Last night, I watched Khamoshi, a movie released in 1968, forty years back. Its a srory of a nurse, Radha, who helps Dev Chatterjee, a patient, in coming back to terms with life after his girl friend ditches him and he is on the verge of being declared mentally retarted. In the course of treatment, Dev sees his mother, wife, girl friend everything in Radha, and is oblivious of the fact that what impression his behaviour is having on Radha. Radha in turn falls in love with Dev. The movie actually starts with Radha standing in the room emptied by Dev, who has just gone back to his home from hospital after recovering fully. Radha says that she was not acting after all, which she was supposed to do. She decides that such kind of care-taking can have lasting impact on her and is unwilling to take up similar case again.
Right then, an identical case of Arun Chowdhury comes, who has been ditched by his girl friend and now hates even the image of a women. Radha's boss pleads her to take care of the new patient, which she turns down. However, when Arun loses the control to an extent of being life threatening to hospital staff, Radha decides to take up the case. She sees Dev in Arun and Arun finds his lost love in Radha. Radha is completely broken as she is always with Dev in her sub conscious mind, however physically with Arun. Arun loves her, but Radha is in her own world. Towards the end, Arun returns to normalcy but Radha falls prey to the very ailment she was helping patients overcome. She loses her mental balance and has to be admitted to the same hospital, where she worked just few days back as a nurse.
It is beyong any words of appreciation that the movie is made in a era - which our elders often claim to be far more innocent and simple, for if this movie is to be re-made today, it will be as complex as it was 40 years back. What the audience of today will find suprising is that the movie is made in black-white and technically seems very old, which makes the real complexity and confusion of the characters much lesser apparent. For instance, an intense scene today, will be with dark shades, deep red color, and heroine shedding tears which damages her make-up and all this is done intentionally to make the scene more realistic. However, in Khamoshi made in 1968, such things are absent, yet the message is far more powerful. Also, for a script writer and a director to think of a character like Radha a full two generations ago is superb. It actually shows that certain sections of society were far more modern then as compared to the Gen X and Gen Y of today. The direction is subtle, as Dharamendra, who plays Dev is not shown facing the camera. The director has clearly made an attempt to show Dharmendra like an impression which Radha carries. So, you can see Dharamendra sitting on a chair with his back to audience, or at best you can only see his profile not his face. Dharamandra in 1968 was at the peak of his career, the director might have foccussed more on him thinking it will help his movie in doing good business. However, the director preferred rakim him for his acting abilities and not for his super stardom. The directors and technicians of today's cine world have a lot to learn from this movie.