Anaarkali Of Aarah Film Review: Sparkles and Sputters

| March 29, 2017 | 0 Comments

What if a woman who does not have a right to be

even born, demands right over her own body,her own sexuality?.

Of late this theme has been grist to Bollywood film factories.

Bollywood because its no more a hindi cinema in its strict terminology, but movies made in hinglish, hence Hindi film industry is somewhat of a misnomer.

Not to digress too much into semantics Anaarkali of Aarah is an exception,as it stays true to the ambience,dialects of its setting, be it an obscure town of Aarah in Bihar, or bylanes of colonies on the fringes of Yamuna embankments in New Delhi.

Anaarkali (Swara Bhaskar) is a singer-dancer in a dance troupe of Rangeela(Pankaj Tripathi).She by her own admission is no sati-savitri. She has a relationship with Rangeela and she loves flaunting her sexuality knowing fully well that men are mad about her raunchy songs. Being acutely aware of the male gaze she is not offended, rather basks in it.

Now this male gaze turns into letching, flirting, then groping and an all out attempt at molestation by none other than the VC of a non-descript University in Aarah,a CM’s appointee Dharmender(Sanjay Mishra), at a public performance. Anaarkali staves off his attempts and slaps the sozzled VC in full public glare.

Rest of the story deals with VC’s use of his power in cahoots with the Police officer of the town, to tame Anaarkali and bring her to bow before his wishes.

Whether Anaarkali breaks down or rises like a Sphinx to take revenge forms the climax somewhat on lines of Karz, albeit with the help of modern technology of CDs,projector and screen.

As such there is nothing fresh in the narrative that has not been seen in a seminal film about females right to choose, that is Pink. A woman’s right over her body and her No meaning No regardless of her profession,status or position.
Then there are shades of Parched insofar girl’s choice of profession is concerned and her characterisation too.

Small mercies,there are no cuss words being mouthed by Anaarkali. She has that dignity and demeanour that lends grace to her character.

Its Swara Bhaskar’s movie all the way. She sparkles like an Indian fire sparkler Anaar, with full luminosity in most of the scenes.

Pankaj Tripathi as an owner of the troupe and a performer too lends a worthy support. It’s a character of Hiraman,who is Anaarkali’s saviour in Delhi that leaves an impact with his role.

Sanjay Mishra is a miscast. Or it could be the character he plays, that of a Vice Chancellor of a dubious university wielding so much power is difficult to digest. Agreed it’s the depiction of feudal and machismo mindset through him, but the very post he is holding does not lend to belief in gross abuse of power.

Its difficult to digest that law and order machinery and officers would crawl before him, when told to bend.

Similarly, Anaarkali’s New Delhi misadventure alongwith her troupe colleague Anwar (Ishtiyak Khan,sincere) is nothing but a bundle of coincidences and convience of screenplay.

A journo-turned Director Avinash Das is able to tell a story with nothing fresh by way of premise. His writing though is peppered with local humour that is refreshing. He has told a simple tale in a simplistic manner.There is no metaphor or subtext as such. Situations lend to deja vu. Portrayal of police as corrupt is stereotypical.

Small town setting and ambience is interesting.Folk tunes plus the music compositions (Rohit Sharma) with double entendre laden lyrics definitely add to the energy and flavour of the story.

These essentially make up for all the discrepancies and make Anaarkali not blossom like pomegranate bud but sparkle the brightest before petering out. I think it’s reason enough to visit her once.

Rating:

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Category: Reviews

About the Author ()

Dhieraj Mohan is Hindi cinema's keen observer. With earnest interest in its dynamics and constantly changing milieu he revels in dwelling on the discrepancies, idiosyncrasies,contradictions,masala and the formula that defines Bollywood.He is a poet and a screenwriter too,who simply adores Hindi cinema's chameleon like traits.

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