Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s brand of films got an icon, the 1971 release, Anand.
Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s brand of films got an icon, the 1971 release, Anand — centred around a patient of terminal cancer, Anand, literally meaning joy, who, despite knowing that his end was approaching, refused to sloth in self pity, the maestro outdid himself.
Movies on similar subjects had been made even before Anand came along and indeed since. But most fall prey to over the top emotional hyperbole with the main plot getting sidelined. It required a director of Hrishida’s calibre and finesse to tackle such a complex subject with sensitivity and panache.
The mainstay of Anand was the script, in which all characters, no matter how miniscule the screen time allotted to them, became central, and remain etched in memory till date. The screenplay — by a dream team comprising Gulzar (who also wrote dialogues and lyrics of a few songs), Bimal Dutt, D.N. Mukherjee besides Hrishida gave Anand a solid foundation.
Mega superstar of the day, Rajesh Khanna (with his stylised mannerisms), at the zenith of his prowess as an actor and star, breathed life into Anand — the large-hearted Dilliwallah, zestful, endearing, die hard, often pensive optimist, who wants to embrace death on his own terms.
But the film had a revelation — a till then, not so successful, lanky and skinny Amitabh Bachchan. As the brooding, taciturn Doctor Bhaskar, fondly called ‘Babu Moshai’ by his patient Anand, who in course of time becomes more than a friend — was outstanding. His thick baritone and smouldering eyes, in a role underplayed to the hilt, gave a peek into his abundant talent, besides winning him the Filmfare Best Supporting Actor award.