Rajnigandha- underrated modern 70’s
I recently had the chance to watch this super Random film on Netflix called ‘Rajnigandha’ and I’m glad I stumbled upon such a film because it’s directorial choices were nothing I’d ever seen of a movie of its time. Honestly very impressed by the Highly modern approach despite being set in the 70s. Storytelling technique using dream sequence to begin the film, multiple freeze frames to portray what’s going on in the female lead’s mind as well as charming flashbacks to portray the two love stories & contrast their present day differences makes this film an intriguing heart-warming watch.
In today’s fast paced world when the more complicated the theme is the better. But now this movie is one of the most beautifully made love stories. Rajnigandha, Dipa and Sanjay’s love is pure as the tuberoses. This story is relevant to this date, where we fall for so many infatuations that we ignore the person who actually loves you and values you. Important themes are addressed subtlety in this film and the major being Love vs Lust and how sometimes it can really mess with our heads. No relationship is perfect and this film addresses those flaws in such a real and interesting way.If you want to fall in this aromatic romance then this is the movie. This is not your typical Romance movie instead a series of Dilemmas, confusions and dreaminess, which makes the film so interesting and intriguing to watch. This Character driven plot really highlights Vidya Sinha’s melodramatic performance as a typical young woman head over heels and up on cloud 9. Quite Frankly this is a film about Love and not of love.
The central character of this movie is Deepa(Vidya Sinha) who is confused with the type of love she thinks she wants. Often, she goes into daydreaming about the outcome of any situation she’s in. The Filmmaking done with sheer perfection, displaying so many good shots of contemporary Bombay, daily life of a working middle class in India in the 70s stands out equipped with good meaningful music. We are sort of introduced to her as this Starry eyed escapist living in a world of unrealistic expectations, something a lot of women may still relate to. ‘Boy Problems’ a relevant issue one can rant about forever and this movie has a very stylized approach to addressing social and personal issues. The Freeze frame sequences were my favorite and felt so edgy and new, I love that they did this in a 70’s Bollywood film. The editor certainly deserves a mention, as I have seen highly bad editing in movies during this era. Not sure what was the brief sent out to them as I can assume they were not that bad as how they edited this movie.
When Deepa re-acquaints with Navin (Dinesh Thakur) whom she had split up with under acrimonious circumstances. Navin is in every way the antithesis of Sanjay: He is very punctual and looks after her during her stay in Mumbai. Navin shows her the city and helps her with the job interview. This rekindles Deepa’s feelings for him, and she finds herself torn between the two men and between her past and her present. Upon her return to Delhi, she feels that her first love (Navin) is her true love. This quite a ‘Real’ situation where one may try to fill the void of something missing in a relationship hoping to find it elsewhere, a very common thing in today’s society. This film definitely highlights that Women are no way innocent or demurely and also feel Lust and crave affirmation- a thought very ahead of its time
There is something quite special and unique about the sequences in the movie as well as the editing that makes this a very memorable film despite it being such a simple story about a Woman’s Dilemma. Not to mention the Fashion choices and beautiful costume design for this film is what stuck out to me as a fashion lover and how beautifully 70’s everyone looked. Deepa was no less of an Audrey Hepburn from Breakfast at Tiffany’s . This is a film I can shamelessly watch over and over again just because the characters feel so real and close to home. I’ll be sure to check out more of Basu Chatterjee’s work, just because I loved this film so much!.