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            Seething quietude- Nutan in film ‘Bandini’



                                                                    Nutan in film ‘Bandini’   

                                                                                            -Satish Chopra


The photographer of P.C.Barua’s film ‘Devdas’, editor of the all times musical great ‘Mahal’; director of the classics ‘Do Bigha Zamin’ & ‘Devdas’; the genius -Bimal Roy produced and directed yet another classic ‘Bandini’ in the year 1963, starring Ashok Kumar and Nutan.  

The film was based on a fascinating story of Jarasandh, a famous Bengali novelist, who was a jailor by profession. The narrative depicts a female prisoner Kalyani (enacted  by Nutan) serving eight years imprisonment on a murder charge.  

The screen-tale goes in the flash back.  Kalyani, daughter of a village post-master meets and falls in love with the revolutionary freedom fighter Vikas Ghosh (played by Ashok Kumar) who accepts her as his wife. But the circumstances separate them before they are married according to customs.  

Perturbed by gossips amongst the village folk, Kalyani leaves her home and lands at her friend’s place in Allahabad. Thereafter for her survival, she accepts the petty job of an attendant at a Nursing Home. Here, she is made to look after a female patient suffering from hysteria, who turns out to be the wife of Vikas Ghosh.    

One day on getting the news of her father’s arrival in Allahabad and subsequent road accident, Kalyani rushes to the hospital and finds his dead body. Highly   depressed and completely mentally dumb, she   leaves her father’s dead body and returns back to the Nursing Home only to find her patient in a fit of hysteria.  

The mental agony of Kalyani charged with depression and such a tragic situation portrayed through some remarkable images like  -pumping of kerosene stove, sound of the flames, sparks of welding, hammering the iron in the  vicinity (shown across the  window of the Nursing Home) and consequent poisoning through the cup of tea prepared for the patient (Vikas’ wife);  the totality of sequences depicted  was indeed a marvel of the director. Yet, the fact remains that but for the acting of Nutan, it was simply impossible.  

It must be conceded that in the role played by Nutan in these scenes for ‘Bandini’, she created a history in the annals of acting of Indian cinema. The calm, subdued, depressed and subtle characterization of Kalyani in jail acted by Nutan in the film is simply matchless. The complete portrayal of such sequence of events, is indeed unique  in the field of direction, editing, lighting and also camera.  

The story line moves further and Kalyani convicted of murder charge  lands in the jail where  the doctor (the maiden role played by Dharmendra) attending to the prisoners is attracted towards Kalyani. She refuses to respond to the doctor in view of her past events. Dejected, the jail doctor resigns.

In the final episodes of the film, once again Bimal Roy impresses the viewers with the genius of his direction, already having been  witnessed in one of his previous classics -‘Devdas’ (1953).  

After serving the sentence in jail; Kalyani is at the scene of remarkably created waiting area of steamer-cum-rail road station of Maniharighat. The images created through smoke coming out of a steam-engine and also from the chimney of the steamer portray her state of mind. Also the mental conflict of Kalyani picturised through these visuals, whether to board the train and to be with the doctor (who is still waiting for her); or to board the steamer where she may join Vikas Ghosh. The totality of the scenes are some unforgettable achievements of Bimal Roy.  

Nutan’s dominant portrayal of her role stuns the mind of the viewers!

                            File:Bandini, 1963 Hindi film soundtrack album cover.jpg


Conclusively, it will not be an exaggeration to say that if Nargis is known for her roles in films ‘Jogan’ and ‘Mother India’; Meena Kumari for ‘Sahib Bibi Aur Gulam’; Suchitra Sen for -‘Devdas’; the performance of  Nutan in ‘Bandini’ also will be remembered by the viewers of cinema for all times to come.


-Satish Chopra, BA/26B Ashok Vihar-I, Delhi-110052    #27134229/27450869