“It’s not the years in your life, but the life in your years, that count.” – Abraham Lincoln had said. The movie, Anand encapsulates this message as the character lives his last days with joy.
Anand (“Joy”) is an award-winning Bollywood classic, made by legendary director Hrishikesh Mukherjee in 1971. It centers around Anand (played by superstar Rajesh Khanna), a young man suffering from advanced cancer.
Free-spirited cancer patient meets sombre doctor
Despite knowing fully well that he is going to die in a few months, Anand is ever-smiling and tries to make people around him happy, because he believes in making new friends and enjoying life to the fullest.
His story takes a turn when Anand meets a young doctor named Bhaskar Banerjee (played by another superstar Amitabh Bachchan).
In contrast to Anand’s extroverted personality, Dr. Banerjee is sober, introspective and quite frustrated with life and the dark reality he sees around him, in society.
Dying Anand teaches Bhaskar to live
As their friendship develops, Anand introduces Bhaskar to a new way of looking at the world which, behind all the despair and suffering, is rich, diverse, full of colour and song.
Renowned writer and lyricist Gulzar has beautifully conveyed the message through the dialogues (translated from Hindi):
“Babu-moshai, life should be ‘Big’ not ‘Long’. Let’s enjoy life with laughter. If one stops living life in fear of death then what is its significance? Till I am alive, death is nothing and when I die, I am nothing. So what is there to fear? ”
“Babumoshai” is a respectful Bengali term, but Anand uses it to convey his love and friendship for Bhaskar.
That is Anand’s free-spirited nature. He does everything he loves, especially singing beautiful songs and making friends freely. Despite his advanced illness, Anand is always active, sprightly and mischievous! That is great to watch, in itself.
When the hospital staff asks him to rest he shoots back:
“I haven’t come here for treatment, I’m here to enjoy my time with all of you.”
Joy of living with Anand, sorrow of letting him go
As the story develops, even though Anand’s illness becomes more serious, it also becomes less significant, for the rest of characters as well as for the viewers. Yet, the impending tragedy of time slipping away remains in the background … it is this juxtaposition that is captivating.
Dr. Banerjee feels inspired and helpless at the same time: he cannot imagine life without Anand.
Everyone gets so close and attached to Anand’s joie-de-vivre and pranks that when his health starts to deteriorate, everyone around him breaks down. They all try to look for ways to save Anand’s life, for his sake … and also for themselves.
One last, unforgettable scene is the ‘voice recording’ between Anand and Dr. Banerjee. The emotions and the powerful insights simply cannot be described in words.
I hope you will be as moved as I was, so I leave it to you, dear readers, to enjoy the movie yourselves and reflect on its message.
You can watch ‘Anand’ on YouTube.
Written by Anamica Jain, a first year Communications student at Mount Carmel College, Bangalore
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