Puja Miri Yajnik
Doctor Zhivago is a romantic drama film released in 1965. It is based on a 1957 book of the same name by Boris Pasternak and directed by David Lean. The film, now a classic, was produced by Carlo Ponti and the screenplay is by Robert Bolt. It stars Omar Sharif, Julie Christie, Geraldine Chaplin, Alec Guinness and others.
The first thing that comes to my mind when I think of this legendary film is the haunting title track by Maurice Jarre, for which he won best original score at the 38th Academy Awards. Doctor Zhivago won 5 Oscars and was nominated for 5 others. It also won 5 awards at the 23rd Golden Globe Awards.
Doctor Yuri Zhivago (Omar Sharif) is a surgeon and poet, who has been raised by his aunt and uncle and has had a relatively happy and prosperous life till the upheaval of revolution in Russia. Zhivago’s story takes us from Czarist Russia to the early Soviet State and the changes that accompanied these monumental events. The film is beautifully filmed in Spain and Finland, a sense of sadness and loneliness against the background of a vast land going through unprecedented changes.
Omar Sharif plays Yuri to perfection; bringing out effortlessly, on the one hand, a doctor’s compassion, and on the other a poet’s sensitivity to the events and people around him. He is married to the daughter of his foster parents, but falls in love with the beautiful Lara (Julie Christie). Lara is the ultimate tragic figure, beautiful and troubled. She meets the toughest situation with grace and beauty and makes the audience fall in love with her brave spirit. It is easy to see her as the poet’s inspiration. The bond between Yuri and Lara is as intense as it is dramatic. They come across each other and then part, only to meet again and part again. Also, the last scene, particularly, is heart-rending, leaving the viewer with the wish that things had been otherwise for the ill-fated lovers. The story is told in flashback, which somehow makes it even more poignant and touching.
A wonderful film, larger than life, it takes you into another world visually and emotionally. Whilst there is tragedy; the brave, resilient human spirit comes through. The film is a bit long in parts and it may not be historically accurate, though perhaps the events are used as a backdrop for the epic love story. One scene comes to mind where Yuri and Lara enter an abundant house and create magic in the midst of the cold and snow. All in all, a great film, with skilful performances, grand locations and impressive cinematography. This is a love story definitely worth your time.
Disclaimer: The above review solely illustrates the views of the writer.