Thursday, 19 January 2012


Directed by: Hrishikesh Mukherjee
Starring: Jaya Bhaduri, Dharmendra, Utpal Dutt
Released: 1971

Verdict: destroy every copy – horrible – bad – whatever – flawed but enjoyable - good – great – amazing

We have all been there. At one point or another. For some of us it lasted a long time, some snapped out of it rather quickly. But I have yet to meet the person who would not be familiar with it (and if they are denying it, they are still doing it). Fangirling. When liking a celebrity grows and grows until it becomes sort of an obsession. And especially young girls take it to a whole different level altogether. They not only draw the names of their favourite on their exercise books and they don´t only dream with open eyes about meeting their idol. They actually think that the tingling around their hearts upon seeing him is love, that feelings they have been hearing about since forever. How many times have you read comments by girls screaming they want to bear their idol´s babies, how many times have you come across girl crying over their idol having a girlfriend, how many times did you roll your eyes out of sheer frustration over the girls confessing their undying and eternal passion for celebrities. With the invention and still growing popularity of the internet it may seem fangirling of this kind is a matter new age, but Guddi shows us that it is not at all a new concept.
Fangirls. They all look innocent from the outside.
Guddi is an ordinary high-school girl bored with homework and devouring film news, loving short dresses and fangirling Dharmendra (I sincerely cannot blame her). Almost daily she sneaks out of school with her friends and they attack the local cinema, just to watch his movies over and over again. Being motherless, brought up by her father, brother and his wife, Guddi is given a lot of personal freedom, which she cleverly uses, and no wonder she is not too happy once they all suddenly start to treat her like an adult (which basically means her nickname is immediately forgotten, she becomes Kusum, she is forced to change her short dresses for a saree and most importantly her sister-in-law turns into a matchmaker). Once her bhabhi´s brother Navin appears on the horizon, apparently quite taken by the girl, Guddi is highly alarmed, but hoping she´s imagining things just yet. No doubts however, are left once Navin takes her to Mumbai to stay with her uncle for a time, and at the first opportunity asks for her hand. However Guddi shatters his heart with a confession – she is already married!
Now try to top that.
Or rather – she has entered into a spiritual relationship with.... Dharmendra (who knows about it just about much as Shahrukh Khan knows he is MINE.... you get the idea). And she is ready to nourish this impossible love til her death, because he is already married (huh.... I guess Hema Malini took fangirling to even greater heights....). While Navin is frankly baffled by all this and apparently completely unfamiliar with the concept of worshiping film heroes as he pours out his wounded heart into a diary and decides to grieve for the rest of the film, Guddi´s much smarter uncle decides to actually contact Dharmendra, who, after some convincing, agrees to play a part in showing Guddi that all is not gold that glitters, or to be more precise – that there is more difference between real and reel world than just mere play of letters....

The film is incredibly simplistic in both narration and picturization, which gives it both realistic feel and endearing charm. The rather unglamorous heroine is a perfect representation of millions of teenage girls on their way to adulthood and understanding of true values that goes hand in hand with it. I may severely dislike Jaya Bachchan in most of her films and off-screen, but she was the best possible choice for Guddi, looking and acting without much drama or attempts to go over the top. I actually liked her more as a Dharmendra-bessoted fan than a matured ready-to-become-a-dulhan woman from the second part of the film, and it would seem the makers did too, because that is where other characters, namely her uncle and Dharmendra, mostly take over and draw your full attention to themselves.
As charming as the movie is the rather monotonous narrative makes it seem lifeless at parts. There is hardly any music – and out of the three songs the best one is actually the one originally from Madhumati (Aaja re pardesi), that just sounds wrong coming out of anyone´s lips but Vyjayanthimala´s. The character of Navin is highly unimpressive, not to say he lacks some common sense of an adult man.

In a way the movie reminded me a bit of Om Shanti Om (that of course came much much later), thanks to quite a large number of star cameos from Amitabh Bachchan and Mala Sinha to Pran and Om Prakash, as well as attempting to show not too exciting and far less dreamy reality of the film-making, in which uncomlicated Guddi of course does actually better job than loud, colourful and over the top OSO, but still the feeling of similarity was there. Guddi seems to be a little tribute to all those who help to create the film fantasy for others to enjoy, be it the producers, script writers, stuntmen, but also electricians, spot boys and even journalists. Interestingly enough as Guddi grows more and more tired of all the make-believe stuff that once she held for real and admirable, the more I was falling in love with the art of film-making....  At the same time though, there was a nagging thought if this was the real, actual state of things or did the maker painted it still more pink than the reality?
Don´t worry. You are the one who gets her for real.

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