Wednesday, August 28, 2002

Shyam Benegal's Ankur: Phase One

The movie for the evening was Shyam Benegal's directorial début Ankur. The film is shot in Andhra Pradesh and locals of the village that most of the action is set in serve as extras for the film. In the opening scene, Ms Azmi (who won the National Award for this début), when we first see her, is a tad too fair and tall to be part of the crowd (perhaps this was the intention??). The lack of a decent budget is telling, as are the marks of "parallel cinema" -- long silent moments, silent montage sequences. The credits boast an impressive list: Pandit Satyadev Dubey and Govind Nihalani. Not to forget overrated future member of the Benegal camp, Vanraj Bhatia, whom Benegal deserted for his commercial venture Zubeidaa in favour of A. R. Rahman. Thus far the most promising performance comes from Sadhu Meher playing Lakshmi's (Azmi) mute husband. His silence has an intensity alike Om Puri in Aakrosh. As for the dialect: it seems artificial when Ms. Azmi mouths it, but I don't know too much about it to comment on the correctness of pronunciation or the appropriateness for the locale.

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