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!