Romance as a genre has been much exploited in Indian cinema. But seldom the concept of unrequited love is explored in detail. ‘Kabhi Kabhie’ is one of those rarities in Indian cinema that explores that grey area. Enacted by biggest stars of that era, helmed by a director, who later came to be known as the ‘king of romance’, it’s a beautiful and poignant take on relationships which can go beyond the social bond of marriage and that beloveds can remain beloveds without being betrothed.
It begins with a young poet Amit and his muse Pooja falling in love but not getting married as Pooja’s parents fix her wedding to Vijay, a successful architect. Heartbroken, Amit moves on from his poetry and marries Anju, who by the way has a daughter from a pre-marital relationship which she keeps hidden from Amit. The story moves forward twenty years and fate makes these characters meet again, as the next generation of the families gets into a complicated love triangle.
While the basic plot is essentially a series of love stories and their ultimate outcomes but the movie explores many themes underneath it. The love story between Amit and Pooja doesn’t turn into marital bliss due to the socioeconomic difference between the two, as Amit is a poet whereas Vijay is an architect. Vijay discovers that Amit and Pooja were in a relationship, at first he feels a sense of betrayal but then he reassures himself to be above than these petty thoughts. As human beings, Amit and Vijay are different like chalk and cheese. And it’s evident as they meet. While Amit has turned into a cynical man whereas Vijay is a jovial fellow. Vijay probably has an idea of his wife being in love with Amit and he lets out his thinly veiled contempt, by saying that he would have fallen in love with Pooja had he been in Amit’s place and Amit retorts back by saying –
Maaf kijiyega Vijay Sahab, Aap Soch Kuch Aur Rahein Hain.. Bol kuch aur rahein hain.
It’s a typical banter between two men, who have been in love with the same woman but cannot come to terms with it. It’s also a social commentary on a man’s suspicious view on a woman’s past, even if she has been committed in the relationship and has performed all her duties with responsibility. This is evident from Amit’s doubts about her wife of twenty years which he rectifies by apologizing to her. When Amit and Pooja meet after so many years, the pain resurfaces. While acknowledging the presence of another man/woman in each other’s lives, they try to converse about each other well being but end up questioning their choices. Pooja points out that Amit stopped writing but she always wanted him to continue as she would have remained forever in his heart through his poems. To this, Amit sadly remarks-
Mere dil ka who hissa….kambhaqt mera kab tha..
No discussion on ‘Kabhi Kabhie’ can culminate without mentioning Sahir Ludhiyanvi, who had penned the poems recited by Amit. The titular poem ‘Kabhi Kabhie’ depicts the pain and anguish of a man who has lost the love of his life. In the last lines of the poem, the poet writes these few lines :
Magar ye ho na saka, aur ab ye aalam hai
Ke tu nahin, tera gham, teri justajoo bhi nahin…
Guzar rahi hai kuchh is tarah zindagi,
jaise isse kisi ke sahaare ki arzoo bhi nahin….
These depict the philosophy of a man who has finally realized that his beloved is long gone leaving him bereft of every emotion. Without which his life goes through the daily monotony as if it does not need anything or anyone to share its pain and agony.
‘Kabhi Kabhie’ remains a classic in its true sense. Mature writing and amazing performances by the actors take the movie to a different level altogether. I leave you with these few lines, which perhaps, is better without the translation-
Kabhi raste mein mil jao toh katrakar guzar jana …
Humein is tarah takna jaise pechana nahi tumne …
Hamara zikr jab aaye toh yun anjaan ban jana …
Ki jaise naam sunkar bhi humein jana nahi tune…