Directed by: Yash Chopra
Starring: Amitabh Bachchan, Jaya Bachchan, Rekha, Sanjeev Kumar, Shashi Kapoor
Verdict: destroy every copy – horrible – bad – whatever – flawed but enjoyable - good – great – amazing
Shekar (Shashi Kapoor) is an army officer. Brave and disciplined while in uniform, unruly and almost childish out of it. He loves to spend his days with his head resting in the lap of Shobha (Jaya Bachchan), the girl he loves, planning their future together. And in the evening he likes to drink and be merry. Meanwhile his brother Amit (Amitabh Bachchan), a play-writer, actor and poet falls under a spell of Chandni (Rekha), a fresh and beautiful girl whom he saw dancing at his friend´s wedding. Sending her flowers and cassetes with his own voice, expressing all the gentle feelings she has woken up in his heart, he slowly wins her over. Just like his brother Amit now plans to get married. But then like a bolt out of the blue comes devastating news: Shekar has perished while on army mission. And it also turns out Shobha is pregnant with his child.
Amit decides to sacrifice his love for the sake of his brother´s fiancé and marries her, sending a message to Chandni that she better forget him. But even though he has the best will to make Shobha happy, neither him nor her are capable of being so. After they are involved in a car accident Shobha looses her unborn child and not both she and Amit are really desperate, because they find themselves trapped in a marriage without love and reason. While in hospital Amit meets Chandni again. She got married to a nice, honest doctor (Sanjeev Kumar), but does not really care for his feelings for her. On the contrary – the old love between her and Amit is rekindled and after a while they both succumb to their desires. However together with their passionate and secret affair comes carelessness and neither Shobha, who has learned to love her husband, neither Chandni´s spouse are blind. . .
|Amitabh and Jaya. Falling asleep just seeing them.|
I must admit that had it not been for the controversy related to this film I probably wouldn´t be even interested in watching it. Silsila, translated as „Affair“, came to the theaters at the time when the rumours and gossips were on about the alleged secret relationship between Amitbh Bachchan and Rekha. But not even this tidbit managed to lure enough audience and the film flopped. But this is Yash Chopra film and box office collections are not important for those, and just like Lamhe that flopped ten years later, Silsila is today among the revered classics.
The greatest strenght of the film is really powerful starcast. All the actors put a really honest work into their performances. Amitabh Bachchan, who has the meatiest role, is completely natural. Jaya an Rekha both compliment him. Sadly, even though Rekha is unarguable better actress, she does not have much to do except for looking sad and beautiful. Still her presence is strongly felt in every scene, and she does not even have to speak. Her dark gaze is enough to do the magic. I have never been a Jaya fan, she still yet has to convince me, but yes, she was good here, though not lovable despite being „the good one“. Interestingly enough there is much more on-screen chemistry going on between Big B and Rekha then Big B and Jaya.
|Amitabh and Rekha - hell yeah!|
The script deserves a credit for presenting well the points of view of all the characters and making one feel the pain they all go through. Silsila telling a story about extra-marital affair could have easily become a hysterical, sobbing and whining cliché with evil mistress and poor wife, but it did not. The story is told very sensitively and in the end you feel sorry for all the characters, which is quite rare. The most interesting message is that as long as something is forbidden, it may seem sweet and desirable, but as soon as it is permitted, it looses the charm and problems, not perceived before, emerge from the shadows.
My greatest problem with Silsila was incredibly slow pace of the film. It really gets boring at times. Not even several exciting-ish moments (will they catch them together/ will they not ) do not help and I kept staring at the timeline wishing it was finished already. And when the message at the end appeared – I wanted to die. „Love is faith and faith is forever“. Really? Like seriously? What the..... Songs are good and beautifully picturized, all bearing the uncanny Yash Chopra signature. Throw some plus points in for Amitabh Bachchan reciting poetry truly beautifully. When you´re in a mood for not-that-typical romance without much excitement, you can watch Silsila, even though you will, like me, probably only look for some secret signs happening between Big B and splendid Rekha.