Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Review: Apharan

This movie is Prakash Jha's third take on bihar. His latest especially after the much acclaimed and taut Gangajal. More importantly after his foray into active politics.Jha stood for elections in the 2005 assembly elections in Bettiah, Bihar.During campagining, he got roughed allegedly by a gang of Rashtriya Janta Dal (RJD)workers, who smeared soot on his face and threw chappals at Jha and his entourage.

Key Question: Did Jha learn more about the murky world of power brokering in India's Wild Wild [W]East?

Mohan Agashe is a regular and Ajay Devgan is increasingly becoming one. Nana Patekar is good as Tabrez Alam, allegedly drawing from Siwan's Member of Parliament (MP) Md. Shahbuddin.Bipasa basu, why is she in the movie? She looks ugly, broad and raunchy in the salwar kameez and sorely out of place too.I think the editor had the hots for her, so saved the teeny bits of her for his viewing pleasure which we suffer.

A very dissapointing fare.In an effort to say too much, Apharan, ends up saying nothing special. The movie is an important contribution in its effort to the documentation of power plays illustrating the politician-police-criminal nexus. This is brought to the screen very lucidly. At another level, Jha moves from a societal denouement to a singular traditional hindi film one.In details, in his earlier Bihar based films, Mrityudand and Gangajal, justice is dispensed collectively. Jha's suggestion in my opinion seems to be that it is the society which is responsible for such conditions and therefore society should bring about justice.It is also meaned to convey the message that experiences maybe individual but an existing state of affairs can change only by collective action.In simple words a call to the people to change their circumstances. In this third Bihar outing he moves away from that theatrically powerful tool.

*ing, Nana Patekar, Ajay Devgan. Directed by Prakash Jha

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