Antardwand: A film for the festival circuit

(Winner: National Award For Best Film)
Romen Jha
Story-Direction: Sushil Rajpal
Screenplay-Dialogue-Lyric: Amitabh Varma
Music: Bapi-Tutul

MUMBAI: Antardwand (Inner Conflict) is a story which is more unbelievable than fiction. It is about a practice prevalent in Bihar of abducting eligible grooms by a girl’s family and marrying them off forcibly, locally called Pakrauah Shaddi.

Raj Singh Chaudhary, a Bihar lad in Delhi, has a live-in girlfriend. When he learns she is pregnant, he takes off to a small village in the interiors of Bihar to inform his parents and seek their blessings for their marriage.

Failing to convince his father, he is on his way out of the village when he is kidnapped and locked up in isolation for days on end. Eventually, he is fed on hooch till he becomes unconscious and led through the process of a marriage ritual with Swati Sen, the daughter of the feudal lord, Akhilendra Mishra.

The newlyweds are locked till the inevitable happens - the boy accepts the girl. Some examples of such marriages are cited to prove they work. Here, to make it ‘official’ the boy is finally provoked and manipulated to consummate the marriage, almost as a rape. The conclusion is on a wishful note.

The mainstay of the film is its realistic locations and performances which, to the actors’ and the director’s credit, are uniformly good. Among them Akhilendra Mishra, Raj Singh Chaudhary and Swati Sen are a notch above the rest. Music is purely regional in flavour.

While Antardwand may leave a trail of plaudits on the festival circuit and be of academic interest to many, it has no box office potential.

Tough commercial prospects for Madholal Keep Walking

Banner: Dreamcuts
Producer: Apurva Tank
Direcor: Jai Tank
Cast: Subrat Dutta, Neela Gokhale, Pranay Narayan, Swara Bhaskar, Varnita Aglawe.

Madholal Keep Walking tackles  the issue of the the after effects of a tragedy on the psyche of an individual. In this case, Madholal, the survivor of the Mumbai train blasts who losses an arm and a whole lot of his friends cum co-commuters.

The first half is about the life of a security guard, his juggling of meagre finances and the camaraderie with his fellow travellers on the Mumbai local. Then a bomb explodes and while all his friends die, Madholal survives with a lost arm. But his whole world is shattered; he has not only lost his job but also his confidence.

The rest of the film is all about his coming to terms with the situation.

The film has a decent first half sprinkled with some humour though it has more of the Mumbai flavour. The details of commuting life and surroundings are well incorporated.

It is in the post bomb blast story that things become drab and tedious. As it were, films made on real life events and news headlines don’t go down well with our audience and a story of one bomb blast survivor hardly makes for interesting viewing.

Subrat Dutta, the main protagonist gives a natural performance, aptly supported by Neela Gokhale and others. Direction is bogged down by the choice of subject. Dialogue is good and witty. Music, as is the wont nowadays, stays within the cinema hall.

Commercial prospects of Madholal Keep Walking are about as much as the worth of yesterday’s newspaper.

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