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Yesterday, today, tomorrow



Amitabh Bachchan and Hema Malini come together in this feel-good flick

Baghban

(Hindi)

Cast: Amitabh Bachchan,
Hema Malini,
Salman Khan
Dir: Ravi Chopra

Music: Aadesh Shrivastav

IT IS yesterday once more. Absolutely amazing Amitabh Bachchan and bewitching Hema Malini back together after what seems infinity. And what a comeback! Seldom has yesterday seemed more appealing, seldom is tomorrow likely to be more joyful. Yes, Ravi Chopra's Baghban might on paper be just another Avataar but it is so touching in its own way, so poignant in its presentation that comparison will be not just odious but unfair. Simply put, Ravi Chopra puts his heart and soul into this tale of a couple in the autumn of their life longing for a new spring, of an aged couple who helped their little ones take the first step in life hoping that their progeny in turn will help them with their last steps. It does not happen here, it usually does not happen in real life too. And that is what makes Baghban a film to watch if you have had more yesterdays than tomorrows to look forward to. Watch it to build bridges with yesterday because tomorrow you are going to need the same.

From the first shot, you and I know what is likely to be the fate of Raj Malhotra - Amitabh Bachchan in one of his best performances in recent years - and his wife Pooja - Hema Malini lending a rare glamour to the role of a woman past her prime. The man is full of life even when years tick by, the woman vivacious.

Together they visualise dreams. Together they keep them aside so that their kids can fulfil theirs! Life is a ladder where they are but the first step. And as the kids learn to climb, the ladder is but redundant. That is what happens to this blissful couple too. All the years of withdrawing money from Provident Fund, all the years of taking loans so that your son can purchase a car, whistle past. However, there is full stop in life. Comes the day when all that is left is memories. And you have to depend on those who saw the world for the first time sitting in your lap. But are they really there?

No guesses required. It might be a Bollywood film but it draws so richly from real life that nothing but cruel fate can visit the couple with grey sideburns, diminishing eyesight, debilitating dreams. Credit here is to the director for not making this a sob, sob tale. Yes, he takes you on a nostalgia trip pretty often. Yes, he leaves you sniffing often. You don't quite realise when a tear rolls down your cheek. Yet it is not a tearjerker, simply because Amitabh Bachchan marries so many emotions in one scene. One moment he is wistful, next moment he turns nostalgic. The only thing he does not look for is sympathy, the only thing he does not need is a shoulder to cry on. He is brilliant when he uses his trademark humour, his comic touches, he is absolutely outstanding when he sees his world crumbling before him.

Chopra, on his part, brings a rare sight to the Indian screen.

Here the aged couple is, yes, aged. Yet the romance is still very much a part of their life.

The ardour for physical fulfilment may have gone but the need for proximity is there.

Also there is an ability to take in stride an odd mischief of youth, now just a fleeting visitor, an odd smile to respect an emotion which once made its home on a beautiful visage.

Watch Baghban. It has good music. It has fine direction. It has good dialogues without a sermon. Never mind if editing could be better.

Still watch this film because it talks of many peoples' today, of people who did not think of their tomorrow so that their children could build a future. Tomorrow it could be yours, mine or anybody's.

ZIYA US SALAM

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