Happy Friendship Day!
Today, July 30, is observed as the International Day of Friendship. The Friendship Day was proclaimed by the U.N. General Assembly in 2011 with the idea that friendship between peoples, countries, cultures and individuals can inspire peace efforts and build bridges between communities.
“I like the friend who finds time for me in his calendar. But I cherish the friend who for me does not consult his calendar.” - Swami Ameetananda
Often we find ourselves developing a special bond, a special relationship, which we commonly call “ best friends”. We enjoy each other's presence, we share joys and sorrows selflessly, we chat endlessly, we look forward to seeing each other's post of the day together on Facebook, Twitter or any other social networking we subscribe to, we are restless together when it is unduly delayed, worried when anyone is sick and pray together for his/her speedy recovery. Often we may hide a thing or two from our family who may be closer to us, but feel comfortable sharing with all whom we consider our true friends.
Friendship has been a popular formula for films because people can relate to it and often the returns on them exceed expectations. So, the filmmakers down the ages have adopted it as a risk-free and rewarding investment. Here is remembering my most favorite five films from Bollywood that are based on the theme of friendship:
Padosi (V. Shantaram, 1941): It is a moving film on the unfortunate antagonism between the Hindus and the Muslims. The protagonists are two old friends and neighbors in a village, Mirza (Gajanan Jagirdar), a Muslim, and Thakur (Mazhar Khan), a Hindu. Then a city builder arrives, to acquire land in order to build a dam. Though the villagers resist his overtones in the beginning, their resolve is broken when he successfully incites one community against the other, ultimately separating the close neighbors two. In the climax of the film, a tour de force of technical ingenuity, the two die together holding each other's hand, when the dam is blown up. Espousing the cause of communal harmony, Padosi boldly emphasizes that people are not divided because of religious differences but because of power-play and profit making. Padosi remains one of the most celebrated social films ever.
Dosti (Tarachand Barjatiya, 1964): A marvellous movie from the house of Rajshri Productions, that touches heart and evokes emotions. Picture a scene where a blind boy, Mohan, is asking for help to cross but sadly nobody complies, so he decides to just cross by himself and is saved from being hurt in accident by Ramu, a boy with amputated legs. Thus, the two handicapped boys become friends for life. Rest of the story deals with the struggle of the two handicapped friends live a respectable life in the hard cold heartless world, each step increasing their bond of friendship. Each of them pursuing their dreams – Ramu to pursue education as promised to his mother and Mohan's to find his sister. What happens in between is the surge of emotions that come from deep within of the friends. The movie had its special moments when the two friends share their joy and pain. Apart from the story, music is the highlite of the movie. Luxmikant Pyarelal have churned out such beautiful songs that they are cherished even fifty years after the film was released: “Kaho manva dukh ki chinta kyon satati hai, dukh to apna saathi hai” and “Teri dosti mera pyar” have everlasting appeal. The movie is not just about friendship. It is also about love, respect and faith that come devoid of any selfishness, jealousy etc.. And more importantly it is also about determination and will. The film won six Filmfare awards.
Sholay (Ramesh Sippy, 1975): A legend and by far the most successful film of its time, which ran for five cosecutive years in a theater in Mumbai, Shole is often described as India's best known 'curry' western. It has all the ingredients of a Western - rugged countryside, bandits on horseback, fierce gun fight etc. But it has much more than that - an idealized love, ample measure of comedy and fast paced actions and an entire galaxy of stars - all the motifs and ingredients which make a Hindi film work. A key factor in this film is the villain, the cold-blooded killer, Gabbar Singh. Played by a new comer, Amjad Khan, Gabbar became and has remained a cult-figure as his popularity ensured the sale of everything from biscuits to belts to water bottles to jackets. By far the most popular character of the film, Gabbar's dialogues are remembered till today. Audio cassetes of the film containing the main dialogues were sold in millions, attesting to their immense popularity. Other highlights of the movie include the screen chemistry between Hema and Dharmendra, delightful camaraderie of Dharmendra and Amitabh Bachchan and the powerful performances by the rest of the star-cast. Shot in 77 mm with stereophonic sound, Sholay was the ultimate big screen experience and an immortal classic par excellence.
Dil Chahta Hai (Farhan Akhtar, 2001): It is based on a story of three fiends, who are three distinct characters, each having his own view of life, career and love. The film explores the ways in which the relation between this medley of characters develop, how well the three friends groove in with each other. The film has a very different music from Shankar Ehsan Loy trio in sync sound technique, which further enhances the performance of its cast. Over the years, the film has attained a cult status. It won the National Award for the best feature film in Hindi.
Rang De Basanti (Rakesh Omprakash Mehra, 2006): Director Mehra merges two plots in the film. The first is about a group of friends, their bonding, the carefree lifestyle they lead. The second plot pertains to the past, when the freedom fighters sacrifice their lives during the pre-independence era. Mehra draws parallels between Indians ruled by the British and Indians ruled by corrupt politicians today. The message is subtle at first, but echoes piercingly before it reaches its finale. The transition of the five friends from meaningless to meaningful existence is done brilliantly. A well made film, it caters more to the elite and the thinking viewers. The film did well at many of the Bollywood awards ceremonies, including a win for the best film at the Filmfare Awards.
“On this International Day of Friendship, let us cultivate warm ties that strengthen our common humanity and promote the well-being of the human family.”
- UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon