It’s not often that a movie actually delivers on its promise of giving you ‘something different’. Usually it means the same hackneyed plot is infused with one new element: a new hero, a new foreign locale, a new team of stunt-doubles all the way from Reykjavik. Everything else remains hauntingly similar. Well, take heart, jaded movie-goers, for this might very well be the sign of a brave new era. An era that was installed gloriously by Hyderabad Blues and then botched up cruelly by Hyderabad Blues 2. Anand is no Dollar Dreams 2 (Kammula’s first film); it’s smarter, prettier and has a different story to tell.
Of course, the story itself is not horribly original. It follows the fairly simple premise of love story-obstacles-happy ending. It has a lovely girl, a tolerably cute boy, some gorgeous music, and scenes of beguiling sweetness. All it wants to do is take little, lost moments of the day, sprinkle moon dust over them and then freeze the frame. To stop and smell the flowers, as it were. Given the kind of trash you’re bombarded with everyday, it’s a bit of a relief to watch a film that lets you catch your breath while it tells you its story.
Roopa (Kamalinee Mukherjee) is orphaned as a child when a freak accident kills her entire family. The freak that caused the accident is so thoroughly returned to his senses, that he goes quite unhinged. But he’s a nice sort, and keeps a loving eye on Roopa as she grows up into a proper young lady with a bad taste in bridegrooms.
The boy she’s about to marry (Anuj Gurwara) is what you might call a mama’s boy. You might also add that mama can keep him. Roopa is initially unaware of the mess she’s landed when she decides to marry into the Marwari family from Hell. She takes her time finding out what slimeballs they are, but in the nick of time Roopa summons the sense to kick him out of the pandal.
It is during this highly charged time that Anand (Raja) first meets Roopa. He falls in love and follows her home. Apart from the love angle, he also shares another connection with Roopa, as it was his father that drunkenly sent her family careening to their death. Not a very promising beginning to any relationship.
The rest of the film is, as you can probably guess, all about how they each get over their issues and reach out to each other. Roopa has an adorable gal-pal in Satya and playing Anand’s increasingly exasperated chuddy-buddy is Anish Kuruvilla. Both these characters are endearing and balance out the mush factor of the love story. The music, as mentioned earlier, is most lovely and sets a definite mood to the whole film. The shots, especially the interiors and the early morning sequences, are created and shot with creative use of color and lights.
And it rains almost throughout. Scenes like an old vendor roasting bhutta on the front porch or the girl and her friend frying gulab jamuns over a kerosene stove in the bedroom as it pours continuously outside, make you want to curl up to the warmth too.
Anand is a beautifully made film, with simple, if slightly strait-laced, ideas about relationships. There’s an honesty in its timbre, despite the obvious effort it makes to sustain the rose-tinted, soft-focus view. It does get self-indulgent toward the end, and could have used a more liberal application of the editor’s scissors. Otherwise a thoroughly enjoyable tale of happy endings, with nothing borrowed and nothing blue.