Monday, October 31, 2005

Aakrosh(Cry of the Wounded) -1980

Aakrosh, if for nothing else will be remembered as the debut movie of one of india's finest directors, govind nihlani. But this debut movie is not a one to be easily forgotten. This is a movie that after seeing will haunt you for your life. A trend setter movie that hits out at the indian judicial system and mocks at us for not doing anything to change it.

Lahanya Bhiku(Om Puri) a tribal is arrested for killing his wife Nagi(smita patil)and he is tried in the court for it.Bhaskar Kulkarni(Naseeruddin Shah) takes this first case as the govt appointed lawyer.bhaskar kulkarni with all dreams and aspirations to take his first case finds to his frustration that Lahanya does not want to co operate with him. Slowly bhaskar investigates the case which leads to stark ling revelations and the movies comes to a shattering climax.

It's unbelievable that this movie which was made 25 yrs before still has that intensity intact, it still hits you hard, it still forces you to think. It still leaves you in a state of total helplessness. I can't imagine what would have been the impact of this movie on those who saw it 25 yrs ago.

Iam not sure whether anybody took a movie on tribals till that time. The single frame of lakhu tied and waiting before the court room, everybody passing by without caring, his father and sister standing with a baby is enough to show the helpless state of the tribals. That shot brings the message to the audience that Law and justice are something distant to those peoples. The movie further increases our anger with the indifference shown by the judicial system towards the victim with its requirements
for evidence.

The movie apart from telling the powerful story successfully, it also captures the inner self of the major characters brilliantly. Like many of nihalani's characters, the characters in aakrosh(Baskhar, Dosane and bikhu) fight with both the outside and inside world. Nihalani plays out the fight of bikhu visually in a long scene of him suffocating in the jail.It is also used to let the audience know how tormented he is by his wife's murder.

Once the movie ends you are tormented by the images of bikhu, his poor father, the wretched tribals.The images just rips your heart, this movies owes much of its success to govind nihalani, the cinematographer. He sets a style of playing with lights and close-ups, which creates a deep impact in you. He followed this style in many of his later movies, but this one is the best.

Mahesh Elkunchwar

Again this is the first of his many movies which had references to armed struggle, naxalism etc. A marxist played by Mahesh Elkunchwar comes as an person who is trying to organize the tribals for a struggle.

Nihalani takes an interesting dig in the movie.One evening bhaskhar is listening to the radio, and reading a newspaper. The news on the newspaper is that of a murdered adivasi women.At the same time radio news says "vinobhave's has decided to protest against the cow slaughter..".

This movie belongs to my list of must see movies of indian cinema.Nihalani who always fights for a social cause in his movie, has done a awesome job in this movie.A classic, this movie inspired many movies in many indian languages, most of them usual commercial movies, which were all forgotten before this masterpiece.

Cast and credits:

Amrish Puri, Achyut Potdar, Arvind Deshpande,Mohan Agashe

Om Puri .... Lahanya Bhiku
Naseeruddin Shah .... Bhaskar Kulkarni
Mohan Agashe .... President of the City Council
Arvind Deshpande .... Dr. Patil
Mahesh Elkunchwar .... Social worker
Reema Lagoo .... Nautaki Dancer
Nana Palsikar .... Lahanya's father
Smita Patil .... Nagi
Amrish Puri .. Dosane

Mahesh Elkunchwar, the play writer who wrote nihalani's later movie Party, comes as a social worker. The movie has many faces that govind nihalani used repeatedly in his later movies.Om puri, Nasrudeen shah, smita patil, Amrish Puri and Achyut Potdar.The movie also has Remma Lagoo, who comes for a lavani 'tu kaise hai mard'.

Reema Lagoo

Govind nihalani's camera work has to be mentioned. His style of using a light source to play on the images of the characters, creating shock effects etc where cleverly used in the movie.The half lit faces adds so much to the movie, whether its the angry bikhu or the beautiful smita.

The movie is written by vijay tendulkar the famous playwrite with whom nihalani again joined hands to do his other masterpiece ardh sathya.

Vijay Tendulkar

Music is by ajit verman.I dont know why the title song is pictured on an old man who wasn't playing any big role in this movie. This old man comes for the tile song and a scene later. Not sure what was the purpose of this character in the movie.

The movie has 3 songs..
1)Kanha re
2)Hum ne koi kisi
3)Tu kaise hai mard

Golden Peacock for Best Film, International Film Festival of India;
National Award for Best Hindi Film

vijay Tendulkar


There are lots of interesting scenes, its night and the world has gone to sleep, bhaskhar is getting ready to sleep, he does the normal bedtime routines, a melodious song is played in the radio.A perfect setting for the bed time, the audience are calmed down.But what you dont know is that govind has been setting you up for the shocker, a bottle crashing into the windows, shakes you up completely and switches you form that lazy bedtime setting to that of fear and shock. The effect is dramatic.

In this movie if Ompuri would have talked even 2 statements the whole movie would have lost that intensity. By not making that character speak, govind denied us the opportunity to hear his emotions and frustrations and pity him. That intensity, frustration is kept intact all through out the movie and it is transferred to us in the end. The audience might have lost the intensity even if the flashback was played out linearly in one go, starting with a happy family, the problems they face and the eventual crime. But the screenplay is crafted brilliantly such that the intensity is not lost. There are only 2 flashback scenes one lahanya warning nagi against the manager and the second one his witness of the rape scene. Some of the blanks are filled by dialogues and the rest is left to the audience imagination.


Just read this blog, and this is insightful , no doubt abt it.

The old man who appears in the first song is the old judge officiating the case. The song compares the two mindsets, of the old justice and the youthful Bhaskar. You may observe that the old man is hesitant to touch the approaching waves where as Naseer strips down and plunges into the sea. This I thought clarified the position of the director and set the mood correct.
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