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ANAARKALI OF AARAH - You praised Amitabh teaching the meaning of a woman's NO in the court, now praise Swara doing the same in a differently authentic manner. (Review By Bobby Sing)
25 Mar, 2017 | Movie Reviews / 2017 Releases

You must have heard about the drastically fallen standard of ‘Bhojpuri films and music’, its vulgar, double meaning songs and their hugely hit status in the market putting a big question mark on the standard or mindsets of the writers, performers, music companies and the public supporting the act altogether.

Now though ANAARKALI OF AARAH doesn’t deal with this crucial burning issue but it does bring forward the stressful life and ‘the daily mental/physical torture’ faced by the local stage singer/dancer girls or ‘nautch girls’ as they are called, who are just performers and not at all involved in any kind of flesh trade, probably mistaken or taken for granted due to the crudely obscene songs they mostly are famous for.

A subject, that has been rarely taken up by Hindi filmmakers in the recent decades probably considering it too regional (local) or not suitable for the so called sophisticated multiplex viewers coming for their weekly (casual) entertainment spending a good amount of money. Therefore both the writer-director Avinash Das and his lead actress Swara Bhaskar deserve some extra brownie points for courageously going for this eye-opener, exceptional subject despite its limited reach and grim chances of a huge success at the box office in the present scenario.

Yes the film has its own share of downers affecting its overall impact lacking the much needed fire and explosion in its onscreen execution, yet it remains one of those rare meaningful ventures which deserve to be seen and applauded, both for its socially relevant theme and the terrific lead performance overcoming your individual apprehensions.

The film begins with a shocker kind of death sequence which might not be a shocker any more in the present world of Whats App videos, wherein you might have seen similar real life bloody instances happening in the loud wedding celebrations in regions like UP, Punjab and Bihar more recently.

To be honest, this very first sequence raises your expectations to many folds which remain partially fulfilled till the end as one keeps waiting for more similar fiery scenes in the next two hours. The film’s first half keeps you hooked with all authentically presented story developments and songs having typical regional touch enjoyed by the local public. But in the second half we sadly get to see some clichéd sequences once again, showcasing the artist getting rediscovered by a music company regaining her local star status. Thankfully the final 30 minutes of the film successfully deliver the message through a well-conceived thoughtful finale and you do take home the lesson recently taught by Amitabh Bachchan too in his PINK explaining the importance of NO said by a woman to any uninvited advances.

Performances
Completely belonging to an aggressive Swara Bhaskar from her first scene to the last, this is another highly realistic, unexaggerated and honest, gem of a performance from the actress post the last year’s NIL BATTEY SANNATA. And the girl beautifully brings in the much required local swag too in her fiery act along with the accent cracked perfectly besides the distinctive stage expressions and vulgar dance movements transporting you straight to the rustic interiors.

Giving you a clear idea, this is not any of those deliberately orchestrated Bollywood item number kind of stage performances reminding you of names such as Bipasha, Shweta or more. But here is an act which might knock you out with surprise, in case you haven’t personally witnessed any of such local stage acts in the specific regions.  

Pankaj Tripathi tries his best enacting a poorly written role unable to exploit the immense potential in this underrated actor and Ishtiaq Khan wins your heart as the fan-cum-valuable friend of Swara in her difficult times. However I honestly found Sanjay Mishra not in his elements due to a confusing kind of portrayal of a university Vice Chancellor, who more looks and behaves like a political power broker surrounded by violent goons and not a reputed educationalist in charge of a university from any angle.

Key Merits
Apart from the lead performance ANAARKALI OF AARAH needs to be seen for its detailing captured by the camera, the realistic environment and the rare regional feel not normally found in the present Hindi cinema mostly focusing on the rich and the affluent.

Particularly watch it for its songs, their picturisation and the authentic first half having many small supporting acts silently contributing in the backdrop like the team members of Swara’s musical troupe, her close young male associate and the goon who intentionally gives an incomplete information to the VC about the shameful night.

In addition, it’s the climax which impressively delivers the message, making you feel the desperation, anger and revolt as felt by Swara on stage performing in front of the evil VC.

Downers
Among the downers, the script doesn’t have even a single male character with a strong spine revolting against the disgraceful act of the night. Post intermission it largely loses the novelty factor and goes back to the same seen before sequences of a struggler getting a chance and making it big. Plus a few sequences are written too casually, like the one wherein Swara is brought to the court for her case hearing and is straight away forgiven outside the court only without any hearing or consent of the honourable judge just on the instructions of a university Vice Chancellor.

In fact as mentioned above, the only thing that dosen’t work in the film is Sanjay Mishra being shown as a VC, who actually should have been either a corrupt politician or higher police official (having much more destructive power than a university’s VC).

Conclusion
In short, a film that right away begins as well as ends with its best and most powerful sequences, ANAARKALI OF AARAH can rightly be rated as a worth appreciating, meaningful debut attempt from the writer-director Avinash Das largely relying on its commanding key performance by Swara Bhaskar. And giving the deserving due credit to Avinash, his next is sure to be a much more solid, polished and impactful venture as it seems overcoming the shortcomings of the first.

So do give this ANAARKALI a chance and witness the ground reality of the interiors supporting the sincere attempt of Avinash and Swara together as a promising team.

Ending on a personal note, I myself have been in the stage show line for almost a decade, and sharing my untold experience I can ensure that leave alone the lower (illiterate) section of our society, even the most respected, influential, well-educated, and wealthy figures mostly consider the female performers on stage as ‘the easily available’ ones at a price post the show hours.

And I have seen many taking off their fake masks………… once the show is over.

Rating : 3 + 0.5 / 5 (with the additional 0.5 just for Swara Bhaskar alone for her BINDAAS act)


Tags : Anaarkali Of Aarah Review by Bobby Sing, Anaarkali of Aarah Film Review by Bobby Sing, Avinash Das an Swara Bhaskar, New Hindi Movies Reviews, New Hindi Movies Released, New Bollywood Reviews, Bobby Talks Cinema Review, Reviews By Bobby Sing, New Hindi Films Reviews at bobbytalkscinema.com, Bhojpuri Vulgar songs and crude cinema, Regional double meaning songs, Stage performer girls, Nautch Girls
25 Mar 2017 / Comment ( 0 )
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