Wednesday, August 25, 2010

ANKUR (1973)

In his ‘Our Films their Films’, Satyajit Ray commented about four films and the filmmakers of Indian parellel cinama. One of them is debut film of Indian parallel cinema’s great contributor- Shyam Benegal, the other three are Sathyu’s ‘Garam Hawa’, Shahani’s ‘Mayadarpan’ and Mani Kaul’s ‘Duvidha’. Benegal wrote the story of the film almost a decade ago when he was in college. An underprivileged young woman conceived the child (the seedling) of his feudal oppressor which ended with an exclamation of open ending. The film not only remains the seedling of the plot but also as one of the seedling of Indian parallel cinema.

Benegal didn’t have depth of Ray but he has fine sense of directness of narration and detailing in his cinema with the strong team which could envy any of his contemporary art filmmaker. Dialogue and script help by Pt. Satyadev Dubey, camerawork by Govind Nihalani, Music by Vanraj Bhatiya and fine company of Film Institute and NSD’s talented actors. Benegal managed to get the best of them in many of his films in the first decade of his career. Its debut film of Shabana Azmi too and she won the National Award that year for her sublime act. However she looks quite urban but faithfully expressed some of the complex and subtle emotions; too difficult to carry for a fresher. Watch the heartfelt cry with hidden guilt of betrayal when sees her husband back. Anant Nag is not a refined actor like Naseer and Om but he completely fits into frames as a weak, coward, arrogant city man who surrenders his career to his patriarchal landlord father. He’s the misfit and good for nothing man who’s trying to look after his feudal field and killing time sleeping, smoking cigarettes, listening gramophone, reading magazines, roaming and ogling at local untouchable maid in an isolated farm.

Benegal ended the film with a punch hard to resist. He brought the fate and psychology of the characters in the climax- the selfish landlord who’s trying to hide his guilt and sin with oppressive violence on innocent deaf and dumb underprivileged man, a suspicious housewife noticing witnessing her husband’s real face, a pregnant woman running to save her husband and above all the impressive last frame where the kid throws a stone to landlord’s glass window before the screen turning into red and fades out.
Indeed a seedling of Indian Parallel Cinema.


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