We also managed to cap everyone when they were blinking. Anyway. We thought Raj's tired, aging look worked very well, juxtaposing nicely against his inner child. Being naive takes its toll!
Anari (often subtitled as Idiot but "an inexperienced, unsophisticated, or naïve person" according to Prof. Lutgendorf) is but a simple story of a simple man. Or so we thought. It then adds some simple melodrama and becomes a bit less simple, but ultimately the message is clear:
Cap courtesy of Memsaab.
Yes. As Marx and Engels noted, history has been one long class struggle between the 'Softies' and the 'shrewd-shrews'. And Raj is here to tell you something: 'Softies' of the world unite, you have nothing to lose but your dils!
Nutan and the PPCC slowly fall for Raj's bumbling anari-ness.
Meet Raj (Raj Kapoor). Raj is just your regular old simpleton, all bright eyes and bushy tail and charming male ingénue-ness. He is a boarder with the irascible, adorable Mrs. D'Sa (Lalita Pawar). Mrs. D'Sa harasses Raj day and night for the rent, and yet in her heart beats a great, big pumping sweetness - she loves Raj as a son, since her own son passed away years ago. Raj, who seems too idiotic to get a job or keep it for very long, is characteristically slow on the uptake.
Here then are the two major themes of this film: big, big juicy dil (that is, heart) and stupidity. Well, maybe "stupidity" is a bit harsh. Let's replace that with "naïveté to a lethal degree". Yes, lethal. See melodrama.
Nutan was FAB in this. But such a liar.
Anyway, one day Raj meets Aarti (an awesome Nutan), who is rich, smart and sassy. Aarti, much like the PPCC, is quickly charmed by Raj and, half in jest, she trades places with her lower-class friend and servant, Asha (Shubha Khote) in order to put herself on Raj's level. A courtship begins - and you just know it's not gonna fly because such love never flies for liars. Indeed, in the requisite Hindi Movie Irony, Raj ends up (finally) landing a job with none other than Aarti's uncle (Motilal), a man who likes a hard worker but is not such a fan of having poor folk in the family. And if you foresee disaster already - wait 'til Mrs. D'Sa catches the flu right when a box of poisoned medicine is accidentally at large! Oh no!
There's probably some big theme going on about the relationship between cynicism, morality and class matters, but the PPCC is too befuddled to figure it out or care. Onto what we do understand: Raj's histrionics!
Crying is important to the PPCC. We like a good cry. Some films - like 1989's Civil War flick Glory - get watched merely so we can have a good cry. We also are easily charmed by actors that can cry convincingly - like Naseeruddin Shah's hyperrealist tears in Monsoon Wedding or Kenneth Branagh's dramatically Welsh Welshness in Henry V. Oh, the humanity!
Raj does a lot of good, meaty crying in Anari. Memsaab wasn't as charmed as the PPCC was during Raj's various sniffles, but we found these scenes endearingly open-hearted and satisfying, "Aww, look! He's a 12-year-old boy trapped in a 40-year-old man's body! It's like Big, only with fab songs!" And maybe that's the best way to take Anari.