Films teach you a lot about yourself. They mirror you and parts of your life through someone else’s prospect. But, there are very few films that leave an enduring impact. Gulzar’s 1987 film, Ijaazat, a Hindi film starring Naseeruddin Shah, Rekha, and Anuradha Patel is by far the most sensitive film I’ve ever watched. The film is based on a Bengali story, Jatugriha by Subodh Ghosh. It belongs to the art-house genre, also considered an Alternate Cinema Space in India.
The film is set in a small town with a plotline that revolves around three characters- a love story, which is peculiar for its graceful nature and simple narration of tales of each character on an independent level despite their evident crossovers. The film begins with Mahendra (Naseeruddin Shah) getting down at a train-station and seeking shelter at its waiting room until his next ride arrives, where he finds Sudha (Rekha), his ex-wife. The story unfurls through a series of events as they indulge in conversations through the night.
What makes this film overwhelming is the portrayal of a strong connection between two people, despite their different ideologies and a series of sacrifices made for each other. The ordinary yet a hard-hitting depiction of this dramatic tragedy is what leaves the viewer mind-boggled and mildly heart-wrenched. The dialogues in this film are as poetic as they could get, the threads are so well interlinked without making the story any complex.
If these many factors weren’t already enough, R.D Burman’s mellifluous pop music mellows down the mood of the film. The songs in this films are some of the most popular tracks to still be played and widely acknowledged in the mainstream media. ‘Mera Kuch Samaan’ was the one to get Gulzar and Asha Bhosle National Film Awards for Best Lyrics and Best Female Playback Singer in 1988 respectively.
Ijaazat is a gem of a film, and I hope more of such evergreen cinema gets made frequently.