Bimal Roy’s vision was that of a true artist. He never over dramatized or over emphasized a scene, his direction was understated and he handled the emotional scenes with utmost sensitivity and in a subtle manner. His brilliance as a cinematographer was reflected in his brilliant shot compositions. There are some directors, who, in their bid to show off their directorial skills, indulge in some peculiar shot compositions – almost telling the audience, “Look what a great director I am, just look at this brilliant shot composition”. Roy refrained from such directorial stunts- if I may put it that way. Before I delve deep into Bandini, I have to give a brief synopsis of the film for the benefit of those who haven’t seen the film.
Bandini is based on a Bengali novel ‘Tamasi’ written by Jarasandha. Jarasandha was the writer’s pen name. He was a jail superintendent and it was his job which provided him with the story ideas for his novels. He wove his real life experiences into his stories. In Bandini for instance there is a sequence where Ashok Kumar who plays a freedom fighter is arrested.
As a result of these visits Bikaash and Kalyani come close.
Not being able to bear the rude comments of the villagers and her aged father’s pain, she leaves home one night and takes up a job of a maid servant in a hospital.
She confesses to her crime and it is while serving her prison sentence that she comes in contact with the prison doctor (Dharmendra).
Most of the film’s story unfolds in a flashback, in fact this film has a flashback in a flashback. First Kalyani tells her story to the jailor and within this story you see Bikaash telling Kalyani how a policeman’s wife helped him escape. When it came to flashbacks Bimal Roy took utmost care to see that the story unfolded strictly from the point of view of the person telling the story. Many a times you may have noticed directors loosing track and coolly including scenes that the person narrating the story would not be aware of, these directors conveniently forget (or do not bother) and let the story unfold in a normal way. In Bandini you will notice that throughout the flashback there is no scene where this question will pop into your mind, ‘How can Kalyani know about this? How can she be talking about this?’ She is shown to be either in the vicinity or she has been told about it.
While the entire film as I said is a lesson in filmmaking there are three classic scenes in the film which definitely leave a lasting impression in the mind of the viewer. But before I go into those scenes I would like to draw your attention to this scene.
Now coming to the first scene which is a truly classic scene, is the scene where the doctor dejected after being rejected by Kalyani decides to leave his job and go back home.
I think I will take a break and continue with Bandini and some more trivia in my next post. In the meanwhile take a look at the scene I just described. Take care to increase the volume so that you can hear the background music. This is an old film and therefore the print is old as a result some noises have crept into the video, these are not part of the background score.