13 May 2006 | javadude95
A 'tear-jerker' is not appropriate do describe this film. It is in fact, a masterful handling of a sensitive subject by Hrishikesh Mukherjee
Known for his more successful rollicking comic adventures, this gem is still one of Hrishikesh Mukherjee's best works.
Anupama is the story of a shy and retreating girl who grows up with the stigma of guilt, and her father's reproach and blame for having lost her mother during childbirth. It's a poignant journey of how she overcomes her own guilt and steps out of her father's overbearing shadow.
Tarun Bose - another unsung character actor from Hindi cinema - plays Sharma, an affluent businessman who has married late but deeply loves his wife. When she dies in childbirth, he blames the newborn daughter Uma for having separated him from his only joy in life. She grows up as a timid young girl who pines for her father's affection, feels the guilt of her mother's demise and is barely able to express herself as a result. Indeed her first words in the movie are almost an hour into it, in a lilting song amidst nature.
Sharmila Tagore, performs exquisitely as the daughter Uma, and despite having very few words to say, truly embodies the repressed, melancholy character, especially with her eyes that express all her emotions. Of course it helps that she is so beautiful.
The scenes between father and daughter are poignant, and are sensitively handled. Deep inside, Sharma does love his daughter, but it shows only when he is drunk, and not in his senses.
Hindi cinema has produced many excellent actors who are grossly underrated, and none more so than Dharmendra, who is not really remembered today for some of his sensitive portrayals, and his flair for comedy. Here he plays Ashok, a writer by profession from a modest background whose keen mind is quick to notice Uma's angst. Which also attracts the two together.
Helping the plot race along - despite the melancholy theme, there's never a dull moment in the screenplay - are Shashikala who plays Annie (or Anita) - an effervescent tomboy and a complete anti-thesis of Uma's character- and a young Deven Verma who plays Arun, her love interest and a childhood friend of Ashok.
There's also David - a Hrishikesh Mukherjee regular - provides great comic relief as Sharma's cheerful friend Moses. He has the best line in the movie. Translated from Hindi, "Death is great fun. The dying person doesn't know when it will happen, and everybody else cries." This has to be one of David's finest performances - he jokes, dances with Shashikala, and generally brings the house down with his pearls of wisdom.
An unspoken love develops between Ashok and Uma, that threatens to die unrequited. Ashok understands the father's grief, but resents his ignorance and neglect of his daughter. The song 'Ya dil ki suno..' sung by the peerless Hemant Kumar, who also scores the music, is heart-rending. This song alone is worth the price of the movie. Written by Kaifi Azmi, It poetically describes the insensitivity of the father: "what a flower has bloomed in nature, the gardener has no love for it".
Can Uma really overcome her internal barriers and take the leap to be with Ashok? Does she really have the strength to break free from emotions of both love and terror for her father? Despite a predictable ending, the movie still surprises in the end.
Modern day directors can learn a lot about how to balance emotional content with sparkling comedy. And aided by excellent performances all round, 'Anupama' makes for a memorable experience.