Ijaazat the movie revolves around the story of three individuals Mahendra (Naseeruddin Shah), Sudha (Rekha) and Maya (Anuradha Patel).
Mahendra is a settled businessman. Simple man wants to do the right thing and always torn between his past and present, always, right till the end. Sudha is sombre, understanding and a perfect partner, any man would like. She leads a content life. Maya is loud, impulsive and a poet. She is unpredictable and a free spirit.
The movie begins with Mahendra getting off the train on a rainy evening and heading towards the waiting room and he has to catch a train next morning. Sudha is already present in the waiting room. Her discomfort on seeing Mahendra, convinces us of a past connection. The movie then seamlessly shifts between past and present. And the movie goes back about 6-7 years. Mahendra is deeply and madly in love with Maya and he is in a live-in relation with her. But Mahendra is engaged to Sudha. A girl that his grandfather likes and believes would make a great wife for Mahendra. Mahendra confesses his relation with Maya to Sudha. And Sudha understands the situation and advises him to do the ‘right thing’ and that is to make Maya meet his grandfather and marry Maya. But when Mahendra comes to get Maya, she has left with no trace of her whereabouts or her return plans (her usual self). With no option left Mahendra is married to Sudha.
The newly weds have an awkward start to the marriage. Sudha feels like an outsider in her new home. The place is strewn with memories and influence of Maya. To the point where she tells Mahendra ‘Everything in this house seems shared and everything I touch seem to belong to Maya. Nothing seems completely mine’, hinting at how incomplete she feels with Mahendra. Mahendra is genuinely trying to put his past behind him and move on with his present life. But all their love moments, evenings, romances are always interrupted with call, letter, flowers from Maya. Sudha somehow cannot get to terms with Mahendra’s past. But Mahendra is not meeting Maya nor taking her calls. Suddenly he gets the news of Maya attempting suicide. Mahendra begins to tend to her and starts meeting her spending time with her. But now its platonic. Sudha knows of it but initially ignores it. Eventually one day Sudha gathers all her stuff and leaves. Mahendra has an heart attack and Maya comeback to stay with him and takes care of him.
Sudha waits for a few months but on seeing no response from Mahendra, she accepts that she was the odd one in the relation and advises Mahendra to marry Maya, thru a letter. This is the common memory of the past that they have shared. What happens with them in the next five years when they are apart, forms the climax of the movie.
What happens after that is the most surprising end you will have ever watched on celluloid. The end will remain with you forever.
One of the best ones by Gulzar. The movie is made with a lot of sophistication. The lighting in the movie is so soothing, the calming demeanor of the movie, the one liners and sense of humor is so classy. The language is lyrical. The music is bliss and the songs are soulful. Even 33 years later the songs still hold the freshness and make them a classic. The movie did win the national award for the best music and lyrics for RD Burman and Gulzar.
Rains, streams, earth, prayers gives the movie a very grounded and a real touch. The direction is top notch. The transition from present to past thru simple objects like a matchbox, cup of tea or a camera is done so effortlessly.
The performances are top class. Rekha is so effortless – her possessiveness, her jealousy, her love for Mahendra, her understanding nature, caring, her silence, the big bindi, the big border sarees, those eyes. Very beautiful. Naseeruddin Shah again such an effortless performance loves and cares for Maya, loves and cares for Sudha. Thinks both are his responsibilities. Always wants to do the ‘right thing’. Anuradha Patel seems a little over the top, but that what makes her so different and contrasting than Sudha.
It’s a classic that every moviegoer must see. And see it again.
Every time to you see it, you will discover something new. This time I realized the long muffler that plays such a vital role in the climax is sent to Maya by Sudha in a scene preceding the song ‘mera kuch samaan’.