Ananda Ashram Movie Review:
Though I watch a lot of English movies it is not that I hate Bangla movies. Of course there are many talented actors and actresses in Bangla cinema. When we talk about great actors of commercial Bangla cinema, Uttam Kumar’s name would come up at the top. No other actor, in the history of Bangla cinema, achieved such fame and success.Ananda Ashram
Ananda Ashram is my most favorite movie. No matter how many times I watch the movie I never get bored. Uttam Kumar and Sharmila Tagore played the lead roles. Other actors were- Moushumi Chatterjee, Rakesh Roshan (father of famous Bollywood actor Hrithik Roshan), Ashok Kumar, Utpal Dutt, and Asit Sen.
Pratap Narayan (Ashok Kumar) was a wealthy Zaminder and a devout Hindu Brahmin. His wife died while giving birth to their only son Amaresh (Uttam Kumar). Pratap Narayan did not remarry. He brought up his son. Amaresh becomes a physician and returns to his village with a dream to establish a charitable hospital and provide free medical treatment to the poor villagers. Amaresh falls in love with his childhood friend Asha (Sharmilla Tagore). Asha was a poor Christian girl.
Amaresh and Asha get married but Pratap Narayan does not accept Asha as his daughter-in law. He is a Zaminder and a Brahmin. If the news spreads out that his son got married to a poor Christian girl, he would lose his social status and the respect of his subjects. He tells Amaresh to leave Asha but Amaresh does not agree. Seeing no other options, Pratap Narayan uses his ultimate weapon. He threatens to disown Amaresh. Amaresh, being a man of character, decides to leave his father.
Asha and Amaresh set up a small hospital in another village with the assistance of a wealthy businessman. They were very happy. While giving birth to their son Somoresh (Rakesh Roshan) Asha dies.
Eventually, Pratap Narayan grows old and regrets his harsh treatment. In the end father and son reunites.
Why I like the movie
Ananda Ashram may be one of those typical Bangla movies showing family problems but it deals with the subject in a different manner. Amaresh had to choose between wealth and love and he chose the latter. For his decision, he suffered but Amaresh and Asha, in their brief conjugal life, were very happy. They loved each other.
The same problem can be found in many Bangladeshi families. The son likes a girl but his parents do not like her or vice versa. What should the son do? Should he choose his love or his parents? No matter, which way he goes he would have to give up something to get something. He must decide between the two. It takes great courage and sacrifice for a person to remain true to his love.
Similar problems can arise in arranged marriages as well. The mother-in-law and wife are not on good terms and the son has to decide. Falling in love is easy but having a successful relationship takes a lot of courage and sacrifice. In the end of the movie, Pratap Narayan repents for his actions and accepts Asha but it does not happen in real life. People do not change like that. In reality, in many cases, relationship between the parents and their son or daughter does not improve. They do not see each other. It is a matter of great pain for the children and the parents.
Aside from Uttam Kumar and Sharmila Tagore, all the other actors played their characters very well. I love Asit Sen as “Giridhari.”
He is loving and kind. Utpal Dutt’s comic timing is superb. His catch phrase “Beche Thako” will make you laugh. Asok Kumar as Zaminder Pratap Narayan is a treat to watch. He portrayed the mental sufferings of Pratap Narayan with great ease. Only an actor of his calibre can give such a performance.
Shyamal Mitra composed music for the movie. I grew up listening to Shyamal Mitra’s songs. He is a talented singer and music composer. The music is another plus point of the movie. Kishore Kumar, Asha Bhosle, Shyamal Mitra sang four songs- “Prithibi bodle geche,” “Amar Swapno tumi,” “Kotha Kichu kichu,” and “Asha Chilo Valobasha chilo.” Here the songs were composed based on the situations of the movie. Hence, when you see the songs you will not get bored or feel irritated. They complement the movie.
These days, be it Bangla movie or Hindi movie, songs are treated as part of the package. Often they have no connection with the movie or the story. The hero and heroine express their love for each other and the next moment you will see them wearing fashionable dresses, dancing and singing in beautiful locations in Europe or USA or some other country. A group of dancers dance in the background. The whole thing looks very glamorous but it is very artificial.
I am not a serious movie critique but to me Ananda Ashram is a complete movie. I have not seen many movies where all the elements- story, music, acting- are perfectly matched.