Gulzar’s LEKIN (1990) is an often forgotten classic.. I find it to be a classic even if it is not completely perfect as some of his films like Ijaazat or Namkeen.. Loosely based on Rabindranath Tagore’s play ‘Khudito Pashaan’, Lekin takes us to a world of surreal realism, where a man constantly meets a woman who is supposed to have perished long ago, but is possibly trapped in time and her soul has not found a resting place because she is still seeking closures in her life.. A haunting tale told poetically through the engaging storytelling ways and matured lens of GulzarSaab, the film stays with you long after it has gotten over, and has very distinctly Gulzar written over it..
A big part of the credit also goes to the leading lady Dimple kapadia, who has never looked so beautiful in any other film, and gives her Rewa a very strong character arc while maintaining the ethereal aura around her.. For the times she is not on screen, you want to keep looking for her and strongly want to feel her for real.. It is a well-known fact that Lekin was initially offered to Sridevi, but she refused it as she was already doing Rajasthan based Lamhe at that time.. While it could be anyone’s guess on what Sri would have done with the role, but Dimple has etched Rewa to our memories forever with how she played it.. Vinod Khanna is very good too in possibly one of the most understated roles of his career, as is Amjad Khan in a very endearing role..
Lekin is also distinguished as the only film produced by Lata Mangeshkar ever.. No wonder, Lekin’s music is outstanding! Although its most remembered for the brilliantly haunting ‘Yaara Sili Sili’, my most favorite number of the album is ‘Jhoothe Naina Bole’ – the terrific duet by Asha Bhosle and Satyasheel Deshpande, followed by ‘Suniyo ji’ by Lata’ji and ‘Surmayi shyam’ by Suresh Wadekar.. To be fair, the entire album by Pt. Hridaynath Mangeshkar transports you to another world and brilliantly matches the magical folklore of the film..
It is not easy to slot Lekin as a genre film, and hence it is possibly not so much spoken of when films are recalled based on themes or genres.. It is also true that there are parts of the film that will feel a bit dated today, but shouldn’t that be a strength of a film that takes us on a journey towards the haunted past? There are no answers. And hence, in spite of 5 very deserving national awards, and creating a mystical, traumatized but deeply sensitive world, the goodness of Lekin is lost somewhere under the debris of the ruthless forgotten times..