Khushboo – Fragrance!
This movie starring Jeetendra and Hema Malini was released in 1975. That makes it more than 40 years old. 1975 was a very significant year for Gulzar as two of his other beautiful movies released the same year – Aandhi and Mausam. Aandhi and Mausam both were milestones in their own ways. Mausam dealt with the story of estranged lovers and also about a father and daughter relationship. And Aandhi, another exceptional movie, as everyone knows was rumored to be based on the life of Indira Gandhi. Both were sensational, controversial and grabbed more eyeballs. In comparison the modest Khushboo became only a marginal hit. However, the magic of Khushboo always lingers – just like the fragrance of an incense.
Khushboo is story of Kusum (Hema Malini) and Brindavan (Jeetendra) who are engaged at a very young age. However, due to some family feuds the engagement is broken off. Brindavan grows up to be a doctor and one day coincidently meets Kusum and comes to know that she is still unmarried. However, Brindavan now is a father to a child named Charan. He had to marry Lakhi (Sharmila Tagore) in some difficult circumstances and who now is no more. From here, Khushboo is a journey of Brindavan and Kusum and their eventual union.
It is about Kusum – a strong willed woman who doesn’t want to be taken back by her husband out of mercy. She wants back her rightful place in Brindavan’s home but with respect. It is about Brindavan, who is torn between his feelings for Kusum, for his mother and also his duty as a doctor. And within all this, it is also about Brindavan’s and Kusum’s mutual bonding and respect.
Like I mentioned about Ijaazat, maturity of characters is one of Gulzar’s strongest traits. And its equally evident in Khsuboo as well. Especially Kusum is carved so perfectly that one fails to point out any flaw in her. She is always caring, full of compassion and respect for Brindavan and his mother, never raises her voice or fights back. From the heart she is broken, hurt and miserable and she yearns to be with her soulmate. But she bravely rejects to go back unless she is given the respect and recognition she deserves.
And about Jeetendra – I guess it is one of his best performances. One look at all the Jeetendra movies and the ones which stand out?? Parichay, Kinara and Khushboo, isn’t it? Pleasantly all three have Gulzar as a director. It feels like the jumping jack of the seventies found his true calling with only Gulzar. In Khushboo specially, he is extremely poised and dignified. The dialogue delivery could have been much better, but the body language makes up for it.
One extremely important facet of this movie is its environment – a small village somewhere in Uttar Pradesh or Bangal. The entire atmosphere of the “Gaon” is so endearing that it feels like you can actually smell the cow dung or the grass. Throughout the story, this background is beautifully merged with the story and gives it a beautiful “Desi” aura. You actually want to go inside that calm, peaceful and rustic village and be one with it.
Khushboo might not be the best movie in terms of cinematic techniques, it has some of its tacky and dramatic moments. But Khushboo is an amazing example of creating perfect characters. It is about beautifully weaving vulnerability and strength together to create those truthful moments on screen. It is about expressing those profound emotions but with the subtle gestures. It is about a woman’s “Adhikaar” but also about her loving “surrender”. It is about the “fragrance of love” that stays for long !!!
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