Fading into colour

spectrum

“Chetan, I saw Haqeeqat. Strong visuals, excellent music, but no story” — Satyajit Ray told Chetan Anand at Oberoi Grand, Kolkata in 1964. Chetan Anand was present to receive the Bengal Film Journalists’ Award for Best Hindi Feature Film for Haqeeqat.

Remake : Chetan Anand’s ‘Haqeeqat’ is being converted into colour.

He smiled and replied, “Haqeeqat is not a story. It is a mosaic.” Both the stalwarts then laughed their hearts out.

Indeed Haqeeqat is considered the best war film made in India till date. With the Sino-Indo conflict of 1962 in the backdrop, the film, shot on actual locations in Ladakh and neighbouring areas, starred Dharmendra, Priya Rajvansh, Balraj Sahni and Vijay Anand in one of their most notable performances.

It was very well conceived, written and directed by Chetan Anand. Even without a proper shooting script, the film had immortal melodies penned by Kaifi Azmi and tuned by Madan Mohan.

The film did have flaws. It, according to critics, was more of a Nehruvian-socialism propaganda with nationalist sentiments. The People’s Liberation Army was not shown in the right light.

All said and done, Haqeeqat did showcase Chetan Anand’s versatility, unpredictability and rare ability. Now the imaginative director’s son, Ketan Anand, has prepared Haqeeqat in full colour, the first Indo-Australian joint venture. Haqeeqat has been coloured by Q Lab of India and Time Brush Films of Australia, using more than a lakh natural colours — the maximum in any coloured version of a Hindi classic till date. The 19-reel original version has been edited in about two reels to suit the present context and audience taste.

Whether the coloured version will elicit as much of a response as the black and white one did in 1964 will only be seen once it releases this month end. The asset of the film is Priya Rajvansh, India’s only gold medalist from the Royal Academy Of Dramatic Arts, who looks beautiful and charming in colour.

Old timers may recollect that the chief of the British film delegation, David Burnwell did personally tell Chetan Anand after viewing Haqeeqat in the 1964 International Film Festival at Delhi that they could have created another Greta Garbo if Priya
Rajvansh worked in European and Hollywood cinema.

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