Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Hazaaron Khwaishai Aisee

hazaaroN KHwahishaiN 'eisee ke har KHwahish pe dam nikle
bohot nikle mere armaaN lekin phir bhee kam nikle

Mirza Ghalib

Watched this movie over the last weekend and the effects are still percolating in my mind as one of the best Hindi movies I’ve ever watched. Yeah, yeah, yeah it’s the arty farty types about the 70’s political decadence and the stories of the three protagonists whose lives are embroiled in the social events around them. But the story is well woven into the commentary about the social fabric of the late 60’s and 70’s, while mocking Nehruvian socialism and the Gandhi dynastic excesses.

Sidharth (KayKay Menon), Geetha (Chitrangada) and Vikram (Shiny Ahuja) are classmates at a urban ultra chic Delhi college, where students are seeped into the Jimi Hendrix, drugs, sex rock and roll lifestyle while some are immersed in the Che, Maoist ‘Change the World’ commie romantic idealism. Sidharth, the son of a well known judge, is the leader of this ragtag bunch of campus Naxals. Geetha, who is studying in the same college, is in love with Sidharth’s idealism, who in turn is secretly adored by Vikram, a small town boy, but with sky high materialistic ambitions. Vikram’s father is from the Gandhian era with Gandhian morals and a jingoistic demeanor, which doesn’t sit well with Vikram. Sidharth wants to leave his upper-class lifestyle and travel to Bihar to be a part of the revolution that is spreading all across lower class India, but is tied emotionally to Geetha. He promises to return after 6 months, but not before spending a passionate night with Geetha at a party, which Vikram happens to notice.

Sidharth is so engrossed in the Naxal movement in Bihar, that he long overstays the 6 months commitment that he made to Geeta. In his letters to Geeta, he describes the plight of the villages and their mistreatment by the upper caste landlords in the villages.

Sidharth and his commie brothers, endangering their lives, are helping the villagers fight back against the feudal raj, that is prevalent even to this day in the villages of India. Moved by the plight of the lower caste farmers, Sidharth asks Geeta to move on with her life, since he has decided to dedicate his life to the Naxal cause. Vikram, in the meantime is upwardly mobile in the murky political world of New Delhi of the 70’s, with connections with the likes of Sanjay Gandhi, Satish Sharma and the Chadraswamis of the world. Geeta is now married to an IAS officer, and Vikram is engaged to a rich socialite with all the trappings of a noveau riche decadent lifestyle. Vikram, by some social coincidence comes in contact with Geeta, and old flames are rekindled for Vikram despite the fact that Geeta is now married to a junior IAS officer. Vikram follows Geeta to a village in Bihar, where she is supposed to be traveling with her husband, only to find out that she is having an illicit affair with Sidharth.

Unable to lead a duplicitous life, Geeta decides to leave her husband and turns to Vikram to bail her out to start a new life. Hurting at the thoughts of staying away from Sidharth, Geetha, on an impulse, leaves Delhi and Vikram and goes to Bihar to work in the villages where Sidharth and his comrades live. She starts living with Sidharth and they sire a child amidst all the poverty and uncertainty in the village. Sidharth gets jailed for his Naxal movement and Geeta gets gang raped in the police station, after which she returns to Delhi. Vikram travels to Bihar to rescue Sidharth, only to fall victim to the tyranny of the local policemen. Almost left for dead, and bailed out by timely intervention by Vikram’s political contacts, Sidharth and Vikram return back to Delhi as changed men. Sidharth leaves Geeta and relocates to England to study medicine. Vikram, who is now an invalid, is now cared for by Geeta in the village in Bihar.

Despite the arty documentary feel of the movie, what remains at the crux of this story is a simple love story. The difference in this movie is that there are no moral judgments passed, no preachy rants and no theatricals in the storyline. The acting is top rate, though the pace of the film is a bit slow at times. There are several poignant moments in the movie when the lordly policemen while berating Geeta, has his sights aimed directly at her breasts, or when Sidharth and his comrades incense the villagers to confront the landlord, the landlord suffers a stroke and the villagers come to his rescue to find him a doctor. The scene where Vikram almost gets killed by the Bihari policeman is gut wrenching. The music is eclectic and excellent. The movie beautifully points out the irony in Sidharth and Vikrams lives. Sidharth at the end of the movie loses everything, his beliefs, his convictions and Geeta and Vikram despite having lost most of his memory and physical abilities, wins the one things that means most to him, Geeta. Definitely one of the best Hindi movies that I have seen, ever. Sudhir Mishra, hats off to you. Please give us many more.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Sourin,
I had watched the movie after you had sent an email abt it to our club. And I couldnt agree with you more about the review. I am not sure though if I will call it the best hindi movie that I have seen (since its hard to disregard the likes of, Jaane Bhi do Yaaron, Mandi, Mirch Masala). But the girl Chitrangada Singh stole my heart. She reminds me so much of one of my favorite actors of all time, the stunningly brilliant, Smita Patil. In recent times, Swades was another movie which had questioned the ethos with which we live our lives by. I liked the title of the movie 'Hazaron'....since it so aptly reminds us that even after the dark days of the emergency, so many wishes still remain to be fulfilled for our democracy to be truly called, 'For the people'.


4:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey whats up with the bold font on this article?
You are making a bold statement it seems!;)


4:40 PM  
Blogger chappan said...

Thanks Ashu. Anything to reach out more and solicit some others viewpoints as well.

Overall, I liked the movie very much , and your are right abt Smita Patil. Chitrangada does remind me of Smita Patil.

5:46 PM  

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