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Where Have All The Sisters Gone?



 There  was  a time  when the Sister  was an important,  integral  almost  mandatory part  of Hindi commercial cinema. Blockbuster films like Choti Bahen(1959),  Bhai Bahen(1959), Badi Didi (1969), Pyari  Behna(1985) ,Anokha Bandhan(1982) and  Bandhan(1988)  were devoted entirely to the sibling  bond.  Almost  all mainstream  film  of  the last millennium   had a very important sister-character  who served as  catalyst to the plot’s  progression.

  One  of  the last Hindi  films to serve  up   the  sibling angle  in  a pivotal  way  was Andha Kanoon  in  1983 whereHema Malini and  Rajnikanth played  siblings.

Recalls  Hema, “It was  a very strong  brother-sister  story.I played a cop and Rajiniji was cast as my brother.We both wanted to take  revenge against  the villains(named Amar Akbar and Anthony!). But my brother wanted  to break the law whereas I wanted to seek justice within the  framework of the law.”

Hema  agrees  the sibling angle is lost in our movies.

“But that is  a reflection on  the  decimation  of  the  joint family. Now there’s the nuclear family system  where siblings are  no longer  a  part of  the urban household,” says Shabana Azmi  who dotes on her only  brother BabaAzmi. “It’s full-on  Bhaiyya mere raakhi ke bandhan ko nibhana in  my life. I remember  doing a  lovely sibling  film Anokha Bandhan . It was based  on a literary work by the eminent writer  Saratchandra Chatterjee. Our literature is filled with stories on the sibling bonding. Hindi cinema  no longer  seeks  scripts  from Indian literature. This is  one reason why joint-family values have vanished from our cinema.”

   There was a  time when  actresses like  Nazima and Naaz specialized in playing the sister. These two lovely ladies  ,both gone now,  lost count of the number films where they played the hero’s sister  on whom some  terrible calamity(probably rape) would befall before the hero would take off  on a vendetta spree.

For Nazima the burden  of  being the  benign  bahen to  every hero  proved a big career  hurdle. She  was  unable to play  the leading lady  and was  only offered sisters’  roles.

Today’s actors  miss the  ‘Nazima’ factor in their movies.  Ranbir Kapoor who shares a very strong bond with his sister  Riddhima would love to do  a  film  on sibling bonding. Ranveer Singh is  closer to his  sister Ritika  than anyone  in the world.

Tiger  Shroff who dotes on his  sister Krishna  wonders where all the  films on  siblings  have gone. “I remember watching my  Dad’s  film Bandhan about brotherly love and I cried and  I cried. I’d love  to do film about a brother and  a sister   like Shah Rukh Khan and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan’s  Josh(where they played twins). But where are  is the josh?”

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