I am going to go berserk with the screen caps once again. There is so much beauty in this film, if I had my way I would upload the entire film for your viewing pleasure. I have been trying so hard in the last couple of weeks to write about ‘Anmol Moti’. But there’s so little to say, so much just to watch.
My mind gets stuck with the first few sequences of the film, Gokul (Jayant) calling himself a ‘paani ka keedha’,
the romance between his son, Manik (Jagdeep) and Lakshmi (Shabnam) under water,
their marriage night and their bedroom with boats in the background outside their beach side window,
and the morning after,
which is also Nariyal Poornima. The festival is celebrated with a vigorous dance choreographed by Gopi Kishen, for Lakshmi and her friends which include Jayshree T,
culminating in the young men of the village going deep-sea diving to look for pearls.
I can’t think of any other Hindi commercial film where the location and the profession of the people is so integrated with the plot. Except perhaps some dacoit films.
People run into the sea, dive in, romance under water, fight under water,
look for pearls under water, get killed under water. Their livelihoods are threatened by rich people wanting to take over their sea, bringing in holiday resorts and foreign tourists who want to deep-sea dive.
The deep sea is also full of plastic plants of the aquarium variety, shells and stones, and a brown octopus with a steely eye who lives for generations and keeps guard over the pearls, and kills anyone who invades his territory.
The underwater scenes take on a different look altogether with the fabulous fisher woman costumes designed by Miss Meena Advani and Miss Neena, who seem to have a fondness for red and turquoise blue.
The fisher woman costumes, including the hair accessories, are not too different from the ones Koli women actually wear, though just that little bit more glamorous.
Even Sir Harisingh, (Sapru) Vijay’s father, wears a blood-red dressing gown,
there are foreign girls in red swimsuits,
and the baby who plays young Rupa wears a red frock.
Rupa (Babita), Gokul’s grand-daughter, also lives partly in water,
partly on land.
She romances Vijay (Jeetendra) underwater,
has a dream sequence in a giant sea shell
in a pond full of firangi synchronized swimmers,
hides from Vijay in water,
and even fights evil western tourist girls underwater. (Sorry, there is no image here, it was just a blur.)
Jeetendra is quite subdued under all this colour and beauty, though he does get to hug a tree
while watching Babita bathe,
which should have been creepy, but is quite cute, given his puppy dog young face. And he gets to hug Babita while she hugs a tree.
Young Jeetendra oozes sexuality not with his looks, but his sheer energy.
Veena plays Jeetendra’s mother and is sadly under-utilized.
I never seem to get my head around a submissive Veena. But she does get to deliver the moral of the story at the end.
I would have done a salaam to the story writer and director, S D Narang and his cameraman, Sudhin Mazumdar, if it were not for this sequence with Gokul and his young orphan grand-daughter Rupa, who he has to take with him on the boat while fishing, since there is no one to take care of her. He falls unconscious because he is ill, and the baby is left alone in a rocking boat.
These shots of the baby were just not funny,
and the baby was crying so hard,
that I would have liked to slap her parents or guardians and everyone associated with filming this scene.
So as not to end on a sad note, there was also a Koli TunTun eating boiled eggs, while sitting on a Rajendranath chair.
There is even some special underwater music composed by Ravi, and most of the important characters dance to it, at some time or the other.
I would say Babita dancing underwater, beats ‘Jaws’ any day, even if the deep sea does look like a murky swimming pool in most shots.