New Wave cinema at its best...

This is one of the greatest movies ever made in the world. Not just in India. The movie direction, the story line, the actors, the music and everything else about this movie is just superb. The story is very powerful and the depth of characters is great. A classic movie directed by Govind Nihalani- Aakrosh is a movie that depicts the true and the harsh face of the rural world.


Aakrosh is a legal drama set in a tiny village somewhere in rural India. A young and Shah-froed Naseeruddin Shah plays the idealistic pup of a lawyer, Bhaskar Kulkarni, all bright eyes and bushy tail and ready to fight for justice, yes, well, maybe. The film pits the idealism of a young lawyer, Bhaskar (Naseer), who is the public defendent for a tribal man, Lahanya (Om Puri), against the inhumanity of the very milieu he has grown up in and is a part of, and which exploits tribals off their labor, life, and dignity with abandon. Especially poignant is Bhaskar's relationship with his mentor (Amrish Puri) who is the public prosecutor in this case. The two share an extremely cordial relationship in personal life but are gulfs apart when it comes to their work and professional ideals. Om Puri, who would have the most awesome cameo in Gandhi two years later, is Lahanya, the downtrodden Untouchable accused of murdering his wife. The movie plays on the ambiguity of whether Lahanya actually killed his wife. 


But probably most important point of the movie is that Aakrosh is a forceful reminder that in our capitalist and bureaucratic postcolonial set-up, they indeed cannot. The ending is fabulous, in that it's sudden, unexpected and leaves you thinking. And just when you thought you had the movie all figured out - honor killings, the blight of the caste system - the real ambiguity dawns on you. 


The film is very nicely directed, if you can look past the ancient AV quality. It's directed a bit like a horror film: very quiet, very tense, with lots of strange glances from random extras. The actors play their roles with a real subtlety and depth; you're never quite sure what to think, and what to think they think. The acting without any doubt is fantastic.


In a nut shell any attempt to describe this movie will always fall short of its greatness. The best way to appreciate this movie is to watch it and you are sure to be struck dumb.

kingfisher backstage