Silsila is the most “Mature” love story of Bollywood crafted by the “King of Romance” YashChopra. It deals with passionate love, sacrifices, marital bond & extra-marital affair. It flopped after its release in 1981 but gained a strong cult following and remains a classical phenomenon on T.V screens till date. This movie shows us the passionate as well as the wicked side of love.
The movie is rumoured (accurately) to have been inspired by the alleged love affair of its lead pair (the most talked about scandal of Bollywood). In his last interview, YashChopra revealed the stories behind its making. He had originally chosen Smita Patil & Parveen Babi as female leads but found something missing. After consulting AB & with his approval he approached Rekha & Jaya. The cast assured him of no issues at their end and promised him a thorough professional support ; while Shashi Kapoor was casted as the brother, Sanjeev Kumar was sceptical & initially refused as he didn’t want to get side-lined once again after Trishul & Sholay. However after the narration he agreed as he enjoyed working with Jaya (they belonged to the same school of arts). The cast participated in their best capacity. AB gave his voice for the songs; Neela Asman was composed by him along with ShammiKapoor while shooting for Zameer & the folk song was a beautiful Harinvansh Rai Bachhan composition. The song “Ye kahan” was recorded separately by Lataji & AB and they missed the opportunity to record together. The films Music was melodious & gained instant popularity.
Rekha was enchanting, fascinating, ravishing as Chandni, a role she played with her classic “Original” sensuality. Chandni was lively, sultry, romantic & Rekha portrayed her gracefully.
Jaya portrayed a mature role, a simple woman who has lost her love and has to marry his brother. Shobha was intelligent, composed, brave & a determined lady. She acted through her eyes, at times with a look or a toughened jaw (that’s her forte).
I personally admired Sanjeev Kumar’s performance…….it was an exceptional one after Sholay & Trishul etc. His scenes with Jaya were brilliant (true to his caliber).
But AB presented us with a Vivacious, Handsome, extremely Romantic & Charming Amit. He was flirtatious & Loud & Flamboyant yet Adorable and Simply electrifying; he re assured his fans that he was just not limited to playing the angry young man.
The transformation of the actors is amazing. Amitabh is funny & intense in initial half but transforms into a poetic, resigned man who is forced to act responsible for his brother’s lover…..when he meets Chandni his hidden sparks liven up and he is transformed back to his elements…. The way he sings Rang Barse…. with a naughty and a wicked intention!!! Sanjeev Kumar is a Suave, good-hearted Doctor who feels the pulse of the tensed up situation, yet maintains his sense of humor. When he finds out about his wife’s past, he handles it delicately.
Yash Chopra filmed this movie in a tentative style & evidently tense atmosphere, adding to the enigma of their secret/notorious affair. Every dialogue of this movie was flawless and powerful. There were no subplots in the movie, and the locations chosen for songs were typical of his style of film making. The music was melodious & the picturisation of the songs was way beyond any one’s creative imagination. The tulips & the Alps………… As a complete piece of Cinema, Silsila was impeccable.
This was also the last film that featured Rekha & AB on screen, putting an end to this sizzling On-screen/Off-screen Romance.
What is the Enigma called Silsila? Why is it amongst the most popular Films? Could a separate casting save it from the rejection? Why did our parents fail it? Why do we love it? Well there have been so many tales attached to it, while the fact remains that it is one of the finest Love Stories of Bollywood. It flopped for that period of time where the audience were highly emotional about their Super Star & were hesitant in accepting another woman in his supposedly visible “Happily Married” Life. The gamble paid for Jaya, Rekha lost the battle. And we had a brilliant Movie in our hands.
“Marriage is a sacred tradition in India and when the director created sympathy for the 2 lovers who were willing to go outside their marriage to continue their love affair- he didn’t carry the audience with him” – Pamela Chopra said this on behalf of the Film.
“Why should he not have done it? He did it to protect his image, his family, his children. I think it is beautiful. I don’t care what the public thinks of it. Why should the public know of my love for him or his love for me?” – Rekha said in her “1989” interview with FF.
“We are human beings who love & accept each other for what we are. There’s more happiness in our lives than misery. Nothing else matters. But as long as I’m with that person I don’t care” – said Jaya.
Simi garewal asked Rekha “Did you…. Fall in love with him?”
“Absolutely. Duh! That’s a dumb question. I have yet to come across a single man woman or child who can’t help but fall completely, passionately, insanely, desparately & especially, hopelessly in love with him.”
In news and realm of social media AB kept & maintained his silence.
It was a risk…. Taking on this subject and having the lead cast execute such a scandalous story ; the story which was obviously theirs. I am sure there were women who ended up rendering wrath for Rekha as she was termed a home breaker; it was clearly Jaya’s victory that the film was rejected by the audience at that point. The message was clear. The verdict was in her favour and AB-Rekha never worked together after that. Some papers ran the story of Jaya declaring that the audience’s verdict will be hers as well, and that she would separate for the lovers to unite if the audience accept their togetherness by applauding the movie.
Unlike KANK, the lovers decide to return to their spouses, yet the ruling was clear.
It flopped because of the subject but became a master piece with Time. Silsila will remain my personal No. 1 choice as the Best Romantic Movie of Bollywood.