Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Anand, or, Sweetest Movie EVER. No, I'm Serious.


Anand. Oh, Anand. Where have you been all my life?

Oh, that's right. You weren't released until 2004. (Even though the Netflix listing inexplicably has the date as 1987. This messed with my mind since I have yet to see a movie from 1987 that I really liked and made me wonder if I was switched at birth or something since clearly dil hai Hindustani. Thankfully, I discovered the right date at BollyWHAT and now can rest easy instead of searching for my biological mother.) (Hi mom!)


Roopa (Kamalinee Mukherjee) is a strong woman. Even though her parents and brother died in a tragic car accident when she was young, she has made her own way in life. She holds down an office position, teaches singing, and also does something in a plant nursery but I have no idea what. Anyway, this enables her to hold onto her family's home. She's engaged to a North Indian guy. And yeah, his ma is very traditional and has strong opinions on what a bahu should wear, say, and do, but... he's worth it... right?


Well, no. She doesn't know it, but a guy who is worth a ton of trouble is coming into her life. Anand (Raja) is the son of the (extremely wealthy) man responsible for the accident that claimed Roopa's family. His mother now runs the company (I love that!). His father has lost his wits from guilt (a convenient method of avoiding responsibility for drunk driving, but, whatevs) and keeps an eye on Roopa. He insists on attending her wedding, gifting her jewelry, and ascertaining her happiness. Anand sees Roopa bedecked for the ceremony and falls instantly for her. However, he doesn't believe in love at first sight, and anyway she's taken.

After Roopa's fiance demonstrates clearly that he's unwilling to stand up to his mother for his wife, Roopa calls off the ceremony and retreats home, massively disaffected with men in general. Anand, on the other hand, overhears her take a respectful stand for her own rights and likes her even more. He also feels guilt by proxy and wants to help Roopa in any way he can. He becomes a paying guest in Roopa's neighborhood. He wants to get to know her better, and hopes to win her heart through serving her.

Things don't go well for a long time. Roopa's surrounded by friends who want the best for her, and they counsel patience--after all, she just came off of a horrendous breakup and still works with her former fiance--it'd take anyone a long time to recover! Anand almost despairs. However, even though she is absolutely unkind to him over and over again, he persists in his efforts.

Roopa definitely thinks Anand is annoying, but after seeing him deliver a good old-fashioned Southie-style ass-whupping to a guy taking liberties with a girl on the bus (yes! violence IS the answer!), she finds herself unwillingly attracted to him. So while she's treating him like this:

She's thinking of him like this:

and that's just confusing.

That's pretty much all there is to the plot. Anand does his best to help Roopa in any way he can, she shoots him down, but he persists. It sounds dull, but every interaction between Anand and Roopa builds the relationship between them until I was as vested in the outcome as any one of their onscreen friends--who by the way are great. I especially loved Roopa's BFF Anita. Yay for girlfriends!

Anand brushes over several issues matter-of-factly: saas-bahu relationships, North and South Indian differences, socio-economic status, caste... It's all there, and while not treated lightly each issue is treated as a fact of life, though not one that should be ignored. I also love how strong all the women characters are, the sympathetic as well as the unsympathetic, the old and the young.

The music is also lovely, as Nicki pointed out in her post on the movie. My favorite song is the first picturization, which doesn't occur until an hour and a half into the film!



That's Chitra singing, I believe. This movie features both my favorite, Shreya Ghoshal, and Chitra. Yay!

If your current filmwatching has left you wanting more in terms of super-sweet filmi romance, along with a slice-of-life movie experience (as Filmi Girl so aptly puts it), then do not walk, run to get Anand. The plot itself is Vivah-style real time, but the relationships, performances (especially by Raja and Kamalinee), and great music make every bit of the two hours and forty minute length fly by (or the director's cut, which is three hours long!).

Besides, how can you not love a movie that features this bit of dialogue? Roopa counsels Anand on how to win an argument with her:


Guh. ***dies from cute overload*** SO SWEET!

18 comments:

  1. Yaahhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!

    I am sooooo happy you finally got to watch this. I simply love it!!

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  2. LOL @ those dialogues!

    I'vve only watched one Southie film - Iruvar..which completely blew me away! Awesome stuff. Will catch more of these films once I'm back in the UK.

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  3. CUTE! I want to see this one!

    *adds to Netflix queue*

    I was just complaining to one of my commenters on the Amrithadhare post that Netflix does have some southie movies but they are organized SO POORLY that you really have to know a title to find anything.

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  4. Any movie that has moments like the "hello hero" screencap are definitely worthy of my attention. I thing I may have to do a whole post on the mid-waist "fondle", which I find altogether too tantilizing.

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  5. So you watched it at last !!!! :-) I remember recommending this to you so long ago. You should also give 'Godavari' a try. It also stars Kamalinee and its just as lovely.

    Neha

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  6. Bhargav - Iruvar was awesome. I saw it recently.

