Year: 1969

Watched Aradhana on sunday, then on monday again twice! And THAT never happens with me… Even cult movies like Andaz Apna Apna and Sholay, you cant watch again and again back to back… but Aradhana, I did…

And that made me wonder, what was it in the movie that made me watch it again and again… it was as if, I couldnt get enough of it! Here is the analysis…

Aradhana was released way back in 1969. Starring the not-yet-a-superstar Rajesh Khanna and the demure and pretty Sharmila Tagore. It was not just one, but many things that worked in the favour of the movie.

First and foremost, the music by Sachin Dev Burman was top-notch! And every one of the songs of the movie, are engraved in the hearts of lovers of hindi music. He used the voices of Lata, Rafi and Kishore in a way that had never been used before! Songs like Roop tera mastana became an instant hit with the crowd, the song later on fetching the filmfare award for best playback singer that year for Kishore da. Then songs like Kora kagaz tha ye man mera is another classic, which can not be forgotten. And I do not know if there is any male in this country who has not grooved to the tune of Mere sapnon ki raani kab aayegi tu. Its like the dream song of every guy! Even the songs like Chanda hai tu, mera sooraj hai tu and Gunguna rahe hain bhanware, khil rahi hai kali kali became an instant hit with the audience. The music of Aradhana touched the chord of everyone! It had the variety, meant for every kind of audience – romantic, sad, naughty, showing motherly affection – the album was complete in every sense! It hardly ever happens, that nearly 40 years after the release of the movie, every single song is still known by the majority of the junta of the country! Quite an achievement, I would say! I had grown listening to these songs, so while watching the movie, songs did not hold that great a value for me… but for one – Baaghon me bahaar hai by Lata and Rafi. I had not heard the song many times before, but the song caught on to me like anything! I am still humming its tune 🙂

After the music, lets come to performances! I must confess, I had always underestimated the talent of Sharmila Tagore. I thought, she was an average actress and I couldnt have been more wrong! The woman is a fire! I liked her the best, when she comes back to the screen as an old lady in the movie. What a performance!!! Mind blowing! The get-up, the walk, the style of speaking… every single thing, in just the right quantity – not exaggerated, nor underplayed! Absolutely fantastic!!! And I must say, she outshone Rajesh Khanna, who also did a fabulous job, but was certainly not as good as Sharmila. She ruled the roost as far as performances were concerned!

Now, coming to the script… a very well-bound script, not once did you feel the movie dragging… And, one more factor that worked for the movie, I guess, is that Aradhana was way ahead of its times… Way back in 1969, you are trying to show pre-marital sex, bearing child out of wed-lock… the topics are so fiery, they could have enraged a large mass of the audience. But, the entire concept is handled so well, that not once do you feel infuriated!!! So, hats off to the director, Shakti Samanta, who managed the sensitive topics with the sensibility that was required!

So, finally, while the movie established Sharmila Tagore as an actress of worth, it marked the arrival of one of the greatest actors of all times – Rajesh Khanna!