On a little sinful expedition into Landmark my experiments with the vernacular continued. Moser Baer has decided on a logical extension – cheap CD’s to cheap movies on CD’s. Very brilliant. For Rs. 28/-, I thought my ROI will be good. Low denominator, you see. K put ‘Edir Neechal’ into my basket and I thought ‘Bandhana’ would go well with it. Nothing like a little head to head between Tamil and Kannada to bring that happy Cauvery feeling back. J
Now, my previous experience with Kannada movies has mostly been thanks to the Sunday evening movie on good old Doordarshan and my memory of Vishnuvardhan from those happy times is of the tubercular hero who gives 10 minute speeches while attempting (and failing) to be discreet in coughing blood (or tomato ketchup) into handkerchiefs. He lives up to this in Bandhana. Wah wah. In fact he excels himself. Even before the 10 minute death speech there are several bad lines. Move over Partner… the woriginal is here!
The movie begins with Dr. Harish (Vishnuvardhan… henceforth known as VV) and Dr. Nandini (Suhasini) in a rattly minivan heading into the hinterland to provide quality medical aid to the deprived folk of rural Karnataka. For 20 days, while they serve the masses, advising them to have hysterectomies and vasectomies, VV and Suhasini find time to go jogging, play a couple of games of badminton, exchange some extremely corny dialogues and (on VV’s part) fall in love. The first hour of the movie is spent in VV delivering truly bad lines (either in reality or in dream sequences) to win heroine’s affection. Consider this sample:
VV: I found this flower in the garden. Isn’t it nice?
S: Beuutifull. It is verry nice.
VV: A beautiful flower will look beautiful in beautiful hair. (holding out flower to S) .. Please wear it.
And this dialogue is at the beginning of all acquaintance. Maybe that line worked in the 80’s. Plastic earrings did.
Unfortunately for VV someone else (Jai Jagadish… henceforth known as JJ) had already beaten him to delivering the lines. So when VV finally gathers up courage and confesses loove S tells him ‘Uh. But I got engaged yesterday to childhood friend.’ Heartbroken, the next time we see VV on screen, he is coughing and his patients are dying on the operating table because he is too busy having little fits.
Along the way to this point in movie there are dream song sequences where hero and heroine dance around in white. And hero pours red water on heroine in white salwar kameez / sari. I’m not even touching the symbolism on that one with barge poles.
Back to main story line. Post wedding and honeymoon, it turns out that JJ expects our heroine to be adarsh bharatiya nari and our lady has hospital shifts to do. He is not understanding when she has to visit a sick VV at his home or comfort him with a hug when his mom dies of third degree burns. VV after having lost mommy also, gets ‘enlarged heart’ and is given grim prognosis – only six months to live. S, is devoted ‘friend’ now. And JJ cannot understand this either. VV tries to make matters better by insisting S and JJ throw anniversary party which he then promptly spoils by
a) Turning up
b) Singing sad song while clutching heart and coughing blood
c) Quaffing drinks , getting sotted and then coughing blood into the balloon glasses
d) Collapsing after the drinks
e) Riding off from party in ambulance with S by his side while poor JJ is left to deal with blood, dirty dishes and guests
JJ takes revenge (evil man!) – demands divorce from pregnant wife if she will not give up the VV and then makes unwelcome advances to poor widowed relative that has moved in with them. S is stoic through all of this, listens to VV’s dialogues and continues with pregnancy. Sample of priceless VV dialogue that S bears
VV to S: “I would ask God to take me quickly. Do you know why? In this janma I have not had the good fortune to be your husband. So in the next janma I want to be born as your son so I can stay with you always. (I could not believe my ears and went into rewind mode to make sure I had heard right. I had!)
So in the denouement that is what happens. When S walks out on JJ over his infidelity, he pushes her, resulting in “operation that has to be performed in half an hour” by none other than our hero who braves power cuts, lack of staff and his own failing health to deliver baccha and save jaccha. Baccha is delivered but is not breathing so our man after 10 minute speech to god, dies and baccha lives. S divorces JJ, picks up baby in one hand, stethoscope in the other and walks off into shining light at the end of the hospital corridor unheeding of potentially repentent husband calling out 'nandineee'. And this line comes up on screen … “The Bandhana of love was broken into a hundred pieces, The Bandhana of duty has begun calling out.”