Monday, March 28, 2005

Suraj Ka Satvan Ghoda

Suraj ka satva ghoda (The seventh horse of sun) is a rashmonish movie by shyam benegal. The movie is based on Dharamavir Bharati novel of the same title. Iam not sure about how much of adaptation was done for the screen. The story is narrated in a non-linear style. It uses various techniques, story inside story, spacitial and time discontinuities, stories narrated in different threads with hook points to relate them. Above all the story mixes fact and fictions and leaves the conclusion to the viewer.

The story is enriched with so many beautiful characters played by some great actor/actresses. The movie does not have one central character, there are two narrator 's in the story but the importance is not given to them but to the characters they narrate. The director uses different threads to develop the characters, the viewer comes to know the character’s little by little with every story.

I havn't seen an indian movie that has employed so many narration technique's. It keep's the viewer engrossed in the different stories, switching between fact and fiction. At the end of the movie i felt as if i was a kid and benegal like my grand ma told a fairy tale. You tend to believe everything when it is told , but after the story has ended and u look back at the story and say "that cannot be possible, it is not true". The movie comes together like a cloud formation and vanishes leaving you groping for truth.

If you are a fan of good movies/literature/non-linear style stories and dont mind off beat movies, check out the movie don't read the post anymore. For all those who will never see this movie here it is.

*********** spoiler alert*************

The story starts with raghuvir yadav in a modern art exhibition. He comes across this picture which reminds him of his mohalla (neighborhood) and his college days. He starts narrating about his days and starts talking about Manik mullah (Ranjit kapur) a railway employee who was a great story teller and how he and his friends would go there when ever they get free time and how manik would tell them stories.

The movie now shifts to a flashback where young raghuvir yadav and his friends discuss about the current literatures and romance. They ask manik to tell them a romantic story in his own style.Manik starts the first story "Being true to one's salt".Manik who is sitting in the window looks down at the next house and sees a cow tied to the shed and a girl walking towards the cow.He starts the story that when he was young they used to have a cow and the next door neighbour girl used to frequent to there house.

Even though manik starts talking about his story, the main character becomes jamuna( rajeshwari sachdev ).jamuna is kind of a romantic and dreamy character who is in love with another neighbor thanna.Jammuna is lonely and spends time thinking about thanna and reading romantic book's like devdas.Thanna is afraid of his father mahesar dalal and does not want to do anything against his will. In this first story you hear the voice of the father shouting to his son who is looking at jamuna and there are also references to what kind of a character he is,but you will never see who the person really is. In the next story he is revealed as amrish puri. jammuna keeps talking about thanna to manik and slowly manik and jammuna fall in love. jammuna later gets married to an older man.

At the end of the story manik and the gang start discussing about the moral of the story in a humorous tone. When the gang asks more about the fate of jammuna. He shows the horse shoe in the house and starts the next story " The Horse shoe". Jammuna married to a rich zamindhar is childless ,she often goes to the temples with a tanga(horse cart) driver randhan and he promises her that if she wears a ring made out of horse shoe she will have a child.Her frequent temple visits with randhan brings her closer to him .jammuna starts having a illicit relation with randhan and bears his child.

Again the gang start discussing the moral of the story and they further enquire about waht happened to the diff characters in the story. Manik starts the 3rd story. The 3rd story starts with the other side of the first story. Now you see amrish puri the father ,the story moves ahead and joins the initial point of the first story when manik meets jamunna near the cow shed. The same story also starts describing about the other women's lilly(pallavi joshi) and satti(neena gupta).lilly is chosen as the bride for thanna. Thanna has a child with lilly and he dies in a train accident. The story also starts developing the character of amrish puri as a womanizer. satti is a low class soap maker living with her uncle chaman thakur. Mahesar dalal makes advances towards satti and she resists it. Suddenly there is nobody in chamman thakur's house and a villager says that he saw chamman thakur driving a cart filled with his belongings and a body covered with white clothes. The people conclude that probably mahesar dalal and chamman thakur have killed satti.

The next day the gang again ask more story and mulla starts the story of lilly. Again a story discontinued in time. manik and lilly are in love. lilly is about to get married to thanna ,manik once again backs up and ask's lilly to forget him. Lilly get married to thanna.The gang again discuss about the story and someone says that manik's stories are plain and straight forward and he does not employ any technique in his stories. Manik answers by saying that only people who does not have anything to say use techniques and he is a fan of improvisation and pure story telling.He says he likes to make impromptu stories about any object that he sees and he likes flaubert, maupassant and chekov way of story telling. He narrates an incident with chekov where he told a lady that "writing story is not hard. keep any object before me and i will weave a story around it".Then one of the gang member challenges him to tell the story of satti around a knife that is in manik's room. Manik says he doesn't have to make the knife as the center as it is, a very important part in the story and infact it is the same knife that satti had when she met him the last time.

Manik starts the story of satti .He frequents her place to help them with their soap business accounts. manik and satti kind of get close to each other. Mahesar dalal befriends chamman thakur ,buys him drinks and gives him money to marry satti. mahesar dalal rapes satti. satti comes to manik's house escaping from her uncle and mahesar dalal and pleads with manik to take her some where. manik asks her to sit in another room and reports it to his brother. His brother brings mahesar dalal and chamman thakur, she fights them with the knife but is over powered by the 2 and she is taken away by them. The story end with the previous scene in the 3rd story where a villager narrates that he saw chamman thakur riding a cart with a body.

