This movie was aired on TV one fine day and I was just 14 then. Crazy as I was about Rajesh Khanna, I sat down to watch it (given a choice I wouldn’t miss even a single movie of his on tv). But my Dad told me not to watch it and like a good daughter I switched the TV off, with a very heavy heart – This is my earliest memory associated with this movie.
My Dad wasn’t against me watching movies. In fact it was he who introduced me to the world of Indian Cinema, and that too with a movie like Amar Prem when I was merely 13. If I could understand and appreciate Amar Prem when I was 13 (frankly speaking I don’t know what I understood of it at that age, I’m surprised myself till today about it. But, I was totally smitten by Rajesh Khanna and I loved everything about the movie!!!) then I would have probably understood Aavishkar as well. But I have no idea why he felt I shouldn’t watch it. Anyways, I never questioned him about it. Few days back when I was reading an article about Rajesh Khanna, I read that he had won a Filmfare Award for it, and it suddenly occurred to me that I wasn’t allowed to watch this movie once upon a time! And when I realized that it was a Basu Bhattacharya movie, I felt it must be quite a complicated story (I guess that’s the after-effect of watching Aastha: In the Prison of Spring) and no wonder Dad didn’t want me to watch it.
I was running short of movies, so I went movie-shopping on 31st evening to this newly-discovered video store in town (the same place where I had got Aakhri Khat and Boyfriend and lots more from). And when I saw Aavishkar there, I felt it’s a high time I watch it. And the rest (if there’s anything missing) is a history
Before I start with the story…the picture on the DVD cover shows Rajesh and Sharmila sitting on a rock, I didn’t see this particular scene in the movie and I hope it wasn’t one of those deleted scenes. But this picture looks so much like a cut-out from Chanda chale chale re tara from Safar.
Movie begins with this song – Hansne ki chah ne kitna mujhe rulaya hain and this song more or less sums up the entire story.
The movie revolves around the happenings of one night with clippings from the past here and there. Amar and Mansi unfold their past in a series of flashback sequence.
Amar (Rajesh Khanna) works in an Ad Agency. One night, he’s all alone in his office, all the other staff have already left when Rita (is she Dennis Clement?) walks in. Amar is surprised that she’s still around. She says she knew he would be all alone in office and over a conversation invites him to join her for a movie. He says he doesn’t even have an excuse this time so agrees to go with her (excuse as in…it’s obvious that she likes Amar, but he usually ignores her and keeps her at bay). They both converse about life before marriage and after marriage. Amar is married but feels lonely and doesn’t seem all that happy, about which Rita is well aware of. To this Rita says that’s because married people don’t have dreams left in their lives. The dreams people see when they are in love gets replaced by desire (khwab aur khwahish) once they get married. She was herself married for 4 years but when she realized that she couldn’t live a life void of dreams she walked out of it. They go for a movie but Amar keeps thiking of his wife and feigning a headache he walks out of the theatre and drives back home. On his way home, he stops at a Florists shop to buy a bouquet of flowers (not sure if he remembers it’s his anniversary or he buys flowers just out of his guilty conscience of having gone out with another woman).
Back home, Mansi (Sharmila Tagore) is at home with her Child and Margarette, the maid. Sunil, Amar’s childhood friend comes home with flowers. He wishes her and gives them to her. It’s Amar’s and Mansi’s wedding anniversary and such an irony that they don’t remember it themselves.
After seeing the house, Sunil feels even he should get married but one look at Mansi and he changes his mind.
Sunil : What have you done to yourself?
Mansi : Why? What’s wrong?
Sunil : Look at you!!! You used to look so good before you got married. And now….
Mansi : Who do I make myself up for and look good for now?
Uninvited guest that he is, he’s not sure if there’s enough food for three. But Mansi tells him Amar might have dinner and come since it’s so late already. So he might as well stay back for dinner or else the food will get wasted.
Amar overhears this conversation, drops the flowers he had bought in the flower-pot and walks in saying he has a terrible headache and goes straight into his bedroom.
She serves dinner to Sunil and sits holding her child as he eats. She goes back in time – their first anniversary. She’s in a Taxi with Amar (the transition here is so beautiful, at present she’s holding her child to her bosom, and the next scene shows them in a Taxi with Amar’s head on Mansi’s lap).
He has taken a day off so that he gets to spend time with her. They hire a taxi and just go around, nowhere in particular, their only objective being spending some quality time with each other. The Taxi Driver (Satyendra Kapoor), quite an interesting character, asks them if he can also bring his wife along. He says coming from a joint-family, they hardly get any privacy, to which Amar and Mansi readily agree. And all four of them set out together.
She’s woken up from her revierie when Sunil gets up to leave. Amar in the mean time is lying down in the dark, also thinking about their past – of the time when he had gone to meet Mr. Sharma, Mansi’s father to ask for her hand.
Lying down on the bed, they both think about their past – about how happy they were.
They think of the days when they were carefree and madly in love with each other, when nothing seemed impossible, when they cared a damn about the rest of the world, when life’s only meaning was to dream together of times to come and of realities these dreams promise.
They start off with an ideal marriage, their small world is brimming with love, it’s so perfect just like what they had dreamt. Hours to days to months to one whole year and they are still happy with each other. On their second anniversary they decide it’s time to extend their family and plan to have a child.
