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Aware that he has only moments left, Anand (Rajesh Khanna) signals to the doctor to play a tape on the recorder. Soon, Bhaskar’s (Amitabh Bachchan) voice fills the room, reciting a poem about death. By the time the recitation ends, Anand is dead — but the spool continues to unwind silently…

Earlier, just after Anand had moved in with Bhaskar, he had playfully suggested they record themselves. Bhaskar had recited the poem, and when it ended, Anand had paused and, signaling to Bhaskar to remain silent, combed his hair, applied makeup, and then returned to record his own dialogue. The tape had continued recording the silence.

When Bhaskar walks in to find Anand dead, his grief bursts out in anger. Anand had irritated him for six months by babbling on and on and on; how dare he remain silent now?

He exhorts Anand to ‘Speak up, dammit!’ when, from beyond the grave comes Anand’s voice, ‘Babumoshai!’ It takes Bhaskar a couple of moments to realize the voice is coming from the tape…

‘Zindagi aur maut uparwaale ke haath mein hai, jahaanpanaah, ise na tum badal sakte ho na main. Hum sab is rangmanch ke kathputliyaan hai…’ (Life and death are in the Almighty’s hands, Your Majesty; you and I cannot alter it. We are but puppets on a stage…’)

The lines that Anand quotes from a drama bookend a life that was filled with drama — a ploy to cheerfully mask his own pain and fears as the man who was destined to live only a short while, taught others how to live, love and laugh.

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Courtesy- Anuradha Warrier

Written by

Celebrating Cinema

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