Sunday, February 14, 2010

Mili (1975) - Starring Amitabh Bachchan and Jaya Bachchan and directed by Hrishikesh Mukherjee

Mili released in the year 1975 and saw the return of the successful trio of Hrishikesh Mukherjee, Amitabh Bachchan and Jaya Bachchan. This film is also the last film for which S.D. Burman scored music; after he finished composing for this film he went into a year long coma and finally passed away. For Hrishikesh Mukherjee it was his second movie, after Anand, which talked of terminal illness. However the film is not a tragedy, it is a very melancholic, yet very bright, pleasant and thoroughly optimistic piece.

Mili (Jaya Bachchan) is this effervescent young girl who infuses verve and energy with her bright and happy disposition. She is forever bubbly, vivacious, outgoing and a big prankster. Shekhar (Amitabh Bachchan) moves into the penthouse above the apartment that Mili’s family occupies and initially they end up disliking each other. Shekhar is haunted by ghosts of his past. Shekhar’s father had accused his mother of infidelity and the tension of this act had resulted in the death of both. Shekhar moves into Mili’s universe like a dark cloud-one that is full of anger, negativity and melancholy.

Soon Shekhar and Mili become friends and the latter helps Shekhar to shed the baggage of his past and move on to a happier state of being. She helps him to realise that life is a mixed bag of good and bad. The two fall in love but he does not know that Mili is suffering from leukaemia. This news takes the wind out of Shekha’r sail and he decides to move out of the housing society as he is unable to deal with the thought of a dying Mili. It is Aruna Irani, Mili’s friend and a woman of debatable moral virtues, who helps Shekhar realise the fact that it is now his turn to be there for Mili just as she has been there for him.

Shekhar decides to marry Mili, brushing aside all her protestation and at the end the duo fly out of the country to seek better medical remedies for Mili. Mili’s death is left like an open-ended question by the director and this helps to infuse a lot of hope into the film. A poignant and brilliantly told story, Mili can be easily ranked among the greatest emotional dramas of its times. Mukherjee’s direction is splendid and very real. Amitabh Bachchan is brilliant as Shekhar and puts in a restrained performance with his brooding good looks. Ashok Kumar is effortless and Aruna Irani makes an impact in a small role. However the film belongs to Jaya Bhaduri (Bachchan). She is funny, charming and yet you do note the underlying fear. Her characterisation makes Mili one of the most lovable and unforgettable characters of Hindi cinema.


Directed by: Hrishikesh Mukherjee
Produced by: Hrishikesh Mukherjee, N.C. Sippy
Written by: Bimal Dutta, Dr. Rahi Masoom Reza, Mohini N. Sippy
Starring: Ashok Kumar, Amitabh Bachchan, Jaya Bachchan, Asrani, Aruna Irani, Parikshat Sahni
Music by: Sachin Dev Burman
Cinematography: Jaywant Pathare
Editing by: Hrishikesh Mukherjee

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