Archive for the ‘Kulbushan Kharbanda’ Category

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I watched a few films of Shyam Benegal recently viz., Ankur, Bhumika, Trikaal, Mandi and Nishant. ‘Nishant’ is the most intense film in this selection. The film has a strong cast comprising Amrish Puri, Girish Karnad, Shabana Azmi, Naseeruddin Shah, Smita Patil, Kulbushan Kharbanda, Sadhu Meher, Mohan Agashe, Anant Nag and others.
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This fictional story based in 1945 in pre-Independence India in the Telangana region of Andhra Pradesh, shows an uprising against the exploitative feudals. A school teacher (Girish Karnad) arrives in a village with his beautiful wife (Shabana Azmi). Soon she gets abducted by the sons (Mohan Agashe and Anant Nag) of the feudal landlord (Amrish Puri). When the school teacher’s attempts prove abortive even after running from pillar to post to free his wife from her captors, he tries to mobilize the villagers to revolt against the tyrannical Zamindar with the help of the village priest.

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I couldn’t comprehend the ending in its totality, especially the character of Shabana Azmi who is shown fleeing with the youngest son of the Zamindar (Naseeruddin Shah), who has a soft corner for her, when the villagers attacked the family of the landlord. Did she also develop a longing for Naseeruddin Shah? Benegal keeps it open-ended, and this I found to be disappointing. Otherwise, the film was riveting and powerful, and contained some memorable dramatic sequences, performed ably by Girish Karnad and Shabana Azmi and the rest of the cast. The cinematography is excellent.

Rating: 3.8 out of 5

The film seems like an amalgamation of several films we’ve seen, Mrinal Sen’s Ek Din Pratidin, Satyajit Ray’s Mahanagar & Sai Paranjype’s Katha among others, but the film as a whole manages to succeed in making it a progressive commentary & leave a lasting impression upon the viewers.

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A woman (Deepti Naval) gets married to Alok (Alok Nath) and comes to Mumbai.  It is revealed that Alok was forced into the marriage by his out-of-work father ( Rajendra Gupta). The younger brother of Alok is also a wastrel and a drunkard, who frequently gets embroiled in all sorts of skirmishes and hooliganism which is commonplace in the neighborhood where they lived.

Alok forsakes the family and disappears; Deepti Naval goes out of the house to work and develops affection for a colleague (Pankaj Kapoor).  Watch the film to know what happens…the supporting cast includes Kulbushan Kharbanda, Susmita Mukherjee & others. In particular, Kulbushan Kharbanda is a treat to watch in this film.

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The technique of the dead father (Kulbushan Kharbanda) making an appearance and encouraging his daughter Deepti during her state of depression and in moments of decision making is quite novel and effective.  The film is directed by Sudhir Mishra.

I particularly found the breaking away of the protagonist from the shackles of conformity at the end a reflection of progressive ideas emanating from serious filmmakers of the 80s for the first time. Remember even in Ray’s CHARULATA (1964), or Yash Chopra’s SILSILA the protagonist goes back to her marriage.

Rating: 4 out of 5