In a flashback, they show Mansi’s father is against their relationship. One day Amar bunks office and stays back home, Mansi runs away from college and comes to his house to meet him. She cooks for him and they are eating when Mansi’s brother comes running saying that her father came to know she ran away from college and will he arriving here anytime. Mansi tries to go back home but Amar stops her saying there’s nothing to fear – they are in love and it’s not a crime to fall in love. As long as they havent done anything wrong, there’s no reason to get scared (in a very filmy style he says – pyaar kiya toh darna kya?)
Mr. Sharma slaps Amar and tries to take Mansi and go but Amar stops him from taking her, saying she was eating when he came and she’ll go only after she finishes her meal. After he leaves Amar says it’s time they also go back home and try to convince him. At this Mansi says - ”Let’s eat first. There’s no work that you can do properly without eating.”
Looking back he thinks there was a time when she cared so much for him, knew that he couldn’t do anything without a proper meal even in a situation like that and now he’s sleeping with no dinner and she’s not even bothered.
After such a promising start, two whole years of happily married life and with so much to look forward to, they are very happy and excited. They are blessed with a lovely baby whom they both adore a lot.
But somewhere the enchantment seems to fade away leaving both of them dissatisfied in their relationship. They live not for each other anymore but for the worldly values and social conventions which they had despised themselves as lovers.
Amar starts finding fault in everything that Mansi does. He even suspects that there’s something going on between Mansi and Sunil. Mansi also knows about Rita. But she believes Amar when he says that it’s she who comes to him and not the other way round. He wishes Mansi was as understanding as Rita. There are problems, and they have fights but they do talk about them and sort them out. But at times it just gets too unbearable for both of them.
There’s a picture of Amar and Mansi hung on the wall that forms a background of everything. It’s always there no matter whether they are happy or whether they are having a fight.
They don’t talk the whole night except for a few sentences in the beginning, immediately after Amar comes back home and she makes coffee for him(after Sunil leaves). Just the fragments from their past keeps flashing across their minds. There’s a song as well in the process that again takes us to the past Naina hai pyaase mere. And the transitions from present to past is amazing. The fragments are not disjoint, they are all connected. Something that happens in present invokes the scene from the past. I have already mentioned one case above from holding the child to the scene in a Taxi. In another instance, Mansi is lying down on the bed with tears streaming down her cheeks and suddenly the scene shifts to Amar coming to her with a lotus leaf with dew-drop rolling on it, comparing it to tears and him quoting a line describing the tears in her eyes. He also tells her a story about some tribals where people drink each others’ tears and get married.
She gets up the following morning when the milkman comes. There’s a song in the background Baabul mora. (Since the song itself shows how the movie ends, I thought I might as well write the ending instead of keeping it a big secret). And when she goes out she sees the flowers that Amar had left outside the previous night. Amar comes from behind and sees her pick them up, he hugs her and they walk in together.
Amar : Let’s catch up on some sleep
Mansi : Let’s have something to eat first. You can’t do anything without eating
At one point he explains to her that when people are in love they don’t get to spend enough time together…In the little time they get they try to look their best, wear their best outfits, be at their best in every way possible to impress each other. But when you begin living together you cannot be your best all the time. We all have our faults and weaknesses. He says she’s not the most beautiful girl he has met nor is she the most intelligent one but he still loves her for what she is.
And once she says just love is not enough to sustain a relationship. It needs devotion as well. But a man may look at his mother or at the most, at his sister with devotion but usually not at his wife. At this Amar tells her that he looks at every woman with devotion because they deserve it. Though he agrees that women are the weaker sex and are not always equal to men, there’s one thing that men can never do – a man can never be a mother. It’s a woman who gives birth to a man!
Amar is always brimming with convictions and Mansi is always so understanding and full of dreams, but still in an attempt to live their ideal lives, their own expectations of each other remain unrealised. They begin wondering if they did the right thing by getting married.
This movie is all about discovering oneself, finding out what one exactly expects or wants from his/her partner, discovering the relation between dreams and realities, discovering the relation between the little time one spends as lovers and putting up with each other for 24 hours a day as husband and wife.
Aavishkar comes to an end with an amazing comparison between the relationship that a man and a woman share and the nature – from the everlasting relationship between the sun and the earth.
When both are so understanding and they love each other so much, where does the problem creep in from? Why does love, understanding, the enchantment slowly fade away after getting married? What is it that we overlook? Is it because we take each other for granted?
I am not even sure if qualify to write a review of this movie . And this is just my humble attempt at it. This subject, has so much in it out of which I must have grabbed just a bit (could actually do a research on it).
It’s an amazing movie – A perfect blend of a crisp story, subtle and yet fabulous performance, beautiful cinematography and great direction. Hats off to Basu da, Rajesh Khanna, Sharmila and entire unit associated with this movie. Kanu Roy’s music and Kapil Kumar’s lyrics do right justice to the story. Unlike other movies of that era, this one doesn’t have many songs, and neither are they all that popular, but music still is very vital here. Mansi is a good singer since college days and there’s something or the other playing in the background most of the time. But it’s never too loud.
I loved everything about this movie!!! It’s a MUST watch!!!
Now I wonder, had I seen it at 14, how much of it would I have understood? Even now I have run short of vocabulary more often than not to describe the story and of how I felt about it.