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100%
4.83 

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The Twilight Zone
May 19, 2005 10:01 AM 3199 Views
(Updated May 19, 2005 10:22 AM)

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Can nightand day ever meet ? Maybe not – since night has to leave when the day comes and day walks away when night is approaching. Yet, there are two magical moments –twilight and the dawn when the two meet just for some beautiful moments, merge into each other and become one. Those are the moments when the sky is golden red, the breeze is soft and the whole world looks simply ethereal.


Since I do not know how to define this bond, I shall call it love.


Love blooms – in the most unexpected moments, in the most unpredictable situations, between the most dissimilar people. Love happens – and changes lives of people in a way that they are never the same again. It’s like a collision of two planets – which changes the course of their path forever.


‘Mili’ is about love – between darkness and light, between night and day and between the sullen, mysterious Shekhar (Amitabh) and the innocent, exuberant Mili (Jaya). While Mili embraces light and happiness with open arms, Shekhar embraces darkness and builds high walls between himself and the whole world.


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Story


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Mili (Jaya Bachchan) is a young, pretty girl who lives in an apartment building with her family members – her father (Ashok Kumar) and her aunt (Usha Kiran).She is as innocent and curious as a puppy - bright, cheerful and optimistic. She is extremely popular and leads a band of unruly children who reside in the same building. Hope follows Mili like a sunny shadow. Happiness and cheer sit lightly on her shoulder like butterflies.


In her carefree life, enters Shekhar (Amitabh Bachchan)– her mysterious, brooding neighbor who has a troubled past. Shocked whispers follow Shekhar, wherever he goes and in return, Shekhar simply shuns the world and sunshine as he sits alone and stares into the gloom of life, comforting himself with drinks. He hates people who stare at him with prying eyes and curious questions.


The initial skirmishes between Mili and Shekhar lead to a strong, unexpected bond that springs between them, surprising them with its intensity. Just as they are coming to terms with their newly found love, Shekhar learns that Mili is suffering from blood cancer and has only a few days to live.


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Performances


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The casting is almost perfect – one gets the feeling that all the actors are simply playing themselves – the performances are that effortless and smooth.


Jaya is adorable as the sprightly, bubbly Mili. I feel that no other heroine can look as innocent as Jaya – they just don’t make like her anymore.


Amitabh Bachchan is brilliant – in the initial half, he is silent, brooding and looks as though he may explode anytime. In the second half, he is a sensitive, supportive lover who takes away his Mili (quite like the knight in shining armour) to a new world where she may have a new chance of life.


Ashok Kumar has always been my favourite actor in any father / grandfather role – he simply exudes warmth and love.


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Direction


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Mili is directed by Hrishikesh Mukherjee - and no wonder, the treatment is simplistic. The gloss factor is minimal as the stress is on the story and the performances. Not surprisingly, every scene and every moment is a treat to watch. The most interesting angle of this movie is the open-ended conclusion. The end is simply about Mili and Shekhar flying away in an airplane in the sunset (twilight again !) - No marriage and no death scene. Just the way life is - no end. Life goes on.


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Music


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The music is one of the best – with the combination of Lata Mangeshkar, Kishore Kumar and S.D.Burman – it can only be sublime.


Listen to ‘Badi sooni sooni hai’to feel the raw pain of loneliness that eats into your soul. Kishore Kumar’s voice is so effective in this one that you will find yourself wondering about the silences that stretch into your own life.


‘Maine kaha phoolon se’ symbolizes Mili’s optimism – it’s a sweet dance number with lyrics that speak of a childlike optimism and confidence – to be able to order flowers to laugh, to make the evening smile and to make the breeze spring up and burst into a song.


Yet, my favourite is ‘Aaye tum yaad mujhe’ – because it’s the surprised acknowledgement of love that slips into your soul when you were least expecting it. It’s about missing a person who has become a part of your life without you realizing it. It’s about waiting for that person, listening for his/her footsteps, counting seconds till you meet him/her again.


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Finally…


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Mili is about fighting the biggest adversities of life with courage. It’s about finding hope when your despairing heart has just given up. It’s about discovering that love has a rare strength that can infuse life in the most hopeless situation.


Love wins. Always. Even when everything else fails.


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