    I would recommend all Sekhar Kammula's telugu movies - Anand, Godavari, Happy Days and Dollar Dreams (don't know if the last one is availabe on DVD).

    Good post Ajnabi. The dialogues are really good in telugu - some of the essence may be lost in translation during sub titling though. BTW, I wouldn't compare this to anything in Vivah which i did not like and found it too sugary. Anand addressed a lot of issues in the context of a good story, acting, music, direction etc

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  7. Nicki: Me too! So good!

    Bhargav: It's really a great movie. I'd enjoy reading your thoughts on it if you get the chance!

    Filmi Girl: Yes, Netflix totally SUCKS on its organization of Indian films. Not that I can blame them; a year ago sorting them out would have led to utter defeat for me. They need some NRI's in there to help out! ;-)

    shell: I am all over that post like white on rice. I lurve the waist fondle.

    Neha--yes! I *loved* it. Okay, I am totally going to get Godavari... but what's this I hear about an animated dog?

    Anonymous: I have Happy Days in my queue already but haven't seen Dollar Dreams. :-( I meant what I said about the dialogues sincerely. I could tell what was meant from context and it was too sweet. If you click on the link to my Vivah review you'll see I agree with you on the film. I just meant that the events in Anand unfold very slowly like the other movie. (Urg. I'm getting frustrated all over again just thinking of Vivah. Focus on Anand... Okay, I'm better now.)

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  8. Oh, yes.. the stupid animated dog *sigh*. That part is very annoying. I ff-ed through it. But the main plot of the movie is so cute it makes the movie worth watching.

    Neha

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  9. Actually the dialogues of the animated dog are really good and provide some light moments in the movie - ie Godavari

    Ajnabi - totally agree with you about vivah. Anand is too good a movie to miss and i have been recommending it to quite a few bloggers since last 2 yrs!

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  10. Anand - Manchi coffee laanti chitram (it's caption of the movie, it means, It's a nice coffee like movie).

    I loved it. especially that girl kid's natural dialogues. While you watching this movie, you will completely involve in the movie that you dont feel that it's some 2 plus hours movie.

    completely different movie compare to other telugu movies. Director's other movies are Dollar dreams, Happy days(college based movie), Godavari (mostly shooted on River Godavari(travel))

    Animated dog in godavari movie was interesting in some part time, but it irritated at times... but dog's dialogues on rich ppl's dogs is very funny...

    -shiva
    http://www.bloggerzstop.webs.com

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  11. Excellent! I must see this! Oh Netflix!
    "That's Chitra singing, I believe. This movie features both my favorite, Shreya Ghoshal, and Chitra. Yay!" My favorites too. :)
    All the best!
    Sita-ji

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  12. I've never seen a South Indian film (for some odd reason), but you're really making me want to see this one! So, if my former dance dress sells, I'm buying a bunch of Bollywood films with some of the profits, and will add this film as a VIP Guest of Honour. ;) (as I loooove strong women roles)

    And for some reason, it says my OpenID credentials could not be verified. Well, poo on you, blogspot! :p

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  13. @Rhilex: some odd reason???

    -shiva
    http://www.bloggerzstop.webs.com

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  14. Neha: okay, if you promise it's not the whole movie I'll give it a shot. ;-)

    Anonymous 1: Really? A good animated dog in a live-action movie? Well, I'll give it a chance. And yes, Anand is wonderful!

    Shiva, I have Happy Days and Godavari too in my DVD queue so I'm looking forward to watching them! Oh, and "some odd reason" is just an American way of saying "for no real reason." ;-)

    Sita-ji: I hope you post about it when you do watch it!

    rhilex: If you want to start on Southie films, this or "Kandukondain Kandukondain" are probably your best bets. :-) Good luck with dress selling!

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  15. Don't let the rumors of animated dogs put you off Godavari, it's every bit as wonderful as Anand! The dog has a very small part and is surprisingly less cheesy than you might expect.

    Anand is wonderful. Great review! You've reminded me that I need to add it to my wish list of movies to buy.

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  16. Anand happens to be my favorite Telugu movie as well. The dialogs in Telugu were wonderful, not sure how well that translated into subtitles. As for Vivah.... i just cannot stand that movie, at all.

    Anyway, a bit of insider information. In the song you linked(Vacche Vacche nalla), the guy driving the auto at the very begining is the director of the movie, Shekhar Kammula. Shekar is coming out with another new movie called 'Leader', which builds upon the leadership aspect of the story he touched upon in Godavari.

    Kiran.

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  17. Hi Main Hoon Emily! Thanks for the encouragement re: Godavari; I'll definitely see it. And thanks for the compliment too!

    Hi Kiran: That was a fun bit of trivia, thanks! I'll be looking forward to Leader. It sounds really interesting.

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  18. Wow.. I wonder none would have seen the movie as many times as I did.. Not even the director Shekhar Kammula.. and Vivah is too melodramatic.. ANAND is quite realistic.. I love the characters of roopa, anand and especially Anitha :D
    Great Review... If u dont mind.. would like to know your name Ajnabi :D

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