Gharaonda (1977) Poster

(1977)

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5/10
The ending was too cliché, just to make it align to the (psuedo) values of Indian society
kunmun30 November 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Acting/Direction wise it was good; no complaints there. However the story and characterization had some major flaws. Firstly all three characters Sudeep, Chhaya and Modi have gray shades, but the lightest amongst them was Sudeep but he was the one made guilty in the end. That was disheartening.

1. In the film it is shown, that on a fit of despair, Sudeep just says once that, Chhaya should get married to Modi, after Modi dies, they can reunite. It was not as if they both sat and plotted a scheme or outlined a plan. After that day, Chhaya never met Sudeep and remained at home contemplating, and then took a decision to instantly agree for marriage to Modi, at a fit of rage/disappointment and for money of her brother's foreign studies. After that she did not even feel her duty to repay her half of the loan, which she and Sudeep had taken for the apartment. After marriage, she became the perfect wife. Went to kitty parties, to holiday trips to cool village, but yet remembering in sub-conscious about the simple man, she left for money. Sudeep on the other hand was toiling to make both ends meet to repay the debt and at the same time feeling dejected and frustrated about his love's labor lost.

Now the other angle. 2. Mr.Modi (who is almost 50-55yrs) is the person who knows he does not have much time to live, yet he decides to hire his dead wife's look-alike Chhaya (19 yrs old) as a typist in his office. He is selfish and only thinks about his own enjoyment/companionship until his death. He asks Chhaya to marry her, fully knowing that Sudeep and Chhaya were in love. After marriage, he tries to act God by showing off, of helping Sudeep with his debt. And the most meaningless action of this character, is he left his wallet, trying to be a sacrificing man, who can let his wife go, if she wants to (in the end). Come on! if he is that much let-go-er, they he should not have married Chhaya in the first place. And to top it all, in the end, he goes with his wife to station and says to Sudeep, that he has lost the battle of love because Sudeep wanted short-cuts!! May be his heart-blockage is causing delusion about himself.

Both, Chhaya and Modi in the end made Sudeep feel, as if he was the one walking the wrong path. I must say to Sudeep, Chhaya does not deserve you. She is one of those girls who act very innocent yet they exactly know what they want.

I am fine with the movie, as long as it is not sited as Modi and Chhaya are the perfect couple with Indian (pseudo) values, which I think the writer/director wanted to show in the end. On the contrary to the regular audiences' belief, for me this movie has a very negative ending, which only shows shortcut success of ambition of Ladies and Rich Men.
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6/10
A Shyam Benegal film disguised as a Rajshri one!
Piyush Dewan24 April 2012
Warning: Spoilers
The star-cast and IMDb summary of this Bhimsain Khurana film gave an impression of it being a film in the mould of 'Chhoti si Baat' or 'Rajnigandha'. After all, one can hardly expect an Amol Palekar or a Zarina Wahab to star in a movie that is not a feel-good entertainer. But 'Gharonda' is hardly that Basu Chatterjee or a Rajshri movie from the 1970s that would leave you smiling and cause you to drift away in a simple and endearing world where everyone is good at heart and there are hardly any vices. It surely tells a story of two working-class people living in an urban city (much like Chhoti si Baat and Rajnigandha), but here the tone and tenor is drastically different. The world out here is the big and bad one where people aren't always sweet and don't always have the best of intentions. They are insecure yet ambitious, apprehensive yet ruthless. They hardly think beyond their own interests and seldom give a damn about the lives of others. The film tells the story of two people in love who dream to have their own house in the concrete jungle of Mumbai, daring to take on all the challenges that the city throws on them. How their lives take a drastic turn post this, is what the film is all about.

Gharonda is more like a Shyam Benegal or a Govind Nihalani film in its treatment. Emphasizing on the dark human desires and talking about people going through their most troubled times, the movie is a dark and pessimistic take on human emotions and their worth (or worthlessness) in a big modern city like Bombay. Amol Palekar and Zarina Wahab play office colleagues who fall in love and decide to marry. But before taking the marital plunge, they decide to own a flat of their own for which Amol is forced to take a loan. But in a rather cruel twist of fate, the builder with whom they book a flat turns out to be a swindler. Not able to accept this big monetary loss, Amol's room-mate, who had also booked a flat with the same builder, commits suicide. Amol completely breaks down but not before making an indecent proposal to Zarina that literally breaks her heart. Accepting defeat at the hands of the heartless society, Amol asks Zarina to marry their elderly boss (Shreeram Lagoo) who had shown interest in her on more than once occasion. He tells her that their boss couldn't be expected to live for more than a few months at best, and after his death they could get together again and live comfortably off the old man's wealth. Outraged at this suggestion, Zarina breaks all ties with him. But owing to her unstable financial condition and her wish to fulfill her younger brother's ambitions of studying abroad, she decides to honor her boss's proposal to her and marries him. However, she accepts her husband wholeheartedly and makes all the efforts to have him hale and hearty again. Meanwhile, devastated by this betrayal, Amol loses all interest in life and becomes a recluse…

There are a lot of elements in this film that are unconventional. Amol is shown to be living in a shady men's hostel where one of room-mates has regular tete-e-tete with prostitutes. Even Amol brings Zarina to his room for the first time with not so noble intentions. The old man's pursuit of a young Zarina (almost his daughter's age) is again not something which is regular. Amol's dissonance with the world and his complete disregard for his own self post Zarina's marriage, again is something which is not worthy of a Hindi movie hero. He becomes an urban version of Devdas, and there is also a mention of his involvement with prostitutes. Zarina's comfort level with her much senior husband is again dramatic, and quite uncomfortable. She becomes his trophy wife without any complaints and accepts him with all his deficiencies. More than a wife, she becomes his nurse, his householder, and his closest friend. Thus all the characters in the story have shades of grey, which is truly unique for a movie of its time and age. The songs of the film are quite unlike the rest of the narrative. They are given an easy treatment and are sans any dramatic or visceral connotations. In fact if seen in isolation, they would give a completely different impression about the movie. 'Do Deewane Sheher Mein' is the memorable song from the album, one for which Gulzar won many accolades. As far as the performances go, Amol Palekar attempts a completely different role and although he does well, it is difficult to accept him this pessimistic and discontent avatar. Zarina Wahab too is not very convincing in the complex role and it easy to see why she didn't become a very popular actress of that time. A Shabana Azmi instead of her could have added a completely different texture to the performance with her penchant for such complicated characters. Similarly a Shreeram Lagoo hasn't got that imposing aura that his character needed. One feels that a Sanjeev Kumar or an Amjad Khan could have taken the film to an altogether different level.

Parting Note: Gharonda is a semi-Shyam Benegal film with a Rajshri cast- It has a powerful narrative that could have been well served by likes of Naseeruddin Shah, Sanjeev Kumar, and Shabana Azmi. The film tells a novel story and is given a realistic treatment. However because of its weak casting it fails to create a great impact and ends up being good film, but hardly a must watch one.

For more such reviews on lesser known Hindi films, please visit moviesandnomore.blogspot.in
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