If you don’t know already, I’m a sucker for romance. If a movie’s leading couple has great onscreen chemistry, I’m willing to forget minor plot holes, a lack of philosophy, even angst (because romance and angst go hand in hand, sadly).
So Tarana basically made my week.
Gosh, whenever someone mentions this movie, it’s for the chemistry, the sparks between Dilip Kumar and Madhubala. I think their romance was a lot more controlled, which is not quite the word I’m looking for, but less (physical? no….) ABANDONED than Raj and Nargis’s. Raj and Nargis are my #1 filmi couple at this point, but Dilip-Madhubala gave them a serious run for their money. I had already loved them from Mughal E-Azam, but most of that movie was made after the messy break-up.
Someone mentioned on another blog that Dilip seemed like he was giving only 60% on the scenes in Mughal E Azam, but you really have to look at how emotionally taxing that movie was after all they had been through. Madhubala’s health declined noticeably afterwards.
But I’m not reviewing MEA, am I? I’m reviewing Tarana!
And from the moment Dilip Kumar walked in the door after his plane crashed, I could tell we were in for a wild and beautiful ride. However, I tend to yell at the screen when I am emotionally riled, so be prepared for my transcribed comments.
Dilip is playing Motilal, a handsome young doctor just returning from abroad, whose, as luck would have it, plane crashes in a scenic village with a wild girl in it. He is coming home after finishing his studies as a doctor, to a rather excitable father and the beautiful Shyama, his arranged fiancee.
Cue Tarana (Madhubala), who spends her time playing with her goat and avoiding her rather oversized suitor, Totaram. This goat is instrumental in this movie (not really, but he’s adorable).
Totaram is sick with jealousy when he hears that a foreigner has come to the town, and is staying in Tarana’s house with her blind father. With Motilal is a sick woman, who he has adopted as his mother. Motilal and Tarana don’t hit it off right away and Tarana yells at him a bit, but soon she comes around and helps out Motilal with the treatment of the sick woman. Or at least, she tries.
Tarana asks him afterwards if she can go, (Dilip Kumar doesn’t hear a word she’s saying because she’s got her hand on his shoulder), and Moti asks where to. She replies that she’s going to her saiyyan, that he doesn’t eat if she doesn’t feed him and play with him. Moti seems disappointed and a bit bewildered, and he doesn’t really want to meet said saiyyan. In fact, he starts insulting him. Poor Saiyyan! Only a goat and yet causing so much jealousy!
And here follows one of the most… voyeuristic, I should say, parts of this movie. They’re not doing anything wrong though. There are no kisses in this movie- even when the romantic tension builds up so much I’m afraid both of them will spontaneously combust. In fact, there are no kisses in any movies of this time period, and yet they have some of my favorite romances! I think because the characters aren’t allowed to relieve and show their love physically, they are forced to emotionally and through different gestures. But, I’m not going to spoil what the voyeuristic moment was, because a) it makes me uncomfortable to explain it 2) I think watching a movie is better if you don’t know the specifics about the best scenes.
So much love seems to be driving Madhubala insane. Note: She is trying to feed a picture of Moti different types of food.
So perhaps it’s good that Moti scares her by telling her he has to leave. Eventually he finds his way back, because he can’t bear to leave her weeping for him (awwww <3). They continue frolicking. Gah. My heart.
But, alas! After so much happiness, Totaram is determined to mess things up. The lovers get caught in the ruins overnight in a storm and have a private little storm of love of their own. Nothing improper, but everyone assumes the worst about Taraana and Moti. But this scene- I don’t want to sound like a broken record repeating “love,” “intensity,” and “chemistry” over and over again, but my God. This scene.
The next morning, Taraana’s dad and the villagers storm in on the couple and tell Moti to get the heck out of there. He leaves, but turns back when he hears Tarana scream after being beaten by her father. Moti is beaten nearly to death, and left on the ground (although at this point I think the dad should have urged them to be married and then disowned Tarana, instead of what he actually did), until Shyama and his father come and nurse him back to life. Unfortunately, they also take him back to the city, and the lovers are left pining for each other.
Moti tries to send a message to Tarana to tell her that he will come and marry her, but the postman gives the letter to Totaram (This is where the yelling starts. Me: YOU IDIOT POSTMASTER YOU SUCK AT YOUR JOB). Scared, Totaram conjures up some more lies about Tarana. Father’s solution? BURN HER ALIVE!
Now, why didn’t Tarana tell him, no, I never went to see this old woman, I didn’t do anything, for God’s sake, get your mind together, old man, have some faith in me. I don’t know! Maybe she decided that Moti would never come back for her? Maybe she just didn’t care anymore? But anyways, Moti arrives just as the house is burning down, and the villagers don’t let him go in to save her and her father (Me: YOU CHOOSE NOW TO SAVE HIM YOU STUPID VILLAGERS). Yeah. Dilip returns home and pines away for her, in the loving arms of Shyama (I feel really bad for Shyama, but she seems to be training for hypnosis in this part of the movie and kind of scares me.)
But Madhu isn’t dead! Gasp!
Will the lovers find each other? If you want to find out yourself, stop reading.
In the end, I loved this movie, not for the angst or message or scenery (which is really hard to portray in black and white), but for the romance. As far as I could tell, the message was not even “Love conquers all” but mostly “Love ignores all and does whatever the heck it wants.” And you know what? With Dilip Kumar and Madhubala, that is absolutely fine with me. Give me more, in fact.
So, what movies do you think would appeal to my hopelessly romantic minds? You have no idea how much I want to know. Share in the comments!