Films | Anarkali of Aarah- Movie Review

Anarkali of Aarah- Movie Review

Posted by Vivek on March 26, 2017 | No Comments

FILM – Anarkali of Aarah

PRODUCER – Priya Kapur, Sandip Kapur

DIRECTOR – Avinash Das

WRITER – Avinash Das

CAST – Sanjay Mishra, Pankaj Tripathi, Swara Bhaskar,

MUSIC – Rohit Sharma

With Anarkali of Aarah and Phillauri both releasing this weekend, it is what some members of our esteemed censor board would term as a ‘too ladies oriented’ Friday. But I suppose it is variety that the film-goer is looking for, isn’t it?

Anarkali of Aarah comes in sprightly to fill that gap. Set in UP, it is the story of a singer and nautch girl Anarkali’s (Swara Bhaskar) struggle for survival and space in a very male-centric society. The faceless, lifeless object of desire that she has become sees her surrounded by all kinds of men, some who help and most who harm. One man, VC Dharmendra (Sanjay Mishra) takes it too far by molesting her publicly, on the stage during a show. And thus begins a game of power and politics that the hapless Anarkali suddenly finds herself caught in.

At its heart, (and very crudely put) Anarkali of Aarah is a message film. The delight is in watching it deliver its (almost didactic) message through the journey and choices of Anarkali weaving it in the very dramatic tone and structure of the film. It keeps the enthusiasm and adrenaline going, even if it may get a little monotonously high.

A lot of the loudness though, in pitch and tenor, is an authentic part of the landscape, its culture and habits and lends a rustic cadence to its world. However, the undulating emotional graph of Anarkali’s journey somehow refuses to lower the pitch for balance. We decisively see her either utterly helpless or powerful. The in-between moments of indecision, self-doubt and apprehension, where we could see her real complexities, do not receive enough of an eye and in a sense that takes away a lot from her character who is extremely relatable and endearing, or maybe made so by Swara Bhaskar’s brilliant and enthusiastic performance.

Anarkali of Aarah has eye-catching performances peppered all across; performances by rooted actors in well-written roles, not only standing firm in their surroundings but in their own skins as well. Pankaj Tripathi as her manager-cum-boyfriend misusing her or his own survival, displays his chameleon-like ability to shape-shift, like that other shape shifter Nawazuddin Siddiqui. He is believable when good and believable when bad and equally likeable both times. One almost understands why Anarkali still feels tenderly towards him, why she finds it easy to forgive him.

Sanjay Mishra as the habitual sexual predator blithely believing it is his love for Anarkali speaking, is exquisite in his constant morphing of comic, tragic, evil and edgy shades in his hopelessly corrupt minister. Through their innate sensitivity, Mayur More as Anwar, Anarkali’s young admirer and protector and Istheyak Khan as Hiraman, a character that immediately harks back to Raj Kapoor’s character in Basu Bhattacharya’s Teesri Kasam, fill the vibrancy of Anarkali’s world with a touching depth. They make her world come alive for her to shine as she does, whole-heartedly.

The film ends on a note as dramatic and rings deafeningly, almost in frustration of having to shout so loud for so long. Too loud it maybe and for too long too but rest assured, what it is saying is definitely not ‘too ladies oriented.’

Fatema Kagalwala

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