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Bollywood Rewind | Bandini: Of love, crime and punishment

On this weekly column, we revisit gems from the golden years of Hindi cinema. This week, we revisit Bimal Roy’s 1963 movie Bandini.

Set within the 1930s, Bandini is the story of Kalyani (Nutan), a lady who’s in jail and believes that it doesn’t matter what type of punishment she will get, nothing will ever absolve her of the crime she dedicated that fateful evening when she killed her ex-lover’s spouse. Her guilt over that poisoning has been the focus of her life since then and Kalyani has accepted it as her destiny. Whereas she lived her life being the embodiment of her title, the one who takes care of others, and continues to take action, she has swallowed that dwelling by her title is now the one method for her to point out regret over her ungodly actions.

It’s Kalyani’s lack of self-worth right now in her life that she will’t see past her sins. So when a form, progressive physician (Dharmendra) falls in love along with her, she finds it weird. She even pleads with the jailor to not launch her on account of fine behaviour as a result of no quantity of fine deeds can wash over her ‘paap’. Because the flashback begins, we’re drawn into Kalyani’s universe as we meet the lady who as soon as fell in love with a freedom fighter named Bikash (Ashok Kumar) and joyfully sang “Mora Gora Ang Lai Le” as she waited for him. When Bikash guarantees to return to the village to marry her, Kalyani longingly waits however Bikash strikes on. Society mocks her aged father for being fooled by a revolutionary and thus, threatens them with a social boycott. She packs up her issues and leaves, to by no means look again as Mukesh’s voice sings “O Janewale Ho Sake To Laut Ke Aana.”

Nutan’s Kalyani is enchanted by the free-spirited Bikash, performed by Ashok Kumar. (Photograph from The Press Reporter Archives)

Bandini belongs to Kalyani, splendidly performed by Nutan. Director Bimal Roy tells her story from her perspective and doesn’t make her a damsel in misery who must be saved, thus staying true to her integrity. Mentioning the ‘damsel in misery’ side is critical as we see totally different interpretations of feminism within the movie. In what may be seen as a major dialog at the moment, Kalyani asks Bikash what he thinks about girls’s function in society. He’s projected as an open-minded man who asserts that whereas he earlier thought that women and men deserve equal footing in society, he has modified his thoughts and believes girls should keep residence as a result of they’ll do exactly as a lot for society from the confines of a family. He speaks from private expertise after he was rescued by a noble housewife making an attempt to do her half within the freedom battle. In one other scene, Kalyani’s father echoes the identical thought as he calls her ‘Annapurna’ and compares girls to being goddesses of the home. Analyzing these statements at the moment, we will see the problematic nature right here and it was most likely this sort of pseudo-feminism practised by males in that period that additional deepened the massive divide in our historically patriarchal society.

That mentioned, although we don’t see the protagonist opposing these ideas, the movie’s subtext is something however sexist. Bimal Roy offers strategy to these differing opinions however doesn’t make his lead character abide by them. Kalyani is a trooper as she independently finds a job and begins incomes a respectful dwelling whereas working at a nursing residence.

To this point, Kalyani is an aspirational lady on this flashback so the truth that she killed a lady looks like a misunderstanding of some form. That’s when Roy pulls the rug from underneath your toes and introduces you to the irrational facet of a human being that’s virtually inexplicable. The scene the place Kalyani poisons one of many sufferers is a masterclass in itself.

Kalyani might be having the worst day of her life as she sees her useless father within the hospital. Including to the distress, she additionally finds out that the lady she has been tending to for all as of late is Bikash’s spouse, the lady he left her for. Her damaged coronary heart is squished even additional. All hope appears misplaced as Kalyani pumps the range to make tea for his spouse and the hearth begins flaring up. Her stroll down the hall has the sunshine approaching and off as we hear steel thuds. The sparks from the close by steel staff fly as Kalyani walks in a daze and pauses close to the bottle labelled poison. For her, it’s virtually like an out of physique expertise at that time and it’s evident while you hear her shriek upon discovering out in regards to the lady’s demise. The truth that Kalyani owns up her calamitous mistake harp upon the truth that it was most likely a case of short-term madness. However the harm is finished, and Kalyani has to dwell with essentially the most horrible type of guilt all her life.

The tip of Bandini has additionally been a topic for debate for a few years. Her jail time period is over, she is off to dwell a brand new life with the sort physician till she reaches the station and finds a person in a sickly state, who occurs to be Bikash. Kalyani has an opportunity to repent for her sins, and at last be along with her lover, although he has a virus that may take him away in a number of days. Her dilemma in that scene is obvious as Roy divides them each in each body and pits them on opposing sides. When she learns that Bikash was pressured to marry to assist with the liberty battle, her coronary heart skips a beat. He didn’t even cheat on her, but she punished him for it. She breaks free and runs throughout in the direction of the steamer that’s carrying Bikash with lyrics within the background that say “Mere Saajan Hain Uss Paar” and stick with it with “Primary Bandini Piya Ki, Primary Sangini Hun Sajan Ki.”

From glorious visuals that narrate the psychological state of characters by cinematographer Kamal Bose, to lyrics by Shailendra and Gulzar, Bandini’s melancholic allure is in its particulars. The music by SD Burman, who inspired Gulzar to jot down lyrics for the primary time on this movie, holds up independently as effectively however within the context of the movie, each music provides to the storytelling. Bandini is known as Bimal Roy’s swan music as after hits like Madhumati, Parineeta and Devdas, this was the movie that left cinephiles in awe, and continues to entice movie lovers to this date. Tiny particulars like jail guards yelling ‘Sab theek hai’ (All is effectively) simply after a freedom fighter’s hanging make you uneasy, simply because the filmmaker supposed.

Bollywood Rewind | Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam

Bandini is the heartbreaking saga of a lady who makes no excuses for her sins and can dwell her life in that guilt.

Bandini is out there on ZEE5.

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