Films · Inner View · Personal reflections

Filmy Musings: Amar Prem (and a painting at home)

Love blooms,Size-29cmx40cm, Medium-Water colour on paper, Price-Rs35,000
Love Blooms, Water colour on paper, Artist: Bindu Popli

I have this lovely, vibrant, colourful painting at my home. This water colour titled “Love Blooms” is done by my sister. It looks exquisite in a white simple frame, and comes with its pair titled “Samadhi.”

The other day I was dusting in the room where these two paintings are, and as I reached up to the wall to wipe the two frames, something about this one made me recall a line from one of my all-time favourite Hindi film —

“तुम्हारा नाम पुष्पा  है? मीरा होना चाहिए था”
(Your name is Pushpa? It should have been Meera.)

Remember this line from the classic Hindi movie Amar Prem?

May be it was the blossoming of the love as captured in this painting, or may be it was the oneness that the two lovers are experiencing here — oneness not only with each other but with the entire world around them, the sense of merging or uniting with it all, the quiet ecstasy that love can bring without the need for any loud or flashy expressions, or may be it was simply that only a few days back I was talking about this film with a small group of people. Whatever might be the reason, that moment of closely ‘seeing’ this painting that has been in my home for many years brought to my mind the kind of love we see in this film called Amar Prem.

“…[love] exists by itself and its movement is free and independent of the objects in which and through which it manifests. It manifests wherever it finds a possibility for manifestation, wherever there is receptivity, wherever there is some opening for it. What you call love and think of as a personal or individual thing is only your capacity to receive and manifest this universal force. But because it is universal, it is not therefore an unconscious force; it is a supremely conscious Power.” (The Mother, CWM, Vol. 3, p. 69)

In a way, this one simple line from one scene of the film captured much of the essence of the film, by reminding the audience of the purity of Meera’s love, love that is selfless and simply exists for the sake of loving and becoming one with the beloved.

The 1972 film directed by Shakti Samanta spoke of an immortal love, of a love beyond the conventions and rules of society, of a love that is not meant to be imprisoned by the hypocrisy of the so-called moralists and guardians of social order. It spoke of a love that doesn’t need to shout from the rooftops to be accepted but is quietly convinced of its truth, and therefore, of its purity.

“Love of man, love of woman, love of things, love of thy neighbour, love of thy country, love of animals, love of humanity are all the love of God reflected in these living images. So love and grow mighty to enjoy all, to help all and to love for ever.” (Sri Aurobindo, CWSA, Vol. 12, p. 491)

The forms of the love portrayed in this film are several — between a man and a woman who are not related to each other in any socially accepted way, between a mother and a child who is not really her child, between a father and a son who is not really his son, between a child and a mother who is not really his mother, between a sister and a brother who is not really her brother. Basically, it is love that brings these strangers together and ties them in bonds that are stronger than any blood tie or any other socially accepted relation. The love portrayed through these different characters in this film is pure, soft and selfless, and expressive of deep caring and self-giving.

Sure there are some sequences and characters in the film that remind the audience that such love is rare and that majority of minds are imprisoned in the narrow and conventional views of what is socially acceptable and what is not. The plot however gradually moves in such a way that the hearts that are relatively more open to the deeper truth of things begin to see what love really is and should be, and find a way to accept love as simply love beyond any definition of society and society-approved morality.

The best part is that the film doesn’t do any of this in any preachy, lecturing sort of way. It does this through a simple story, told simply but beautifully.

“It is not the love that someone feels for you that can make you happy, it is the love you feel for others that makes you happy: for you receive the love that you give from the Divine, who loves eternally and unfailingly” (The Mother, CWM, Vol. 14, p. 122).

With its soft and feel-good acting, a gently paced and unpretentious narration, beautiful music, heart-touching poetry and tender writing this film will always remain one of my all-time favourites.


Response? Reaction? Thought? Question? Criticism? Let me know.

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