Friday, July 20, 2007

Happy 40th anniversary to my folks!



This past weekend we got together with family to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the picture taken above in Ahmedabad, India. My father (Ashwin) was a dashing young professor of Sociology at Swaminarayan Arts College and whose good looks & sharp outfits sent all the girls hearts a flutter (so says my uncle). My mother (Rupa) was a pretty & talented student at the very same college and quite active in the fine arts but was never in any of my father's classes. She met him through mutual friends and the rest as the say is history.

Their marriage was a (GASP!) love marriage that is still a relatively new custom in India today and was pretty much unheard of in 1967. They went to visit my dad's brother in Bombay shortly before they were married which was another big no-no but my parents didn't really let anyone tell them what they could or couldn't do. They stayed there for a week and recently told me that the first Bollywood movie they ever saw together was 'Anupama'.



'Anupama' is one of Hrishikesh Mukherjee's best films but one of the least known as well. Sharmila Tagore stars as Uma, a shy woman whose mother died during childbirth and who pines for the affection of her father who has never gotten over the loss. Sharmila does an amazing job while providing a performance with little more than eye gestures and very little dialogue. In fact her first words in the movie are almost an hour in with a lovely song by Lata called Kuch Dil Ne.

Hindi cinema has produced many excellent actors who are grossly underrated and none more so than Dharmendra (right Daddy's Girl?;) who is not really remembered today for his sensitive portrayals or his flair for comedy. Here he plays Ashok, a writer from a modest background whose keen mind is quick to notice Uma's angst. An unspoken love develops between Ashok and Uma that threatens to die unrequited. Ashok understands the father's grief but resents his ignorance and neglect of his daughter. The song Ya Dil Ki Suno sung by the peerless Hemant Kumar (one of my parent's favorite singers) and who also scores the music is just hearbreaking. It alone is worth the price of the admission. Written by Kaifi Azmi (father of Shabana), it poetically describes the insensitivity of the father... "when a flower has bloomed in nature, the gardener has no love for it".



It's been a fun first 40 years - here's hoping the next 40 are just as good

11 comments:

carla said...

Sanket, your parents are so beautiful. Tell them "mubarak ho!" from me. Your posts about your family are my absolute favorite. Thank you so much for sharing this.

Sanket Vyas said...

Thanks Carla! I really enjoy doing these kind of posts as well because so many of my early Bollywood moviegoing experiences were memorable events I did with family. Back in the day before DVD's & VHS tapes we didn't have many theaters here in the states that showed Indian films - thus I have special memories with my family of my early Bollywood films. I will pass along your warm wishes to them ;)

Daddy's Girl said...

What a beautiful post - and your parents look so wonderful and brimming over with joie de vivre in the lovely pictures. Congratulations to them - 40 years together is no mean feat! I agree with Carla - your posts about your family are always really poignant and warm.

PS And of course you're so right about Dharam-ji. I am really looking forward to eventually watching 'Anupama'.

Sanket Vyas said...

Thanks DG - I will do more posts involving family/friends to make the reviews more personal - more fun for me to do them that way as well.

I knew that 'Anupama' would be quickly added to your MUST SEE list ;)

Beth said...

Oh my goodness, I need a hankie! What a lovely post. And I'm glad to see Carla has already been here - I was about to email this to her :)

As for Dharmendra, I've seen only...two? is that possible? of his movies but I think he's fantastically funny in Chupke Chupke, which I like so much I tracked it down in one of the many fun video stores in Chicago's South Asian neighborhood (always a dangerous area for my wallet).

Sanket Vyas said...

Thanks Beth - my parents really appreciate all the good wishes from all of you :) And yes, you MUST increase your Dharamji movie watching - 2 of my favorites are Ram Balram (with Amitabh) and Dharam Veer (with Jeetendra).

Alan said...

Best wishes to the folks. That was a beautiful story and nice pictures too.

Sanket Vyas said...

Thanks for stopping by Alan! I have recently unearthed some golden treasures in some old photo albums - will be using those in some future posts. Cheers :)

squarecut.atul said...

Very nice and wonderful post.

History repeats every 30 yeras. So be prepared to be in the same stage in your life 30 yeras from now.;) Then your kids will tell how you watched "Om Shanti Om" and stuff in your days.

squarecut.atul said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sanket Vyas said...

Atul - thanks and it's hard to believe that one day 'Om Shanti Om' will be considered an oldie ;)