My father was not the first choice of the film’s makers. The film was first offered to Ashok Kumar, he turned it down, why? I have no clue. Then they approached Abhi Bhattacharya, he turned it down because he did not like playing a father, finally they offered the role to my father.
Everybody knows the story of Anupama but all the same I will very briefly narrate the story.
As their train departs and everyone is happily waving off the happy couple, comes the surprise end, the
While everybody praised my father for his performance, particularly his expression, my father praised Hrishikesh Mukherjee, my father said, “It was the way Hrishida had conceptualized the scene, it enhanced my performance.” With regard to this scene Mukherhee said, “In order to get the desired effect, I had taken Tarun all the way to a station near Karjat”. He was unable recall the name of the station, Karjat incidentally is a town near Bombay.
The final scene had made and continues make a lasting impression, people say “Tarun Bose? Anupama and that last scene, that face, who can forget that”. Of course I agree my father’s expression was truly unforgettable.
There is another scene in Anupama where you get to see Hrishikesh Muherjee’s mastery over his craft. It is the scene where Sharma is waiting in the hospital for news about his wife.
You can see the different emotions on his face first you see happiness when his maid Sarla (Dulari) informs him that his wife has given birth to a daughter,
then the fear, as he watches the nurses and doctor rushing around. The build up to the death scene is done very subtly, there is no melodrama.
Sharma is anxiously waiting,
at times seated and
other times anxiously walking up and down,
you also see him standing behind a pillar looking tense. Hrishikesh Mukherjee gives an indication to the viewer of what is likely to happen when you see some ward boys wheel a patient, they ask Sharma to move out of the way and
Now the silence is broken by the background music, as the camera moves up, the top shot shows the lonesome figure of the man who has suddenly lost the one person whom he loved the most.
You can watch this scene in the clip below.
Anupama was a perfect film but there was one thing though, I just did not understand why Mukherjee chose Shashikala for the role of Annie. She looked old, in real life too Shashikala was at that time a mother of two grown up daughters. Personally I felt that the role would have been perfect for Tanuja, she was very young then just the right age for that role and I know Tanuja would have done a perfect job as the talkative and playful Annie. But then that is my opionion.
Sharmila Tagore was superb in this film despite her hairdo, she spoke with her eyes. When two actors work as a team and do not compete with each other, it really helps to create a wonderful impact, that is what happened in Anupama, Sharmila Tagore and my father complemented each other. Sharmila’s reaction to my father was so natural , the apprehensive look, the way she panicked every time her father berated her (watch the clip below) went on to create a wonderful impact.
My father used to say that Hrishikesh Mukherjee was one of those directors who knew how to explain a scene and knew exactly what he wanted from his actors.
Before I go into what Mukherjee shared with me, I have something else to share. I had accompanied my parents for the silver jubilee function of Anupama at the iconic Royal Opera House, where the film had its jubilee run. After the trophies were presented a show-reel of L.B.Lachman’s films was screened and naturally some scenes and portions of some of the songs from Anupama featured in the show-reel, one of the songs was Kuch dilne kaha ( a beautiful song). As soon as this song appeared on the screen my father and Deven Verma – he and his wife Roopa (Ashok Kumar’s daughter) were seated beside us – laughingly began to point out that both Sharmila Tagore and Dharmendra appeared to have slightly swollen eyes.
I was quite small when Anupama was released, I did understand that films were all make believe but I do not think any child likes to see her father in a drunken state, I hated seeing my father fully drunk even though
Although this post is about Anupama and not Anand I would like to share something interesting that Mukherjee told me about Rajesh Khanna. No producer or hero was willing to touch Anand because the hero did not have a heroine and the hero dies at the end. Rajesh Khanna however insisted on a narration of the story, the moment he heard the story he, according to Mukherjee, jumped with joy. Mukherjee wanted to complete the film in three months. Rajesh Khanna agreed to give him 20 days in those three months. Mukherjee recalled that Rajesh Khanna got so involved that he began offering dates even when it was not possible for him to shoot, so where most film-makers have to chase actors for dates Mukherjee would say "bhago Rajesh aa raha hai date deneke liye".
Although he had more or less given up films and had moved on to TV serials, out of curiosity I asked him whether there was any subject or story on which he would have liked to make a film. He replied that there was a subject on the pilgrimage spot Hinglaj which is located in Balochistan, he was keen to do the film but did not get permission to shoot there so he dropped the idea. Another story which he was unable to film was Ganga. Ganga was written by Hrishikesh Mukherjee himself, he said, “It has been one of my pet subjects. It is about a man who wants to know why the river Ganga is so sacred to the people of this country. He therefore sets out travelling along the route of the Ganga.” He wanted to make this film with Ashok Kumar in the lead role. Ashok Kumar too was very keen on doing it, he had told Mukherjee, “Once I do this film, I will announce my retirement, for I will have no wish to do any other role after doing this”. Ganga remained an unfulfilled dream for both Hrishikesh Mukherjee and Ashok Kumar.
Before I conclude this post there is something else that I would like to share. Few years before my father passed away he had started collecting Ganesh idols, actually it all started with the idol you see below, this was gifted to my father by Hrishikesh Mukherjee.
Initially I had decided to wind up this blog with Anupama, but then I realized I had some memorabilia with me, I would like to share these with you all, besides that I would also like to share an interesting interview with cinematographer Kamal Bose. In my next post I will unlock some more memories. When I will be able to do that I am not too sure because time is a major constraint. Those of you who follow me will get an update and those of you who are my facebook friends will see an update on facebook. So please bear with me.