It could be a result of watching a 16:9 enhanced format without ‘adjusting’, but there is no ‘buxsomness’ in sight here, everyone courses through ‘Deedar-e-Yaar’ (1982, H S Rawail) with streamlined figures, even Preeti Ganguly. (Refer to the Stars of the Indian Screen here for delightful descriptions of buxsomness. And streamlined figures.)
This is a boon because the pleasure of watching a Muslim social are the shararas and the sherwanis. With Bhanu Athaiya and Leena Daru (and Ruhi Rawail) in charge of the costumes, there is much to entice the eye. Tina Munim makes a style statement in burkha and shiny jewelry. She also wears some nightdresses, that make being covered up seriously glamorous.
In one scene, Firdaus (Tina Munim) buys 4 thick bangles and a necklace for Rs. 4700, and the jeweler says she has been over-charged by Rs. 500, which makes me sigh with disbelief, much as I did at my mother’s stories when we were children, about chocolates that cost less than 1 paisa.
Tina Munim’s caramel skin sparkles with a school-girlish mischief. This works well for her here, as her role in the film is to look beautiful enough to inspire ‘deewangi’. Apart from that, she is pretty much the helpless girl who is controlled by father, brother (a rather anxious looking Deven Verma), lover, husband. Shriram Lagoo even does the honor killing threat, not killing himself, as I hoped he would, but threatening to kill his daughter to keep the honor of his Changezi khaandan intact. This puts me off the rest of the film, so luckily that bit comes towards the end.
Rishi Kapoor and Jeetendra play the earnest lovers of a rather bland Tina. But they cannot out-beat Rekha who excels at doing the ‘rakasa’ (dancer) with a bleeding heart, and self-sacrificing love. She believes in always being dressed to the hilt, even when she is stabbing herself while a room full of people watch her dying with the camera circling around her or even when she becomes a ghost. In a dream sequence, she exchanges her churidars for temple saris, while Jeetendra sticks to his sherwanis.
Nirupa Roy glistens in pearl grey and cream shararas and does a flourishing movement with her hand on more than one occasion as she greets people into her house, that sets the Lucknowi tone of the film. Urmila Bhatt however, playing wife to the Changezi Shriram Lagoo looks too harried to do justice to her costumes.
More visual pleasure is to be procured from the sets by Sudhendu Roy. Lucknow is recreated through impressions, havelis with painted perspectives, terraces with painted views, and a tent guest house which looks cleaner and more spacious than a hotel room would. The Urdu dialogues by Dr. Rahi Mazoom Reza, are not-too-difficult to understand and add to the Lucknowi flavor of the film.
For some reason, I particularly like the sequences at the Urs. The Urs is cleverly recreated with one mazar (shrine) in the foreground, and a crowded mela (fair) in the background. The guest house tent belongs to the same scenes, as does the hilltop with a lake in the background where Firdaus (Tina) and Javed (Rishi) sneak off for their romantic rendezvous. They are accompanied by a bevy of 6 giggling cousins, who are visiting Firdaus from Iran, which somehow makes the romance come real, even if the flowers on the hill are color-co-ordinated, pink flowers matching Tina’s pink outfit, and blue flowers for when she wears blue.