Friday, February 06, 2004

suraj ka satvan ghoda

Judging by what Benegal did before and after this great adaptation of Dharmvir Bharti's novel, I'd have to call this a major milestone in his career. Everything went downhill after that. The Making of the Mahatma and his collaboration with Khalid Mohamed {see also: Tehzeeb, Fiza} went from embarassing to barely bearable. This film, however, stands tall. It gave us the uneven talent of Rajit Kapur (his sincerity could do little to help either the mess based on Mahatma Gandhi's life in South Africa or the strictly-by-the-numbers character of the Rod Steiger ripoff in Ghulam). The background score by Vanraj Bhatia relies on revisiting a motif in Raag Megh and does little else besides sounding like a melange of cheap synthesizer tones. And the stark simple look marks the film as another product of the "parallel cinema movement". All these cribs notwithstanding, the film is still a must-see and (unless the future has something else in store) Benegal's last opus of merit.

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