Review by Vinoo
Language : Hindi
Director : Muzaffar Ali
‘Gaman’ is about urban migration, about people who are forced by circumstances to leave their home and family in search of that elusive dream, a good life. As always happens it takes Ghulam Hassan (Farooque Shaikh) to Bombay, the land of opportunities. Ghulam Hassan lives a simple life with his wife and mother in a small little village in Lucknow. They just about manage to get by. Ghulam Hassan wants to give his family a comfortable life, not one of luxury. The little land that he and his family lives of gets usurped by the landlord. Ghulam Hassan has no choice but to heed to his friend, Lallulal Tewari’s (Jalal Agha), words and try his luck in Bombay. He leaves behind his wife Khairun (Smita Patil, beautiful as ever) and his mother. He becomes a taxi driver and quickly sees life in Bombay through its streets and through his passengers. The underbelly of Bombay, the lifestyle of people there and the plight of migrants are all well summed up through the eyes of a taxi driver. When a driver dies it is announced that ‘Colaba mein 4143 ka accident ho gaya / No.4143 has passed away in an accident in Colaba’ and life goes on. The total apathy at another’s plight and the fact that life has to just go on, no matter what, is put across so brutally.
Lallulal Tewari is in love with Yashodhara (the beautiful Gita Siddarth who I fell in love with watching ‘Garam Hawa’. Here is that song (below)and together they are trying to find a home so they can get married. Her greedy brother, Vasu (Nana Patekar), and an agent have other plans, which Yashodhara refuses to comply with. This leads to both of them meeting their end at his hands. Ghulam Hassan can do nothing, but be saddened by it. He has lost his only friend in Bombay. He decides to give up everything and go back to his hometown in Lucknow, but then what after? As the train chugs along, he resigns to the situation and decides to continue as a taxi driver.
The haunting ‘Seene mein jalan’ number by Suresh Wadkar pretty much sums up this film. Hariharan’s debut song ‘Ajeeb saaneha mujhpar guzar gaya yaaron’ is fantastic too. Chhaya Ganguly’s ‘Aap ki yaad aati rahi’ is haunting and captures Khairun’s state of mind very aptly.
Satish Shah and Protima Bedi turn in guest appearances. Amazing how this film is as relevant today as it was then.
Chhaya Ganguly and Jaidev won the National Award for Best Female Playback and Best Music Director respectively. Suresh Wadkar didn’t win though. In 1978 the Best Male Playback went to Shimoga Subbanna for ‘Kaadu Kudure odi banditta’. I love his ‘Yaarigoo helonu beda’.
‘Gaman’ also won a Special Jury Award. The Best Director the same year was G Aravindan’ for ‘Thampu’. What a film.
This one is for Farooque Shaikh, who passed away on 27 December 2013. He seamlessly fit into any role he took on. He had this ability to play that common man (didn’t want to call it the much abused ‘aam aadmi’), that you and I, so well. Be it ‘Chashme Baddoor’, ‘Katha’, ‘Saath Saath’ or even ‘Bazaar’. His role is ‘Garam Hawa’, Shatranj ke khiladi’ and ‘Umrao Jaan’ are unforgettable. I liked his role in ‘Maya Memsaab’ as well. He had this ability to be this likable guy, no matter what role he played. Watched most of his movies including ‘Faasle’, ‘Rang Birangi’, ‘Noorie’, ‘Lorie’, ‘Kisise na kehna’, Ab aayega mazaa‘ etc. Yet to watch his later films.
‘Gaman’ was the directorial debut of Muzzafar Ali and ‘Seene mein jalan’ was debut for Suresh Wadkar. I have always wondered why Muzaffar Ali didn’t make too many films. Looking forward to catching his ‘Zooni’ someday. Also check out his albums ‘Paigham-e-mohabbat’ and ‘Husn-e-jaana’ which has beautiful renditions of ‘Yaaron mujhe mauf rakho’ and ‘Piya byaj pyala’ by Chhaya Ganguly.
Useless trivia: Farooque Shaikh made his debut with the film ‘Garam Hawa’ for which M S Sathyu approached him when he was a final year law student in 1973. He worked in this film for a salary of Rs.750. He has been active in theatre and was closely associated with IPTA. It is impossible not to mention Deepti Naval right alongside him, with who he worked in no less than 7 films. Anyone recall ‘Tumko dekha to yeh khayal aaya’?
Gaman was also Nadeem Khan’s (FTII, Cinematography) first feature film. What a debut film!