Sunday, July 5, 2009

PAAR (1984)

We all have seen Bihar through the lenses of Prakash Jha in semi commercial ‘Gangajal’ and ‘Apharan’. Watching this film is more shocking to know the failure of Indian Democracy and Indira Gandhi led Congress Government who just witnessed the caste based violence in Bihar as bystander. It also shows the corrupt and reckless face of local police and ruling State Government who just expressed their fake grievances through their statements only. The film shows the naked dance of chaos in Bihar during 80s and carried on the journey in the heart of darkness. Even today where most of the MPs and MLAs bear unpardonable criminal records. Nobody cares damn about them because it’s not WE in Bihar. For us it’s just another regular News Headlines but what about the lives of all those innocent destitute people who still become victims of Caste based atrocities from ages??? The film fired many burning questions from very beginning to end. Don’t watch it, if you think Indian art films are just exposing dirty faces of our ugly reality. It’s better to have Hollywood and Bollywood escape routes because we need entertainment only.

Based on a short story by Samaresh Bose, ‘Paar’ is one of the hard hitting film made by India’s multiple National Award winner Director Goutam Ghosh. Along with the direction, he also held the helm of Cinematography, Music and Scenario of the film.
The film begins with massacre of poor local Harijan ghetto in the darkness of night in a village. A local outcast named Naurangia and his pregnant wife escape with others among dire circumstances. When the next morning the reporters visits the village and tried to scrutinize the reason behind the bloodshed. In a flashback of events we come to witness some hidden truths of history. Government had started Minimum Labour Wages Scheme for the daily wage labourers but Thakurs oppressed and exploited them with underpay. A local master who tried to help them getting their rights. But soon he got murdered and as a repercussion few Harijans along with Naurangia killed the son of Thakur.
On the other side Naurangia and his wife went to Kolkota in search for work. Unknown by the harsher reality of city life they struggled to get even food for a single meal. The Darwinian principle about ‘Survival of fittest’ seems life altering for illiterate outcast Naurangia and in order to get back to his village, he and his wife did what is unthinkable on all accounts. To get 20 Rs he and his wife have to cross the whole river leading 36 pigs. It leaves you thinking-‘Is life so much Painful?’

Naseeruddin Shah has done this film when he had already established himself as Indian Parallel Cinema’s shining name and what he and Shabana had done is simply unchallenging. Both of them got National Award for this film as Best Actor and Actress. The film also has few other fine Indian actors like Utpal Dutt, Mohan Agashe and in a special appearance Om Puri too.

Just like Neorealist film makers Ghosh has shot the whole film in natural light, even in the night scenes and make a kind of film which more and more seems realistic like watching documentary. The climactic river crossing scene is long and it gives you the feel of absolute Neorealistic impression showing natural struggle of unfortunate couple. The only loophole of the film is its faltering editing in the second half of the film which stretches us few repeated struggle scenes.
Among all gloom, Ghosh has also added few strokes of fun. In one of the museum visit scene, curious Shabana saw the skeleton of Dinosaur and a boor man replied that it was a giant elephant lived thousand years ago. If you watch it closely, you will see little sarcastic humor in the film.

Watching this require lot of patience and appreciation for this sort of cinema and so I would like to recommend it for the niche audience….


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