Yaadein Movie Review: It’s Sunil Dutt all the way
The most endearing quality about Sunil Dutt was his willingness to stretch the envelope with his own productions. He did the usual stuff, played the normal Hindi film hero for other directors, but when it came to making his own films under the Ajanta Arts banner, he was ever willing to experiment with the subject or the treatment. Yaadein (1964) was one such experiment, which unfortunately for Dutt, did not fare too well at the box office. Yaadein is a unique venture. It is a one-man film, a solo effort with Dutt playing Anil, the protagonist. For some 113 odd minutes, he faces the camera as he essays the story of Anil, who comes home one night to find that his wife Priya has left the house and taken their two children, Pawan and Geeta with her as well. Through Anil?s monologue, the film goes back in time and recounts the courtship between Anil and Priya, their subsequent marriage, their first baby, Anil?s first forays into adultery and the final showdown which results in Priya walking out on him. One cannot believe that it would have been easy for Dutt to make a film like this. With no other actor in the film, it is Dutt all the way as he rediscovers his love for his wife and family and finally realizes his mistake. The other characters are represented by voices. But at times, we have appropriate cartoons (Mario Miranda), which play other characters as well. Anil, is a happy-go-lucky young man, married, but with no real sense of responsibility. His wife Priya, seems to be a paragon of virtue as she puts up with his imbecile behaviour. They are an otherwise happily married normal couple till Anil starts straying from his marriage. The fights start, and one day it gets too much for Priya and she walks out on him, with the kids in tow. Anil comes home to an empty house. He assumes that his wife has taken the children out for a movie. But as he moves around the house, talking to himself, he discovers the letter that she left behind. In it, she states, that she is leaving him for ever. Anil?s initial reaction is one of anger but that gradually changes to one of despair as rediscovers his love for her. Little objects in the house serve to trigger this start of a journey of self-discovery on Anil. He recalls their first meeting, their subsequent meetings, their marriage, their first baby, the celebrations that followed it, the daily grudge of married life, and finally his straying from his marriage. The despair changes to self-revulsion and Anil actually contemplates suicide. As he gets ready to hang himself, his wife Priya returns and stops him just in time. A simple enough story but told in an unusual way. The other characters are present as voices or in silhouettes, as is the case with Priya in the last sequence. It?s like watching Dutt unplugged for close to two hours. He goes through an entire gamut of emotions in the course of this period. One of the interesting sequences here is a party sequence which is created with the balloons floating around, with faces painted on them, backed by music and dialogues. The first meeting between Priya and Anil is created with the help of cartoons by Mario Miranda. Another very talked about scene is the one is which Anil is sitting in the children?s bedroom surrounded by their toys, which seem to be berating him for neglecting his family. The most interesting thing about the film is its premise and the fact that it has only one actor playing his story in front of the camera. But one only wishes that Dutt could have pushed for a more fresh approach to the dialogues. The entire fault of the marriage seems to lie with the man and the woman is portrayed as a goddess. The woman?s dialogues at the end are quite disappointing as well, as they are strewn with phrases like ?pati-parmeshwar? and pati like a bhagwan etc. Even taking into account the fact that this was made in 1964, we must remember that Dutt was a man a little ahead of his times. He had already made a film like Yeh Raaste Hain Pyaar Ke, a story of adultery based on the real-life Nanavati case. A more modern approach to the dialogues would have raised the merit of this otherwise innovative effort a few notches higher. Dutt the actor gets ample scope to perform and which he does. All in all, Yaadein, is a film which represents Dutt?s courage to experiment and fall flat on the face, if need be. The non-success of Yaadein did not deter his spirit and he moved on to make other classics.