[Housekeeping note: Blogger has a new post editor that makes it very difficult to arrange images the way I usually do, so I think from here out posts are going to look a little different.]
Even after watching Do Badan twice, I'm not sure why I don't like it...or even what's wrong with it. Asha Parekh is probably my favorite heroine of the era;
Pran is orange-haired, selfish, and evil;
characters talk of duty, fate, social status, and the role of women;
|"The jars of feelings have been crushed under the feet of fate."|
and there is occasional visual interest in lighting, angles, and interior decor.
For starters, I might be falling into the camp of people who find Manoj Kumar irritating no matter what film he's in. This one is directed by Raj Khosla, whose Mera Gaon Mera Desh I loved, and it is not in the least patriotic. He has moments of genuine expression of a variety of appropriate emotions or states of being (optimism, distraction, despair), but I just don't find him pleasing or interesting to watch. His character here is an uphill battle, to be sure: tragic, full of resignation, and struck with filmi blindness.
Long-suffering can be hard to sell, and he doesn't succeed.
Really, though, the problem is the script by G. R. Kamath (with story by Masood Mashhadi), who also did Mera Gaon Mera Desh. I am not a person who seeks out films to provide "a good cry." There's no such thing in my book; crying makes me dehydrated, exhausted, and headache-y. After a solid meet-cute, the story of Do Badan is determined to wallow in misery. Hero, heroine, heroine's awful father, heroine's mildly helpful uncle (Manmohan Krishna), hero's sympathetic doctor (Simi Garewal),
and even the villain all weep and wail over various wrongs and misfortunes. As I write this, I'm realizing that the risk of having a villain reform after it's too late to do anything to correct the problems already caused is that it just brings more sadness without any resolution or improvement for the people involved. In the case of Do Badan, the only people who can actually use what they've been through aren't the people we're supposed to care about. Nobody in this film gets what they deserve. Usually I am happy to see characters who learn and grow and change for the better, but, in this case, the powerless apology that came out of that knowledge did nothing for me. Apparently what I'm looking for is a villain to reform and do something useful and awesome, like blow up his own lair or turn himself in to the police or donate his eyes to the long-lost son he accidentally blinded. Here the villain realizes the error of his ways and then just stands around with everyone else being sad. How unsatisfying!
That's about all I have to say. If you're looking to Nahiiiiiiiiiiiiin! yourself into a frenzy over the injustice of the world, this film could probably fuel you for an hour or so. If, like me, you'd rather have an ending that is happy, or at least hopeful, look elsewhere.