रविवार, सितंबर 30, 2007

Ikiru ka Anand - How I saved my castle

Sep.30.2007
First of all, let me tell you I am not a film reviewer.. I dont want to be one as I believe all the reviewers have their own biases and preferences like any other audience watching the film. I also believe most of the great films have boring reviews and sometimes the greatness of a film is beyond the reach for many of the reviewers.. of course all badly made films provide much better opportunity to have the most entertaining reviews on them..
On the following lines, you will not find a review but a reaction and its a reaction to a comment I read sometime back, by a person I admire to a great extent Javed Siddiqui saab. A comment that set me to a journey to find answers and made me to actually review a film.
It was about a film that is one of the most inspiring one of my life so far.. He once quoted “Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s Anand was inspired from Kurosawa’s Ikiru”.. Reading the line caused a mild heart attack to me.. Anand has been so dear to me for its characters, screenplay, dialogs, direction, acting, music.. for everything it had.. It is The Film which laid foundation for my castle of admiration for people like Hrishikesh Mukherjee, Gulzar, Bimal Dutt, NC Sippy, Amitabh Bachchan and The Cinema ofc.. a movie I have seen hundreds of times and can still watch it for all my life.. “Waise bhi Meri judwaan hai ye.. hum dono 1971 ki paidaaish hain”… When 20-25 years later you come to know from a respectable name that it was not original, you are bound to find a few cracks in the castle.. and the cracks got wider when a reliable friend confirmed me that Anand was a remake of Ikiru..

Ikiru means "to live"
To Live
To save my castle I started the hunt.. I could find the DVD of Rashomon in the process but not of Ikiru..but thanks to the magical glove of internet, I could finally get the film a few months back…and it was the beginning of the next challenge.. to find time (with time I mean dedicated quality time for film viewing, which is very very difficult to people like me who runs a small company with different clients from different time zones US East Coast, West Coast, India (subah se lekar shaam tak, shaam se lekar raat tak.. raat se lekar subah tak, subah se phir shaam tak.. bas kaam karo, bus kaam karo) and above it a demanding 3.5 year old son ..)… So only after a wait of about 4 months I could find an opportunity when I got a chance to travel and I didn’t missed the opportunity.. With the help of my laptop (what a great asset to have) and a set of headphones, I got transmitted in to the world of Ikiru… and a wonderful world it was…
[Spoilers Ahead.. not many and am sure not to the extent of ruining the chance of your future watching]
Ikiru (To Live) is a simple and heartwarming tale of the main protagonist of the film Mr. Watanabe, a widower living with his son and daughter-in-law (To what I have seen of Mr. Kurosawa, This hero is quite an unspectacular ordinary human-being in comparison to the heroes of Rashomon or Seven Samurai).. Leading a robotic life in a government public works department doing absolutely nothing.. He is as good as a dead man, just killing his time and the most important job he does (as per the dialogs) is to keep his chair warm.. Just after introductory scene, you come to know that Mr. Watanabe is representing the system how Japan functions.. whole system is dead like him, killing time and doing nothing.. a group of female petitioners from a basti files a proposal to office to develop a public and park playground for their children instead of polluted water pool, and they are sent from one department to another, from there to another in a masterly crafted sequence… when they reach Watanabe Seat, the audience is made aware that something unusual has happened today.. Mr. Watanabe is not on the seat for the first time.. Actually he is meeting the doctor and faces the fact that he is going to die soon due to a cancer.. He has at the most 3 months to live…
Watanabe with Novelist3 months to live and he want to LIVE now… A brilliantly crafted scene that takes you back to his past and you know how and why he spent his last thirty years working like a robot and doing nothing, for his son.. His relationship (or the failure of it) with his son is brilliantly handled and Mr. Watanabe realizes that he has been a complete failure on both family and office fronts.. and the failure of relationship with his family also poses a big question, how and where is he going to find happiness for the rest of life.. he has money but no idea how to spend it to Live.. He visits a bar, interacts with a stranger novelist (very interesting interaction) who takes him for gambling and dance bar.. The dance bar scene provides another great moment when Watanbe sings “Life is short.. fall in love”
In search of Life To Live, he starts interacting with a subordinate girl in his office, who had earlier nicknamed him as “The Mummy”.. Watanbe want her to help him to live.. he is jealous of her, for her energy and vibrancy . The family (Son and D.I.L) suspects him of having illicit relationship and thinks that he is spending all the money on the girl.. but the duo have a different kind of relationship.. Still in the company of the girl, Watanbe tries to extract too much out of her, in too short span of time.. It fails eventually but finally leads to an answer of his search, how would he like to spend his rest of life.. we are just two-third into the film and we find Mr. Watanbe is no more. Rest of the film takes the film to another interesting direction where people from family and government office are gathered to pay tributes to Mr. Watanbe and they start discussing all the changes in his behavior, all the gossips surrounding him in last few months and the mystery of his death..Kind of a postmortem of his life..
In the long long discussion during the homage, the director discuss the events of last few months of Watanbe thru the eyes of his co-workers and associates.. The discussions, gossiping, arguments, counter arguments and fight (like a parliamentary session), lead them to a realization the Mr Watanbe indeed achieved some thing in life and HE WILL LIVE ON.. the Climax is just fantastic will definitely leave you with a happy heart yet moist eyes.. In the end you feel really satisfied; you have seen a good powerful film…
and the best feeling for me was my Castle is saved…

