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Anand & The Shawshank Redemption

April 17, 2008
There are movies and then there are movies that cease to be mere cinema for you. Those are not the movies which you just see, enjoy and forget. Those are movies which touch your heart, which are a kind of close personal experience for you. The characters are some one you relate to. If i were to name two movies which have touched me personally, which would be my all time favorites at any given time in my life, there are 2 movies which would come to my mind any time- Anand and The Shawshank Redemption.

In one way both movies are different. Anand(1970) is a movie about a cancer patient of the same name( Rajesh Khanna) who is not destined to live, and the relationship he has with his doctor( Amitabh Bachan). The Shawshank Redemption(1994) on the other hand is the story of Andy( Tim Robbins) who is imprisoned for the murder of his wife, and the friendship he has with Red( Morgan Freeman) a prison inmate.

But on a fundamental level, both movies deal with friendship. In Anand it is the friendship between Anand and Babu Moshai, while in Shawshank it is between Andy and Red. Both movies given an inspiring message- Anand tells us to take life as it is and enjoy every moment of it, while Shawshank is about “Hope is always a Good thing”. While Anand has a cheerful tone most of the movie, but ends in tragedy, Shawshank has a depressing tone through most of the movie, but ends with an uplifting climax. Both movies are narrated by one of the lead actors- Anand by Amitabh Bachan and Shawshank by Morgan Freeman, both actors famous for their rich dialogue delivery.

But it is in the treatment of it’s characters that make these 2 movies a special experience. The biggest irony is that Anand who is fated to die, is always cheerful, always happy, spreading hapiness. But deep inside he is aware of the tragedy awaiting him. As he says in a memorable dialog “Tujhe main Kya Aashirwad du behen, yeh bhi nahin ki mere umar tujhe lag jaaye”. In sharp contrast is Babu Moshai, who is cynical with life. He hates the fact that as a doctor, he is not able to save the lives of poor people, while he has to cater to the imaginary ailments of rich people. Babu Moshai is torn between his sense of idealism and having to live in a real world, something which his friend, Dr. Prakash, has already made. Prakash is a more worldly wise man, having adjusted with life.

Babu Moshai initially hates Anand, he feels that he is not taking things seriously. But he like others is slowly won over Anand’s infectious friendliness. Not just won over, he becomes Anand’s closest friend. The dialogues and scenes between Anand and Babu Moshai, are one of the most memorable ones in the history of Indian cinema. As Anand says “Zindagi aur maut ke khel hum sab katputhli hai”. To the end while Anand, is ready to accept his fate, Babu Moshai now wants to save him. And the final irony comes when he shakes up Anand’s lifeless body demanding that he speak to him. This when he initially admonished Anand for talking too much.

Andy and Red posses similar contrasting personalities. Andy is outwardly introverted, soft spoken and quiet. He is a person who keeps to himself. But deep inside he posses an infinite reservoir of inner strength. He is tortured, abused by his captor, has to help out his corrupt warden in laundering his money, yet his spirit is never broken. He keeps on digging that escape tunnel inch by inch which will take him out of prison. Red on the other hand is outgoing and street smart. He has learnt to live within the prison, and bend the rules to his own advantage. Yet deep inside Red is insecure and cynical. His outgoing nature is a mere facade to mask his own insecurity. He is not used to living in the normal world, so much that he dreads going outside.

But it is the friendship with Andy, that has an impact on Red’s life. In a memorable scene, when Red warns Andy not to be too hopeful as it can be dangerous, Andy answers back saying “Hope is never dangerous Red, Hope is always a good thing, hope keeps a man Alive”. Much later, at the end of the movie when Red is released from prison, and wondering what to do, he reads Andy’s letter, and that again comes with same message. Red teaches Andy how to survive in prison, Andy teaches Red how to live and survive in the real world.

Anand and the Shawshank Redemption. Anand & Babu Moshai, Andy & Red. Two different movies, two different sets of characters. But yet both movies deal with friendship, both movies offer an uplifiting message. And both movies are all time classics that will never be forgotten.

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From → 90's Hollywood

One Comment
  1. yoohoo to shawshank redemption. Thanks to the upteen re-runs of it on TV I have had a chance to enjoy a wonderful movie over and over again. maybeiots cos i love Morgan freeman and his soothing voice. another favorite is his "driving miss daisy". There is something about movies which are slow paced and with old world charm which is so heartfelt and cozy.

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