Abhimaan is one of the most celebrated cult classics starring real-life couple Amitabh Bachchan and Jaya Bachchan. Loosely based on Kishore Kumar’s martial life with singer Ruma Ghosh, this film about male ego that can affect relationships.
Subir Kumar (Amitabh Bachchan) is a popular and down to earth singer, working with his friend and secretary Chandru (Asrani). After a gap of 8 years, he goes to visit his aunt Durga (Durga Khote) and he meets Uma (Jaya Bachchan) near a temple where she recites prayers with her father (A.K Hangal). He is fascinated by her melodious voice and they bond well, eventually, they fall in love with each other. They get married and go to the city, where Subir tells his mentor Brajeshwarlal (David) that he wishes to sing all his songs with her, as a sign of his love and commitment towards her. Tension prevails with Uma’s popularity and Subir’s jealousy ends up tearing their marriage. The movie shows the typical male ego, related to success and position in society. Every other project that deals with men vs women theme and every real life situation that shows men bickering about how much they hate women who go beyond them, use Abhimaan movie as their case study or reference. He is initially supportive of her, trying to do best from his side as a spouse but his pride overcomes his passionate love for her. Uma receives more recognition overnight, something that took Subir years to achieve. As far as the personality is concerned, Uma is too good to be believable. She is a sweet, innocent and bubbly individual who lives due to her affection and love for Subir. She would not go to any other length unless Subir is adamant. When he starts to sideline her with his intense self-conceited behaviour, she experiences a sense of loss. It gets worse over time and Subir is forced to witness the result of everything he committed.
Abhimaan is a very emotional story, shot with apt visuals that bring out the sensation for the audience. However the plot is too obvious, starting with a monolog from David where he puts forward the theory; how men are jealous of women, he describes Uma’s singing more melodious than Subir, indirect way of referring to the instant success she could receive. Even if we think “Subir is too sweet to even mistreat his wife”, the audience expects the result of each situation. Also, some of the characters lacked proper establishment, like Brajeshwarlal himself as someone who is like a father to both Subir and Uma. What this film stands for is definitely the direction. Hrishikesh Mukherjee always adds his extra cents, making the ’70s movies have enough appeal for today’s generation. Women shined in this film compared to men. Jaya Bachchan is astounding and her versatile portrayal of a young bubbly girl to a matured woman who eventually falls in depression is worth every single accolade she received. The movie belongs to her in every way and Amitabh Bachchan did his part with apt mannerisms and vocal intensity. Their chemistry is dynamic and scene, where they talk about their life is worth watching again and again. Durga Khote stole the show whenever she is on, and favorite performance of her is the scene where she confronts Subir for pushing Uma away, keeping her in dark. Her acting is punchy and at that point, we will feel like applauding. David stuck to his standard performance and his presence made the screen lively. This film helped Bindu get a better image as she played a good character role, her performance makes the character likeable and we will feel sorry for her. The one thing that helped this movie maintain it’s cult status is the songs. 1970s and 1980s witnessed many haunting melodies, composed by masters and sung by maestros like Lata Mangeshkar, Kishore Kumar, Mohammed Rafi etc. Abhimaan features a dialogue “Uma is more melodious than Subir”, Lata Mangeshkar sang the songs for Jaya Bachchan’s character, while Kishore Kumar sang for Amitabh Bachchan, again raising the question on how Mr. Kishore Kumar felt.
Abhimaan is a must watch film for all music lovers and its’s place in Hindi cinema list will prevail.
Featured image: Abhimaan official poster credit saregama