Arpan (1983) Weaves An Intricate Plot Surrounding Multiple Relationships & Sheds Light on the Portrayal of a Self-Sacrificing Woman

Arpan (1983) which translates into “Dedication” is a beautiful poignant film directed by J. Om Prakash starring legends Jeetendra, Reena Roy, Raj Babbar, and Parveen Babi. It is such a riveting and picturesque film that I can’t resist from watching it multiple times. 

First and foremost, the film begins by introducing us to Anil Verma (Jeetendra) and Shobha (Reena Roy). Both are shown to be passionately in love with each other and are looking forward to getting married soon. Anil Verma begins the narrative via his dialogue: “Duniya mein lakhon Shobhaein hogi… lekin ek Shobha hai joh sirf meri hai.” To translate: There may be thousands of Shobha’s in the world… but there is only one Shobha who is only mine. The scene is shot at the beach and they both are shown to share the mutual admiration of watching sunsets. 

Everything seems to be going well in their magical paradise. However, happiness always seems to be short-lived and theirs is no different. Anil belongs to a wealthy family and is in charge of taking care of his family’s business post the demise of his father. He sets out to fulfill his late father’s last wish which revolves around the construction of the latest plastic demolding factory. In order to advance his training, he has to leave for Germany for 1 year to earn a diploma leaving his beloved Shobha alone with his memories while handing her the responsibility of taking care of his mother and sister. However, he promises to write a khat (letter) to her every week while calling her too. Anil then playfully teases her by saying what if foreign women in Germany fall head over heels in love with him? 

Shobha’s response is as follows: “Agar tumne usse shaadi bhi karli, toh main apni zindagi ki aakhri saans tak tume chaati rahungi.” (If you even marry her, then I will continue loving you until my last breath.) This further proves the depth of Shobha’s love and devotion for Anil alongside the woman of substance she emerges to be later in the story. This ornately crafted scene is an absolute delight to watch and made me smile with joy. The organic chemistry between Jeetendra and Reena Roy is the result of their multiple collaborations in many memorable films.

Next, we have the first melodious song “Pardes Jake Pardesia Bhul Na Jaane Piya” sung by the legendary Lata Mangeshkar picturized on Shobha (Reena Roy) who’s lip-synching while shedding tears with Anil (Jeetendra) observing and comforting her. Honestly, this song is one of my favorites and truly sets the tone for what’s coming up next in their lives. It translates to “Please Don’t Forget Me Beloved When You Travel Abroad.”

Here are the lyrics followed by the English translation to this rhythmic song filled with insurmountable passion and melancholy:

Taan Maan kisi ne tujhe arpan kiya… (Someone has dedicated her heart and soul to you)

Pardes Jake Pardesiya Bhul Na Jaane Piya… (Please Don’t Forget Me Beloved When You Travel Abroad)

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Ek teri khushi ke karan lakh saahe dukh humne o saajan (I have suffered a lot of pain just for the sake of your happiness)

Haas ke judai ka zeher e piya (Drinking the poison of separation happily)

Dil me tera pyaar e basai (While keeping your love in my heart)

Dil ko jaise rog lagaya (The heart has experienced some type of disease)

Saari umar ka dard e liye (With the pain that will last a lifetime)

Pardes Jake Pardesiya…

Bhul Na Jaane Piya

Aab jaoge (Now you will leave)

Kab aaoge (When will you return)

Jab aaoge tab aaoge… (When you return then you will come)

Within 17 minutes of the film, J.K. (Raj Babbar), a very wealthy and good-looking man enters into the storyline. Here we discover that Shobha has been working in his office as his secretary for the past 6 months, but does not pay any heed to his romantic gestures or advances. However, he ends up proposing to her by saying: “Meri zindagi mein kisi cheez ki kami nahi hai. Phir bhi mein akayla hoon. Har shakhs ek aisa saathi chahta hai joh uska akelapan dur kar saake. Joh uske sukh dukh mein shareek ho saake. Joh uski baat samajh saake. Mein kahi dinon se tumhe dekh raha hoon. Aur tum mein woh tamam khoobien mohjut hai.” To translate: There is nothing lacking in my life. But I’m still alone. Every person wants such a partner who can get rid of his loneliness. Someone who would partake in his moments of happiness and sadness. Someone who could understand him. I have been observing you for many days now. You have all those qualities.

Then he proposes marriage to Shobha but Shobha politely declines stating that she is already in love with someone else and will be getting married to him soon. This infuriates J.K. and he states that he is extremely stubborn and can go to any extent to achieve what he wants. Right after this revelation, he forcibly pulls Shobha towards him telling her to “Be a good girl and give me a kiss.” In a fit of rage, Shobha slaps him in front of his entire staff. 

