Archive for the ‘Smita Patil’ Category

NISHANT

Posted: March 4, 2014 in Hindi films, Shyam Benegal, Smita Patil

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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

Tarang

Posted: October 15, 2012 in Hindi films, Smita Patil

In this tale of greed against the setting of an industrial house, a son-in-law (Amol Palekar) and other relatives such as nephew Dinesh (Girish Karnad) want to usurp the business of a factory owner (Sreeram Lagoo). The director Kumar Shahani weaves in communist ideologue while narrating lives of the factory workers and their families. These characters are fleshed out credibly by Smita Patil, M K Raina, Om Puri, Sulabha Deshpande, Satyadev Dubey and others.

This 1984 made film is rather bleak, much like the films of Ghatak – the mentor of the director and devoid of any lovable characters. The frames move far too slowly, and the film becomes depressive much like the character of the daughter Hansa of Sreeram Lagoo (Wife of Amol Palekar) in the film. The narrative style is simplistic and linear, and I failed to detect any silver lining in this gloomy crowd of oppressive and oppressed characters.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5

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