It is very rare (especially for a man) to shed tears after watching a movie but this one does make you shed tears for Anand, the main protagonist played by the superstar of the 1970s, Rajesh Khanna. The movie has everything going for it. Acting, direction, story, music, dialogues etc, everything is fabulous. It has dollops of drama, humour and emotions. It is a story a dying man who looks at life with a positive attitude and enjoys his time knowing fully well his disease is incurable and that he is going to die soon.
Anand Sehgal (Rajesh Khanna) arrives in Mumbai to get treated for his lymph sarcoma of the intestine under Dr. Prakash (Ramesh Deo). He encounters the matron (Lalita Pawar) there and gets scared of her disciplinary attitude. He then befriends Prakashâ€™s colleague, Dr. Bhaskar Bannerjee (Amitabh) and tries to bring happiness in his life. Anand decides to stay with Bhaskar instead of getting admitted in Dr. Prakashâ€™s nursing home. Bhaskar is a no nonsense character who treats his patients with utmost seriousness and treats his life also in a similar way. He likes a girl (Sumita Sanyal) whom he treated for Malaria but is shy of expressing his love to her. The story moves on as Anand continues to befriend people from across the life. He meets his Murarilal (Johnny Walker) who runs a drama company of his own and also tries his hand in acting.
Rajesh Khanna as Anand is absolutely brilliant, this is his career-best performance, notwithstanding movies like Kati Patang, Roti, Aradhana, Amar Prem etc. You cannot think of any other actor in this role and to think Rajesh Khanna was not the original choice (Shashi Kapoor was). He makes you laugh and cry. He causes anxiety and goose bumps. Amitabh Bachchan is fantastic as babumoshai ( a name with which Raj Kapoor used to address the film's director Hrishikesh Mukherjee). He showed the world that the next superstar was coming, though he really "arrived" a couple of years later. The real life couple of Ramesh and Seema Deo appeared as real life couple in this movie and they performed superbly especially in the climax scene. The rest of the supporting cast is also excellent be it Johhny Walker (stands out) or Lalita Pawar or Dara Singh or Sumita Sanyal. Everyone is wonderful.
Watch out for the scene where Johnny Walker comes to meet Anand for the last time and could not control his tears when Anand says that God has not given him any more dialogues to speak. Walker comes out crying inconsolably and I bet most of the viewers cannot hold back their tears in this scene. The climax scene is the ultimate one and one of the best scene to have been shot in Indian cinema. Anand eventually passes away with Bhaskar dashing to get some homeopathy medicine hoping for a miracle and Bhaskar could not tolerate this. Bhaskar pens down a book in his memory and sums up everything in one line â€śAnand Mara nahin, Anand marte nahinâ€ť.
About the director Hrishikesh Mukherjee, what can one say, he is one of the best directors ever in the Indian film history. A guy with a complete repertoire, a complete entertainer (though people consider other directors to be more entertaining, real movie buffs will surely agree with me). All his movies that he directed since 1957 are worth a watch. Some are sheer brilliant whilst others watchable but nothing worse.
Simply put, this is one of the best Hindi movies ever made. Khanna and Bachchan respectively bagged the Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor Filmfare awards for this movie. Anand also got the Best Film award. Mukherjee, however lost out the Best Director award to his dear friend Raj Kapoor for his magnum opus Mera Naam Joker. Incidentally, Hrishikesh Mukherjee had penned the story of Anand keeping in mind his close relationship with Raj Kapoor. Kapoor was represented as Anand and Hrishida was Dr. Bhaskar.