After appearing for his civil services exams, Raghuveer is admonished by his father in opposition to marrying his girlfriend who is pregnant. Distressed and helpless Raghuveer leaves for Delhi, but is kidnapped by a willful and determined father who desires to have an IAS officer as his son-in-law. He is married to the girl ...more
After appearing for his civil services exams, Raghuveer is admonished by his father in opposition to marrying his girlfriend who is pregnant. Distressed and helpless Raghuveer leaves for Delhi, but is kidnapped by a willful and determined father who desires to have an IAS officer as his son-in-law. He is married to the girl under duress and in opposition to his and the girls will. After tying the knot they are locked in a room till they accept their marriage. less
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Just a few weeks back we had the scathing satire 'Peepli Live' which opened up a window into a specific issue dogging rural India and now debutant director Sushil Rajpal converts another social issue in the cow-belt into a convincing feature film. The issue in question here is the kidnapping of eligible young men and forcing them into marriages against their will.
The movie kick off with Raghuveer (Raj Singh Choudhary) being informed by his girlfriend, Sia (Himanshi) that shes pregnant. Raghuveer promises her that they'd get married and goes home somewhere in the interiors of Bihar to get approval from his parents. When his orthodox father, Madhukar Shahi (Vinay Pathak), refuses he promptly leaves for Delhi but on his way is kidnapped by Mahendra Babu's (Akhilendra Mishra) goons. Mahendra Babu's offer of his daughters hand in marriage to Raghuveer had been spurned by Madhukar Shahi earlier; now he hopes to extract his pound of flesh by forcefully marrying off his very young daughter Janaki (Swati Sen) to Raghuveer. The boy is beaten & drugged into submission & the two are married off. Despite protests from the womenfolk of the house, the men believe that time will heal everything & Raghuveer will accept Janaki as his wife. But any kind of coercion especially when it comes to true emotions & relations actually bear fruit? Only rotten ones as the movie painfully points out.
Anatarwand reminded me of some of the 80s parallel cinema movement and some of Prakash Jha's earlier work. A single topic of forceful marriage becomes a base for displaying a variety of social stigmas that ail the cow-belt & maybe even India as a whole. Male ego that takes great pride in even its stupidest of decisions with little regard for the damage it heaps on others is an underlying reason for a majority of the movies grouses. The doormat-like mentality that most women have accustomed themselves to is never forced but displayed very convincingly. Thankfully for most of its running length the dramatics are kept to a bare minimum and in the parts where an emotional barrage is unleashed it doesn't come across as forced.
The raw, rustic feel of rural India is well captured on screen and the characters add to the flavor with their authentic language and mannerisms.
The movie on the other hand could have done with a shorter running length and some more plot development in the painfully languid middle. In parts scenes & situations tend to repeat themselves without providing the audience with any real insight into the characters or plot. Plus with the topic centering on forceful kidnapping of the boy, Raghuveer's character beyond longing for Sia does not seem to display any other kind of emotion or thought-process. The movie chooses to take a more convenient path of sticking to showing the emotional turmoil of the girl, obviously more likely to extract a tear or two from the audience.
Raj Singh Choudhary improves over his acting in 'Gulaal' and looks far more natural though hes still a bit too polished to have originated from such a small town in the interiors. Vinay Pathak emotes well but his accent seems far too put on, something which he should have realized from the ease with which Akhilendra Mishra pulls off his part. Swati Sen is a revelation and her transformation from a carefree college girl seeped in tradition to a woman spurned by her husband for no fault of her own is strikingly poignant.
Anatarwand is a good movie that has its share of flaws but it has an original story to tell; all it needs is the right audience and it'll surely be appreciated by those who have the patience.