Monday, October 10, 2011

Saath Saath (1982)

The sad demise of Jagjit Singh today marks he end of an era. The following is a write-up on a movie embellished by his 'Ghazals'- a movie that embodies his soul- melodious, thoughtful, and beautiful... 


Togetherness, affection, love… so many of our movies talk about these things, but hardly any of them  try to look into the actual meanings and connotations of these rather abstract emotions, and fewer still try to take a realistic look at these things. Saath Saath, a Farookh Shiekh and Deepti Naval starrer from the early 80s, is a movie that attempts to give an answer to an oft repeated question- ‘What is Love?’ (A question that has left many a philosophers and thinkers grappling, and whose answers, more often than not, are pretty vague ones that stem more from frustration rather than actual understanding or sudden flashes of cognition). This movie is the debut for writer/director Raman Kumar- another of those people who went downhill after showing a lot of promise in their first feature. One striking feature of this movie is that all songs are sung by the husband-wife pair of Jagjit Singh and Chitra Singh, but more on that later.

Saath Saath starts off in a manner, which despite being predictable is fairly engaging. Geeta (Deepti Naval in a girl next door avatar), the only daughter of a rich industrialist, moves into a new college and meets Avinash (Farookh Shiekh in a fiery role of a young socialist), and falls in love with him. Avinash reciprocates, and soon their love blossoms, much to the happiness of their group of friends (all recognizable faces-ranging from Satish Shah to Neena Gupta). It is usually hard to put an exact reason to why someone falls for someone else. But in this case Geeta certainly takes to the revolutionary streak in Avinash, and his zeal for honesty and passion for making a difference in society. He is one who minces no words against the money-minded industrialists who, he believes, revel in their corrupt means and build their empires by exploiting helpless people who agree to become slaves to their exploitative ways just because of lack of other options. Avinash freelances for newspapers, but more often than not, finds his articles rejected on the pretext of them being too realistic and too aggressive against capitalists.

Geeta, despite being a daughter of an industrialist herself, fully empathizes with Avinash’s ideas and thoughts and decides to spend her life with him, despite her parent’s passive resistance. Soon they marry and move into Avinash’s small home; making it a home of their dreams by their understanding and love. Things start to change when Geeta gets pregnant, and because of their rising monetary requirements, Avinash joins the publishing house of his friend (Satish Shah), as an employee. Soon, blinded by his love for Geeta, and his desire to give her and their kid all the comforts in the world, Avinash leaves his path of honesty and starts to compromise on his ideals in the company of his profit minded friend and boss. How Geeta reacts to this, and how she starts to alienate herself from Avinash’s life is what the movie is about in its latter half.

Like most of the realistic movies of that time, Saath Saath too has a simple plot, but is taken to the next level by its thought and its conviction. Its purpose seems to be to highlight the meaning of true love, and at the same time draw out the distinction between life pre and post marriage, when even the best of men can sometimes move away from their staunch ideals due to rising responsibilities and higher stakes in life. Although the narrative gets a bit shaky in parts (especially during attempts to bring in some humor), and the culmination looks a bit simplistic and hurried (as if the writer was forced to end it this way), the movie is a delightful watch for most parts. Certain scenes are truly splendid- the post marriage scene between Avinash and Geeta when they both take up hectic jobs, and the scenes that bring out the change in Avinash’s personality in the latter portions, are worth a mention. But what really adds wonderfully to this movie is its music. This movie, despite being a fairly different and engaging one, is still remembered more for its songs by Jagjit Singh and Chitra Singh. Kuldip Singh is the man behind the compositions, and the words are by Javed Akhtar. The two evergreen songs that form the backbone of this movie are ‘Tumko Dekha toh Yeh Khayal aaya’, and ‘Yeh Tera Ghar Yeh Mera Ghar’. The rest of the songs too are good, but not as popular.

The performances in such movies always appear better than what they are, but despite that it can be said that both Deepti Naval and Farookh Shiekh did an excellent job as the lead pair (though Farookh Shiekh looked a bit theatrical at places- especially during the ‘Tumko Dekha’ song and his scenes of outburst). The supporting cast (Rakesh Bedi, Satish Shah, Neena Gupta, Iftekhar etc.) doesn’t have much to do, and the focus never wavers from Deepti and Farookh.

Parting Note: All in all, Saath Saath is a good breezy watch (at just about 120 min), elevated to a great extent by its music and performances by its lead pair. Signing off with...


P.S: The editing is credited to David Dhawan, who incidently never attempted this kind of cinema after turning director.

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