Posted: June 25, 2012 in 100 remarkable Indian films, Deepti Naval, Hindi films, Smita Patil

This is a memorable work from director Ketan Mehta, embellished with fine performances by the cast which includes Smita Patil, Naseeruddin Shah, Suresh Oberoi, Deepti Naval, Om Puri, Mohan Gokhale, Benjamin Gilani, Dina Pathak, Supriya Pathak and others.

Oberoi won the best supporting actor at the National Awards for this role of a Mukhia. The exploitative tale of a tyrannical subedar (Naseeruddin Shah) who unleashes terror in a village defiling its woman, and when slapped by a courageous woman Sonbai (Smita Patil), vows to avenge the insult leading to disastrous consequences for everyone forms the core storyline. Unfolding at a languid pace, the narrative weaves authentic aspect of rural life adding to the charm of the film. The subedar playing his phonogram inviting disbelief from the simplistic folks, the village woman in the spice factory playing with spices adding a lyrical touch against the backdrop of the subedar’s men chasing Sonbai, the horse chase sequences amidst mounds of spice stacked along the route, an upright Muslim factory security guard (Om Puri) taking on the might of the subedar and his men makes for engaging viewing. At the end, one can’t help but feel sorry for a director like Ketan Mehta, who showed such promise through his initial work, but couldn’t live up to expectations in subsequent works like Hero Hiralal, Maya Memsaheb & Mangal Pandey.

RATING: 4 out of 5


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