The main turning point in Arpan happens when J.K. blackmails Shobha into marrying him when he informs her that Anil’s sister Vinnie (Priti Sapru) is pregnant as a result of premarital sex and only he knows where the father of the child is located. 

Since Shobha already considers herself to be the daughter-in-law of Anil’s family and was given the responsibility to take care of his family in his absence, she ends up agreeing to J.K.’s condition and sacrificing her own happiness for the sake of protecting the respect of Anil’s family. It is not everyone’s cup of tea to willingly burn their desires and happiness for the sake of someone else’s happiness. Hence, the audience is exposed to the persona of a self-sacrificing woman which is truly rare in today’s world. 

In fact, Reena Roy is an exemplary actress who is known for portraying many versatile women-centric roles during the 70s and 80s. Her performance as Shobha further proves her caliber as an artiste via her heart-wrenching dialogues and emotions. 

Moving on in the plot, Anil Verma returns from Germany and is flabbergasted when he finds out that Shobha has gotten married to J.K. The reality is that J.K. is slightly more wealthier than Anil and he ends up thinking that Shobha married him because of his wealth and succumbs to depression. 

To improve his mood, he heads off to a hill station. Based on the gorgeous and scenic view, I was able to conclude that it is indeed Kashmir. There, he meets the beautiful and talented performer Sona (Parveen Babi). Within 1 hour of the film, Sona enters by dancing to the peppy song “Tauba Kaise Hai Nadan Ghunghroo Payal Ke” which translates to “Oh God How Naive the Dancing Anklets Are.”

Sona is a good-hearted young woman who senses Anil’s heartache and ends up being compassionate towards him. Even she is a lover of watching sunsets like Shobha. For instance, she says: “Tum dhoobti hue suraj ko nafrat karna chod do. Nafrat buri cheez hai. Kisi se nahi karni chahiye. Woh ek aisa rog hai joh zindagi bhar peecha nahi chod tha. Tum mujhse ek mauka doh. Tumhari dil se nafrat nikalne ka.” (You should stop hating sunsets! Hatred is a very bad thing. You shouldn’t hate anyone. It is such a disease that never leaves your side throughout life. Give me an opportunity and I will remove hatred from your heart.) This is a special and significant dialogue that should constantly serve as a reminder to always keep our hearts warm with love and affection for others and remove negative feelings such as hatred. 

Seeing Sona’s affection and love towards him, Anil ends up falling in love with her. He iterates his thoughts by reflecting, “Sochra tha ke mein gham ke andhere mein dhooba hua tha. Tum achanak ujala baan kar aa gayi. Mujhe jeene ki nayi umeed, naya sahara mil gaya. Itni paas aa kar kahi tum mujhse door na ho jao.” (I was thinking that I was lost in the darkness of sorrow. You suddenly entered my life like sunshine. I found a new reason to live, a new companion to support me. After coming so close, what if you leave me?)

To which, Sona promises to never leave his side and they soon get married.

However, things take a drastic turn when J.K.’s evil actions herald the failure of both his liver and kidneys leading to the diagnosis of liver cancer. It is revealed that he only has a few months to live. J.K. realizes his mistakes and how he continuously mistreated Shobha in front of his friends only to seek revenge for her slap in front of the entire office staff. 

When J.K. confronts Shobha on why doesn’t his actions have any affect on her, like why doesn’t she react or cry via “Tum insaan ho ya patthar. Mein tumhe itna zaleel karta hoon, itna galiya deta hoon. Tum ho ki na gussa karti ho naa kabhi roti ho. As if why don’t you react? Tum par koi asar hota hai ki nahi! 

Shobha’s response steals the show as she confesses, “Koi nayi baat toh nahi… Aab toh aadat si par gayi hai. Hota bhi hai aur aap ko batane se kya faida. Aapka dil joh kehta hai woh aap karte hai. Meri aatma joh kehte hai, woh mein karti hoon.”  (This is nothing new… I have gotten used to it. Even if it affects me, there is no point in telling you. You do what your heart tells you to do. I do what my conscience tells me to do.)

Guess what, J.K. turns over a new leaf and decides to take Shobha on their long-awaited honeymoon to the same resort where Anil is located. Again, the chemistry between Raj Babbar and Reena Roy turns out to be adorable mirroring the ideal bond between husband and wife. What happens next is indeed perplexing and if you want to know what happens, then Arpan is a must-watch! 

Overall, this film is a marvelous work of art that has resonated with me for many years. All the characters are well-developed and the story contains precious nuances that make it spellbindingly appealing to the eyes. The performances of all the actors amplified the story to great heights and it was genuinely a delight to watch all of them in Arpan.



About the Author

Erikka Chowdhury

A scientist who has an immense appreciation for the arts and enjoys creating innovative content designed to engage the audience from all spectrums of life. read more...

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