Rating: 3.5/5 Stars (Three and half stars)
Star Cast: Swara Bhaskar, Sanjai Mishra, Pankaj Tripathy, Ishhtiaq Khan
Director: Avinash Das
What’s Good: Swara Bhaskar’s brazen act truly binds you to this film. Also, Avinash Das’ sharp writing is the life of this story, based in the heartland of India.
What’s Bad: One can tell the sequence of the story quite early on, especially where the climax is headed.
Loo Break: You don’t want to miss what Anaarkali is upto next!
Watch or Not?: Anaarkali Of Aarah is a must-watch for Swara Bhasker and the supporting cast’s power-packed performances. Also, it is another film that doesn’t bat an eyelid when it comes to standing up against crimes against women.
Anaarkali (Swara Bhasker) is an erotic singer from Aarah, a small town in Bihar. She and her orchestra perform at parties on songs which are replete with double meaning. Their actions and dance too high on sexual innuendos. Considered to be a local treasure, Anarkali is nearly a celebrity thanks to her popular performances.
She is successfully making her business through these performances, until one unfortunate day when she gets molested by a powerful, lecherous VC (Sanjay Mishra) of town on stage during her performance.
Disgusted by his act, Anaarkali slaps him on stage and later urges on filing an FIR against him on grounds of molestation.
Due to her profession, she is misjudged by many and is framed by police as a prostitute to contain her from bringing forth, the VC’s misconduct.
What follows is her struggle against a misogynistic world that believes has no shame in objectifying women as mere objects of desire.
Anaarkali Of Aarah Review: Script Analysis
Anaarkali Of Arrah is social commentary at its best. Anaarkali’s character, an abashed woman who thrives on lusty men loosening their wallets strings for her performances is absolutely powerful. Her playful nature when it comes to her close ones, be it her partner, Rangeela (Pankaj Tripathi) or her stern ‘no’ when being forced by him or any other man is spot on.
One of the best things about her character is that at no point an impression is given that she is a ‘seedhi sadhi’ girl. Quite rightly shown, she has the right to her body and hence may have chosen to have multiple sexual partners in the past but that does not make her ‘available’ to any man who can force his way through.
Anaarkali’s background as child too is developed swiftly. The opening scene involving her mother is jaw-dropping and kind of hints you at the beginning itself, that this is not a regular film.
Avinash Das rightly taps into the local flavor of central India. There is ample of double-meaning in the songs and dialogues as well, but one has to really laud Das for no where making it vulgar or uncomfortable for the audience.
Dialogues like, ‘Aap hi ki kadhaai hai, ab usme jalebi talenge ya halwa banayenge ye aapko hi teh karna hai’ are simply bold.
Like Pink, this film once again puts a stress on ‘No means No’. Anaarkali may be putting it out in public with her revealing clothes and seductive moves but there’s nothing called ‘asking for it’.
In some places, such as the sequence where she is framed by the police and the entire angle of protests happening against such performances in the city remains undeveloped all through the film. It could have been shown in a little more depth considering, majority of women stand up to one woman.
Anaarkali Of Aarah Review: Star Performance
Swara Bhasker is sheer magnificent as Anaarkali in the film. She owns the character from her first scene and holds your attention all through. Be it the accent, the body language, lip syncing or her suggestive dance, Bhasker completely blows your mind. She is truly one of the finest actresses in the industry today and I completely hail her for taking up a film with such a subject.
Sanjay Mishra as the lecherous, VC gives another fine performance. Without making his villainous act over dramatic, Mishra keeps it to basic but effective enough.
Pankaj Tripathi as Rangeela is simply superb. Who knew he could dance so well? Yes, Tripathi has some killer moves. Apart from that, his natural act works its magic.
Ishtiyak Khan who gave a brilliant performance in Phass Gaye Re Obama as the English Teacher, is the second best actor in this film. His character is named Hiraman, a flashback of Raj Kapoor’s Teesri Kasam. His track with Anaarkali’s character is also on the film’s lines. Khan delivers a superlative performance as the good-at heart lover of Anaarkali, who also respects her talent.
Mayur More as Anwar and Vijay Kumar as Bulbul Pandey also give strong performances as the supporting characters.
Anaarkali Of Aarah Review: Direction, Music
Avinash Das makes his directorial debut with this film and one must laud him for his attempt. Anaarkali Of Aarah makes the right noise with its thorough Indian setting. The opening scene as stated earlier, is one of the most shocking starts a film can take. It’s harsh and ironically a neglected issue in a country like ours.
Das thrills you with certain scenes such as the one where Anar visits the police station to file an FIR and is conveniently avoided by the police. Also, a scene where Anar visits a local store to buy beauty products, it is reflective of how smart she is.
The climax even though predictable, has the required impact with Bhasker strutting her way with her head held high.
Rohit Sharma’s music is a key element in this film and it has been impressively composed bringing in the true ‘Bhojpuri’ flavor. Ramkumar Singh, Dr. Sagar and Ravinder Randhawa have worked on the lyrics. Mind you, the ‘Lehenga’ song may sound cringeworthy, but it rightfully fits with the film’s theme.
Anaarkali Of Aarah Review: The Last Word
Anaarkali Of Aarah is a stunningly bold and thank heavens has managed to release in India with CBFC’s kindness. Watch it for Swara Bhasker’s killer act. A 3.5/5 for this need of the hour film.
Anaarkali Of Aarah Trailer
Anaarkali Of Aarah releases on 24th March, 2017.
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