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aka Only the Lonely 1964 113’ b&w Hindi d Sunil Dutt pc Ajanta Arts st Nargis Dutt sc Omkar Sahib dial Akhtar-ul-Iman lyr Anand Bakshi c Ramchandra m Vasant Desai lp Sunil Dutt, Nargis

Sunil Dutt’s directorial debut was a bizarre ‘One actor movie monument’ according to the opening credit. Anil (Dutt), a successful businessman, returns to his palatial home to find his wife Priya and their two sons are out. This sets off an extraordinary two-hour soliloquy, shot entirely in the flat, describing the days when he first met his wife, how they got married, when they had their two children, the children’s first birthdays, their misunderstandings, his meeting of a new girlfriend, Salma, the nights when they fought, when they made love, and so on. We gather that his wife had many reasons for leaving and he takes this opportunity to accuse her in order to justify himself before committing suicide, hanging himself with her wedding sari. A depressingly uninhibited demonstration of male infantilism and neurosis, the film adopts a naturalist acting idiom played against props such as Mario Miranda cartoon characters animated in the background or balloons representing people whenever the presence of other characters is required. The film’s most interesting moment comes when Dutt is attacked by a bunch of toys berating him for his lack of concern for his family. The only living presence other than Dutt occurs at the end when Nargis, playing Priya, is shown in silhouette.