A mellifluous rendition of Raj Kumar Maitra’s novel, ‘Rangeen Utthain’ which was initially made into a Bengali classic, Aparna Sen and Uttam Kumar starrer ‘Joy Jayanti’, 1971. Rakhi read the novel, finalized it and requested Gulzar to adapt it, that is how the dulcet ‘Parichay’ was made on the basic storyline of Maitra’s novel with a soulful ‘Sound Of Music’ like musical in 1972. It almost gives you ‘The Bollywood Broadway’ feel.
An epilogue to the movie, Nilesh (Sanjeev Kumar) – Music scholar who dreams to make it big as a singer, Rai Saheb (Pran) – Typical quintessential cinema father figure who believes music is recreation for the rich class and not a career option or a path to earn money, Nilesh’s dreams and aspirations are challenged by his highly opinionated father, forcing him to walk out of home only to return a few years later with his wife Sujata (Geeta Siddharth). Rai Saheb requests Nilesh very assertively yet politely to sail his own boat. Nilesh and Sujata have a fresh beginning of their life and they end up having five children. Sujata dies an untimely death, leaving Nilesh to bring up the children, but like destiny decides, he too succumbs to terminal disease and unwantedly leaves the kids in their grandfather, Rai Saheb’s custody. The children under the leadership of Rama (eldest) are bitter and blame their grandfather for their present situation and try to voice their displeasure by being naughty and mischievous. Rai Saheb is tired of their tactics and is in search of a tutor who can get sense into the kids and bring them up in a socially acceptable manner. This is where Ravi (Jeetendra) enters, accepts the position of tutor and with his own subtle way of teaching, his softness, his love, and with music he attempts to not only get to the heart strings of the children but also softens their temperament towards their grandfather. He also eventually falls in love with Rama. Rai Saheb is all full of accolades for Ravi for not only introducing the children to Rai Saheb, but also acquainting them to him and bringing both of them closes to each other. Hence the title ‘Parichay’ is justified. The movie has a very feel good successful ‘Happily ever after’ ending of Ravi and Rama’s love.
The music is a not only an auditory but a visual treat as well. Music plays a very important role in this whole movie; Gulzar has very smartly depicted human emotions and scenes with his smart timely music. With ‘Musafir hoon yaroon’, Gulzar and RD Burman worked together for the first time, Gulzar showed the uncertainty of Ravi’s decision and life yet affirming on the fact that journey is more important than the destination. ‘Beeti na bitai raina’, won Lata Mangeshkar and Bhupinder Singh National award, Gulzar very aptly showed the vulnerability yet strength of Rama’ s character through this rendition. Through ‘Mitwa bole meethe’ Gulzar portrayed Nilesh as an excellent artist and made the audience feel pity for him not getting enough support from home. With ‘Sa Re Ke Sa Re’ he gave us a Bollywood version of ‘Do Re Me’ from ‘Sound Of Music’ which almost instantly wins your heart and the audience vouches for Ravi as a good tutor who can bring love in the children’s lives with music. This is how the great Gulzar smartly involved the audience in this story; he almost tied the emotions with musical strings.
The actors have surpassed their ability to only act and almost convince the audience of their character. Be it Pran as Rai sahib, very aptly portrays the role of a strict father, opinionated, helpless and sad to live his son’s death and take care of his grandchildren and striving for their acceptance. Sanjeev Kumar as Nilesh, dons the role of an imperfect son, idealistic, responsible husband and dutiful father. Asrani in the role of Narayan wins the audience heart and makes you realize that a servant is a part of the family too and they too have emotions, the change of expressions on asrani’s face when he talks of Nilesh to Ravi or be it, him looking at Rai Saheb laugh with his grandchildren are precious moments of subtle winning emotions for the audience. Jeetendra as Ravi impresses and makes the audience crave to have a tutor who teaches you to find life in music. Jaya Bhaduri as Rama was just the cherry on the top; she proves her demeanor through her sparkling teary eyes in ‘Beeti re bitayi raina’ convinces her ability to wrench your soul through just the pain in her eyes.
Just like ‘A few of my favorite things’ from ‘Sound of music’, a few of my favorite scenes are definitely worth a mention. Initially Ravi s sacrifice for his first job as it wasn’t ethical was how gulzar started building Ravi’s character, moreover his ideologies are mirrored through dialogues like ‘Bacche gunde nahin shararti hote hain’ and ‘Bacchon ko padhai ki nahin pyaar ki zaroorat hai’, later he goes on to win your heart by small acts of love like choosing not to inflict pain as a way of teaching. Most of the dialogues between Rai Saheb and Ravi almost seems like all the things Rai Saheb wanted to tell Nilesh but couldn’t. Rai Saheb’s helplessness and hope is depicted at the same time with dialogues like ‘In bacchon ko ab tum hi sudhar sakte ho’ and ‘Mushkil to yeh hai ki pyaar ki koi goli nahin hoti, warna khareed kar khila dete’. Beautiful comic punctuations has been introduced by gulzar through Narayan, where he says ‘Hasne ke liye aur gaane ke liye jungle mein jana padhta hai’. One of my favourite scenes depicting the romance between the protagonists is Ravi’s aunt telling ‘Chauka hi kyun, meri taraf se poora ghar sambhal le’ and the camera focuses on both their faces and then the burning fire. Ravi is the silver lining not only to Rai saheb but also Narayan portrayed through dialogue like ‘Aap unki hasi louta do, jo mangoge…humari haisiyat hi kahan..zindgi manglo’.
The direction and cinematography is beautiful, from the very starting, be it use of kaleidoscopic shots in the movie prologue or the lyrical display in songs, it makes you crave for such masterpiece musicals from Gulzar. Innovation of concept is clearly seen through mention of ‘Second track’ as his inner voice, very beautifully portrayed with a comic platter.
This movie may initially remind you of ‘Sound of music’, but then it takes off and grips you in complicated layers of human emotions but portrayed in a very simple yet melodious family drama. It takes you along a journey of believable characters, a stern father, an ambitious yet dutiful son, a daughter’s agony of losing father. It deals with delicate relationships like a father and son tiff, a father and daughter bonding over music. This movie also defines love in different levels, be it love of Rai Saheb towards nilesh, or his grandchildren, Rama’s love for her father and her responsibility towards her younger siblings. Ravi’s character is the most thought over, it seems like the author designed it on himself, Ravi is like the connecting link between emotions and people. He is the sole protagonist who introduces Nilesh’ s point of view to Rai Saheb, Rai Saheb’s feelings towards his grandchildren, Rama’s feelings towards nilesh, her siblings and Rai Saheb. Thus he is the main person who eventually brings the whole bits and pieces of the story symbolizing the emotions together in a string of family using music and love.
Probably Gulzar through his songs like ‘Musafir hoon yaroon’, dialogues about love and constant comparisons with music and life, wanted to say that love is not a destination but a journey. This masterpiece culminates with Ravi introducing the audience to the original seven characters and their equation. Rai Saheb, Nilesh, Rama and 4 siblings symbolizing the seven annotations of music.