Name: Abhimaan (Pride)
Director: Hrishikesh Mukherjee
Did I watch this recently? Yes
Subeer Kumar (Amitabh Bachchan) is well on his way to becoming India’s top pop singer. He has no intention of getting married, but when he goes to visit his aunty he falls in love with religious, simple Uma, by whose voice he’s enchanted. He marries her and returns to Bombay where he announces that he will never sing without Uma again. However, Subeer encourages Uma to sing alone and when her popularity is soon greater than his own, the seed of jealousy begins to grow… The major difference between Uma and Subeer is that she sings for herself, whereas he sings for the public. It is the difference between geet and sangeet. The transition of Subeer from pop star to star husband forms the rest of the story.
Abhimaan (Pride) tells the story of the popular singer Subeer Kumar who after marriage soon is no longer the superior star in his household after his wife Uma (Jaya Bachchan) becomes the bigger star. Although a simple story, Hrishikesh has told a story that is very relatable and universal. In fact many people saw this movie as a reflection on Amitabh & Jaya’s marriage in real life because at the time Jaya was more successful then Amitabh. Amitabh still had 2 years till Deewaar, Chupke Chupke & Sholay came out and 4 years till Amar Akbar Anthony came out. While Jaya was already famous with hits such as Guddi & Bawarchi while Amitabhs hit Zanjeer was released later in the year. In fact Jaya received the Filmfare Best Actress award for her portrayal of Uma while Amitabh walked away with nothing.
The movie tracks the career of Amitabh and his transition from star to star’s husband. At first Amitabh is easy going, joyful and very supportive of his wife. There is no trace of his ‘angry young man’ persona that Amitabh is known for. He even goes so far to encourage and support his wife by announcing he will only sing for her. Then of course the conflict occurs when Amitabh starts to get jealous of Uma’s new found success.
Hrishikesh inserts scenes to demonstrate the growing pride and jealous of Amitabh. The transitions are slow but evident. Of a morning Subeer wakes and gives his wife a kiss every morning (which is a very cute scene) but then Uma starts to become more successful and people start asking for her autograph over Subeers. Then producers are willing to pay Uma 5,000 rupees so Subeer demands 6,000 rupees in order to reaffirm his superiority over his wife. However when he cannot receieve that much money he plunges into a jealous, stubborn and proud man begins despite Uma’s pleads to end her career when she notices how her success is affecting her husband.
The changes can be seen in Uma as well. Special commendation should be paid to Jaya who goes from a smiling and full of life wife then to a dull, lifeless and utterly depressed shell of her former self. Watching the process of the characters transformations show just how good a director Mukherjee is and the caliber of his ability to bring out great performances by Jaya and Amitabh.
But i did have some issues with this movie. If someone asked me if i liked this film i would say yes – its a good film. But i just couldn’t love it. I blame that most on the story and characters then the movie itself. Its a very good story to tell – but i would much prefer re-watching Mili many times before seeing Abhimaan again. Most of the sweet moments just after they get marriage i would rewatch, but i just wanted to strangle Amitabh in Abhimaan so it kind of makes re-watching it hard.
I would say that Hrishikesh did a fairly good job at tackling this issue, of how a husband feels when the natural gender roles of society are turned upside down. I think nowadays this issue is especially important where women in India (and abroad) are given so much greater freedom to educate and gain jobs which might make them in a far better position then their husbands. So in this way its good that he can tackle such a universal issue. But i feel Uma took back Amitabh too easy. Plus she never confronts him about his own insecurity but instead flees the house and decides to quit singing. Very sacrificial subservient kind of character who i wish just once actually confronted Amitabh during one of his childish angry fits. But at least Subeer learnt he had to support not punish his wife in the end. So in this way i wish the issue was dealt with by a stronger female character. But its a good attempt and good to see Bollywood had such movies back in the 70s.
The other problem i had was the ending. The ending kind of leaves you in a depressed state – call me lame but i like certain things to be nicely wrapped up when i’ve cried so much over an issue of the story. Its part of the healing process! I wanted to know a bit more of what happens to them after the ending. Also was good to see Bindu in a non-vamp role. For once she actually got a character who wasn’t a total bitch.
Overall Score: 3.5/5 Hairy Anil Kapoors – Watch it for the cute after marriage scenes of Amitabh & Jaya but don’t feel alone if you think that one watch is enough for this movie.