Amar Prem (1972)

May 16, 2009 at 3:39 am 5 comments

Directed by: Shakti Samanta
Starring: Rajesh Khanna, Sharmila Tagore, Vinod Mehra, Abhi Bhattacharya, Madan Puri
I haven’t had very good experiences with Rajesh Khanna movies. I don’t know what it is, but I always found them incredibly boring and drawn out halfway through. But this movie redeemed that classical actor in my mind, and with good reason. Sharmila Tagore plays her role quite well as the beaten down, yet redeeming young woman who goes on living despite it all. From an abusive husband to a heartless mother to a brothel…this movie is worth watching from beginning to end a dozen times over.




Pushpa (Sharmila Tagore) is a married woman returning to the home of her family because her husband no longer wanted her. She could not conceive. He found a second wife. The credits aren’t particularly interesting. The intro song is touching when you take into account the meaning and emotion behind the song. This is Pushpa’s journey home, and it struck me that this was a very good way to start the movie. Keep going, Shakti Samanta, you’ve hooked me.

Pushpa was abused for the fact that she couldn’t give her husband a child. Her mother is unhappy that she has returned home, and insists that the fault (if there indeed is one) in her marriage is her…not her chauvinistic and abusive jerk of a husband. Of course, that’s when Pushpa reveals two horrible scars on her back where her husband and his new wife beat her with burning sticks before throwing her out of the house.

Pushpa wants to go about her daily life at her mother’s home doing chores, and even begging if need be…however, Nepali Babu (Madan Puri) suspects something ‘fishy’ is going on, so he asks Pushpa if she wants a job in Calcutta. She says she’ll have to talk to her mother. Already, bile rises to a viewer’s throat, and one wonders ‘why the hell is Pushpa trusting this jerk?!’vlcsnap-375438

Nobody in the village is happy that Pushpa is back. Even her mother wishes she would find some way to return to her in-laws (though it’s obvious they wouldn’t want her back anyway.) When a child sees his uncle offering money to Pushpa for sex, he rushes off to tell his mother. Mind you, he neglected to see the bit where Pushpa throws the cash back in the man’s face and refuses…so wouldn’t you know it, the kid’s mom is so upset that she goes to talk to Pushpa’s mother. And Pushpa, of course, is horrified that her mother would believe such a lie…the little old woman hurls abuses at Pushpa…and makes my really wonder how, as a child, I ever yelled at my mother that she didn’t love me because she wouldn’t take me to Seaworld…vlcsnap-381223

Pushpa is thrown out…so she decides to kill herself. Nepali Babu saves her just in time, and takes Pushpa to Calcutta. She is informed that the place she is brought to is a ‘music and dance academy‘.vlcsnap-382078

Switch over to Anand Babu (Rajesh Khanna) who has just arrived at the slightly seedy side of the city…he seems disoriented and drunk, and wishes to return home…but then he is drawn like a moth to a flame by the alluring song of Pushpa. He is entranced…and when he finds the source of the song, he asks her to continue. She obliges…

Anand is the richest man in the city, but obviously not the smartest…a man with as much cash as he has shouldn’t be wondering drunk around the seedy side of Calcutta…but there you go. And hey, if he were smarter…he wouldn’t have met Pushpa!

A few years pass, and an infant named Nandu grows into a young boy. He is from the same village that Pushpa used to live in (not the one she went to when she was married, the one she was raised in and almost committed suicide in.) His father wishes to move to Calcutta, uprooting both Nandu and his stepmother. While his father, er…Mahesh searches for lodgings in Calcutta, he encounters Pushpa. She invites him into her home in the midst of a downpour. He really doesn’t want to come inside, but he does…despite Pushpa’s graciousness. She asks him to give money to her mother, whom she is worried about. She explains that Nepali has been delivering the money for years…Mahesh refuses. That’s when Anand arrives on the scene…and he is quite chummy with Pushpa now (she’s a prostitute, if you didn’t catch that.) Mahesh explains that Pushpa’s mother has been dead for quite some time…and it doesn’t matter, because to them, Pushpa is also dead…

Anand may have a slight buzz, because he’s obviously an alcoholic, but he comforts Pushpa nonetheless. And you might contest that perhaps he isn’t drunk, and he just has some sort of neurological problem, but let’s just go with drunk.

