Bandini is a Hindi film classic. Bandini is a dead bore.
Kalyani (Bandini) (Nutan) is a character destined for martyrdom and I almost felt a vicarious pleasure viewing her trials and tribulations. Is it a failure on the part of Nutan to give the character depth or is it the failure of the script? I think its primarily the latter. Had she ended up as anything else other than a martyr, I would have been pretty surprised. She is a woman who should have been given 2 tight slaps to bring here out of the misery and into the sunshine but hindsight has rarely done anyone any good. But I am putting the tail before the head.
And so in the beginning, it starts with a beautiful, reserved, aloof female prisoner jailed for murder and the handsome, suave jail doctor. Love ignites seemingly out of the blue, without much of a preamble or a great many scenes leading up to it. Nutan and Dharminder (that’s what it says in the credits) play the 2 roles respectively and provide the eye candy. Which is about as much as you will get, since most of the other things essential to film-making left me deeply dissatisfied (the songs excluded……).
The lady refuses to take the love further. However she does take us into her past and explain the context and background. There has been another lover (Ashok Kumar) who seemingly jilted her and that leads upto the murder she committed………but let me not go into the details.
The story, the pacing, the dialogues, the story and script, the acting all left me singularly unimpressed. Hindi cinema revels in the ‘fantasy’ medium but Bandini veers away from fantasy and towards reality. Their reality however seems stretched and flawed. The story doesn’t grip and seems juvenile in originality and execution.
The end when it comes to the long-suffering one (both on the screen and the one facing it) could have come many a minute sooner.
Nutan is sweet, yes; radiant, yes; beautiful, yes; but the saccharine sweetness imposed by the director destroys it all. Whether it’s the impromptu romance of Dharminder with Nutan or the contrived one of Ashok K with Nutan, the film’s glue doesn’t hold.
Everything seems so contrived and un-real as if jigsaw pieces have been cut to shape to make them fit. It’s as if an all-powerful hand has written the script removing obstacles with one stroke of a pen.
The continuity’s a big issue. How come the initially sniping female prisoners then start shedding tears when Kalyani leaves them and the jail? And so on
The songs are the saving grace, by a large margin. What a pity they are embedded in this dud (the film, not my review….). The songs carry-forward the narrative very well, are very topical and have excellent lyrics, music and singers. What more could one expect on this track and on these tracks (sorry, couldn’t resist that)…
* O Panchi Pyaare…bole tu kaunsi boli – A light tune in sync with the situation. Sung by a female prisoner and the song is about a caged bird
* Ab ke Baras bhej bhaiya ko babul: A female prisnor is ‘chakki peesoing’ and recollecting her childhood, growing up years and her family. Sung so soulfully by Asha.
* Jogi Jabse Tu Aaya Mere Dware
* Mora Gora Ang laile: The Radha-Krishna motif used in countless Hindi films right upto Lagaan. A classic in Hindi film songs
* O Jaanewale ho sake to laut ke aana – another classic
* Mere Saajan hai us paar – one more classic
I leave you with one of the inane dialogues which could very well represent the inanity of the film (I wonder if I am being too harsh)
“Ma, maine naukri chod di”
“naukri Chod di, kyon”
“bas man nahi laga”
“chalo achcha hua, main abhi puja khatam kar ke aati hu, tab tak tum muh haat dho le”
“Ma, I’ve left my job”
“Left your job, but why”
“Well, my mind wasn’t into it”
“Well, that’s good, I’ll complete my Pooja and come, you can have a wash till then…..”
Well, I’ll complete my review and come, you can have a wash till then.
Nabendu Ghosh - screenplay
Jarasandha - story
Paul Mahendra - dialogue
Produced by Bimal Roy
Original Music by Sachin Dev Burman (as S.D. Burman)
Cinematography by Kamal Bose
Film Editing by Madhu Prabhavalkar
Gulzar .... lyricist
Asha Bhosle .... playback singer
Sachin Dev Burman .... playback singer
Manna Dey .... playback singer
Lata Mangeshkar .... playback singer
Mukesh .... playback singer
Directed by Bimal Roy
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