(In case you are still reading and have enough strength left to read on)
honestly I never wanted to tell you the above story specially If you have not seen the film but later I realized I have to, to compare it with Anand… but I am sure the above paragraphs wont spoil the pleasure of watching this film.. Now coming back to Siddiqui saab’s comment, I am not sure what made him comment that Anand is based on Ikiru.. Either he has not seen any of the two films and made his comment on what he has heard from some other sources.. ofc There is a similarity, infact a very thin line of similarity that the main protagonist is going to die soon and he knows about it.. The subsequent events to this realization in initial reels are handled totally differently in the two films.. Watanbe and Anand are poles apart as a character. You feel sorry for Watanbe all throughout the film, but never ever for Anand, as he never lets you to do so..
Ikiru has a different class.. to me its not a single film but three brilliant films for the price of one.. It has three different segments connected yet independent that can inspire three different film makers to make three different films.. Infact I find films like Chhoti Chhoti Baatein (Moti Lal’s first film as director and eventually turned out to be his last film) and Annadata (OmPrakash) are inspired by the middle segment.. Another film was Mahesh Bhatt’s Kabza which could be inspired from another segment.. Baghbaan too.. much more than Anand.. but none of the other inspired ones could get any closer to Ikiru or Anand..
Talking of Ikiru and Anand, it could be possible that Hrishi da has seen the film, yet he created a totally different world of Anand. Anand as a person has infact no similarity to Watanbe and poles apart in terms of vibrancy and flamboyance.. It still is the unique most character of all the films I have seen so far.. Infact the time spent with Ikiru has been instrumental in growing my admiration for Anand and its crew many more times.. It will Live On.. Anand Mara Nahin, Anand Marte Nahin..
and Thanks Siddiqui saab for introducing me to Ikiru!!!
On that Note of Joy (Anand), One question that always troubles me is

"Anand had a changeover in persona only after he realizes he is going to die soon? or he was the same happy Anand all though out his life.. is it the news of unavoidable death arriving soon made him The Anand we love and admire?


I can't afford to hate people. I don't have that kind of time - Ikiru


[Originally published on passionforcinema.com in Sep 2007]


3 टिप्‍पणियां:

thebombaycrow ने कहा…

Dasvidaniya, a hindi movie directed by Rajat Kapoor has an uncanny resemblance to Ikiru's plot.This subject, especially the worth of life has been dealt in scores of movies but few have been able to scale up to the level of 'Anand'.

Pavan ने कहा…

Well, I did started watching Dasvidaniya with that apprehension .. stopped after 10 mins when I realized that few scenes in the beginning were almost scene to scene & even "dialog to dialog" copy.

kkg ने कहा…

Great post Pavan ji