Sunday, July 29, 2007
'Armaan' starring Amitabh Bachchan, Anil Kapoor, Gracy Singh and Preity Zinta is a movie that can be described as pleasant, graceful & mature - words not usually reserved for directorial debuts (in this case Ms. Honey Irani). The dialogue (written by the inimitable Javed Akhtar) certainly is a big part of the success of this film as well as the understated acting done by all the major stars. Indeed, Preity Zinta was nominated for a Filmfare Award in 2003 as 'best villain'. It tells the story of a father & son - both doctors - who work together in a hospital that the father dreams of making into something truly memorable. The son falls in love with an assistant who comes to work there but then tragedy strikes (doesn't it always in Bollywood?) and the son is forced to make a difficult decision that may cost him his true love but will honor his father's dream. But for me it was the story behind the story that was most intriguing.
"Come on" Honey Irani once said, "there are more photographs of Shabana than me from Farhan's wedding. We are all mature now. Ab woh budhe ke liye kya ladna (Why fight over the old man now)?" and followed up by laughing so hard she actually had tears in her eyes. Farhan is her son, Farhan Akhtar and director of 'Dil Chatha Hai', 'Lakshya' and 'Don'. Shabana is the other woman, Shabana Azmi with no introduction needed. And the budhe is her ex-husband Javed Akhtar, legendary screenwriter and lyricist whose screenplays (beginning with Amitabh Bachchan's first hit 'Zanjeer') are still being used to teach students at the Pune Film Institute's screenwriting courses.
Javed left his wife Honey in 1990, an event which she described as a 'shattering experience' for Shabana Azmi. The former child star was left to raise two children alone and could have easily resigned herself to forgo her dreams to do so. But she went against the norm and in 1991 wrote the screenplay for 'Lamhe', followed it up by writing nine more films and is now among one of the most sought after & highest paid screenwriters in Bollywood. For her directorial debut she enlisted the help of her ex-husband Javed to write the screenplay & song lyrics - an offer he simply couldn't refuse. My favorite song in the movie is Mere Zindagi Mein, a sweet duet sung by Sonu Nigam and Sunidhi Chauhan.