17 May 2007 | Chrysanthepop
Love, Suffering, Guilt and Redemption
I finally got the DVD of Bimal Roy's classic masterpiece 'Bandini'. 'Bandini' revolves around Kalyani, played beautifully by the one and only Nutan. We see most of the movie through Kalyani's point of view. During a time when women's rights were much more limited (compared to today), Roy tells us a woman-oriented story, part of which is set during the British Raj.
Kalyani is a strong-willed, vivacious, educated, caring and happy-going young lady who lives with her father and cousin in a small village. She then meets a much older Bikash, who's a freedom fighter and is intrigued by his ideals. They gradually fall in love but as fate would have it, Bikash has to leave and he promises to return and marry Kalyani. Time rushes through as Kalyani and her father wait to hear from Bikash. Soon Kalyani hears that Bikash has already married and settled down with someone else. Kalyani is devastated but she has to be strong and prevent her father from finding out. The villagers raise questions and harass Kalyani's father. Kalyani, not being able to bear her father's humiliation, leaves for the city and manages to find a job. Yet, she commits the most unexpected deed and ends up in prison.
The movie is at it's simplest form of film-making. It could have been high on melodrama but hardly anything about it is exaggerated. Even the background sound especially in the scene where we hear the banging iron (when Kalyani is about to commit the crime) is used very effectively. Songs are beautiful and flow with the narration instead of hindering it.
Dharmendra gives a charming performance in a brief role while Ashok Kumar brilliantly plays Bikash but Bandini clearly belongs to Nutan. Her facial expressions (especially her eyes) reminds us what true acting really is (such expressions are hardly seen in movies of today) especially in the climax where she has to make a choice, her expressions are unforgettable. She portrays her character's inner conflict (the guilt and rejection of her second chance in life, the belief that she deserves the worst of punishment, the temptation she feels to live a life with Deven) and complex emotions with near perfection (if not perfection) and is flawless in terms of acting.
Thanks to Bimal Roy for telling us a beautiful story about a strong minded brave young lady, in a time when hardly much attention was given to women.