I’ve recently had myself a little Gulzar festival. I started with Koshish two weeks ago, and continued with Palkon Ki Chhaon Mein (directed by Gulzar’s assistant Mr. Meraj) and Parichay this weekend. All three movies are sweet, simple, wholesome entertainment. I have a few more of his movies in my stack to watch (and he’s still working!) but it’s time for another post for the two or three people who read this blog.
Parichay is The Sound of Music meets Hindi cinema, with Pran as Captain Von Trapp and Jeetendra as Maria Ravi the tutor hired to tame five wayward children. Pran is actually the children’s grandfather in this Indianized version, who was alienated from his son (Sanjeev Kumar) but took in the children when his son died. He gives a very good performance as a man whose rigid pride and code of ethics has caused a lot of suffering, to himself most of all.
He doesn’t exactly bond with the children:
They have already chased away a number of would-be tutors with their pranks, led by their oldest sister Rama (Jaya Bhaduri). The littlest one, Sanjay, is the cutest child ever born, though. It is impossible to look at him without laughing:
When their grandfather leaves for a few days, Ravi wins the children over by letting them out of the house, and by teaching them to sing. My favorite song is the catchy “Sa Re Ga Ma”—the Indian equivalent of “Do Re Mi”:
He helps the children realize that their grandfather loves them, and that he has been hurt by the loss of their father also. He also falls in love with Rama and she with him, but when he gets a letter offering him a very good job in the city, he can’t turn it down. Pran returns from his trip to find the children and the household completely transformed from when he left it, and no Ravi in sight. The children are studying with Rama and greet him respectfully when he appears:
He melts like the ice caps in the Arctic.
Meanwhile, back in the city, Ravi misses Rama. His friend convinces him to go and visit, which he does, only to be told by Pran that he has arranged Rama’s marriage to the son of an old friend. Ravi leaves without meeting Rama, but when she finds out that he was there it becomes clear to Pran that she is in love with him and he manages just in time to reunite them.
Parichay is a lovely movie, with solid performances and beautiful songs by RD Burman: good timepass. And it’s worth watching for Master Raju Shrestha (little Sanjay) alone, who could bring out maternal instincts even in…well, me!