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Say it with flowers
Jun 30, 2006 10:43 AM 2119 Views





Ah! Those were the days when Hrishikesh Mukherjee, Gulzar, Basu Bhattacharjee, and many more of their ilk were making small-budget, but meaningful cinema – cinema that made you laugh, cry, think, all at the same time. The story would be the backbone of their films. And more often than not their stories would reflect their ideologies.

For instance, the plots of Hrishikesh Mukherjee clearly display his beliefs and convictions. What comes out in all his films, be it Musaafir, Anupma, Anand, Satyakam, is the intrinsic goodness of man. Except Anari (it is to

Hrishida what Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam is to Sanjay Leela Bhansali. I am not trying to compare the two filmmakers, but the fact is that after the sensitive Musaafir which bombed at the box office, Hrishida had to make Anari. Bhansali made the opulent HDDCS after his exquisite Khamoshi was silenced by the public.), which had all the ingredients of a formulaic blockbuster, none of his films ever boasted of the archetypal villain. Hrishida astutely believes (or so we gather) that man is essentially a good animal, but it is circumstances that make him a beast. However, it is the purity of his soul that pulls him out of all quagmires. His characters are drawn from day-to-day life and are thus extremely believable despite their larger-than-life goodness. This is what makes Hrishida so special.

Last night, after an extremely grueling day at office I saw Mili, and was refreshed, to say the least.

Mili, the protagonist is a fun loving girl who loves to spread sunshine in the lives of everyone she meets. She is boisterous, loves to play pranks on grumpy neighbours, and is the apple of her father’s (Ashok Kumar) eye. She has a new neighbour, the brooding, whisky consuming, grouchy Shekhar. Shekhar has a past (his mother was killed by his father, a millionaire, who later shot himself). Consequently, Shekhar, unlike Mili, prefers to stay indoors, with his loyal servant, cutting himself from the external world. His worldview changes once he meets Mili. His relationship with Mili is a cathartic experience for this young man. Needless to say, they both fall in love. And then one day, tragedy strikes in the form of a disease. Mili is diagnosed with blood cancer and the doctor gives her only a few more months to live. She is bedridden and everyone is expecting the worst – everyone except Shekhar who decides to marry her and take her to the Alps. Maybe, there would be a miracle – the doctors there, aided by Nature at her sublime best would work wonders with Mili’s health. The film ends on a positive note of hope in the face of death.

Through the character of Mili, Hrishida brings out a very subtle message in the movie – the human spirit is very strong, all setbacks are momentary, and it is implicit faith in life that keeps us going.


It is Jaya Bhaduri’s film all the way. Through an understated performance, she pulls at your heartstrings. One wonders what happened to this Guddi, who came up with a real howler in Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham. Amitabh, was as usual, brilliant. However, a thought does come to mind now. Earlier, Amitabh was a spontaneous actor who could make the audience laugh and cry with ease. There were flaws in his armory, but his intensity was searing in all genres. Once he became the BIG B, his performances transformed into fine examples of method acting. One does miss the Amitabh of yore even though there is no denying his brilliance even now. Ashok Kumar and the rest of the cast were efficient.


SD Burman was not at his best here, but yet, he did manage to convey the mood of the film through songs like “Aaye Yaad Tum Mujhe”, “Badi Sooni Sooni Hai”, and “Maine Kaha Phoolon Se”. Anand Bakshi’s lyrics were adequate.


Need I say anything? No Swiss locales, no trendy clothes, no dream sequences, no elaborate song situations, no candy floss, yet we get a cinema that’s brilliantly evocative.

Hrishida is keeping bad health these days. His knees have given way and he finds it difficult to speak long sentences. The doctors have advised him complete bed rest. We all know that it is only a matter of time till the grim reaper knocks at his door. But Hrishikesh Mukerjee the filmmaker will live on and on.

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