The film had a very low profile ever since it was announced, and reason we all know that it doesn’t have any such big star-cast or being backed by some big banner. Although when the trailer was released, the film created a bit expectation among moviegoers as it depicts the much needed and necessary topic in the society. So, let us see how well did this expectation reached and got paid off!
It is the story of everywoman living in urban and rural. Hails from Bihar, Anarkali (Swara Bhaskar) is a small-town dancer and singer who makes every guy horny. She performs on stage while doing dirty dancing on typical desi-raunchy songs. While she does this for living, a local college Vice Chancellor Dharmendra Chauhan (Sanjay Mishra) doesn’t think the same. He jumps on stage and decides to exploit Anarkali on stage, whereas the latter decides to teach him a lesson. What we get to see next is the ugly face of power, corruption and double standards in the heartland of India. The film showcases that although Anarkali’s character is mature enough to acknowledge that while she may not be a virgin, but she’s still got that right to say ‘NO’. It’s a story about a small-town girl who then fights for her self-respect in front of the powerful and influential people. Will Anarkali succeed in her fight, or will she accept the hard-reality? Watch the climax and be amazed!
Writing and Direction
When a woman says ‘NO’, it certainly and strictly means ‘NO’. Well, it’s a thought that was projected by Amitabh Bachchan in ‘Pink’ last year. Now in 2017, Swara Bhaskar‘s little gem of a film called ‘Anarkali Of Aarah’ picks up the same theme, and likewise turn out to be an unexpected winner that stuns you by means of its authenticity.
Though its screenplay may not be taut, but the movie surely has the right and apt ideas to project it. The film could have gone terribly wrong if the execution had weakened, but the same of debutant Avinash Das lends seriousness to the proceedings, and making you deeply feel for protagonist and today’s women. In addition, it has credible and compelling characterisations that drive the attention-grabbing plot into areas of exposition where sexual exploitation is turned inside-out and upside-down.
The writer and director Avinash Das makes sure that our Anaarkali takes on the academic hooligan with such strength and vigour that you will find yourself clapping and cheering for this female hero of these times who fights against sexual ambivalence when men in positions of power misuse their strength to exploit women in workplaces.
The film reiterates what ‘Pink’ implied to the urban audience – No means No. Every woman has a right to say ‘no’, irrespective of who she is or what she does for a living. Earlier I said in my ‘Pink‘ review that we need more films like ‘Pink‘, and ‘Anaarkali of Aarah‘ successfully comes in that category. Meanwhile, do not miss the song and dance climax sequence, which is so awesome and leaves you with a gut wrenching lesson on women’s rights.
Anaarkali of Araah is debutant Avinash Das’ bold attempt, where it throws light on the lecherous and rigid nexus between the powerful politicians and policemen, and some of the lowly-deprived category of woman-earners who struggle hard to earn respect.
What doesn’t work in this film is the absence of a strong antagonist. But Swara Bhaskar strikes the right chord in the harshest of scenes, bringing out the feisty Bihari woman’s inner strength and an exceptionally appealing moral grounding even when confronted by the demons of her notorious profession. There are certain scenes where Swara has pushed aside all her inhibitions, even her inherent feminine grace appears as voracious in her aggression. Sawara Bhaskar gives as one of the bravest and most important performance in her career and also by a female actor in post-modernist Bollywood.
Also to her credit Swara sidesteps sleaziness when she is required to sing and shake her booty to some raunchy lyrics. The actress dances to these lewd lyrics with such trust and familiarity, that you won’t notice the sexuality in her thrust. Instead, you will see the thirst and dare, the innocence and the determination to remain as an artiste even though when pushed against the wall that her body is stymied and stiffened by ‘so-called’ social order where men have the sick mentality of owning women’s physicality.
Swara Bhaskar‘s bold, perfectly and colourful nuanced performance brings loads of respect to Anarkali Of Aarah. She finally lands up with a role that she could sink her teeth into. Right from her gait to the way she reacts and fleshes out her character with the necessary coarseness, she is thoroughly impressive. Swara simply raises the level of the movies.
Pankaj Tripathi and Sanjay Mishra are as usual top-notch, and rest of the actors like Vijay Kumar, Mayur More, Ishteyak Khan and Nitin Arora deserve to be seen more often in films.
Music and Other Technicalities
Film’s cinematographer Arvind Kannabiran gets full marks for making Aarah and Anarkali seem wedded to one another. Rohit Kumar‘s authentic folk songs are something to commend, where they add so much value to the proceedings. It’s hard to imagine the film without its true-to-life songs and music. In addition, it has colourful punch-lines, hard-hitting dialogues and a strong plot-line that retains a stark realism.
So is it a Paisa-Vasool Film? Absolutely! It is stunning in thought, spellbinding in plot and utterly gripping in the way the story of a woman, who fights to uphold her right to dignity. On the whole, it’s an inspired piece of writing, which makes Anarkali Of Arah a must watch film about a woman’s courage, self-respect and her right to choose. It’s Highly Recommended and needs Word-of-Mouth to reach widely!
Rating: 4 Stars