I harbour a love-hate relationship with Raakhee's Sheetal.
I wish her commitment to her husband wasn't so unquestioning. She could have bridged the gap of growing resentment and lack of communication between her husband and son long ago and saved their lives from irreversible catastrophe.
But in terms of artistry, Raakhee communicates the inadequacies of old school conditioning as well as the helplessness a woman caught in between with such touching vulnerability, you can only feel sad for her, never because of her.
Raakhee and AB share an exquisite chemistry. They've played lovers, best friends, poet and muse, bhabhi and devar and in Shakti, mother and son. There are various facets to their camaraderie, which radiates a sense of genuine affection, in any form, any relationship.
Barely 35, she conveys the maturity and emotionality of a senior citizen as Dilip Kumar's significant other with conviction.
In an interview to Rediff.com she says, 'I was enthralled by Dilip Kumar’s body language. Even if it was a back-shot, we could see him emoting. There was something unique about his screen presence. When I got the chance to work with him (in Shakti) it was dream-come-true as well as a challenge to match him as his wife.'
Among its many memorable scenes is the one where Dilip Kumar reveals his vulnerable side and explains his professional devotion to his torn wife, 'Aur sivay is guroor ke mere paas hai bhi kya?'
The other leading lady of Shakti doesn't have as much to contribute but Smita Patil lends the quiet romance a credibility as AB's live-in partner with her attractive simplicity and straightforward disposition. She's equally home doing the stunning heroine routine against RD Burman's gorgeous melodies --Humne sanam ko khat and Jaane kaise kahan.
Shakti has only one other track -- Maangi thi ek dua, where the objective is to portray ecstatic parents raising their kid with hopes of him joining the police force.