Close on the heels of the success of Lage Raho Munna Bhai, comes the 50th
anniversary of V Shantaram's
Do Ankhein Bara
which resonates with the Mahatma's
philosophy of love and compassion.
Rajkamal Kala Mandir, V
Shantaram's production house, has planned several events to commemorate the
Bollywood classic that mirrored the Nehruvian innocence of the '50s.
On Tuesday, Kiran Shantaram,
former Mumbai sheriff and son of the late filmmaker, presided over a function at
Kolhapur, where a chunk of the film was shot and unspooled memories of the
bygone era of Hindi cinema.
"We will have more such
programmes in Mumbai, Thane and Pune in collaboration with local film
societies," said Chandrakant Patil of Rajkamal Kala Mandir.
was inspired by the
'open-prison' experiment in the princely state of Oundh near Pune. The
progressive rulers carried out prison reforms, along with an Irish psychiatrist,
it is said.
Litterateur-lyricist G D
Madgulkar recounted the story to Shantaram. Seized with the idea, the film-maker
weathered opposition from his colleagues and Madgulkar and decided to go ahead
with the film.
...' lacked the colour and grandeur
Jhanak Jhanak Payal
, Shantaram's earlier venture, a
autobiography, Shantaram recalls the cold response from Bollywood bigwigs after
a pre-release screening at Rajkamal studios.
"None of them stayed behind to
congratulate me. Only Vijaybhai Bhatt (of Prakash Pictures) said I had offered
'something new' to the film industry".
After a dull start, the film
picked up tempo and cash registers at Mumbai's Opera House were jingling for 65
Aye maalik tere
, Lata Mangeshkar's prayer song,
blazed across the country, and in neighbouring Pakistan too.
Ankhein Bara Haath
touched the nation's
chord as it revolved round the universal concepts of love and brotherhood," said
Usha Prabhatkumar, Shantaram's daughter-in-law.
Moreover, the film meshed with
the lyrical humanism and deep idealism which marked the works of stalwarts such
as Bimal Roy, Mehboob Khan and Guru Dutt.
Commercial success was
followed by critical acclaim.
Do Ankhein Bara
bagged the Golden Bear at the 1957
Berlin film festival (for its "profound and poetic symbolism and strong human
appeal") and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association's Samuel Goldwyn award.
In India, V Shantaram won a
clutch of awards, including best national film and best director. In a classic
example of life imitating art, the film triggered reforms in many prisons across