Amar Prem (1971)

Immortal Love

Haven’t you recently become more disillusioned that ever with Bollywood and its invariable churning of sugar-coated, feel good products, which lack a heart and soul ?

But if someone was to pick up one film, as a beacon, as an example of the great emotional and spiritual waves that flow through India, it would be this one – Amar Prem.

Cast: Rajesh Khanna, Sharmila Tagore

A poignant yet everlasting drama of love and the power of compassion and humanity. it tells the story of a woman (Pushpa), who is ostracized and eschewed by society and its establishments, to rot away on the notorious fringes of it. Yet within the brothel she resides, she builds a temple of love and care for those two people that come to see her. Nandu and Anand are members of society, yet only ostensibly, yearning for the compassion that their families fail to provide them, and in search, they come to Pushpa, whose abundance of love and human sympathy far overshadows her disreputable social standing.

They alone see her inner beauty, while society maligns her, yet as the director points, cannot provide the qualities of love, happiness and tranquility for members like Nandu and Anand. Pushpa’s relationship with Anand is certainly one of the most beautiful you will see. Theirs is a purely platonic relationship, which succeeds where the social union of marriage – for both – fails.

As they continue to meet, their bond grows, and beyond their own socially certified families, they create a little family of true love, depth and care. They receive from each other the love they so desire – motherly love for Nandu, a true companion for Anand, and a child and husband for Pushpa – though their relationship with each other has no social legitimacy.

Samanta succeeds in creating a cynical presentation of society as one that compels people to stay within the confines of its social institution of family, yet cannot provide for the very emotional, and spiritual ingredients that comprise it. Add the fact that it is society after all that created the brothel, where unquenched desires can be fulfilled, and what you have is a representation that makes Pushpa’s relationship with Nandu and Anand all the more ‘holy’.

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This film tackled a theme that was very much taboo in Indian Cinema, and succeeds in presenting a mature, yet never over-the-top, nor didactic story that ultimately every Indian household can identify with. The music is an absolute delight and adds to the melancholic yet redemptive nature of the relationship between the three protagonists. What it succeeds is in teaching you about human relationships and that it is love, togetherness and understanding that makes family, and not a social ceremony or some legal document. This is a film for all generations who appreciate human relationships and its power to transcend social boundaries.

Video Source: DVD
Host: Youtube
Chapters: 1

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