In 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 Nineteen Thirties, Bandini is the story of Kalyani (Nutan), a girl 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 night time 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. While she lived her life being the embodiment of her identify, the one who takes care of others, and continues to take action, she has swallowed that residing by her identify is now the one approach for her to indicate regret over her ungodly actions.

It is Kalyani’s lack of self-worth at the moment in her life that she will’t see past her sins. So when a form, progressive physician (Dharmendra) falls in love together with her, she finds it weird. She even pleads with the jailor to not release her on account of excellent behaviour as a result of no quantity of excellent deeds can wash over her ‘paap’. As the flashback begins, we’re drawn into Kalyani’s universe as we meet the girl 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. (Photo from Express 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. Pointing out the ‘damsel in distress’ side is important as we see totally different interpretations of feminism within the movie. In what could be seen as a major dialog in the present day, Kalyani asks Bikash what he thinks about ladies’s position in society. He is 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 ladies should keep dwelling as a result of they will just do as a lot for society from the confines of a family. He speaks from private expertise after he was rescued by a noble housewife attempting to do her half within the freedom wrestle. In one other scene, Kalyani’s father echoes the identical thought as he calls her ‘Annapurna’ and compares ladies to being goddesses of the home. Examining these statements in the present day, we are able to see the problematic nature right here and it was in all probability this sort of pseudo-feminism practised by males in that period that additional deepened the large 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 provides 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 residing whereas working at a nursing dwelling.

So far, Kalyani is an aspirational girl on this flashback so the truth that she killed a girl appears like a misunderstanding of some form. That’s when Roy pulls the rug from beneath 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 lifeless father within the hospital. Adding to the distress, she additionally finds out that the girl she has been tending to for all as of late is Bikash’s spouse, the girl 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 concerning the girl’s demise. The undeniable fact that Kalyani owns up her calamitous mistake harp upon the truth that it was in all probability a case of momentary madness. But the injury is finished, and Kalyani has to reside with probably the most horrible form of guilt all her life.

The finish of Bandini has additionally been a topic for debate for a few years. Her jail time period is over, she is off to reside 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 eventually be together with her lover, although he has a virulent disease that may take him away in a couple 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 wrestle, 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 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 “Main Bandini Piya Ki, Main Sangini Hun Sajan Ki.”

From wonderful visuals that narrate the psychological state of characters by cinematographer Kamal Bose, to lyrics by Shailendra and Gulzar, Bandini’s melancholic appeal 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 girl who makes no excuses for her sins and can reside her life in that guilt.

Bandini is obtainable on ZEE5.

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