Segue into a very lovely song under a moonlight night. But it isn’t a very cheerful tune…which makes you wonder how on EARTH did he think this was going to cheer Pushpa up?! It really just looks like he invited her out to watch him drink. Good song though… while I wouldn’t want to be with Anand when I’m depressed, he seems like a pretty loving sort of person. And Pushpa is happy, though there is an ever-present look of sorrow under her smile (great acting, Sharmila, by the way…kudos.)vlcsnap-402316

Later on, Mahesh walks by Pushpa’s home again with Nandu. He tells Nandu to go home and asks for Pushpa not to speak to him anymore because he could get a bad name by associating with her. But it’s going to be impossible for them to avoid each other forever…especially when Nandu sees girls dancing and singing at the brothel, and can’t help but watch…

Nepal comes to the brothel asking Pushpa for the money to take to her mother. He sends Nepal away with a lesson in shame under the man’s belt…and Pushpa meets Nandu in the street the following day. Nandu goes home and asks his stepmother for food, but she scolds him and sends him away. The woman doesn’t like him, and makes this very clear. He tries to get food anyway, but ends up breaking a jar…and is thrown out. Crying by the river, Nandu meets Pushpa, who gives him food.vlcsnap-411243

Nandu begins to visit the brothel and Pushpa pours affection on him. But Pushpa’s limited bliss with Nandu and Anand can’t last forever…

What’s my final rating? I won’t say this was completely original…however, it was good. 7 out of 10 bindis.


Entry filed under: 5 and more Bindis, Film Reviews, Hindi, Languages. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , .

Gol Maal (1979) Bunty Aur Babli (2005)

5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. V. Manohar  |  May 19, 2009 at 6:17 am

    One Super hit movie of Super Star Rajesh Khanna during 1972.

    Super Star Rajesh Khanna – The Cary Grant of India
    Super Star Rajesh Khanna irrevocably impacted Indian cinema and culture like no actor before him. His acting perfection and application of talent were drawn solely from his inward vision. Super Star Rajesh Khanna did not cultivate the phenomenal attributes that created his “superstardom” by reason or will, but through the connectedness to his own persona that the masses then idealized. For he is one who is impervious as to who is ahead and who is behind. Super Star Rajesh Khanna’s inward vision, a special gift from the divine leads him always. Today he is the indomitable and highly respected veteran of one hindred and fifty films. For me, he is like the Cary Grant of India. Both actors are Capricorns that have played the widest variety of roles without ever bankrupting the fascination of the audience. Super Star Rajesh Khanna is the platinum standard for landmark performances and sheer screen presence. Ever since the camera discovered his photogenia it has been having a love affair with it. His Byronic inspirations of romance as autographed elegantly on screen endure. Super Star Rajesh Khanna is a Greatest Legend because he kindles our affections at the highest denominators and that is a life nobly lived means.

    • 2. ranranami  |  May 19, 2009 at 6:42 pm

      Relax, I didn’t say he was a bad actor. Rajesh Khanna was a fantastic actor…I just am not a huge fan of his. It’s a matter of personal taste.

  • 3. bollywooddeewana  |  May 21, 2009 at 10:11 pm

    You should watch Aradhana, its by the same director, i’m sure you’ll love it too

    • 4. ranranami  |  May 22, 2009 at 3:32 am

      Thanks for the suggestion, I’ll look into it.

  • 5. alpana bhat  |  May 17, 2015 at 5:10 pm

    please update status of nandu ( small nandu) from amar prem how he looks now where is he located


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