Following the death of legendary movie Producer Shakti Samanta, earlier this month, i knew i had to check out one of his most highly acclaimed work which i had heard so much about and which had been lying around somewhere in my dvd collection. Aradhana (Devotion) became a box office success upon its release and became the 7th highest grossing movie of the '60's. This is also the first film for which Sharmila Tagore won her first Filmfare and Filmfare Best actress award, Aradhana also won the Filmfare Best movie of the year and Kishore Kumar won his first Filmfare male playback award for this movie, so anyway we can see it was a groundbreaking movie for the people involved.
Vandana (Sharmila Tagore) lives in the mountains with her dad who is a doctor, one day she meets Arun (Rajesh Khanna) a pilot when she splashes water on him by accident after he had come to enquire for the doctor
The two fall in love and get married in Private, after night of passion with each other, Vandana feels guilty and Arun assures her everything would be fine and he promises they would get married in front of their family. On his way to tell his family members about the wedding Arun has a plane crash and dies. Before dying he makes Vandana promise to raise their child to become a pilot
Vandana reveals news about her pregnancy to her father who fears for her safety and worries for his daughter and grandson's wellbeing fearing they will be made outcasts. Vandana tells him she and Arun had married privately but her father is still worried telling her that the fact no witnesses were present would make their marriage unbelievable by others. They decide to go to Arun's family and tell him that he and Vanadana were married, but they refuse to accept her fearing she's only after their wealth and saying Arun hadn't told them about being married
Vandana and her father leave and a few months later her dad dies too, she eventually gives birth to a son and then decides to drop him secretly in an orphanage with the hope of going to adopt him next day and thereby lessening the stigma of society.
When she arrives the next day to pick up her son, he had been given to a man whose wife had given birth to a stillborn and to prevent her from being traumatized her husband had adopted a baby without the knowledge of his wife.Vandana pleads with the Orphange caretaker to give her the address , when she gets there she makes the matter know to Ram Saxena who had adopted the baby
Ram begs Vandana to leave the baby with them telling her he would have a good future and would never lack anything, he asks Vandana to become their babysitter, Vandana makes him promise never to reveal her identity as Suraj's mother, and that the matter would be known to both of them only.Vandana becomes Suraj's babysitter and lives with Ram and his wife
One day Ram's brother in law Shyam comes back from Europe, and starts staying with the family, he takes a liking to Vandana and when he attempts to rape her one day, Suraj seeing Vandana is in danger tries to rescue Vandana and he stabs Shyam to death by accident, Vandana tells Suraj not to say anything saying she would handle the whole incident . Vandana is charged with murder and sentenced to 12 years in Jail
After her 12 years are up the prison Guard tells her Ram Prasad is dead and the whole family, including Ram's wife and son are nowhere to be found, and can't be reached. Vandana is distraught and wonders about Suraj
Will she ever find him? What would Suraj be, would he have followed his mother's ideal for him?
Overall i loved this intelligently woven drama and i really can't say a bad word about it, if you enjoy compelling drama's you'll love Aradhana and its one of those movies you can rewatch time and time again. Even though its a remake/inspired by the hollywood film To each his own (1954) which i haven't seen , hence i can't compare, Shakti Samanta's direction is superb and although you know it would end on a happier note, the events unfold in a clever manner. While some might have an issue with the notion of the whole self sacrificing woman theme, i felt it was justified in Aradhana as she protected a loved one and herself from the stigma and harsh jugement in society, which if she hadn't, would have inevitably made life unbearable for both mother and child.
Rajesh Khanna is freshfaced with boyish good looks and he balances his double role really well. The chemistry between him and Sharmila is wonderful and they both make a great pair
it was also nice to seeing a young, radiant Farida Jalal
This is my first Sharmila Tagore film and i am now a big fan, her emotions were excellently portrayed, which i believe is a result of her great acting and Shakti Samanta's direction, i really felt them, even though i'm not one to get emotional for a film, the only film that has ever made me cry is The burning train and i was only about 8 years of age at the time. Sharmila Tagore's styling in this movie was Super wow, i kept taking screen grabs, she is so beautiful, i've included a slideshow showing many of her wonderful looks, i think a picture of Sharmila Tagore should be in the dictionary next to the definition of a Sari, she carries it off so well and in fact all through the movie all she wears are Sarees
The songs from Aradhana scored by S.D. Burman are all time classics and they fit the film perfectly, all the songs were cleverly woven into the plot and captured the essence of the particular situation. The film has 7 songs in total, all of which i loved, but i shall only discuss 4, as i don't want to give away too much. The melancholic & moving Kaheko Roye, the poetic and beautiful Kora Kagaz tha , the famous Mera Sapno ki rani which has been parodied so many times and is one of the most popular bollywood songs ever, and the sexy & groovy Roop tera mastana sang by Kishore Kumar, which won him his first Best male Playback filmfare award, which i've included below, it's so sexy and i can't help but groove along to it each time i hear it, it's said to have been shot in one single take
A wonderful well directed movie by Shakti Samanta and i can't wait to see many more of his works, May his soul rest in peace.
Total Score: 8/10 (A movie to watch again and again, an evergreen Classic)
Update: Although S.D. Burman is credited with the film's music, two songs 'Mera Sapno Ki rani' & 'Roop tera mastana' were scored by R.D Burman, you can read more about the music of Aradhana here