“Babumoshai, Zindagi badi honi chahiye, lambi nahi”. Iconic dialogue from a phenomenal movie. Today I know why Anand is such a legendary movie, why it is considered an example of Bollywood at its best. It isn’t just a story or a movie with great acting, it is an emotion, a lesson for all of us. A lesson we forget from time to time and need to be reminded of.
The movie begins with Amitabh Bachchan’s character Dr. Bhaskar Banerjee being presented an award for his novel, Anand. He humbly accepts the mic and begins to tell us how the story is not a work of fiction, but the life of his dear friend Anand.
Bhaskar Banerjee is a talented young oncologist who treats the poor for free and wishes to eradicate poverty and cancer from the society. He is a righteous and hard working man who is very angry at the world. Angry because he is unable to help people the way he wishes he could. He doesn’t enjoy life, and is somewhat a cynic. One day as he goes to meet his friend, Dr. Kulkarni, he is told that a man name Anand has a rare form of cancer and is coming to Mumbai to be treated. The doctors examine Anand’s reports and immediately know that he has only a few months left. And then enters a man who changes the very course of their lives. From the very first frame when Rajesh Khanna enters, you can’t get your eyes off him and his charm. That man had charm. A jolly fellow, not having a care in the world about life or death or sadness, Anand is the exact opposite of Bhaskar. He knows his condition but is unfazed by the totality of it. He doesn’t believe in sitting an moping about his numbered days, he believes in living each moment to the fullest.
He touches the lives of everyone he meets, the nurses at the clinic, the house help, the relatives, even the strangers walking on the street who he mischievously strikes up a conversation with. Anand is true to his name, he is joy in every possible way. Bhaskar becomes deeply attached to his new friend and is in awe of his spirit and positivity. Bhaskar learns a thing or two from his new friend, and so do I. In this fast paced life I too have forgotten the importance of enjoying every moment. So occupied am I with work, family, money, that I have paid no attention to the precious gift of life.
I won’t say this is a sad film, the one thing Anand doesn’t want is to spread grief. He wants to make everyone laugh and enjoy. But it does make you shed a tear(in my case, tears) when you too feel restless and helpless at the sight and future of this beautiful soul.
There are no 6 pack abs, no item songs, no foreign locations, no fancy branded clothes, no rap songs. Just a few exemplary actors in kurta pajama and plain sarees, living in a quiet non-cosmopolitan Mumbai, with nothing but sheer talent and raw emotion for us. Bollywood just doesn’t do this anymore. We have become so blinded by commercialisation of everything that to even shoot a simple song, the directors go all the way to Prague or Croatia or some other exotic place. But these songs can never have the depth and feel to Rajesh Khanna singing “Zindagi kaisi hai paheli” at Juhu Beach, playing with children. Also I didn’t know this before but one of my favorite songs “Kahin door jab din dhal jaye” is a fine jewel in the crown that this movie is.
We all have seen Schindler’s List, various Hitchcock movies and Pulp Fiction, but we forget to appreciate the old movies back home. Watch Anand, learn a few things about life and hum the soulful melodies.