Thursday, 7 September 2017

Vijeta (1982)

Genre - Drama
Director – Govind Nihlani
Duration – 151 minutes
Cast – Shashi Kapoor, Rekha, Amrish Puri, Om Puri, Kunal Kapoor, Supriya Pathak, K.K. Raina, Raja Bundela, Shafi Inamdar 
Music –Ajit Vaman (Songs), Surinder Sodhi (Background Score)

My View 
Long time ago, before the confused Hrithik Roshan of the movie Lakshya found his true calling in the Army, there lived a boy named Angad who was dealing with the same confusion. 

Vijeta was one of the movies that I saw on Doordarshan as a child however, never understood, perhaps because back then the depth in the dialogues would have flown several feet high above the mind of a 6 year old. However, all I remembered is liking this particular song, since I was in awe of Rekha singing in a white and red saree with a tanpura for company. 

A few days ago, I was looking for interesting movies from the 80s and I suddenly remembered this movie which had been much appreciated by my sister.

Vijeta is the story of Angad (Kunal Kapoor) from a boy to a man. The only child of a Punjabi father Nihal (Shashi Kapoor) and Maharashtrian mother, Nilima (Rekha), Angad was raised as a Sikh by his family. Nihal, a cut Surd had faced the brutality of partition in which he escaped to India with his Beeji (Dina Pathak) and had built up his life again from the scratch. The struggle had while given him a comfortable life, it also made him a very crude and bitter person, which reflected in his day to day communication with his family. This bitterness nurtured antipathy in Angad's heart towards his father. So, Angad ensured he went East if Nihal desired west. Nilima was their only bridge.

The constant tension between his parents coupled with Nihal's frequent sarcasm fills sense of insecurity, fear and confusion in Angad's mind. In an age where boys of his age make plans of a bright future, Angad was harbouring suicidal feelings in his heart. A meeting with his maternal uncle Arvind (Om Puri) comes across as a defining moment in Angad's life, as he feels motivated to join the defence services. Nihal's overprotective reaction and discouragement only strengthens Angad's determination, as he is automatically drawn to pursue something against his father's wishes. There was also a burning desire in Angad's heart to prove himself as worthwhile to his father.

The next few years not only transform Angad into a bright Air Force pilot, but also magically mend the father son relationship. The scene where Angad writes his maiden letter to his father describing his maiden solo flight would make any father emotional. Air force also gives Angad many good friends and the love of his life, Ana. Back home, as Angad's life is finally running on track, the relationship between his parents is also improving. 

The movie is about the many battles in one's life and how with determination one can emerge a winner. Each character is seen fighting his own battles. Nihal, with his cracking relations with his wife and son, Angad with his fears and Nilima with the father son differences. 

After struggling with his inner demons, Angad is seen emerging victorious over his fears. The movie gives a very strong message that no matter how tough the enemy, true winner is the one who gets up and gets going despite each fall and who never gives up come what may. 

Watch this movie for

  • Such a realistic portrayal of the Air Force. There are only two movies who by far get full marks for portraying the defence life the way it is - Prahar and Vijeta. The scenes shot in the Air Force Academy and the base are a viewer's delight

  • The actors have played their roles with such sincerity that an Amrish Puri seems like a seasoned Air Force instructor. Even Angad's buddies in the Air Force don't look like they are actors. 

  • The movie doesn't hurry up to draw the curtains nor drags the story. The pace is just right to relish the story.
  • Though the story is spaced around the Indo-Pak war, it doesn't sound outdated even 37 years later.

Ironically, the character that disappoints the most in the movie is Angad himself. While the continuous lost expression on his face looks in sync with the first half of the story, when the same persist despite the character's transformation from a boy to man, one feels like telling the director "Yaar, I could have done better acting than this." It is so sad to see him placed with veterans like Rekha, Shashi Kapoor, Amrish Puri and Om Puri. Even the supporting cast have given better performances. Oh, did I forget to tell you that the movie was produced by his father?

My Rating 
2.5/5 (Kunal Kapoor's disappointing effortless performance took away the stars from an otherwise great movie)