There are good movies that you want to watch again and again and then there are great movies, which even after viewing once have the power to move you, jolt you and make you think. Saaransh is a movie in the latter category. It's a story of despair, search, purpose and above all hope. It's a story that could as a plot would look very simple but requires an extraordinary flair for presenting it onscreen. You see that this comes from the very heart of the Mahesh Bhatt, one of the best from him ever, when you understand that it is entirely his movie. Brilliant writing, brilliant dialogues, brilliant direction and brilliant screenplay.
Saaransh is a story of an old couple, B.V Pradhan and Parvati (played by Anupam Kher and Rohini Hattangadi respectively), who are living their lives at a point where there is no meaning to life. Their son, who was studying in America, gets killed in an unfortunate mugging event with no fault of his. Pradhan and Parvati could not even visit their dying son and all that is left of him is his ashes. Pradhan sprays it over the nearby park. With loss of all the purpose they had in their life, their son, there is no meaning left to their lives anymore. They have rented their house to a budding actress Sujata (Soni Razdan) for the want of money. Sujata's boyfriend Vilas (Madan Jain) happens to be son of a politician Gajanan Chitre (Nilu Phule).
Pradhan in search of finding a livelihood goes on to search a job where he sees young and able people struggling for jobs all over. The state of the country with rampant riots, unemployment and all the problems that an ailing country could have, moves Pradhan, who had once been the freedom fighter for the country.
While getting back from the job interview to home, he finds that riots are happening all over the city. He tries to run away in the havoc, but could not find a way to take home. In the subway back, where he is taking each step with a fear in his heart of not reaching home at all, sees some goons, who comes to him, takes his money, beats him up. Humiliated he keeps on saying "Main tumhare baap jaisa hu..." but the goons go only on police's arrival. This event brings to Pradhan's imagination all that his son must have faced before dying. Though you don't see what he is thinking on screen but his face tells it all.
He does not want to live this life of humiliation anymore and wants to die with respect. Vilas saves him from a futile suicide attempt. And just when the couple were about the take poison for killing themselves they discover that Sujata has conceived Vilas' child and Vilas does not want it as his father is going to fight an election soon. Sujata wants the child and Pradhan get ready to support them. Parvati feels it is coming home for his son through Sujata and is obsessed with the feeling.
Then starts the story of a 'hopeless' life getting a purpose. An old couple against the might of the big politcian to save a child who is not yet born. The fearless Pradhan gets back to his old freedom struggle in fighting for the rights of Sujata. The story paces fast from here to show how the couple wins against all the odds to save Sujata and Vilas and make them go to another city. The end shows the couple with a zeal to live, with a thought that even if we are not there, life will always be there and it is this life which we should live for.
And the best dialogue for the film comes at the end when Anupam Kher after all ups and downs of life decides to "live" and tells his wife who is planning to die that they have to live and that "Tumhari chehre ki jhurrio mein mere jeevan ka saaransh hai" (In the wrinkles of your face lies the gist of my life). Very touching. Also at the end we see their sons ashes turning into flowers of the garden and both of them touching the flowers feeling the life they have, which too is a part of them.
Anupam Kher acts his part with sheer brilliance, he carries the film all on himself. He plays an old man in his first film! He won a Filmfare Award for an act in the parallel cinema. He just proves his grasp over the character in certain scenes, depicting despair and hope. Rohini Hattangadi's performance comes just next to her performance in Gandhi. Nilu Phule looks sinster, Madan Jain and Soni Razdan carry their role very well. Then there are certain characters that will leave their mark on you mind even with their small roles, whether it be the pandit, or Pradhan's friend, or Dr. Bhatt, or the goons, everyone plays their part well.
Ajit Varman gives a good music as the film demanded. Dialogue, screenplay and writing are simply fabulous, all credits to Mahesh Bhatt for etching the characters so well. You just live the lives of the characters while going through the movie. I want to see the same Mahesh Bhatt back in action.
Two important people involved in this movie but were not so famous then who are worth mentioning are David Dhawan and Sooraj Barjatya. The movie was marketed by Rajshri Productions and Sooraj Barjatya was the assistant director for the movie. He later went on to create a cinema style of his own. And so is true with David Dhawan who did the editing of this film.
Do watch the classic. If I was born then and had to rate this, I would not have given it below a 9-star rating.