is finally diagnosed of blood cancer and she has very less time left. This concept was later picked up in many a movie, with variations in screenplay. Most memorable being Hrishi da’s Mili and Mani Ratnam’s Gitanjali. And Erich Segal should be credited with this sensitive love progression in which one of the partners is terminally ill. The true test of love is when we can accept someone for who they are and stay with them despite their inadequacies; take them ‘in illness and in health’; and be with them till the end of their lives. The movie epitomises the sacrificial nature of love and shows what selfless love is all about.

Arun’s dad is very supportive of him, but Lily does not wish Arun to go through the trauma when she learns of her own illness. This is where the movie was a welcome change from the novel. In the novel, Oliver and Jennifer are strapped for cash and so he requests financial assisstance from his dad for her treatment; he still does not mention to his dad about her illness.

How Arun and Oliver deal with this situation forms rest of the story. How they unselfishly decide to show happy and fulfilling days to their loved-ones, despite knowing their condition and how they cope-up with life is not just romantic but tear-jerkingly sweet.

While the book explores the heartlessness of a person, Oliver’s dad; it also shows to what extent a person in love can go, Oliver. Its a beautiful story of love and difficult times that it can make us go through. But its all worth it, if love is all a person seeks. Its better to live a short life filled with love, than a long one without it.

 
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Posted by on March 26, 2010 in bollywood, books, literature, movies

 

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Rang Birangi, Aloo Chat : Filmy Experiment Gone Wrong

So, what’s common between Rang Birangi and Aloo Chat? Ok, lets recall Pati Patni Aur Woh and DDLJ, any bells ringing yet??

David Dhawan’s movie Hero No.1 was a good mix of Bawarchi and DDLJ. Govinda becomes a cook/servant to gain entry into Karishma’s house only to impress her family members and gain their confidence. Of course, lots of movies got inspired by DDLJ and lots of such movies came out, some good…some bad. Similarly, PPAW inspired a string of movies where bosses flirt with their secretaries.

PPAW released in 1978, made under BR Films banner and was directed by BR Chopra. The story was about Ranjeet Chaudhary, a family man who is happily married with a kid. His wife is very nice, caring and faithful; and yet Ranjeet goes out of his way to feign his wife’s illness so he can gain his secretary’s mercy. And this pity turns into more care and affection from her side. Ranjeet does succeed at this and gets the required affection, but at what cost? Sanjeev Kumar played the loving husband and later the lecherous boss, Ranjeeta played the low-key secretary who was a middle-class working woman and not the stereotyped secretary, and finally Vidya Sinha played the loyal and loving wife.

DDLJ, made in 1994, paved the way for NRI audience targetted movie. There is nothing to write about this movie because everybody knows everything about it.

Hrishikesh Mukherjee wrote the screenplay and directed this movie made in 1983 and titled it Rang Birangi. The movie directly picks on the idea of PPAW. Ajay Sharma is the boss of a company and has a beautiful wife in Nirmala. His secretary is Anita, a very dedicated and beautiful woman. Ajay finds his life boring as he is involved in mundane stuff of office activities. That’s when his friend Ravi lands up in his office and quizzes him about Anita. Ajay is offended initially by the thought of flirting with a secretary but Ravi narrates to him the story of PPAW, how Sanjeev Kumar lies about his wife’s health and gains the warmly arms of his secretary. Ravi pushes Ajay into trying the experiment which seems to succeed at first, but later falls flat. How things start going awry makes for a good laugh.

Amol Palekar was Ajay, the boss; Parveen Babi was his wife and Deepti Naval was the simple and nice secretary. The friend who plants the idea in Amol Palekar’s mind was played by Deven Verma. It was a refreshing look at how PPAW situation works only in movies; talk of innovation, one movie referencing another. Coincidentally, Parveen Babi who plays the wife in this movie, actually makes a guest appearance as Sanjeev Kumar’s secretary in PPAW.

Anyways, Aloo Chat makes a direct reference to DDLJ. Nikhil is US returned guy who is in love with Amna, a muslim girl. His parents are orthodox and he does not know how to speak/convince his parents about his love. Nikhil approaches his mamaji who suggests that he should take the DDLJ route. Nikhil’s mamaji hatches a plot whereby Nikhil would bring an american girl, Nikki, home in the pretext of marrying her; and Amna would accompany Nikki. While Amna would try to impress Nikhil’s parents, Nikki would try to create a bad impression so that Nikhil’s parents would approve of Amna at the end of it all; trying to create the reduced-shock-effect…zor ka jhatka dheere se lage. As was supposed to be the result of this experiment, it fails and things go haywire causing much confusion and evokes a lot of laughs. Aftab Shivdasani played Nikhil, and Amna was played by Amna Sharif, her debut movie. A special mention of mamaji played by Manoj Pahwa, who was the narrator and backbone of the movie.

There are many movies which reflect/inspire/copy/plagiarise another movie. Very few movies actually experiment keeping an eye and alluding another movie. So, are there any other movies which make direct references to another movie? An experiment falling under its own weight?? I am really eager to know of it.

 
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Posted by on May 10, 2009 in bollywood, movies

 

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