Again they start discussing the story and manik says he regrets his decision of betraying satti and after her death his poetries are filled with morbid thoughts. manik then says he has to go to work and the gang asks him to buy a tea for everybody . manik agrees and on the way to the tea stall raghuvir yadav says that when manik was narrating the story he had lot of imaginations , he says he saw a rainbow and a cart being pulled by mahesar dalal with 3 children’s the children’s of jammuna, lilly and satti and the served legs of chamman thakkur walking etc. manik after hearing to it says that his ability to imagine is a gift and that he should reform his dreams into a story. He goes on to say that stories are a medium to mold one's dreams with reality to fulfill one's own desires and stories are a strange mixture of reality and dreams. As he is talking this to the gang some beggar woman asks for alms ,manik turns and is shocked .It is satti with a child and chamman thakur in a cart that she was pulling. satti is also shocked looking at manik and she backs off and runs to the cart .manik runs behind her into a fog. Raghuvir yadav ends his narration saying that he never saw manik after that , but he as become a successful writer now.

As the movie ends ,you are left with hundreds of question on what is real and what is fiction. Did manik invent the stories on the fly with the objects that he saw?. If it is true then what about satti??. Manik’s confession that he likes flaubert makes you realize that the jamuna character has the resemblance of madame bovary , it again puts a question what is real and what is fiction. when talking to manik Lilly reference’s one of his character called jammuna which again adds to the confusion. If he was making up the stories why was he shocked seeing satti ??.

If you come out of manik, then there is a higher level narrator raghuvir yadav. Going back on his statement that he has became a successful writer makes you wonder on how much was reality in what he told. Did he give shape to his imagination?. Did he mold his imaginations with reality? Did he invent the whole story on the fly after seeing the modern art??. The movie leaves you dumb folded by its complex narrative style.


loved the movie!
Personally i felt it was quite a departure for Benegal from his earlier movies (though again it has a commentary at the social level)...

The way Benegal weaves humour is also commendable! (like he did in Mandi).
and hey..
He is not Ranjit Kapoor; but Rajit Kapoor (sometimes spelt as Rajit Kapur too! but not Ranjith).

and sorry, I dont nitpick on spellings generally. But isnt it Rashomon'ish?? :)
enna achu. i have used the name of ranjit kapur only once and i have used it correctly.where did u get the other spelling :).will change the rashomon one.
Yeah the humour tone is also great.Like the title of the first story "Being true to one's salt" itself is funny.
He is Rajit Kapoor! and not Ranjit Kapur..
Of course, u mentioned it only once! I was talking abt other sources on the net who spell it wrongly as Kapur. :)
Loved the movie.....just saw it on Zee...and leaves the viewer so engrossed...Shyam are the best !!!
He is rajit kapur and not kapoor.
This Movie , I watched , when I was 15 Year Old, and somehow, was fascinated , with the characters and Story... and left behind a very good memory.. and today after 15 years, I thought to watch a movie... Can somebody, tell about online availability of this movie.
Q it up in Blockbuster. Came across it.Didn't take long to hunt it down..This was Amrish Puri ji's favorite role..He probably would have done anything for Shyam Benegal -- they go back a long way..

can anyone post torrent for this movie
my mail id is
I first Saw the movie when I was in 6th std, the best movie I have ever seen, even though I understood very little at that time.Since then I have watched it for at least 5 time ,just loved Rajit Kapoor in it.I have even got the book.It takes you to a different world of imagination.
Suraj ka satwan ghoda is simply mesmerising one.
i have seen this at least 10 times, there is a beautiful song as well.
What is the significance of Manek's disappearance in the end, what does the author intend?
Did anyone understand why the movie or novel was titled "Suraj ka satvan ghoda"??
great film,fine review.
Where can I get DVD of this film ?
I saw the film 10 years back .
However I wish to see it again.
kahana ke madhyam se insaan jo hai, jo banna chahta hai sab kah deta hai...this in Rajit Kapoor's voice...I think Dharamvir Bharti had devil in his pen when he wrote it, Benegal had devil in camera and Rajit Kapoor in his voice...what a film!!!
Like dis movie very much
Suraj ka sat an ghoda refers to the seventh horse of the sun which is strongest and the youngest one . Even if all the six horses of sun will get tired and will not run ....the seventh one will keep running . So in the end the children of the characters are the seventh horse of the sun who are there hope..
such a great movie...excellent ...but few questions ...
1.whose dead body it was ,driven by chaman thakur?was that maheswar dalal?no where getting this clue...
2. why manek disappered ?why he never met his freinds there after ?got married to satti?
...looking for answer....
just finished watching it on tv...i coudnt focus while watching so i was searching for the synopsis. after reading the synopsis i feel better now. very different and nice film. i could really see film making as an art not just entertainment
its an open ended narration where d author has left the conclusion over audeice. the manek mulla disappearence is a vague reference to infinite possibilities in q human life.d autor tries to intend that every end leads to a new begining and there can many ends to a story rather than a finite conclusion . again it moght be possible dat manek was not a real individual but a imaginative character created by raghuvir yadav in a flow. i hope it helped you

its an open ended narration where d author has left the conclusion over audeice. the manek mulla disappearence is a vague reference to infinite possibilities in q human life.d autor tries to intend that every end leads to a new begining and there can many ends to a story rather than a finite conclusion . again it moght be possible dat manek was not a real individual but a imaginative character created by raghuvir yadav in a flow. i hope it helped you

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