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Bandini (Hindi)

The title suggests the prisoner-like existence of Indian women, whether in jail or outside.

Bandini (Hindi)
Bandini (Hindi)
  • Director: Bimal Roy
  • Year: 1963
  • Cast: Ashok Kumar, Nutan, Dharmendra

If earth tones could be thought of in terms of sound instead of colour, S.D. Burman’s deep burnt-ochre sweeping across the landscape in rippling easterly waves every time the fugitive rebel (Ashok Kumar) surfaces, all mystique...the hissing, popping sparks of a welding gun building up tension prior to a virtuous murder...the booming voice of the night guard at a prison, “Sab theek hai”, which sounds ever more dire as the film grows...these define the universe of Bimal Roy’s last directorial venture. A heroine-centric storyline was in itself a novelty for its times. Mercifully so. It lured Nutan (married by then) out of ret­irement. We get one of the best cinema events in return: a controlled, subtle approach to a range of emotions. Fresh and nubile, pining, defiant, angry, coldly res­igned, suddenly hopeful, quiescent. The title suggests the prisoner-like existence of Indian women, whether in jail or outside. The woman’s choice in the end...it’s worth a few contemporary debates. There’s a very young, dew-fresh Dharmendra on show, as a bhadralok doctor. Kamal Bose’s camera, the way black-and-white (and many shades of real grey) capture the stillness in the narrative, the slow working of the human spirit, accommodates even rawness in gracious tones.

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