Subir Kumar (Amitabh Bachchan) is a very famous singer and he has lots of adoring female fans who sit by the radio and just drown in the soul of his voice whenever one of his songs is played. Out of all his admirers, the only one he pays attention to is Chitra (Bindu) whom he flirts with often at the annoyance of his manager/agent Chandru (Asrani).
One day, Subir receives a letter from his aunt (Durga Khote) who raised him when he was little. He runs to her home for a reunion meeting. There he encounters and falls in love with Uma Devi (Jaya Bhaduri) who is his aunt’s grand-daughter. Uma is also a very talented singer and they get married.
After their marriage, Subir vows that he will only sing with Uma from now on That promise is quickly broken when a film producer approaches Subir to request Uma to sing for the lead heroine in a film. Subir happily accepts and Uma reluctantly obliges to sing on her own.
Offers pour in and Uma’s star begins to shine brighter than her own husband’s. Subir is then consumed by jealousy as his own stardom begins to fade.
Marital upsets can be quite dull to watch because the things that disturb the couple are often quite trivial or petty. If it’s not that, then filmmakers try to liven it up by bringing in something very over the top. “Abhimaan” works because of the small details that Mukherjee creatively adds to the picture. At the beginning, Subir’s vain personality is shown in his conversational scenes with Chitra. You can tell he adores the way she looks up to him and in the manner he swaggers onto the stage at his concerts.
His forceful and straightforward personality also means that he cuts to the chase and gets Uma to admit that she likes him without pretending that he has no idea. This act of being sure that Uma likes him a lot strikes as being quite big-headed. These character traits mean that it is very believable when he later becomes jealous of his wife’s success. You just know that his ego will not be able to take it.
Amitabh Bachchan’s portrayal is such that one can feel the pain of his character. Potentially, the character of a jealous and moody husband could have been very unlikable. But he acts so well in the scenes where he realizes that his wife is becoming more popular than him that you feel that you can understand his predicament.
Jaya Bhaduri is just simply excellent. She moves from being a shy new bride to a victim of shock with ease. Bachchan and Bhaduri have such a wonderful onscreen chemistry. They look cute in the song, “Loote Koi Mann Ka Nagar”, where they exchange flirtatious glances while singing in the film studio. Bindu and Asrani offer good support in their roles as friends of the married couple. Durga Khote is a little melodramatic but otherwise offers sturdy support as the wise elder.
Revisit “ABHIMAAN” and see how marital dramas should be made.