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