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Silsila

July 27, 2010

Posted by Kanga.

Bollywood Review #4

Silsila, starring Amitabh Bachchan, Jaya Bhaduri, Rekha, and Shashi Kapoor, 1981.

This begins as the story of two brothers who have grown up as the best of friends. Shekhar (Shashi) is a fighter pilot. Amit (Amitabh) is a playwright and poet. Shekhar is engaged to Shobha (Jaya) and Amit is just falling in love with Chandni (Rekha). These brothers have done everything together (even a shower scene with a “pick up the soap” joke) and when Amit calls to tell Shekhar of his love for Chandni, they agree that they must have a joint wedding. Unfortunately, Shekhar puts down the phone and heads for his fighter plane, never to return. He is shot down and killed in action, leaving both Amit and Shobha grieving. Amit discovers that Shobha is pregnant with his beloved brother’s child and will be shamed when this becomes public. He does a gallant thing and marries her instead of Chandni. He writes Chandni a “dear jane” letter, although not explaining why he is deserting her.

Tragedy and difficult to believe coincidence changes the direction of this tale. Amit & Shobha are in a car accident, she miscarries AND her doctor is none other than Dr. Anand, the new husband of Chandni whom she married after being dumped by Amit. Chandni’s husband is devoted to her, but knows that this devotion is not returned by her. He even complains that she doesn’t fight with him.

Due to this coincidental crossing of their paths Chandni & Amit are “reunited” and Amit can’t let it go. He continues to meet with Chandni in clandestine trysts always having to duck people who recognize them. Their spouses aren’t stupid and soon catch on to what is happening, but try their best to preserve their marriages.

Amit decides to take the plunge and break up their marriages and go away with Chandni. This does not work out as well as he thought it would as they begin to have second thoughts due to society’s dim view of their infidelity. Then tragedy strikes, yet again. Chandi’s husband is in a plane crash. They rush to the site to find out what has happened to him. Shobha is there, too, and attempts to stop Amit from running into the fire to find Dr. Anand by admitting that she is once again pregnant. What will she do if she loses him. Amit rescues Dr. Anand and returns to Shobha declaring his devotion to her. The movie ends with the declaration that “Love is faith and faith is forever.”

I have to say this is the first movie where I haven’t liked Amitabh’s character. He does a very honorable thing and then completely negates it by being a selfish jackass. Once he’s caught by Shobha and others, he gets all whiny and carries on about how this is not his fault. It is one thing to make bad choices and do stupid things and a whole ‘nother level of bad to refuse to take responsibility for those choices and actions. When Chandni says she can’t continue being torn between her husband and lover, Amit says “I’m sick and tired of your fears and your apprehensions!” Wow, how much more selfish can he get? He has a really heinous speech when he breaks up with Shobha where he tells her that for him their relationship is bondage, to which she replies that she has fallen in love with him. Ouch! Shobha is the definition of longsuffering.

Amitabh’s acting is impecable which is probably why I dislike Amit so much. Shobha should have slapped him upside the head.

More info at the Internet Movie Database: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0083081/

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3 comments

  1. some of these Bollywood movies sound redundant!


  2. I find it interesting that you put the responsibility on the actor, Amitabh, and not on the writer. With my limited experience with Bollywood I have to assume that an ending of “doing the right thing” is required, but with all stories, conflict must carry it. If you have “like” the characters that Amitabh plays, maybe the problem (besides the story) is that he has decided to stretch himself and play a less favorable character. I am still sad that Heath Ledger’s last role was the Joker. I know he did it very well, but he’s always played sympathetic characters so well.
    I’m going to go looking for a few Bollywood films and see what I think, but I really didn’t enjoy Slumdog Millionaire, so if they are anything like that, I’ll probably give up fairly quickly.


    • I guess I consider the actor (in this case) more important than the writer because I’ve seen him in several movies that were really, really poorly written and he still manages to be entertaining – funny, sympathetic, romantic, whatever. Most Bollywood movies I’ve seen are poorly written – hyper-tragedy & melodrama, drawn out and labored plots, switching from slapstick to crime drama, etc.

      Family and duty are definitely strong themes in most of the films, but there is also a desire for romance and true love that reaches the level of craving.

      I didn’t care much for Slumdog Millionaire either. It is not representative, although it does have an overwhelming amount of tragedy and the big romance factor. I get distressed when seeing or reading about children suffering abuse like that, so could never say I enjoyed it. Found the romance pretty unbelievable, too.



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