Based on the story by Indra Mitra, Mere Apne is a faithful adaptation of Tapan Sinha’s Bengali film, Apanjan.

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Based on the story by Indra Mitra, Mere Apne is a faithful adaptation of Tapan Sinha’s Bengali film,Apanjan. Set against the student unrest of the late 60s, the film narrates a trenchant socio-political commentary on the disenfranchisement of the nation’s youth; woven into it is the story of an old woman, who gladly serves her family because she sees them as her own, only to realise that they areonly exploiting her to serve their own ends.

The old woman and the young men find their comfort in each other, each accepting of the other. The warmth of their companionship, their unstated need for her unconditional love, and the open-heartedness of the young waifs who take her in are a balm to her wounded heart.

Mere Apne is not about the relative merits of the village over the city, or of old traditional ways over ‘modern’ attitudes. Gulzar keeps his directorial perspective deliberately narrow, and shows only the perspective of an elderly woman who is plucked from all that’s familiar and comfortable, and thrust into a more selfish world, one where she neither understands the culture nor can accept the behavior. There’s no moral judgment regarding Lata cutting her hair short, wearing ‘western’ clothes or even going to work. Instead, there’s Anandi’s bewilderment at what is beyond her comprehension — women working outside the home, the young men’s abusive language, the violence on the streets, the utter lack of interest in other’s problems.

(Meena Kumari as Anandi & Vinod Khanna as Shyam in Mere Apne)

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Courtesy- Anuradha Warrier

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Celebrating Cinema

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