Friday, November 04, 2005

Vijeta(The Victor) -1982

Shashi Kapoor's film valas which was producing some quality movies with good director's roped in Govind Nihalani to do a movie for them, the result was vijeta.

Vijeta is the coming of age story of Angad (Kunal Kapoor).Confused like any other teenager trying to find himself and caught in between the broken relationship of his mother Neelima(rekha) and father nihal(shashi kapoor).It is time for him to decide what he wants to do with his life.To select a profession and be someone, Angad chooses army.what follows is his struggle to become a victor both with his self and the outer world.

The movie is narrated very well, except for the too many scenes of flying fighter planes, height of it is when angad expresses his love and the scene cuts to a jet flying. It starts in a dramatic masala film style,with the scene of sardar shashi kapoor witnessing the riots, followed by the usual nihalani style bad dreams.All the tension generated by the dreams of the night are cleared by the beautiful sunrise and a morning song.

The characters are developed slowly, the important characters are nihal and angad. Neelima the mother is the other important character in the movie, unlike the usual docile mother with no intrests of her own,she is a independent woman with firm footing in the family. She is a professor who learns music even in that age and stays with her husband only for her son.

Nihal the man who faced the horrors of partition wants to be the protective father and like many other indian parent, he is also opposed to the idea of angad joining the army.He sees the army in terms of the security and how much money one can earn out of it rather than as a career of pride and all round development.Neelima intervenes and tells him

"you understood yourself and the world through the partition, Let him fight his battles to understand himself".

And that's what exacly Angad does. He steps into the world of army as a confused young man. He is still the teenager coming to terms with his self, he is afraid of heights and horse diving, only defends in the boxing matches and is shy to express his love.An accident with the horse takes him to the brink off quitting his dream.But he hangs on to his dream, the army training, the pride and the competition among the peers gives him a new goal, to become a successful fighter pilot.

He finds a new family with his friends, who all are from different region and religion. Through him and his friends we come to know about the dreams,aspirations, backgrounds of army men and what unites them at the army. They all find their inspirations with their superiors likes varghese and others.

In a earlier scene the mama's boy angad sits in a car and watches a thief being chased and beaten by the public, but after the army training when he is traveling in a train and robbers triet to loot a fellow passenger in the train. He and wilson dare the knives of the robbers and get stabbed.He knows his social responsibility now,he does not fear about death and is very clear of moral standing.His morals are clear, his growth is complete ,he has become an army man.

The movie is not just the story of the angad, it is packed with so many things. Govind again plays in his favorite ground of dealing with the inner daemons of his character's and taking the audiences upclose and personal with the characters.Angad trying to find himself amongst the broken relationship of his parents and sashi kapoor fighting with his past memories of partition are the examples.

He also highlights the complexities of relationships, the son who hates his father starts liking him, an overjoyed mother cries to see the father and son hug and like each other,the son who hated his father later becomes the one to take care of him, like the theme of utsab the construction and deconstruction continues but the structure remain the same.Also Like many nihalani movies he raises lot of questions. why army is not looked into as a career of complete development?.Which is worse war or riots? etc.

Apart from all that this movie is simply an ode to army men, not many people know the separate world that exists in the army quaters and among army personels.The pride of being in a particular battalion/squadron, the pride of being a fighter pilot, the pride of working under a certain superior, the pride of dieing bravely and so many other things that matters the most to an army man.Through Angad's eyes nihalani captures all these and the essence of army life, their parties, their ball room dances, their courage, sacrifice, their pride, their discipline, their morality and everything that differentiates them from the common man.No cheesy patriotic dialogues, no pakistan bashing, no tear jerking sacrifices, nihalani simply shows the soul of an army man through angad.

Cast and credits:
Shashi Kapoor .... Nihal
Rekha .... Neelima
Supriya Pathak .... Anna Verghese
Kunal Kapoor .... Angad
Amrish Puri .... Chief Instructor Verghese
Om Puri .... Arvind (Angad's uncle, Mama)
Dina Pathak .... Angad's grandmother (Biji)
Shafi Inamdar .... Parulkar
K.K. Raina .... Wilson
Madan Jain .... Venkat
Raja Bundela .... Aslam
Arvind Deshpande ... Dr.Deshmukh

The movie has a good cast the father son pair of shashi kapoor and kunal kapoor have become father and son in the movie also.Both of them have done their part well and so did rekha, amrish puri, supriya pathak and the rest.

Ompuri comes for a few scenes as angad's uncle.He is the army guy who introduces angad into army. In those few scenes he shows up, ompuri's is upright and straight you can see an army man in his body language.

Angad has three friends at the army.wilson(k.k.raina), aslam(raja bundela) and venkat(madhan jain).K.K raina especially has done a good job as a competitive army man with a fire in him. Shafi Inamdar is their officer. Arvind despande the army doctor and Achyut Potdar a superior

If you are wondering about the simple and beautiful costumes worn by rekha and supriya pathak. costumes are by jeniffer kendal.

Unlike his earlier movie vijeta does not have much light play as far as cinematography is concerned, Yes there are those scenes of night lamps working their magic on the characters but not as dramatic as aakroash.

Chief assistant director is rajkumar santhoshi.

Music is by ajit verman.It has one song
1)Man Aanand Aanand by asha bhonsle

Watched this movie long time back. One scene that I still remember vividly is the strong yet soft reaction of Rekha after Shashi's mother passes away.
Didn't know it was directed by Nihalani!
I loved the planes!!!!!!
Yes it is a govind nihalani movie.Watch it again, you might be able to appreciate more mow.

Once or twice was ok, but i though there were too many shots.
i have seen it 14 times starting from 1986 to i guess 1999 when i saw it is simply the best what indian cinema can produce...all have acted so well..........this is the only movie where the military life has been shown deftly......unlike many other flicks of bollywood...hats off to sashi kapoor and govind nihalani.,superb direction and cinematography..i plan to watch it everytime i get a chance .....
Dhaval Maniar

A wonderful movie, a source of inspiration and motivation. The best thing about the movie is that it depicts indepth about the air force life. A good movie to learn the art of HR management
this is one of the greatest movies ever to be in indian cinema a must watch
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