Sonntag, 19. August 2007

Bekaraar (1983) - Review in English

About the story: The college students Shyam (Sanjay Dutt) and Pradeep (Mohnish Bahl) are close friends. When Shyam falls in love with beautiful Sundari (Padmini Kolhapure), Pradeep arranges for the two to meet each other, and soon Shyam and Sundari are inseparable. After a wild college party, both land in bed together, but Shyam restores their honour the next day by proclaiming his love for Sundari and that he is going to marry her. His elder brother (Ashok Kumar), however, forbids him this wedding and forces him to accept an arranged marriage with Nisha (Supriya Pathak) who long before has lost her heart out to Shyam. The latter finally gives in, not knowing that Sundari since that night is in a delicate situation. As Pradeep learns that Sundari is pregnant and in despair about Shyam’s treason has tried to kill herself, he takes care of her and marries her. Only after Sundari has given birth to a daughter, Pradeep reveals the truth to Shyam...

For a solid hour, Bekaraar (= restless) solely deals with young college love. You enjoy the love scenes and the hot title song where Sanjay and Mohnish at a college party dance in glitter outfits and in high spirits (I suspect Sanjay to have been "high" indeed), but you can’t help wondering whether at some point something really relevant is going to happen, too. All the more vigorously you’re hit by the twist towards catastrophy in the film’s other half when the lives of four young people are destroyed completely needlessly. The two wedding scenes taking place at the same time are simply depressing: here Pradeep and Sundari (he knowing exactly that he’s going to have a grateful but not a loving wife, she broken by Shyam’s treason), there Shyam (probably the one who despises himself most for having surrendered to his brother’s blackmail) and Nisha, the only one of the four who is happy – still happy, because soon she’ll learn that Shyam will make no loving husband to her and that her apparent triumph over her rival is no triumph at all.

Sanjay Dutt and Mohnish Behl are very likeable buddies who love to play pranks in college but due to the circumstances change radically: Pradeep, who always was the more reasonable of them, grows up abruptly when he takes on responsibility for Sundari and her child, while Shyam, in desperation and self contempt, becomes intolerable, starts drinking and surely will never forgive himself for his weakness. Padmini Kolhapure puts a lot of grace and dignity into her character, while Supriya Pathak as her talkative antagonist makes a rather annoying impact from the very beginning. Too bad that her character was not shaped a bit more loveable, it would have made the conflict between the four people more exciting.

But even then, there is a scene between the four which in my opinion marks the film’s emotional highlight: Both couples are waiting for a train at the station, and Shyam’s little daughter trustingly crawls to him so that Shyam for the first time can take his child into his arms. Then both couples take place in one compartment, Sundari sings a lullaby for her little one, and without any words, there are worlds reflected in the four faces: Sundari is stony with pain, Shyam cries unrestrainedly, Nisha understands the truth about Shyam’s fatherhood, and Pradeep understands that Nisha understands. All the four are stuck up in an emotional cul-de-sac, without a chance to escape. No wonder that the film in the end culminates in a finale which appears like a credit to Raj Kapoor. For even he regularly used to ignore his public’s possible hopes in favour of ending his stories strictly according to the circumstances.

Produced and directed by V.B. Rajendra Prasad
Ca. 127 Min.; VCD: Ultra, without subs; partially horrendous sound distortions in the music.
© Diwali

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