Basu Bhattachrya’s most impressive Teesri Kasam was followed by another quiet and hidden gem, Anubhav. Meeta (Tanuja), decides to shake up her staid in-a-rut six year old marriage with Amar (Sanjeev Kumar). The household help is reduced to one, Hari (AK Hangal), and that too because Hari considers himself more a relative that a servant and will not leave! Amar is buried in work and perturbed at this change. Then an old flame of Meeta’s, Shashi, arrives and wants job in Amar’s publishing business.
Sanjeev Kumar is simply brilliant as Amar Sen, in love with his wife but busy with the pressures of his job. Tanuja beautiful as Meeta and runs through a gamut of emotions ranging child-like naughtiness to a very philosophical maturity. Dinesh Thakur plays the other man, slightly unctuous, but mostly really a self centered man – very much like his role in the later Rajnigandha.
The dialogs are brilliantly penned: “I was thirsting for love every second that I knew Shashi. I never felt that eagerness to see you or wait for you. Do you know why? Because you quenched my thirst!” “A husband can get sick, stay at home and learn the many facets of his wife. But what does a wife have to do to learn about the husband?” “Main jaanti hoon tum kay kehna chahte ho. Tum samajh rahe ho ki main samajh gayi hoon!”
The movie was path-breaking for its time with most innovative situations in which music was used. The reality of Meeta’s daily life – be it drives through the streets of Mumbai or chopping vegetables in a kitchen. Kanu Roy composed beautiful music for Anubhav – Manna Dey sang Phir Kahin Koi Phool Khila and Geeta Dutt performed two outstanding numbers – Meri Jaan Mujhe Jaan Na kaho meri jaan, and the playful Koi Chupke se aake. The sublime lyrics were penned by Gulzaar. Anubhav released in 1971 and Geeta Dutt was gone in 1972. I think this might have been her last stint at playback singing and what a wonderful one it was.
In the final moments when Tanuja is trying to tell Sanjeev that he has no need for words – she understands – I saw shades of Kajol in her hyperactivity, but also saw how much better the mother was compared to the daughter! And such sensuous appeal!
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