Truly amazing movies are those that leave you with a feeling of awe and wonder even the day after you've seen them. Anupama is one such.
It is the story of a girl Uma, whose mom dies while giving birth to her. Her father is never able to get over the death of his wife whom he loved very very tenderly. He hates Uma and blames her for it and will never see her face except when he's drunk. Uma grows up to be a quiet, shy girl who rarely speaks. 'Sehmi' is the word for it in Hindi. She is the like the touch-me-not flower, who is beautiful and at peace amidst flowers and birds but at any human contact she withdraws into herself. Sharmila Tagore played this role wonderfully.
She then meets Dharmendra who is a writer and a poet. He alone is able to reach out into her shyness and be a friend to her. Inspired by her he writes a novel Anupama. How they fall in love is also wonderfully portrayed, no song and dance, no chemistry, no sparks flying; he dedicates his book to her and she shyly looks away and is concerned about his health (he has fever). Uma has a friend, who verbalizes their love and tells them to act before it's too late; Uma's dad is inviting suitors for her.
Dharmendra, who in this movie is more like Rajesh Khanna than Dharmendra if you know what I mean, tell's Uma that the doors of his home and his heart are always open for her but refuses to press her to come. "The freedom of an individual is as important as the freedom of a country" he says and leaves it to Uma to decide what she wants to do.
She reads the novel the night before he is to leave town forever, a week before she is to marry another man. The next morning, she bids farewell to her father, takes his blessings, and leaves her home. No running away at night, no tears and heartbreak, just a quiet firm conviction. The strength of a mountain in the heart of a flower.
Anupama is more truly a feminist movie that movies like "Astitva" which are so far away from reality, that they border on being ridiculous. It's the story of how a woman finds courage and conviction to do what she wants; inspite of all odds. Alone, by herself. Not convinced, not coerced. But from the depths of her soul.
In this movie Sharmila is truly sharmili. Finally I understood what poets mean when they use metaphors like "frightened fawn" in the context of women.
There is also one of my all time favourite songs, "Ya dil ki suno duniya walon, ya mujh ko abhi chup rehne do". Though the song is a bit out of context, we realise in the song that one of the main characters, Uma's friend, is not just a overgrown kid, but a grown woman at heart.
The sad thing about writing about a movie is that the what the movie says with poetry and music, light and shade, beauty and grace, I am trying to say in a few words, in black and white. This may be justified if a great writer were to undertake the task but not very much in this case. See the movie .. feel it's power and beauty ...