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The Beleauguered Backwaters

by Geetashree Chatterjee
(New Delhi)

There are many films, which are being made on the quiet, without much fanfare or media hype and definitely not under those dynastic banners which dish out one block buster after another year in and out. I am talking about the 55th National Award winning Hindi movie –“Antardwand” (2010).


Antardwand not only signifies the inner dilemmas of the characters thrown into complex, almost bizarre, situations beyond their imagination and control but also alludes to the societal upheaval when an out-dated, feudal, autocratic order is confronted by enlightened,progressive opposition. The film is the evaluation of India at its transitional best. Set in the hinterlands of Bihar, Antardwand lays bare the dynamics of a regressive but rampant socio-cultural ethos of groom kidnapping, very much alien to the “Shining” India’s neon-zapped urban milieu. Raghubir (Raj Singh Chaudhury), an IAS aspirant, visits his home-town (Kanti) for a day to seek his parent’s permission to marry Siya, his Punjabi girl-friend. Needless to say the proposal is unceremoniously struck down by the irate father (Vinay Pathak) who has more lucrative plans for his would-be-bureaucrat son. A rebellious Raghubir leaves the house in a huff to be abducted by unknown assailants on the way, physically assaulted for days and forcefully married off, in a state of drunken stupor, to a teen-aged, college-goer, named Janaki (Swati Sen), whom he has never known before.

The hijack is scrupulously masterminded by none other than
the bride’s father (Akhilendra Mishra), who has been eyeing Raghubir for a long time as the ideal match for his daughter. However, being rudely turned down by the boy’s father, scores are settled by kidnapping the boy, stage-managing an enforced wedding ceremony and keeping the newly-weds under close surveillance until the coast is said to be all clear. What
comes as more shocking is the familial pressure brought on the couple to consummate this unconventional union in order to ensure the ultimate subjugation of a still-adamant groom.

Finally, when the conspiracy fails, the bride’s father has nastier plans up his sleeves…Director, Sushil Rajpal makes an impactful cinematic statement through a taut and terse narrative without attempting at being didactic or accusatory – he simply tells an edge-of-the-seat story backed by power packed performances mouthing typical, rustic dialect which
unequivocally reinforces the backdrop – and the message is conveyed in no uncertain terms. Highly recommended for those who are inclined towards meaningful and realistic cinema, Antardwand pans on the beleaguered backwaters, a world existing parallel to an “Incredible India”, where the unhesitant patriarchs still wager their servile womenfolk in a bid to win battles of fickle pride and ego!! Inspired by a true story, the movie ends on an optimistic note dwelling upon the desperation of the gen-next to cross over the threshold of obsolete patriarchy and make a fresh, respectful start.

A movie worth watching!!

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Aug 17, 2012
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Thanks a ton Mathur Sahab!
by: Geetashree Chatterjee

You know how encouraged I feel from your appreciative comments! Regards

Aug 17, 2012
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Thanks Sneha
by: Geetashree Chatterjee

I'll wait for your views!

Aug 05, 2012
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Well
by: Sneha

Well, well, well... I've heard mixed reviews about the movie but I trust your choice. Let's see if I can catch this !

Aug 04, 2012
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Wow !
by: Jitendra Mathur

Geeta Ji,

Shubh Sandhya.

I had once asserted for you that if you started reviewing movies on regular basis, you would sure give the seasoned movie reviewers a run for their money. After reading this film review, I am reassured about what I had said earlier. One word which perfectly assesses your effort is - wow !

I would love to watch this movie because I am not interested in watching nonsense like Cocktail and interested in watching the meaningful and realistic cinema which acts as eye-opener for the viewers (howsoever less they may be in terms of numbers). Commercial success or failure is no statement for a movie's (or play's or book's) quality. And ditto for your review. It may not be read by thousands of readers but it is far superior to the much more read reviews.

Now may I expect you to keep on reviewing movies with a bit more frequency ?

Regards.

Jitendra

Aug 04, 2012
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Thanks
by: Anonymous

Your words mean a lot to me.

Regards

Aug 04, 2012
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review
by: vimala ramu

An excellent review Geeta.

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