Friday, September 16, 2011

Jaana Pehchana 

Remembrance Of Things Past

In theory it’s a good idea—revisiting an old film and trying to figure out what might have happened after ‘The End.’ But then the film being revisited should be a classic, and the looking back should, ideally, not wait for 33 years. Because it picks up a largely forgotten film like Ankhiyon Ke Jharokon Se, the belated sequel Jaana Pehchana, turns out a bizarre exercise in vanity for lead actor and director Sachin Pilgaonkar.
Ankhiyon Ke Jharokon Se, was a success way back in 1978, with hit songs that now grate on the ears. Directed by Hiren Nag, it starred Rajshri favourite Sachin opposite Ranjeeta.  Despite a few hits, his Hindi film career never took off; she faded away after a short career (that included many films with Mithun Chakraborty), like many actresses of that period.  Sachin went on to become a successful actor and director of Marathi films, and it is in this capacity that he must have chosen to make Jaana Pehchana. Ranjeeta, whose character Lily died in the last film (inspired by Hollywood tear jerker Love Story), must have been coaxed out of retirement to play a lookalike in this film, an author who wants to write a biography of the industrialist-philanthropist that the teen from AKJS grew up to be.
Both of them are in good shape, and marginally better actors than they used to be—Sachin has a lot more stillness, and Ranjeeta is a lot less stiff.  But for the story to work, you have to have memories and affection for the old film and a great deal of patience to sit through large chunks of AKJS copy-pasted in Jaana Pehchana. What is glaringly evident is the tackiness of the old film and the lack of sophistication in new one.
Today, Hindi films are technically buffed and polished, which by itself may not be a great thing, if not accompanied by good content—but then Jaana Pehchana does nothing but evoke nostalgia for the bygone era, when the story was paramount, even if every scene was punctuated by ear-piercing music. It was also interesting to see actors like Ifthikar, Urmila Bhatt, Junior Mehmood and Birbal, who used to be fixtures in films of that period (the first two are deceased).
Unfortunately, Jaana Pehchana does not work as a standalone film, it’s just a piece whimsy, to remind us of what our movies used to be like.


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