Underrated/Forgotten: KINARA (1977)
Anubhav Sinha’s ‘Tum Bin’ is one my favorite romantic movies of recent times. Its premise of the hero trying to make amends for an accidental death caused by him was heartwarming and gave ample scope for dramatic situations. While watching ‘Kinara’, written and directed by Gulzar, I was reminded of ‘Tum Bin’ as this movie had essentially the same premise as the modern day musical.
Starring Jeetendra, Hema Malini, and Dharmendra (in an extended cameo)- Kinara is a touching tragic tale of love and fate. Jeentendra plays the rich nephew of a famous architect. While driving to catch a performance by a noted classical dancer (played by Hema Malini), he meets with a disastrous road accident. Six months hence, when fully recovered, he travels to explore a historical town in Madhya Pradesh. There he meets Hema Malini who is there to click some photographs to include in a historical book written by her late fiancé (played by Dharmendra). His world is shaken when he realizes that Dharmendra had lost his life in the very accident which had been caused by his own rash driving. What follows next and how Hema Malini reconciles with the loss of the love in her life is what is movie is all about.
This is the second directorial feature of Gulzar that I have watched (Parichay being the first). World renowned for his poetry, Gulzar mounts his stories on celluloid akin to his writing a beautiful prose. Somewhere I read that Gulzar makes his characters talk like himself in real life. And after watching this movie I could truly appreciate this observation. The dialogues are carefully worded and one can make out that a lot of thought would have gone into writing them. The characters are well defined and evolve as the story progresses. Music plays a crucial role in binding it all together. The film includes one of the most haunting melodies from the 1970s-
“Naam Gum Jaayega- Chehra yeh Badal Jaayega- meri awaaz hee pehchaan hai- agar yaad rahe”
Hema Malini plays one of the toughest roles of her career. The way she conveys longing, pain, anger, and helplessness is admirable. She also gets to display her expertise at classical dancing. Far from the campy, clichéd stuff he engaged himself with in 1980s, Jeetendra delivers one of his career best performances. Carrying forward the sincerity he displayed in Gulzar’s earlier Parichay, he gives a heartfelt performance as the young man who becomes a victim in the eyes (quite literally) of someone he likes and respects- more than once. Dharmendra has the easiest part of playing a charmer and a man madly in love, both with his fiancé and with his life. The supporting cast is efficient and I personally found the character of Jeetendra’s uncle striking and most impactful.
Parting Note- Like most good poetry, this movie too demands patience and a discerning eye for subtle highpoints. The drama is understated but still charming, quite like the man Gulzar himself.