Banner: Promodome Motion Pictures
Producers: Sandiip Kapur, Priya Kapur
Director: Avinash Das
Cast: Swara Bhaskar, Sanjay Mishra, Pankaj Tripathy, Ishhtiaq Khan
Writer: Avinash Das
Music: Rohit Sharma
It’s been ages since the Indian audience was treated to an unconventional, rural-flavoured story that is simple yet gritty. Anaarkali Of Aarah charms not only with its unpretentious writing but with its honest performances from the entire cast. It also benefits hugely from the perfect casting.
Also, we have watched many an item number on the big screen but never a story about a woman who dances on such raunchy numbers. Writer-director Avinash Das serves up a stellar story about one such woman, who is so easy to connect with.
The film follows Anaarkali (Swara Bhaskar), an erotic singer from Aarah, a small town in Bihar. She and her orchestra perform on titillating and suggestive songs that are replete with double entendre. Their actions and dance ride on sexual innuendo. Considered to be a local treasure, Anaarkali is a celebrity and every man has his eye on her.
The gutsy woman successfully builds her business through these performances, until she is molested by a powerful and lecherous Vice Chancellor Dharmendra (Sanjay Mishra) during one of her performances. Revolted and outraged, Anaarkali slaps him on stage and even files an FIR against him on grounds of molestation. Due to the kind of profession she works in, Anaarkali is misjudged by many and is called a prostitute by the police, who can then refuse to acknowledge the VC’s misconduct. What follows is her struggle and triumph.
Writer-director Avinash Das presents a clear-cut winner with his film. He has come up with a superb concept and executes it with conviction. It is also obvious that he has done his homework with the script and characters. Das has also handled the delicate scenes beautifully. Kudos also to the technical team. The film is a smooth sail during the first half and, post-interval, the narration lifts to another level.
Many scenes have been brilliantly executed. For instance, when Anaarkali goes shopping and how the shopkeeper gifts her lipsticks; when she is molested on stage and ends up slapping Dharmendra; when she goes to lodge a complaint but is snubbed; and when she is falsely accused of prostitution. Many such scenes have a subtle but powerful essence which comes across on screen.
Cinematography by Arvind Kannabiran is apt. Editing by Jabeen Merchant is another asset. She firmly wraps the narration in 113 minutes and keeps the segue intact throughout. Music and background score add to the flavour of the story and is noteworthy. Costumes and locations support narration. Each actor plays their respective parts with conviction. In fact, the casting is flawless and the actors deliver stunning performances.
Performance-wise, Swara Bhaskar presents her part in an unpretentious and convincing manner. Bhaskar plays her part so credibly that you forget she’s anything but her character. Sanjay Mishra not only delivers a magnificent performance but has proved yet again that he is an actor par excellence. Pankaj Tripathy impresses with his flawless performance. Ishhtiaq Khan is brilliant. The rest of the supporting cast lends adequate support.
Verdict: A must watch!