Sunday, October 01, 2006

Sardari Begum -Hindi 1996

This is the second movie of the shyam benegal's trilogy of Khalid Mohammed stories(the others are mammo and zubeida).This is probably the best of the trilogy which talks about independent muslim women who went after what they wanted in life.For sardari it was the love of music, the wish to become a great singer.

khalid Mohammed

The movie starts with sardari begum (Kiron Kher) singing "chali pheke".She is disturbed by some commotion outside.Two political/religious groups clash outside her house.She goes to the balcony to look outside.A stone hits her, she falls down and eventually dies.

Reporter tehzeeb is asked to cover the incident for a local newspaper.Tehzeeb accepts it reluctantly. she talks to the people on the streets only to find out that the party leaders, even without knowing much about sardari are trying to take political advantage of her death. Tehzeeb goes to the funeral and she is shocked to find that sardari's brother is none other than her own father jabbar.

kiron kher as sardari Begum

Tehzeeb starts investigating about sardari from her father. She comes to know that her father did not wanted to be associated with a tumri singer, who was considered low in the eyes of the society. The story then unfolds with tehzeeb talking to various people who knew sardari. What did she find about sardari? and how sardari's past affects her, is the rest of the story.

In "sardari Begum" the views of people she meets are very biased. Even though she was a good hearted person, everyone talks low of her because of her social status as some one who sings in mehfils. The story slowly develops with different inputs and there are overlaps to show how different people manipulate the narration to suit their viewpoints.

Cast and Credits:

Amrish Puri & Uttara Baokar

Smriti Mishra & Surekha Sikri

Amrish Puri .... Hemraj
Kiron Kher .... Sardari Begum
Smriti Mishra .... Younger Sardari
Shri Vallabh Vyas .... Jabbar Abbasi (as Shrivallabh Vyas)
Syed Khurshid .... Young Jabbar
Rajat Kapoor .... Sadiq Moosvi (as Rajit Kapur)
Rajeshwari Sachdev .... Sakina
Salim Ghouse .... Manik Sen
Surekha Sikri .... Idbal Bai (as Surekha Sikri Rege)
S.M. Zaheer .... Fateh Khan
Uttara Baokar .... Hemraj's Wife
Ahmed Khan .... Mehmood Abbasi
Ashok Lath .... Mark D'Cruz
Kumud Mishra .... Amode Bajaj
Ravi Jhankal .... Police Inspector
Javed Khan .... Maulvi
Seema Bhargava .... Kulsum's Mother (as Seema Bharaova)
Rakesh Shrivastav .... Leader (as Rakesh Srivastava)
Anupam Shyam .... Leader 2
Masood Akhtar .... Leader 3
Murad Ali .... Munir
Ravi Kemmu .... Musician
Rajina Raj Bisaria .... Tehzeeb

Rajat Kapoor & Salim Ghouse
Kiron Kher & Rajeshwari Sachdev

Anupam shyam
Ravi jhankal

One of the good things about the movie is its music.The movie has lots of thumri songs.2 of them are by asha bhonsle, one by Shubha Joshi and rest of them are by Aarti Angalikar.
Aarti Ankalikar Tikekar

The movie starts and ends with the song chali pheke.Once Rajat Kapoor comes, the songs get colorful with asha singing the songs.She sings two peepy numbers Chahe Maar Dalo Raja and More Kanha Jo Aaye

check out the songs here.

Tehzeeb first comes to know about sardari from her father. who talks ill off her, more off a prostitute than a singer just cause sardari lived the life the way she wanted to live.The story which starts as a curiosity to know the life of sardari ends with a bigger picture of the state of woman in our society.Even though sardari is seen low by the society , end of the day all that she has done is shun the role the society offers. To be a sacrificing mother or a good wife and leads her own life as an independent woman.

The movie is multi layered, not only does it tell the story of the thumri singer, it also parallely narrates the story of two other woman, tehzeeb and sardari's daughter and how at the end sardari's life influences them to take decisions on their life.

Sardari Begum is refreshing in the way the story is told, especially (I think) the two daughters' lives subtly interwoven with the development of narration, adding more sophistication beyond telling the Begum's own biography.

Thanks for bringing up the thread as I didn't realize it belongs to Khalid Mohammed's trilogy. Among the three films of Shyam Benegal, I like Mammo best. Admittedly it is more straightforward, but also very natural, and all the characters are strong personalities to engage audience's emtions with them. Zubeida is relatively weak, I don't know why, perhaps I'm quite used to the tear-jerking acting style of Karisma Kapoor. :)
yes you are right.Apart form the narration style and the story, shyam benegal's effort to throw some light on the old singing style is also commendable.I also think zubeida was the weekest of the trilogy.
Thanks for telling us more about the singer -- Aarti Ankalikar Tikekar.

I thought it was annoying how that was not so well-publicized, it is after all a movie about a singer.

Pakistanis speak very highly of a TV serial by the same name -- I wonder who played the lead and how it compares to this movie overall.

I suppose we will never know
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